On the (Rest of the) Net.

Millennials Magazine profiles the beauty of the to-do list, Daniel D’Addario gets nostalgic for Daria Morgendorffer, while Katie Baker wishes she was an orphan:

“Orphans are adored by their peers, but tormented by evil guardians, stay cool under pressure and abuse, and rarely fail to win true familial love and affection in the end.”

Also at Millennials Mag, the awesomeness of The O.C. was that “it was just fucking dramatic”:

“Kirsten’s an alcoholic. Marissa almost dies in an alley in Tijuana. Luke’s dad turns out to be gay. Luke and Julie Cooper hook up, grossly. Seth, who’s supposed to be this huge nerd, nabs the most popular girl in school. Summer gets into Brown, which is actually kind of realistic considering her money, but that’s another story. Obviously some lesbian stuff happens. Marissa shoots Trey. Marissa dies. Ryan and Taylor go into a parallel universe while in a coma. And yet everyone keeps on being rich and impossibly well dressed and extremely easy on the eyes.”

“The 9 Most Racist Disney Characters.”

Continuing with the “Why Don’t You Love Me?” theme, Tiger Beatdown discusses the cultural relevance of Beyonce’s anthem, in relation to buying access to a stripper’s body via a $10 lap dance:

“I was able to buy access to this woman’s body and (very convincing) pretend affections for less than I would spend picking up a couple of last-minute things at the grocery store. It was worth almost nothing. Less than an oil change. Less than someone cutting my hair. Less than getting a decent tailor to hem a pair of pants. Less than a bouquet of roses.

“And that’s the day that I realized we were all the victims of a sick joke. A despicable charade where so much is demanded of women, so much compliance and poking and prodding, so much effort to make ourselves beautiful and radiant and perfect, so much forcing of square pegs into round holes, just so we could meet it all, do it all, get close to the apex of perfection and still be worth nothing. We would be left with alienation from our own bodies, our bodies that we squeezed into stilettos and shaved and waxed and whittled into tiny silhouettes at the gym, always striving for more perfect, thinner, prettier, more alluring. Working so hard to satisfy the cultural imperative toward female perfection—how could we have time for our own desires except to be desired?

“Latoya Peterson writes about the video that ‘Once again, Beyoncé’s lyrics define her positive attributes in the context of why she should be desirable to some fool that doesn’t appreciate her. The video, however, is a lot more interesting since, with Beyoncé playing the role of “B.B. Homemaker”, it is openly mocking a lot of the ideals and tenets of womanhood’. I’d go much further than that. I’d say that the song and the video together form a radical critique of femininity, full stop. Because this is what femininity is about: making yourself appealing to men by adhering as closely possible to cultural ideals of perfect womanhood. Her lyric is not ‘when I am so damn easy to love’, but ‘when I make me so damn easy to love’. It’s effort, it’s a construct, it is something she does and not something that she is. It is performative.”

“Man up” seems to be a fairly frequently used phrase in my vernacular, and The New York Times ponders its true meaning:

“But man up isn’t just being used to package machismo as a commodity. Its spectrum of meanings runs from ‘Don’t be a sissy; toughen up’ all the way to ‘Do the right thing; be a mensch,’ to use the Yiddishism for an honourable or upright person. The Man Up Campaign, for instance, is a new global initiative that engages youth to stop gender-based violence: ‘Our call to action challenges each of us to “man up” and declare that violence against women and girls must end,’ its mission statement reads.”

Now that is something we can all certainly man up stand up for.

The top ten reasons why anyone follows anyone who’s anyone on Twitter.

Uplift Magazine on those Crystal Renn food photos.

In defence of books:

“Many books are screwy, a great many are dull, some are irredeemable, and there are way too many of them, probably, in the world. I hate all the fetishistic twaddle about books promoted by the chain stores and the book clubs, which make books seem as cozy and unthreatening as teacups, instead of the often disputatious and sometimes frightening things they are. I recognize that we now have many ways to convey, store, and reproduce the sorts of matter that formerly were monopolized by books. I like to think that I’m no bookworm, egghead, four-eyed paleface library rat. I often engage in activities that have no reference to the printed words. I realize that books are not the entire world, even if they sometimes seem to contain it. But I need the stupid things.”

The perils of HalloSlut-o-Ween, at Rabbit White.

Meet Me at Mike’s Pip Lincolne writes about what makes a successful blog.

More on the Glee/GQ photo shoot scandal, this time from NPR and the girls at Go Fug Yourself.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

I’m filing all Mad Men titbits in one hit. I hope you can handle it.

1. Love the latest promo posters designed by Christina Perry. The one with Joan’s likeness is, of course, the fiercest.

2. Damaged child of Don Draper and Betty Francis, Sally Draper, deserves “A Freudian Analysis”. And her fair share of Freudian therapy, I would guess.

3. And so does Betty, for that matter. Perhaps a therapist that doesn’t report back to her husband. For now, though, she’s content to make herself over.

Advice blogger Penelope Trunk tells us “How to Write About Your Life”:

“… [The] number one rule is that if you write about your life there must be a redemptive moment because people like that…

So, okay. I try to see that. I mean, I’ve read plenty of memoirs Girl, Interrupted, Smashed, Darkness Visible all good books. All very redemptive at the end, for sure. But I’ve also read Anna Karenina. Well, I haven’t, but I’m able to spoil the ending for you right now anyway… She gets hit by a train. I think she kills herself.

That seems redemptive to me. I mean, at least she doesn’t have to wake up to her same problems every day.

I have told this to my… agent. She said that people do not want to read about my fascination with suicide.”

Jill at Feministe writes of her “commitment to ending up an old maid” in the 2007 article, “I’m Never Getting Married”.

Diablo Cody asks the original “Misery Chick”, Daria Morgendorffer, if her crush, Trent Lane, and the other “Trents of the world are ever suited to long-term relationships…?”. Daria’s response?

“I always thought of Trent as being the Dave Navarro of high school… Considering a girl like Carmen Electra couldn’t maintain true love with Dave Navarro; and Sandra Bullock couldn’t whip Jesse James into commitment; and Pam Anderson couldn’t land Tommy Lee or Kid Rock or Tommy Lee. All epic fails.” How profound.

Since when did mobile phones cease to become telephones? “When my so-called phone rings, my first reaction is ‘Shit. What’s wrong now?’ [However] When I get an email or text message, I feel a tingle of optimism.” My feelings exactly.

Harkening back to the “Feminism Has Failed” debate, where my thoughts were that it hasn’t failed for me personally, but for a woman who is not able-bodied, perhaps it has. Disabled Feminists ask if there’s “A Place at the Table For Me?” when discussing body image. Very thought provoking.

Keanu Reeves just can’t catch a break. Now, “The 12 Most Depressing Keanu Reeves Quotes”. My favourite? See above.

More feminist goodness, this time from Echidne of the Snakes and touching on the “burqa debate” and how women dress in different societies and cultures.

Again, an old-school article from The New York Times entitled “What’s Wrong with Cinderella?”. This is (apparently) what’s wrong with Cinderella and the other Disney princesses:

“…‘I see girls expanding their imagination through visualising themselves as princesses, and then they pass through that phase and end up becoming lawyers, doctors, mothers or princesses, whatever the case may be.’

Mooney [who produced the above quote] has a point: There are no studies proving that playing princess directly damages girls’ self-esteem or dampens other aspirations. On the other hand, there is evidence that young women who hold the most conventionally feminine beliefswho avoid conflict and think they should be perpetually nice and prettyare more likely to be depressed than others and less likely to use contraception…

The infatuation with the girlie girl certainly could, at least in part, be a reaction against the so-called second wave of the women’s movement of the 1960s and ’70s (the first wave was the fight for suffrage), which fought for reproductive rights and economic, social and legal equality. If nothing else, pink and Princesses have resuscitated the fantasy of romance that that era of feminism threatened, the privileges that traditional femininity conferred on women despite its costsdoors magically opened, dinner checks picked up, Manolo Blahniks, Frippery. Fun. Why should we give up the perks of our sex until we’re sure of what we‘ll get in exchange? Why should we give them up at all? Or maybe it’s deeper than that: the freedoms feminism bestowed came with an undercurrent of fear among women themselvesflowing through Ally McBeal, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Sex & the Cityof losing male love, of never marrying, of not having children, of being deprived of something hat felt essentially and exclusively female.”

Following on from this, Rachel Hills of Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, writing in The Australian Literary Review in July 2008, untangles the sexualisation of children. Again, well worth the read.

We’ve gotta give the guys some attention, too, and Newsweek does just that with “Men’s Lib” and retrosexualisation:

“Since the 1950s, the image of American women has gone through numerous makeovers. But masculine expectations remain the same… The term ‘retrosexual’ has all but replaced ‘metrosexual’ in the lifestyle sections of national magazines, which are full of stories about affluent urbanites wearing hunting garb, buying designer axes and writing about the art of manliness on blogs with names like (ahem) The Art of Manliness.”

Jezebel with the quirky genius that is their movie reviews: and a double-whammy at that. Firstly, there’s “Important Life Lessons from B-List Teen Movies of the ’90s” like The Craft and Can’t Hardly Wait. And secondly, in the same vein, they profile Easy A and how it “… Tackles Slut-Shaming, Gossip & What We Expect from Girls Now”. Review to come next week.

Stylish Thought muses on “The Joys of Being Alone”, a concept which I am none-too-familiar with. I find people who don’t like being alone freaks, as does blogger Fajr. Love the accompanying pic, too.

After all that, this should have been called the jumbo edition!

Magazine Review: Frankie—September/ October 2010.

We’ve all heard the buzz surrounding frankie (here is but one link); she is the “it girl” of the 2010 magazine world. (Cleo would do well to take a page out of her book.)

frankie’s September/October issue is by no means the best I’ve ever read, but the usual frankie-esque features are there, including “What It’s Like to Work At…” (p. 36), with Etsy being this article’s drawcard, columnist Daniel Moore hilariously recounting his 1994 encounter with rapper Ice-T in an Adelaide Big W (p. 68), and frankie mainstays Benjamin Law and Marieke Hardy working their magic.

Elsewhere in the mag, Rowena Grant-Frost “counts down… [her] favourite filmic dorks, dweebs and weirdos” (p. 65), with a particular focus on everyone’s fave, Daria (“People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute”), and the Judd Apatow-produced Freaks & Geeks, which also makes an appearance in NYLON’s TV issue (review pending), while Law “rates frankie’s top five literary apocalypses” (p. 94), which is quirk personified!

In fashion, model-of-the-moment Samantha Harris rocks a jagged fringe (p. 72) and retro sailor-style swimwear beckons in “Togs Ahoy!” (p. 46).

A fairly lacklustre edition of Australia’s publishing darling, but she’s proved herself enough to have one off month (or bi-month). I just hope she returns to form for the November/December Christmas issue.

On the (Rest of the Net).

 

If you’re into music, especially the live Melbourne scene, make sure you check out my friend Linzie Meager’s newly launched blog, What Are You Listening To? 

Lena Chen says “fuck feminism”. I have to say I agree with most of her statements, and sometimes I get sick of talking about gender politics. Her argument is that feminism doesn’t represent all females equally, especially women of colour and those who belong to the LGBT community. 

If only we could all look this chic and quirky at the airport. Gala Darling pairs combat boots with an electric blue knit by Betsey Johnson “En Route to San Francisco”

 

Who’s sick of Lady Gaga? Not me, but apparently Gawker is. I do agree that Gaga needs to lay off the reinvention shtick, however. The article also argues that she needs to churn out some new music ASAP. 

Still with Gawker, they assert that “Starlets Need to Stop Dressing Up Like Other Starlets for Photo Shoots”, with an impressive roll call that includes Lindsay Lohan as everyone, everyone as Marilyn Monroe and Jennifer Aniston as Barbra Streisand on the most recent cover of US Harper’s Bazaar.

I think the burqa debate is an interesting one; one I don’t necessarily agree with. I don’t think that Islamic women should be forced to wear them, but it is certainly not the government of the Western world’s place to ban them. MamaMia brings light to the subject, asking if the “Burqa is as ‘Confronting’ as Leggings Worn as Pants”? Certainly not! Nor is it more confronting than (Prime Minister come tomorrow night?) Tony Abbott in budgie smugglers!

Meanjin’s blog Spike features a post “On Writing and Running”… or blogging and jogging, as I like to call it. Guess I’m on the right track, then. (Geddit?!)

“Like, OMG, you guys!” Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a product of my generation (or the generation below me, perhaps?). But Jezebel reasons that those who favour “like”, “you know” and “whatever” picked up such fetching colloquialisms from ’90s teen angst drama, My So-Called Life. If you haven’t heard of it, you should so, like, research it, you know? If not, whatever.

Here with more Daria goodness, The Paris Review asks “Are We Afraid of Daria?”

All the single ladies men, take note: there’s a difference between “nice guys” and “total creeps”. (Double standards?) For example, nice guys will pay you “a normal compliment” like, “You look great today”. Creeps will say “things like, ‘You look imaginary’… Did he mean to say something else? Does he know what ‘imaginary’ means?” Gold!

Continuing on from the Facebook versus women issue, Psychology Today ran a great article entitled “Cutting Off Your Vagina to Spite Your Face(book)”. Aside from the genius title, it deals with the deletion of a sexual education Facebook page about female genital mutilation.

Women in Fiction: My Favourite Fictional Females.

A recent post on Girl with a Satchel (which was reblogged here) inspired me to assess my favourite fictional female characters.

One of my favourite books is To Kill a Mockingbird (if you’re a frequent reader of Early Bird, you’ll be no stranger to my love for Harper Lee’s novel), and protagonist Scout Finch is one of my favourite characters of the written word. Her innocence and naivety are super-endearing, and her past-tense narrating allows the reader to put themselves in her shoes easily.

Wicked is a niche musical and book that theatre buffs can’t get enough of, but the general public are a bit oblivious to because it hasn’t derived from/been made into a movie, like Melbourne’s current season of musicals, West Side Story, Mary Poppins and Hairspray, all of which are on my theatre-going agenda in the coming months.

I’ve seen the production three times in Melbourne, and many a friend has seen it in its various international incarnations on Broadway and the West End… oh, and Sydney! I was so touched by the story and its messages of friendship, good versus evil and judging a book by its cover, and even more so by Elphaba, better known as The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. Unlike in the original story, Wicked’s Elphaba is fiercely loyal to her disabled sister Nessarose, and those who become close to her like Glinda, Doctor Dillamond and Fiyero, misunderstood because of the colour of her skin and the slander spread about her when she discovers the Wizard of Oz is a fraud and seeks revenge.

In the vein of fairytale musicals, Beauty & the Beast (which is being re-released in selected theatres in 3D from 2 September) is by far my favourite, and I love its heroine Belle so much, I have been known to fight with my friends and children alike over the fact that I AM BELLE! Hello, I have brown hair, like burly men, read a lot and have a penchant for yellow gowns! While there have been arguments circulating that the Disney princesses are beacons of anti-feminism, I maintain my stance that Belle doesn’t need a man to rescue her (in fact, she does the rescuing, helping the Beast when he is attacked by wolves, attempting to make the townspeople see the error of their ways in going after him, and ultimately, setting his heart free) and sees the Beast for who he truly is, not for what he looks like or what he can do for her. She’s a kick-ass beauty in the vein of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

I’ve blogged (or reblogged) a little bit lately about Elle Woods. She’s an everywoman. Rachel Hills identifies with her, as does Satchel Girl Erica Bartle. A law-studying friend of mine recently compared herself to Miss Woods, also. And I won’t lie; I’ve fantasised about wearing a Playboy bunny suit whilst purchasing an Apple Mac! Elle Woods proves that you can take pride in your appearance and have fun whilst pursuing your dreams and making a name for yourself separate from the name of the man in your life.

There are plenty of other made-up women who I have an affinity for, including the aforementioned Buffy Summers, and Daria Morgendorffer for their kick-ass feminist mentalities; ditto for the Charmed sisters; Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf, who can be a psycho bitch at times, but she’s THE psycho bitch; Carrie Bradshaw, only for her clothes, apartment and loyalty to her friends; for similar reasons as Elle Woods, Cher Horowitz; Glee’s Sue Sylvester, whom the show is worth watching for her one liners about Will Shuester’s hair; and at the risk of angering feminists everywhere, Barbie.

Pop Culture Power Women.

This is an edited version of an article originally posted on Girl with a Satchel.

Magazines and media blogger Erica Bartle, of Girl with a Satchel, has recently upped her workload as feature writing and fashion and style journalism tutor at Queensland’s University of Technology. Erica’s first lecture inspired her to write this:

After experiencing some minor audiovisual issues (during which time I had a little jokey internal monologue with Tina Fey in Date Night about the “computer sticky thingy”) and giving my introductory lecture on feature writing on Monday, I opened up the opportunity for questions.

“Are you going to be referencing Sex and the City every lecture?” deadpanned one male student channelling Daria. Touché!

I actually hadn’t intended to make reference to the show (in fact, I genuinely try to curb such things, knowing how tiresome it can sound), but sometimes a pop culture reference comes to mind that fits the occasion aptly enough to illustrate a point and simply must be voiced (cue the scene in Sex and the City when Candice Burgen, playing Carrie’s Vogue editor, returns her piece on shoes dripping with red ink).

Though more “serious journalists” prefer witty literary/historical/political references and high-brow in-jokes, I love a good pop culture reference in a feature; preferably if it’s Gen-Y nostalgic. It says, “you speak my language”. Gillard and Abbott (or, rather, their speech writers) should really think about throwing some random Simpsons/Mad Men quotes into the mix (okay, it didn’t work for Joe Hockey!).

Give me Seinfeld, give me slinkies, give me scrunchies, give me The Goonies and Gilmore Girls and I’m yours. As Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy”. So does good pop culture. And puppies.

So who better to inspire the writer’s musethat voice that sits upon your shoulder like trusty Tinkerbellthan some of the feisty and fabulous gals you pointed to in response to the pop popularity poll? Make like Buffy Summers who “slew all manner of demons and even had breath to spare for puns and quips”.

Erica Bartle.

Elsewhere: [Girl with a Satchel] Women of Pop Culture & the Unashamed Use of Cutesy Clichés.