On the (Rest of the) Net.

A diva is a female version of a gymnast, apparently. [Jezebel]

Is a man opening a door for a woman a sexist act? [MamaMia]

Gah! A young, attractive woman and her fanatical pro-life agenda. [Jezebel]

How to be an Olympic White Female. [Jezebel, via Feministing]

Do the Olympics offer an alternative to the female body we see regularly in the media, or is it just another opportunity to body-snark? [Time]

Rejoice! Jennifer Aniston isn’t a pathetic single woman anymore! [The Guardian]

Ricki-Lee is the latest “B-grade artist” to fetishise mental illness. [The Punch]

Stella Young writes about Peter Singers’ views on the killing—not aborting—of disabled babies—not foetuses. While he does raise some interesting points, I’ve written before that this kind of thinking trivialises abortion and the access to it we should have in this day and age. If a woman finds out she’s pregnant with a disabled foetus, she should have the support and means necessary to terminate if she feels that’s what she wants to do. I don’t think Singer would have these views if more women had access to safe, legal and unstigmatised abortion. Furthermore, I don’t think he’d have them if the lives of the disabled were valued more by society and they had more support. To say that parents have the right to kill their own disabled children after a set amount of time of attempting to care for them is to trivialise life itself: I’m all for a humane death over a painful life, but Young raises the point that babies don’t have the autonomy to make that choice. [ABC Ramp Up]

What the Spice Girls’ Olympic reunion means for girl power. [The Vine]

Image via The Daily.

Movie Review: Mirror Mirror*.

I’ll be honest: I didn’t have high hopes for Mirror Mirror, what could have been a fantastic feminist take (girl saves boy; a commentary on beauty) on the classic Snow White tale but ended up being an offensive Disney-esque been-there, done-that effort.

Actually, Mirror Mirror did incorporate some of the abovementioned themes, but not in the ways I would have liked.

Firstly, let’s start with beauty. As an older woman, Julia Roberts’ character, the Queen, believes the only way she’ll make an impression as an older woman on the newly discovered Prince Alcott (the delectable Armie Hammer) is to up the ante on her beauty regime, which includes bees stinging her lips and bird poo being massaged into her face. This is not unlike what many women do on a regular basis, but I didn’t put two and two together until later in the film, when Snow White is about to kiss the Prince to break the puppy love-for-the-Queen spell he’s under. One of her seven dwarf-bandit comrades, Napoleon, thinks she needs a bit of sprucing up before her first kiss. The message here is not only that, clearly, older women need to do more to their bodies and faces in order to compete with younger women and stay relevant, but that something along those lines also applies to younger women. If you’re engaging in intimate acts with a member of the opposite sex, you need to look and act a certain way. It seeks to cement the notion that beauty is the main virtue a woman can have. If she doesn’t have it, she’s deemed worthless. If she does, like Lily Collins’ Snow, she’s got to work even harder to maintain it and play it up.

This confining notion of beauty is also represented in the seven dwarves, who were banished from the village by the Queen for being “ugly” and “undesirable”. The film could have run with the whole non-able-bodied-people-being-excluded-from-everyday-able-bodied-society angle, but instead that was pretty much the last thing we heard about that.

There was a lot of emphasis on the Queen being “crazy” and “mad” because she clawed her way to the top and would do anything to stay there, including poisoning the Prince in order for him to fall in love with her. When Snow decides to run away from her castle prison and join the dwarves, and Prince Alcott discovers this he, too, calls her “crazy” and “mad”. So standing up for what you believe in, whether that is something that other people think is a noble pursuit or not, makes you crazy. Oh, clarification: this only applies if you’re female.

Because you won’t be taken seriously by your male nemesis if you deign to step outside the boundaries set for you by the patriarchy, don’t you know? When Prince Alcott is confronted with the militant Snow White, he refuses to “fight a girl”, much less one that also “throws like a girl” and whom he would kiss if she wasn’t trying to kill him. The Prince takes to spanking Snow with his sword as they engage in combat, which was a confusing amalgamation of offensiveness and sexiness. I mean, I wouldn’t say no to a spanking from Armie Hammer, but in a movie seemingly geared towards children with a superficial pro-heroine stance, I don’t think it was entirely appropriate nor crucial to the story.

Finally, let’s look at domestic violence and animal abuse. When the Prince is under the puppy love spell and captured by Snow and the dwarves for torture, he claims his “only pain is being absent from my wife[-to-be]”, who doesn’t treat him so well in the first place. That he’s essentially a dog in this scene makes a certain point about animal cruelty, I think: that no matter how badly you treat a dog, as man’s best friend, they’ll always come back to you. Much like battered-wife syndrome, wouldn’t you say?

On that, when one of the dwarves tries to claim that Prince Alcott is clearly in love with Snow, and another exclaims, “He tried to kill her today!” the defence is, “Of course! What do you think love is?” That kind of “love” is dubious at best.

And so was this movie.

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Image via YouTube, IMDb.

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses*.

 

Horrible Bosses, despite being a “sophomoric”, Judd Apatovian-esque, “toilet-humour”-filled outing, was much better than I thought it would be.

However, putting aside how hilarious it was much I enjoyed it, there were some race and sex issues I wanted to discuss.

  • “Take us to the most dangerous bar in the city.” Which just happened to be full of black people. Racist much?
  • Men being sexually harassed by their hot female boss isn’t an issue. While Jason Bateman’s Nick and Kurt, played by Jason Sudeikis, have douchebag-asshole-psycho male bosses who are making their lives hell, Charlie Day’s Dave is being sexually harassed and manipulated by his “maneater” boss, Julia, played by Jennifer Aniston. She accosts him in her office wearing nothing by suspenders and a lab coat, she sprays him with a dental irrigation hose in the crotch to “make out the shape of his penis” and blackmails him with photos she took of them together while he was passed out in the dentists chair and she was half-naked. While the movie made it plain as day that what Dave was experiencing was pretty distressing, his buddies brushed it off, saying that in comparison to their bosses, his doesn’t sound so bad.
  • Crazy, manipulative bitches can have “the crazy fucked out of them”. This is an age old trope whereby uptight, bitchy, mentally ill and a myriad of other negative personality traits in women can have them gone, so long as they get a good fuck. Apparently, this isn’t the case, as Julie’s just as crazy as she was before Kurt slipped and fell into her during his reconnaissance mission.
  • Male rape doesn’t exist. Much like how True Blood dealt with it, when Dave cries rape after Julie shows him the aforementioned photos, his friends brush it off with a guffaw, saying there’s no such thing and if only they were “raped” by a boss as hot as his. Fail.
  • There’s such a thing as being “more rapable” than someone else. When their plot looks all but foiled by a comedy of errors, someone (probably Nick, the most level headed one) mentions the possibility of going to jail. Kurt says he can’t go to jail because he’d get raped like there’s no tomorrow. Nick says he would too, and Kurt asserts that he’s more rapable than Nick. They bring Dave in as tiebreaker, and he sides with Nick being more rapabale, as prison rapists go for “weakness” and “vulnerability”. Regular rapists do, too, if Dave’s dental chair experience is anything to go by!

*It has come to my attention that I give away too much in my movie reviews, so the asterisk will now serve as a blanket *spoiler alert* from now on.

Related: Bridesmaids Review.

Rachel Berry as Feminist.

Male Rape on True Blood.

Elsewhere: [Persephone Magazine] Gorgeous, Sexy, “Crazy”: The Fetishisation of On-Screen Mental Illness.

Image via IMDb.