On the (Rest of the) Net.

After some technical difficulties that saw this here blog down for a few days while I made the switch from being an Early Bird to a new and improved Scarlett Woman, you’ll notice some changes around the place. Obviously to the layout and name, but there’ll be more to come, which I’ll be tweeting about.

Why do you hate porn stars? [The Stranger]

In defence of Kim Kardashian. [Batty Mamzelle]

Meet Terry Richardson’s right-hand-woman and partner in crime. [Vocativ]

At the intersection of being a fat, gay woman. [The King's Tribune]

Natalie Barr wants you to know she doesn’t hate men, okay? [Daily Telegraph]

I wrote about Gossip GIRLS: Hannah Horvath VS. Dan Humphrey. I also wrote about Dan Humphrey as GG a few weeks ago here. [Junkee]

Birdee published a named first-hand account of a medical abortion. We need more of this in our teen magazines. 

How one Melbourne freelancer changed the course of hip hop history. [Junkee]

Women hiding away to heal from cosmetic surgery (NSFW). [Jezebel]

 

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Sixteen-Candles-drunk-girl

Was Sixteen Candles the blueprint for the Steubenville rape? [Bitch Flicks]

How Hannah Horvath’s eBook would read IRL. [Nerve]

@ModernClueless makes a cameo at the Val party! While you’re following them, head on over and follow me, too. [Twitter]

Can we separate the art from the accused-pedophile, Woody Allen? [The Onion]

Beyonce blogged about gender equality. [Mother Jones]

Sexualising violence against women. [The Guardian]

And while we’re on the topic, check out Yolanda Dominguez’s photo series of real women in model poses. Ridonculous!

Stop calling yourself a feminist if all you’re really interested in talking about is how hard it is out there for the menz. [The Guardian]

Being a woman on the internet. [Pacific Standard]

Navigating teen witchdom. [The Lifted Brow]

Fat on film: Brodie Lancaster muses on how it makes her feel when fat characters are the butt of the joke. [Rookie]

What it’s like to have a partner behind bars. [Vice]

I critique dick pics. [The Hairpin]

What Beyonce and Michelle Obama’s friendship tells us about feminism. [Daily Life]

Image via Bitch Flicks.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Kelly Rowland’s latest single is about cunnilingus. Get it, girl!

The threat of James Deen. [Daily Life]

Now they’re gendering cordial! [Feminaust]

In defence of Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna in the aftermath of season two of Girls:

“Lena Dunham has perfected her ability to push her audience past their comfort zones by forcing them to relate to or identify with someone who they’d rather not relate to or identify with. When people react negatively to her work, I think that’s often what it is that they’re reacting against. Her artistic—yeah, I’m going to say it—genius is pushing the viewer from thinking Who would do that? to I’ve thought about that to I’ve done that.”

And I think that sums up the difference between season one of Girls, which was so unabashedly relatable, if not totally likeable, and season two, which stagnated more in the former realm of Dunham’s alleged “artistic genius”. [Jezebel]

Calling all Aussie (and NZ) Gala Darling fans: she’s bringing her Blogcademy brainchild down under. Wouldn’t you know it, the Melbourne workshop takes place when I just so happen to be in Gala’s hood: New York City!

Clementine Ford unpacks the verdicts handed down in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case and why sexual assault is not a “mistake” made by “promising young men” who deserve a “second chance”. [Daily Life] 

New girl crush: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. That woman really knows what she’s talking about when it comes to feminism and women in the workplace. [Jezebel]

Girls, How I Met Your Mother and consent. [Think Progress] 

Porn consumption = more accepting of marriage equality? [MamaMia]

On Taylor Swift, Anne Hathaway and fake humility. [TheVine] 

TV: Girls — A Season Two Retrospective.

girls

How did Girls go from this…

How did Girls go from one of the best shows on television, so perfectly rendering the lives of twenty-something women in its first season (if a little narrow minded on the racial diversity front) to the disjointed, experimental mess of season two, the finale of which aired last night?

Lena Dunham was obviously under a lot of pressure to perform to the standards she set last year and she buckled under it, mirroring Hannah’s signing on to write an ebook in a month and getting shafted with a mental illness for her efforts. While pretty well every episode of season one lent themselves both to plot and character development, it seemed like the ten episodes of this season each existed in a vacuum; separate from each other and only slightly showing us both new and familiar aspects of the characters.

For example, I know Jemima Kirke just had a baby, but where the hell was Jessa? Sure, we met her dysfunctional dad, which gave us a glimpse into her carefree and flakey motivations, but she was barely around for us to see just how the unraveling of her marriage to Thomas-John affected her.

And Shoshanna was one of the best things to come out of Girls, and still is, arguably, but I hate that her character has succumbed to the virgin-turned-whore trope in that she’s gotten a taste for sex and now she can’t help herself. I expected more from Dunham.

Marnie’s remained just as unlikeable, though less relatable, as she was in the first season while Hannah’s—and, by extension, Dunham?—personality fluctuates from episode to episode, perhaps to foreshadow her eventual OCD relapse.

girls hannah cuts her hair

… to this?

It seems as though Dunham used the early episodes of season two to respond to her detractors (no racial diversity? Hannah dates a black guy. Dunham’s obsessed with being naked? Get naked some more.), and force feed characters of colour (okay, one character of colour) and gratuitous nudity down our throats. I found the balance of “awkward sex”, the embracing of different types of naked bodies and everyday activities that didn’t involve these things in season one refreshing, but by season two it was just too much. Did Hannah really need to wear a mesh singlet with nothing underneath while on a cocaine bender for a whole episode? Did we really need to see Hannah drop trou to pee next to a train station in the middle of nowhere? While I think body diversity is great, and Dunham is largely responsible for the current discourse about it, I think she’s going the wrong way about advocating for it.

Having said that, though, the episode with perhaps the most sex and nudity—the mid-season “One Man’s Trash”, which drew the ire of Dunham’s, and the show’s, critics who thought Hannah wasn’t “pretty enough” to bag a rich, hot doctor—was actually my favourite. It was also the most removed from the essence of Girls, so much so that it was speculated that it could have been a dream sequence (yeah, ’cause someone like Hannah could never get someone like Joshua in real life).

The lackluster sophomore season of Girls has left me wondering what happened to a show that could have been “the voice of my generation… Or at least a voice… of a generation.”

Related: Girls—Pretty Girl Problems.

Girls Are Complex Creatures.

Girls Acknowledges Its Privilege.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Why We Need to Keep Talking About the White Girls on Girls.

[Jezebel] What Kind of Guy Does a Girl Who Looks Like Lena Dunham Deserve?

[Daily Life] Why Ugly Sex is Important.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

girls patrick wilson

Is Girls‘ Hannah Horvath physically worthy of the sexual interest of a successful, hot, rich doctor? While detractors thought this week’s episode was the worst in the series, presumably because Lena Dunham’s “refreshing, yet displeasing to the eye” (to borrow a line from Elizabeth Banks in Pitch Perfect) naked body was front and centre perhaps more than any other episode, I actually thought it was the best of this season’s bunch, and I had no qualms buying Patrick Wilson’s character being so sexually into Hannah that he begs her to stay in his apartment for a 48-hour fuck- and naked ping-pong-fest. I will say that the gratuitous nudity and the continuous lack of people of colour is really getting my goat, though. [Jezebel]

Also related, apparently the utter disbelief at the abovementioned May-December Girls romance completely goes against a middle-aged man’s biological inability to resist a younger woman. A bit closed minded, but still valid. [Jezebel]

Let’s all stop bagging Rihanna for taking Chris Brown back and maybe look at why she did and what support we can give domestic violence victims. [Jezebel]

That time someone made a blog about all those times Michelle Williams was ostracised from the Destiny’s Child fold. Funny but cruel but also kinda true? [Poor Michelle]

Class divisions in Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day. [Elsevier] 

James Bulger: 20 years on from his abduction and brutal murder. [Daily Life]

More equal opportunity nudity and sex on camera, please. [Jezebel]

The beauty myth: are people we perceive as beautiful really just average? [TheVine]

Following on from last week’s links on whitewashing in Hollywood, check out the ten most racist portrayals of characters of colour by white actors. [TheVine] 

Image via Rolling Stone.

TV: Girls Acknowledges Its Privilege.

girls sandy hannah fight

In last week’s season two premiere of Girls, I thought Hannah’s sex scene with her new black boyfriend (played by Community’s Donald Glover) within the first few minutes was a bit on the nose, but at least Lena Dunham and the other writers are making an effort to remedy the lack of people of colour that plagued the last season.

So while last night’s speech by Glover’s Sandy was equally as conspicuous, it was also a pertinent commentary on Girls, racism, hipsterism and progress:

“Oh, I’m a white girl and I moved to New York.. And oh, I got a fixed gear bike and I’m gonna date a black guy and we’re gonna go to a dangerous part of town…”

Hannah refutes by saying the fact that Sandy’s black has never occurred to her until he just brought it up:

“I don’t live in a world where there are divisions like that.”

Fair point, as that’s an ideology I try to adopt myself, and it’s also the reasoning Dunham supplied last season when the race issue was brought up constantly. Ultimately, it wasn’t Sandy’s race that created division in their relationship, it’s the fact that he’s a Republican. Hannah just couldn’t “be with someone who’s not an ally to gays and women”. Fair enough.

Related: Girls Are Complex Creatures.

Girls: Pretty Girl Problems.

Girls: Sexual Harassment & Invasions of Privacy.

Girls Just Want To Have Realistic Expectations.

Image via Ch131.so.

TV: Girls Are Complex Creatures.

As I’m sure it did for everyone who’s even remotely self-aware, the fight scene between Hannah and Marnie on the second last episode of Girls last night hit pretty close to home.

I’ve had my fair share of roommates (okay, two), but the one I live with now I’m exponentially closer to me than my previous one. In this way, it is similar to Hannah and Marnie’s living arrangements.

I had to laugh out loud when, in the midst of their biggest fight yet, Marnie admonishes a hurt Hannah for eating her yoghurt: “Don’t look at me like I said something awful ’cause I really didn’t.” This is mine and my housemate’s relationship to a T, wherein I’ll get pissed off at something seemingly small, but that has been reoccurring for awhile, and my housemate, who is a sensitive soul, will get puppy dog eyes and retreat to his room. Hannah’s reaction to Marnie’s complaint is my housemate all over; and Marnie’s reaction to Hannah’s reaction is me all over.

Rachel Hills wrote that, despite her best intentions, she identifies with Hannah, flaws and all. While I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing (it’s good to be self-aware and to embrace yourself. As Adam tells Hannah, “You love yourself so much, so why is it so crazy that someone else would, too?” And what about Bridesmaids’ Annie, the epitome of a self-sabotaging hot mess, but who is the most relatable movie character in a long time. In fact, the very end scene of Girls, where Hannah finds herself alone on a beach somewhere in New York state eating stale wedding cake from Jessa’s shotgun nuptials with Chris O’Dowd’s creepy materialistic threesome man, echoes the scene in Bridesmaids where Annie sits alone in her dark kitchen, eating a beautiful cupcake she baked from scratch in the middle of the night.), I find I relate more to Marnie, despite my best intentions. I’ve ripped Marnie to shreds on this here blog for having “Pretty Girl Problems”, but I also think she’s a bit misunderstood and the way she’s portrayed isn’t necessarily the be all and end all of her as a character. Having said that, though, what else does Marnie “want besides a boyfriend with a luxury rental?”

A lot of the things Marnie brings up in her fight with Hannah are not only 100% true, but are reoccurring themes throughout the series. Hannah’s selfish. Hannah’s judgemental. Hannah’s a bad friend.

Marnie: “You judge everyone and yet you ask them not to judge you.”

Hannah: “That is because no one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself. Any mean thing anyone’s going to say about me I’ve already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour.”

Marnie: “That is bullshit because I can literally think of a million mean things that have never once occurred to you.”

That was a bit of a low blow, but not completely unjustified. This is evident when Hannah tells Marnie that being a “good friend” is not really important to her at the moment: “I don’t really give a shit about being a good friend. I have bigger concerns.” Like how she made a fool out of herself at a reading because she didn’t trust her writerly instincts. Big whoop.

On the one hand, a friend who’s not concerned with being a good friend should be kicked to the curb, in my opinion. But I can also see where Hannah’s coming from: sometimes when you’ve got so much going on in your life the last thing you want to do is support someone else through their shit. But that’s what being a good friend is about, right?

Not only being a good friend, but being a good lover, too. Echoes of the apartment fight in episode nine that lead to Marnie moving out (Hannah was the one who mooched off Marnie and doesn’t have a steady job: shouldn’t she be the one moving out?) are heard at Jessa’s wedding in episode ten, when Hannah dismisses Adam’s request to move in with her. “I associate [love] with Marnie and Charlie and people who talk a lot about their relationship, you know? It’s like, ‘My relationship is doing really well right now.’ ‘I need to work on some aspects of my relationship.’ And it’s just like, your relationship is not ‘a thing’. You relationship is not ‘an achievement’. I’ve got actual things I’d like to achieve before I focus on, like, that.”

Wow, I’m starting to see where Hills is coming from when she says Hannah’s “not someone any person should want to be.”

Ahh, Girls… They’re complex creatures. Just like every other human being, really.

Related: Pretty Girl Problems.

Sexual Harassment & Invasions of Privacy.

Girls Just Want to Have Realistic Experiences.

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] I am Hannah Horvath. And You Might Be Too.

Image via Nos Video.

TV: Girls—Pretty Girl Problems.

Ugh, Marnie is so selfish. Yeah, she just broke up with her boyfriend two weeks ago and he’s already met someone else whom he’s holidaying in Rome with, but this doesn’t mean you have to accost strangers and people you haven’t seen since college to moan about it because your bestie is too preoccupied with her own love life to give a shit.

I wrote this last week, but I think Marnie suffers from Pretty Girl Privilege, in that she feels she’s entitled to have things go a certain way for her, and that she doesn’t have to put effort into what she wants, because she’s beautiful.

Further to this, Marnie actually tells a stranger that she’s “ideal” and that “you would have trouble getting over me”. Don’t worry; she’s “not bragging”. Look, I get where she’s coming from and there’s nothing wrong with thinking—knowing—you’re a good person and that you deserve good things, but has she really done anything to prove this? I’ve only seen her looking good and whining. When you can actually contribute something to the world and are a tolerable person to be around, then you can start telling strangers that, like L’Oreal, you’re worth it.

By the same token, Marnie defends herself to Hannah’s ex-boyfriend, whom she bumps into at a rave, saying that Hannah’s selfish and she’s nothing like her. I see more differences than similarities between the two, but selfishness is definitely a shared trait. I’m actually really surprised the two are even friends; increasingly as the series progresses Hannah and Marnie seem to grow apart, perturbed by the flaws they each possess reflected back at them by the other.

Related: Sexual Harassment & Invasions of Privacy.

Girls Just Want to Have Realistic Experiences.

Image via Putlocker.

TV: Girls—Sexual Harassment & Invasions of Privacy.

Call me crazy, but if my housemate’s significant other invaded my privacy by reading my diary (that is if I kept a diary, but I have experienced the encroaching of a housemate’s significant other on my relationship with him), I would throw down.

Hannah does no such thing on Girls, though, when Marnie’s boyfriend’s friend reads Hannah’s journal and uses it in their band’s song. She doesn’t even try to defend herself to Marnie, who is furious that Hannah would write such intimate things about her relationship. Um, am I missing something here? THOSE WERE HANNAH’S PERSONAL FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS THAT SHE DOCUMENTED IN HER OWN PRIVATE NOTEBOOK THAT WERE NOT MEANT TO BE READ BY OTHERS! (Okay, so maybe Hannah undercuts this argument when she says her notebook is not a “diary” but a “journal” that she someday hopes to publish, but work with me here, people!)

So what if she did publish them, anyway? Hannah’s entitled to her own opinions and she’s entitled to air them in any way she sees fit. (I’ve been in trouble with a friend whom I wrote about on this here blog. I didn’t name them, but they believed everyone would know it was about them because the characteristics I described were very specific, apparently. I was sorry that I upset them but I’m not sorry about what I wrote because it was how I felt.) I think Charlie, Marnie’s boyfriend, was just looking for an excuse to start a fight with Marnie as he was aware their relationship was stagnant. What Hannah wrote was exactly what Marnie expressed to her in the first episode, so I don’t think she has a right to be upset about it.

But  Marnie’s not exactly the most worldly woman. I feel like she’s managed to get by in life on her looks, and she thinks that because she “smells like a Bed, Bath & Beyond” that she doesn’t have to work at her relationship and that that should be enough. This is evident in her break-up sermon with Charlie:

“You watch porn? Why don’t you just, like, picture us?”

When she begs Charlie not to break-up with her, she offers to give him blowjobs if he stays with her. Call me crazy, but I would hazard a guess that healthy, equal sexual relationships would involve giving each other blowjobs on a regular basis. But that’s just me…

Speaking of sex, last week we saw Hannah being touched inappropriately by her boss. When she laments this to Jessa, she asks if Hannah’s flattered by it:

 “I’m not flattered by sexual harassment.”

“Why not? I love that stuff! ‘Sir, I have half a mind to call the authorities. How dare you!’”

Hmm, not exactly as progressive as Girls claims to be…

Related: Girls Just Want to Have Realistic Experiences.

The Harassed & the Harassed-Nots.

Image via Putlocker.

TV: Girls Just Want to Have Realistic Experiences.

The racial issues the interwebs has with Girls made me feeling trepidation about the show. I think the fact that I had such low expectations was a good thing, as I actually ended up loving it.

I’m yet to warm to Lena Dunham as a person, but I love her as her alter-ego, Hannah Horvath, who, in the series’ opening scene, is cut off by her parents who have been supporting her in the two years since she finished college. Her mother rightfully calls her a spoiled brat (Hannah responds with, “Whose fault is that?!”) expecting them to fund her New York lifestyle while she pursues her “art” in an unpaid internship. Initially, I wanted to throttle Hannah for being entitled and selfish (I despise people who leech of their parents), but I can also understand her disbelief that her pretty well-off parents won’t extend their good fortune to her.

I grew up in a low-income home so I didn’t always get everything I wanted or needed. At the time, and even sometimes now when my pensioned mum will shout my minimum wage sister a coffee but not me, I thought it was so unfair; why should I be punished for my parents’ poor life choices? But at the end of the day, it has made me fight for the things I want instead of having them handed to me, gives me empathy for other people doing it tough and reminds me how I don’t want my life to turn out.

I also really related to Hannah’s gorgeous roommate Marnie, played by Allison Williams, whose perfect boyfriend is just too… everything. She “accidentally” sleeps in Hannah’s room when he stays over to avoid him. She suggests a sexy roleplay where he’s the stranger to avoid having tender, loving sex with him. She laments that she feels like such a bitch because he’s so nice to her and it just infuriates her. I feel her pain: most of the guys I’ve dated in the past have either been too nice or too assholish. Where’s the happy medium?

But back to the race thing. There has been a lot of umming and ahhing about the fact that there are no characters of colour apart from the techie Asian and the homeless crazy black guy tropes. Even the background extras aren’t that diverse for a show set and filmed in New York. Dunham has copped some flack for this, as Girls is completely her brainchild. But doesn’t that mean that she’s just being true to her experience as a privileged white girl who probably didn’t come into contact with many non-white people during her college and post-college years, some are wondering. I think it’s unfortunate that her ignorance is the reason Girls is so whitewashed, but hopefully the criticisms she’s faced since the show’s release will see more people of colour integrated into it. Girls may not show people of different races, but they sure talk about it (Jessa says she’ll have many different babies to many different men of many different races, and Hannah is admonished for a distasteful joke on a job interview because issues of race and deviant sex don’t have a home in the workplace).

Speaking of sex, in the second episode Jessa  is faced with her abortion, which is handled in a very feministy way. Hannah insinuates that accompanying Jessa to her appointment isn’t a big deal, but her fuck buddy, Adam, says it’s a heavy situation. I am want to agree with Hannah, but she is eager to please and changes her opinion to more accurately reflect Adam’s.

Not to discount the opinion of those who think abortion is “one of the most traumatic experiences a woman can go through”, which Marnie does. Hannah is nothing but supportive throughout all of this, asking about the emotions Jessa must be feeling. Even little, innocent Shoshanna is surprisingly open-minded about the whole thing. While her insistence on Hannah and Jessa reading a self-help book on the perils of dating was annoying—the dialogue between Hannah and Jessa after the fact only added to the show’s pro-woman vibe—I’m actually really beginning to like Shoshanna.

While a lot of girls might not see themselves reflected on the television screen in terms of looks (although Dunham’s body diversity is refreshing), I think every girl will see a little bit of themselves and their friends reflected in Girls.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Why We Need to Keep Talking About the White Girls on Girls.

Image via Badass Digest.