On the (Rest of the) Net.


Could there ever be a same-sex Disney couple? Beauty & the Beast’s Bell and The Hunchback of Notre Dame‘s Esmeralda would make the hottest lesbian power couple EVER. [Mic]  

Can we stop talking about The Muppets having sex because, you know, they’re Muppets? [The Cut]

Netflix has changed its description of Disney’s Pocahontas from its originally sexist and racist write up. [THR, Native Appropriations]

In the wake of Chris Brown’s visa being denied for his Australian tour, it’s important to understand why black male artists are the only violent artists we decry for abusing women. [Noisey]

Planned Parenthood don’t “kill babies”, they save women’s lives. And their vaginas. [Al Jazeera]

The mansplanation of Taylor Swift’s 1989. [New Statesman]

The double edged sword that is Ryan Murphy: he creates roles for minorities in his myriad works but in turn reviles them. [HuffPo]

Do trans women only have value to the cisgender community (so, basically, culture at large) if they’re sufficiently hot? [This Ain’t Living]

ICYMI: How allegations of sexual assault against powerful men by the “wrong kinds of women” go unheard, in regards to Bill Cosby, Hugh Hefner and the publication of Hefner’s former partner and Girls Next Door star Holly Madison’s memoir, Down the Rabbit Hole.

Image via Dopey Beauty.

Following Bill Cosby & Hugh Hefner Down the Rabbit Hole.

hugh hefner bill cosby

In July it came out that in 2005 Bill Cosby admitted in a sworn deposition to buying Quaaludes with the intent to use them to rape women, not to “have sex with them” as headlines read.

Around the same time, former Playboy Playmate and Hugh Hefner’s “No. 1 Girlfriend” Holly Madison released an incriminating memoir, entitled Down the Rabbit Hole, about her time in the Playboy Mansion and how it often involved Quaalude-addled group sex with Hefner.

You might remember that late last year when we finally started to pay attention to the long-standing assault allegations against Cosby after a deluge more came to light, Hefner wrote in a statement that “Bill Cosby has been a good friend for many years and the mere thought of these allegations is truly saddening. I would never tolerate this kind of behaviour, regardless of who was involved”.

Putting aside the fact that Cosby and Hefner are friends (14% of Cosby’s accusers were employees or guests of Playboy at the time of their assaults), both men’s predilection for drugging women to better inure them to sex is a damning testament to their power in Hollywood.

It would seem that since last year reports of sexual and physical violence against women have begun to be taken more seriously. As of this writing, 2015 alone as seen 63 women be murdered by their intimate partners or killed in gendered attacks, according to Destroy the Joint’s Counting Dead Women project. The prevalence of these crimes doesn’t necessarily mean that women are experiencing more violence but perhaps that we’ve started to actually give a shit about it.

The striking similarities of the stories of the upwards of 40 Cosby accusers with nothing to gain should be enough to prioritise their safety and justice over the comedian’s legacy and power, but alas, it took the comedian’s own admission for reruns to be cut from networks and a statue in his likeness at Disneyland to be taken down. And even then, apologists such as The View co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Raven-Symoné urge us to resist making a “snap judgement” despite the “proof”. (Goldberg has since come around, saying on The View that “all off the information that’s out there kind of points to guilt.”)  

“What did these women do to get themselves in that situation?”, we ask, particularly in the case of apparently complicit women like Madison and others who frequented the Playboy Mansion.

Madison explains in Down the Rabbit Hole that “I was about to be homeless. I had no place to go and was panicking over what to do next when this opportunity with Hef just sort of fell into my lap. If I became a girlfriend, I would have somewhere to live. If I became part of Playboy’s inner circle, perhaps that could even help my career.”

“The Playboy Mansion… had been both my safe haven—and my prison,” she continues.

What further kept Madison trapped was her decreased confidence and self-worth upon becoming a girlfriend. Hefner’s six other girlfriends at the time Madison moved in were also plagued by insecurities which Madison says led them to bully her. And, in turn, “my shrinking violet personality was a sign of submission that [Hef] used to manipulate the other women.” When Madison tried to have an intelligent conversation with the man she supposedly loved and whom expressed love for her, “he would scoff at whatever I said. It didn’t matter if my remark was educated or even correct, because if I said it, it must be wrong.” In attempting to exert her independence and autonomy by getting a makeover, Hefner belittled Madison, calling her “old, hard and cheap”. After a seemingly throwaway comment from Madison about fellow girlfriend and Girls Next Door star Kendra Baskett (nee Wilkinson), Hefner screamed at Madison to “stop being such a fucking CUNT!”

“He frightened me,” she writes.

Just because young women seek out rich men to experience the fame and fortune they otherwise wouldn’t have access to doesn’t mean they consented to inebriated sex. On the same night she refused Quaaludes from Hefner in a scenario that made headlines upon publication of the book, “I can’t even begin to tell you how much vodka and champagne I consumed… While I patted myself on the back for turning down the pills, by the time we left the club, I couldn’t have been any more incoherent” for her first group sex encounter with Hefner.

The ostensibly compromised integrity of Madison and others who’ve written similar accounts of their time with Hef, like Hefner’s former girlfriend Izabella St. James, and their previous contributions to maintaining the glass curtain Hef and the Mansion are shrouded in makes them less likely to be believed.

Also making headlines for embellished claims was Rolling Stone’s damning article entitled “A Rape on Campus” at the University of Virginia in which reporter Sabrina Erdely failed to properly corroborate the alleged victim Jackie’s story by seeking out other sources before the story went to press. While the feminist and left-leaning media have made it clear that Erdely and Rolling Stone were at fault, a report was issued further blaming the very people it was supposed to protect: sexual assault victims.

“The editors and Erdely have concluded that their main fault was to be too accommodating of Jackie because she described herself as the survivor of a terrible sexual assault,” the report says, feeding all-too-perfectly into blame-the-victim rhetoric.

Chloe Angyal wrote at Feministing that “‘Jackie’ will become shorthand for people seeking to discredit future allegations of rape” just as Fatal Attraction’s “Bunny Boiler” has for unhinged women who trap and frame innocent men.

Even in the face of overwhelming evidence such as that surrounding the 2014 Isla Vista shooter, Elliot Rodger, society doesn’t believe women when we tell them that harassment and a general feeling of being unsafe is something that happens on a daily basis for many of us. The hashtag #yesallwomen was spawned in an effort to debunk that. Despite the fact that the killer sent an accompanying 140-page manifesto to former friends and family members outlining his murderous intentions, people were still willing to believe that Rodger and men like him (#notallmen) are “good blokes”, while “blonde sluts” are to blame for “starv[ing him] of sex” .

Going back to Hefner, in 2005’s Female Chauvinist Pigs, author Ariel Levy speaks at length with Hefner’s daughter Christie, then CEO of Playboy Enterprises. Like Cosby and his respectability politics, Levy also quotes from past interviews with Hef in which he claims to be a champion for women and, dare I say it, a feminist.

In the book, Christie is described as the founder of many women-friendly organisations, such as Emily’s List, which works to elect pro-choice Democratic candidates to office, and the Committee of 200, which runs a mentor program between successful business women and young women and girls. Levy writes,

“The Playboy Foundation also gave grant money to NOW’s Legal Defence and Education Fund and supported the ERA; Hefner personally hosted a fundraiser for it at the Playboy Mansion. ‘I was a feminist before there was such a thing as feminism!’ Hefner has said. A mutual friend even tried to set him up on a date with Gloria Steinem before she became famous.”

(Arguably the piece that made Steinem famous was an undercover exposé on the hostile and sexist conditions at New York City’s Playboy Club, including immediate dismissal for accepting a date with a customer.)

Just because someone calls themselves a feminist, does it make it so? Sarah Palin and Tony Abbott have done so, but their public policies and conversational faux pas would indicate that they are anything but.

The same could be said of Cosby’s respectability politics. On the surface it might look like Cosby is championing his race, but really it’s about minorities policing their own behaviour in an effort to prove how “good” and worthy they are of fair treatment by the powers that be. Cosby has done such an expert job of portraying himself as black America’s father figure that defenders like Raven-Symoné (in whose case Cosby literally played her grandfather on TV) are still in his corner.

In Female Chauvinist Pigs, Levy quotes from a 1967 interview with Hefner that the self-professed feminist does “not look for equality between man and woman… I like innocent, affectionate, faithful girls.” Perhaps that’s why he challenged Madison’s post-Playboy life as not being “happy, healthy and productive”: because she, like the 41 women who kept Cosby’s secret for up to 49 years in the earliest reported case, didn’t play along with the socially prescribed rule to put up (or out) and shut up when it comes to powerful men.

Related: The Year of the Stalker.

Elsewhere: [Gawker] Who Wants to Remember Bill Cosby’s Multiple Sexual Assault Accusations?

[Vulture] A Timeline of the Abuse Charges Against Bill Cosby.

[HuffPo] Hugh Hefner Responds to Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Allegations.

[Jezebel] The Connection Between Bill Cosby’s Alleged Crimes & The Playboy Mansion.

[Facebook] Counting Dead Women.

[The Cut] “I’m No Longer Afraid”: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby & the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen.

[ET] Bill Cosby’s Accusers: A Timeline of Alleged Sexual Assault Claims.

[TV Line] Bill Cosby Sitcoms Yanked from Centric, Bounce TV’s Schedules.

[WNEP] Bill Cosby Statue Removed from Walt Disney World.

[Us Weekly] Holly Madison: Hugh Hefner Offered Me Drugs, Tried to Buy Me in His Will.

[Rolling Stone] Rolling Stone & UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report.

[Feministing] Rape, Rolling Stone & the Radical Notion That Women Are Trustworthy.

[ABC The Drum] Disability & Murder: Victim Blaming at Its Very Worst.

[The Guardian] Elliot Rodger’s California Shooting Spree: Further Proof That Misogyny Kills.

[The Hairpin] Life Lessons from the 1968 Playboy Club Bunny Manual.

[WaPo] The Fake Feminism of Sarah Palin.

[The Guardian] Tony Abbott Says His Three Daughters Helped Him “Turn Into a Feminist”.

[ET] Hugh Hefner Responds to Holly Madison’s Tell-All Book: She Has “Chosen to Rewrite History”.

Image via HuffPo.

On the (Rest of the) Net.


Eight-year-old yellow wunderkind Lisa Simpson has her own book club.

Sarah Ayoub addresses Eddie Maguire’s racist comments in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Paula Joye at Girl with a Satchel on declining mag circulation.

How Hugh Hefner got his groove back at The New York Times.

I never thought there was a “link between autism and vaccinations” until my sister told me the story of how her boyfriend’s brother went from normal, happy and healthy baby to severely disabled after a vaccination. That made me think differently. This article will challenge your beliefs either way.

If “at least 40% of your diet consists of pre-packaged food”, “you don’t sleep enough for proper brain function” and “your boss knows you’re gullible”, you most likely work a 16-hour workday.

On stripping (take two):

“… the brotherly succor would partially exist in the form of shared ambivalence. I would venture to say that this how a majority of men feel about strippers… Do I enjoy strippers? Not really. Do I frequent tithouses often? No. Nor have I any close friends who do… I think men would be willing to renounce strippers if women renounced the Sex and the City franchise. I mean cut all cords. Shit’s gotten out of hand. No reruns. None of the third-wave dime store psychology. A complete effacement out of pop culture. You’re not even allowed hearken back to the simpler days when it meant something to you. Do we have a deal?”

Speaking of Sex & the City, is there a double standard between the second movie and lad flick Get Him to the Greek?

Is it possible to be a feminist and like fashion, too?

“I still get thrilled and impressed by bold, lovely, and often expensive fashion. And I still feel like I’m a person of worth, whether I’m wearing vintage Chanel or ‘vintage’ sweatpants. But I can’t seem to reconcile these two (competing?) impulses; on the one hand, a value in ‘art for art’s sake[’], beauty, style, and other intangibles; on the other, an investment in valuing substance over style, actions over appearances, and real justice over flamboyant showmanship.”

“What Your Favourite Magazine Says About You (Part II).”

Zoë Foster espouses the benefits of the “Better Man, Better Dan” theory.


Images via The Lisa Simpson Book Club, The Frisky.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Rachel Hills discusses Naomi Wolf’s response to WikiGate here, whilst also doing a fine job of unpacking the fun for twenty-somethings = lots of casual sex myth.

On that, “How to Be A 20-Something”:

“Be really attractive. Your acne is gone, your face has matured without having wrinkles and everything on your body is lifted naturally. Eat bagels seven days a week, binge-drink and do drugs: you’ll still look like a babe. When you turn thirty, it’ll become a different story but that’s, like, not for a really long time.

“Reestablish a relationship with your parents. You don’t live with them anymore (hopefully) so start to appreciate them as human beings with thoughts, flaws and feelings rather than soulless life ruiners who won’t let you borrow their car.”

What Would Phoebe Do? on the pretentiousness of Francophilia:

“Gratuitously adding French words to conversation is a time-honoured way of signalling pretentiousness.”

Next year’s Halloween costume sorted!

“How to Be A Complete Douche” has a certain Patrick Bateman feel to it.

Hugh Hefner defends his May-December engagement to Crystal Harris to The Daily Beast.

“How to Live in New York City”:

“Certain moments of living in the city will always stick out to you. Buying plums from a fruit vendor on 34th street and eating three of them on a long walk, the day you spent in bed with your best friend watching Tyra Banks, the amazing rooftop party you attended on a sweltering hot day in July. These memories might seem insignificant but they were all moments when you looked around the city and felt like you were a part of it all.”

Sarah at Feministe recalls “How I Learned to Stop Caring and Admit I Love Pop”.

Jezebel chronicles “The Evolution of Moms” from Soccer Mom (Mater Adidas) to a future robot-mom who encompasses all the admirable features of stage and helicopter mothers alike, with a special focus on the parent Sarah Palin made famous, the Mama Grizzly.

Memo to Lady Gaga: leggings are not pants. Nor, more to the point, are leotards.

On the (Rest of the) Net.


The Queensland schoolgirl/Nick Riewoldt scandal is still going strong, with articles at both MamaMia and Deadspin worth a look.

Also at MamaMia, “Are You Spending More or Less Time on Facebook Than Last Year?” I’d say it’s about the same for me.

The psychology of suicide bombers.

Inner confidence = shaving your pubes at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman.

Many people accused Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner’s former number one girlfriend, of being a gold digger, but after years of being “fucked in the assfiguratively and literally… she earned it”. Similar accusations follow Hef’s latest fiancé, Crystal Harris.

GWAS and Marta Wohrle on “The High Standards of Blogging”.

“How to Deal With a Neat Freak” at Lifehacker. How about when you’re the neat freak…?

On the (Rest of the) Net.

A new discovery of mine, Millennials Mag, publishes quirky, up-to-the-minute features on everything from Mad Men to youth crises to Lindsay Lohan. In fact, here’s one on Lindsay, as well as the hilarious “Bylines & Boyfriends” and “The Myth of the Plugged In Millennial”:

“Do you find that you have friends your age who still don’t understand blogs/blogging? And that it’s actual work/writing?… In a way it’s like, really dispiriting, because I have friends who still can’t understand why I’m a journalism major if I don’t want to work for The New York Times… Like I have a friend who wants to be a fashion blogger, but told me she would never get a Twitter account… Well they will clearly never be a blogger…”

Gah! I guess I’ll never be a blogger then, either. Oh wait, I am! Twitter Schmitter (Shitter?).

Rachel Hills discusses the (pop) cultural virtues of Sweet Valley High, and how Gossip Girl relates to real-life. I particularly like the latter, as it deals with the breakdown of friendships, which is something I’m dealing with at the moment. Hills says:

“… When I think about my own anger, about grudges I’ve been unable to let go of, often it has little to do with the original offence. Instead, it’s about a residual feeling I can’t get rid of, a new framework I’ve built up in my head…”

Halloween is just around the corner (more on that to come later today/next week), and Gala Darling ventured to the 20th Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade. Check out the dressed-up dogs that were out in full force. And while you’re there, see her case for adopting rescue animals.

Britney Spears, now Miley Cyrus: Eat the Damn Cake writes about how growing up = “Girls, Take Off Most of Your Clothes”.

Betty Talk’s musings on “Western Feminism & Global Gender Justice” harkens back to the Feminism Has Failed debate I attended about a month ago, in that “Western feminists are characterised by being somewhat ethnocentric,” and trying to prevent genital mutilation in some lesser-developed parts of the world, for example, is a little bit ignorant when such societies have “practised these customs for centuries”.

Becky Sharper, on The Pursuit of Harpyness, discusses The Guardian journalist Sarah Churchwell’s rant on Bridget Jones and how the myth of the single girl stereotype affects actual single girls.

Published two years ago, Racialicious’s Latoya Peterson ponders “The Not Rape Epidemic” in the form of her own sexual assault when she was fourteen. Powerful stuff.

MamaMia defends Helen Mirren’s right to bare breasts. When you look that good at 64, all I have to say is: you go, girl!

Mad Men’s Betty Francis (nee Draper) exemplifies the cycle of abuse on Tiger Beatdown.

Is curvy Christina Hendricks getting the Kate Winslet treatment?

The male motivational power of the pinup.

In a similar vein, the consensus circulating around the blogosphere is that Hugh Hefner is to blame for all that is wrong in the world today, which is an issue I beg to differ on, however it’s not all Playmates and flamingos at the Playboy Mansion, either, according to The Washington Times.

Following on from Rachel Hills’ post on intersectionality, Hoyden About Town profiles the “squishy bits” of “Intersectionality and Privilege”.

It has never been a better time to be an out-and-proud gay man, in my opinion. This is evidenced by all my straight and single friends who are also desperate and dateless (myself included!), while my gay friends flourish in the dating world, with the added bonus of the iPhone app Grindr. If only the straight folk had an online dating service to present potential suitors to usoh wait, we do. It’s called online dating, which still has a stigma attached to it (if the disappearance and suspected murder of Zara Baker, whose stepmotherwhom her father met onlineis a suspect, is anything to go by), the likes of which Grindr has never seen.