12 Trends of 2012.

Girls (Who Run the World).

girls

So misogyny may be running wild in the real world, but on TV, girls are calling the shots. We’ve had a bevvy of shows with “girl/s” both in the title and the storylines this year, with 2 Broke Girls and New Girl carrying their success over from 2011. While a lot of the subject matter is problematic, both shows have women carrying the comedy. Which brings us to just plain Girls, which is the brainchild of actor, writer and director Lena Dunham. Girls is not without its problems, either, but its portrayal of young urban women is almost faultless. Rounding out the representation of leading ladies in 2012 we have Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, Homeland, Revenge, The Mindy Project, Are You There, Chelsea?, Smash, GCB (farewell!), Scandal, Nurse JackieVeep, Emily Owens, M.D., Whitney, The Good Wife and Hart of Dixie.

“Call Me Maybe”.

Until “Gangnam Style” came along, the YouTube Zeitgeist was dominated by one runaway success: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. Justin Bieber’s protégé came out of nowhere with the catchiest song of the year, which was subsequently covered by the guys from Harvard’s baseball team, Barack Obama and the Cookie Monster! Talk about diversity!

2012: Apocalypse Now.

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2012 was the year of the apocalypse, with the 21st of December long determined by the Mayans (or Mayan conspiracy theorists) as the day the world ends. You know, until the 7th of December tried to steal its thunder as the apparent recalculated date. Apart from the natural disasters, warfare and massacres, the 21st passed without a nuclear bombing, ice age or attitudinal shift, putting rest to the apocalypse panic. Until the next rapture, anyway…

Shit ___ Say.

It started with a sexist albeit funny YouTube video of a guy in a wig quoting “Shit Girls [Apparently] Say”, which snowballed into “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls”, “Shit New Yorkers Say”, “Shit Christians Say to Jews” and “Shit Nobody Says”. Cue offence.

Snow White.

snow white kristen stewart

Snow White was everywhere this year: Mirror Mirror, Snow White & the Hunstman, Once Upon a Time… Note: overexposure isn’t necessarily a good thing. In fact, I hated Mirror Mirror and Once Upon a Time, and Snow White & the Huntsman was such a snooze-fest I can barely remember what happened (not including Kristen Stewart’s affair with director Rupert Sanders).

50 Shades of Grey.

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On the one hand, E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey has singlehandedly revived the flailing publishing industry, so that’s a good thing. But on the other, it has falsely lulled its legions of (mostly female) fans into a state of apparent sexual empowerment: it’s a book about sex targeted towards women, so that means we’re empowered and we don’t need feminism anymore, right?

Oh, how wrong you Anastasia and Christian fans are…

“Gangnam Style”.

The Macarena of the 21st century, Psy’s horse dance took the world by storm, being performed in conjunction with Mel B on The X Factor, with Hugh Jackman in his Wolverine gloves, on Glee and at many a wedding, 21st birthday and Christmas party.

Misogyny.

Misogyny has long been the focus of feminists, but the word and its meaning really reached fever pitch this year.

After Julia Gillard’s scathing Question Time takedown of Tony Abbott and his sexist ways, people everywhere were quick to voice their opinion on her courage and/or hypocrisy. At one end of the spectrum, it could be said that Gillard finally had enough of the insidious sexist bullshit so many women in the workforce face on a daily basis and decided to say something about it, while at the other, many argued that the Labor party were crying sexism in a bid to smooth over the Peter Slipper slip up.

Julia Baird wrote last month in Sunday Life:

“Her electric speech on misogyny in parliament went beyond the sordid political context to firmly press a button on the chest of any woman who has been patronised, sidelined, dismissed or abused. It crackled across oceans, and, astonishingly, her standing went up in the polls, defying political wisdom that no woman would benefit from publicly slamming sexism.”

Whatever the motivation behind the speech, it went viral, with Twitter blowing up, The New Yorker writing that U.S. politicians could take a page out of Gillard’s book when it comes to their legislative hatred of all things female , laypeople bringing “misogyny” into their everyday lexicon, and Macquarie Dictionary using the momentum to broaden the word’s definition.

Kony.

jason russell kony 2012

The viral doco that had millions of people rushing to plaster their neighbourhood in “Kony 2012” posters on 20th of April to little effect (the campaign’s goal was to catch Joseph Kony by years end) illustrated our obsession with social media, armchair activism and supporting the “cool” charities, not the thousands of worthy charities out there who could actually use donations to help their cause, not to produce YouTube videos and work the press circuit.

I’m Not a Feminist, But…

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While Tony Abbott is clamouring to call himself a feminist to gain electoral favour despite the abovementioned misogyny saga, it seems famous women can’t declare their anti-feminism fast enough.

First we had new mother and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer jumping at the chance to shun feminism despite the fact that without it she wouldn’t be where she is today. My favourite anti-feminist campaigner Taylor Swift said she doesn’t think of herself as a feminist because she “was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.” Um, Tay? That’s what feminism is, love.

Then there’s Katy Perry, who won’t let the whipped cream-spurting bra fool you: “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.” Right then.

Garnering less attention, but just as relevantly, was Carla Bruni-Sarkozy asserting that feminism is a thing only past generations need concern themselves with, while in an interview with MamaMia last week, Deborah Hutton also denounced her feminism.

Cronulla.

the-shire

The cronies from Sutherland Shire were all over our boxes, primarily on Channel Ten, this year. There was the widely panned Being Lara Bingle, the even worse Shire, and the quintessential Aussie drama set in the ’70s, Puberty Blues.

While these shows assisted in shedding a different light on the suburb now synonymous with race riots, it’s not necessarily a positive one, with The Shire being cancelled and Being Lara Bingle hanging in the balance.

White Girls in Native American Headdresses.

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This one really reared its racist head towards the end of the year, right around the festivities of Halloween and Thanksgiving.We had No Doubt “Looking Hot Racist” and Karlie Kloss donning a headdress for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, in addition to the cultural appropriation of VS’s “Go East” lingerie line, Gala Darling’s headdress furore and Chris Brown dressed as a Middle Eastern terrorist for Halloween.

You’d think we were heading into 1953, not 2013.

Related: Posts Tagged “New Girl”.

2 Broke Girls Aren’t So Broke That They’d Turn to Sex Work.

Posts Tagged “Girls”.

Posts Tagged “Smash”.

Feminism, Barbeque & Good Christian Bitches.

Mirror Mirror Review.

Was Kristen Stewart’s Public Apology Really Necessary?

50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James Review.

Hating Kony is Cool.

Taylor Swift: The Perfect Victim.

Whipped Cream Feminism: The Underlying Message in Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” Video.

The Dire Shire.

Shaming Lara Bingle.

Is Gwen Stefani Racist?

The Puberty Blues Give Way to Feminism.

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

[io9] Why is Everybody Obsessed with Snow White Right Now?

[The Age] What Women Want.

[The New Yorker] Ladylike: Julia Gillard’s Misogyny Speech.

[Jezebel] Does it Matter if Marissa Mayer Doesn’t Think She’s a Feminist?

[Jezebel] Katy Perry, Billboard’s Woman of the Year, is “Not a Feminist”.

[MamaMia] Meet the Women at Our Dinner Table: Deborah Hutton.

[Daily Life] Carla Bruni’s Vogue Interview has Rough Landing.

[Racialicious] Nothing Says Native American Heritage Month Like White Girls in Headdresses.

[Racialicious] Victoria’s Secret Does it Again: When Racism Meets Fashion.

[Jezebel] Karlie Kloss as a Half-Naked “Indian” & Other Absurdities from the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

[xoJane] Fear & Loathing in the Comments Section… And Some Clarity.

[HuffPo] Chris Brown Halloween Costume: Singer Tweets Picture of Himself Dressed Up as Terrorist for Rihanna’s Party.

Images via Collider, Fox News Latino, io9, November Grey, ABC, Now Public, Ten.

On the Net: The Sexual Double Standards of Celebrities.

When it comes to the sexual politics of celebrities and blatant double standards between the genders in Hollywood, Clementine Ford sums it up best in a recent Daily Life piece:

“Kristen Stewart has found herself in a similar position [to Lara Bingle and her affair with Brendan Fevola] after the revelation she had an affair with the married director of Snow White and the Hunstman. The much older Rupert Sanders has a wife and children, but it’s Stewart who’s been labelled a ‘trampire’ and a home wrecker. A recent US tabloid cover story warned Jennifer Garner to be ‘very, very worried’ at the news Stewart was in talks with Ben Affleck to make a film together. For Stewart and Bingle, the message is clear—they were caught using their sexuality inappropriately, and now they have to pay the consequences. Sanders and Fevola have since gone back to their wives. Unlike Stewart, Sanders didn’t lose the lucrative contract to work on the next Snow White film. Meanwhile, Fevola has since featured on Channel Seven’s Dancing With The Stars, and shared the reconciliation with his wife in a saccharine spread for New Idea. Will their sexual indiscretions and choices follow them around, ad infinitum? It’s highly unlikely.”

A girl after my own heart.

Related: Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

In Defence of Lara Bingle.

Was Kristen Stewart’s Public Apology Really Necessary?

Elsewhere: [Daily Life] The Purity Complex.

[TheVine] All Dogs Go to Seven.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

In the wake of her death, Tracie Egan Morrissey discusses Cosmopolitan founder Helen Gurley Brown’s feminism. [Jezebel]

Jodie Foster weighs in on the Kristen Stewart cheating scandal. [The Daily Beast]

Rachel Hills gets in touch with her vagina. [Daily Life]

When “Embarrassing Nightclub Photos” means “Embarrassing Slutty Nightclub Photos of Slutty Sluts”. [Jezebel]

In which a woman who was born from coercive sex and into the cycle of abuse and poverty contemplates being aborted objectively. Harrowing yet eye opening stuff. I wish we could all talk about abortion as openly as this. [MamaMia, via Role/Reboot]

Weird story of the week: the Vatican’s newspaper appeals to Mattel to sell the Bald Barbie in stores. You know the world is coming to an end when the Vatican is more progressive than Barbie! [The Guardian]

“The white male liberal gaze.” [Overland]

Yet another successful woman who conducts herself in a feminist manner we have to add to the list of successful women who don’t want to be thought of as conducting themselves in a feminist manner: Melissa Leo. [Jezebel]

Image via The Guardian.

My Week in Pictures.

Ma new hair.

This is when I’ve just styled it after washing, so it’s not sitting exactly how I want it, but this is my new hair, courtesy of Kerrie from Renik hair in Bendigo. Paging Dr. Lexie Grey.

 

Sunny days.

My sister came over and it was like we were kids again, playing at a playground near my place.

Movies.

This week was jammed packed with movies, including Magic Mike (review to come soon) and The Dark Knight Rises. While I loved the twist ending, I didn’t care for the rest of the movie and don’t think it warranted a review from an Early Bird perspective. I did think that the representation of ethnic minorities and women were dismal, and those that the movie did portray were token roles: the black football players and prisoners, a police officer’s wife and Catwoman’s sidekick, who had about three lines. My favourite part of the movie was Anne Hathaway’s inclusion, but even then, she reeked of the male gaze. For once can a female action hero do her thang in flat shoes? And what was with the horizontal straddling of the Batcycle? Megan Fox in Transformers 2, much?

The stack.

New books.

I was in Bendigo late last week and had a chance to stop off at my favourite book store, Bendigo Book Mark. I picked up Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which I’ve been eyeing off for over a year, Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo and Truman Capote’s Music for Chameleons, for the fact that it includes a short story about Marilyn Monroe!

Related: “With a Gun Between Her Legs”: Why “Strong” (AKA “Sexy” Whilst Being “Strong”) Female Characters Are Bad for Women.

Was Kristen Stewart’s Public Apology Really Necessary?

My Week in Pictures April 5th, 2012.

In the News: Was Kristen Stewart’s Public Apology Really Necessary?

In what was revealed to be a Mini Cooper romp between Kristen Stewart and her Snow White & the Huntsman director with over fifty photos as proof of the affair (according to Famous, at least. Have you seen the photos? They look completely staged for someone as notoriously private and publicity-shunning as Stewart. Rupert Sanders even seems to be looking at the camera in several shots.), I’m puzzled as to why Stewart felt the need to issue a public apology about something so intimately private.

I’ve never been cheated on nor been a cheater, but I imagine it’s an intense situation to find yourself in. Should your dirty deeds come out, there’d be a lot of apology-making and trust-proving to be had between all parties, assuming it was a “momentary indiscretion”, as Stewart claims her dalliance with Sanders was. But those parties do not include the masses, no matter how public your persona may be. You should be groveling to your partner if you want to make amends and perhaps even seeking out the other party’s other party, but really, Kristen has no obligation to do so: Sanders was just as attached as Stewart, if not more so, with a wife and two children. He’s responsible for the trust he breaks within his own family, not his mistress. That Stewart had to apologise for the “hurt and embarrassment I’ve cause to… everyone this has affected” is accepting a blame that is not hers and, quite frankly, out of character for her.

The Kristen Stewart we know and mostly hate is one who doesn’t give a fuck and blatantly says so in interviews and whose attitude at events and towards the paparazzi demonstrates this. For her to have been in a relationship with Robert Pattinson for the past three and a half years means she obviously cares about him, but no matter how sorry she is, publicly apologising for a private transgression is not something I can see her doing willingly: chances are her Twilight bosses demanded she do so at the risk of tainting the final instalment of the movies that made her and, arguably, her relationship.

The Kristen Stewart I know (y’know, cos reading gossip magazines and snippets of some interviews she’s done makes me the authority on her personal life) and kinda like would have flipped the bird at press releases stating her “hurt” and “embarrassment” at what transpired, and I think the few fans she still has would love her more for it. Let’s face it, she didn’t really have that many to begin with for whom a public admission of guilt is going to make much difference.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Kristen Stewart’s Apology is Totally Unnecessary.

Image via Famous.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

Kristen Stewart is the girl of the month, covering both Glamour and British GQ. My, how they’ve each chosen to (mis?)represent the Breaking Dawn star. [Jezebel]

Janet Albrechtsen’s article on At Home With Julia in The Australian raises some interesting and valid points, but I still stand by my original hypothesis about the show.

It’s almost Halloween time, which means “sexy racist” costumes are out in full force. [Jezebel]

What would cleavage-bearing female superheroes look like with more appropriate crime-fighting outfits. [Jezebel]

Can celebrity panic attacks can help us? [Jezebel]

Naomi Wolf and the be-all, end-all of feminism. [Lasophielle]

This week in crazy, does Mississippi’s personhood law mean birth control will be illegal? [Jezebel]

An illustrated depiction of irony, as per Alanis Morissette’s song. [Jezebel]

Images via Jezebel.