On the (Rest of the) Net.

ICYMI: Little girls swearing is not the worst thing in the world.

Sex & the City makes me feel bad about my life. (Reminds me of a similar piece I wrote about Gossip Girl.) [It's Okay for Intellectual Feminists to Like Fashion]

Sex and consent on Scandal‘s underaged-Eiffel-Tower sex tape episode. [Feministing]

Still with Shonda Rhimes’ creations, is How to Get Away With Murder the most progressive show on TV? [Vanity Fair]

On relatability (“To appreciate [art] only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience.”) VS. likeability (“If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble.”) [The New Yorker, Buzzfeed]

Tyra Banks is a feminist. [Mic]

Lena Dunham has tweeted and Instagrammed in support of Tom Meagher’s blog post earlier this year about the rape and murder of his wife Jill Meagher two years ago. [Buzzfeed, White Ribbon]

Wendy Squires wrote on the weekend that Eddie McGuire is leading the charge of male feminists because he built a change room for women runners to have a safe space after exercising at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. That’s great, but here are four reasons why McGuire isn’t the feminist Squires thinks he is. They highlight why language is just as important as action. [The Age, Daily Life]

Speaking of language, stop calling sex workers “pr*stitutes” and “wh*res”. [Junkee]

White privilege is alive and well in 2014 if the recent nostalgia for Friends is any indication. [The Globe & Mail]

Anne Helen Petersen on Renee Zellweger’s changing face:

“… Zellweger’s picture personality has been about the striving performance of femininity—and a striving performance that’s rooted, always, in the appearance of twenty- and thirtysomething youth. To see her at the age of 44, amid a long period without acting work, with plastic surgery seems yet the latest attempt, and failure, to conform to the ideals of femininity, the sad second act in the latest Bridget Jones. Only this time, as the book tells us, Mr. Darcy is dead, which means there’s no man to validate her and thus save her from self-punishment.” [Buzzfeed]

On the (Rest of the) Net.

The “coward’s punch” is far more rampant than violence against women, or so the current furore surrounding male street violence would have you believe. [Daily Life] 

Move over Beyonce, 2013 was Miley’s year. [Village Voice]

If porn stars could speak in schools, this is what they’d say. [New Statesman]

Yet another attempt to unpack the consumption of art created by abusers. [Bitch Flicks]

How Aussie Girls relate to their Lena Dunham-created counterparts. One of the best think pieces I’ve read about the show. [Kill Your Darlings]

Why we shouldn’t joke about incest in the wake of Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic remake. [Here There Be Dragons]

Speaking of Flowers, is it anti-reading? [The New Yorker]

What if we spent as much mental energy worrying about homeless women as we did celebrities? [Jezebel]

Magazines: Vogue’s Photoshop of Horrors.

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There Lena Dunham goes, creating controversy no matter what she does. Actually, it wasn’t so much Dunham’s American Vogue cover that’s polarised feminists the internet over but Jezebel’s bounty for unPhotoshopped images from Dunham’s shoot.

I kind of get where they’re coming from in that Vogue has a sordid history of Photoshopping its subjects to within an inch of their lives, but it’s puzzling as to why Jezebel’s targeting Dunham’s outing in the mag.

Within a couple of hours of putting a $10,000 bounty on the original images from Dunham’s Annie Leibovitz-shot pictorial, Jezebel had acquired them. A quick glance reveals there was not a whole lot of image-altering to be had, and Dunham looks great in both the before and afters, as Jezebel asserted.

Dunham came to Vogue’s defence in a statement to Slate, saying that Vogue is a fantasy and anyone who wants to see what Dunham actually looks like can tune into Girls. Jezebel’s campaign does come across as body-shaming of Dunham, who has surely experienced enough of that since she first got naked when Girls debuted in 2012. Why not offer as much money for the unretouched originals of someone who has clearly been made to look worlds away from their actual selves? (Jezebel has taken Vogue, Vanity Fair and Victoria’s Secret catalogues to task in the past for their extreme airbrushing in a series called “Photoshop of Horrors”.)

As someone in the comment thread of one of the many posts Jezebel has published in defence of their stance insinuated, it’s time to step away from the computer and let sleeping dogs lie. Funnily enough, it was a cat meme that was used to illustrate this point…

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] We’re Offering $10,000 for Unretouched Images of Lena Dunham in Vogue.

[Jezebel] Here Are the Unretouched Images from Lena Dunham’s Vogue Shoot.

[Jezebel] Lena Dunham Responds to Unretouched Images from Her Vogue Shoot.

[Jezebel] The Unretouched Images Victoria’s Secret Doesn’t Want You to See. 

[Jezebel] Did Vogue Remove Claire Danes’ Leg? (Yes. It Made Her Look Fat.)

[Jezebel] Did Vanity Fair Lighten Lupita Nyong’o’s Skin?

[Slate] Lena Dunham’s Response to Vogue Photoshop Criticism: Fashion Magazines Are About Fantasy, Not Reality.

Image via Us Weekly.

TV: Girls—A Season Two Retrospective.

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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.

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Are Princess Diana and Rihanna one in the same? Camille Paglia misguidedly seems to think so. [The Sunday Times]

Clementine Ford interviews Anne Summers as part of Daily Life‘s first birthday celebrations. Brilliant!

The face of porn (SFW). [Jon Millward]

Speaking of porn, is James Deen harmful to his young female fans? [Daily Life]

Lena Dunham isn’t “brave”. [Vulture]

How many models of colour walked in New York Fashion Week? Not many. [Jezebel]

Why have so many “contestants” on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew died? [Jezebel]

Downton Abbey VS. Girls. [Daily Beast]

Why do we flinch when a woman says she’s beautiful? [Daily Life]

“Is There Such a Thing as ‘Asian Privilege’?” [Daily Life]

Stop the presses: Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus debunked. [The Age]

Reporting Reeva  Steenkamp’s murder at the hands of her Paralympian partner, Oscar Pistorius. [News with Nipples]

“In Defence of Diablo Cody.” [Female Gaze Review]

Kurt Cobain: feminist? [Daily Life]

In the vein of Nice Guys of OKCupid comes the racist guys of OKCupid: Creepy White Guys.

Image via Jezebel.

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.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

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To pay tribute to the emergency and service personnel who helped in Hurricane Sandy, Vogue does a fashion spread inspired by the superstorm. Naturally. [Daily Life]

Apparently young Australians just aren’t into protesting the injustices we face today. Um, hello? Reclaim the Night, the Occupy movement, SlutWalk, the Arab Spring… all activist events started by Gen Y on social media which encouraged Time magazine to name the Protestor as its 2011 Person of the Year. Writer Alecia Simmonds does make a fair point that Aussies are particularly apathetic towards causes, but her assertion that online petitioning, blogging and social media doesn’t compare to on-the-ground activism kind of undercuts fellow Daily Life columnist Kasey Edwards’ argument last week that “Big social changes don’t just happen… Social and cultural change evolves out of a meandering path of small victories. Seeds need to be planted and ground needs to be fertilised.”

The latest trend in labiaplasty: the Barbie, in which the entire labia minora is cut out. [Jezebel]

And, in an attempt to counteract the alarming trend of wanting your vulva to look like a plastic doll’s, check out this (NSFW) Tumblr, Show Your Vagina.

What is it about our twenties that make us who we are? [Slate]

Miss America and race. [NYTimes]

Is freedom of speech overrated? Personally, I think so, as it allows those with abhorrently narrow-minded views to spill hate speech. This article makes the observation that free speech only seems to be defended when people like Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt put their foot in their mouth. [Daily Life]

Lena Dunham thinks that perhaps Rihanna should have been the one to sing “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” to Chris Brown. [TheVine]

American Horror Story: feminist or anti-feminist? [Jezebel]

Jane Roe—of Roe v. Wade fame, which had its 40th anniversary this week—ain’t what she used to be: now she’s an anti-choicer. [Vanity Fair]

Glee‘s Puck is a rapist, allegedly. [TheVine]

Nine of the ugliest feminists. [Return of Kings]

Breast feeding-shaming. [Daily Life]

A photojournalist documents an abusive relationship. Should she have stood by and photographed an incident of domestic violence or does her work portray an important aspect of lower socio-economic partnerships “unflinchingly”? [Fotovisura, Kiwiana (Inked)]

Image via Daily Life.