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: Domestic Violence, Prostitution, Abortion, Women Proposing to Men, Gay Marriage, Euthanasia… Who Knew Winners & Losers Would Be So Progressive?!

winners & losers

The season finale of Winners & Losers aired little more than a week ago on Channel Seven, and the issues of domestic violence, prostitution, co-parenting, abortion, women proposing to men, gay marriage and euthanasia got me thinking about just how progressive the show is.

What started out as an entertaining little serial about four high school friends who decide to enter the lotto—and win!—after a particularly traumatic ten-year high school reunion has proved to be one of the only Aussie soaps tackling the hard issues.

While the first season was more about the romantic ups and downs of four Melbourne girls and how they dealt with their lotto win, whispers of what was to come in season two were heard in the finale, when Bec married Matt only to discover that she was pregnant with Doug’s, who’d finally gotten it together with med school bestie Sophie, baby! Phew!

With Bec being entangled in such a messy love square of course the “tender issue”, as Ann Romney would put it, of abortion would be brought up. It was disappointing that the non-existent abortion only received a one-episode story arc, but I was proud of the series for showing the nuanced ways different people deal with terminating a pregnancy, namely Sophie, who last episode found herself embroiled in an unwanted pregnancy situation of her own.

But it goes to show that as many views on abortion as there are IRL, there are in Winners & Losers. So far we’ve only seen the reactions of Bec (staunchly pro-life when it comes to herself, but supportive of the choices of other women), Doug (who expresses disbelief that his virile sperm has resulted in two unplanned but ultimately wanted pregnancies in the past year!), and Sophie (who chose her choice of abortion and underwent the procedure the same day in last fortnight’s episode. Oh, if only abortion were that easy to obtain for so many women…), but judging from the alternative lifestyle of Frances and the tumult of Jenny’s existence recently, they’ll see beyond the political mess that abortion has become and empathise with their friend first and foremost.

The irony of bringing a “bandaid” baby into the world to heal the wounds between the two doctors is not lost on Doug. Sophie reasons that she’s “taken the morning after pill before; it’s not that different” (except that the morning after pill prevents implantation while an abortion is literally terminating an already implanted pregnancy. So, not entirely accurate W&L writing team.) and Doug retorts that he’s “not some one night stand”, insinuating that pregnancies that result from casual sex can only be and are the only unwanted ones.

Season two has been jammed packed with human rights matters like there’s no tomorrow. Flirty Cat came on the scene only to die a medically-assisted suicide a few episodes later. It was revealed that not only was high school mean girl Tiffany suffering physical abuse at the hands of her rich, Brighton-dwelling partner, but she was receiving money from him in return for her sexual services. Unfortunately, only on television could this come to light in a custody hearing and the mother still be able to see her children. On a not-so-well-though-out whim Sophie decided to propose to Doug because she knew how much marriage meant to him, only to break off the engagement two weeks later. While that storyline might not have turned out for the best, at least the show gave the notion of a woman proposing to a man without stigma a go.

Winners & Losers is certainly not faultless, and it has a long way to go when it comes to racial diversity and tackling stereotypes of non-straight people (Cat kissed women in a slightly male-gazey way, while Jonathan is a walking gay man trope), but it has to be given props for at least attempting to unpack the issues that many Australians face every day, but are so seldom seen on our screens.

Image source unknown.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

VICE’s period-themed photoshoot, and the commentary to go along with it. What do you think about it? Gross or taboo-breaking? [VICE, MamaMia]

Do tabloids hate women? [Daily Life]

A black man talks about white Girls. [Jezebel]

Is depicting a woman who’s been successful in the breakfast cereal market eating… erm… cereal on a magazine cover sexist? [BRW]

A tongue-in-cheek look at… well, everything, from a feminist point of view. Everything’s sexist; just give up on feminism already. [Is This Feminist?]

Following on from 60 Minutes’ story on selective reduction of foetuses conceived via IVF, Kass Hall examines the issue. I don’t agree with IVF personally (not because I don’t think it shouldn’t be available because it messes with “God’s intentions” or some anti-science crap, but because I think there are other—or should be more readily available—ways to have a child, and that not being able to or not wanting a child shouldn’t be stigmatised) and I’m pro-choice all the way. Awkward situation all ’round, I think. [MamaMia]

The cupcake is a metaphor for vaginas and the female orgasm. [Jezebel]

So Rihanna had a relationship with Chris Brown and is rumoured to have slept with Ashton Kutcher and Drake. That means she’s a slut, right? Two great pieces deal with the one-sided hypocrisy that is slut-shaming in the R’n’B and hip hop community, not to mention patriarchal culture as a whole, in addition to this equally awesome shoutout from Russell Simmons to Brown, Drake et al., telling them to “Get Off Rihanna’s Dick!”

I just don’t get this “she’s a slut” mentality if a woman expresses her sexuality in the same or similar way to any number of men. A woman’s a slut if she sleeps with someone outside of a committed relationship (or even if she only has sex with someone inside a relationship; if she has sex with a woman; gives the perception that she wants sex and then reneges; is deemed “too sexy”; is raped… Nay, a woman’s a slut no matter what.), but a man is a player, a stud, a lothario.

Here’s something to ponder: if women weren’t “sluts”, men wouldn’t have anything to put their dicks into apart from other men or fleshlights. (Well, there are other things, but we won’t go there!) [Jezebel, Ebony, Global Grind]

If life was a video game, “Straight, White Male” would be the easiest setting. [Jezebel, via Kotaku]

What it’s like to work at an abortion fundraising hotline. [RH Reality Check]

Andrew Clifton writes beautifully about Joe Hockey’s anti-same sex marriage stance, and that progressive types should refrain from vitriol-spewing when a social conservative has an opinion we don’t agree with:

“We (accurately) believe ourselves to be on a higher moral ground for knowing exactly why legislating in favour of same-sex marriage is important, but we should not judge those who disagree with us, we should only try to help them understand as well.” [MamaMia]

Remember in health class when you were given chickens or robotic babies to look after for a few days? Well, now you can have your very own chicken-cross-Tamagotchi in the form of the “Pregnancy Text” campaign, which is aimed at teenagers in an attempt to show them a fraction of what it’s like to raise a baby. Me want one. [Jezebel]

Shonda Rimes’ latest female-based creation, Scandal, also has a black female lead. The best thing about the character is that her race is a non-issue. The same can’t be said for her non-relatability as a person, though. [New Yorker]

Jezebel’s “your boyfriend” thing has always been reserved for Ryan Gosling, but apparently the term now extends to Michael Fassbender. Umm, you do know he’s a wifebeater, right ladies?

Bryce Dallas Howard is the size of a “Village” because she hasn’t lost the weight she gained during her second pregnancy which ended in January. Never mind that her first pregnancy saw her gain 80 pounds and, along with it, postpartum depression. Real nice, TMZ. [Jezebel]

Happy Leap Day! Heterosexual Ladies, Today You Can Freely Ask Your Significant Other to Marry You And Only Endure the Shame Once Every Four Years!

Today is February 29th, a date which only occurs every four (Olympic) years. Apparently, tradition has it that women can freely propose to their partners—sorry, non-heterosexual partnerships need not apply—on this day and only be reminded of the shame of taking their own destiny into their hands and not waiting around for a man to determine it once every four years! Super!

Perhaps instead of using the extra 24 hours to uphold gender norms we could use it to do something meaningful like, I don’t know, work towards marriage equality. Or adopt a pet. Sign up to volunteer. Work on asylum seeker activism. Something other than reiterating that until you’re married, life is meaningless.