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.

TV: New Girl Hates Women.

Why is it that almost every second or third episode of New Girl takes a cheap shot at women, and particularly at what they wear.

Whilst Schmidt is healing from his penis injury, he’s asked CeCe to cover up her bangin’ body lest she turn him on. When she rocks up at Nick’s bar to meet the gang, Jess wonders why CeCe’s “dressed like a women’s studies major”. Yeah, ’cause only militant feminists wear baggy clothes and don’t shave their body hair. They might as well come out as raging lesbians and be done with it, right?

In next week’s final, (spoiler alert) Nick moves out of the loft and in with his “new-old girlfriend”, Caroline. In trying to deter a potential new housemate to move in, Jess asserts that “feminist rants” are “her thing”; more like anti-feminist rants. Following on from her comment last night, remember when Jess wore a ski jacket and mask around the apartment so that her male housemates wouldn’t think about her that way? Or when she asked if her pyjamas were too skimpy to be wearing around a house full of guys? That Jess laughs when she sees people naked and can’t even call sex organs by their names shows how out of touch with reality she is. And, by extension, how out of touch New Girl is.

Related: New Girl—Wearing Baggy Clothes Prevents Unwanted Sexual Attention.

New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

Body Acceptance on New Girl.

Dermot Mulroney is New Girl‘s Knight in Shining Armour.

New Girl: Sexual Harassment is a Myth. You Just Need to Give People a Chance to Show You How Good They Are.

Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.

Who’s That Girl? It’s the New Girl.

Image via Putlocker.

TV: New Girl—Wearing Baggy Clothes Prevents Unwanted Sexual Attention.

When Jess discovers all her male roommates have had sex dreams about her or used her likeness as a “self-completion” (read: masturbation) tool, she takes to wearing a ski jacket and balaclava around the apartment until she can feel comfortable again.

Firstly, just because someone has sexual fantasies or, especially, sex dreams about a friend, co-worker, roommate or acquaintance, doesn’t mean they want those fantasies to come true IRL.

And secondly, although this is not New Girl’s first offence, what someone wears doesn’t necessarily prevent them from being sexually harassed or assaulted. Jess’ ski jacket is one step away from having her wear a burqa on the show. Not cool.

Related: Dermot Mulroney is New Girl‘s Knight in Shining Armour.

Sexual Harassment is Just a Myth. You Just Need to Give People a Chance to Show You How Good They Are.

Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.

New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

Body Acceptance on New Girl.

Who’s That Girl? It’s the New Girl.

Magazines: The Allure of TV.

Yesterday I was accused of “going home to watch TV” every night, when usually what I do when I get home is take the dog for a walk and spend the rest of the night reading. I do watch a lot of TV (this year especially I have managed to watch pretty much all my series’ as they air, including the deluge of new shows like New Girl, Revenge and 2 Broke Girls, and still have plenty of spare time left over. Previous years have seen me struggle to keep up. Odd.), so I don’t know why I was so offended by the comment. I think it was because I was judged based on some throwaway comments I’ve said in passing about catching up on Revenge and Once Upon a Time. Fittingly, last night I read this in The Big Issue:

“Nobody really cares about TV. What they care about is how TV makes them feel: smart, carefree or enjoyably furious at something or someone who isn’t the person they sit next to a work all day.

“Watching TV us one way of ensuring you’re not left making daisy chains [a reference to an earlier metaphor about cricket]. You’re on a team. You’ve studied a show alone in your lounge room, much like those other kids who practised cricket alone in their backyards. You love that character, and anyone who doesn’t like her is dead to you. Unless they’ve read the book, in which case they’re an asset to the side and you’ll pick them first, until they stop watching or admit that they kind of prefer Boardwalk Empire.”

Image via HuffPo.

TV: Dermot Mulroney is New Girl’s Knight in Shining Armour.

One could argue that a rich guy helping out a girl whose car has broken down is the act of a good Samaritan. But when the friend of said girl whose car has broken down suggests she should be open to the fact that his display of kindness could have been a ploy to pick her up and she should want to date him because he can take care of her instead of her always having to take care of the guys she dates, you might argue that he could be seen as a knight in shining armor coming to rescue her from her broken-down-car-ridden existence.

I’m all for a bit of Dermot Mulroney, and I would totally hit that if I was in Jess’ position, but I’m having problems with his introduction into the series.

Mulroney’s character, Russell, is a wealthy philanthropist and the father of one of Jess’ students. He’s also the polar opposite of Jess’ other potential love interest, Nick, who is becoming the male version of Jess more with each episode.

Now, I also love me a man with a job and some career direction, but to suggest that a man who possesses these things will “rescue” you from your troubles is patriarchal and gross. It seems everyone in Jess’ life tries to coax her away from marching to the beat of her own manic pixie dream girl drum, but does she really need rescuing?

Related: Sexual Harassment is Just a Myth. You Just Need to Give People a Chance to Show You How Good They Are.

Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.

New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

Body Acceptance on New Girl.

Who’s That Girl? It’s the New Girl.

Image via Zimbio.

TV: New Girl—Sexual Harassment is a Myth. You Just Need to Give People a Chance to Show You How Good They Are.

This is according to New Girl, the purveyor of upholding gender stereotypes.

When Jess invites the landlord to dinner as a thanks for fixing some things around the loft, Nick is certain he’s trying to hit on her because people are generally jerks. I tend to stick with Nick on this one, but Jess isn’t so sure.

Nick is 100% right when it turns out the landlord wants to have a threesome with Jess and Nick. While there’s nothing wrong with this if all parties are consenting, Jess agrees to go along with it in the hopes that it will all work out for the best (ie. no threesome occurs) and Nick refuses to back out until Jess does.

To me, this whole scenario not only reeks of perpetrator-sympathising* (Maybe he slipped and fell. Maybe he was going through a bad breakup. Maybe he was stressed at work.**), but that the way a woman acts determines how she will be treated by the opposite sex.

Granted, in my experience and the experiences of those close to me, the female is deemed “too friendly” and that’s why she was harassed, whereas here, Jess thinks being nicer to people will lead to less bad things happening (like Nick getting a gun pulled on him in the parking lot). I believe there was also a reference in there about the way Jess looks (ie. über-feminine) influencing how she’s treated by the opposite sex. Like I haven’t heard that one before…

*To be sure, Remy the landlord is not committing sexual assault or harassment here, but I think he serves as a good metaphor.

**This refers to strictly male-on-female harassment and assault, ignoring the fact that women can be perpetrators, too.

Related: Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.

New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

Body Acceptance on the New Girl.

Who’s That Girl? It’s the New Girl.

The Harassed and the Harassed-Nots.

The Taboos of Sexual Harassment.

I Ain’t No Hollaback Girl: Street Harassment in CLEO.

Image via VidXDen.

TV: New Girl—Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.

I was pleasantly surprised to see New Girl seemingly dealing with the hullabaloo surrounding Zooey Deschanel’s manic pixie dream girl status and the feminist media uproar that occurred late last year.

Now, New Girl has touched on some pertinent issues in its past episodes, but I’m wondering if this was done intentionally. Writer Liz Meriwether is part of the feminist writing “fempire”, so who knows if this was something she incorporated into the show consciously, or if it’s just a meditation on “how girls can be”.

Nick’s new girlfriend Julia, played by Mean Girls alum Lizzy Caplan, can’t stand Jess and makes it very clear when she criticises her “blankie”, the (manic pixie dream girl) “thing” Jess has going on, and the cupcakes Jess bakes, saying she’s “not a dessert person”. Jess takes issue with this, finding it hard to believe that anyone (much less a woman!) “isn’t a dessert person” and doesn’t like her ribbon hats. I have to say I don’t find it that hard to believe…

When Jess brings up Julia’s dislike of her to Nick, he rationalises it by saying Julia’s never had many girl friends and she’s not really a “girly girl”. Jess’ girl friends, CeCe and June, whom we’ve never met up til now, get on the defensive, marveling at how she couldn’t like Jess (again, not that hard to believe…).

By episode’s end, Julia has come around (both literally and figuratively) and joins Jess et al in a yarn group, lamenting how she’s never been good with girls. CeCe says her and Jess used to hide in the bathroom throughout high school because “girls can be so mean to each other”. Um, wasn’t it CeCe who just five minutes before was saying Julia was a bitch for not liking Jess?

Just because someone doesn’t like someone else doesn’t make them a bitch. It makes the two non-compatible. Isn’t it bitchier of CeCe to say things behind Julia’s back and then welcome her into the fold when Julia changes her opinion of Jess? I’m all for loyalty, but…

So, did you watch New Girl? What did you think about Jess’ struggle to find acceptance from Julia as a metaphor for Deschanel to find acceptance in the feminist blogosphere? Or don’t you think that’s what the episode was trying to get across?

Related: Manic Pixie Dream Girl Bitch.

New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

Body Acceptance on New Girl.

Who’s That Girl? It’s The New Girl.

Image via Wet Paint.

TV: New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

On last night’s New Girl the inevitable pairing of Jess and Nick began, with Jess’s model friend CeCe crashing the loft and watching the sparks fly between them.

Jess is oblivious to Nick’s interest, and tells CeCe that not everyone wants to have sex with everyone else, like CeCe thinks they do. CeCe begs to differ, and Jess asks, in horror, if her clothes are too revealing or if she should wear thicker pyjamas. Really?!

If SlutWalk has taught us anything it’s that the amount or type of clothing a woman is wearing has nothing to do with the interest she ignites in a man, whether that man is a potential rapist or harasser, or just a regular Joe with a crush on his housemate. We’re at episode four now, so Nick has gotten to know Jess and all her (at times insanely annoying) quirks. God knows if he’s expressing interest it’s in spite of the abovementioned quirks and not because of how she looks or what she’s wearing. (Although last week’s nudie run could throw a spanner in this theory!)

Related: Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

Body Acceptance on New Girl.

Image via HelloGiggles.

TV: Body Acceptance on The New Girl.

My dad called my mum fat when they first started dating, which caused her to become embattled in a lifelong struggle with her weight. There are countless other stories where someone makes a comment about someone else’s body that does irreparable damage, consciously or not.

Last night’s episode of the New Girl showed that it’s not just women who experience body insecurity. When Jess walks in on Nick dancing naked in his room before a date, she laughs. Later, on said date, Nick can’t perform and refuses to take off his shirt. It’s like the male television equivalent of having sex with your bra on.

Women have a myriad of outlets to talk about their body image (funnily enough, many of those outlets also perpetuate this phenomenon. Women’s magazines, anyone?). Guys, not so much. So when Nick confesses to Jess how her laughing at him made him feel, I was proud of the show for addressing this. But when Jess couldn’t even say penis (then ends the episode by calling her vagina by a pet name), Nick hit the nail on the head when he told her he can’t have a serious conversation with her about such issues when she can’t call reproductive organs by their names. Pet names for body parts are for three year olds and baby talkers. And, apparently, New Girls.

Related: Who’s That Girl? It’s the New Girl.

Image via Put Locker.

TV: Who’s That Girl? It’s the New Girl.

I’m not the biggest Zooey Deschanel fan. I’ve only really seen her in Failure to Launch (she was the saving grace in that unintentional horror movie) and some of Tin Man, which I wanted to like but couldn’t bring myself to get through.

But, after reading a few different takes on Deschanel’s television leading lady debut in New Girl (especially this New York magazine cover profile), I decided to give the show a shot.

I was expecting manic pixie dream girlishness galore, which there is a lot of, but I think the three guys, a girl and a pizza place apartment format makes it a bit more palatable for the mainstream sitcom crowd.

In a bid to better understand the Deschanel obsession, I borrowed (500) Days of Summer off a friend and watched it yesterday afternoon. I have to say, I quite enjoyed it; whether that was down to Deschanel’s acting or simply the storyline and filmmaking, I can’t say.

While I feel like Dechanel’s character, the titular Summer, was portrayed as the “saviour” to Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Tom, New Girl Jess is the one that needs to be saved from her social awkwardness, bad relationship and fashion faux pas. In real life I don’t see why people would need saving from these situations, but that’s the way the plot crumbles.

So, three episodes in, I’m still not really sure what I think about New Girl, or Deschanel herself. I’ll probably stick the season out (at only 12 half-hour episodes, it’s a small commitment to make) as I have a hard time not finishing things, no matter how tedious or non-enjoyable they are.

If Jess is able to break out of the mold of quirky girly girl who shows emotion and sings publicly at inopportune times, and Deschanel is able to prove her worth as a top notch TV actress who appeals to the mainstream instead of being seen as the manic pixie dream girl du jour, the New Girl might just be one I can come to know and love.

What do you think of New Girl so far?

Related: Manic Pixie Dream Girl Bitch.

Elsewhere: [New York Magazine] The Pinup of Williamsburg.

[HuffPo] Women in Hollywood: Is “Girliness” the Real Problem?

[Jezebel] New Girl is Likeable, Though Strangely Familiar.

[Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Elizabethtown, Garden State & the Alternative Flat Fantasy Female.

Image via New Girl Things.