On the (Rest of the) Net.

LindsayOWN

I wrote about Oprah’s docuseries being bad for Lindsay Lohan’s career. At least before her lacklustre reputation could be boiled down to “Rumours”. Now, despite her addiction and various other mental and physical issues, we’ve see just how unprofessional she really is. [Junkee]

Jill Meagher’s widower Tom on the “Monster Myth”, rape as punishment, and as an inevitability for certain types of women by certain types of men who don’t understand “the rules”:

“The idea of the lurking monster is no doubt a useful myth, one we can use to defuse any fear of the women we love being hurt, without the need to examine ourselves or our male-dominated society. It is also an excuse to implement a set of rules on women on ‘how not to get raped’, which is a strange cocktail of naiveté and cynicism. It is naïve because it views rapists as a monolithic group of thigh-rubbing predators with a checklist rather than the bloke you just passed in the office, pub or gym, cynical because these rules allow us to classify victims. If the victim was wearing x or drinking y well then of course the monster is going to attack—didn’t she read the rules? I have often come up against people on this point who claim that they’re just being ‘realistic’. While it may come from a place of concern, if we’re being realistic we need to look at how and where rape and violence actually occur, and how troubling it is that we use a nebulous term like ‘reality’ to condone the imposition of dress codes, acceptable behaviours, and living spaces on women to avoid a mythical rape-monster. Okay, this rape-monster did exist in the form of Adrian Bayley, but no amount of adherence to these ill-conceived rules could have stopped him from raping somebody that night.” [White Ribbon Australia]

Can you be a feminist and…? [Another Angry Woman]

Equal opportunity objectification. (I also wrote about the phenomenon upon the release of Magic Mike in 2012.) [Jezebel] 

James Franco, teen girls and “Humbert Humbert culture”. [The Style Con]

The garish-yet-elegant art of drag… and wrestling! [WFAE NPR]

On TV, troubled women are better off dead than being helped. [The New Republic]

Still with TV, rape in the golden age of it. Notice how most of these shows centre around men while raped women are in the periphery. [Washington Post]

And further to this, isn’t it about time straight, white men on TV stopped being represented above all other possibilities? [SBS News]

Battling street harassment with street art. [New York Times]

The science of promiscuity. [The Wheeler Centre]

Image via Junkee.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”: “ironic objectification” or just plain degradation? Apparently, because Thicke and collaborator Pharrell Williams are “happily married”, it makes it okay for them to derive pleasure from degrading women (Thicke’s words). While there are certainly much worse images and acts of misogyny out there, “Blurred Lines” is lyrically and visually blatantly upholding rape culture: “I know you want it, but you’re a good girl…” Does the fact that it was directed by a woman who instructed the basically—and uncomfortably—naked models and the fully clothed male artists in the clip supposedly love women make it a tongue in cheek exercise in pushing boundaries or raise some more problematic issues considering it’s this country’s number one song? What’s the point in even making such a NSFW video if it can’t even be shown on MTV and YouTube (semi-SFW video above)? [Jezebel]

Dear Julia Gillard,
Thank you for being the first female Prime Minister,
Sincerely,
Mia Freedman. [MamaMia]

The rise and rise of feminist parodies. [Daily Life] 

What are the differences between women who receive abortions and those who are denied them and proceed with unwanted pregnancies? [NYTimes]

Screw the “armchair commentators”; you know what your feminism is. [The Guardian]

Julia Gillard urges us to vote for Julia Gillard in spite of the sexist attacks against her (obviously written prior to Wednesday’s ousting). Kind of like that comment about her jackets, Germaine…? [The Hoopla]

Is Miley Cyrus’ latest black culture-inspired gimmick akin to a minstrel show? [Jezebel]

This week in inappropriate fashion spreads: hoarder chic. [Jezebel]

Ranking Stephen King’s 62 books. [Vulture]

On the (Rest of the) Net: Pre-Christmas Stocking Stuffer Edition.

This time in four days most of us will have already made a beeline for what’s underneath the Christmas tree, though not everyone is so fortunate to have an abundance of gifts this silly season. For those of us who are happy, healthy and wealthy, whatever that may mean to you, take a little time out to wish those not so well off a safe and merry holiday period. Merry Christmas!

etsy abortaments

Just in time for Christmas, “abortaments”. Hmm… [Jezebel]

White American masculinity and gun violence. [Ms. Magazine]

The strong female characters in film this year. [New York Times]

Forget Halloween. Presenting: slutty Christmas costumes! [Jezebel]

The apparent “nice guys” of dating websites now have their own snarky Tumblr. [NiceGuysofOKCupid]

Image via Jezebel.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Check out my second article for TheVine, about the male body objectification trend. More to come here next week.

Still with the sexualisation of male bodies, who knew there was so much to unpack when it comes to Magic Mike? Can I get a redo on the above article? [The Atlantic Wire]  

And lastly, nudity in rom-coms. [Daily Life]

Why is a reality TV star worth a reported $3.5 million seeking funding on Indiegogo to put on a fashion show at New York Fashion Week? On the one hand, use your own fucking money. On the other, it is “the first-ever fan-supported fashion show”. Social experiment or effortless money-grab? [Jezebel]

Mitt Romney is a mansplainer! A Mittsplainer, if you will. [GQ]

Why Fifty Shades of Grey is a badly-written, misogynistic piece of shit that encourages women to stay in an emotionally abusive relationship. [Good Reads]

Cosmo’s international editions: feminist or not? [NYTimes]

Channel 9 aired an expose on girls dressing skimpily for nights out on the town. Ita Buttrose said dressing this way makes people assume you’re a “tart”, and men don’t take tarts home to mummy. Charlotte Dawson said girls need to be careful about “the consequences of dressing up like this could be”. Shitstorm ensues. [MamaMia]  

Why girls don’t need to develop their self-esteem, they need to recognise that beauty is a tool of the patriarchy to beat women into submission. [The Nation]

Image via IMDb.

On the Net: The Vagina Dialogue.

Last week I had my first post published on MamaMia, website of my idol, Mia Freedman. You can now read the article below.

The Perfect Vagina (which you can watch here) is a documentary that deals with the rising dissatisfaction women have with their vajayjays and the quest for genital perfection in the form of labiaplasty, a cosmetic surgical procedure that changes the size and shape of the labia minora. In it, UK television presenter and actress Lisa Rogers encounters Rosie, a young woman who hates her vulva and is scheduled for a labiaplasty. She wants the surgery because her sister and her male friends never cease to make fun of what they—and she—believe to be her overextended inner labia.

Call me old fashioned, but I think men should be falling over themselves to get with a naked woman who wants to get with them, not scrutinising her body. As Rogers wishes she’d said to a man she interviews who prefers a “tucked in” ladygarden, “why don’t you get your cock out, then?”

While the other men Rogers asks about their vaginal preferences claim to have none, I think she’s looking to the wrong men. In my experience, Gen X guys, whom the doco seemed to focus on, are accepting of women in all their glory, flaws and all. Gen Y guys? Not so much.

One of my friends, 25-year-old Tom* subscribed to the strangely common and hugely incorrect male perception that the larger a woman’s flaps, the sluttier she is! If ever there was an argument to stop airbrushing the life out of vulvas, so to speak, in men’s magazines this is it.

Journalist Kristen Drysdale debunks Tom’s theory in her moving exposé on labiaplasty for ABC’s Hungry Beast:

“[The size of a woman’s labia] has nothing to do with how much sex they’ve had, their state of arousal or whether they’ve borne children (although, so what if it was?). It’s simply the way they are built.”

Mia Freedman has been a vocal champion of the importance of seeing real ladybits, and she writes:

“… Since women don’t have a non-sexual place to compare bits with other women (unlike men who see other penises all the time at urinals), the only place any of us are likely to see vaginas that don’t belong to us is in men’s magazines.”

On the other hand, women’s magazines aren’t exactly portraying a realistic depiction of the vulva, either: because they’re not allowed. Classification laws in Australia require pictorial representations of female genitalia to be “healed to a single crease”, a phrase from which Drysdale derives the title for her Hungry Beast piece.

God forbid the actual labia minora and majora were featured in the sealed section of Cosmo and happened to fall into the grubby mitts of children—who have a right to see what normal bodies look like and that the body of their mother and/or father aren’t abnormal compared to those in the media—or men, for the purposes of arousal. If men are getting off on pictures of real pussies it can only be beneficial to the plight of real women, who haven’t had plastic surgery, labiaplasty or otherwise deviate from the Classification Board-sanctioned “norm”.

While we wait for the laws to catch up with us in the 21st century, things like vaginal casts (as featured in The Perfect Vagina and The Great Wall of Vagina exhibition), walking around naked and employing the hand mirror can only be beneficial in our quest to body acceptance.

Before I came to accept and love my body the way I do today, I never really saw it other than getting in and out of the shower. Now I take the opportunity to walk around naked whenever I can (and whenever the housemate is out!). Knowing what your body—and yes, your genitalia—looks like in all its glory makes it all the more familiar when it comes time to step into that bikini or get naked with someone.

Controversially, I also think waxing can aid in this. I’ve been shaving and waxing since my mid teens, and I don’t think it has done me any harm. If anything, it’s helped me to be more in tune with my labia and the way it looks.

But I grew up in the nineties, just before internet porn became mainstream and the Brazilian wax reigned supreme. My primary and high school sex education consisted of how to put a condom on a banana and defining the wet dream as opposed to body variance and acceptance.

There may be some hope yet: a recent New York Times article profiled Al Vernacchio, an American high school English and sexuality teacher, who advocates for more realistic sex education in school focusing on pleasure, sexting, consent and sexual orientation, showed the importance of education on this matter. Now there’s a novel idea.

But let’s start it in primary school and in the home if it means young people will grow up with a healthier, more realistic perception of what people—not these airbrushed Victoria’s Secret Angels in centrefolds—actually look like naked. Sort of like Where Did I Come From?; version 2.0.

*Names have been changed.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] The Perfect Vagina. Is There Such a Thing?

[MamaMia] Labiaplasty & Censorship: Is There a Link?

[MamaMia] Now Our Vaginas Are Being Photoshopped. Great.

[MamaMia] Genital Surgery. Two Words You Don’t Want to Hear in the Same Sentence.

[MamaMia] The Great Wall of Vagina.

[Top Documentary Films] The Perfect Vagina.

[Hungry Beast] Healing It to a Single Crease.

[New York Times] Teaching Good Sex.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

In response to the cavalier and glorifying New York Times profile on rapey photographer du jour, Terry Richardson, a model he allegedly sexually harassed, Jamie Peck, writes on the fashion industry turning a blind eye to her allegations because Richardson gives good images. [New York Times, Jezebel]

The multifaceted nature of identity. [Feminaust]

Jessica Simpson naked and pregnant on the cover of Elle is all well and good, but what does it say about non-white, -straight and -abled women who also happen to be pregnant?  [Womanist Musings]

A journey from vegetarianism to veganism to ecotarianism. This is something I’m struggling with myself at the moment, as I love the taste of (some) meat and don’t think I could ever be vegetarian or vegan, but I care about the way my animal products and byproducts are obtained. I went to a debate at the Wheeler Centre on Tuesday night on this topic, so I’ll have more to come on this for you next week. [Wheeler Centre]

You can be a feminist and still wear high heels and lipstick. [Gala Darling]

Germaine Greer and Julia Gillard’s arse. [MamaMia]

An open letter to Rihanna about Chris Brown. [Billboard]

In defence of the Spice Girls as feminists:

“We were wrong about the Spice Girls. We were wrong about whether they ‘killed feminism’ by not representing our favorite kind. We were wrong about their not having a message. We were wrong about their not being unique. We were scared that the Spice Girls would make feminism too mainstream and commercial. Well, good news: feminism is totally unpopular now, hurray!” [Rookie Mag]

Image via The Gloss.

On the (Rest of the) Net: Catch-Up Edition.

 

Raising awareness about breast checks, one superheroine at a time. [io9]

Ladies of the year: Taylor Swift VS. Lady Gaga. Who do you choose? [Girl with a Satchel]

Why women fear the “n” word in relationships: “needy”. [Jezebel]

“The Turned-On Woman’s Manifesto.” Amen! [Turned-On Woman’s Movement]

How to talk to women, for men. [MamaMia]

Gah! Anti-vaccination extremists. Why are people like this allowed to promote views like that? Oh right, that pesky little thing called “freedom of speech”… [MamaMia]

Are you a woman and do you love your body, damned what conventional norms say you should be feeling about it in an effort to appease other women? Then sing it, sister! [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Wow. Mia Freedman offers some throwaway fashion advice to her 5-year-old daughter; shitstorm ensues. I think it’s a bit of an overreaction, but each to their own. [MamaMia, Fat Heffalump]

Male body objectification: in comparison to female body objectification, is it even a thing worth worrying about? [Lip Magazine]

Atheism = nihilism? [New York Times]

The latest trend in protesting: the Muff March. [MamaMia]

While we’re on the topic, is pubic hair making a comeback? NSFW [Jezebel]

Stop that booze-related victim-blaming. [Jezebel, via Feministe]

Who has late-term abortions? [Jezebel]

Hmm, Lego for girls? I’m not such a fan. What was wrong with the original, male-centric version, apart from the absence of female characters? We all know kids are imaginative enough to make toys whatever they want them to be. [MamaMia]

On beauty, failure and “this is the best I can do”. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

The pros and cons of anal sex. [Jezebel]

Are princesses really that bad, Naomi Wolf asks. [New York Times]

The Good Men Project for boys. [Jezebel]

It’s been just over a year since the St. Kilda Schoolgirl released those photos, and I’ve only just gotten around to reading this article by Anna Krien from The Monthly’s April 2011 issue on sex and the treatment of women in the AFL. Let me say, it was well worth the wait.

Even if you’re not espousing misogynist bile to women (on the internet or IRL), not standing up to it is just as bad, says Mark Sorrell. [Beware of the Sorrell]

Alyx Gorman defends Miranda Kerr, asserting that there probably is more than meets the eye, but she just “won’t let us see it”:

“Even more problematic than its existence in the first place is the fact that Kerr’s construct is damaging to women and girls. By looking and speaking the way she does (when she has other options in terms of presentation), Kerr is intrinsically linking sensuality with stupidity. She is demonstrating that being ditzy and appearance-obsessed (albeit under the guise of being healthy) is what it takes to be one of the most desirable women in the world. By refusing to express a well reasoned opinion on anything of note, and then pushing the point of self esteem, she is sending a message that the source of girl-power, of pride in one’s womanhood, must always be grounded not in who you are, but how you look. Kerr has crafted an image that is the ultimate expression of the immanence de Beauvoir railed against, and she has done so (I suspect) knowingly.

“Instead of being brave enough to show what a beautiful, clever girl looks like, to delve into the nuances of what it means to be a wife, woman, mother and object of desire, Kerr plays to our worst stereotypes of femininity, giving an organic-almond-milk 21st century update to the image of the perfect  50s housewife.” [The Vine]

The Breaking Dawn Bechdel test. [Lip Magazine]

What’s the difference between a rapist and a men’s mag? Hmm, you tell me. [Jezebel]

On being a recluse. [MamaMia]

The allure of the May-December romance… for the December, not so much the May. [The Good Men Project]

Image via io9.