On the (Rest of the) Net.

Charmed kitchen spells

I wrote about the power of work/life balance in Charmed. [Bitch Flicks]

Yet another piece in defence of Sex & the City. [Daily Life]

What happens when feminism becomes trendy. [Jezebel]

The unsexy reality of centrefolds: behind the scenes of Playboy (NSFW). [Beautiful Decay]

Elite feminism. [The Nation]

On-screen abortion is portrayed as more dangerous than it actually is. [Bitch]

“Interview with a Pregnant Porn Star.” (SFW) [The Hairpin]

Image via Bitch Flicks.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

carrie bradshaw writing

Was Sex & the City all in Carrie’s head? [Salon]

Follow the parody Twitter account, Sex & the City 3, by the same author. (While you’re at it, follow me, and stay tuned for some more SATC musings.)

Playboy: thanks for the memories (SFW). [Daily Life]

Bleak, but inspiring: “Freelancing & the Mythical Work/Life Balance.” [This Ain't Livin']

Why do they hate us? Christos Tsiolkas on Australia’s asylum seeker problem. [The Monthly]

Femen from the perspective of its activists (NSWF). [Vice]

I reviewed Domestic Warfare at Gasworks Arts Park as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival for TheatrePress.

Image via I’m Charming You.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

rape robin thicke blurred lines

Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” lyrics, as said by rapists. [Sociological Images]

Mother to Daughter: Second- VS. Fourth-Wave Feminism.

While I’ve only begun calling myself a feminist in the past few years, I think I’ve always had feminist tendencies: I’ve always believed in reproductive rights, I’ve tried never to judge a woman based on her choices and it’s been instilled in me that, as a woman, I can do and be anything I want to.

A lot of this is thanks to my mum, who is a ’70s bra-burning hippie feminist through and through.

Though recently, as I increasingly immerse myself in current readings of feminism, I see just how far we’ve come, baby, and how the second-wave feminism of my mother’s era is worlds apart from today’s discourse on gender equality.

There have been many debates between second-, third- and fourth-wavers about who did, and is doing, more for the movement.

At a 2011 Melbourne Writers Festival presentation on why we still need feminism, Sophie Cunningham asserted that feminists under 25 can’t really grasp the concept because they’re still young and beautiful and have men falling at their feet. She also observed “a sort of ‘bottleneck’ in modern feminism”, where white, Western feminists aren’t able to incorporate intersectionality into the fold, which was a criticism of SlutWalk, one of latter-day feminism’s most high-profile conquests. Pardon me, but wasn’t it foremother Betty Friedan who was accused of being racist and homophobic with The Feminine Mystique?

Perhaps the most contentious issue is the constant bickering amongst young feminists as to what, exactly, feminism is. You’ve got women undertaking such obviously feminist tasks as Marissa Mayer overseeing Yahoo! and Beyonce nearing total world domination, yet they’re reluctant to call a spade a spade. And the non-feminist media would have you believe there’s infighting going on about who is allowed to be a feminist (definitely not Taylor Swift!).

But, I think, the feminist movement of today would like to believe it’s accessible to all kinds of women (and men): straight, gay, bi, male, female, trans, black, white, mixed-race, rich, poor, able-bodied and non-able-bodied, sex workers, etc. Can second-wave feminism of yesteryear say that?

This divide is illustrated by Germaine Greer’s infamous comments about Julia Gillard’s clothing choices and how they accentuated her apparently undesirable body shape last year on Q&A and feminists everywhere taking to their respective platforms to mostly disagree with her. One such vocal detractor was Mia Freedman, who said Greer “broke my heart a little bit” when she took herself “down in a hail of self-inflicted friendly fire while the world watche[d] in embarrassment.” When the two women appeared together on a recent episode of Q&A, Freedman was asked to clarify her response: did it mean she wasn’t a fan of the “ground-breaking, arse-kicking lightening rod for social change who ignited a feminist movement from which every woman in the western world has benefited” anymore? Was this an example of the abovementioned feminist in-fighting?

Freedman responded that while she has nothing but respect for the woman in whose water she grew up and who influenced her mother’s feminist awakening, “feminism needs to have a lot of different voices… It should be really, really broad and inclusive.” Essentially, feminism should accommodate both the foremothers and their daughters.

Freedman went on in that same episode of Q&A to—what some would describe as—shame sex workers, or “prostitutes” as she archaically called them, which ignited a backlash of her own. So much for that broad inclusion she waxed lyrical about…

While liberating housewives of Germaine and Freedman’s mother’s era from “the problem with no name” and ushering in the birth control pill are milestones women of today must be thankful for, they’re very much narrow-minded accomplishments: The Feminine Mystique appealed to white middle-class women and many women can’t afford the birth control pill, a predicament that still exists today. And second-wave feminism was very much responsible for the sexual liberation of a generation of people, but I’m not so sure that transfers to the hook up, raunch and porn culture/s of today (as Freedman’s comments about sex workers above would indicate).

For example, when I was living at home and Girls of the Playboy Mansion came on the TV, my mum would make me turn it off (keep in mind I was 22 by the time I moved out and this was not long before that). When I brought this up recently as an example of her generation’s reluctance to embrace sex positivity, she launched into a tirade that ended with her calling into question the women who pose for Playboy’s sexual promiscuity.

We must acknowledge that media like Playboy is an inherently patriarchal construct, but I think making the assumption that any woman who uses her sexuality as a commodity is a slave to said patriarchy is buying into the notion that feminism works against: women have no autonomy. Much like the debate over women in Islam (and don’t even get me started on the fight I had with my mum about asylum seekers that, similar to the Playboy exchange, ended with her defensively inquiring about the legality of people seeking asylum via boat), certain kinds of feminism need to broaden their scope to take into account the lives of all women, whether we agree with their choices or not.

This close-mindedness comes from a lack of access to new information and technologies and willingness to learn from and hand the reigns over to the feminists of today, I think. While many feminists of all ages count the works of Greer, Friedan and Naomi Wolf amongst their collection of feminist tomes, how many second-wavers can say the same about the musings of Jessica Valenti, Clementine Ford, Rachel Hills and the myriad feminist bloggers? That face of feminism has certainly changed to make it much more accessible. What once was narrowly accessible at rallies, underground meetings and in academic journals is now available wherever you look: Gillard speaking up against sexism in parliament, movements like SlutWalk and Destroy the Joint and all across the interwebs.

So on this Mother’s Day eve, it’s important to acknowledge the gender equality path paved for me by my feminist foremothers, including my actual mother, but also to recognise that we have, indeed, come a long way, baby. Maybe that’s something that second-wavers need to consider, too.

Related: Why Young Feminists Still Have “A Long, Long Way to Go” In the Eyes of Second-Wave Feminists.

Taylor Swift: The Perfect Victim.

Elsewhere: [The Atlantic] 4 Big Problems with The Feminine Mystique. 

[The Guardian] The Tragic Irony of Feminists Trashing Each Other.

[MamaMia] Germaine Greer: You’ve Lost Me.

[MamaMia] No, I Won’t Apologise for My Sex Worker Comments.

[Daily Life] Stoned for Having Short Hair.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

These iconic images, taken by photographer Lennart Nilsson for Life magazine in 1965, and later used for pro-life propaganda materials, have actually been taken of aborted embryos, not living fetuses in the womb:

“Although claiming to show the living fetus, Nilsson actually photographed abortus material obtained from women who terminated their pregnancies under the liberal Swedish law. Working with dead embryos allowed Nilsson to experiment with lighting, background and positions, such as placing the thumb into the fetus’ mouth.”

“Does Carrying Condoms Make You Easy?” Will.I.Am seems to think so.

Erica Bartle on maintaining the balance between “frothy and bubbly and frivolous” and her passion for writing about her faith and God on Girl with a Satchel, which she understands can sometimes be “like receiving a knock on the door from a Jehovah’s Witness  (or a pamphlet in the postbox)” for some. (Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m one of them.) Food for “critical thought”.

Should the government be pouring money into funding to fight domestic violence against women and children, when there are also men who are victims of domestic violence out there?

Girl crush porn in Mia Freedman’s new weekly post, “A Week in the Life” on MamaMia.

The importance of “good, old-fashioned” sub-editing.

How to be a Playboy Club Bunny, circa 1968.

Love, domestic violence and Gossip Girl.

On Hillary Clinton being photoshopped out of the situation room photo in Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung:

“The religious paper never publishes pictures of women, as they could be considered ‘sexually suggestive.’ Apparently the presence of a woman, any woman, being all womanly and sexy all over the United States’ counterterrorism efforts was too much for the editors of Der Tzitung to handle…

Der Tzitung edited Hillary Clinton out of the photo, thereby changing history. To my mind, this act of censorship is actually a violation of the Jewish legal principle of g’neivat da’at (deceit).”

Would you rather be blind or obese? According to an Arizona State University study, 1 in 6 women would choose the former…

Images via The Hairpin, Sociological Images.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Eight-year-old yellow wunderkind Lisa Simpson has her own book club.

Sarah Ayoub addresses Eddie Maguire’s racist comments in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Paula Joye at Girl with a Satchel on declining mag circulation.

How Hugh Hefner got his groove back at The New York Times.

I never thought there was a “link between autism and vaccinations” until my sister told me the story of how her boyfriend’s brother went from normal, happy and healthy baby to severely disabled after a vaccination. That made me think differently. This article will challenge your beliefs either way.

If “at least 40% of your diet consists of pre-packaged food”, “you don’t sleep enough for proper brain function” and “your boss knows you’re gullible”, you most likely work a 16-hour workday.

On stripping (take two):

“… the brotherly succor would partially exist in the form of shared ambivalence. I would venture to say that this how a majority of men feel about strippers… Do I enjoy strippers? Not really. Do I frequent tithouses often? No. Nor have I any close friends who do… I think men would be willing to renounce strippers if women renounced the Sex and the City franchise. I mean cut all cords. Shit’s gotten out of hand. No reruns. None of the third-wave dime store psychology. A complete effacement out of pop culture. You’re not even allowed hearken back to the simpler days when it meant something to you. Do we have a deal?”

Speaking of Sex & the City, is there a double standard between the second movie and lad flick Get Him to the Greek?

Is it possible to be a feminist and like fashion, too?

“I still get thrilled and impressed by bold, lovely, and often expensive fashion. And I still feel like I’m a person of worth, whether I’m wearing vintage Chanel or ‘vintage’ sweatpants. But I can’t seem to reconcile these two (competing?) impulses; on the one hand, a value in ‘art for art’s sake[’], beauty, style, and other intangibles; on the other, an investment in valuing substance over style, actions over appearances, and real justice over flamboyant showmanship.”

“What Your Favourite Magazine Says About You (Part II).”

Zoë Foster espouses the benefits of the “Better Man, Better Dan” theory.

 

Images via The Lisa Simpson Book Club, The Frisky.

Magazines/On the Net: Lea Michele Just Can’t Win.

From “Righteous Moms Just Can’t Let Lea Michele Be Sexy” by Margaret Hartmann on Jezebel:

“Yes, some children will probably see the cover while walking past a newsstand, but it’s doubtful that this issue alone will lead to the crushing realization that sex sells. The GQ cover was tasteless and the Cosmo cover may appear a bit desperate, but it isn’t as if Lea’s doing Playboy. Ten years ago, parents were losing it because Britney Spears delivered sexed-up performances, seemingly with no regard for the little girls who idolized her. Britney summed it up well (and ridiculously) with her song ‘Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman.’ In American pop culture, this dichotomy is nothing new, Lea Michele is just our current scapegoat.”

[Jezebel] Righteous Moms Just Can’t Let Lea Michele Be Sexy.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Disturbing Behaviour: Terry Richardson Does Glee.

Images via Reality by Rach, Twenty2.OnSugar.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

The Queensland schoolgirl/Nick Riewoldt scandal is still going strong, with articles at both MamaMia and Deadspin worth a look.

Also at MamaMia, “Are You Spending More or Less Time on Facebook Than Last Year?” I’d say it’s about the same for me.

The psychology of suicide bombers.

Inner confidence = shaving your pubes at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman.

Many people accused Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner’s former number one girlfriend, of being a gold digger, but after years of being “fucked in the assfiguratively and literally… she earned it”. Similar accusations follow Hef’s latest fiancé, Crystal Harris.

GWAS and Marta Wohrle on “The High Standards of Blogging”.

“How to Deal With a Neat Freak” at Lifehacker. How about when you’re the neat freak…?

On the Net: Valley of the Dolls.

From “The Tyranny of Self-Perfection” by Anne Summers on The Australian website:

“… voicing her concerns that, overall, women were slipping backwards from the promise of equality that she, the daughter of a feminist, had grown up with. Another guest demurred: ‘Young women now have good role models, they are forging ahead,’ Anne McElvoy, deputy editor of the London Evening Standard told her ‘Why do you think things are bad for them?’

“It is entirely possible that McElvoy had never seen a Bratz doll or watched a Lady Gaga video. Unless she has young daughters or other close relatives she might not be aware of the ubiquity of pink or the Playboy logos that are now de rigueur adornments on the pencil cases of the pre-teen set.

“This reviewer has to confess a comparable ignorance. Sure, I’ve seen little girls dressed inappropriately for travel in pink tutus at airports. I’ve checked myself from disapproving of the skimpy outfits sported by 10-year-old daughters of friends. Gee, I still thought Barbie was bad.

“It’s partly that she now has daughters and has discovered that the ‘slutty and sultry’ Bratz with its wardrobe for clubbing and shopping has displaced innocent blonde Barbie as the top-selling doll for girls. It’s partly the growing use of the language of liberationmost often the word ‘empowering’to describe the new sexual thraldom. And it’s also the realisation that ‘the rhetoric of choice may have burgeoned in this generation, but in many ways the range of female characters and role models available for young girls has narrowed’.

“Girls want to be WAGS, ‘glamour models’ (pose naked without displaying genitals) or even prostitutes because they have been led to believe that these vocations will deliver them the celebrity lifestyle so relentlessly documented in magazines and on television…”

… and in the aisles of toy stores, too, if the Bratz pack has anything to do with it.

[The Australian] The Tyranny of Self-Perfection.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

A new discovery of mine, Millennials Mag, publishes quirky, up-to-the-minute features on everything from Mad Men to youth crises to Lindsay Lohan. In fact, here’s one on Lindsay, as well as the hilarious “Bylines & Boyfriends” and “The Myth of the Plugged In Millennial”:

“Do you find that you have friends your age who still don’t understand blogs/blogging? And that it’s actual work/writing?… In a way it’s like, really dispiriting, because I have friends who still can’t understand why I’m a journalism major if I don’t want to work for The New York Times… Like I have a friend who wants to be a fashion blogger, but told me she would never get a Twitter account… Well they will clearly never be a blogger…”

Gah! I guess I’ll never be a blogger then, either. Oh wait, I am! Twitter Schmitter (Shitter?).

Rachel Hills discusses the (pop) cultural virtues of Sweet Valley High, and how Gossip Girl relates to real-life. I particularly like the latter, as it deals with the breakdown of friendships, which is something I’m dealing with at the moment. Hills says:

“… When I think about my own anger, about grudges I’ve been unable to let go of, often it has little to do with the original offence. Instead, it’s about a residual feeling I can’t get rid of, a new framework I’ve built up in my head…”

Halloween is just around the corner (more on that to come later today/next week), and Gala Darling ventured to the 20th Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade. Check out the dressed-up dogs that were out in full force. And while you’re there, see her case for adopting rescue animals.

Britney Spears, now Miley Cyrus: Eat the Damn Cake writes about how growing up = “Girls, Take Off Most of Your Clothes”.

Betty Talk’s musings on “Western Feminism & Global Gender Justice” harkens back to the Feminism Has Failed debate I attended about a month ago, in that “Western feminists are characterised by being somewhat ethnocentric,” and trying to prevent genital mutilation in some lesser-developed parts of the world, for example, is a little bit ignorant when such societies have “practised these customs for centuries”.

Becky Sharper, on The Pursuit of Harpyness, discusses The Guardian journalist Sarah Churchwell’s rant on Bridget Jones and how the myth of the single girl stereotype affects actual single girls.

Published two years ago, Racialicious’s Latoya Peterson ponders “The Not Rape Epidemic” in the form of her own sexual assault when she was fourteen. Powerful stuff.

MamaMia defends Helen Mirren’s right to bare breasts. When you look that good at 64, all I have to say is: you go, girl!

Mad Men’s Betty Francis (nee Draper) exemplifies the cycle of abuse on Tiger Beatdown.

Is curvy Christina Hendricks getting the Kate Winslet treatment?

The male motivational power of the pinup.

In a similar vein, the consensus circulating around the blogosphere is that Hugh Hefner is to blame for all that is wrong in the world today, which is an issue I beg to differ on, however it’s not all Playmates and flamingos at the Playboy Mansion, either, according to The Washington Times.

Following on from Rachel Hills’ post on intersectionality, Hoyden About Town profiles the “squishy bits” of “Intersectionality and Privilege”.

It has never been a better time to be an out-and-proud gay man, in my opinion. This is evidenced by all my straight and single friends who are also desperate and dateless (myself included!), while my gay friends flourish in the dating world, with the added bonus of the iPhone app Grindr. If only the straight folk had an online dating service to present potential suitors to usoh wait, we do. It’s called online dating, which still has a stigma attached to it (if the disappearance and suspected murder of Zara Baker, whose stepmotherwhom her father met onlineis a suspect, is anything to go by), the likes of which Grindr has never seen.