On the (Rest of the) Net.

orange is the new black books

The slave narrative of Orange is the New Black. [The Nation]

Still with Orange is the New Black, literature on the show. [Bitch Magazine]

SlutWalk Melbourne is next weekend, and last year’s speaker, Emily Maguire, talks about why she supports the movement. [SlutWalk Melbourne]

I reviewed Patricia Cornelius’ Savages for TheatrePress. Head on over and check it out, and then get to fortyfive downstairs quick smart!

50 not-so-obvious feminist pop cultural items. [Flavorwire]

Why do we treat the male contraceptive pill differently to the female pill? [Aeon Magazine]

Tony Abbott’s sexism is more than just a “gaffe”. [AusVotes2013]

Mark Ruffalo is pro-choice. [Stop Patriarchy]

What the Harriet Tubman “sex tape” means for black feminism. [Ms. Magazine]

Are politicians the new Ryan Gosling? [Daily Life]

And in the wake of last week’s “sex appeal”-gate, Cleo rates Canberra’s sexiest and unsexiest men. A step towards equality or should everyone just shut the eff up about it? [MamaMia]

Fuck “strong female characters”. [New Statesman]

Image via Books of Orange is the New Black.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Rachel Hills answers the age-old aspiring-freelance question: “When should I stop writing for free?” [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Last week, I emailed Hills to get her thoughts on feminist author Erica Jong’s assertion that the “younger generation” (she references her daughter, who is in her thirties) isn’t interested in sex. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Also at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, check out these reblogged images above.

Why is there such a big problem with porn? There’ll be more to come on this next week. [Jezebel, via The Scientific American]

Feminism, not enough sex, too much sex, and Muslims were the cause of the Norway terrorist, according to the Norway terrorist. [Jezebel]

Check me out: I’m Girls Are Made from Pepsi’s “Lady of the Week”!

Amy Winehouse VS. Norway: “On Caring About More Than One Thing at Once”:

“If the only world event worth commenting on is the most severe tragedy, then where does the pissing contest end? Yes, what happened in Norway was terrible, but what about what happened in Japan? What about what happened with the Asian tsunami? What about 9/11 here in the good ol’ US of A? (You said you’d never forget!) What about everything bad that has ever happened?” [Jezebel]

Girl with a Satchel’s Erica Bartle gets her faith on on MamaMia. You go, girl!

Also at MamaMia, Mia Freedman’s stirring the pot this week! She writes on Cadel Evans’ Tour de France win and if sportsmen should be considered heroes, the News of the World phone hacking scandal, and runs a guest post by Tony Abbott on why the carbon tax is a bad idea.

“What Your First Screen Crush Says About You.” [Jezebel]

Despite its misogyny, does hip hop actually promote lady love? [Jezebel, Autostraddle]

10 easy steps to radical self love. [Gala Darling]

Why rape cases don’t get prosecuted, parts one and two. [Jezebel]

“The 10 Coolest Witches in Pop Culture.” Where’s Teen Witch? And the Halliwell sisters? Disappointed. [Flavorwire]

“How Not to Propagate Bad News.” [Girl with a Satchel]

She’s out of your league. Kind of relates back to this article from a couple of weeks ago. [Jezebel]

I’ve just signed up to RSVP.com, so this article is kind of appropriate: “Questions We Wish Were Appropriate to Ask on a First Date.” [Jezebel]

Body image, burgers and the First Lady. [WSJ Speakeasy]

Four commentators, including a mum and a teen, weigh in on the Lady-Gaga-as-role-model debate. For more on this topic, check out this article. [Sydney Morning Herald, Girl with a Satchel]

Hugo Schwyzer in defence of talking to girls about beauty. [Healthy is the New Skinny]

“Does Free Birth Control Stand a Chance” in the USA? [Jezebel]

The problem with Black Swan. [Persephone Magazine]

What exactly is a “Mama Grizzly”? And no, I’m not talking about bears. [Newsweek]

“Born This Way” or choose to be gay? Does it really matter? [The Bilerico Project]

Do most men pay for sex in some way, whether it be porn or prostitutes? [Jezebel]

Images via Haley Tobey, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman.

On the (Rest of the) Net: Jumbo Edition.

I didn’t realise I did so much reading this week, but the links below have proved me wrong. But it’s not even a drop in the ocean of the reading I still have left… Alas.

“… At what point along the line did we all decide that… what you weigh is the sum total of who you are?” [MamaMia]

11 ways to avoid being sexually assaulted. Remember, ladies: the onus is on you:

“Your default consent is ‘Yes’ until you say ‘No’. Not being able to say ‘No’, or not being able to remember if you said ‘No’, count as ‘Yes’. Saying ‘No’ also means ‘Yes’.” [Jezebel]

“Do Movie Characters Exist in a World Without Movie Stars?” [Sam Downing]

“Carbon Sunday”, as it has come to be known, “was a good day for Julia Gillard. It was the first good day she has had for a long time. She was strong, decisive and she was doing something really important. She looked like her old self. She was sure of what she was doing…. [That day] she really look[ed] like the Prime Minister because she ha[d] actually done something.” [MamaMia]

In other Prime Minister-related news, if you missed the profile on Gillard in The Weekend Australian a few weeks ago, here’s Sam Dusevic’s take on “Ju-Liar” “Gill-Hard Left’s” first year:

“I think she’s done nothing in her first year to foreclose on her ability in the next year to show authority which she inherently has the capability of showing,” Greens senator Bob Brown has said.

That was, until Sunday!

In praise of sleep. [Girl with a Satchel]

The shock jock. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Rachel Rabbit White on SlutWalk:

“Quiet Riot Girl (feminist blogger)… says ‘So some feminists believe all and any unsolicited /unwanted attention of women by men is “harassment”. Men have to wait to be asked/told to pay a woman any attention at all? Basically the Slutwalks are slutshaming hetero men.’

“How are men supposed to hit on women in public, talk to them or even ogle them? Because surely, ladies, we aren’t saying when we go out in a hot outfit we don’t want to be seen, or talked to by anyone.”

Confessions of a Cosmopolitan sex fact-checker. [Slate]

On the News of the World closure:

“It appears modern man fears media more than God.” [Girl with a Satchel]

To shave your pubes for cervical cancer, or not to shave your pubes for cervical cancer? That is the question that MamaMia and Jezebel are asking.

In defence of friendships with girls. [Persephone Magazine]

Do tradies get the short end of the street when it comes to cat-calling women on the street? [Bitch Magazine]

There’s more to Katie Price aka Jordan than meets the eye. [MamaMia]

“Period etiquette.” [Jezebel]

“The Myth of the Perfect Smile.” [Jezebel]

Is Blake Lively America’s frenemy? Is she the Rose Byrne in Bridesmaids to our national Kristen Wiig? … If she wants to broaden her appeal, she should try holding a kitten next time,” instead of more nude pics. [Grantland]

What is feminism? [The Ch!cktionary]

You know how some people get really depressed in winter? My mum is one of them. Well, it has been revealed that some people get really depressed in summer. I’m one of them. [Jezebel]

The “War of Words” we face when we put ourselves out there. [The Australian]

What do Lady Gaga and late night comedienne Chelsea Handler have in common? [Jezebel]

“Rolling in the Deep” dates. How listening to Adele could get you more dates. [Jezebel]

The “undermining of feminist sensibilities” in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. [Bitch Magazine]

“The Mental Burden of a Lower-Class Background.” [Jezebel]

What fascinates us so much about “The Murderous Side of Motherhood”?:

“But in some way, doesn’t the fact that a child is a mother’s ‘own flesh and blood’ mean that a primal part of us, as humans, understands the act of killing a child? Because if a child is made of your own flesh, then it is a part of you. An extension of yourself. Under your control. Operating under your agency, existing because you created it, and therefore yours to govern, manipulate, command, discipline, punish—and destroy.” [Jezebel]

“Celebrity Culture Makes Young Women Dumb.” [Jezebel]

Do plus-sized models encourage obesity? Velvet d’Amour, a plus-sized model herself, sets the record straight. [Frockwriter]

In the same vein, why are plus-sized models fetishised? [Jezebel]

Images via Jezebel, Kiss Me on the Lips, Frockwriter.

In the News/Movies & TV: Does Pop Culture Glamourise Our Carbon Footprint?

Carbon tax. It’s got everyone in a tizzy, and has given Julia Gillard the lowest approval rating of any Prime Minister since Paul Keating. Oh Julia, you had so much potential… but that’s another blog post for another day.

What I want to write about here is the factors that have caused us to need a carbon tax, the front runner being popular culture!

I know, it seems like an odd thing to deduce, but hear me out.

On the nights when I get home from work or being out with friends and my housemate is home before me, oftentimes I’ll walk into the apartment to be greeted by every light in the place blaring, the heater and TV on, and I wonder why my housemate feels the need to make our home look like it belongs in a decor magazine or, at the very least, a television show. But if you’re looking to television and movies to guide your lifestyle, no wonder Australia (not to mention America, the beacon of all things consumerist and anti-environmental) is up shit creek without a paddle.

Look at any major mainstream TV show or movie staged in an affluent location: every single light is on, adding to the unrealistic “ambiance” of the place. Below are just a few screenshot examples:

Charmed.

The Ugly Truth.

Sex & the City.

Scream.

Also, inhabitants of houses/apartments/sheds/any building one can reside in onscreen have a penchant for leaving their blinds open. This is a pet hate of mine and one I’ll never understand. Not only does it practically invite psycho killers into your home (okay, I’ve been watching too much Scream), but in winter, it completely undoes all the good work of your trusty little heater. (I see this not only in movies and TV, but in real life, too. My friend Katrina recounted to me how she once saw her neighbour walking around topless in her bedroom without the blinds drawn!)

And hard-yakka Aussies wonder why they’re being asked to fork out for a carbon tax.

Girl with a Satchel Erica Bartle put it well when she wrote that we’re “not so hard up, are we?” when it came to light that “the average Aussie household now has multiple computers, wireless broadband internet, a Nintendo Wii or similar game console and a plasma TV”. Also, how much are the media contributing to our carbon footprint when they’re firing up the chopper to get aerial views of Cate Blanchett’s eco-mansion whilst condemining her for deigning to support the tax. (I read this on The Drum  or The Punch or one of those sites, but can’t seem to find the link, sorry.)

Can you think of any other TV shows and movies that perpetuate this lights on = glamour at the expense of practicality and our carbon footprint?

Elsewhere: [Girl with a Satchel] “Carbon Cate” for T Magazines & the Prius Effect.

Images via YouTube, IMDb, Film in America.

On the Net: Pop Culture Role Models.

From “Ita Rap & Tyra Parody Clips (and Girl Culture Stereotypes)” by Erica Bartle on Girl with a Satchel:

“In my teens, I played the R’n’B Boyz II Men/TLC lover, the shopping-mad Clueless girl, the Waves reading surfer girl, the Converse-wearing/Nirvana listening grunge girl (way before ‘emo’ became a sub-culture of its own)—experimenting with these identities helped me forge social connections; pop culture informed the dialogue with my friends (we spoke in song lyrics and TV show-isms) and clothing help me fit in.

“Sub-culture identities fulfilled a purpose at the time: giving us something to cling to in the name of social approval. And there are plenty of readily available stereotypes, processed by the pop-culture machine, waiting to capture the attention (and money) of eager participants looking for some way to feel a legitimate part of the world. Lady Gaga’s tribe of Little Monsters being a case in point.

“But do they know, do they realise, that while freeing themselves from the scary terrain of the ‘outcast’, by buying into these social structures with their lingo and uniforms and Facebook groups, that they are actually binding themselves up, beholden to group approval based on one’s ability to play to type? And how many years it takes to strip all that superficiality away—with its various image-friendly accouterments—before you can truly say that you are free from artifice?”

[Girl with a Satchel] Ita Rap & Tyra Parody Clips (and Girl Culture Stereotypes).

Images via YouTube, The Central Box, Oh the Scandal.

Book Review: True Blood & Philosophy by George A. Dunn & Rebecca Housel.

I bought this book last year around the time season three of True Blood was coming to an end, and the inspiration struck me to write a post on Sookie Stackhouse and feminism. Needless to say, that post has yet to come to fruition (watch this space next week), but I finally got around to reading the book in the past fortnight or so.

The great thing about the Pop Culture and Philosophy series is that you don’t need to be an avid fan of the topic each book deals with; most of the philosophical musings can be applied to everyday life. (I’m making a gross generalisation here, as True Blood & Philosophy is the first Pop Culture volume I’ve read!)

Anyone who’s familiar with the show and Charlaine Harris’ books will know that the way vampires are treated in the somewhat alternate universe of Bon Temps, Louisiana, is a metaphor for how gays and blacks have been treated for centuries.

True Blood and Philosophy delves into this throughout the book, but particularly in the “Eros, Sexuality & Gender” section, where the issue of “orientation” is raised: “Vampires seem to be unlike gays in that we can’t say that vampires are born that way… But there is still a parallel to being born either gay or straight, for once you become a vampire, there’s no returning to a human existence” (p. 98).

One way vampires and gays are different, though, is that “a homosexual predator” cannot “attack or coerce an unwilling person into homosexual acts”, whereas a vampire can take someone against their will (p. 99). You can’t “catch” homosexuality, but you can catch vampirism.

To take it a step further, there was a time when propaganda that the gays will give you AIDS was rife (some might argue that it still is), and were prohibited from participating in sports and other activities where blood could be spilled. This raises the question of the marginalisation of vampires in sports, as well as the use of their blood as medicine. (See “Coming Out of the Coffin & Coming Out of the Closet”, p. 93–108.)

My favourite chapter deals with the attitudes of humans towards vampires and vice versa, and how the way they treat each other amounts to the way non-fiction humans treat animals.

For example, Eddie Gauthier, the vampire whom Jason Stackhouse and Amy Burley take hostage and use as their own personal V vat, is a parallel for “the way millions of animals are treated every day on factory farms… Eddie, like the animals on factory farms, is exploited as a commodity with no regard for his suffering” (p. 36–37).

Furthermore, “… many… vampires actually regard human beings as lower forms of life ripe for exploitation, not much different from the way Aristotle and others regarded non-human species,” in “a classic example of speciesism” (p. 38–39).

Last year, I blogged about an article I read in Time, about how animals that we once thought to not be able to understand language, reasoning, fairness and pain, actually do experience these things. Vampires seem to have a similar attitude towards humans, whom they see only as a food source, and “incapable of feeling pain as we do”, according to the magister when ordering Bill to turn Jessica as punishment for killing one of their own to protect his “human pet”, Sookie (p. 44).

In a similarly intriguing chapter, William C. Curtis asks “can vampires be good citizens”?:

“Should there be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to require vamps to come clean about their past murders in return for a grant of amnesty? How should vampires be taxed, especially since they don’t need many of the services that government provides, like Social Security, health care, and education? Can they join, or be drafted into, the armed forces?… Will their vulnerability to sunlight be treated as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act? Can vampire convicts be sentenced to life in prison, or would eternal incarceration violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment?” (p. 65–66).

All these questions have been brought about by the advent of synthetic blood, allowing vampires to “come out of the coffin”, so to speak.

On this, an interesting footnote from the chapter “Un-True Blood: The Politics of Artificiality” by Bruce A. McClelland, refers to a 1927 study by Takeji Furukawa on the correlation between blood types and personality. Being a Japanese study, and the fact that synthetic TruBlood was developed by the Japanese; is there some connection? Or just a coincidence? The clot plot thickens…

A memorable event thus far on True Blood has been the introduction of Maryann the Maenad and her Dionysian debacle. “Let the Bon Temps Roll: Sacrifice, Scapegoats and Good Times” deals with the self-preservation of the Bon Temps residents in “not wanting to know what’s in the sausage”, as Lafayette Reynolds would say (p. 141–142). Or rather, not wanting to know what’s in Maryann’s “hunter’s soufflé”!

This ignorance is further symbolised by the black eyes of Maryann’s followers; they’re literally blind to her wicked ways (p. 142).

Of course this book is more suited to the True Blood fan, however it’s not a prerequisite. (I’m trying to force-feed my friend Laura this book in the hopes that she will cotton on to the sexy-smarts of the show. She’s doing the same to me with Mad Men.) Many of the thoughts discussed go much deeper than just Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries and vampirism, and it’s quite a thought-provoking—yet still light—book.

 

 

 

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Time’s “What Animals Think” Issue: August 16, 2010.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

How to “cure” a feminist.

Zoe Foster at her absolute best in her ode to “second day spaghetti”. Perhaps she should consider penning a food column in addition to relationship and beauty advice?

Overthinking It on the differences, but more so, similarities, of “California Gurls and California Girls”. One choice titbit: “The popsicle melting part means that California girls are sufficiently attractive that, under the right circumstances, they will cause men to ejaculate. Just in case Katy Perry didn’t make it obvious enough with her coy and artful wordplay, ‘popsicle’ means penis.”

More on Katy Perry and how she’s now claiming to be a gay icon. If you think back to her first song, before the success of “I Kissed a Girl” (“which panders to my least favourite cliché ever, that of the straight girls who make out at frat parties to turn on frat boys”), entitled “Ur So Gay”, it was insinuating that being gay “was the ultimate, be-all, end-all putdown to someone that treated her wrong.”

Matriarchy in Glee.

Also at Overthinking It, the likeability of male characters versus female characters is discussed. Hint: female characters aren’t likeable, even if the male characters they’re being compared to are sociopaths.

Jezebel on owning your sluthood:

“… Sluthood isn’t an action, it’s a state of mind.

“I’m telling you this because my sluthood saved me. Sluthood gave me the time and space to nurse a shattered heart. It gave me a place where I could exist in pieces, some of me craving touch, some of me still too tender to even expose to the light. Sluthood healed the part of me that felt my body and my desires were grotesque after two years in a libido-mismatched partnership. Now I felt hot, wanted, powerful. My desire and enthusiasm was an asset, not an unintended weapon.”

You go, girl!

Lifehacker offers up the “Top 10 Tips for Better Writing”.

Hugo Schwyzer on “The Problem With Being ‘Sexy But Not Sexual’”.

“The Televised Guide to Teen Girl Friendships”, featuring My So-Called Life, Full House and Popular.

Jezebel explains our (but not my) interest in the royal wedding by way of Disney:

“For me, an American pop-culture junkie, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement means one thing: She gets to be a Princess. And seriously, some part of me, formed when I was three or four, believes that this means she will be dressed by birds, wear clothes sewn by tiny mice, and have woodland creatures as friends. Oh, sure, there’s a handsome Prince, but more important are the jewels! And the singing! And the castles! And the woodland creatures.”

Apparently positive people live longer. Good news for me, then!

“Do All of Us Need ‘The One’?” at The Ch!cktionary.

A rant on the annoyance of ignorance:

“… In our infoculture, it takes work not to expose yourself to interesting ideas, facts, news and points of view… the average person online spends seventy seconds a day reading online news. Ouch.”

New York, I Love Hate You:

“New York, I won’t miss your fierce morning halitosis exhaled from your subway grates along Third Avenue.

“I won’t miss you drooling on me from your high-rise air-conditioners in the burning heights of summer.

“I won’t miss how… to me you always smelled like Camel Lights, and warming urine, and the No. 14 busa perfume I never could quite embrace.

“New York, I’ll never forget how dating you made me so poor that when I wanted to read I had to unscrew a bulb from the bedroom and carry it to the living room.”

Pop Culture Power Women.

This is an edited version of an article originally posted on Girl with a Satchel.

Magazines and media blogger Erica Bartle, of Girl with a Satchel, has recently upped her workload as feature writing and fashion and style journalism tutor at Queensland’s University of Technology. Erica’s first lecture inspired her to write this:

After experiencing some minor audiovisual issues (during which time I had a little jokey internal monologue with Tina Fey in Date Night about the “computer sticky thingy”) and giving my introductory lecture on feature writing on Monday, I opened up the opportunity for questions.

“Are you going to be referencing Sex and the City every lecture?” deadpanned one male student channelling Daria. Touché!

I actually hadn’t intended to make reference to the show (in fact, I genuinely try to curb such things, knowing how tiresome it can sound), but sometimes a pop culture reference comes to mind that fits the occasion aptly enough to illustrate a point and simply must be voiced (cue the scene in Sex and the City when Candice Burgen, playing Carrie’s Vogue editor, returns her piece on shoes dripping with red ink).

Though more “serious journalists” prefer witty literary/historical/political references and high-brow in-jokes, I love a good pop culture reference in a feature; preferably if it’s Gen-Y nostalgic. It says, “you speak my language”. Gillard and Abbott (or, rather, their speech writers) should really think about throwing some random Simpsons/Mad Men quotes into the mix (okay, it didn’t work for Joe Hockey!).

Give me Seinfeld, give me slinkies, give me scrunchies, give me The Goonies and Gilmore Girls and I’m yours. As Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy”. So does good pop culture. And puppies.

So who better to inspire the writer’s musethat voice that sits upon your shoulder like trusty Tinkerbellthan some of the feisty and fabulous gals you pointed to in response to the pop popularity poll? Make like Buffy Summers who “slew all manner of demons and even had breath to spare for puns and quips”.

Erica Bartle.

Elsewhere: [Girl with a Satchel] Women of Pop Culture & the Unashamed Use of Cutesy Clichés.