Baby, It’s a Wild World: Navigating Popular Culture as a Feminist.

Recently, a friend questioned why I listen to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast when he’s a known intimate partner abuser. He makes a fair point, as I have shunned Sean Penn and Michael Fassbender movies and R. Kelly and Chris Brown’s music (not that I really had an interest in them to begin with) because of their woman-hating ways. But by the same token, I listen to 2Pac, John Lennon and Prince despite knowing their histories of similar assaults.

I replied that you can’t watch, listen to or read anything these days where the creator and/or their characters haven’t committed a crime or moral transgression. There’s Woody Allen, Game of Thrones, Michael Jackson and, to varying degrees, Bryan Singer, Fassbender and Halle Berry of the current X-Men film.

A lot of the pop cultural morsels I’ve mentioned above I first consumed before I knew about their creators’ wicked ways. I got into professional wrestling and all its problems, rap and hip hop and their misogynist lyrics, and the Beatles and MJ as a teen whose feminist ideals were in their infant stages, but by no means as staunchly militant as they are today. It’s easy to make the conscious effort not to consume products made by artists whose questionable morals you’re already aware of, not so much when you’ve already got a passion for them. (I’ve had conversations with people in recent weeks who did not know about Singer’s rape allegations nor Fassbender’s violent streak; their inner torment about liking something made by someone reprehensible [or at least someone who’s committed reprehensible acts] was evident in their pained, conflicted responses.) When I pointed this out to my abovementioned podcast friend, he asked whether that meant I thought I was exempt from examining the issues with famous men being rewarded for their transgressions just because I happen to like the stuff they produce.

“Absolutely not,” I replied. But by the same token, if we were to avoid problematic pop culture, we’d never leave the house!

I think the most important thing is not to make excuses about the problematic pop culture we choose to consume. I can’t say if I’ll continue to listen to Austin’s podcast but if I do I’ll be sure not to be hypocritical about it. No excuses here.

Related: Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Elsewhere: [The Smoking Gun] Stone Cole Steve Austin Roughs Up Girlfriend.

[Lipstick Alley] Flashback: Sean Penn Beat Madonna for 9 Hours in 1987; Charged with Felony Domestic Assault.

[TMZ] Girlfriend Fears Inglorious Basterds Star.

[Village Voice] Read the “Stomach-Churning” Sexual Assault Allegations Against R. Kelly in Full.

[MTV] Chris Brown Police Report Provides Details of Altercation.

[Lipstick Alley] Why Isn’t Tupac Remembered as a Rapist?

[Listverse] Top 10 Unpleasant Facts About John Lennon.

[Daily Mail] Sinead O’Connor Talks About Punch Up With Prince.

[Vanity Fair] Mia’s Story.

[Jezebel] Game of Thrones, Sex & HBO: Where Did TV’s Sexual Pioneer Go Wrong?

[Wikipedia] 1993 Child Sexual Abuse Accusations Against Michael Jackson.

[Slate] What We Know So Far About the Hollywood Sex Ring Allegations.

[People] Collision Course.

[TheVine] Can a Feminist Love Professional Wrestling?

[TheVine] Wonder Why They Call U Bitch.

[Social Justice League] How to Be a Fan of Problematic Things.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Tyra Banks writes an open letter to girls in the modeling industry—and girls in general—about Vogue’s new eating disorder mandate. [Daily Beast]

Hot off the heels of his first Sydney and Melbourne shows, the beauty that is Prince’s “Kiss”. [One a Day]

Scarlett Johansson sets the “toilet paper rags” straight on her body image. [HuffPo]

I’m not a big Delta Goodrem fan, but since she’s been the victim of vitriol on The Voice, I’m starting to warm to her. I may not be a fan of Delta’s, but I do love me an underdog. [MamaMia]

Terry Richardson and “hipster sexism”. [Daily Life]

A Jezebel reporter infiltrates America’s “rape capital”, Missoula, Montana.

Are All Men Pedophiles?, asks a new documentary. [Buzzfeed]

Comedian Hasan Minhaj rips Ashton Kutcher and PopChips a new one for their brown-faced Indian impersonation. Not cool. [Best Week Ever]

My Week in Pictures.

My Name is Prince & I’m a Sexy Mother Fucker.

Yes. You. Are.

On Tuesday night I went to see Prince in his second Melbourne concert and it was phenomenal. While I think I preferred Elton John just a tad more, I was completely overwhelmed by the awesomeness that is Prince. I was a bit disappointed he didn’t perform two of my favourite songs—“Black Sweat” and “Most Beautiful Girl in the World”—in favour of a few covers, but he is brilliant on stage and even sexier in person than in his film clips.

Mother’s Day.

My mum lives two hours away and I had to work, so I didn’t see her on the weekend but that didn’t stop my housemate—sorry, I mean my puppy—from spoiling me for my first year as a mum! Surprised!

The obligatory getting-to-know-you sniff.

Deb with Minnie.

Doggy date.

I caught up with a friend for a dog park and coffee date, and our two canine friends got on like a house on fire. Just like their mummies.

The stack.

Ordinarily I find comics to be too busy with a disjoint between text and image: give me a traditional prose book any day. However, I was inspired by my Clunes gift for my housemate, Spiderman/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do, and the small screen “adaptation” of the Fables series, Once Upon a Time. (The show is inspired by Fables, but not officially based on the books.) All I have to say, I’m enjoying the comic version much more than the TV series thus far.

Related: My Week in Pictures 8th December, 2011.

My Week in Pictures 10th May, 2012.

My Week in Pictures.

The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia.

The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia opened at the Melbourne Museum last Friday, and I found it much more impressive than their past exhibitions, Titanic and Tutankhamun. Very spacious and a lot more intimate than previous years, and the lighting on some of the carved stone reliefs was magnificent, harkening back to the time of A Day in Pompeii, which I felt was much more content-focussed than some of the Museum’s other exhibitions.

For old time’s never was’ sake?

Normally whenever I see so called “women’s literature” or “chick lit”, I run a mile. In this case, I stayed long enough to take a pink and stereotypical portrait.

Back to Booktown.

Last weekend, it was that time again: Clunes Booktown time. I travelled cross-country (train from Melbourne to Bendigo, car from Bendigo to Clunes, shuttle bus from Clunes to Ballarat and another train from Ballarat to Melbourne. Phew!) to spend the day in Clunes’ freezing weather for an abundance of books. I picked up most of my haul within the first hour, and had to cart it around for the rest of the day. One of the garage/book sales out of someone’s front yard had a “book trolley” for hire; I think I’ll take them up on their offer for next year! My companion, Hannah, walked around empty handed for most of the day, until she picked up four great books on our trek back to the car.

For myself I got a book of essays by Gloria Steinem (including her famous Playboy club exposé. Eep!) and the incredibly rare first edition of Bret Easton Ellis’ The Informers and the Harvard Lampoon’s Twilight spoof, Nightlight. As gifts, I got my housemate a much-coveted (though unbeknownst to me til after the fact; I just thought the cover looked cool!) Kevin Smith-penned edition of Spider Man and Black Cat (with feminist themes: bonus!) and The Hours for my mum.

Break time.

Mia shares some water with her new friend. What a nifty little invention!

The dog park.

Mia’s fully vaccinated now, so that means I can start taking her to grassy areas.

At her post-adoption training session, I expressed concern at her aggression on the lead and interacting with other dogs. The trainer suggested taking her to a dog park during a quiet time (Tuesday before lunch, in this case) to get her used to socialising with other dogs. While her playtime was a bit more aggressive than I would have liked, Mia ended up making friends with a little poodle-shih tzu cross named Ovi. Ovi’s owner, Misty, is new to Australia from the U.S., so we’ve made plans for the dogs to catch up for a play date. I secretly think Misty was in search of some human playmates, too.

The stack.

Some quality articles in The Age on Saturday: a testimonial on why Prince still matters (he’d better, ’cause I just forked out a pretty penny for tickets to his concert next week), and an investigation into Nick D’Arcy and that assault incident. I liked this quote from the piece: “I think that as role models, we should be held to a higher standard than the average person,” spoken by Kieren Perkins. Here here.

The senior’s movie.

Rita Hayworth’s Gilda is supposed to be the embodiment of the femme fatale, so when the movie was screening (and still is, this Saturday and Sunday at 11am, and Monday at 1:30pm) at ACMI for $11 (cheaper for seniors!), I had to get on it. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, and found it sexist as all hell, Hayworth is a dream to look at!

Related: Tutankhamun & the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at Melbourne Museum.

Clunes Back to Booktown.

My Week in Pictures 26th April 2012.

Cherchez la Femme Fatale, Take 2.

Mesopotamia image via Museum Victoria.

My Week in Pictures.

Writing off the day to spend it in bed watching the rain.

Puppy likes doing this, too!

Downward-facing dog.

I’ve been missing out a bit on my exercise (jogging and free weights) in favour of making sure Mia has a daily walk and/or run. I have a hip injury which prevents me from doing much running on concrete, while Mia’s only allowed to go on concrete until her vaccinations are up to date. So it’s a catch-22. I did find her in this yoga position, though; long enough to snap her in it.

New shoes.

My three most-worn pairs of shoes—black studded ballet flats, blue ballet flats and black biker boots—are all broken (that hasn’t stopped me wearing them, though!) so I thought it was high time I got some new ones. These biker boots are from Sportsgirl, and I’d been eyeing them off since February and finally bit the bullet and parted with $150 for them on Tuesday. Luckily, as it was positively torrential in Melbourne the next day!

Assembling for The Avengers.

One of the perks cons interesting facts of living with a comic book nerd is that you are forced to go along to the very first screening of the latest big screen adaptations if you express an interest in seeing them. This means forking out full price and lining up for an hour to secure the best seats in the house for The Avengers, which we saw last night. Housemate loved it; I didn’t feel my life had been enriched in any way by seeing it. I did enjoy posing with the film’s posters, though.

The stack.

I just want your extra time and your… Prince tickets.

That’s right, topping off a year that will include Lady Gaga and Elton John is Prince. I can’t wait to don “Diamonds & Pearls” and a “Raspberry Beret” whilst working up a “Black Sweat”. All I need is a “Little Red Corvette” to get me to Rod Laver Arena on May 15th.

Rainbows keep falling on my head.

And in this weather, who could blame them? This one was taken after a downpour on Sunday afternoon which stopped just in time for me to get home from work.

Related: My Week in Pictures 8th December, 2011.

UPDATED: Lady Gaga—Taking Inspiration from The Wizard of Oz.

Lady Gaga on her influences, from Vogue, March 2011:

“Gaga herself is very open about her influences. ‘It’s not a secret that I have been inspired by tons of people,’ she says. ‘David Bowie and Prince being the most paramount in terms of live performance.’ She also seems to have made peace with the fact that she is compared to—or, less charitably, accused of ripping off—nearly every artist of the last 50 years. ‘I could go on and on about all of the people I have been compared to—from Madonna to Grace Jones to Debbie Harry to Elton John to Marilyn Manson to Yoko Ono—but at a certain point you have to realise that what they are saying is that I am cut from the cloth of performer, that I am like all of those people in spirit’… ‘She was born this way.'”

With the release of “Born This Way”, critics are wondering if Lady Gaga isn’t as original as they once thought she was. The song blatantly rips off takes inspiration from Madonna’s “Express Yourself”, and a lot of Gaga’s past works are heavily influence by Her Madgesty.

But Lady Gaga has always been about much more than just her music. It’s all about the fashion, hello?!

But even her outrageous outfits—bar the meat dress and a couple of others—aren’t that original when you come to think of it. Juxtaposed against The Wizard of Oz‘s Cowardly Lion, Good Witch of the South, Tin Man et al., Gaga proves that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Related: Lady Gaga: Taking Inspiration from The Wizard of Oz.

Pop Culture Role Models.

Chase You Down Until You Love Me, Paparazzi…

Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” & 21st Century Noise.

Katy P. VS. Lady G.

Lady Most Likely: Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

Images via Amy Grindhouse, Wired, Billboard, Just Nuggets, The Examiner, Leopard Print & Lace, Pony & Pink, Pollsb, TV Tropes, Beauty & the Feast, Wikia, Wendy’s World of Oz.

TV: Glee “Sexy” Review.

 

Never before have I been so offended by Glee. They’ve gone wrong a lot in the past season and a half: “Duets”, where everyone but the token gay Kurt got to sing with a partner; Mercedes’ eating disorder cured by Quinn giving her a granola bar; and the Justin Bieber episode in general, which I actually liked, but several of my friends voiced their concern over it. But this episode was so ignorant in addressing the theme of sex amongst the New Directions members that it made me want to hurl.

Firstly, Gwyneth Paltrow’s return as Holly Holiday was unnecessary, but obviously they’re going to milk the character for all she’s worth. She was derogatory, snarky and just plain annoying; worlds away from her first appearance on the show.

Holly insults guidance counselor Emma for still being a virgin four months after her marriage to Carl the dentist, when clearly the girl has intimacy and bodily fluids issues, amongst many others. Plus, she’s still in love with Will Shuester, which Holly takes pleasure in rubbing in her face by hooking up with him.

She heads up the celibacy club, which she makes a mockery of, even more so than Santana’s recent membership.

When Emma leads Carl, Puck, Quinn and Rachel in a rendition of “Afternoon Delight”, Holly Gleefully points out that an afternoon delight is a romp in the PM, not a dessert as Emma thinks it is.

She leads the kids in a leather-clad performance of “Do You Wanna Touch Me”, which completely undermines Mr. Shue’s previous efforts to protect the kids from singing songs by such risqué artists as Britney Spears. But, you know, this is Glee, where the storyline takes a back seat to big names and bigger songs.

But the most offensive part of the show was Holly and Will massacring one of my favourite Prince songs, “Kiss”.

The only redeeming quality of the episode was Santana’s heartfelt, yet obviously tormented, declaration of love for Brittany, who turned her down in favour of Artie.

Related: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Blame it on the Alcohol” Episode.

How to Make a Woman Fall in Love With You, Glee Style.

Glee “Silly Love Songs” Review.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Furt” Episode.

The (Belated) Underlying Message in Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Duets” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Grilled Cheesus” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Images via YouTube.