On the (Rest of the) Net.

Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair

Trans women like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox have the visibility, power and acceptance to “lift up” trans people who don’t have such privileges. [Laverne Cox]

Fixating on Caitlyn’s perceived “hotness” hurts the trans community:

“… Be conventionally attractive and feminine, and you get reduced to your appearance like any cis woman; don’t, and people won’t accept your identity as legitimate.” [Vocativ]

I asked if Kris Jenner is a bad mother. [Bitch Flicks]

The age gap between some of Hollywood’s most in demand young actresses—Scarlett Johansson, Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence—and their much older on-screen love interests. [Vulture]

How Mansplaining, the Statue went viral. [Weird Sister]

To ladyblog or not to ladyblog? [Slate]

The dawning of the age of a new (female) action hero. [Vulture]

The language we use to speak about rape may be part of the problem.

Sport is the “great equaliser”. Except when it comes to race:

“Indigenous players are ‘Australians when they’re winning and Aborigines at other times.'” [Overland]

Australia “reserve[s] a special disdain for ‘uppity blacks'” like Adam Goodes who don’t know their place. [New Matilda]

To all those busybodies who enquire when you’re going to have children: “I am writing my final no-thank-you note.” [Longreads]

ICYMI: “Writing About Taylor Swift Ruined My Friendship!”

In defence of the apparently unintelligent lyrics of pop and rap music.

On the Rest of the) Net.

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Taylor Swift could change the way we think about dating and casual sex:

“Sex without commitment is what you do before commitment, no matter what your gender. If more girls like Taylor made it okay we wouldn’t be so fucking precious about when and how girls are allowed to fuck.” [Lainey Gossip]

Bad Feminist Roxane Gay on being a bad victim. [The Butter]

Gay also writes that “2014 was the year we stopped worshipping at the altar of monsters. It was the year when we saw predators for who they really are, even if justice eludes them.” [The Guardian]

The white rappers who appropriate hip hop. [Complex]

Crafting a costume while fat. [This Ain’t Livin’]

Speaking of costumes, I went as Beyoncé standing in front of the feminist sign at the MTV VMAs to a work Christmas party last week. Check out some of the photos here.

The sexual black man in music videos. [Pitchfork]

Why aren’t we talking about the sexual assault scene in Beyond the Lights? [Shadow & Act]

Rosie Batty is Daily Life‘s well-deserved Woman of the Year.

Women ain’t got time or means to shave when the apocalypse is nigh but Hollywood would have you believe differently. [Sociological Images]

I asked what Lena Dunham and the Slenderman attempted murder have in common: they both challenge the way we think women and girls should behave. [Bitch Flicks]

ICYM them, I’ve been publishing some year-end posts throughout the week, on the prevalence of stalking, “The Year of the Witch”, Scarlett Johansson’s banner year, and not a year-end post per se but a short piece about probably the worst time I was street harassed.

Have a happy holiday season and I’ll be back this time next week with the links I loved from over the Christmas break. I’m going back to my home town to relax and have my mum round around after me, so I should have ample reading time. I hope you do, too!

Image via Buzzfeed.

The Year of Scarlett Johansson.

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2014 has been a big year for Scarlett Johansson.

It didn’t begin all that positively, though, with the actress drawing heat for her association with soda water company, Sodastream, whose headquarters are based in Israel, specifically the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank. Boycotts of the product damaged both Johansson and Sodastream’s reputations, leading the actress to resign from her position as an ambassador for Oxfam in order to appear in the company’s Superbowl commercial. Get your priorities in check, girl.

Another stance Johansson took that arguably damaged her reputation in the eyes of many was her defence of Woody Allen who, earlier this year, had child molestation charges against him resurface. Johansson said about Allen’s daughter’s allegations, in which she called out Johansson and other actors associated with her alleged abuser, “I think it’s irresponsible to take a bunch of actors that will have a Google alert on and to suddenly throw their name into a situation that none of us could possibly knowingly comment on. That just feels irresponsible to me.”

Irresponsible isn’t the word I’d use, but I digress.

Johansson attempted to smooth over her feminist faux pas by designing a line of t-shirts for Planned Parenthood in August.

And finally, before we get to the work she’s actually known for—acting—Johansson demonstrated her assertiveness in an interview in Glamour’s May issue in which she laments the nickname ScarJo:

“I associate that name with, like, pop stars… It sounds tacky. It’s lazy and flippant…There’s something insulting about it.”

Perhaps Johansson’s biggest film this year was Captain America: The Winter Soldier in which she reprises her Marvel universe role of Natasha Romanoff or The Black Widow. But her most creatively satisfying projects, at least from the audience’s viewpoint, weren’t as big budget as The Winter Soldier.

While both Her and Under the Skin were released in the U.S. last year, they made their Australian big screen debuts in 2014, and both films were a departure of sorts from Johansson’s usual fare. The sexy husky voice Johansson has become known for was the star of Spike Jonze’s Her, in which Joaquin Phoenix’s character, Theodore, falls in love with his artificial operating system, voiced by Johansson. The film was a different kind of romantic comedy that spliced futuristic sci-fi into the mix.

Speaking of sci-fi, Under the Skin is certainly an otherworldly experience that leaves the viewer unsettled. For those who haven’t seen it, Johansson plays an alien who seduces men off the street, the reasons for which are unclear. You may remember controversy surrounding the reality-based filming that left audiences unsure of who was an actor and whom Johansson actually accosted on the streets of Scotland. It is also one of the films in which Johansson bares her naked body, but sexy, it is anything but.

The film for which Johansson garnered the most buzz, though, was probably Lucy, another sci-fi action flick about what happens when we use parts of our brains that are usually dormant that kicked butt at the box office. Like Frozen, Maleficent and The Hunger Games, Johansson is helping to prove that action films and blockbusters starring women can make bank.

While Johansson was a prominent fixture at the cinema this year, she also had a banner year personally. Johansson and her partner, Romain Dauriac, welcomed baby girl Rose Dorothy in September.

Beyonce will probably make many of the year-end lists but we can’t forget the prevalence of Johansson in pop culture this year. I certainly haven’t.

Related: The Year of Beyonce.

Elsewhere: [Salon] Scarlett Johansson’s Awful Defence of Woody Allen & SodaStream.

[E! Online] Scarlett Johansson Designs T-Shirt for Planned Parenthood’s New Women’s Rights Campaign.

[SMH] Scarlett Johansson’s Fuse Shorts Out Over Nickname.

[News.com.au] Scarlett Johansson, Romain Dauriac Welcome Baby Rose.

Image via Poejazzi.

We All Have Naked Bodies. Jennifer Lawrence is No Different.

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Do you ever wonder whether you’ve been a positive influence on someone who’s no longer in your life? Well, if I influenced the particular ex-friend I have in mind—the one responsible for the above Facebook status and the shitshow that followed—in any way it has surely dissipated as she took great joy in victim-blaming and slut-shaming the myriad female celebrities who fell victim to the mass nude photo hack earlier this week.

While the leaking of 101 female celebrities’ private photos from their iCloud accounts—many of them long deleted—is a “flagrant violation of privacy” as perhaps the most-high profile victim Jennifer Lawrence’s PR team put it, it is also a crime. Many a think piece has been written in the days following about how looking at Lawrence, Kate Upton, Alison Brie, Adriana Grande et al’s personal photographs makes us complicit in said crime, much like viewing child pornography is a continued violation of the abused minors. I do not deny this but, apart from Buzzfeed writer Anne Helen Peterson’s take on the “scandal” as compared to the nonconsensual publication of Marilyn Monroe’s “Golden Dreams” nudes in the ’50s, I have seen nary a word written about how the naked body is not, in fact, scandalous.

If many of the comments on the above Facebook thread are to be believed, people—nay, women, because let’s be honest, the only men targeted in this mass hack are those who happen to sneak into a shot with their female partners, as Roxane Gay points out—who take photos of themselves in various stages of undress are idiots, especially if they’re famous, because it’s only a matter of time before they’re leaked for the world to see. Never mind the fact that we all have bodies underneath our clothes and that some people like to take photos of said bodies. To return to Peterson:

“The only way to prevent a market for these type of photos is to stop treating them, and the ‘secrets’ they reveal, as revelatory or scandalous. They don’t tell you anything new about Lawrence. They don’t make you think differently about her. You know why? Because sexuality isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a dirty secret. In her public appearances and interviews, Lawrence has never attempted to make it so. And just because it’s private doesn’t mean it’s dirty…”

This isn’t the first time photos of nude, female celebrities have been leaked, though. In the past few years similar photos of Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively, Miley Cyrus and Mila Kunis have made their way into the public domain, but it’s hard to remember there being an outrage on such a level. I tend toward the fact that these hackers specifically targeted seemingly as many female celebrities as they possibly could in an egregious example of misogyny. But it could also be because Lawrence is “Our Jen”; “Cool Girl Jen”, and her almost mythical status in fangirl (and –guy) world makes us super protective of her. Those other women—Cyrus, Johansson, and even those that specifically market their sexuality as part of their brand (that’s not to say Cyrus and, indeed Johansson, don’t)—kind of deserved it, didn’t they?

From Kate Leaver in her article “Jennifer Lawrence is Not an Idiot” on MamaMia:

“This is not like that time Kim Kardashian (or, more accurately, her mother/manager Kris Jenner) ‘leaked’ a sex tape in a brazen grab at fame. This is not a staged accident, like when Nicki Minaj’s top serendipitously fell open on stage at the VMAs. This is not a seedy publicity stunt from a desperate celebrity.”

And so what if it was? Lawrence et al presumably had a certain amount of agency in creating these photos in the first place. Their agency and privacy was taken away by some hackers with too much time and misogyny on their hands. Let’s not feed into that by further denying it to women who do traffic in the commodification of their bodies for a profit, whether explicitly or implicitly. Only then can we start to accept the naked body as something that everyone has and not something that can be “leaked” and used to shame women into submission.

Elsewhere: [Buzzfeed] Those Jennifer Lawrence Pictures Aren’t Scandalous.

[The Guardian] The Great Naked Celebrity Photo Leak of 2014 is Just the Beginning.

[Buzzfeed] Jennifer Lawrence & the History of Cool Girls.

[MamaMia] Jennifer Lawrence is Not an Idiot.

Images via Facebook.

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]

Magazines: Scarlett Johansson on THOSE Photos.

 

I haven’t had a chance to pick up the new Vanity Fair yet, but after reading Scarlett Johansson’s comments on the nude photos of her that have surfaced in recent months, I can’t wait to see what else she’s got to say on sexting and slut-shaming (sext-shaming?):

“‘I know my best angles,’ she says with her trademark insouciance. ‘They were sent to my husband,’ now ex Ryan Reynolds. ‘There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not like I was shooting a porno.’ She adds saucily, ‘Although there’s nothing wrong with that either.’”

Jezebel goes on to say:

“We appreciate Scarlett reminding the world that the only person who did something wrong in this situation is the guy who violated her privacy, not the adult woman who sent sexy photos to her partner.”

Amen to that!

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Scarlett Johansson Would Like That Nude Pic Slut-Shaming to End.

Image via Daily Stab.