On the (Rest of the) Net.

taylor swift instagram

Taylor Swift and “Power Friending”. [Daily Life]

The rise of IDGAF feminism. [New Republic]

Further to yesterday’s post, “Is Robin Thicke the Male Equivalent of the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend?”:

“Pathetically wounded, his ‘clean’ (married, romantic) image tarnished by ‘dirty” rumors of infidelity, more than a little deluded and dangerous in his insistence that ‘no’ always means ‘maybe,’ that the lines between him and the women he wants are always ‘blurred’ no matter how clear and firm they seem to anyone else, he’s perfectly suited for the Celebrity Meltdown slot we usually reserve for women. We hate Thicke the way we hate girls: Based on vibe, on rumor, on what he feels and whether we want him to feel it. Thicke may go down in history as the first man ever to be stereotyped as a crazy ex-girlfriend.” [Global Comment]

Image via Instagram.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Melissa Fabello makes some good points in her video about not wasting time on in-fighting about who’s a good feminist and who’s not, but you know me; I really think more people should proud to call themselves feminists and that not all supposedly feminist acts are created equal.

Speaking of, it’s no secret I’m Taylor Swift’s number one hater but over at One Week One Band the dissection of all things Swift is truly eye-opening if a bit fawning. I still think she’s a dolt with some seriously detrimental views about gender and sex, but it’s nice to look at her music from a different point of view for a change.

Anthony Weiner’s mistress, Sydney Leathers (what a name!) gives her top sexting advice. And it’s mind-numbingly mundane. [xoJane]

A call to arms for Twitter to do something about their complacency for rape threats and gender-based hatred from a woman who’s been there; the woman who was faced with a torrent of vitriolic abuse from Tyler, the Creator and his fans. [Daily Life]

Rachel Hills on Hugo Scwhyzer’s retirement from the online femisphere. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Bisexuality on The O.C. [Bitch]

Why are all TV serial killers’ victims women? [The Guardian]

Well, the 12th Doctor Who wasn’t a woman or a person of colour, as has recently been speculated, but is Peter Capaldi’s age progressive in itself? [TheVine]

Then again, maybe not. [Jezebel]

The sexual politics of Grindr. [The Guardian]

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.

Kelly Rowland’s latest single is about cunnilingus. Get it, girl!

The threat of James Deen. [Daily Life]

Now they’re gendering cordial! [Feminaust]

In defence of Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna in the aftermath of season two of Girls:

“Lena Dunham has perfected her ability to push her audience past their comfort zones by forcing them to relate to or identify with someone who they’d rather not relate to or identify with. When people react negatively to her work, I think that’s often what it is that they’re reacting against. Her artistic—yeah, I’m going to say it—genius is pushing the viewer from thinking Who would do that? to I’ve thought about that to I’ve done that.”

And I think that sums up the difference between season one of Girls, which was so unabashedly relatable, if not totally likeable, and season two, which stagnated more in the former realm of Dunham’s alleged “artistic genius”. [Jezebel]

Calling all Aussie (and NZ) Gala Darling fans: she’s bringing her Blogcademy brainchild down under. Wouldn’t you know it, the Melbourne workshop takes place when I just so happen to be in Gala’s hood: New York City!

Clementine Ford unpacks the verdicts handed down in the Steubenville, Ohio rape case and why sexual assault is not a “mistake” made by “promising young men” who deserve a “second chance”. [Daily Life] 

New girl crush: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. That woman really knows what she’s talking about when it comes to feminism and women in the workplace. [Jezebel]

Girls, How I Met Your Mother and consent. [Think Progress] 

Porn consumption = more accepting of marriage equality? [MamaMia]

On Taylor Swift, Anne Hathaway and fake humility. [TheVine] 

Magazine Cover of the Week: Why You Gotta Be So Mean to Taylor Swift?

taylor swift vanity fair cover

I find it so rich that Taylor Swift to cries sexism in the latest issue of Vanity Fair, which she also covers, over her portrayal in the media, not to mention going after famed feminists Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Swift is the orchestrator of her own image as a virginal victim, so if anyone’s to blame for her coming across as “some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend in need of making you marry her and have kids with her”, it’s you, TayTay. You do nothing to further the plight of women as anything but “clingy, insane and desperate”, so don’t try to use sexism to your advantage now when you’ve clearly stated you’re not a feminist.

And as for Fey and Poehler’s comments about her staying away from Michael J. Fox’s son at the Golden Globes, Swift says “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”, borrowing from Katie Couric who was borrowing from Madeleine Albright. Again, you don’t help other women by portraying them as anything other than victims or sluts who steal boyfriends and not identifying as a feminist. While I have my own problems with Fey’s alleged feminism, you’re barking up the wrong tree here, Taylor.

Related: Taylor Swift—The Perfect Victim.

Why is Feminism Still a Dirty Word?

Image via Celebitchy.

12 Trends of 2012.

Girls (Who Run the World).

girls

So misogyny may be running wild in the real world, but on TV, girls are calling the shots. We’ve had a bevvy of shows with “girl/s” both in the title and the storylines this year, with 2 Broke Girls and New Girl carrying their success over from 2011. While a lot of the subject matter is problematic, both shows have women carrying the comedy. Which brings us to just plain Girls, which is the brainchild of actor, writer and director Lena Dunham. Girls is not without its problems, either, but its portrayal of young urban women is almost faultless. Rounding out the representation of leading ladies in 2012 we have Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, Homeland, Revenge, The Mindy Project, Are You There, Chelsea?, Smash, GCB (farewell!), Scandal, Nurse JackieVeep, Emily Owens, M.D., Whitney, The Good Wife and Hart of Dixie.

“Call Me Maybe”.

Until “Gangnam Style” came along, the YouTube Zeitgeist was dominated by one runaway success: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. Justin Bieber’s protégé came out of nowhere with the catchiest song of the year, which was subsequently covered by the guys from Harvard’s baseball team, Barack Obama and the Cookie Monster! Talk about diversity!

2012: Apocalypse Now.

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2012 was the year of the apocalypse, with the 21st of December long determined by the Mayans (or Mayan conspiracy theorists) as the day the world ends. You know, until the 7th of December tried to steal its thunder as the apparent recalculated date. Apart from the natural disasters, warfare and massacres, the 21st passed without a nuclear bombing, ice age or attitudinal shift, putting rest to the apocalypse panic. Until the next rapture, anyway…

Shit ___ Say.

It started with a sexist albeit funny YouTube video of a guy in a wig quoting “Shit Girls [Apparently] Say”, which snowballed into “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls”, “Shit New Yorkers Say”, “Shit Christians Say to Jews” and “Shit Nobody Says”. Cue offence.

Snow White.

snow white kristen stewart

Snow White was everywhere this year: Mirror Mirror, Snow White & the Hunstman, Once Upon a Time… Note: overexposure isn’t necessarily a good thing. In fact, I hated Mirror Mirror and Once Upon a Time, and Snow White & the Huntsman was such a snooze-fest I can barely remember what happened (not including Kristen Stewart’s affair with director Rupert Sanders).

50 Shades of Grey.

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On the one hand, E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey has singlehandedly revived the flailing publishing industry, so that’s a good thing. But on the other, it has falsely lulled its legions of (mostly female) fans into a state of apparent sexual empowerment: it’s a book about sex targeted towards women, so that means we’re empowered and we don’t need feminism anymore, right?

Oh, how wrong you Anastasia and Christian fans are…

“Gangnam Style”.

The Macarena of the 21st century, Psy’s horse dance took the world by storm, being performed in conjunction with Mel B on The X Factor, with Hugh Jackman in his Wolverine gloves, on Glee and at many a wedding, 21st birthday and Christmas party.

Misogyny.

Misogyny has long been the focus of feminists, but the word and its meaning really reached fever pitch this year.

After Julia Gillard’s scathing Question Time takedown of Tony Abbott and his sexist ways, people everywhere were quick to voice their opinion on her courage and/or hypocrisy. At one end of the spectrum, it could be said that Gillard finally had enough of the insidious sexist bullshit so many women in the workforce face on a daily basis and decided to say something about it, while at the other, many argued that the Labor party were crying sexism in a bid to smooth over the Peter Slipper slip up.

Julia Baird wrote last month in Sunday Life:

“Her electric speech on misogyny in parliament went beyond the sordid political context to firmly press a button on the chest of any woman who has been patronised, sidelined, dismissed or abused. It crackled across oceans, and, astonishingly, her standing went up in the polls, defying political wisdom that no woman would benefit from publicly slamming sexism.”

Whatever the motivation behind the speech, it went viral, with Twitter blowing up, The New Yorker writing that U.S. politicians could take a page out of Gillard’s book when it comes to their legislative hatred of all things female , laypeople bringing “misogyny” into their everyday lexicon, and Macquarie Dictionary using the momentum to broaden the word’s definition.

Kony.

jason russell kony 2012

The viral doco that had millions of people rushing to plaster their neighbourhood in “Kony 2012” posters on 20th of April to little effect (the campaign’s goal was to catch Joseph Kony by years end) illustrated our obsession with social media, armchair activism and supporting the “cool” charities, not the thousands of worthy charities out there who could actually use donations to help their cause, not to produce YouTube videos and work the press circuit.

I’m Not a Feminist, But…

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While Tony Abbott is clamouring to call himself a feminist to gain electoral favour despite the abovementioned misogyny saga, it seems famous women can’t declare their anti-feminism fast enough.

First we had new mother and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer jumping at the chance to shun feminism despite the fact that without it she wouldn’t be where she is today. My favourite anti-feminist campaigner Taylor Swift said she doesn’t think of herself as a feminist because she “was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.” Um, Tay? That’s what feminism is, love.

Then there’s Katy Perry, who won’t let the whipped cream-spurting bra fool you: “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.” Right then.

Garnering less attention, but just as relevantly, was Carla Bruni-Sarkozy asserting that feminism is a thing only past generations need concern themselves with, while in an interview with MamaMia last week, Deborah Hutton also denounced her feminism.

Cronulla.

the-shire

The cronies from Sutherland Shire were all over our boxes, primarily on Channel Ten, this year. There was the widely panned Being Lara Bingle, the even worse Shire, and the quintessential Aussie drama set in the ’70s, Puberty Blues.

While these shows assisted in shedding a different light on the suburb now synonymous with race riots, it’s not necessarily a positive one, with The Shire being cancelled and Being Lara Bingle hanging in the balance.

White Girls in Native American Headdresses.

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This one really reared its racist head towards the end of the year, right around the festivities of Halloween and Thanksgiving.We had No Doubt “Looking Hot Racist” and Karlie Kloss donning a headdress for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, in addition to the cultural appropriation of VS’s “Go East” lingerie line, Gala Darling’s headdress furore and Chris Brown dressed as a Middle Eastern terrorist for Halloween.

You’d think we were heading into 1953, not 2013.

Related: Posts Tagged “New Girl”.

2 Broke Girls Aren’t So Broke That They’d Turn to Sex Work.

Posts Tagged “Girls”.

Posts Tagged “Smash”.

Feminism, Barbeque & Good Christian Bitches.

Mirror Mirror Review.

Was Kristen Stewart’s Public Apology Really Necessary?

50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James Review.

Hating Kony is Cool.

Taylor Swift: The Perfect Victim.

Whipped Cream Feminism: The Underlying Message in Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” Video.

The Dire Shire.

Shaming Lara Bingle.

Is Gwen Stefani Racist?

The Puberty Blues Give Way to Feminism.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Why We Need to Keep Talking About the White Girls on Girls.

[io9] Why is Everybody Obsessed with Snow White Right Now?

[The Age] What Women Want.

[The New Yorker] Ladylike: Julia Gillard’s Misogyny Speech.

[Jezebel] Does it Matter if Marissa Mayer Doesn’t Think She’s a Feminist?

[Jezebel] Katy Perry, Billboard’s Woman of the Year, is “Not a Feminist”.

[MamaMia] Meet the Women at Our Dinner Table: Deborah Hutton.

[Daily Life] Carla Bruni’s Vogue Interview has Rough Landing.

[Racialicious] Nothing Says Native American Heritage Month Like White Girls in Headdresses.

[Racialicious] Victoria’s Secret Does it Again: When Racism Meets Fashion.

[Jezebel] Karlie Kloss as a Half-Naked “Indian” & Other Absurdities from the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

[xoJane] Fear & Loathing in the Comments Section… And Some Clarity.

[HuffPo] Chris Brown Halloween Costume: Singer Tweets Picture of Himself Dressed Up as Terrorist for Rihanna’s Party.

Images via Collider, Fox News Latino, io9, November Grey, ABC, Now Public, Ten.

Taylor Swift: The Perfect Victim.

Her songs may be catchy—even I can’t stop singing her latest, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”—but Taylor Swift is one of the most detrimental-to-young-peoples’-self-esteem artists out there in my opinion.

I know a lot of people who would beg to differ: but she’s not overtly sexy, so therefore she’s portraying a healthy message to young girls. And she actually writes her own songs and plays instruments, so that’s positive for young people to see, too. But I liken her to pop cultural phenomenons like Glee and 50 Shades of Grey: on the surface they give off the impression of acceptance for the former and empowerment for the latter. When I’ve expressed disdain for these things I’ve literally had people feed me these lines of reasoning. And just like Swift is feeding the messages of the fairytale of young love and not to settle for second best to her fans, what she’s really espousing is an attitude to the opposite sex and to relationships that is toxic.

For example, she waffles on about princes and castles and Romeo, but anyone who’s been in a relationship for more than five minutes (just how long have Swift’s high-profile partners stuck around?) knows that it doesn’t really work like that. Swift is 22 years old and is still singing about relationships and boys as if she were 17, the age she was when her first album was released.

Natalie Reilly writes in the article that inspired me to muse on Swift:

“What if he doesn’t look at you in the right way at the right time of day when the dappled sunlight is falling just the right way across your face? Well, you’re going to WANT TO DIE. Is it any wonder Swift’s songs contain so much wounded anger when her expectations are so teeteringly high? Which guy could ever live up to this Instagram-worthy narrative and still be considered a human?”

I know a girl who loves Swift, has all her albums and went to her concert in Melbourne earlier this year. Recently, she started dating her first boyfriend. I quietly observed that their relationship seemed to progress as if it were taking place on a teen soap or movie: have sex after three dates, publicly announce the progression from “dating” to “boyfriend and girlfriend” after a month… And after two months the relationship fizzled because one party apparently wasn’t making enough “grand gestures” to satisfy the Swiftian ideal of what a relationship should be.

And that’s one of my many problems with Swift: she perpetuates the notion that men are the arbiters of happiness in relationships and unless they are standing outside your bedroom window with a boombox, riding off into the sunset on a lawnmower or sneaking into your room to watch over you as you sleep then there’s some crucial romantic element missing in your union. Why must Swift insist on portraying these archaic heteronormative notions of men being the “doers” and women are just there?

Because Taylor Swift hates feminism. An article a few weeks ago asked Swift whether she viewed herself as a feminist, a key question in most interviews with successful women who haven’t already come out as a women’s libber. Here’s her answer:

“I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.”

Paging Taylor Swift: that’s exactly what feminism is. And as I originally commented, if Swift is about nothing else, she is about guys versus girls. Her prime song lyric generator is breaking up with men who’ve wronged the poor, innocent Taylor. You know, when she’s not slut-shaming the popular girl who’s the girlfriend of the boy she wants for herself, and if only he could look past her sluttiness he would see Swift is the one he’s really supposed to be with. See: the “You Belong With Me” video for which, handily enough, Swift was awarded best female video at the 2009 MTV VMAs in the infamous Kanye West-“Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time” incident. Poor little Taylor cast as the victim yet again.

Swift really is the perfect victim (Reilly notes Swift is a key proponent in the “‘lover as victim’ trope”), though, because she manages to hide the playing up of the victim status so well. Sure, she writes songs teens can relate to, but the self-absorbed, angsty and tormented world of a teenager is a far cry from the real world a 22-year-old should be inhabitating. There comes a time when you need to stop blaming other people for relationships gone awry and maybe look inside yourself for the cause of the problem.

As Reilly asks, is Swift’s ideal of relationships “the narrative we want for young women? For any women?” Certainly not.

Related: 50 Shades of Grey by E L James Review.

Elsewhere: [Daily Life] The Problem with Taylor Swift’s Love Songs.

[Jezebel] Don’t Go Calling Taylor Swift a Feminist, Says Taylor Swift.

Image via Jezebel.