On the (Rest of the) Net.

“The Fashion Industry’s Anorexia Problem.”

Gala Darling offers an interesting take on pageantry. It seems not all beauty queens are vapid glorified prom queens with “miles of hair extensions, industrial-sized cans of hairspray and gallons of butt glue”.

Do you have to be a mother to be empathetic?:

“The reason Queensland Premier Anna Bligh was able to handle the flood crisis with such competence [is because she is a mother], according to a fellow mum. How true, how true, clucked a host of TV talk show mums the next day, as the commentators all agree that Anna won the ‘image’ war over Julia in the aftermath. Then of course she would—only a mother can cry with conviction for lives lost.”

90210: “The Sexist Postcode”?:

“So 90210 was an important early building block of enlightened sexism because it insisted that the true, gratifying pleasures for girls, and their real source of power, came from consumerism, girliness, and the approval of guys…”

My friend Anthony and I were discussing the benefits of cheap Coles milk when we paused and though, what exactly does cheap milk mean for farmers and why all the fuss? Rick Morton of MamaMia is here to answer our questions.

Also at MamaMia, the defence force sex scandal.

Speaking of, MamaMia’s 3.0 launch is the only blog redesign I’ve liked in recent months (Jezebel, I’m looking at you).

“Wait? What? This is where it gets interesting for me as a sex positive parent. My son just went from wishing he was sexy to shaming a girl for being just that? I rolled up my sleeves and got ready to do some unpacking.” The unpacking the primary school backpack on “Slut-Shaming on the Playground”.

This is just plain wrong: “The 15 Most Inappropriate Baby Outfits”.

The cigarette packaging reform.

Michael Cole, WWE announcer, tweets a gay slur. GLAAD faux pas or staying in character?

Are disability jokes really that bad? Or are we all just going PC crazy? (Just ask Laura Money and Kieran Eaton at their Unfinished Business stand-up show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.)

The meaning of Sucker Punch according to io9:

“1. Insane people and sex workers are interchangeable.

“2. Women can only triumph over adversity in their dreams.

“3. Action movies spring from the imaginations of enslaved, mentally unstable prostitutes.”

“Do You Know What a Normal Female Body Looks Like Anymore?”

Francine Pascal as feminist literature pioneer?:

“In the beginning, that wasn’t enough for many booksellers, who deemed Sweet Valley too ‘commercial’ for their readers. The Times snubbed the series; librarians fought to keep their stacks free of the ‘skimpy-looking paperbacks,’ as one library journal put it. It was Pascal’s fans who defended her: buying a dizzying 250 million copies before the series published its 152nd and final title, in 2003. The series even became a case study in how to get young girls to read. ‘Sweet Valley changed the dynamics of the industry,’ says Barbara Marcus, who, as former president of Scholastic’s children’s business, published The Babysitter’s Club, Goosebumps, and Harry Potter. Sweet Valley spawned seven spinoff series, a TV show, a board game, and dolls. Not until Twilight came along have girl fans been so loyal.”

In this vintage post from the time of Jersey Shore’s debut, Irin Carmon discusses the cast’s views “On Beauty & Not Even Looking Italian”. Quite interesting, actually.

It’s time to go, Betty Draper.

Forget menopause; say hello to “manopause”.

First the video music world, now the movie world: Rebecca Black’s film debut in “Sunday Comes Afterwards”.

Porn WikiLeaks: damaging the reputation and safety of porn performers by publishing addresses, personal documents and hateful HIV diatribes (SFW).

The ugly step sister?

Images via Jezebel.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Flavorwire celebrates the Chinese New Year with “40 Culturally Relevant Rabbits”.

Ryan Gosling as feminist icon?

Jennifer Aniston controversially embraces her inner Lolita for Allure.

Speaking of… The allure of Mormon housewife blogs.

Chad Woody on “The Oprahverse”:

“This gets at my perennial problem with Oprah. She’s all about the self-determined destiny. This comes from hanging out constantly with celebrities, the cultural lottery winners of the world, and asking them about their origins and beliefs. Sure, some of them say they were lucky in some way, but what Oprah really digs for is that little gold nugget of ego in everyone that says, “I did it my way, and I always knew I would!” But success woven from big dreams is an easy pattern to discern if you’re only interviewing winners…”

While I don’t agree with Erica Bartle’s comments—I believe that Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was “born this way” as Lady Gaga, and everything she does is an extension of herself—the girl with the satchel raises some interesting points about not needing “an alter ego when you’re happy with who you really are”.

Also at GWAS, Bartle laments the demise of The Saturday Age’s A2 supplement in favour of “the more generic Fairfax Life & Style moniker). I feel your pain :(.

“Why I (Really, Seriously, Truly) Hate Carrie Bradshaw”:

“…If I ever saw a woman dressed like that either here in the city, or anywhere else in the world, I’d throw a Twinkie at them, tell them to take a long look in the mirror and eat a damn carb for a change. Yes, I keep Twinkies on me for such occasions… Carrie once threw a Big Mac at Big, so throwing things have been all the rage ever since, right?”

Not only do strong women get branded “the bitch” for knowing what they want and standing up for themselves (if I can be so cavalier, I consider myself a strong woman who is often called “bitch”), but apparently it’s hardest for us to find equally as strong, if not stronger, men in the dating market. Woe is us.

Some more thoughts from Sarah Wilson:

“… Men aren’t happy because they’re not being real men. They’re denied the opportunity to pursue, to go after the woman they reckon is perfect for them. That’s because they’re being pursued by women. Why? Cos everything is out of whack (women are used to chasing things and get impatient when men don’t approach, but also because the men aren’t pursuing… cos they don’t have to… and it goes around and around). And so men feel emasculated by this. Because men are meant to be the hunters.  The peacocks who do dances and display their prowess to women, to earn female trust and affection. Since the cost of partnering is higher for women, they must be fussier and sit back and weigh up their options. This is a biological imperative.”

In a similar vein, “The Sexual Cost of Female Success”:

“…What’s important is getting women to question every decision they make on the grounds of what insecure men might potentially think about it, men you’d never want to date anyway because their insecurities would make the relationship hell. And, more importantly, because you’re not physically attracted to them—something no amount of data or bullshit studies on the internet will ever change. Yes, women are ruining everything by not planning their lives expressly according to men’s biological clocks and wishes.”

Gender Agenda and Melinda Tankard-Reist get their wordplay on in the fight against Kanye West’s Monster video.

Can everyone get over Michelle Obama’s clothing choices already?:

“Michelle Obama is a Princeton and Harvard-educated lawyer and former executive at the University of Chicago Hospitals system who happens to dress pretty well and be married to the president of the United States of America. But what are the stories about her that have dominated the media? They’re not about her skills, her experience, her mind, or even about her almost disgustingly uncontroversial pet issue, fighting childhood obesity. The Michelle Obama News is about whether her eyebrows are ‘angry.’ Whether her clothes mark her as a ‘new Marie Antoinette’… [or a] ‘new Jackie Kennedy.’”

The straight guy’s guide to Glee.

In response to Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s “Hardcore”, Tana Ganeva debunks “The Anti-Male, Anti-Sex Falsehoods That Rule Discussions About Porn and Sexuality”.

Shut up, Mark Latham!

I disagree with most of Miranda Devine’s views in “Buying a Baby—Not a Pair of Shoes”, but one thing’s for sure: Nicole Kidman’s surrogacy is one contentious issue.

The secret diary of a call girl.

The private lives of Pippa Lee public people.

The dating game according to the ladies of the Jersey Shore.

“The Baby-Sitters Club: Where Are They Now?”

Image via Sassi Sam.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Frock & Roll asks “What Makes a Compelling Website?” Frequent updates, a unique writing style, an interesting story to tell and expertise (on things like “how to make a pillowcase from a DVD player”). Also, the final instalment of “The Blogger’s Guide to Hustling” is now online.

Darling of the magazine world, Frankie, is profiled on Pedestrian.TV.

A pro-hunting friend of mine put me on to this article featured in The Age, entitled “Men Who Kill”. The provocative title certainly reflects what a lot of animal-loving, vegetarian Greenies think about hunters (I, myself, have conflicting feelings about being a meat-eating, leather-wearing, zoo-goer versus being staunchly against animal cruelty, puppy mills/pet shops, fur, whaling etc.), but one quote from the article is particularly thought-provoking: “It’s [the rabbit] out and about and ‘bang’, the next thing it knows is nothing. It’s not tormented by a slaughter yard or fed hormones.”

In other Barbie news, Chloë Browne, guest blogging at Em & Lo, asserts that you can be a feminine feminist… and a Barbie connoisseur. Amen.

To celebrate season two of Jersey Shore, The Atlantic thinks that “We Are All Snooki”, the undisputed breakout star of the show, in terms of “crafting public selves”. Only Snooki’s public self is a whole lot more outrageous and famous than most of ours.

Bret Easton Ellis does The Babysitters Club? WTF? But he does it oh so well. For example, Kristy says, “Like, sorry that you have diabetes Stacey, but do we have to spend half the afternoon discussing it? And yeah, it really bums me out to watch Claudia snort up half those Pixie Stix when she is so blatantly trying to get attention to her sugar problem…” Speaking of Claudia, her chapter is far better; very passive aggressive, in the vein of BEE:

“We were going 30 in a 25 mph Stoneybrook crossing lane, my dad’s hands clenched white against the wheel while I could practically hear him grinding his teeth all the way in the backseat. I was sitting next to my older sister Janine, who had spent the last three days on some sort of cleanse diet because she was, in her words, ‘packing on the pounds like I was the one eating all the junk food.’ Or because someone had switched out her carefully hidden birth control pills with orange Tic Tacs last month. Either one.”

Sometimes it seems my sister and I are the only ones on the face of the earth who have seen/remember/love the ’80s teen movie, Teen Witch. Until Jezebel profiled it! Above, a choice rap clip from the film!

Erica Bartle has a discusses the perils of committing to a comprehensive review of all the September issues and promotes blog loving on Girl with a Satchel.

An oldie but a goodie: “The Self-Manufacture of Megan Fox” at The New York Times.

We can’t have “On the (Rest of the) Net” without the requisite Mad Men link. This week it’s “Mad Men’s Very Modern Sexism Problem” at The Atlantic.

Great Expectations

In otherand final, for this week at leastworkaholics news, from The New Yorker’s Book Bench, “there’s no point in worrying about all those books you haven’t gotten to yet, because very often our preconceived idea of what a book will be is just as valid and enlightening as the book itself might be.”

So do bookworms rejoice in the fact that there’s no need to get through our stacks of unread books (personally, I have The Babysitters Club, American Psycho, a second reading of Mia Freedman’s memoir, Mama Mia, and Hollywood Ending by Kathy Charlesto get througha well balanced literary meal, if a little too heavy on the fluff, don’t you think?); that the very idea of what they’re like will sustain our literary appetites?

I understand what author Kristy Logan’s original hypothesis is attesting to, that sometimes “an unread book is an intoxicating, romantic thing, and the act of reading is, in one sense, destructive” to what could have been, however I don’t agree with it.

Fiercely loyal, I will not put a book down until the very last page, no matter how much of a struggle it was to read. Dr. Zhivago, I’m looking at you. I had great expectations for that book, however I was brutally disappointed. Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama is another one that comes to mind. I do feel like by reading these books, my fantastical idea of them before I turned their pages has been knocked out of me.

On the other hand, there’s nothing like being utterly surprised by how good a book is, and how profoundly it affects you. Frequent readers of this blog will know that Another City, Not My Own is that for me. The Lovely Bones is one I was pleasantly surprised about, (at the risk of sounding like a bogan) only reading it because I wanted to see the film. While I think the ending was utter bullshit, the integrity of the rest of the story outweighs the disappointing ending for me.

Logan assures us that she doesn’t encourage leaving “all books unread”, questioning whether she should call them “‘pre-read’ books instead”.

The excitement of a “pre-read book”? Now that I can understand.

Related: Things Bogans Like.

Elsewhere: [The New Yorker] Not Enough Time.

[The Millions] Confined by Pages: The Joy of Unread Books.

Emerging Writers Festival: Stuck in a Lift With… Rachel Hills & Gala Darling

Being a recent expat to Melbourne, I am now relishing in the fact that I can go to an after work event, weekend market or party and not have to worry about getting the last train out of Sydney Melbourne back to the country.

However, with the advent of Twitter, anyone wearing pyjama pants can gain access to this week’s Emerging Writers Festival from the comfort of their lounge room/bed, with events all over the city as well as today’s “Stuck in a Lift With… Gala Darling” by Rachel Hills.

Hills is using the “magical bookstore” format, and each floor corresponds to Gala’s favourite book.

However, it’s not always smooth sailing, with followers interjecting their questions and comments. For a first time Twitter user, it was a bit overwhelming!

So here, in a nutshell that I have so lovingly crunched the questions into, are Hills’ 10 questions and Gala Darling’s 10 answers.

  • “What’s the first book you ever read?”

- “HAD to have been the Spot series… I also remember loving The Very Hungry Caterpillar… I really loved all that very British stuff too, like Enid Blyton & Peter Rabbit…”

  • “Are there any other kids books that you remember or are fond of?”

- “I was mad keen on the Faraway Tree series… But I was really a voracious reader, would come home from the library every Saturday with an enormous stack of books & devour them throughout the week before going back for more. Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, horror stories, anything spooky or supernatural or American! I was obsessed with America & their slumber parties & junk food & always felt like I was missing out being stuck in boring old New Zealand…”

  • “What were your other fave teen/coming of age books?

- “I loved Judy Blume for talking about sex… It’s weird actually, I feel like I moved from Judy Blume to Poppy Z. Brite but SURELY that’s not right. I think Anne Rice might have been the stepping stone. & Stephen King?

  • “You do a lot of travellingwhat books do you like to take with you when you’re away from home?”

- “Depends on how long I’m away from home. The types of holidays I have don’t usually leave much time for reading! But I have moved house many times and I always take Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas & Lolita with me!… But usually when I travel I take the mags I haven’t yet caught up on (ughh I know), or what I’m reading at the time… No guilty faves really. I haven’t read a tabloid in years because they make me angry, haha! I love pretty much every fashion magazine though… You know what? I buy 99% of my books secondhand on Amazon. IT’S SO CHEAP. I can’t stand to pay full retail. Bad Gala!”

  • “Is there a book you turn to when things get emotional?”

- “I guess it depends on what the ‘emotion’ is. I love to comfort read, aka read stuff I know off by heart… Actually when I’m feeling emotional or moody I prefer to watch television. Entourage or SATC work every time… Lolita, Fear & Loathing, anything Bukowski, American Psycho, umm Lost Souls (shhhh)…”

  • “You’re a hugely successful writer. Is there a book that helped you learn your craft?”

- “I love Anne Lamott. There is something so brilliant, clear & deep in her writingit is impeccably crafted. The first time I read Bird by Bird I thought my head was going to explode, & I have read it over & over. I’m also really interested in Zen Buddhism so that helps! I also like Natalie Goldberg, but don’t read lots of books on writing.”

  • “What book has taught you the most from a NON-writing perspective?”

- “Oh, big question! I feel like every book teaches you something, whether it’s how to live wilding (Fear/Loathing!) or bet on horses (Buk.!), but I guess if I could only recommend one book for life lessons, it would be The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. It is a frigging marvel. Every time I pick it up I learn something new… It is as thick as a bible, all about manifesting & integrity & keeping your word & stuff, I can’t describe!”

  • “What books have kept you late into the night?”

- “Haha, pretty much every book I’ve ever loved. I was a secretly-reading-under-the-covers child. I remember reading the Neverending Story one day (yes, one DAY!) when I had the flu & was about 10, fantastic. So it may not have kept me through the night but it certainly compelled me.”

  • “What book do you wish you had written?”

- “Ugh, Lolita. It’s like a braingasm. Every time I read it I am shocked at just HOW fucking good it is.”

  • “What book do you return to again and again?”

- “All the books I have just mentioned, plus anything by SARK, Russell Simmons’ Do You!, Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block, Fear of Flying by Erica Jong, Grapefruit by Yoko Ono, House of Leaves…

I wish someone would ask me these questions should I ever have the fearful pleasure of being stuck in an elevator. I so have the answers!