On the (Rest of the) Net.

Attack of the cupcakes!:

“… Badassery and toughness aren’t mutually exclusive with cupcakes. A woman can go home from her power-suit-wearing corporate job and unwind in front of Cute Overload. A ‘supermom’ can enjoy a vintage cocktail—and even wear a vintage apron, if she wants to—without becoming squishy and ineffective…” [Feministe, HuffPo]

Gloria Steinem’s not the feminist hero we think she is, according to Suzanne Venker. [National Review Online]

The Catholic Church respects women more than feminism? Laughable. [National Catholic Register]

Erica Bartle writes on the perils of being a Christian in a sometimes-misunderstanding world. I don’t think what she’s experiencing is a uniquely “Christian” thing. (More on that next week.) I abhor organised religion, but I still feel “hyper-sensitive”, as she puts it, to the small-minded bigots around me. I think it comes down to what kind of person you are, regardless of religion and faith, which aren’t mutually exclusive.

I think you can still keep your “awesomeness”, “pride” and “talents” and fight like Mike Tyson (minus the ear-biting and sexual assault). Those are the things that make us good people, in my opinion. [Girl with a Satchel]

Gala Darling on how “to be the person in the photo, instead of the person looking at it.”

The Help from a porcupine and bumblebee’s point of view. You’ll get it from mine next week. [Jezebel]

In the wake of recent assertions that Hillary Clinton might have made a better president than Barack Obama, I came across this 2008 article pitting the “Madonna” against the “whore”; “the hard-ass” against “the lightweight”; “the battle-ax” against “the bubblehead”; “the serious, pursed-lipped shrew” against “the silly, ineffectual girl”; “the bitch” against  “the ditz”, and why the Clinton/Sarah Palin debate was a futile one. [New York Magazine, The New York Times]

It’s all about the discontent of young Asian women, and how they want to look more Western. [Gender Across Borders, Sydney Morning Herald, SBS Insight]

To the inconsiderate douches who use the word “rape” as a joke. Brilliant. [Lipstick Feminists]

“The Deficient Single Woman.” [Zero at the Bone]

Discrepancies in the way college men and women dress are lauded as anti-feminist by Lisa Belkin, while Amanda Marcotte contends the sight of a woman dancing in her underwear on Halloween doesn’t mean she’s a) not a feminist, b) going to insight yearnings of violent assault in all men who lay eyes on her, and c) dumb:

“Men are perfectly capable of being turned on by a woman dancing in her underwear while never forgetting that said woman has a family that loves her, a mind of her own, and ambitions that are equal to his.  We don’t allow men’s sexuality to dehumanise them in our eyes.  If a young man spends his weekends partying and flirting with women, and spends his time in the classroom pulling down As, we don’t see that as a contradiction. The belief that female sexual expression is uniquely dehumanising is a double standard, no matter how much you dress it up in feminist language.” [The New York Times, Slate]

Somewhat in response to Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman (I’m eagerly awaiting my copy in the mail), Jason Sperber tells us “How to Be a Man”. [The Good Men Project]

Baby Beyonce is inciting debate about motherhood, race, and “doing it the right way”. [Jezebel]

Gay marriage is a human rights violation of children to be brought up by a female mother and a male father. Hmm… [The Australian]

“Professor Feminism” and the “Chronicles of Mansplaining”:

“I’m pretty confident that Professor Feminism is not Professor Understands Sarcasm, either, so I’ll spell it out: The point of listening to women and feminists is to listen to women and feminists. Because if you listen to them, you might start to understand certain basic points, such as: Women do not automatically have to accept you as an expert, particularly not when the subject under discussion (sexism!) is something you’ve never experienced first-hand. Women do not have to make you ‘comfortable’ and ‘welcome’ in every single conversation. Women do not automatically have to grant you a space in their discussions, on their blogs, or in their lives. Women do not have to permit you to enter their political movements, their self-created spaces, their personal space, their bodies, or anything else that belongs to them; you, as a man, are not entitled to women’s attention, praise, affection, respect, or company, just because you want it. And when a woman says ‘no,’ you respect that this particular woman said ‘no,’ and you stop. You don’t make excuses, you don’t explain why you should be able to get what you want, you don’t throw a tantrum, you don’t call that woman names: You just stop what you are doing. Because she said ‘no.’” [Tiger Beatdown]

See here for another example.

What Adele… and Lil Wayne… can teach us about love. [This Single Life]

“I Thought Success Meant Wearing a Suit.” So did I. I used to fantasise about working on Southbank, wearing suits (I had a penchant for an imaginary hot pink one!) and carrying my files in a suitcase-on-wheels. My how the tables have turned. In my day job, I wear a uniform that I try to spice up every now and then with biker boots and studded flats, and for my unpaid blogging duties, it’s usually trackies or pyjamas. This morning it’s raining, so I’ve invested in some extra insulation with my dressing gown. What do you were that indicates “success”. (In no way am I equating my mundane daily grind with success. I loath my paid job. Just doing it to pay the bills.) [MamaMia]

The facts and fictions of television’s crime dramas. [Jezebel]

Apparently, “Confronting Men About Sexism Makes Them Nicer,” and from my experience, I believe it. [Jezebel]

Sarah Wilson contemplates stopping for optimism. What am I optimistic about when I have to stop? The last two bouts of gastro I had I used to lie in bed and catch up on box sets between running to the bathroom. I don’t have an excuse for doing this every other day!

Images via YouTube, Jezebel, BuzzFeed. Bump Shack.

UPDATED: Will Boys Be Boys When it Comes to Objectifying Women?

From “Should the Ugly Have Special Legal Protections” on Jezebel, featuring excerpts from Daniel S. Hamermesh’s article in The New York Times, entitled “Ugly? You May Have a Case”:

“… While we may disagree on who the most beautiful person in a room is, we can all easily agree on what class of attractiveness someone is in.

“Where someone fits on that scale is determined by the way they dress, how they do their makeup, their hairstyle, their personality, how they carry themselves, our personal preferences, and many other factors. Even if there are some disadvantages for people many of us don’t find attractive, that doesn’t mean we need to task our legal system with determining who’s a ‘grenade.’”

Emphasis mine.

*

From a 2009 post by The Punch and News.com.au editor-in-cheif David Penberthy on MamaMia about what men think about female body image:

“Men are much more attracted to a woman’s face than any other part of her body—68 per cent of men surveyed said they looked for a pretty face, just 8 per cent said great breasts, 8 per cent nice legs, and 16 per cent a perfect fat-free figure. In terms of ranking the importance of overall qualities, not one man said appearance was the most important—24 per cent cited personality as the most important, with 76 per cent citing personality and appearance in equal measure.”

Mia Freedman continues in her response to Penberthy’s piece:

“Interestingly, what shouts loudest to me from Penb[erthy]’s post and The Punch survey results is that men don’t really HAVE an ideal. They think we’re all pretty hot. So hot that they’re baffled as to why we’re not lesbians. How can we resist tearing each other’s close off and frolicking in all our diverse glory?”

While this piece doesn’t state the age of the male participants (a condition of the survey was that it was anonymous, so men could speak freely about what they really think), judging from The Punch’s target demographic, I’d be willing to bet they’re of the Generation X age group. From my experience, men that age formed their opinions of and preferences for women before the internet, porn and airbrushing culture were as rampant as they are now, and don’t really complain if they have the chance to get their kit off with some chick.

Hence why I go for older men…

*

It’s been a beauty-centric week here at The Early Bird.

We’ve talked about Grey’s Anatomy and beauty as represented by Cristina Yang, and brains over beauty.

I’d already planned to post those two articles last week before a beauty-related scandal came to light at my workplace.

Apparently, two of my male co-workers had devised a “ranking system” for the hottest to nottest girls in our department.

This is sickening on four levels.

One: it’s sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender and appearance, and those who were victimised by the “ranking” could take those who were responsible for it to H.R. Just look at the Pricewaterhouse Coopers incident. Or the Duke “Fuck List”, on the other side of the coin.

Two: we interact with these men boys (as that’s what they are: one has just turned 21, and the other is 23. But age really has nothing to do with maturity) as friends, colleagues; PEOPLE. Not as objects for them to rate and pit against each other in terms of how we look and nothing else.

Three: I don’t want to have to stoop to their level, but if we were ranking them, one would be at the top in terms of looks, but both would be at the bottom in terms of personality, morals and decency, which is all that really matters. So what gives them the right to judge us?

Four: this is not the ’50s and women are not reduced to what they look like.

The men boys who devised this ranking are sexist misogynists, one of whom I am deeply ashamed to have dated for a short period. Thank God I never got naked with him, ’cause who knows what he would have to say about me then!

What gives them the right to rank us? The same right men’s magazine editors have to rank female celebrities in terms of hotness, I suppose. But the difference there is that, while it’s still pretty sexist but somewhat understandable and accepted, most of the women on the list don’t work with and consider(ed) them friends.

How can you separate the things you know about someone—their personalities, interests, history, temperament etc.—with how they look? I know I can’t.

I was taken aback recently when a coworker praised me for being close friends with a man who’s not super attractive. Unlike the two who ranked me, I don’t make friends in terms of looks. If anything, I find it easier to be myself around and make friends with men I don’t find attractive.

But my so called “ugly” friend has an awesome personality; anyone would agree. And that makes him attractive. And at the end of the day, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

As I mentioned above, one of the men who devised this ranking is probably about an eight in terms of looks, but knowing this about him, in addition to other undesirable traits that lead to our dating demise, makes him a one in the personality department.

Now, I don’t know where I ranked on this list and, frankly, I don’t care. My self-esteem is high enough to not give a shit about what other people think of the way I look. But that’s not the point. How would someone who doesn’t have such high self-esteem feel? As much as we say looks don’t—or shouldn’t—matter, to them, it does.

So is this just a case of “boys will be boys”, as one co-worker who knows about the list put it?

I don’t think it is. You will notice that two out of about thirty were involved in this. The overwhelming majority chose not to act as boys do, whatever that means these days. Again, this is 2011: not 1951.

Another co-worker said “judging” is just what people do. Sure, I judge young mothers who leave their kids with a babysitter so they can go out clubbing, the guidos/ettes from Jersey Shore and, certainly, these two men in light of this list. But I’m judging them on their behaviours and attitudes, not what they look like. And who am I, really, to judge them based on any factor? No one. The same as the makers of this list are to judge us. Nobodies.

At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Ellen DeGeneres brought this up when she interviewed FHM AND Maxim’s Most Beautiful Woman, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, on her show last week. DeGeneres compared Rosie’s “ranking” to her own as “Most Beautiful Woman” on This Old House magazine’s cover. We know Ellen, we like her, and that’s what makes her beautiful, in addition to her physical beauty. Bitch looks good at 53!

And true beauty comes from within. Don’t ever let someone else’s “ranking” of how you look make you forget that.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Beauty VS. Brains.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Cristina Yang as Feminist.

Elsewhere: [Gawker] The “Top 10” Office Email That’s Scandalising Ireland.

[Jezebel] College Girl’s PowerPoint “Fuck List” Goes Viral.

[MamaMia] What MEN Think About Women’s Body Image.

[Jezebel] Should the Ugly Have Special Legal Protections?

[The New York Times] Ugly? You May Have a Case.

Image via Small Screen Scoop.

UPDATED: Yet Another Way in Which Madonna & Lady Gaga Are Alike.

From “Portrait of a Lady” by Jeremy Kinser in The Advocate:

“‘… I was born this way. And that’s who I am. Some people weren’t born to wear masks, but I was. I was born to wear masks and wigs and fashion. To express myself through my clothing and my performance art, and that’s who I am.’”

Case in point, Camille Paglia. Case in point.

*

From “Madonna: Finally, a Real Feminist” by Camille Paglia, in an article from 1990 in the New York Times:

“Madonna has a far profounder vision of sex than do the feminists. She sees both the animality and the artifice. Changing her costume style and hair colour virtually every month, Madonna embodies the eternal values of beauty and pleasure. Feminism says, ‘No more masks.’ Madonna says we are nothing but masks.”

Paglia is notoriously anti-Gaga, perhaps fearing that Mother Monster may be stealing the waning spotlight from Her Madgesty.

It’s funny that this was written 21 years ago, because it could very well have been written only recently, in relation to Gaga: “she sees both the animality and artifice” of sex. She changes “her costume style and hair colour” one better than Madonna; every day, it seems. And Gaga, as I have written, exists as something of a mask, while espousing the importance of being yourself.

So it’s not just the novelty bras and “Express Yourself” tune in “Born This Way”…

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Gaga Ooo La La?

Elsewhere: [The Advocate] Portrait of a Lady.

[The New York Times] Madonna: Finally, a Real Feminist.

[The Sunday Times] Lady Gaga & the Death of Sex.

On the Net: Yet Another Way in Which Madonna & Lady Gaga Are Alike.

From “Madonna: Finally, a Real Feminist” by Camille Paglia, in an article from 1990 in the New York Times:

“Madonna has a far profounder vision of sex than do the feminists. She sees both the animality and the artifice. Changing her costume style and hair colour virtually every month, Madonna embodies the eternal values of beauty and pleasure. Feminism says, ‘No more masks.’ Madonna says we are nothing but masks.”

Paglia is notoriously anti-Gaga, perhaps fearing that Mother Monster may be stealing the waning spotlight from Her Madgesty.

It’s funny that this was written 21 years ago, because it could very well have been written only recently, in relation to Gaga: “she sees both the animality and artifice” of sex. She changes “her costume style and hair colour” one better than Madonna; every day, it seems. And Gaga, as I have written, exists as something of a mask, while espousing the importance of being yourself.

So it’s not just the novelty bras and “Express Yourself” tune in “Born This Way”…

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Gaga Ooo La La?

Elsewhere: [The New York Times] Madonna: Finally, a Real Feminist.

[The Sunday Times] Lady Gaga & the Death of Sex.

Image via Gale Chester Whittington.

On the Net: “The Humble Brag.”

From “Branding Girls: Is This a Good Thing?” by Erica Bartle on Girl with a Satchel:

“Soroya Darabi, social media strategist for ABC News in the US and former New York Times staffer… [says] ‘I wrote a tweet I now regret,’ recalls Darabi. ‘[It] said, “I’m in a new book about New York social media. God, I hope the character is cool and not a total dweeb.” The tweet was meant to show how this new-found attention weirds me out, but instead I think it came off as shameless self-promotion. Now I’m less likely to write about a personal win because I prefer to be authentic and well-regarded than notorious and famous.’”

Musings of an Inappropriate Woman blogger, Rachel Hills, calls this “the humble brag” in the comments.

I don’t think Darabi sounded like she was “shamless[ly] self-promoti[ng]”; she sounded sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating and genuine. Sometimes it’s fine to say, “hey, check out my latest freelance article in this month’s Madison” (if only I was able to say that!) without coming across like a big-noter. If you don’t talk yourself up, no one will.

But I also understand where Darabi and Hills are coming from in not wanting to sound obnoxious, and that the blogging/Tweeting medium can sometimes misconstrue our tones.

I remember Sarah Ayoub-Christie of Wordsmith Lane (R.I.P.) used to struggle with this. Personally, I never found her to be holier-than-thou, or up on her high horse, which I believe some commenters on the blog did. On my own blog, there are some posts I look back on and think I sound like a pretentious bitch (well, I am, but I don’t want to sound like one!), and others in which I wish I could just change a certain phrase.

But, at the end of the day, you can’t always be “on” when it comes to “personal branding”, and the mistakes and misconstrued comments are what make us stronger. And I also think it’s about finding a balance between the real you, you show your close family and friends, and the “personal branding” version of you, you show to potential clients or suitors at dinner parties.

What do you think?

Elsewhere: [Girl with a Satchel] Branding Girls: Is This a Good Thing?

[Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Homepage.

[Sarah Ayoub's Wordsmithlane] Homepage.

On the Net: “With a Gun Between Her Legs,” Take 3.

From “Gosh, Sweetie, That’s a Big Gun”, a dialogue between The New York Times’  chief film critics, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis, on The New York Times website:

“The question is why are so many violent girls and women running through movies now, especially given that the American big screen hasn’t been very interested in women’s stories, violent or not, in recent decades, an occasional Thelma, Louise and Jodie Foster character notwithstanding. There are other exceptions, of course, usually romantic comedies that are so insipid and insulting I want to kill everyone on screen. Wait a minute—is it female rage fueling this trend?

“It is interesting how frequently the violence of these girls is overseen or inculcated by a father figure who is not always a literal dad: Nicolas Cage in Kick-Ass, training his killer pixie to use sharp blades, big-caliber guns and foul language; Scott Glenn in Sucker Punch, urging his girl warriors into battle; and Eric Bana in Hanna, sending his darling out to fight the wicked witch (Cate Blanchett). Are these paternal figures reassuring or creepy?

“The bad seed isn’t new, but what seems different is that young women and girls can kill today without being necessarily and fatally pathologised.

“It used to be easier to make movies with women. You could put them on a pedestal and either keep them there (as revered wives, virginal girls) or knock them down, as with femmes fatales.

“[David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo]… movie will be better than the Swedish model because he’s the superior director, but I also hope he will more forcefully engage the theme that was blatant in Larsson’s book, as evident in its blunt original title: Men Who Hate Women.

“I think the first [Lisbeth] Salander movie ran into a serious problem when it tried to translate Larsson’s anger about pervasive sexual violence into cinematic terms. It is in the nature of the moving image to give pleasure, and in the nature of film audiences—consciously or not, admittedly or not—to find pleasure in what they see. So in depicting Salander’s rape by her guardian in the graphic way he did, the director… ran the risk of aestheticizing, glamorizing and eroticizing it…

“The risk is not dissolved but rather compounded when the answering, avenging violence is staged and shot in almost exactly the same kind of gruesome detail, since the audience knows it is supposed to enjoy that. In other words, even though the earlier violation can be said to justify the later revenge, that logic turns out to be reversible. You could call this the I Spit on Your Grave paradigm. It is definitely at work in Sucker Punch, which gains in sleaziness by coyly keeping its rape fantasies within PG-13 limits and fairly quivering with ecstasy as it contemplates scenes of female victimization.

“The gun-toting women and girls in this new rash of movies may be performing much the same function for the presumptive male audience: It’s totally ‘gay’ for a guy to watch a chick flick, but if a babe is packing heat—no worries, man!

“Jean-Luc Godard posited that all he needed to make a movie was a girl and a gun… To put the gun in the hands of the girl may be a way to cut out the middleman, as it were, and also, as you suggest, to maximize commercial potential by providing something for everyone…”

[NY Times] Gosh, Sweetie, That’s a Big Gun: Women as Violent Characters in Movies.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Sucker Punch Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “With a Gun Between Her Legs,” Take 2.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “With a Gun Between Her Legs”: Why “Strong” (AKA “Sexy” Whilst Being “Strong”) Female Characters Are Bad for Women.

Images via The Independent, The New York Times.

On the (Rest of the) Net Comes a Day Early.

As tomorrow is Good Friday (Friday, gotta get down on Good Friday), the international day of mourning sleeping in, On the (Rest of the) Net is arriving a day early. Enjoy, and happy Easter!

If you read only one thing this Easter weekend, make it Hadley Freeman’s “Rape is Not a Compliment” on The Guardian.

Rick Morton with “6 Arguments Against Women Serving in Combat Roles (And Why They’re Dodgy)”.

The pros and cons of trash reality TV and its treatment of women.

MamaMia has picked up Airiel Clark’s “Slut-Shaming on the Playground”, as well.

The view from the other side of the burqa is not one I agree with, but it’s a valid one nonetheless:

“Before you scream your disagreement, which many of you may do as a knee-jerk reaction to being told you’re also oppressed, stop and think. Look around you; contemplate society today, and its values, its aspirations, its goals, its direction, its past-times, its hobbies….

“What good has it done for images of uncovered made-up women to be plastered on every billboard and magazine, on the TV, in the movies, and on the net?

“The women in the images may aptly feel good about themselves for a while, but what does it mean for every other women?

“Women who look upon these images usually become anxious, jealous, unsure and critical of themselves, or all of these things. Many men who view them will become aroused, or even unhappy, less satisfied with the partners they already have. What can, and does this lead to?

“Cheating, dumping, chastisement, and even harassment of other women, and even children, by men who cannot find a legitimate outlet for their constant arousal.

“And yes, I can hear some of you; ‘then the men must control themselves!’ Frankly speaking that argument is well spent, not to mention futile, as most men are, inherently, only able to react to that, the same way a hungry lion would react if thrown a juicy piece of steak, and told not to eat it…”

Shades of Sheik El-Hilaly’s “uncovered meat” statement, don’t you think?

Gemma Ward makes her return to the newsstand.

“What to Wear for SlutWalk”:

“Wear anything you like, the organisers told me when I emailed them…

“SlutWalk will feature people in all sorts of garments and gear, dressed for the office, clubbing, yoga, walking the dog, whatever it is that people wear as they go about their lives not asking to be raped.”

A behind-the-scenes look at how Mia Freedman’s Sunday Life profile pictures go down.

Also at MamaMia, Freedman writes on Paper Giants (more on that to come next week; oh, the perils of not yet being digital TV-ready!), Park St, and the relevance and demise of magazines in 2011.

Nina Funnell on the “appalling” and “exploitative” nature of child beauty pageants.

“Gym. Tan. Laundry. Discuss.” The social politics of Jersey Shore.

She-Ra gets a fashionable makeover for a good cause.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Eight-year-old yellow wunderkind Lisa Simpson has her own book club.

Sarah Ayoub addresses Eddie Maguire’s racist comments in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Paula Joye at Girl with a Satchel on declining mag circulation.

How Hugh Hefner got his groove back at The New York Times.

I never thought there was a “link between autism and vaccinations” until my sister told me the story of how her boyfriend’s brother went from normal, happy and healthy baby to severely disabled after a vaccination. That made me think differently. This article will challenge your beliefs either way.

If “at least 40% of your diet consists of pre-packaged food”, “you don’t sleep enough for proper brain function” and “your boss knows you’re gullible”, you most likely work a 16-hour workday.

On stripping (take two):

“… the brotherly succor would partially exist in the form of shared ambivalence. I would venture to say that this how a majority of men feel about strippers… Do I enjoy strippers? Not really. Do I frequent tithouses often? No. Nor have I any close friends who do… I think men would be willing to renounce strippers if women renounced the Sex and the City franchise. I mean cut all cords. Shit’s gotten out of hand. No reruns. None of the third-wave dime store psychology. A complete effacement out of pop culture. You’re not even allowed hearken back to the simpler days when it meant something to you. Do we have a deal?”

Speaking of Sex & the City, is there a double standard between the second movie and lad flick Get Him to the Greek?

Is it possible to be a feminist and like fashion, too?

“I still get thrilled and impressed by bold, lovely, and often expensive fashion. And I still feel like I’m a person of worth, whether I’m wearing vintage Chanel or ‘vintage’ sweatpants. But I can’t seem to reconcile these two (competing?) impulses; on the one hand, a value in ‘art for art’s sake[’], beauty, style, and other intangibles; on the other, an investment in valuing substance over style, actions over appearances, and real justice over flamboyant showmanship.”

“What Your Favourite Magazine Says About You (Part II).”

Zoë Foster espouses the benefits of the “Better Man, Better Dan” theory.

 

Images via The Lisa Simpson Book Club, The Frisky.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

The perils of pants-less ladies.

Does Gossip Girl care about women in politics?

Bryce Corbett in defence of Nicole Kidman:

“… it seems to me that Nicole Kidman is engaged in what must be a most dissatisfying unrequited love affair with her homeland. She flies to Australia to pimp her country on Oprah. She makes a film with Baz Luhrmann which (whatever you may have thought of the final product) was a massive shot in the arm for the local film industry and a two-hour love-song to her country of birth. She fronts up to G’Day USA every year to flog the myriad wonders of Down Under. And following the Victorian bushfires, she donated half-a-million dollars of her own money to the Red Cross relief fund. What a cow.”

“Sexual Assault & the Super Bowl.”

Anna Chong, a designer from the London College of Fashion, has re-imagined Lady Gaga’s most popular get-ups into Barbie-sized outfits. But she’s not the first to do it

“Why is Captain America Ruling Our Screens & Not Wonder Woman?”

Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes as modern-day hipster fashion icon.

The New York Times profiles “nice-guy blogger” Jared Eng on his “cheery, quotidian, Britney-goes-to-Starbucks” blog, JustJared.com.

Also at The New York Times, The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield is un-relatable.

Jacob Lambert on “The Paper-Reader’s Dilemma”:

“No longer are books being pitted against pixels; pointing out that paper isn’t reflective either seems very 2007.  The war is now between tablets, as if the book never existed at all.”

Yet more dispelling of the Nicole Kidman vitriol, this time in a vintage (2008) article on Girl with a Satchel.

In the same vein of “17 Arguments Against Gay Marriage & Why They’re Bollocks” and “10 Things You Need to Understand About Asylum Seekers”, comes John Birmingham’s defence of Sandra Reynolds, via MamaMia.

I’d been searching for this article for awhile to reference in a few Lady Gaga musings, and finally came across it again last week and re-read it in the bath. Bliss. A fine example of quality journalism.

Reblogged from Fuck Yeah, Gender Studies, Rachel Hills runs a post on the question of “Who Sexualises Children?”:

“God, it doesn’t even make sense—HOW can a child be sex vixen? When I look at a child, I see a child. Regardless of costume. Dressed like Mary Poppins or dressed like Britney Spears, a kid is a kid! If you see something sexual, the problem is with you.”

I haven’t been shy about my hatred of Charlie Sheen (I know hate is a strong word, but honestly, he is a despicable human being), especially when he gets a free pass because he happens to be the star of TV’s most successful show, while Lindsay Lohan’s career is in ruins. Jezebel reiterates this:

“In recent years no stars (with the possible exception of the oddly lovable Celebrity Rehab cast members) have had their problems with addiction more publicized than Charlie and Lindsay. However, the way these stars are treated by the media and the public is vastly different, mainly due to the double standard for female celebrities.

“The scorn for Lindsay is particularly strange because compared to Charlie, she’s only hurting herself. Let’s review some of Lindsay’s biggest tabloid scandals: Two DUI arrests, four stays in rehab, missing numerous court hearings, going to jail for failing a drug test, battling bulimia, battling her father, and breaking up with her girlfriend. As for Charlie, he’s been in and out of rehab for years, he “accidentally” shot fiancee Kelly Preston in the arm, he was named as a frequent visitor to brothels owned by Heidi Fleiss, he’s dated numerous porn stars, he ODed on cocaine, allegedly shoved Denise Richards and verbally abused her during their marriage, and was arrested for domestic violence against Brooke Mueller, but avoided jail time due to a plea deal. Lindsay has never been married and has no children. Charlie has been married three times and has five kids, four of whom are under the age of 10.”

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Millennials Magazine profiles the beauty of the to-do list, Daniel D’Addario gets nostalgic for Daria Morgendorffer, while Katie Baker wishes she was an orphan:

“Orphans are adored by their peers, but tormented by evil guardians, stay cool under pressure and abuse, and rarely fail to win true familial love and affection in the end.”

Also at Millennials Mag, the awesomeness of The O.C. was that “it was just fucking dramatic”:

“Kirsten’s an alcoholic. Marissa almost dies in an alley in Tijuana. Luke’s dad turns out to be gay. Luke and Julie Cooper hook up, grossly. Seth, who’s supposed to be this huge nerd, nabs the most popular girl in school. Summer gets into Brown, which is actually kind of realistic considering her money, but that’s another story. Obviously some lesbian stuff happens. Marissa shoots Trey. Marissa dies. Ryan and Taylor go into a parallel universe while in a coma. And yet everyone keeps on being rich and impossibly well dressed and extremely easy on the eyes.”

“The 9 Most Racist Disney Characters.”

Continuing with the “Why Don’t You Love Me?” theme, Tiger Beatdown discusses the cultural relevance of Beyonce’s anthem, in relation to buying access to a stripper’s body via a $10 lap dance:

“I was able to buy access to this woman’s body and (very convincing) pretend affections for less than I would spend picking up a couple of last-minute things at the grocery store. It was worth almost nothing. Less than an oil change. Less than someone cutting my hair. Less than getting a decent tailor to hem a pair of pants. Less than a bouquet of roses.

“And that’s the day that I realized we were all the victims of a sick joke. A despicable charade where so much is demanded of women, so much compliance and poking and prodding, so much effort to make ourselves beautiful and radiant and perfect, so much forcing of square pegs into round holes, just so we could meet it all, do it all, get close to the apex of perfection and still be worth nothing. We would be left with alienation from our own bodies, our bodies that we squeezed into stilettos and shaved and waxed and whittled into tiny silhouettes at the gym, always striving for more perfect, thinner, prettier, more alluring. Working so hard to satisfy the cultural imperative toward female perfection—how could we have time for our own desires except to be desired?

“Latoya Peterson writes about the video that ‘Once again, Beyoncé’s lyrics define her positive attributes in the context of why she should be desirable to some fool that doesn’t appreciate her. The video, however, is a lot more interesting since, with Beyoncé playing the role of “B.B. Homemaker”, it is openly mocking a lot of the ideals and tenets of womanhood’. I’d go much further than that. I’d say that the song and the video together form a radical critique of femininity, full stop. Because this is what femininity is about: making yourself appealing to men by adhering as closely possible to cultural ideals of perfect womanhood. Her lyric is not ‘when I am so damn easy to love’, but ‘when I make me so damn easy to love’. It’s effort, it’s a construct, it is something she does and not something that she is. It is performative.”

“Man up” seems to be a fairly frequently used phrase in my vernacular, and The New York Times ponders its true meaning:

“But man up isn’t just being used to package machismo as a commodity. Its spectrum of meanings runs from ‘Don’t be a sissy; toughen up’ all the way to ‘Do the right thing; be a mensch,’ to use the Yiddishism for an honourable or upright person. The Man Up Campaign, for instance, is a new global initiative that engages youth to stop gender-based violence: ‘Our call to action challenges each of us to “man up” and declare that violence against women and girls must end,’ its mission statement reads.”

Now that is something we can all certainly man up stand up for.

The top ten reasons why anyone follows anyone who’s anyone on Twitter.

Uplift Magazine on those Crystal Renn food photos.

In defence of books:

“Many books are screwy, a great many are dull, some are irredeemable, and there are way too many of them, probably, in the world. I hate all the fetishistic twaddle about books promoted by the chain stores and the book clubs, which make books seem as cozy and unthreatening as teacups, instead of the often disputatious and sometimes frightening things they are. I recognize that we now have many ways to convey, store, and reproduce the sorts of matter that formerly were monopolized by books. I like to think that I’m no bookworm, egghead, four-eyed paleface library rat. I often engage in activities that have no reference to the printed words. I realize that books are not the entire world, even if they sometimes seem to contain it. But I need the stupid things.”

The perils of HalloSlut-o-Ween, at Rabbit White.

Meet Me at Mike’s Pip Lincolne writes about what makes a successful blog.

More on the Glee/GQ photo shoot scandal, this time from NPR and the girls at Go Fug Yourself.