On the (Rest of the) Net.

the hills teen vogue

Gender politics and the cautionary tale of not leaning in on The Hills. [Vulture]

The fault in sick-lit. [Kill Your Darlings]

Lupita Nyong’o and the fetishisation of black women’s bodies. [Black Feminists]

Too much Kim, not enough Kendall. [The Style Con]

In praise of Lisa Simpson, Harriet M. Welsch and Scout Finch. [The New Yorker]

ICYMI: Gossip Girl—Hell Hath No Fury Like a Lonely Boy Scorned.

Image via Cosmopolitan.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

The “coward’s punch” is far more rampant than violence against women, or so the current furore surrounding male street violence would have you believe. [Daily Life] 

Move over Beyonce, 2013 was Miley’s year. [Village Voice]

If porn stars could speak in schools, this is what they’d say. [New Statesman]

Yet another attempt to unpack the consumption of art created by abusers. [Bitch Flicks]

How Aussie Girls relate to their Lena Dunham-created counterparts. One of the best think pieces I’ve read about the show. [Kill Your Darlings]

Why we shouldn’t joke about incest in the wake of Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic remake. [Here There Be Dragons]

Speaking of Flowers, is it anti-reading? [The New Yorker]

What if we spent as much mental energy worrying about homeless women as we did celebrities? [Jezebel]

In Defence of Sex & the City.

carrie-and-the-girls-baseball

Earlier this year there was somewhat of a resurgence of appreciation for the art of SexSex & the City, that is.

In the wake of the death of Sopranos star James Gandolfini and the culmination of decade-defining Breaking Bad, the apparent age of the anti-hero is upon us. The Sopranos was no doubt a watershed moment for cable network HBO, but what about another HBO show that aired six months prior and also elucidated a generation: Sex & the City?

TV critic Emily Nussbaum was thinking along the same lines when she wrote her own defence of the series earlier this year for The New Yorker. A sample:

“But Sex and the City, too, was once one of HBO’s flagship shows. It was the peer of The Sopranos, albeit in a different tone and in a different milieu, deconstructing a different genre. Mob shows, cop shows, cowboy shows—those are formulas with gravitas. Sex and the City, in contrast, was pigeonholed as a sitcom. In fact, it was a bold riff on the romantic comedy: the show wrestled with the limits of that pink-tinted genre for almost its entire run. In the end, it gave in. Yet until that last-minute stumble it was sharp, iconoclastic television. High-feminine instead of fetishistically masculine, glittery rather than gritty, and daring in its conception of character, Sex and the City was a brilliant and, in certain ways, radical show. It also originated the unacknowledged first female anti-hero on television: ladies and gentlemen, Carrie Bradshaw.”

Carrie Bradshaw—like the anti-heroine Hannah in the apparent anti-SATC of this generation, Lena Dunham’s Girls—is not someone to look up to. She’s mind-numbingly selfish (“This can’t be the day I was broken up with by a Post-It!” No, Carrie, it was the day your friend Charlotte got engaged. But, by Charlotte’s own admission, it would be her second marriage so it’s not that important, right?); lives in a rent-controlled pre-war brownstone on the “gated island for the wealthy”, as Nussbaum puts it, apparently paid for by a $400-a-week-if-she’s-lucky-freelance-gig; and cheated on Aidan with Big. (In the ill-fated second movie, Carrie then cheats on Big with Aidan.)

While Carrie may not be a wholly identifiable character, the friendships she shares with Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte certainly are. Carrie is obviously everyone’s best friend who is asked to be maid of honour at their weddings and pick them up from the hospital when they’re sick, but the dynamics between the other women are interesting. Samantha and Charlotte can certainly clash over their differing ideologies on sex and relationships—the season three episode, “Frenemies”, perfectly illustrated the virgin-whore dichotomy between the two, but I love the maternal side Samantha shows around Charlotte, supporting her in “The Baby Shower” when she discovers the mum-to-be stole her future daughter’s name. I most strongly identify with Miranda, who often clashes with Carrie due to her whimsical attitude about things like money and men. For example, when Carrie reveals she’s going to lunch with Big after countless heartbreak in the season three finale, Miranda becomes exasperated at Carrie’s masochism and storms out of a vintage store they were shopping at. On the other side of the coin, Carrie disapproves of Miranda unquestioningly cutting ties with Steve for cheating on her in the original movie.

And let’s not forget the ground SATC broke in terms of women and talking about sex and TV. Looking back on it now, some of the attitudes the girls share about gender (Samantha’s treatment of the transgendered sex workers outside her apartment), sexuality (Miranda comments that bisexuality isn’t a valid orientation because the women end up with men and the men end up with men) and sex work (when everyone finds out Stanford’s boyfriend, Marcus, was a sex worker); but, at that time, can you recall many other shows that were so open and frank about sex and how women feel about it?

So while the show might be called Sex & the City—and let’s be clear, there’s a hell of a lot of it!—it’s very much about women and friendships in New York City.

Elsewhere: [The New Yorker] Difficult Women.

Image via Musings of the Girl Who Was Death.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

peta vegans go all the way campaign

PETA get more anti-women with each ad campaign. [Daily Life]

On favouring the internet over books. I’m a rapacious reader; if I don’t get at least an hour’s reading time in each day, I will slowly start to go insane. Some of my friends tease me ’cause it can take me up to a month or six weeks to finish a book (the most recent was Stephen King’s Under the Dome, and what a waste of two months that was!), but that’s not taking into account the copious amounts of other reading I do. On a good day, I’ll devour every article on TheVine, Daily Life, MamaMia and Jezebel, and fit in some before-bed book reading. On the weekends I can get through The Age‘s lifestyle sections, long-form articles I can’t commit to throughout the week and magazines that have been languishing on my bedside table for weeks, on top of all the rest. I read probably millions of words a week. I don’t think there’s any harm in some of those words being from the internet. These days, reading is about so much more than books. Just so long as I can get a chapter or two in every night or on the bus, I’ll take my reading where I can get it. [Daily Life]

Reading letters to Ms. magazine’s editors from the 1980s. [The New Yorker]

The rise of the Trojan Horse TV show. [Film School Rejects]

Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Ken Lay, pleads with the public to view violence against women as not just a women’s issue. [The Hoopla]

I review Monash Uni Student Theatre’s production of Columbine. [TheatrePress]

Anna Gunn, the actress who plays Skyler White on Breaking Bad, weighs in on the vitriol directed at her character. [NYTimes]

Can you perform a gay anthem if you’re straight? [Jezebel]

The privileged male sexuality of “Blurred Lines”. [Collapse Board]

In defence of the make-up-free selfie. I like MamaMia‘s Body Positive campaign, but I think it’s just the concept of the selfie I’m a bit iffy about. I’m all for taking a photo of myself after exercise or of a body part that I’m self-conscious about, but I just can’t get behind selfies (so to speak). Maybe it’s also an insecurity about my face without makeup. Apart from my legs, my bare face is the body part I most struggle with. I love the structure of my face, and I think my eyes are my best feature, but I’m still sporting the scars from years of late-adolescence/early-adulthood acne which means I’m not ready to upload a make-up-free pic of myself for all the interwebs to see. Plus, I think selfies are kind of narcissistic—there’s a difference between a light-hearted holiday or dancefloor snap with friends and a duckface bathroom pic which just screams “validate me!” What do you think of the whole selfie phenomenon in general?

Some slighted feminists sick of receiving dick pics have decided to make them into an art exhibition. And that’s where the issue of consent comes in. [Daily Life]

Image via SMH.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

mary-kate & ashley new york minute

Is there such a thing as a bad Olsen twin movie? [Rookie]

Chris Brown, R. Kelly, Surfer Blood… What are we willing to overlook in order to enjoy pop culture? [Grantland]

How many times will you see your parents before they die? [See Your Folks]

“Bindi Irwin: Feminist Warrior?” [MamaMia] 

In defence of Sex & the City. [The New Yorker]

And, furthermore, in defence of Miranda Hobbes. [Women & Hollywood]

Why women in sport matter. [Lip Mag]

How to ask about someone’s ethnicity the right way. [Jezebel]

Image via Ask Your Feet.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

lindsay lohan mug shot xovain

xoVain recreates Lindsay Lohan’s mugshot looks.

Benjamin Law thinks all gay men should be feminists. Nay, all HUMANS should be feminists! [Daily Life]

When your mum has bad body image. This piece hits home because my mum is insecure about the way she looks and has transferred that onto my sister. [Daily Life]

The 12th Doctor Who should be a woman. [Slate]

Unfortunately, all my flights for my U.S. trip coming up at the end of the year are with Virgin, so hopefully their new “Get Lucky at 35,000 Feet” campaign doesn’t mean sexual harassment at 35,000 feet. [Make Me a Sammich]

Dissecting Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:

“The worse the stories get, the stronger [Olivia Benson] becomes; it’s the show’s unspoken dialectic…

“For all SVU’s excesses, we expect it to keep one promise: no matter how bad things get, the story will end.” [The New Yorker]

Daisy Buchanan: the ultimate Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

“Is she at fault for the fact that all of her swooning suitors idealise and project upon her?  Should we pity her, even a little, for not having had the courage or desire to break free of her social caste and love whomever she pleased?” [Women in the World]

Why does Johnny Depp have a bird on his head, speak in pidgin English and bear the Spanish name for dumb in the reboot of The Lone Ranger in 2013? [The Good Men Project]

Discussing street harassment. [Jezebel]

Why the most recent viral Dove ads are bull: lots of people envision themselves as attractive or more attractive than they are. [Jezebel]

Tyler the Creator’s misogyny and homophobia isn’t “just about the music”, and nor is it edgy. It’s disgusting. [Tiger Beatdown]

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding this piece: it’s natural to lust after randoms passing you in the street, brewing your coffee, or hanging at the bar, but this guy wonders if his perving is more of a compulsion. [Slate]

What murdered teen Trayvon Martin and Justin Bieber have in common. [This Week in Blackness]

Image via xoVain.

Movie Review: The Hunger Games*.

Now, The Hunger Games is a lesson in how to do young adult with a female in the lead, Stephenie Meyer.

***

I was a bit apprehensive about buying into The Hunger Games hype but, as a blogger, I thought it imperative that I read the book and the see the movie to understand what all the hype was about and, at the very least, to get a blog post out of it. (That’s my reasoning for going to see American Pie: The Reunion next week, anyway!)

I’d read all the blog posts and cultural analyses of the film and book before I went to see it last Monday and finished it over this past weekend, respectively, so I had a pretty good idea of the storyline and the social commentary I’d be looking for. I don’t normally like to see the film version before I finish the original one (although my track record, with Twilight and, most recently, Water for Elephants and My Week with Marilyn, doesn’t bode well), but I actually found myself more immersed in The Hunger Games, as opposed to analysing each and every moment, when the film continued after where I’d reached in the book. (The pre-Hunger Games interviews, FYI.)

While the book is allegedly a commentary on the hell high school can be (like a post apocalyptic Buffy), I interpreted it more to be not only about capitalist life (the riches of the Capitol juxtaposed against the poverty and poor quality of life for the rest of Panem), but about advertising culture and the media.

The argument that seems to surround media today is that we should ban this, and censor that. Then we wouldn’t have eating disorders, negative stereotypes of women and minorities, obesity, gambling, domestic violence, blatant consumerism and pretty much anything else you can think of. Common sense would have us stop consuming the things we don’t feel align with our personal ethics. Don’t like the way animals are slaughtered in factory farms for our precious meat? Don’t eat it. Don’t like racism? Don’t be a racist. Don’t like leggings as pants? Don’t wear them. Don’t like children being chosen at random to fight to the death for the pleasure of the elite and the opportunity to make life a little more bearable for the underclass? Don’t watch it. If everyone adopted this attitude and no one watched, there wouldn’t be a product. As author Suzanne Collins notes her inspiration for the series as flicking television stations between war and reality TV, it’s not hard to come to this conclusion.

Despite the fact that no one really seems to be talking about the senseless mass murder of children by children (won’t somebody think of them?!), there is a point to “career tributes” like Cato and Glimmer, who are trained for the Hunger Games since birth.  As Laura Miller wrote in The New Yorker, “[W]hy isn’t it the poorer, hungrier districts that pool their resources to train Career Tributes, instead of the wealthier ones?”

I wasn’t as huge a fan as some others who’ve devoured the series in several sittings (I prefer to wait until the next filmic instalment is on the horizon to delve into the second book, as with Tomorrow, When the War Began, for example), but I did like it and look forward to seeing what the next two chapters bring; both book and film versions.

 

 

 

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Related: My Week in Pictures—5th April, 2012.

My Week with Marilyn Review. 

Event: Should Meat Be Off the Menu?

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden Book/Movie Review.

Elsewhere: [The New Yorker] Fresh Hell.

Image via IMDb.