On the (Rest of the) Net.

Cory-Monteith

Where does Glee go next after the tragic death of Cory Monteith over the weekend? [Vulture]

Furthermore, Monteith as Finn Hudson embodied the fear of failure and being stuck in a small town with little to no prospects. Drawing on his real-life experiences, perhaps? [The Atlantic]

Got daddy issues? The ultimate TV father/lovers. [Daily Life]

I went to a Lady Gaga variety fundraising night and wrote about it for TheatrePress.

Is news bad for us? It is if it comes from The Daily Mail. [Daily Life]

Homosexuality in hip hop. [The Guardian]

An advertising agency liaising with the Prime Minister’s Office and hip, young media brands, such as TheVine, offered an interview with the PM in exchange for free pro-Labor advertising. [SMH]

Pacific Rim—the latest in a depressingly long line of films—fails the Bechdel test, hard. [Vulture]

The Pixar Theory: why Brave, Toy Story, Monsters Inc. et al are all linked together as part of the same story as opposed to different ones. The mind boggles. [Jon Negroni]

The underlying religious messages in Man of Steel. [EW Pop Watch]

Oh, goody! I’ve always wanted a system to chart how slutty I am. Gives a whole new meaning to the “slut barometre” Alyx Gorman discussed on TheVine a few weeks ago. [Slut Formula]

Why paedophiles Peter Truong and Mark Newton give same-sex parents a bad name. [ABC The Drum]

Image via Mirror.

Movies: Top 11 Films of 2011*.

Scream 4. For my money, which I forked out happily, Scream 4 was not only one of the best films of the year (for me, Bridesmaids was number one, followed closely by the fourth installment of the Woodsboro saga), but the best chapter of the franchise.

Bridesmaids. My other favourite movie of the year. While I’m happy that the rest of the world cottoned on to the brilliance of Bridesmaids, my only regret is that it’s not just my little secret.

Black Swan. It was the buzz of the 2011 Oscars for its lesbian scenes, portrayal of mental illness and the controversial partnership between choreographer Benjamin Millipied and star Natalie Portman.

The Lion King 3D. Who could resist the 3D reboot of one of Disney’s best loved animations? It also harkens back to the hand-drawn animation era, being one of the last before computer animated films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo took over.

The Muppets. Probably one of the most anticipated films of the year (in my household, at least!), I was lucky enough to see it in a preview screening early in December. Technically, it’s released in Australia later in January, however it was a Thanksgiving film in the U.S., so I’m sticking by that. A must see for any child at heart.

The Help. The Help really took me by surprise. In August, I saw a preview screening of the film advertised, and it piqued my interest. A few days later, I realised it was based on a book, and before I even had a chance to express interest in reading Kathryn Stockett’s novel, the movie was out in cinemas. I’m glad I didn’t read the book, because the movie was it for me. And for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, apparently!

Breaking Dawn. Breaking Yawn, more like it. While I was sorely disappointed by the first installment of the big screen adaptation of the final book in the Twilight Saga, it was one of the most highly anticipated and grossing films of the year.

X-Men: First Class. I’m not an X-Men fan, so I’m handing it over to my housemate, Eddie, who is:

“For a northern summer blockbuster, it asks a lot of questions about morality of the viewer: should you change or should society change? Is change through force acceptable? Throw in some incredible acting from Michael Fassbender and one of the greatest cameos of all time from Hugh Jackman and you have yourself a very smart popcorn film.”

New Years Eve. In the vein of He’s Just Not That Into You and Valentine’s Day, I’m a sucker for a celebrity-packed movie. While there’s not much of a story, and it’s more of an excuse to perve on the alleged chemistry between Lea Michele and Ashton Kutcher, it’s the perfect mind-numbing holiday movie.

Super 8. As the latest issue of Time magazine (review to come) notes, Super 8 was one of the more hyped movies of the year. While I quite enjoyed it, sadly, Super 8 didn’t live up to its expectations.

Green Lantern. It was the year of green. Kermit’s return in The Muppets, and Ryan Reynolds’ turn as Hal Jordan. Looking back, the film was a bit of a flop in my eyes, but it did set the scene for one of the most talked about hookups of the year: Reynolds and Blake Lively.

What were your top films of 2011?

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Scream 4 Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Bridesmaids Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Help Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Breaking Dawn: Sex is Bad, Okay? And You Will Be Punished for Having it with a Life-Sucking Vampire Foetus. Sorry, Life-Sucking Vampire BABY!

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Super 8 Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Green Lantern Review.

Movies: The Best Movies I’ve Seen This Year.

Tomorrow, When the War Began. Check out my review to see how strongly I feel about it.

Desk Set. This 1957 romantic comedy starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy takes place in a reference library, and deals with the incorporation of computers to help the ladies in their cataloguing. With a healthy dose of the trademark ’50s slapstick rom-com dynamic and TDF fashion, I loved this one.

Easy A. Again, another I’ve done a review on. While I had high hopes for this one, it didn’t live up to them fully, but it is one of the smarter teen movies in recent memory. On par with Mean Girls, perhaps?

Rear Window. What took me so long, right? I watched this one for the first time last Christmas, and continued the tradition again this holiday season. Grace Kelly is luminous as “his girl Friday” to James Stewart’s L.B. Jeffries, who is the ultimate leading man. Hitchcock at his best.

Toy Story 3. It is unanimous that Toy Story 3 is one of the best movies released in 2010. Perhaps the best of the Toy Story franchise? Nah, my money’s on the first instalment.

Desperately Seeking Susan. So bad it’s good. The fashion is fabulous (on Madonna’s part, anyway) and Her Madgesty is surprisingly likable in it.

Sorry about the dismal effort in this post, but seriously; there were no good movies this year! You only have to look at Sex & the City 2 (which I quite liked, but will admit was baaad), The Expendables and Killers for proof of that.

That’s why I spent a lot of my cinema-going money on the classics, such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Beauty & the Beast in 3D. That counts as a movie I haven’t seen before this year, right? Right…?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Movies/Book Review: Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Movie Review: Easy A.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Movie Review: Sex & the City 2.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Movie Review: The Expendables.

[Jezebel] Is Easy A The Next Mean Girls?

[Jezebel] I Went to See Killers & It’s All Your Fault.

In Defence of Barbie.

Last week I posted a story about my favourite fictional females, and Barbie was one of them.

Granted, she’s not exactly fictional, but she’s by no means “real”, and doesn’t represent real women in any way. So much so that if Barbie were alive, she would be so underweight she wouldn’t be able to menstruate, and so out of proportion that she would fall over.

These factors aside, I loved Barbie as a kid. Still do. Being as innocent and ignorant as children are, I was oblivious to the fact that Barbie is allegedly a bad role model for kids. Sure, I often wished I was blonde haired and blue eyed like Barbie (which probably stemmed from both my mother and younger sister possessing these traits, and me feeling like the odd one out), but mostly Barbie instilled in me the ideal that I could be anyone I wanted to be.

Hello?! Barbie has had such occupations as a teacher (in nine different subjects, no less!), doctor, police and army officer, astronaut, ballerina, gymnast and even a McDonald’s employee, amongst many, many others (see the full list here).

Of course, some of these occupations required Barbie to rely on her looks (Baywatch lifeguard, model), but most of her occupations require legitimate skills in real life. And also in real life, some jobs do depend on workers’ appearances.

Barbie also acts as a blank canvas for young girls (and boys) to project their ideals onto her. Most times I played Barbies with my sister, we often put our dolls in high school situations. When the aforementioned Baywatch Barbie came out, with an accompanying dolphin toy, we transformed the bathroom into the beach. Even as I got older, my teenage friends and I used our Barbies as art projects and pop culture experiments. I remember a certain Michael Jackson version of Ken that totally kicked butt!

I changed my mind several times as I grew up about what I wanted to be when I actually did grow up, and Barbie came on that journey with me. From violinist, to vet, to actress to journalist (I wonder if there will be a blogger Barbie in the future…?), Barbie was there, helping me craft out my ambitions and, like, what I would wear.

Yes, Barbie is unrealistically beautiful and thin and leads a charmed life, but this doesn’t govern how she is perceived by little girls (and, again, boys) and how they play with her. She may serve as a guinea pig for Toy Story’s Sid-like torture, a model for the latest buzz-cut á la an aspiring hair-dresser, “a happy hetero, a lipstick lez, or a bitchin’ CEO” (my preference was for the power-suited latter), a way to express juvenile sexual interest while her owner remains a “good girl” (which perhaps contributes to the negative perception surrounding the doll), or remain exactly as Mattel intended her to be: an immaculate representation of femininity. And that’s okay.

Primarily, I think, again, that Barbie allows girls to be whoever they want to be. I don’t necessarily think young girls have a clear-cut perception of the perfection Barbie represents in the grown-up world; for them, she’s just a cool doll with a fab convertible, ever-changing wardrobe and a resume that will get her where she wants to go. Importantly, too, Ken is not a deciding factor in her life, and Barbie will do whatever she wants with or without the approval of the man in her life. And now that she’s divorced, perhaps she doesn’t need or want a man in her life at all.Maybe I’m just lucky; the presence of Barbie and exposure to pop-cultural representations of “traditional” femininity in my life at a young and susceptible age, I feel, has enriched my life rather than hindered the development of a healthy body image. Who can say what factors contribute to food, weight and body image issues in young (and old) women alike? I know I definitely can’t put my finger on the defining aspects in my life that have allowed me to think critically and actively about such things. But I do think a little too much emphasis is conveniently placed on Barbie as the culprit.

Related: Women in Fiction—My Favourite Fictional Females.

Is There Really a Beauty Myth?

Elsewhere: [Yahoo! Answers] What Would Barbie’s Measurements Be If She Were a Real Person?

[Wikipedia] Barbie’s Careers.

[Greteman] In Defence of Barbie.