On the (Rest of the) Net.

disney princess cinderella domestic violence

The latest artists’ take on Disney princesses and social awareness features Cinderella, Ariel et al. as victims of domestic violence. [Daily Life]

Occupy protestor Cecily McMillan reports on the conditions inside Rikers Island Correctional Facility. And let me tell you, this ain’t no Orange is the New Black shit. [Jezebel]

There’s a difference between a feminist character and a character who’s a feminist. [Persephone Magazine]

Speaking of, Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy is more feminist than Scandal:

“… The attention and praise Rhimes has received for casting [Kerry] Washington as [Olivia] Pope has overshadowed the fact that what Rhimes got right with her female characters in Grey’s, she got wrong in Scandal

“When it comes to their personal lives, the women in Scandal are insecure, vulnerable and reactive, while the ones in Grey’s are stronger, self-assured and reflective.” [In These Times]

And ICYMI, I wrote about feminism on the latest season of Grey’s Anatomy and victim-blaming.

The 74th Down Under Feminist Blog Carnival is up, and one of my pieces about Orange is the New Black is featured. Head on over to check it, and much more feminist writing from the Aussie interwebs, out. [Pondering Postfeminism]

Jasmine Shea boycotted her local Hobby Lobby store by making pro-choice statements with their craft supplies. [Feministing]

In the wake of True Blood‘s final season, Katherine Murray discusses its troubling sexual politics. [Bitch Flicks]

Image via Daily Life.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

victorian era breastfeeding

Victorians were more progressive about breastfeeding than we are! Although, it was linked to femininity, class and bonding with the child, stigmas that still exist around breastfeeding (or NOT breastfeeding) today. [Sociological Images]

Do ladymags publish serious journalism? Follow the #WomenAtLength hashtag on Twitter to find some examples of longer, “serious” pieces written by women. [Jezebel]

What Adrian Bayley’s crimes can teach us about prevention, rehabilitation and incarceration. [New Matilda]

Everyday Sexism has made a doco about shouting back at street and sexual harassment. The accompanying article by Clem Bastow is equally as hard hitting. Check them both out, because no one should be made to feel like they brought harassment on themselves, they’re overreacting, or dread at the prospect of leaving the house because they might experience it. [Daily Life]

The manic pixie dream girls of superhero movies. [Think Progress]

Someone actually wants my opinion on the week that was in sexism and misogyny particularly in politics, but across other spectrums as well. Kudos to Corey Hague on editing me to sound like I actually know what I’m talking about! [ABC Central Victoria]

Meanwhile, Mia Freedman thinks it was a good week for women: at least we’re talking about sexism and there have been consequences for it. [MamaMia]

Famous women writers before their suicides. What do you think: artistic or glorifying suicide and sexualising violence? I find some of them, like the Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf portraits, visually appealing because they’re inoffensive to the eye and create tension and anticipation, but I can’t stomach the Dorothy Parker nor Sanmao ones. Vice may be known for their provocativity (is that even a word?!), but I think this photoshoot is in the same vein as Terry Richardson and Dolce & Gabanna’s rapey aesthetics – which I quite like despite myself – where stopping the sexualisation of violence against women should trump artistic expression. [Jezebel, as the photoshoot on Vice's website has been removed]

It was Father’s Day in the U.S. over the weekend, and to celebrate, The Hairpin has collated fiction’s worst fathers. As someone with a deadbeat dad myself, I can empathise.

Fashion, feminism and femininity: mutually exclusive? Hell no! The other day when discussing feminism with a mansplaining misogynist who told me I only make him more confused about feminism because of the way I look, a friend interjected that I might just be the most feminine person she knows. And the most feminist, might I add?! [Daily Life]

Kim Kardashian may be a fame-whore, but she’s a person, too, and she deserves some semblance of basic decency. [TheVine]

Is the only reason we watch True Blood anymore for the sex? [The Daily Beast]

If we can’t have the real deal, Feminist Taylor Swift is the next best thing. [Twitter]

Image via Sociological Images.

TV: Religious Extremism in the Fifth Season of True Blood.

True Blood has always had a socio-cultural-political-sexual statement to make: vampires are marginalised like blacks and gays. Supernatural beings are inherently sexual and therefore can’t be stopped. Vampires are just the beginning of a myriad of other “supes”: maenads, witches, “shifters, were-chickens and whatever the fuck else is out there!” as Sheriff Andy Bellefleur so eloquently puts it. If we grant acceptance to them, we have to accept everyone else.

So when mention of the biblical Lilith is made at the beginning of season five, along with the existence of Salome, it’s obvious the season was going to tackle the hard, religious issues.

Lilith has long been appropriated as a vampiric being, so it’s not unusual that she should be reappropriated for True Blood’s “original bible”—the vampire bible—as being created before Adam and Eve, not with Adam, and in God’s image. Ergo, God’s a vampire and “human shall nourish vampire”.

Lilith takes on the role of the temptress, her manifestation turning everyone who drinks her blood into hallucinating psychopaths, no one more than Bill, who kills numerous Authority members in his quest to be Lilith’s chosen one. Lilith urges both him, Salome and others to “Drink the blood, drink all the blood”, which destroys Bill’s vampire form and brings him back as something demonic and altogether other worldly. Lilith’s blood is no doubt a metaphor for blindly drinking the Kool Aid of organised religion.

The rest of the season, which culminated in Bill’s transcendence last night, also focusses on religious extremism, but I think it’s the Obama mask-wearing, supe-killing hate group terrorising Bon Temps that makes the most poignant remarks about religion.

The Human Patriots don’t come to the fore til about midway through the season, when Sam’s shifter friends, then Sam himself, Luna and Emma, are attacked. The conclusion is drawn that they were targeted because they’re shifters. Some digging by Sam and the sheriff’s office uncovers a website called the Human Patriot Manifesto, replete with a “grand dragon” à la the Ku Klux Klan, which vows to stop supes stealing our jobs, controlling the media, gaining equal rights and “making us feel bad for being regular old humans”. Sookie’s even caught in the cross-fire for simply being “associated with vampires”. Sounds an awful lot like, from an Australian perspective, the panic about asylum seekers in the media and the government. The amount of times I’ve heard someone say that we shouldn’t be accepting “boat people” into our country because they want to change our way of living, steal our jobs and mooch off our tax dollars on Centrelink (for those non-Aussies playing at home, that’s our department of welfare): so which is it? Do they want to take our jobs or not work at all?

It’s a very relevant debate on the way mainstream Western culture treats “others”: in this case, supernatural beings. That the terrorists wear Barack Obama masks (a reporter even asks if it’s true that Barack Obama is killing supes!) is a not-so-subtle dig at the opinion that Obama enables minorities (Muslim’s ’cause he is one, didn’t you know? And don’t the Republicans hate Mexicans?) instead of looking out for his countrymen. Again, not so different from the asylum seeker debate…

Speaking of “mainstreaming”, that’s the name given to the assimilation of vampires with humans, the movement which Chris Meloni’s Roman heads up. According to the U.S. Government’s liaison, he’s “the only one stopping the world from sliding back into the dark ages”. When the opposing Sanguinista movement (religious fundamentalists who believe in the literal translation of the vampire bible: that humans serve only as a food source for vampires) rises up from within the ranks of the Authority, all hell begins to break loose, some of which I couldn’t keep up with and am still trying to work through mentally.

But not everyone is hip to this idea, with the phrases “Wake up sister, it’s just a book. I knew the guy who wrote it and he was high the whole time,” “You are destroying the world based on a book that is thousands of years old… That’s the opposite of evolved,” and “The small-mindedness of your religion has literally kept you in the dark” rattling around throughout the season. If these aren’t a commentary on the religious right attempting to control the government in the U.S., then I don’t know what is. In fact, the Authority, as Pam so helpfully points out, is the vampire government and church: the church controls the government. Ever the bitchy voice of reason, she also ponders aloud the question of how many times she’ll have to live through the same “scenario happen[ing] over and over”. Rest assured, if the Republicans are elected this year, the United States will begin to resemble the dark age-esque, blood soaked mise en scène of Bon Temps, Louisiana. I guess we know who Alan Ball et al will be voting for…

Images via AllMyVideos.

TV: Top 11 TV Moments of 2011.

Paper Giants.

One of the best shows this year. Unfortunately, it only ran over two nights.

The Kennedys.

Wow. Just wow. I loved this miniseries that was cancelled by the History Channel in the U.S. because it allegedly portrayed the Kennedy family in too negative a light. Luckily, it was picked up by the ABC here. I am now officially in love with Greg Kinnear.

Go Back to Where You Came From.

Apart from Sarah Ferguson’s Four Corners expose on the meat industry (below), SBS’s Go Back to Where You Came From was the most groundbreaking television this year. Unfortunately, I don’t think it changed anyone’s minds about the plight of refugees in this country, because those who already empathise with asylum seekers were the show’s target audience, and those who think refugees should go back to where they came from snubbed the show.

Sookie & Eric Finally Get Together on True Blood.

While I’m more of a Sookie and Bill fan, and an Alcide-in-general fan, Eric’s turn as sensitive Sookie-lover in True Blood’s fourth season was a must-watch. But thankfully, the Nordic vampire is back to his old, heartless self.

Charlotte King’s Rape in Private Practice.

Private Practice is an oft-shunned show, in favour of its Seattle counterpart, Grey’s Anatomy, but season four dealt with abortion and rape particularly sensitively and realistically.

Four Corners’ Expose on the Meat Market.

This was probably one of the most talked about news stories in Australia, if one of the most poorly rated episodes of Four Corners. Not because people didn’t care, but because it was so hard to watch. It’s perhaps too soon to tell, but I think we are seeing a chance in meat practices in Australia because of this story.

The Slap.

I found one of ABC’s most anticipated shows of the year to be a spectacular letdown. I’d had Christos Tsiolkas’ novel on my reading list since it was released, however I missed out on reading it before the show premiered in October. Perhaps if I had read the book first I would feel differently about the show, but I found it to be stereotypical and tokenistic, and a massive disappointment from the screen version I had hyped up in my mind. Fail.

MamaMia Gets Its Own TV Show.

Probably not many TV watchers outside of the insular community of MamaMia and Sky News would have known about Mia Freedman’s lifestyle website making the switch to TV. I don’t have pay TV but, luckily, the shows are available to watch on the MamaMia website, YouTube and Facebook, where the panelists talk about all manner of things, like sex, mental illness, celebrity, porn, religion, parenthood and more.

Angry Boys.

I hadn’t watched any of Chris Lilley’s stuff before Angry Boys and, while a lot who had thought the show was a bit of a letdown, I really enjoyed it.

Housos.

Another one that was a bit hit-and-miss, I’d anticipated the show all year. While some moments were gold, others were just supremely unfunny.

At Home With Julia.

Finally, the cherry on top of a parody-tastic television year. I really enjoyed Amanda Bishop’s portrayal of Julia Gillard, but I still found the fact that there was a show about a sitting prime minister pretty offensive.

Any TV moments I missed here that you thought defined 2011?

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Response: Go Back to Where You Came From.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Private Practice: Pro-Choice?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Slap & Men Who Cheat.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] At Home with Julia: Funny or Disrespectful?

TV: True Blood—It Gets Better.

“All my life I’ve been afraid… [of the] dead people muttering in my ears, making me deliver your messages. Making me into a freak! A creepy, pathetic, terrified mess, muttering to herself in the corner.”

“Oh Marnie, can’t you see? Life is pain. But soon all you’ve suffered and feared will be meaningless. You will be a peace. But them [the vampires]…?”

“… they’ll be stuck here forever.”

“And there’s no victory in that.”

Death and vampires are pretty bleak metaphors for putting an end to bullying and its perpetrators. Or it’s one clever way for incorporating the It Gets Better message into a show laden with cultural undertones: Marnie (despite becoming the bully herself) gets to move on and put her hellish ordeals behind her, while those who victimised her, the vampires, are doomed to repeat the same cycle of hatred, facing karma at the end of the day.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Wiccans: Born This Way.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Meaning of War According to True Blood.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Male Rape on True Blood.

Images via VideoBB.

TV: Wiccans—Born This Way.

The actress who plays the disturbed Wiccan Marnie Stonebrook on True Blood, Fiona Shaw, is a lesbian herself, so her character’s diatribe about being a supernatural outcast on last night’s episode has several layers:

“[People] are cruel. They’re bullies. They treat you like a pariah. They’re just mocking and judging and… shunning me. Well I didn’t ask to be what I am.”

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Meaning of War According to True Blood.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Male Rape on True Blood.

Image via VideoBB.

TV: The Meaning of War According to True Blood.

“War isn’t about whether you think you can win. It’s about being willing to die for something you believe is worth dying for.”

After this speech from the new and improved brainwashed Eric, Sookie goes on to declare that she’ll be fighting the witches alongside Bill and Eric, despite their best interests to “protect” her, which they seem to try to do every episode.

“Call me crazy, but I’m willing to die if it means keeping an entire group of people I know—and love—from being eradicated in the name of hate.”

With shades of pretty well every war in history, as well as the latest ruling allowing women to fight on the frontlines, who ever said True Blood doesn’t tackle the big issues?

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Male Rape on True Blood.

Images via VideoBB.

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses*.

Horrible Bosses, despite being a “sophomoric”, Judd Apatovian-esque, “toilet-humour”-filled outing, was much better than I thought it would be.

However, putting aside how hilarious it was much I enjoyed it, there were some race and sex issues I wanted to discuss.

  • “Take us to the most dangerous bar in the city.” Which just happened to be full of black people. Racist much?
  • Men being sexually harassed by their hot female boss isn’t an issue. While Jason Bateman’s Nick and Kurt, played by Jason Sudeikis, have douchebag-asshole-psycho male bosses who are making their lives hell, Charlie Day’s Dave is being sexually harassed and manipulated by his “maneater” boss, Julia, played by Jennifer Aniston. She accosts him in her office wearing nothing by suspenders and a lab coat, she sprays him with a dental irrigation hose in the crotch to “make out the shape of his penis” and blackmails him with photos she took of them together while he was passed out in the dentists chair and she was half-naked. While the movie made it plain as day that what Dave was experiencing was pretty distressing, his buddies brushed it off, saying that in comparison to their bosses, his doesn’t sound so bad.
  • Crazy, manipulative bitches can have “the crazy fucked out of them”. This is an age old trope whereby uptight, bitchy, mentally ill and a myriad of other negative personality traits in women can have them gone, so long as they get a good fuck. Apparently, this isn’t the case, as Julie’s just as crazy as she was before Kurt slipped and fell into her during his reconnaissance mission.
  • Male rape doesn’t exist. Much like how True Blood dealt with it, when Dave cries rape after Julie shows him the aforementioned photos, his friends brush it off with a guffaw, saying there’s no such thing and if only they were “raped” by a boss as hot as his. Fail.
  • There’s such a thing as being “more rapable” than someone else. When their plot looks all but foiled by a comedy of errors, someone (probably Nick, the most level headed one) mentions the possibility of going to jail. Kurt says he can’t go to jail because he’d get raped like there’s no tomorrow. Nick says he would too, and Kurt asserts that he’s more rapable than Nick. They bring Dave in as tiebreaker, and he sides with Nick being more rapabale, as prison rapists go for “weakness” and “vulnerability”. Regular rapists do, too, if Dave’s dental chair experience is anything to go by!

*It has come to my attention that I give away too much in my movie reviews, so the asterisk will now serve as a blanket *spoiler alert* from now on.

for hilarity.

 

 

 for negative stereotypes and just plain racism, sexism, fetishisation of mental illness, victim-blaming and general insensitivity.

 

 

 

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

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Rachel Berry as Feminist.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Male Rape on True Blood.

Elsewhere: [Persephone Magazine] Gorgeous, Sexy, “Crazy”: The Fetishisation of On-Screen Mental Illness.

Image via IMDb.

TV: Male Rape on True Blood.

True Blood is known for pushing the boundaries when it comes to sex scenes. Graveyard rape fantasies, BDSM, and head-turning vampire sex. But let’s get one thing straight; last night’s gang rape of Jason Stackhouse by the Hot Shot werepanther women was not a sex scene, as some reviewers have been calling it.

But, while it is most definitely a glorified rape scene, it is also an exercise in slut-shaming and male-rape denying.

When asked about the scene, True Blood creator Alan Ball said,

“It’s kind of interesting to see the kind of guy who really gets his sense of worth from his sexual prowess to all of a sudden to be kind of objectified and sort of [laughs] used against his will.”

Slut-shaming by any other name.

The idea that someone who is sexually promiscuous isn’t really raped because they’re just getting their “comeuppance” is horrifying.

Jason even echoes Ball’s perspective, perfectly portraying how some rape victims feel as thought their attack was their fault. And why wouldn’t they? Unless you’re a young virginal woman dressed head to toe in a burqa walking alone down an alley at night and are attacked by a man in a mask and report it immediately, you’re not really raped. Jason says:

“As much as I love it, every bad thing that has ever happened to me is because of sex, [he enumerates on his fingers] jealous boyfriends, becoming a drug addict, being accused of murder… Maybe God’s punishing me for having too much sex. He’s like ‘Jason Stackhouse you have fucked too many hot women, now let’s see how you like it.’”

Hoyt goes on to compare his relationship problems with Jessica to “kind of” being like Jason’s sexual assault—and let’s not forget his potential werepanther turn!

You wouldn’t catch (most) women trying to compare their relationship problems to a friend’s rape; maybe that’s because in a lot of peoples’ eyes, and Ball’s, apparently, male-rape doesn’t exist.

Sure, Jason was drugged with Mexican Viagra, but it is still possible for a man to become physically aroused whilst not being mentally aroused, just as it is for women.

Bitch magazine puts it best:

“… When a rape clearly occurs onscreen and we call it something else, that contributes to a culture that says straight men can’t be victims of rape, especially if they’re young and attractive and enjoy sex with women.”

It will remain to be seen whether True Blood handles the aftermath of Jason’s attack realistically, or if he lapses back into his fun-loving, iron-pumping, consensually women-fucking ways, without any acknowledgement of what happened to him. Oh, and there’s that whole werepanther thing…

Elsewhere: [Bitch Magazine] True Blood: A Werepanther Rape is Not a “Sex Scene”.

[Feministe] True Blood Season Four & Female-on-Male Rape.

[Thought Catalog] On Rape in True Blood.

[Jezebel] Ass-Kicking, Rape & Fairy Godmother Murder.

[Tumblin Feminist] HBO’s True Blood, Rape & Sexual Slavery.

Image via Bitch, Jezebel.

My Week in Pictures.

The Women’s Peace Gardens.

The park I jog at now that I’m living in Kensington is, fittingly, the Women’s Peace Gardens. There is a plaque at the entrance to the gardens, which I haven’t really looked at, to be honest. It is, however, designed as the peace symbol inside the female symbol.

The rabbit.

There also happens to be a rabbit at the gardens, which I believe is a runaway, and my housemate believes is wild. Nonetheless, he’s she’s it’s cute to look at.

Tru Blood.

Speaking of housemates, I have the best one ever! He surprised me with a bottle of Tru Blood, as I’m currently watching the latest season. He even remembered my blood type!

The stack.

It’s all about Kim Kardashian’s wedding in the weeklies. No doubt tomorrow’s Who will be much of the same.

The movie.

I went to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes on Tuesday night, and I loved it! Review to come this afternoon.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 18th August 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 11th August 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 4th August 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 28th July 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 21st July 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 14th July 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 7th July 2011.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Pictures 1st July 2011.