Event: Girls Night In.

Saturday night marked my first foray into hosting a charity event and, armed with “authority to fundraise”, lots of chocolate, and some choice DVDs, myself, my housemate and a bunch of girlfriends were ready to (fund)raise the roof.

I had never heard of Can’t Buy Me Love until Easy A, a retro flick starring a young (and completely different-looking) Patrick Dempsey which is heavily referenced in the modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter, along with other teen classics. But, it is worthy of its cult status, was hilariously illustrative of the times, and was the perfect movie to begin the night with.

Next up, we broke out Now & Then, which my cousin had never seen, so it was nice to pass on a coming-of-age tale that my sister and I used to watch almost every weekend during our childhood. Everyone else had seen it though, and we enjoyed quoting lines (“It’s not very big.” “It’s only big when a guy gets a hard on.” “What’s a hard on?” “Doesn’t your mother tell you anything?” “I’m beginning to think she’s been misinformed.”) and getting our nostalgia on.

By this point, one friend had to leave as the uni textbooks were beckoning, but she missed out on the apparent appeal of Patrick Verona in 10 Things I Hate About You (I never was a Heath Ledger fan). It’s been a while since I’ve seen this flick, but it was every bit as good as I remember it to be. Love the quintessential late ’90s outfits and feminist quips from Julia Styles’ Kat Stratford, and the film always makes me want to sit around the house reading like she does. Oh wait, I already do that!

After the third film, it was nearing the end of the night, but one guest a law student, no less had never seen Legally Blonde, so we had to break it out and have the event go into overtime or risk blasphemy against one of my all-time favourite characters, Elle Woods. It was during this film that we got a little stereotypical, and starting braiding each others hair!

All in all, a Girls Night In was a great excuse to eat junk food, have a movie night and raise money for the Cancer Council. And surpassing my fundraising goal was just a bonus. Will definitely be organising a Girls Night In next year, in conjunction with the “cruise director on the lido deck”.

Related: Easy A Review.

Women in Fiction: My Favourite Fictional Females.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

Once upon a time, a disillusioned Los Angeles writer bemoaned the fact that when you start getting dermal fillers and can’t speak to someone else who hasn’t, “you realise there is actually something quite wrong with L.A… And then along comes Heidi Montag and you feel normal again.”:

“The amount of women, like Heidi, I see in Los Angeles walking around like blow up dolls, victims to the horrific mental disorder of body dysmorphiais huge. Body dysmorphia is as much a disease as anorexia, as bulimia, as over-eating, as alcoholism, drug addiction. These are mental disorders which manifest themselves in physical self-harm.”

Like the compulsion to have DDD size boobs implanted on your tiny, surgically-sculpted frame that cause you constant pain and prevent restful sleep and exercise.

Girl with a Satchel asks if new British magazine “…Just as Beautiful [is] Fetishising & Sexualising Fuller Female Figures?”

From “Gender is Not Just a Performance”:

“It is a crass oversimplification, as ridiculous as saying all gender is genitals, all gender is chromosomes, or all gender is socialisation. In reality, gender is all of these things and more.”

To celebrate No Make Up Week, Rachel Hills contemplates why we feel there’s something wrong with us if we don’t go around looking flawless at all times.

Still with Rachel Hills: her “Kanye West Syndrome” article, “I’mma Let You Finish…” and “Himglish & Femalese”, about how men are women are the same, but different, are stand-outs.

The New York Times, in an article from last year, ponders the vampire’s place in fashion.

In more vampire news, Billie Doux offers up Buffy Quotes for Every Occasion”, paying special attention to librarianship, in which these gems pop up: “I love the smell of desperate librarian in the morning,” and “I mean, I can’t believe you got into Oxford… That’s where they make Gileses”.

Gender blogger Greta Christina lists the “5 Stupid, Unfair & Sexist Things Expected of Men”, in which she states that “… sexism hurts men. In particular, … our society’s expectations of men, [and] our very definitions of maleness. I’ve been looking at how rigid and narrow many of these expectations are…”, such as “being tall”! Not much a man can do about his height… much like the stupid, unfair and sexist things expected of women.

We all know how much I love professional wrestler cum author cum sexual assault crusader, and finally, Jezebel has cottoned on to the awesomeness that is Mick Foley, even going as far as to say that “we need more men like him.” Amen to that. Also, check out his blog.

There’s a lot of debate over whether a straight man and a straight woman can be “just friends” (FYI, I believe they can), and this article favours the notion that having “Platonic Female Friendships Can Make For a Better Man”.

If my love for Beauty & the Beast (the DVD is currently out of the Disney vault on re-release; I have a birthday coming up…) is anything to go by, “Brunettes Love Beauty & the Beast”. As “princess hero”-affirming as that might be, the article ends on a negative note, saying that “a brunette [is] more prone to rational expectations of life and thus… the ‘We Love Belle’ fan-club must be an awfully boring place to be… Blondes: 1 Brunettes: 0”. Ouch.

ScreenCrave on why Twilight’s Bella Swan is a Feminist’s Nightmare”.

In the spirit of such Girls Night In staples as Mean Girls and Bring It On (more on my Girls Night In to come next week), Jezebel advocates for the “5 Life Lessons Learned from The Ladies of 00s Teen Films”.

In “Print This Out & Give it to Every Boy You Know”, Jezebel debunks the myths of the feminist. For example:

“[Myth:] Feminists are angry/predominantly lesbians/man-haters/all of the above… Some women are angry, yes. Some are lesbians. And some probably hate or fear men. Some women also identify as feminists. These characteristics exist independently of each other. If there’s overlap, it’s coincidental and correlated or causal…”

and

“Feminism has more flavours than Baskin-Robbins and a hundred and one areas of focus, covering everything from reproductive rights to international development to political reform or popular culture. Beyonce is a feminist and so is Hilary Clinton. And men can be feminists, too! It’s a big tent party, y’all! Heck, some women live their entire lives according to feminist principles, but never use the term.”

I would like to tell that to a certain “I hate feminism” espousing lady I know…

Magazines: Twenty-five to Life—Elle’s Favourite 20-Somethings.

Needless to say, Lindsay Lohan won’t be making the list, but some others include Gabourey Sidibe (and the accompanying scandal), Lauren Conrad, Megan Fox, and Amanda Seyfried, who grace the cover of the mag in four separate newsstand editions, and then again inside. Here, take a look for yourself…

Related: Poor Little Rich Girl—Lindsay Lohan in Who.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Gabby Sidibe’s ELLE Cover is Another Reason Why Black Fashion Directors Are Necessary.

Extreme Makeover: Barbie Edition.

Every year (unbeknownst to me until a week ago), San Francisco hosts the annual Altered Barbie Exhibition, which is pretty self-explanatory.

What we did as kids takes place on a grander stage, with Barbies made over as a Mexican Day of the Dead bride with Ken as groom, vacuum-sealed-for-freshness alongside some description of a fish and breast barbeque skewers.

All artworks are available for purchase via the Altered Barbie website.

 

Movie Review: Easy A.

 

As with a lot of things lately, I’ve hyped them up in my mind so much that when they actually eventuate, they’re a let down.

Some such things that come to mind are a recent work training seminar (can’t give too much information away as it is top secret ;)), the Britney Spears episode of Glee, and Easy A.

Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was a really good movie; Emma Stone is a fantastic actress, Stanley Tucci played the dad (I want a dad like Stanley Tucci!), Gossip Girl’s Pen Badgley played the gorgeously mellow love interest Todd, and it dealt with slut shaming, sex, lies and gossip.

But I felt that some of the actors could have toned their performances down a notch. The always over-the-top Lisa Kudrow played the guidance counsellor who was married to Olive’s (Stone) favourite teacher, but *spoiler alert* cheating on him with a member of the high school’s religious clique. Amanda Bynes was the school bitch and president of said church group and, quite frankly, I find it hard to take her seriously as an actress after seeing an episode of The Amanda Show. And while I do love Tucci, he could have toned down the camp-quality he tends to have in moviesespecially as he was playing the straight father.

Other than that, the film was very smart, funny and highlighted the dark undertones that high school can have.

The premise of Easy A is that Olive Penderghast feels sorry for her gay best friend, *again, spoiler alert* so she agrees to fake sleep with him he will stop being ridiculed by the lynch mobs that are his fellow high school students. What Olive doesn’t bargain for, however, is that she’s labelled the school slut, and boys start paying her money to say they had sex. When her female bestie turns on her, Olive takes to sewing a red “A” on all her clothing, à la The Scarlet Letter, which Easy A is loosely based on“but not the Demi Moore film version”.

Without giving too much more away, Easy A has a certain Mean Girls quality to it, and also harkens back to the teen movies of the ’80s, like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, which appear in a montage at the end of the film.

And Badgley is more likeable here than he is in Gossip Girl, and in a funny twist, the first time Olive “didn’t and said she did” kiss a boy in the eighth grade, she did it to boost Todd’s social standing. Unlike in most teen movies, where the girl/guy does something shady and spends the rest of the movie trying to win back their guy/girl love interest, *final spoiler alert* Todd stands by Olive through her tenure as faux slutty liar, because he knows she did it with good intentions in mind.

Related: The Underlying Message in Glee‘s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Easy A Tackles Slut-Shaming, Gossip & What We Expect From Girls Now.

[Jezebel] Is Easy A the New Mean Girls?

Magazines: Poor Little Rich Girl—Lindsay Lohan in Who.

 

Who’s feature on Lindsay Lohan’s fourth trip to jail (albeit for less than a day), and the accompanying four mug shots, paints a bleak picture.

While I think Lindsay is a great actress and has the promise to really shine onscreen, I do believe she has massive psychological issues stemming from her upbringing, the burden of a career as a child star and subsequent foray into the Hollywood drug and party scene.

She was obviously coddled by her parents and, later, her minders, managers and enablers so that, at age 24, “she can’t stand to be alone, ever” at a time in her life when she should be taking responsibility for her actions and turning into a true adult.

A recent article in The New York Times Magazine that deals with the Gen Y/“20-something” stigma, aptly titled “What is it About 20-Somethings?”, asserts that those “who don’t have an emerging adulthood” (from ages 18-25, which involves finishing school, moving out of home, becoming financially independent all of which Lohan has done and, traditionally, getting married and having children [factors which aren’t so paramount nowadays] but, especially, making mistakes and learning from them on your own), like Lohan, “might face developmental tasks identity exploration, self-focus, experimentation in love, work and worldview” may manifest themselves in later life, as a mid-life crisis, for example.

“Emerging adulthood must be both universal and essential,” because “if you don’t develop a skill at the right stage, you’ll be working the rest of your life to develop it when you should be moving on… The rest of your development will be unfavourable altered.”

Perhaps one of these skills is appreciating alone time, not only in superficial terms, like spending a day at home by yourself engrossed in a good book, a movie marathon, or spring cleaning, but in terms of reflecting on your experiences and, again, learning from them.

Clearly, Lohan has not learnt from her mistakes involving drugs and alcohol, with five stints in rehab in addition to her four in jail.

“What is it About 20-Somethings?” mentions the Yellowbrick residential program in Illinois, whose “philosophy is that young people must meet these challenges without coddling or rescue.”

While some rehab programs try to nip undesirable behaviour in the bud, Yellowbrick does the opposite: “We want the behaviour to unfold, and we want to be there in that critical moment, to work with that behaviour and help the emerging adult transition to great independence.”

A common belief in opposition to the “Lindsay Lohan needs help” mentality is that she’s still young, and for a lot of normal (re: out of the spotlight) young people, her behaviour is conventional. If so, this behaviour is unfolding naturally, and hopefully she will grow out of it. After all, she does have one more year left of “emerging adulthood”.

Elsewhere: [NYTimes] What is it About 20-Somethings?

[Jezebel] In Defence of Lindsay Lohan.

TV: The Underlying Messages of Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

 

In what was one of the most anticipated episodes of Glee, alongside the Madonna and Lady Gaga episodes, Britney Spears made all of a minute’s appearance on the show last week.

I was expecting a lot more, but we all know acting is not one of Britney’s strong suits (Crossroads, anyone?). However, Brittany S. Pierce, played by Heather Morris, stole the show and cemented her reign as my favourite Glee character.

While Britney’s lacklustre performance was the drawcard for the episode, there were a few underlying messages about fame using Spears as the beacon for what can go wrong if young stars abuse their fame.

“The episode opens with Kurt informing Mr. Schue that there’s a five person Facebook group campaigning for New Directions to sing Britney Spears songs at the homecoming assembly. But Schue shoots down this movement (even [though] these kids have already performed “Push It” in front of the whole school, for the purposes of our story, Brit Brit is too trashy or something).” [Jezebel]

The kids fought for their right to perform Britney, as she’s an inspiration to all of them, and the reason they want to be stars. Perhaps this way of thinking was better suited to the Lady Gaga episode, as she truly is an inspiration. On the other hand, if Mr. Schue let them perform songs by Madonna, Lady Gaga and, as Jezebel mentioned, Salt N Pepa, Britney is probably the most tame and PG-rated of them all. But I could see Schue’s point: while Britney may be an inspiration, she’s also one of the least talented pop stars who permeated the late ’90s/early ’00s zeitgeist and “not suited” to New Directions.

But, when Brittany goes to see guidance counsellor Emma Pillsbury’s new boyfriend and the school dentist Carl, played by guest star John Stamos, and is put under anaesthesia, she has a Britney Spears fantasy, which makes her realise her true potential as a star, and she demands to have all the solos from now on.

Santana wants to have a Britney fantasy too, so they both go to see the dentist and demand to be put under. Santana uses her doctor father’s health insurance to bribe Carl into succumbing. This could be seen as a reference to the enablers in young stars’ lives (Lindsay Lohan comes to mind) and the drug use that many such stars (again, Lindsay) are rumoured to have engaged in.

In a scene from last week, Sue Sylvester kicks Santana off the Cheerios for defacing her young and still-growing body with breast implants. This seems to be a specific dig at Britney, and a prelude to this week’s episode. Santana is probably only 17 years old, perhaps even 16, which is the age Britney is rumoured to have gotten implants.

Finally, the episode culminates in most of the Glee club having had hallucinations and a “Britney Spears sex riot”, caused by Sue. Britney has been criticised her whole career for being too sexy, which is evident in the opening Britney/Brittany video mash-up of “Slave 4 U”, “Toxic” and “Oops… I Did It Again”, as well as Brittany and Santana channelling “Me Against the Music”, which would have had far more impact, I think, if Britney was used in the whole montage, instead of just at the very end for about .5 seconds.

Related: Poor Little Rich Girl—Lindsay Lohan in Who.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Glee: The Britney Spears Stuff You Want to See.