TV: How to Make a Woman Fall in Love With You, Glee Style.

 

Last night’s Glee episode dealt with Sam trying to win Quinn back by channeling Justin Bieber. “Who’s more rock ’n’ roll than Bieber?” he asked.

Well if appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone with accompanying comments about abortion and rape makes you “rock ’n’ roll”, then so be it!

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding said comments, no doubt, with most of the blame placed on Bieber. Sure, he’s a 17-year-old (that’s right, Beliebers, it’s his birthday today! ZOMG!) male who will never know what it is to be a woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy and the question of whether to abort it. Not to mention the fact that he leads an incredibly sheltered life removed from the reality of everyday folk like you and me. But, seriously, what was the interviewer thinking when she asked Bieber those questions? They’re relevant how?

I feel a bit sorry for him, to be honest. He’s being ripped to shreds for these comments, when really, all he had to say was “no comment”. I’m sure as a teenage boy whose entire existence in the public eye depends on him being a “people pleaser”, he didn’t feel like he could say “no comment”. Well, I’m here to tell you, Justin: Just say “no comment”.

This episode was filmed before the Rolling Stone article went viral but, like those GQ photos, Glee’s never let a little controversy get in their way. And we already know they’re pro-life, with the absence of a proper talk with Quinn about her options when she finds out she’s pregnant.

But back to the episode at hand.

Sam’s other option to win back Quinn is to take her hunting. But according to guest blogger Andrew, this isn’t a feasible one:

“My dad always said there’re two ways to get a woman to love you: take her hunting, and rock and roll.”

Thank God it’s not theorized that the hunt must be successful. The chance of catching a deer with a heavily perfumed woman complaining audibly about the temperature, the undergrowth, the smell, the required lack of fashion sense and the cold canned food lunch trailing noisily behind you is practically zero. And any woman who doesn’t do these things is already taken.

But let’s imagine that said girl agrees to come hunting with me, and we do catch the proverbial Bambi unawares. And that she keeps quiet long enough for me to shoot it. Here’s what follows:

I’m holding down the beautiful, majestic animal as it goes through its death spasms, and blood begins to run over my hands and onto my clothes. The first romantic act in which the female must engage is an awkward dance around the carcass, designed to ward off flies. Whilst this dance continues, the deer’s stomach cavity is sliced open and, reaching up into its ribcage, I remove all the internal organs, getting its visceral matter all over my arms, coated in the smell of its innards. At this point I might turn around and ask for a celebratory hug, and to pose for a Facebook photo together!

Then, the second task for the female is required. She must peel back the folds of skin whilst I delicately remove it and the attached sinew from the cuts of flesh, and this must be interspersed over the next two hours with the aforementioned dance as I remove, and then debone, cuts of meat.

How exactly is this supposed to ignite the passions of a woman? Could it be walking, wading and climbing kilometres back to camp with mosquitoes everywhere, with parts of Bambi on her back, stinking up the place?

Nah, it must have been the tent sex the night before.

—Andrew Frank.

Related: Disturbing Behaviour: Terry Richardson Does Glee.

The Underlying Message in Glee‘s “Furt” Episode.

The (Belated) Underlying Message in Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Duets” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Grilled Cheesus” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Justin Bieber, Sex & Abortion. Connected How? Good Question.

[Jezebel] 6 Reasons Justin Bieber is Qualified to Talk About Abortion.

Images via Megavideo.

Guest Post: On Stripping.

“A striptease is an erotic or exotic dance in which the performer gradually undresses, usually to music, either partly or completely, in a seductive and sexually suggestive manner.”Richard Wortley, A Pictorial History of Striptease (1976).

Well, I guess someone forgot to tell the one I saw that it was supposed to be a subtle gradation of undress.

But let’s back up: I am a feminist and proud of it. As a feminist, I am mature enough to recognise that women have control over their bodies and can do as they please with them. But, when asked recently to a friend’s birthday celebration culminating in seeing a stripper in a private hotel room, I must admit, it did not sit well with me.

For the week prior to “The Big Exposure”, as I like to call it, I debated between endorsing the empowerment of the stripper and condemning the voyeurism of myself and my friends. I tried to look at it from the point of view of a “lipstick feminist”, as Ariel Levy mentions in Female Chauvinist Pigs, who believes that stripping is empowering for women and that “putting on a show to attract men, e.g. through make-up, doing girl-on-girl physical contact, is not contrary to the goals of feminism.” Still, no matter how hard I tried to see it as empowering, I could see nothing empowering about gyrating up and down in front of men whose eyes were popping out of their sockets. I couldn’t help but feel that women who objectify their own bodies for others had no respect for themselves or other women. How could we possibly advance as respectable members of society when we are endorsing nude gymnastic moves in a spectator arena?

With all these things in mind, and a pit in my stomach, I went to the hotel room with my friends. I’d like to point out that the friend whose birthday it was is a lesbian. So, I guess we were in more progressive company. Not really.

The ratio was still bizarre: seven straight girls, three lesbians, five straight guys and one gay man. It was even. Only 50% of the crowd was supposed to be stereotypically aroused by this performance.

When she arrived, I was surprised to see her “manager”, a man in his forties wearing a tracksuit looking more like a swimming coach than an accomplice to a stripper. (What was I expecting, a pimp?) He proceeded to lay blankets and an ominous shower curtain over the carpet and plugged in the CD player. After blasting us with Lady Gaga, she arrived.

She wasn’t what I expected; tall, long black-dyed hair, a face like Layne Beachleybut with none of the talentcomplete with one grey tooth, tattoos all over and quite small breasts. I must admit, I was disappointed! I was picturing a Marilyn Monroe-esque bombshell, or at least a healthy, glowing Jennifer Hawkins type.

The complete lack of sex appeal of this particular stripper made it a lot easier to find stripping degrading. I wondered how conflicted I would have felt if I found her attractive; because, in my eyes, someone who is sexy and confident is also empowered.

There was no element of teasing, of gradually taking clothes off, as Wortley describes above. She walked in wearing a school-girl costume, with a skirt so short I could see her breakfast, and immediately bent over in front of the birthday girl. So much for the game.

From there it continued to be a sordid and debasing mixture of gyrating and splits with each layer of clothing being unceremoniously ripped off and thrown towards the manager who was “keeping an eye on us.”

I felt weird. I knew that my gaze (masculine) was objectifying her body (feminine) but, by the same token, I felt that I was being objectified by the manager’s gaze.

Once all clothing had been removed, it was time for interaction. I can tell you, there is nothing empowering about having whipped cream licked off of your breasts by a pair of lesbiansone at each breast!

A memorable act of horror occurred when one of the guys was whipped with his own belt… he very quickly stopped her and sat down again. It was interesting, as I guess everyone felt that it was okay for her to debase herself, as she’s “just a stripper” and therefore an object, but the festivities crossed the line when a man was forced to feel degraded and objectified by the gaze of his peers.

The culmination of the evening was when she proceeded to insert a man’s spectacles into her vagina… proving that she was nothing but a spectacle herself under the scrutiny of the male gaze. It almost felt like a (horror) movie moment to be discussed in a feminist studies lecture!

Mary Wollstonecraft wrote in The Vindication of the Rights of Women, the “public [male] fixation upon the female person [body] has entailed and sustained the subjection of women,” and I agree. If we didn’t live in a society that objectified women and perpetuated the notion that we are only sexy when playing to masculine fantasies, we wouldn’t be watching strippers in hotel rooms, or at all.

For me though, that’s the last time I say “whatever you want, it’s your birthday” to a friend!

Laura Money.

Pop Culture Power Women.

This is an edited version of an article originally posted on Girl with a Satchel.

Magazines and media blogger Erica Bartle, of Girl with a Satchel, has recently upped her workload as feature writing and fashion and style journalism tutor at Queensland’s University of Technology. Erica’s first lecture inspired her to write this:

After experiencing some minor audiovisual issues (during which time I had a little jokey internal monologue with Tina Fey in Date Night about the “computer sticky thingy”) and giving my introductory lecture on feature writing on Monday, I opened up the opportunity for questions.

“Are you going to be referencing Sex and the City every lecture?” deadpanned one male student channelling Daria. Touché!

I actually hadn’t intended to make reference to the show (in fact, I genuinely try to curb such things, knowing how tiresome it can sound), but sometimes a pop culture reference comes to mind that fits the occasion aptly enough to illustrate a point and simply must be voiced (cue the scene in Sex and the City when Candice Burgen, playing Carrie’s Vogue editor, returns her piece on shoes dripping with red ink).

Though more “serious journalists” prefer witty literary/historical/political references and high-brow in-jokes, I love a good pop culture reference in a feature; preferably if it’s Gen-Y nostalgic. It says, “you speak my language”. Gillard and Abbott (or, rather, their speech writers) should really think about throwing some random Simpsons/Mad Men quotes into the mix (okay, it didn’t work for Joe Hockey!).

Give me Seinfeld, give me slinkies, give me scrunchies, give me The Goonies and Gilmore Girls and I’m yours. As Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy”. So does good pop culture. And puppies.

So who better to inspire the writer’s musethat voice that sits upon your shoulder like trusty Tinkerbellthan some of the feisty and fabulous gals you pointed to in response to the pop popularity poll? Make like Buffy Summers who “slew all manner of demons and even had breath to spare for puns and quips”.

Erica Bartle.

Elsewhere: [Girl with a Satchel] Women of Pop Culture & the Unashamed Use of Cutesy Clichés.

Guest Post: Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” & 21st Century “Noise”.

Originally posted on Musings of an Inappropriate Woman.

“Do you know that song Telephone, by Lady Gaga?” I find myself asking over and over again, lately.

“Of course you doit’s the biggest pop song of the year. Well, that’s how I feel at the moment.”

Except for all the drinking and dancing.

“Stop calling, stop calling,
I don’t wanna think anymore!
I left my head and my heart on the dance floor.
Stop calling, stop calling,
I don’t wanna talk anymore!
I left my head and my heart on the dance floor.”

Perhaps it’s because I just finished reading Kate Crawford’s meditation on noise and technology in the latest issue of Meanjin, but it’s only this week that it occurred to me that perhaps the way I’ve always interpreted this song (“Stop freaking calling me! I need some space to think/breathe!”) is the way Gaga actually intended. That as much as “Telephone” is about a) an assertion of independence, b) partying, c) nothing at alljust the joy of a good beat and melodyso too is it a song about d) the inescapable intrusion of modern technology.

“I shoulda left my phone at home,
’Cause this is a disaster!
Callin’ like a collector
Sorry, I cannot answer!”

In her Meanjin essay, Crawford traces various historical movements to limit noise: against horsedrawn carriages, the din of conversation travelling through too-thin walls, the radio and the mobile phone. (I’m probably amongst the youngest of those to remember when owning one was tantamount to declaring oneself a wanker, something which only changed around 2000 or so.) She writes:

“In the early twenty-first century, there is a new kind of noise problem: networked conversation. This is not the street noise that floats into open windows, but it finds us nonetheless: via text messages, Twitter, Facebook and emails. It does not cease.”

In “Telephone”, Gaga and Beyonce make a similar claim:

“Not that I don’t like you,
I’m just at a party.
And I am sick and tired
Of my phone r-ringing.
Sometimes I feel like
I live in Grand Central Station.
Tonight I’m not taking no calls…”

This post feels very first year Media Studies, but I don’t think the leap I’m making here is that large. The key to Gaga’s success, after all, is her ability to tap into the zeitgeist, and I do detect a grimace on her face when she sings “stop calling, stop calling, I don’t want to talk anymore” in the final choruses after she and Beyoncé commit mass homicide.

Like Crawford, I’m no luddite, and I don’t believe that switching off altogether is the answer. I love my internet dearly, and I will happily talk to anyone who will listen about how my iPhone revolutionised my life. (The major difference? Lack of a need for forward planning due to constant access to Facebook, email, text and GPS.)

When Crawford described her tinny mobile phone “alarm clock”, I hummed the familiar tune to myself, and I’d probably be very sad indeed if everyone stopped “telephonin’ me”.

But damn if I don’t relate to Gaga sometimes.

Rachel Hills.

Guest Post: Double Standards.

When Scarlett said that she would appreciate an infrequent, but regular contribution to her blog from an anti-feminist perspective, I had no idea where to start. Everybody knows that various feminists all present an enormous variety of contrary positions masquerading as undeniable truths. However, due to a happy accident, I came across some of her inspiration, and found it inspired me as well.

“If a girl is thin, she is accused of being ‘anorexic’; if her weight is higher than the cruelly restrictive ideal, she’s ‘fat’ and ‘doesn’t take care of herself’ or ‘has no self control.’ If she wears cute, trendy clothes she ‘only wants attention’ and if she wears sweats and jeans, she ‘doesn’t make an effort.’ If she’s perceived as sexually attractive, andespeciallyif she shows her own sexual side, she’s likely to be called a ‘slut.’ If her sexuality and her body are concealed, she’s a ‘prude.’ As you’ve probably figured out, the cards are stacked against you. You cannot win, at least not if you define winning as dressing and behaving in a way likely to win approval (or at least decent respect) from everyone.”

This can be found at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, where this situation is blamed upon the masculine expression of cultural contempt for girls and women. And listen up ladies: these dirty old men, I’m sure, exist. There are lines, and they are crossed. By men. Dirty old men. Who ultimately want to have sex with you. But they’d probably be thrilled with less. Yes, it’s true, the dirty old men with no self respect operating on the fuel of hedonism are definitely horrid, even when viewed objectively rather than through the contemporary cultural lenses through which all gender issues are presently perceived.

But consider this: If a guy approaches you attempting to discern whether or not you are interested, he’s a sleaze. Doesn’t approach you: gutless. If he doesn’t hook up that night, he’s a loser amongst mates. If he does: player to the other women. If he pursues a woman that does not have the approval of others, he’s bagged out by said mates. In contrast, if she’s “too hot” for him he’s punching above his weight class and it’ll never last. If he’s a virgin, the girls will giggle and the guys guffaw. But if he goes home with too many women per week, month or year, his life is shallow according to the women and he risks going against the man-code of “bros before hos”.

So, you see, it’s not just women who are open to cultural interpretations that label them with contempt. Furthermore, as the composition of troops that hold the “battle lines” between feminism and masculism continue to conform less and less to the genders of the combatants, the criticisms on modern man begin to flow from both sides of the gender divide.

The point being? These girlsthese womenwho cannot win with how they are perceived, are not alone. In addition, why be so up in arms about the concept of a “slut” when you would use the term “man-slut” willy-nilly? If a man advances on a woman and is told no, and continues, I’ll help any feminist paint the sign that says “DOM” then hold my gun on him while she hangs it round his neck. But it seems to me that blaming the men who suffer the same conditions and lack the political correctness women enjoy when blaming the other gender deserve a voice as well. Blaming the problem on the dirty old menmany of whom may not, perhaps, be as dirty or as old as they seemis a fallacy. If they had vaginas they’d be called cougars, and that’s, like, totally cool. If you want to strike at the foundations of the problem, attack constructions of gender perception, rather than blaming people who are subject to exactly the same problem as the females in question.

And just because I want anyone who reads this to knowI paused halfway through composing this post to cook my own dinner, wash my own clothes, and iron my own shirts. Seriously.

— Andrew Frank.

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Guest Post: Your Body is Never the Problem—A Letter to a 16-Year-Old on Clothing, Style & Creepy Old Men.