TV: Catching Up on Women-Friendly Media.

emily nussbaum kristen wiig jenji kohan lena dunham mindy kaling sundance panel

Summer is usually a time when I catch up on TV shows I’ve neglected throughout the year.

In Australia, (when I owned a TV) all the shows would be on hiatus and in its place tennis and cricket as far as the eye can see. Likewise, American TV comes to a halt usually from about Thanksgiving which gives me ample time to keep up with the Kardashians or, in a more high brow vein, Breaking Bad, which I finally watched in its entirety this time last year.

Recently I lamented to a friend that this summer I’ve been watching more movies and, like, reading instead of catching up on shows like I should be. There’s so many on my list: The Good Wife, Orphan Black, Parks & Rec, House of Cards. I didn’t even watch American Horror Story: Freak Show when it started a few months ago and, low and behold, it just aired its season finale.

So what better time to catch up on it than this past (long) weekend? (And yes, I am well aware that AHS cannot be construed as women-friendly, but stay with me.)

I also have ample days off from my day job in the next week so, in addition to more freelance work and my side gig at OCW, I should be able to finish the 13 episode season by the next weeks’ end.

I intend to work just as hard throughout the year, but I also need to make sure I engage in self-care to keep the momentum up. So when I’ve emptied out my brain onto the page and filled it again with the words of others, what better way to unwind with some TV that functions as a hug?

I’ve been very vocal about my love for Grey’s Anatomy: when I was sick a few weeks ago, I knew I should have started one of the abovementioned shows but I just needed comforting in a way that no one but Meredith Grey and co. could do, so I rewatched the first half of this season. It, along with its Shondaland cohorts Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, return this week and I’ve got a hot date with the Middleton Law School kids and President Grant on the weekend.

From there, I intend to either dip into The Good Wife or House of Cards as research for a piece I’ve been ruminating over for months. While the beauty of many Netflix-based shows is their short seasons allowing quick consumption, there’s a good six seasons of The Good Wife, so who knows when I’ll emerge from Alicia Florrick’s law offices?

In contrast to the abovementioned shows, it was only a few years ago that many of the books, movies and TV shows that I was drawn to were about men. My favourite authors were men, the movies I was interested in seeing at the cinema were about men, and many of the TV shows I watched were all about men. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favourite authors are still men (Dominick Dunne and Mick Foley), and I’m hanging out to see Foxcatcher at the movies. But on the whole, I’m so fucking sick of only learning about men’s lives—either real or fictional.

That’s why, this year, I’m making a conscious effort to consume media about women and minorities. What started out as something I was completely unaware of has blossomed into a newfound appreciation for the voices of women I may not have sought out before. I’ve slowly started to realise that all the shows I watch are about women—OITNB, Total Divas, Girls, Revenge, 2 Broke Girls, The Mindy Project—as are the shows I intend to. I’ve only recently started watching movies again, and I started with Nora Ephron’s cannon over Christmas and New Years. Wild is the next movie I intend to see at the cinema. And my reading list from the past month has consisted of Roxane Gay, Janet Mock, Donna Tartt, Lena Dunham, Brigid Delaney and Amy Poehler, amongst many others.

Which shows—and other media—are you looking forward to consuming this year?

Related: Hustle, Loyalty & Respect: Where I’m Taking My Career in 2015.

The Golden Age of Television.

Physical & Mental Health on Orange is the New Black.

Girls: A Season Two Retrospective.

Revenge is a Dish Best Served by a Woman.

2 Broke & Tampon-less Girls.

Elsewhere: [Bitch Flicks] The Choice to be a Total Diva.

Image via InStyle.

12 Trends of 2012.

Girls (Who Run the World).

girls

So misogyny may be running wild in the real world, but on TV, girls are calling the shots. We’ve had a bevvy of shows with “girl/s” both in the title and the storylines this year, with 2 Broke Girls and New Girl carrying their success over from 2011. While a lot of the subject matter is problematic, both shows have women carrying the comedy. Which brings us to just plain Girls, which is the brainchild of actor, writer and director Lena Dunham. Girls is not without its problems, either, but its portrayal of young urban women is almost faultless. Rounding out the representation of leading ladies in 2012 we have Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23, Homeland, Revenge, The Mindy Project, Are You There, Chelsea?, Smash, GCB (farewell!), Scandal, Nurse JackieVeep, Emily Owens, M.D., Whitney, The Good Wife and Hart of Dixie.

“Call Me Maybe”.

Until “Gangnam Style” came along, the YouTube Zeitgeist was dominated by one runaway success: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. Justin Bieber’s protégé came out of nowhere with the catchiest song of the year, which was subsequently covered by the guys from Harvard’s baseball team, Barack Obama and the Cookie Monster! Talk about diversity!

2012: Apocalypse Now.

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2012 was the year of the apocalypse, with the 21st of December long determined by the Mayans (or Mayan conspiracy theorists) as the day the world ends. You know, until the 7th of December tried to steal its thunder as the apparent recalculated date. Apart from the natural disasters, warfare and massacres, the 21st passed without a nuclear bombing, ice age or attitudinal shift, putting rest to the apocalypse panic. Until the next rapture, anyway…

Shit ___ Say.

It started with a sexist albeit funny YouTube video of a guy in a wig quoting “Shit Girls [Apparently] Say”, which snowballed into “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls”, “Shit New Yorkers Say”, “Shit Christians Say to Jews” and “Shit Nobody Says”. Cue offence.

Snow White.

snow white kristen stewart

Snow White was everywhere this year: Mirror Mirror, Snow White & the Hunstman, Once Upon a Time… Note: overexposure isn’t necessarily a good thing. In fact, I hated Mirror Mirror and Once Upon a Time, and Snow White & the Huntsman was such a snooze-fest I can barely remember what happened (not including Kristen Stewart’s affair with director Rupert Sanders).

50 Shades of Grey.

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On the one hand, E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey has singlehandedly revived the flailing publishing industry, so that’s a good thing. But on the other, it has falsely lulled its legions of (mostly female) fans into a state of apparent sexual empowerment: it’s a book about sex targeted towards women, so that means we’re empowered and we don’t need feminism anymore, right?

Oh, how wrong you Anastasia and Christian fans are…

“Gangnam Style”.

The Macarena of the 21st century, Psy’s horse dance took the world by storm, being performed in conjunction with Mel B on The X Factor, with Hugh Jackman in his Wolverine gloves, on Glee and at many a wedding, 21st birthday and Christmas party.

Misogyny.

Misogyny has long been the focus of feminists, but the word and its meaning really reached fever pitch this year.

After Julia Gillard’s scathing Question Time takedown of Tony Abbott and his sexist ways, people everywhere were quick to voice their opinion on her courage and/or hypocrisy. At one end of the spectrum, it could be said that Gillard finally had enough of the insidious sexist bullshit so many women in the workforce face on a daily basis and decided to say something about it, while at the other, many argued that the Labor party were crying sexism in a bid to smooth over the Peter Slipper slip up.

Julia Baird wrote last month in Sunday Life:

“Her electric speech on misogyny in parliament went beyond the sordid political context to firmly press a button on the chest of any woman who has been patronised, sidelined, dismissed or abused. It crackled across oceans, and, astonishingly, her standing went up in the polls, defying political wisdom that no woman would benefit from publicly slamming sexism.”

Whatever the motivation behind the speech, it went viral, with Twitter blowing up, The New Yorker writing that U.S. politicians could take a page out of Gillard’s book when it comes to their legislative hatred of all things female , laypeople bringing “misogyny” into their everyday lexicon, and Macquarie Dictionary using the momentum to broaden the word’s definition.

Kony.

jason russell kony 2012

The viral doco that had millions of people rushing to plaster their neighbourhood in “Kony 2012” posters on 20th of April to little effect (the campaign’s goal was to catch Joseph Kony by years end) illustrated our obsession with social media, armchair activism and supporting the “cool” charities, not the thousands of worthy charities out there who could actually use donations to help their cause, not to produce YouTube videos and work the press circuit.

I’m Not a Feminist, But…

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While Tony Abbott is clamouring to call himself a feminist to gain electoral favour despite the abovementioned misogyny saga, it seems famous women can’t declare their anti-feminism fast enough.

First we had new mother and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer jumping at the chance to shun feminism despite the fact that without it she wouldn’t be where she is today. My favourite anti-feminist campaigner Taylor Swift said she doesn’t think of herself as a feminist because she “was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.” Um, Tay? That’s what feminism is, love.

Then there’s Katy Perry, who won’t let the whipped cream-spurting bra fool you: “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.” Right then.

Garnering less attention, but just as relevantly, was Carla Bruni-Sarkozy asserting that feminism is a thing only past generations need concern themselves with, while in an interview with MamaMia last week, Deborah Hutton also denounced her feminism.

Cronulla.

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The cronies from Sutherland Shire were all over our boxes, primarily on Channel Ten, this year. There was the widely panned Being Lara Bingle, the even worse Shire, and the quintessential Aussie drama set in the ’70s, Puberty Blues.

While these shows assisted in shedding a different light on the suburb now synonymous with race riots, it’s not necessarily a positive one, with The Shire being cancelled and Being Lara Bingle hanging in the balance.

White Girls in Native American Headdresses.

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This one really reared its racist head towards the end of the year, right around the festivities of Halloween and Thanksgiving.We had No Doubt “Looking Hot Racist” and Karlie Kloss donning a headdress for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, in addition to the cultural appropriation of VS’s “Go East” lingerie line, Gala Darling’s headdress furore and Chris Brown dressed as a Middle Eastern terrorist for Halloween.

You’d think we were heading into 1953, not 2013.

Related: Posts Tagged “New Girl”.

2 Broke Girls Aren’t So Broke That They’d Turn to Sex Work.

Posts Tagged “Girls”.

Posts Tagged “Smash”.

Feminism, Barbeque & Good Christian Bitches.

Mirror Mirror Review.

Was Kristen Stewart’s Public Apology Really Necessary?

50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James Review.

Hating Kony is Cool.

Taylor Swift: The Perfect Victim.

Whipped Cream Feminism: The Underlying Message in Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” Video.

The Dire Shire.

Shaming Lara Bingle.

Is Gwen Stefani Racist?

The Puberty Blues Give Way to Feminism.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Why We Need to Keep Talking About the White Girls on Girls.

[io9] Why is Everybody Obsessed with Snow White Right Now?

[The Age] What Women Want.

[The New Yorker] Ladylike: Julia Gillard’s Misogyny Speech.

[Jezebel] Does it Matter if Marissa Mayer Doesn’t Think She’s a Feminist?

[Jezebel] Katy Perry, Billboard’s Woman of the Year, is “Not a Feminist”.

[MamaMia] Meet the Women at Our Dinner Table: Deborah Hutton.

[Daily Life] Carla Bruni’s Vogue Interview has Rough Landing.

[Racialicious] Nothing Says Native American Heritage Month Like White Girls in Headdresses.

[Racialicious] Victoria’s Secret Does it Again: When Racism Meets Fashion.

[Jezebel] Karlie Kloss as a Half-Naked “Indian” & Other Absurdities from the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

[xoJane] Fear & Loathing in the Comments Section… And Some Clarity.

[HuffPo] Chris Brown Halloween Costume: Singer Tweets Picture of Himself Dressed Up as Terrorist for Rihanna’s Party.

Images via Collider, Fox News Latino, io9, November Grey, ABC, Now Public, Ten.

The Allure of TV.

 

Yesterday I was accused of “going home to watch TV” every night, when usually what I do when I get home is take the dog for a walk and spend the rest of the night reading. I do watch a lot of TV (this year especially I have managed to watch pretty much all my series’ as they air, including the deluge of new shows like New Girl, Revenge and 2 Broke Girls, and still have plenty of spare time left over. Previous years have seen me struggle to keep up. Odd.), so I don’t know why I was so offended by the comment. I think it was because I was judged based on some throwaway comments I’ve said in passing about catching up on Revenge and Once Upon a Time. Fittingly, last night I read this in The Big Issue:

“Nobody really cares about TV. What they care about is how TV makes them feel: smart, carefree or enjoyably furious at something or someone who isn’t the person they sit next to a work all day.

“Watching TV us one way of ensuring you’re not left making daisy chains [a reference to an earlier metaphor about cricket]. You’re on a team. You’ve studied a show alone in your lounge room, much like those other kids who practised cricket alone in their backyards. You love that character, and anyone who doesn’t like her is dead to you. Unless they’ve read the book, in which case they’re an asset to the side and you’ll pick them first, until they stop watching or admit that they kind of prefer Boardwalk Empire.”

Image via HuffPo.

TV: 2 Broke Girls Aren’t So Broke That They’d Turn to Sex Work.

 

You know, ’cause hookers are gross and have herpes. Caroline thinks she’d make a horrible prostitute because, “I have a heart and soul and dreams and wanna fall in love and have a family,” and sex workers don’t and won’t have any of these things. Never mind that many sex workers don’t have any other prospects due to the cycle of poverty and abuse and sex trafficking. And what of those in the industry who—shock, horror!—actually want to be in it and enjoy what they do? Does this mean their heart, soul, hopes, dreams and love life go down the drain?

Just to throw in some racism for good measure, Max and Caroline’s upstairs neighbour, Nirham Shadouri (excuse my abhorrent spelling. I was sounding it out.), dies, and Max remarks that “she wasn’t even on the right continent” when guessing his name. Oh, and Jennifer Coolidge (who, if you’ve ever seen Legally Blonde or American Pie, you know is American) plays a Polish suspected madam. Not well, might I add.

Related: 2 Broke & Tampon-less Girls.

I Went to See American Reunion & I Didn’t Hate It…

Image via Putlocker.

TV: 2 Broke & Tampon-less Girls.

 

Bravo to 2 Broke Girls, the show which, last night, dealt with that time of the month and how ridiculous it is that men seem to be trying to regulate it.

Granted, in Australia, our tampons come without the applicator and are relatively government regulation-free (though hella expensive; the irony of two broke girls not being able to afford a “200% price increase”, as Caroline puts it, is not lost. It is a show about hipsters, after all.), but in the U.S., not so much. The war against women and their reproductive rights is raging, and Max has something to say about it.

When the owner of the diner, Han, raises the price of tampons from a quarter to 75 cents in the ladies bathroom, Max and Caroline lose their shit, and Max begins handing out free tampons to lady diners lest they find themselves stuck without them when Auntie Flow comes to town. (Did you know that Auntie Flow was actually Earl’s, the diner’s cool cashier, auntie?!)

While the subplot to Extreme Couponing (a real reality show!) was a throwaway moment of clarity for the hit-and-miss offensiveness of 2 Broke Girls, I do hope a show about two likeable Brooklynites weaves more women’s issues into its tapestry.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] “If Men Were the Ones Who Got Periods, Tampons Would be Thrown Free From Floats Like Mardi Gras Beads.”

Image via Putlocker.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

Why the Marilyn meme does more harm than good for body love:

“I would prefer the focus be on health, rather than appearance. The Monroe Meme seems about the furthest thing from healthy. This is a woman who abused alcohol and sleeping pills later in her life, this is a woman who (probably) died due to depression. But, hey, as long as someone thinks she looks good, I guess that’s what matters.” [Shameless Magazine]

I’m a Friday Feminaust!

The media-perpetuated myth of the bad man. Interestingly, substitute the words “bad” and “aggressive” for “weak” and “victim”, and you pretty much have the media-perpetuated myth of the good woman. No one can win in this game. [The Good Men Project]

Why guys cat-call, explained. [Jezebel]

The making of Britney Spears: The Cabaret. [Bryant & Frank’s Blog]

Apparently conservatives are dumber than progressives. For the amount of Facebook arguments I’ve had on the topics of abortion and asylum seekers, this doesn’t surprise me. [HuffPo]

Not all registered sex offenders are dangerous: “Should Teens Be Jailed for Sex Offences?” [The Daily Beast]

The Rodarte sisters look at their favourite Buffy episodes. I feel a marathon coming on… [Rookie]

Does Katherine Heigl have any fans left? After Killers, I’d say I’m hanging by a thread! [The Daily Beast]

Real Housewife Taylor Armstrong’s “violent marriage”. Sad. [Jezebel]

“In Defence of Rescue Dogs.” The don’t need defending in my mind, but apparently they’re seen as dirty rejects by a lot of people. [MamaMia]

2 Broke Girls hasn’t even aired here yet, but prepare yourself for racism galore! [Grantland]

The must-watch new show of the year: Revenge. [Jezebel, Gawker]

The angry, black female trope. [Washington Post]

And even more “angry” women:

“‘God, you really don’t like being a woman, do you?’

“In two short moves we’d leapt from his infidelity to my ostensible gender dysmorphia and/or self-loathing…

“What struck me was that both Rex and the attorney had delivered ill-timed, emotionally charged information, and when I’d expressed proportionate anger or irritation, the blame somehow boomeranged back onto me. I’d been expected to remain amiable… [y]et their reaction was still confusion and rancor when I pointed out their inanity.

“How do we alter the notion that a woman who stands up for herself, her loved ones, or her beliefs is the one who’s causing trouble? By accepting once and for all that legitimate female anger isn’t the hallmark of a bitch, cunt, ballbuster, or drama queen.”

[Nerve, via Jezebel]

The beauty of the corset. [Jezebel]

Images via Rookie, Rhinestone Religion, Jezebel.