On the (Rest of the) Net.

beyonce-hold up

I wrote about how Beyoncé makes us want to be better peoplethe feminism of Bad Neighbours 2 and pop culture as a form of self-care. [The Vocal, Bitch Flicks, Feminartsy]

What Kim Kardashian learnt from the O.J. Simpson trial and how she and Nicole Brown Simpson are more alike than we realise. [Can I Live?]

How Me Before You gets disability, assisted suicide and sex wrong. [HuffPo]

The racist history of the pit bull. [Fusion]

This is why women are delaying pregnancy. [ABC]

The rise and fall of Winona Ryder. [Hazlitt]

Would the women of Jane Austen be at home on reality TV? [The Atlantic]

The alluring history of makeup application and YouTube beauty tutorials. [Kill Your Darlings]

Reconciling Zayn Malik’s Muslim heritage. [Matter]

Rocky, Superman, Muhammad Ali and white supremacy. [MTV]

We shouldn’t be asking politicians if they’re feminists: we should be asking if their policies are feminist. [Daily Life]

For more feminist reads, check out the 97th Down Under Feminists Carnival. [Zero at the Bone]

Image via BGR.

TV: Domestic Violence, Sex Work, Abortion, Women Proposing to Men, Marriage Equality, Euthanasia… Who Knew Winners & Losers Would Be So Progressive?!

winners & losers

The season finale of Winners & Losers aired little more than a week ago on Channel Seven, and the issues of domestic violence, sex work, co-parenting, abortion, women proposing to men, marriage equality and euthanasia got me thinking about just how progressive the show is.

What started out as an entertaining little serial about four high school friends who decide to enter the lotto—and win!—after a particularly traumatic ten-year high school reunion has proved to be one of the only Aussie soaps tackling the hard issues.

While the first season was more about the romantic ups and downs of four Melbourne girls and how they dealt with their lotto win, whispers of what was to come in season two were heard in the finale, when Bec married Matt only to discover that she was pregnant with Doug’s, who’d finally gotten it together with med school bestie Sophie, baby! Phew!

With Bec being entangled in such a messy love square of course the “tender issue”, as Ann Romney would put it, of abortion would be brought up. It was disappointing that the non-existent abortion only received a one-episode story arc, but I was proud of the series for showing the nuanced ways different people deal with terminating a pregnancy, namely Sophie, who last episode found herself embroiled in an unwanted pregnancy situation of her own.

But it goes to show that as many views on abortion as there are IRL, there are in Winners & Losers. So far we’ve only seen the reactions of Bec (staunchly pro-life when it comes to herself, but supportive of the choices of other women), Doug (who expresses disbelief that his virile sperm has resulted in two unplanned but ultimately wanted pregnancies in the past year!), and Sophie (who chose her choice of abortion and underwent the procedure the same day in last fortnight’s episode. Oh, if only abortion were that easy to obtain for so many women…), but judging from the alternative lifestyle of Frances and the tumult of Jenny’s existence recently, they’ll see beyond the political mess that abortion has become and empathise with their friend first and foremost.

The irony of bringing a “bandaid” baby into the world to heal the wounds between the two doctors is not lost on Doug. Sophie reasons that she’s “taken the morning after pill before; it’s not that different” (except that the morning after pill prevents implantation while an abortion is literally terminating an already implanted pregnancy. So, not entirely accurate W&L writing team.) and Doug retorts that he’s “not some one night stand”, insinuating that pregnancies that result from casual sex can only be and are the only unwanted ones.

Season two has been jammed packed with human rights matters like there’s no tomorrow. Flirty Cat came on the scene only to die a medically-assisted suicide a few episodes later. It was revealed that not only was high school mean girl Tiffany suffering physical abuse at the hands of her rich, Brighton-dwelling partner, but she was receiving money from him in return for her sexual services. Unfortunately, only on television could this come to light in a custody hearing and the mother still be able to see her children. On a not-so-well-though-out whim Sophie decided to propose to Doug because she knew how much marriage meant to him, only to break off the engagement two weeks later. While that storyline might not have turned out for the best, at least the show gave the notion of a woman proposing to a man without stigma a go.

Winners & Losers is certainly not faultless, and it has a long way to go when it comes to racial diversity and tackling stereotypes of non-straight people (Cat kissed women in a slightly male-gazey way, while Jonathan is a walking gay man trope), but it has to be given props for at least attempting to unpack the issues that many Australians face every day, but are so seldom seen on our screens.

Image source unknown.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

A diva is a female version of a gymnast, apparently. [Jezebel]

Is a man opening a door for a woman a sexist act? [MamaMia]

Gah! A young, attractive woman and her fanatical pro-life agenda. [Jezebel]

How to be an Olympic White Female. [Jezebel, via Feministing]

Do the Olympics offer an alternative to the female body we see regularly in the media, or is it just another opportunity to body-snark? [Time]

Rejoice! Jennifer Aniston isn’t a pathetic single woman anymore! [The Guardian]

Ricki-Lee is the latest “B-grade artist” to fetishise mental illness. [The Punch]

Stella Young writes about Peter Singers’ views on the killing—not aborting—of disabled babies—not foetuses. While he does raise some interesting points, I’ve written before that this kind of thinking trivialises abortion and the access to it we should have in this day and age. If a woman finds out she’s pregnant with a disabled foetus, she should have the support and means necessary to terminate if she feels that’s what she wants to do. I don’t think Singer would have these views if more women had access to safe, legal and unstigmatised abortion. Furthermore, I don’t think he’d have them if the lives of the disabled were valued more by society and they had more support. To say that parents have the right to kill their own disabled children after a set amount of time of attempting to care for them is to trivialise life itself: I’m all for a humane death over a painful life, but Young raises the point that babies don’t have the autonomy to make that choice. [ABC Ramp Up]

What the Spice Girls’ Olympic reunion means for girl power. [The Vine]

Image via The Daily.

TV: Private Practice—The Organ Donation of a “Brainless” Baby is Murder?

 

Technically, yes.

A baby who doesn’t have a frontal lobe—like Amelia’s baby—will have no semblance of a life, but because it has a working brainstem, it can’t officially be declared brain-dead in order to harvest its organs. While technically the organ donation of a baby without a frontal lobe is murder, for Sam and Charlotte to be so outraged about “killing a baby” to save the lives of several other babies is lacking in compassion.

This is juxtaposed with Pete’s display of utter empathy for a patient of his whom he assisted in suicide and received a murder charge for his trouble. The shades between right and wrong might be slightly grey in these two scenarios, but when death is a better option than a life not worth living, organ donation (a procedure which I registered for this year) and euthanasia, respectively, couldn’t be more right.

I really like the way Private Practice continues to show the abovementioned light and shade in the medical issues they tackle: reproductive rights, sexuality and assault, death. But I still stand by the notion that you can’t be a doctor and not understand when life begins and that after it has, that it’s not always worth it.

Related: Private Practice: Pro-Choice?

Private Practice: “Rape is Rape”.

Top 11 TV Moments of 2011.

Grey’s Anatomy Final Asks “When Does Life Begin?”

Image source unknown.