TV: Paper Giants–The Birth of Cleo Review.

 

Asher Keddie has never been my favourite actress. So I wasn’t particularly looking forward to her portrayal of magazine mogul Ita Buttrose in ABC’s Paper Giants.

However, after watching both episodes online on Good Friday, I’m now a Keddie convert.

If you’ve read any of the myriad of positive reviews of the miniseries, you’ll know that Keddie gets the Ita lisp down perfectly.

But Keddie gives off a different air to Ita (granted, I’m only really familiar with The Morning Show and etiquette Ita, not the golden age of magazines Ita), though, and really makes the role her own.

Film-wise, the imagery embodies the ’70s perfectly (’cause I was alive then and all!) and harkens back to simpler times, when the printers baulked at having to change their formatting to accommodate the patented Cleo sealed section, saying it couldn’t be done!

Though the role of women was going through an upheaval at the time, and Cleo paved the way for women of that generation.

I found it funny and quite poignant that women like Ita and her assistant Leslie, played by Jessica Tovey, were working to change the status of women through their magazine, while privately their lives were in shambles: Leslie tries to take on the role of sexually empowered woman, experimenting with role play, fantasy and sex toys, but still stays with her unenlightened fiancé Muz, while maintaining an affair with a senior co-worker, who refuses to leave his wife for her. And before Ita’s husband, Mac, leaves her raising one child and pregnant with another, the film juxtaposes Ita arriving home from a long day at the office that included being rebuffed for a loan without the permission of her husband with asking Mac if he’d like onions with his steak, which she immediately begins making.

At this juncture, the Cleo girls raise the notion of Superwoman, and if she actually exists; a debate modern feminists are still grappling with.

My favourite parts of the miniseries, apart from Keddie as Ita, and Rob Carlton as Kerry Packer, was its ability to poke fun at the present day, such as a dig at Time Out magazine, and how it will “never take off” and a Cleo girl asking, “Who’s Paul Keating?”

Related: “Cultural Talking Points”: How Does Jackie O’s “Bad Parenting” Relate to Hunting?

Has Feminism Failed?

Images via Facebook, ABC.

On the (Rest of the) Net Comes a Day Early.

As tomorrow is Good Friday (Friday, gotta get down on Good Friday), the international day of mourning sleeping in, On the (Rest of the) Net is arriving a day early. Enjoy, and happy Easter!

If you read only one thing this Easter weekend, make it Hadley Freeman’s “Rape is Not a Compliment” on The Guardian.

Rick Morton with “6 Arguments Against Women Serving in Combat Roles (And Why They’re Dodgy)”.

The pros and cons of trash reality TV and its treatment of women.

MamaMia has picked up Airiel Clark’s “Slut-Shaming on the Playground”, as well.

The view from the other side of the burqa is not one I agree with, but it’s a valid one nonetheless:

“Before you scream your disagreement, which many of you may do as a knee-jerk reaction to being told you’re also oppressed, stop and think. Look around you; contemplate society today, and its values, its aspirations, its goals, its direction, its past-times, its hobbies….

“What good has it done for images of uncovered made-up women to be plastered on every billboard and magazine, on the TV, in the movies, and on the net?

“The women in the images may aptly feel good about themselves for a while, but what does it mean for every other women?

“Women who look upon these images usually become anxious, jealous, unsure and critical of themselves, or all of these things. Many men who view them will become aroused, or even unhappy, less satisfied with the partners they already have. What can, and does this lead to?

“Cheating, dumping, chastisement, and even harassment of other women, and even children, by men who cannot find a legitimate outlet for their constant arousal.

“And yes, I can hear some of you; ‘then the men must control themselves!’ Frankly speaking that argument is well spent, not to mention futile, as most men are, inherently, only able to react to that, the same way a hungry lion would react if thrown a juicy piece of steak, and told not to eat it…”

Shades of Sheik El-Hilaly’s “uncovered meat” statement, don’t you think?

Gemma Ward makes her return to the newsstand.

“What to Wear for SlutWalk”:

“Wear anything you like, the organisers told me when I emailed them…

“SlutWalk will feature people in all sorts of garments and gear, dressed for the office, clubbing, yoga, walking the dog, whatever it is that people wear as they go about their lives not asking to be raped.”

A behind-the-scenes look at how Mia Freedman’s Sunday Life profile pictures go down.

Also at MamaMia, Freedman writes on Paper Giants (more on that to come next week; oh, the perils of not yet being digital TV-ready!), Park St, and the relevance and demise of magazines in 2011.

Nina Funnell on the “appalling” and “exploitative” nature of child beauty pageants.

“Gym. Tan. Laundry. Discuss.” The social politics of Jersey Shore.

She-Ra gets a fashionable makeover for a good cause.