On the (Rest of the) Net.

Dreams do come true! I now have my first piece up on MamaMia about labiaplasty and “designer vaginas”. Go check it out! Alternatively, you can read it here next week.

Feminist sites seem to be raving about the above video for Sauza Blue Tequila, in which a shirtless fireman with a kitten generalises the shit out of what women like and want. It makes me want to gag (the video, not the tequila!). So sexist. [Jezebel, MamaMia]

Wikipedia was seeking comment from users as to what pro- and anti-choice groups should be called on their site (you can see the results and arguments here). What do you think? What would you like the camp you belong to to be called? [Jezebel]

Why do Arab states hate women?:

“Name me an Arab country, and I’ll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt—including my mother and all but one of her six sisters—have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme. When Egyptian women are subjected to humiliating ‘virginity tests’ merely for speaking out, it’s no time for silence. When an article in the Egyptian criminal code says that if a woman has been beaten by her husband ‘with good intentions’ no punitive damages can be obtained, then to hell with political correctness. And what, pray tell, are ‘good intentions’? They are legally deemed to include any beating that is ‘not severe’ or ‘directed at the face.’ What all this means is that when it comes to the status of women in the Middle East, it’s not better than you think. It’s much, much worse.” [Foreign Policy]

Hipster racism: but I was a racist before it was cool! [Jezebel]

Enough with the dead artist hologram craze. [Jezebel]

This Pulitzer prize-winning article by Wesley Morris examines why the Fast & the Furious franchise is so racially important:

“… The most progressive force in Hollywood today is the Fast and Furious movies. They’re loud, ludicrous, and visually incoherent. They’re also the last bunch of movies you’d expect to see in the same sentence as ‘incredibly important.’ But they are—if only because they feature race as a fact of life as opposed to a social problem or an occasion for self-congratulation… “… [U]nlike most movies that feature actors of different races, the mixing is neither superficial nor topical. It has been increasingly thorough as the series goes on—and mostly unacknowledged. That this should seem so strange, so rare, merely underscores how far Hollywood has drifted from the rest of culture.” [Boston.com]

Cheerleading in Australia: yay or nay? [MamaMia]

Check out the latest Twitter hashtag trend: #ReplaceBandNamesWithRape. Actually, don’t. [Twitter, Jezebel]

The curse of soapie sex. [TheVine]

Image via Our Stage.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

The disturbing, tragic life of Hustler’s Larry Flynt.

Dubai isn’t the pink-buildinged, “Middle-Eastern Shangri-La” of materialistic Sex & the City movies it’s made out to be.

“All Work, (Almost) No Pay” for the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders. Fascinating stuff.

The cult of Oprah.

The case for women to serve in combat roles in the armed forces.

Hypocrisy and “male narcissism” in “political sex scandals”.

Got a problem with SlutWalk? Finally, some solutions to make it better.

Also, for all you anti-SlutWalkers out there, This is What Slut-Shaming Looks Like”:

“1. Was I suppose to just take it in stride that random pervs found out where my little sister went to high school and speculated about whether she, too, would become a ‘whore’? An anonymous asshole emailed her last fall asking her that. Don’t tell me that’s normal criticism.

“2. What about the manufactured ‘scandal’ that Internet vigilantes began in hopes of getting my boyfriend kicked out of his Ph.D program? They decided to email the entire sociology faculty list. I was a junior at the time in the same department. Do you have any idea how incredibly difficult it is to force yourself to graduate when your professors have all read about how you’re supposedly being ‘raped’ on a regular basis? That is not criticism.

“3. Is trying to get me fired also normal? In 2009, when I was working for an education non-profit during my time off from Harvard, someone wrote a fake article about how my employer was so embarrassed to have hired a ‘porn blogger’. There were made-up quotes from ‘company reps’. They disseminated it online, not realizing that I actually told my boss about my blog during my initial interview. (He emailed me the article and totally had my back. It was one of the most touching things I’ve ever experienced from an employer, no joke.)”

I originally blew off Roseanne Barr’s New York Magazine take on sexism in Hollywood. But I read it this week and couldn’t recommend it enough. Great writing.

The Smurfette principle:

“Little girls learn to split their consciousness, filtering their dreams and ambitions through boy characters while admiring the clothes of the princess. The more privileged and daring can dream of becoming exceptional women in a man’s world—Smurfettes. The others are being taught to accept the more usual fate, which is to be a passenger car drawn through life by a masculine train engine. Boys, who are rarely confronted with stories in which males play only minor roles, learn a simpler lesson: girls just don’t matter much.”

This article on the sexual misconduct of AFL players from 2008 is just as pertinent today.

“In Defence of Prudes.”

“Women are pieces of art, men aren’t”?

What is the average Australian’s yearly income?

Sarah Ayoub-Christie writes her final post for Wordsmith Lane.

Why Psychology Today hates women.

How the celeb sex tape ruined America (NSFW).

Movie Review: Sex & the City 2.

In lieu of Monday’s weekly book review, I went to see Sex & the City 2 on Friday night, so I will be reviewing that instead. Well, it is based on a book…

Having read all the 2-star reviews on blogs and in magazines over the past weeks, I went into the whole thing with very low expectations. I knew the flick would be an exercise in product placement even more so than the first one, what with Sarah Jessica Parker sitting on the board of, and now designing for, Halston Heritage. Not to mention the Manolos, Jimmy Choos and Louboutins that we’ve come to know and love because of SATC. Mr. Blahnik was even quoted as saying “that shoe [the blue satin shoe that Carrie goes back for in the first film and gets Big as well] saved our company”. (Ironically, he’s also slammed the show for making him famous.)

The controversy surrounding the heavily Photoshopped promo poster and the “sex in the Middle East” subject matter also overshadowed the film’s premier and the memories of the girls gallivanting around New York City, breaking boundaries for women in television, and in life.

While SATC2 itself wasn’t groundbreaking, it was much better than I thought it was going to be. It was a visual explosion, for one thing; the sets, particularly Carrie and Big’s apartment, were stunning and so inspirational, as Paula Joye reiterates in her e-newsletter, LifeStyled. I am having major apartment-envy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if SATC style becomes the interior du jour.

The main image fans have been bombarded with in the lead up to the film’s release was that of the four stars traipsing across the desert, Samantha in a studded helmet-like headdress and Charlotte channelling Olivia Newton John in “Let’s Get Physical”. Thank God this scene is not representative of the rest of their wardrobes. While costume designer Patricia Field should be sartorially ashamed, most of the other outfits really evoked a Middle Eastern flair.

In other areas, especially the scenes back in New York, Field fell flat. Yes, two years have passed since the first film, which was absolutely decadent in it’s use of fashion, replete with 50-plus costume changes for Carrie, and we are now in a recession. However, with an alleged $10 million costuming budget, you’d think Field could have jazzed it up a bit, especially when it came to Carrie. Boring white Halston with some gold accents, and a belly-caring gingham top with jeans aren’t very Carrie-esque.

But I will applaud the movie for bringing back some fashion favourites. In the ’80s flashback scene, you will notice Carrie’s navy hat box, which reappears on the Abu Dhabi trip some 25 years later. The pink and white suitcases Carrie uses when she moves to Paris with Petrovski are also used again in UAE. And during Carrie and Big’s marriage crisis, Big arrives at Carrie’s old apartment in his town car like the days of old, where she greets him in her Autumn/Winter 2000/2001 Dior newsprint dress. That certainly elicited a response from the movie-goers!

The new characters were endearing, especially Carrie’s butler in Abu Dhabi, Guarau , whose personal life made her reflect on her own. (Spoiler alert: Carrie begins to resent Big for wanting to spend more time at home, ie. on the couch, while she still wants to embrace her inner party girl. She decides to spend some time at her old apartment [see above] to “write”, and when she returns to their communal quarters, they have a wonderful night getting “reacquainted”. When Big suggests they make a habit of having “two days off from their marriage a week”, Carrie freaks out and flees to Abu Dhabi with the girls; Guarau’s wife still lives in India and he commutes whenever he has the time/money to see her.) And how Samantha referred to them was even better! Some gems were “‘Paula’ Abdul”, Samantha’s gay butler, and her UAE expat love interest, “Lawrence of Arabia my labia”.

In other sex-scandal related news, Samantha’s Birkin is broken at the spice market, and out spills a plethora of condoms. Samantha is shamed by the shoppers in the street, and in a display of sexual liberation, she throws her birth control at the Middle Easterners as only she could, which harkens back to other Samantha moments (ie. accusing a Playboy bunny of stealing her fake Fendi; throwing her wig into the audience at a breast cancer benefit). While this may not have been an appropriate way to represent attitudes to sex in this part of the world, it is Samantha, and it is Sex & the City.

What I found even less appropriate was the amount of cleavage on show, especially Carries! My friend and I mused about whether SJP’s had a boob job; I doubt she has, but her bountiful bosom was certainly out there. And don’t even get me started on the braless nanny!

The storylines were a bit disjointed, I will admit to that; Anthony’s revelation, during their Liza Minnelli-infused nuptuals, that he will most likely cheat on Stanford, Charlotte’s nanny neuroses, and Aidan’s disappearance after he kisses Carrie were all left unresolved. While it may be plausible for you to run a mile from the man you cheated on your husband with in the Middle East, it doesn’t make for formidable storytelling on the big screen. I will never forget how the audience rejoiced in gasps, followed by laughter at our mutual reactions, when Aidan deigned to kiss Carrie when they’re both happily married.

While the consensus does seem to be that the movie sucks (it’s worth seeing for Liza’s rendition of “Single Ladies” alone!) , I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. My friends and I are a hard audience to please, and we all enjoyed it immensely. Can’t wait to get it on DVD and gift to all. Christmas, perhaps?

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Why SATC2 Never Stood a Chance.

[Jezebel] New Sex & the City 2 Poster: A Photoshop Oasis.

[Pop Crunch] Manolo Blahnik Slams Sex & the City.