On the (Rest of the) Net.

Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair

Trans women like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox have the visibility, power and acceptance to “lift up” trans people who don’t have such privileges. [Laverne Cox]

Fixating on Caitlyn’s perceived “hotness” hurts the trans community:

“… Be conventionally attractive and feminine, and you get reduced to your appearance like any cis woman; don’t, and people won’t accept your identity as legitimate.” [Vocativ]

I asked if Kris Jenner is a bad mother. [Bitch Flicks]

The age gap between some of Hollywood’s most in demand young actresses—Scarlett Johansson, Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence—and their much older on-screen love interests. [Vulture]

How Mansplaining, the Statue went viral. [Weird Sister]

To ladyblog or not to ladyblog? [Slate]

The dawning of the age of a new (female) action hero. [Vulture]

The language we use to speak about rape may be part of the problem.

Sport is the “great equaliser”. Except when it comes to race:

“Indigenous players are ‘Australians when they’re winning and Aborigines at other times.'” [Overland]

Australia “reserve[s] a special disdain for ‘uppity blacks'” like Adam Goodes who don’t know their place. [New Matilda]

To all those busybodies who enquire when you’re going to have children: “I am writing my final no-thank-you note.” [Longreads]

ICYMI: “Writing About Taylor Swift Ruined My Friendship!”

In defence of the apparently unintelligent lyrics of pop and rap music.

In Defence of Pop & Rap’s “Unintelligent” Lyrics.

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Last week I posted a link to a study by Seat Smart about the most unintelligent songs of the past decade in which the genres of pop and R’n’B/rap/hip hop featured heavily.

Word length and the amount of syllables therein were factors in pushing a song over the edge from unintelligence to intelligence. From the study:

“Country music is full of words like Hallelujah, cigarettes, hillbilly, and tacklebox. Add to that long place names like Cincinnati, Louisville, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and [c]ountry has a serious advantage over the competition.”

Country music coming out on top as the most intelligent genre is laughable; this is the inherently sexist genre that brought you such gems as “Thank God I’m a Country Girl” and Taylor Swift before she found feminism. Just because country originated in parts of America with really long names don’t mean jack. (I tried my hand at some country-esque parlance there.)

Though you wouldn’t think it from the flashy and oftentimes nonsensical rap styles of Pit Bull and Snoop Dogg phoning it in on tracks like Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”, rap and hip hop were spawned in some of the poorest and most downtrodden parts of major cities where their primarily black and Hispanic residents were oppressed and discriminated against and where drugs and crime were rampant. In his younger days, Tupac Shakur rapped about police brutality (“Trapped”, “Changes”), slut shaming, sexual assault and STDs (“Brenda’s Got a Baby”, “Keep Ya Head Up”, “Baby Don’t Cry”), and drugs (“Changes”), while N.W.A. produced songs with similar content.

As is evident in the popular music that the study chose to… erm… study, the rap that makes it to the top 40 charts isn’t necessarily an accurate depiction of the genre as a whole. Take, for example, Kendrick Lamar. I’m not super familiar with his work but I do know that the most commercial success he’s seen came with his recent cameo in Taylor Swift’s (of country music origins) video for “Bad Blood”. And while we all have an opinion on Kanye West, he raps intelligently—although this study would seek to disprove that—about fame, money, racism. (His inclusion on Katy Perry’s “E.T”, making it one of the past decade’s smartest songs, while Perry’s “Wide Awake” with no obligatory rap interlude makes it the 10th dumbest song of the decade should be indicative of rap’s—or at least Kanye’s—value.) This is not to mention the copious amounts of underground and unreleased rap out there.

When it comes to women, Mariah Carey (“We Belong Together” is finally getting its due as one of Mariah’s more artful arrangements) and Nicki Minaj (again, her unreleased stuff is far more sophisticated than “Anaconda” and “Starships”) are topping the intelligence scales while Beyonce makes an appearance in both intelligent and unintelligent lists. That the biggest and best artist in the world today could be described using the word “unintelligent” is a crime. It just goes to show that word length alone doesn’t demonstrate the myriad aspects that go into creating music.

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It’s also interesting that many of the artists who rank high in intelligence are appropriating the music of other cultures, ie. Eminem and Macklemore. (My mother recently said she thought Eminem was the best rapper, despite the high rotation of rappers of colour on my and my sister’s CD players in our youth.) On a related note, Iggy Azalea is nowhere to be found in this study.

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Sure, songs like “California Gurls” and “Tik Tok” may indicate our lowering intelligence as a culture (though, having said that, these are two of my favourite songs to get down on the dancefloor to, so do with that what you will), but artists like Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Taylor Swift (despite what the study says!) who are changing the game would suggest otherwise.

What do you think? Do you agree with the study’s assertions or would you counter them like I have?

Related: On the (Rest of the) Net: 29th May 2015.

Taylor Swift: The Perfect Victim.

Elsewhere: [Seat Smart] Lyric Intelligence in Popular Music: A Ten Year Analysis.

[Jezebel] Country Music Dude: In Radio, Female Performers Are Basically Garnishes.

[The Guardian] Taylor Swift: “Sexy? Not on My Radar.”

Images via Seat Smart.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

Is pop music turning into porn? [MamaMia]

Sex, lies, and DSK. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Is Lady Gaga “a feminist icon, or just a slightly offbeat sex object?”:

“In some ways, Gaga’s entire persona seems to question what’s expected of women. It’s there in the internal contradiction of her name: ‘Lady’ with its suggestions of gentility, sweetness, high breeding; ‘Gaga’ with its intimations of infantility, madness, antic spirit. She has often been compared with a drag queen and, in many ways, this seems apt. Part of the brilliance and beauty of drag, of course, is that it can potentially expose sex roles—most often femininity—as a performance. A drag queen in enormous false eyelashes, teetering heels, a tight dress, heavy makeup, a voluminous wig, talon-like nails, is mimicking a woman, while underlining that what’s expected of women is in no way natural. With her increasingly bizarre getups, Gaga does the same.” [Queerty]

In defence of young adult fiction. [Girls Are Made From Pepsi]

The underlying lesbianism in the BFF relationship. [Girls Are Made From Pepsi]

One night with Quentin Tarantino. Fascinating, if not 100% verified. [Gawker]

Would you ever go through with labiaplasty? [MamaMia]

Michele Bachmann: “the candidate Sarah Palin was supposed to be.” Scary! [Rolling Stone]

16 & Pregnant as public service announcement. [Slate]

In celebration of gay marriage being approved in New York, check this little ditty out above. [Dear Blank Please Blank]

Images via Loopy Comments, Girls Are Made from Pepsi, Dear Blank Please Blank.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

How to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel:

“Holding tight to a mission statement that stands first and foremost to ‘empower women,’ and a slogan stating the brand is one to ‘Inspire, Empower and Indulge,’ the company ‘helps customers to feel sexy, bold and powerful.’

“Where once sexualized representations of women in the media presented them as passive, mute objects of an assumed male gaze, today women are presented as active, desiring sexual subjects who choose to present themselves in an objectified manner because it suits their ‘liberated’ interests to do so.

“Not only are women objectified as they have been, but through sexual subjectification, they must also now understand their own objectification as pleasurable and self-chosen.”

Why Britney Spears is the everywoman pop star of our generation.

Unfortunately for John Galliano, “Rehab Does Not Cure Anti-Semitism”.

Also, Gawker wonders “How the Hell is Anti-Semitism Having a ‘Moment’?”

Owen Wilson managed to escape the tabloid microscope of Hollywood after his 2007 suicide attempt, unlike so many other stars who’ve fallen of the mental health wagon (the aforementioned Britney, Lindsay Lohan and flavour of the moment, Charlie Sheen):

“…it is Wilson who seems to have gotten the hall pass. He has never explained what happened to him that anguished Sunday in August…

“It’s a fascinating instance of a celebrity hiding in plain sight—and getting away with it—that stands virtually alone in Hollywood’s PR playbook.

“What’s the statute of limitations on personal issues in Hollywood?”

Baby bullying in the Bonds Baby Search competition. Seriously?! Baby bullying?!

What would it be like to sleep with a women’s magazine?:

“Vogue: You’re really flattered. They’re probably the hottest person you’ve ever slept with. Neither of you gets off.”

US political commentator Rush Limbaugh feels that Michelle Obama doesn’t have the right body type to be an advocate for beating childhood obesity:

“I’m trying to say that our First Lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you. I mean, women are under constant pressure to look lithe, and Michelle My Belle is out there saying if you eat the roots and tree bark and the berries and all this cardboard stuff you will live longer, be healthier and you won’t be obese. Okay, fine, show us.”

Racist, sexist and sizeist on so many levels.

On that, “Beauty is Not a Spectrum” at Eat The Damn Cake.

The secret lives of sex store workers.

“Charlie Sheen’s ‘Porn Family’, Explained.”

Images via Squa.re, Everyday Facts.

 

The Problem with Pop Music.

 

From The Quietus“Givin’ It to the Homegirl: The Trouble with Kelis” by Neil Kulkarni:

“I hear no shattered women on the radio right now, no one swallowing men like air or devouring worlds or commanding the cosmos or even telling the truth. Only empty-headed little girls skweeming and squeaking about what rockstars they are. Well we get the pop we deserve, the pop Fearne Cotton likes, but even if I were white skinny and pretty I’d feel lagged behind, let down, and I’d be wondering why the fuck these drippy bitches like Flo and Ke$h think they deserve to be famous. Good taste? Where’s the fucking bravery? Where’s girls like I know, rather than the girls and guys I’d cross streets, change clubs, emigrate, to avoid. If pop is a club right now, I find myself walking past all the tables packed full of braying twats and simpering saps and desperate to recognise a friendly face, a real face, smart people who are a laugh, rather than all these desperately needy, charmless loudmouth ignoramuses and fucking students.

“Look at what pop’s women are wearing. Even in Gaga’s orbit of influence, it’s so fucking dull out there. It’s as if Girl pop looks at ’30s Vogue, ’70s Cosmo, ’80s Face/ID, looks at the dress-up-games the high-street makes easy and search-free, throws shit on and waits for those old spirits to reinhabit the body beneath and the mind behind such carelessness… Those old moments of beauty, those looks so steely, timed and timeless were animated and arranged by folk who worshipped new gods, the camera and the motorcar and the mirrorball and the MDMA and that spirit cannot be conjured off-the-peg, cribbed from an idiot’s guide or splattered on with a sequin gun. [Scarlett Woman note: Or a love glue gun, as Gaga would say?]

“Which does beg the question—what real female figureheads are there for girls to idolise, aspire to, learn from in music right now? In a pop world in which female ‘presence’ is in glut/spreadthin, it’s startling how little of femme-import is being given, how so many of the supposed ‘divas’ in modern pop have now to offer young minds bar money-hunger, man-dependence and just-dumped aggravation… make the colossal strategic error of listening to the charts, and you’ll see girls talk about themselves, sure, but always ONLY in relation to their relationships, only in relation to how near/far they are from love, only in relation to how much they can lose/claw back of themselves in the permanent night-out that is pop’s sole focus and context in 2010. Crucially, whilst you’ll see lots of girls, you won’t hear a single word that dares to antagonise you, that really addresses how scarily fast and furious with innovative invective girls can be. Obvious why girls are so ill-served at the moment, why none of pop’s chat and cattiness (exceptions: Gaga, Britney and Beyonce on their good days; Shakira—all of whom crucially don’t try and talk to/for their young fans, just luxuriate in their own supra-identities) actually matches up to the way girls talk/live/think—somewhere along the line middle-aged fanboys started whispering to pop that if it wants to cut deep it must only thieve from the past the fanboys curate, that it can’t do politics, that being a poetess is less important than simply being a witty conduit for the babble of what’s contemporary, a simpering squeaker of lad-mag-friendly spunkiness. ‘I really like your beard.’ Jesus. They’re being catered for.”

Elsewhere: [The Quietus] Givin’ It to the Homegirl: The Trouble with Kelis.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

The latest Teen Vogue with Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale on the cover worryingly espouses using dieting to achieve “Your Best Body”.

Minnie Mouse meets beatnik meets Gala Darling is the latest “blog girl” trend.

A superb 2004 Andrew Denton interview with media darling/mogul Ita Buttrose.

Charlie Glickman on the perils of alternative male and female sexuality.

Pop music=guilty pleasure no more. (However, stay tuned next week for an alternative view on this subject.)

Girl with a Satchel laments the unattractive “View from the Glossip Stand” in Zoo’s UnAustralians of the Year feature.

“Stereotyping is a fun and useful tool… to categorise interests and make harmful blanket statements” about your favourite magazines. For example, Lula is for those who “never spend money on U.S. fashion magazines because they just don’t ‘get it’; they’re so dull”, while Details has “a strong Patrick Bateman vibe”.

More on Gwyneth Paltrow’s unlikability, this time from New York Magazine:

“Gwyneth is also kind of a jerk. Her perfection is judgment on the rest of us, and she makes this known in interviews and on her lifestyle website, Goop, the tone of which suggests a domestic personality just one degree shy of Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest.”

The Freudian nature of the vampire.

How women are reclaiming “bitch” as their own.

New research indicates that women’s bodies may protect themselves from rape. And so opens a whole other can of consent worms…

“Are Music Video Girls Exploited?”

This article puts to the rest the “you can’t be both beautiful and smart” way of thinking.