Why we find the sexualised violence of #BBHMM so disturbing. [HuffPo Women]
The Supreme Court of the United States’ landmark decision to legalise marriage equality nation wide is great, but the freedom to marry should also mean the freedom not to marry. [The Cut]
Has Kim changed… or just the way we think about her? [Daily Life]
“My hope is that going forward we can have a Pennsatucky Test for rape scenes much like the Bechdel Test. Is the victim’s point-of-view shown? Does the scene have a purpose for existing for character, rather than plot, advancement? Is the emotional aftermath explored? As long as sexual assault continues to be a scourge of our society, TV shows ought to mine the subject; it’s important we keep the conversation going. Just take care of your characters. Don’t rape ’em and leave ’em. They deserve to have their trauma acknowledged. They deserve to have their stories told.” [Vulture]
Grief in the time of social media. [Kill Your Darlings]
To celebrate U.S. series UnREAL‘s renewal and debut on Australian screens on Stan, read about how the show flips the reality TV script and how it’s pushing the boundaries of female masturbation. [Vulture, TV Tonight, The New Yorker, HuffPo Women]
Mums with guns. [Jezebel]
Magic Mike XXL was released this week and I wrote about the original here. [TheVine]
The latest Down Under Feminists Carnival has much more Aussie and Kiwi feminist goodness to keep you satisfied. [A Bee of a Certain Age]
Still with Shonda Rhimes’ creations, is How to Get Away With Murder the most progressive show on TV? [Vanity Fair]
On relatability (“To appreciate [art] only to the extent that the work functions as one’s mirror would make for a hopelessly reductive experience.”) VS. likeability (“If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble.”) [The New Yorker, Buzzfeed]
Lena Dunham has tweeted and Instagrammed in support of Tom Meagher’s blog post earlier this year about the rape and murder of his wife Jill Meagher two years ago. [Buzzfeed, White Ribbon]
Wendy Squires wrote on the weekend that Eddie McGuire is leading the charge of male feminists because he built a change room for women runners to have a safe space after exercising at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. That’s great, but here are four reasons why McGuire isn’t the feminist Squires thinks he is. They highlight why language is just as important as action. [The Age, Daily Life]
Speaking of language, stop calling sex workers “pr*stitutes” and “wh*res”. [Junkee]
Anne Helen Petersen on Renee Zellweger’s changing face:
“… Zellweger’s picture personality has been about the striving performance of femininity—and a striving performance that’s rooted, always, in the appearance of twenty- and thirtysomething youth. To see her at the age of 44, amid a long period without acting work, with plastic surgery seems yet the latest attempt, and failure, to conform to the ideals of femininity, the sad second act in the latest Bridget Jones. Only this time, as the book tells us, Mr. Darcy is dead, which means there’s no man to validate her and thus save her from self-punishment.” [Buzzfeed]
The fault in sick-lit. [Kill Your Darlings]
Lupita Nyong’o and the fetishisation of black women’s bodies. [Black Feminists]
Too much Kim, not enough Kendall. [The Style Con]
In praise of Lisa Simpson, Harriet M. Welsch and Scout Finch. [The New Yorker]
The “coward’s punch” is far more rampant than violence against women, or so the current furore surrounding male street violence would have you believe. [Daily Life]
If porn stars could speak in schools, this is what they’d say. [New Statesman]
How Aussie Girls relate to their Lena Dunham-created counterparts. One of the best think pieces I’ve read about the show. [Kill Your Darlings]
Why we shouldn’t joke about incest in the wake of Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic remake. [Here There Be Dragons]
Speaking of Flowers, is it anti-reading? [The New Yorker]
Earlier this year there was somewhat of a resurgence of appreciation for the art of Sex… Sex & the City, that is.
In the wake of the death of Sopranos star James Gandolfini and the culmination of decade-defining Breaking Bad, the apparent age of the anti-hero is upon us. The Sopranos was no doubt a watershed moment for cable network HBO, but what about another HBO show that aired six months prior and also elucidated a generation: Sex & the City?
TV critic Emily Nussbaum was thinking along the same lines when she wrote her own defence of the series earlier this year for The New Yorker. A sample:
“But Sex and the City, too, was once one of HBO’s flagship shows. It was the peer of The Sopranos, albeit in a different tone and in a different milieu, deconstructing a different genre. Mob shows, cop shows, cowboy shows—those are formulas with gravitas. Sex and the City, in contrast, was pigeonholed as a sitcom. In fact, it was a bold riff on the romantic comedy: the show wrestled with the limits of that pink-tinted genre for almost its entire run. In the end, it gave in. Yet until that last-minute stumble it was sharp, iconoclastic television. High-feminine instead of fetishistically masculine, glittery rather than gritty, and daring in its conception of character, Sex and the City was a brilliant and, in certain ways, radical show. It also originated the unacknowledged first female anti-hero on television: ladies and gentlemen, Carrie Bradshaw.”
Carrie Bradshaw—like the anti-heroine Hannah in the apparent anti-SATC of this generation, Lena Dunham’s Girls—is not someone to look up to. She’s mind-numbingly selfish (“This can’t be the day I was broken up with by a Post-It!” No, Carrie, it was the day your friend Charlotte got engaged. But, by Charlotte’s own admission, it would be her second marriage so it’s not that important, right?); lives in a rent-controlled pre-war brownstone on the “gated island for the wealthy”, as Nussbaum puts it, apparently paid for by a $400-a-week-if-she’s-lucky-freelance-gig; and cheated on Aidan with Big. (In the ill-fated second movie, Carrie then cheats on Big with Aidan.)
While Carrie may not be a wholly identifiable character, the friendships she shares with Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte certainly are. Carrie is obviously everyone’s best friend who is asked to be maid of honour at their weddings and pick them up from the hospital when they’re sick, but the dynamics between the other women are interesting. Samantha and Charlotte can certainly clash over their differing ideologies on sex and relationships—the season three episode, “Frenemies”, perfectly illustrated the virgin-whore dichotomy between the two, but I love the maternal side Samantha shows around Charlotte, supporting her in “The Baby Shower” when she discovers the mum-to-be stole her future daughter’s name. I most strongly identify with Miranda, who often clashes with Carrie due to her whimsical attitude about things like money and men. For example, when Carrie reveals she’s going to lunch with Big after countless heartbreak in the season three finale, Miranda becomes exasperated at Carrie’s masochism and storms out of a vintage store they were shopping at. On the other side of the coin, Carrie disapproves of Miranda unquestioningly cutting ties with Steve for cheating on her in the original movie.
And let’s not forget the ground SATC broke in terms of women and talking about sex and TV. Looking back on it now, some of the attitudes the girls share about gender (Samantha’s treatment of the transgendered sex workers outside her apartment), sexuality (Miranda comments that bisexuality isn’t a valid orientation because the women end up with men and the men end up with men) and sex work (when everyone finds out Stanford’s boyfriend, Marcus, was a sex worker); but, at that time, can you recall many other shows that were so open and frank about sex and how women feel about it?
So while the show might be called Sex & the City—and let’s be clear, there’s a hell of a lot of it!—it’s very much about women and friendships in New York City.
Elsewhere: [The New Yorker] Difficult Women.
PETA get more anti-women with each ad campaign. [Daily Life]
On favouring the internet over books. I’m a rapacious reader; if I don’t get at least an hour’s reading time in each day, I will slowly start to go insane. Some of my friends tease me ’cause it can take me up to a month or six weeks to finish a book (the most recent was Stephen King’s Under the Dome, and what a waste of two months that was!), but that’s not taking into account the copious amounts of other reading I do. On a good day, I’ll devour every article on TheVine, Daily Life, MamaMia and Jezebel, and fit in some before-bed book reading. On the weekends I can get through The Age‘s lifestyle sections, long-form articles I can’t commit to throughout the week and magazines that have been languishing on my bedside table for weeks, on top of all the rest. I read probably millions of words a week. I don’t think there’s any harm in some of those words being from the internet. These days, reading is about so much more than books. Just so long as I can get a chapter or two in every night or on the bus, I’ll take my reading where I can get it. [Daily Life]
Reading letters to Ms. magazine’s editors from the 1980s. [The New Yorker]
The rise of the Trojan Horse TV show. [Film School Rejects]
Anna Gunn, the actress who plays Skyler White on Breaking Bad, weighs in on the vitriol directed at her character. [NYTimes]
The privileged male sexuality of “Blurred Lines”. [Collapse Board]
In defence of the make-up-free selfie. I like MamaMia‘s Body Positive campaign, but I think it’s just the concept of the selfie I’m a bit iffy about. I’m all for taking a photo of myself after exercise or of a body part that I’m self-conscious about, but I just can’t get behind selfies (so to speak). Maybe it’s also an insecurity about my face without makeup. Apart from my legs, my bare face is the body part I most struggle with. I love the structure of my face, and I think my eyes are my best feature, but I’m still sporting the scars from years of late-adolescence/early-adulthood acne which means I’m not ready to upload a make-up-free pic of myself for all the interwebs to see. Plus, I think selfies are kind of narcissistic—there’s a difference between a light-hearted holiday or dancefloor snap with friends and a duckface bathroom pic which just screams “validate me!” What do you think of the whole selfie phenomenon in general?
Some slighted feminists sick of receiving dick pics have decided to make them into an art exhibition. And that’s where the issue of consent comes in. [Daily Life]