On the (Rest of the) Net.

eva marie art

I wrote in defence of Eva Marie.

From Sir Mix-A-Lot to Taylor Swift to LEMONADE: on the origin of Becky. [Fusion]

bell hooks’ criticisms of LEMONADE and black femininity. [bell hooks institute]

Janet Mock responded smartly. [Facebook]

Feministing hosts a roundtable on the topic. 

And with LEMONADE, Beyonce says “boy, bye” to black respectability. [Fusion]

Women-only train carriages: creating a safe space for women or not doing enough to curb the predatory behaviour of men? [Sheilas]

How Jane the Virgin deals with money. [Think Progress]

George Michael’s “black” musical history. [Slate]

How social media can increase organ donations. [NYTimes]

Why do women love Chris Evans so much? [Buzzfeed]

Ronan Farrow on why the media needs to hold Woody Allen accountable to allegations of child sex abuse against his daughter and Farrow’s sister. [THR]

Chelsea Handler writes in defence of being single. [Motto]

Justin Bieber and the surveillance of celebrities. [MTV]

The Year of Scarlett Johansson.

Scarlett-Johansson-winter-soldier

2014 has been a big year for Scarlett Johansson.

It didn’t begin all that positively, though, with the actress drawing heat for her association with soda water company, Sodastream, whose headquarters are based in Israel, specifically the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank. Boycotts of the product damaged both Johansson and Sodastream’s reputations, leading the actress to resign from her position as an ambassador for Oxfam in order to appear in the company’s Superbowl commercial. Get your priorities in check, girl.

Another stance Johansson took that arguably damaged her reputation in the eyes of many was her defence of Woody Allen who, earlier this year, had child molestation charges against him resurface. Johansson said about Allen’s daughter’s allegations, in which she called out Johansson and other actors associated with her alleged abuser, “I think it’s irresponsible to take a bunch of actors that will have a Google alert on and to suddenly throw their name into a situation that none of us could possibly knowingly comment on. That just feels irresponsible to me.”

Irresponsible isn’t the word I’d use, but I digress.

Johansson attempted to smooth over her feminist faux pas by designing a line of t-shirts for Planned Parenthood in August.

And finally, before we get to the work she’s actually known for—acting—Johansson demonstrated her assertiveness in an interview in Glamour’s May issue in which she laments the nickname ScarJo:

“I associate that name with, like, pop stars… It sounds tacky. It’s lazy and flippant…There’s something insulting about it.”

Perhaps Johansson’s biggest film this year was Captain America: The Winter Soldier in which she reprises her Marvel universe role of Natasha Romanoff or The Black Widow. But her most creatively satisfying projects, at least from the audience’s viewpoint, weren’t as big budget as The Winter Soldier.

While both Her and Under the Skin were released in the U.S. last year, they made their Australian big screen debuts in 2014, and both films were a departure of sorts from Johansson’s usual fare. The sexy husky voice Johansson has become known for was the star of Spike Jonze’s Her, in which Joaquin Phoenix’s character, Theodore, falls in love with his artificial operating system, voiced by Johansson. The film was a different kind of romantic comedy that spliced futuristic sci-fi into the mix.

Speaking of sci-fi, Under the Skin is certainly an otherworldly experience that leaves the viewer unsettled. For those who haven’t seen it, Johansson plays an alien who seduces men off the street, the reasons for which are unclear. You may remember controversy surrounding the reality-based filming that left audiences unsure of who was an actor and whom Johansson actually accosted on the streets of Scotland. It is also one of the films in which Johansson bares her naked body, but sexy, it is anything but.

The film for which Johansson garnered the most buzz, though, was probably Lucy, another sci-fi action flick about what happens when we use parts of our brains that are usually dormant that kicked butt at the box office. Like Frozen, Maleficent and The Hunger Games, Johansson is helping to prove that action films and blockbusters starring women can make bank.

While Johansson was a prominent fixture at the cinema this year, she also had a banner year personally. Johansson and her partner, Romain Dauriac, welcomed baby girl Rose Dorothy in September.

Beyonce will probably make many of the year-end lists but we can’t forget the prevalence of Johansson in pop culture this year. I certainly haven’t.

Related: The Year of Beyonce.

Elsewhere: [Salon] Scarlett Johansson’s Awful Defence of Woody Allen & SodaStream.

[E! Online] Scarlett Johansson Designs T-Shirt for Planned Parenthood’s New Women’s Rights Campaign.

[SMH] Scarlett Johansson’s Fuse Shorts Out Over Nickname.

[News.com.au] Scarlett Johansson, Romain Dauriac Welcome Baby Rose.

Image via Poejazzi.

Baby, It’s a Wild World: Navigating Popular Culture as a Feminist.

Recently, a friend questioned why I listen to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast when he’s a known intimate partner abuser. He makes a fair point, as I have shunned Sean Penn and Michael Fassbender movies and R. Kelly and Chris Brown’s music (not that I really had an interest in them to begin with) because of their woman-hating ways. But by the same token, I listen to 2Pac, John Lennon and Prince despite knowing their histories of similar assaults.

I replied that you can’t watch, listen to or read anything these days where the creator and/or their characters haven’t committed a crime or moral transgression. There’s Woody Allen, Game of Thrones, Michael Jackson and, to varying degrees, Bryan Singer, Fassbender and Halle Berry of the current X-Men film.

A lot of the pop cultural morsels I’ve mentioned above I first consumed before I knew about their creators’ wicked ways. I got into professional wrestling and all its problems, rap and hip hop and their misogynist lyrics, and the Beatles and MJ as a teen whose feminist ideals were in their infant stages, but by no means as staunchly militant as they are today. It’s easy to make the conscious effort not to consume products made by artists whose questionable morals you’re already aware of, not so much when you’ve already got a passion for them. (I’ve had conversations with people in recent weeks who did not know about Singer’s rape allegations nor Fassbender’s violent streak; their inner torment about liking something made by someone reprehensible [or at least someone who’s committed reprehensible acts] was evident in their pained, conflicted responses.) When I pointed this out to my abovementioned podcast friend, he asked whether that meant I thought I was exempt from examining the issues with famous men being rewarded for their transgressions just because I happen to like the stuff they produce.

“Absolutely not,” I replied. But by the same token, if we were to avoid problematic pop culture, we’d never leave the house!

I think the most important thing is not to make excuses about the problematic pop culture we choose to consume. I can’t say if I’ll continue to listen to Austin’s podcast but if I do I’ll be sure not to be hypocritical about it. No excuses here.

Related: Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Elsewhere: [The Smoking Gun] Stone Cole Steve Austin Roughs Up Girlfriend.

[Lipstick Alley] Flashback: Sean Penn Beat Madonna for 9 Hours in 1987; Charged with Felony Domestic Assault.

[TMZ] Girlfriend Fears Inglorious Basterds Star.

[Village Voice] Read the “Stomach-Churning” Sexual Assault Allegations Against R. Kelly in Full.

[MTV] Chris Brown Police Report Provides Details of Altercation.

[Lipstick Alley] Why Isn’t Tupac Remembered as a Rapist?

[Listverse] Top 10 Unpleasant Facts About John Lennon.

[Daily Mail] Sinead O’Connor Talks About Punch Up With Prince.

[Vanity Fair] Mia’s Story.

[Jezebel] Game of Thrones, Sex & HBO: Where Did TV’s Sexual Pioneer Go Wrong?

[Wikipedia] 1993 Child Sexual Abuse Accusations Against Michael Jackson.

[Slate] What We Know So Far About the Hollywood Sex Ring Allegations.

[People] Collision Course.

[TheVine] Can a Feminist Love Professional Wrestling?

[TheVine] Wonder Why They Call U Bitch.

[Social Justice League] How to Be a Fan of Problematic Things.

On the (Rest of the) Net: Galentine’s Day Edition.

vintage sexist valentines day card

Vintage Valentines Day cards that glorify intimate partner violence. [Sociological Images]

The Stella Prize’s 2014 longlist is out and the Australian Women Writers Challenge has a compilation of reviews of the finalist, including two of mine.

Woody Allen responds to the 20-year-old accusations that he molested his daughter, while Vanity Fair has 10 facts from the case that put the he said, she said in perspective. [NYTimes]

Down syndrome on Ryan Murphy and Brad Fulchuck’s Glee and American Horror Story. [Bitch Flicks]

Marnie’s pretty girl problems. (Also this.) [LA Review of Books]

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Sixteen-Candles-drunk-girl

Was Sixteen Candles the blueprint for the Steubenville rape? [Bitch Flicks]

How Hannah Horvath’s eBook would read IRL. [Nerve]

@ModernClueless makes a cameo at the Val party! While you’re following them, head on over and follow me, too. [Twitter]

Can we separate the art from the accused-pedophile, Woody Allen? [The Onion]

Beyonce blogged about gender equality. [Mother Jones]

Sexualising violence against women. [The Guardian]

And while we’re on the topic, check out Yolanda Dominguez’s photo series of real women in model poses. Ridonculous!

Stop calling yourself a feminist if all you’re really interested in talking about is how hard it is out there for the menz. [The Guardian]

Being a woman on the internet. [Pacific Standard]

Navigating teen witchdom. [The Lifted Brow]

Fat on film: Brodie Lancaster muses on how it makes her feel when fat characters are the butt of the joke. [Rookie]

What it’s like to have a partner behind bars. [Vice]

I critique dick pics. [The Hairpin]

What Beyonce and Michelle Obama’s friendship tells us about feminism. [Daily Life]

Image via Bitch Flicks.