On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

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Is there too much crying in women’s wrestling? The very fact of this question being asked about women’s wrestling (never mind the fact that Ric Flair, widely considered to be one of the best wrestlers ever, cries at the drop of a hat) is inherently sexist. If anything, crying further inures fans to the emotion of the match and the storyline, helping to solidify current women’s wrestling, particularly in NXT, WWE’s developmental brand, as some of the best ever. [Forbes]

I asked whether World Wrestling Entertainment can rise above pinkvertising in their effort to Rise Above Cancer. [Cageside Seats]

What to say when someone inevitably dresses in a racist costume this Halloween. A few years ago I dressed as Tiger Lily for a pirate-themed Christmas party (as part of a larger, Peter Pan group costume). At the time, I believed I was within my rights to dress up as a Native American as I have Native American heritage. Now, however, as someone who identifies primarily as and benefits from being white, I don’t think I’d appropriate that culture in the way I did. Sure, my Native heritage is an interesting part of my history, but I’m not part of that culture and haven’t taken the initiative to learn more about it so I shouldn’t benefit from it for the sake of a costume. [Native Appropriations]

Still on that topic, an interview with the CEO of silly, sexy Halloween costumes company, Yandy. [Maxim]

Two years ago, I had “A Very Manhattan Halloween”. I plan on doing the same next year.

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“Halloween is the one night of the year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it”: the hyper-sexualisation and -feminisation of Halloween costumes.

Scream QueensAmerican Horror Story: HotelAmerican Crime Story: Ryan Murphy must be stopped! [Salon]

A year of Beyonce’s silence. [The Fader]

Zoo Weekly has published its final issue. [Mumbrella]

Adam Goodes spoke to Honi Soit in his first interview since retiring from AFL about racism, his future and Indigenous inclusion in the Australian constitution.

Images via Sasha Banks, Total Sorority Move.

In Defence of Cosmopolitan.

Cosmopolitan Demi Lovato

Men’s magazines are commonly displayed behind opaque screens in servos, supermarkets and news agents but in selected department and drug stores in the U.S., such as Walmart and Rite Aid, women’s magazine Cosmopolitan will be getting the same treatment.

Victoria Hearst, great granddaughter of the man who bought the title in 1905 and contributed to making it the magazine we know today, William Randolph Hearst, is spearheading a campaign, along with the National Centre on Sexual Exploitation, to have Cosmo shielded from children’s impressionable eyes, giving new meaning to its patented “sealed section”.

The reasoning behind the campaign, entitled Cosmo Harms Minors”, is explained on the Centre’s website thusly:

Cosmopolitan Magazine glamorises things like hookup, public, anal, group, or violent sex in nearly all of their issues. We are asking that Cosmo be sold to adults only and have the cover wrapped like all other porn magazines in retail shops.”

While often overlooked as “just another women’s magazine”, Cosmopolitan in Australia, in particular, has been a bastion for body positivity with the early ’00s Body Love initiative and stories about domestic violence, reproductive rights and career goals.

In recent years U.S. Cosmopolitan has undergone a similarly feminist reawakening of sorts. Editor Joanna Coles identified the magazine as “deeply feminist” in 2013 while in May last year The Wire reported that Cosmo had “hired longtime Feministing blogger Jill Filipovic to cover politics on the website” as well as former Jezebel writer Anna Breslaw. Since then, Filipovic has written longform screeds about why changing your name upon marriage and defunding Planned Parenthood are bad ideas; comedian, filmmaker and musician Lane Moore writes as Cosmopolitan.com’s sex and relationships editor such queer-friendly pieces as what to do when you’re a lesbian in love with a straight girl and “15 Things I Wish I Knew About Being Gay When I Was Younger”; and writers such as Rachel Hills round out the wide variety of sex- and gender-positive women working for the magazine.

Hills says of her work at Cosmo examining things such as dating while trans, painful sex and asexuality, that “Since Joanna Coles took over as US editor-in-chief in 2012, both Cosmopolitan and Cosmopolitan.com have taken on a more explicitly feminist bent, hiring a lot of feminist writers that cut their teeth on the Internet, including myself. And one of the great things about writing online is that you get to cover things that would never end up in the mag—not because they’re too explicit, but because they just wouldn’t sell.”

NCSE thinks that Cosmo promotes “Sex without responsibility is acceptable and desirable” however its emphasis on protection from STIs and pregnancy is high as well as their emphasis on sex not having to be between a man and a woman in a long-term relationship or marriage.

So it’s interesting that they’ve chosen to go after Cosmopolitan now, when it’s publishing some of its most progressive content.

From NCSE’s website:

“While it only has a few nude photos occasionally, this publication has steadily declined from a somewhat inspirational women’s magazine to a verbally pornographic ‘how-to’ sex guide. What’s worse is that this magazine is purposefully targeting younger and younger audiences with Disney stars and teen idols often donning the covers and featured in the headline stories.”

Disney star and teen idol in question Demi Lovato, U.S. Cosmopolitan’s current covergirl, responded to the brouhaha on Twitter, asserting that as a former sufferer of an eating disorder, covering Cosmo made her feel “EMPOWERED” and “the MOST BEAUTIFUL I’ve ever felt.”

In case the campaign’s problem with a more feminist magazine wasn’t obvious enough, the very first thing that blares out at you from the its homepage is that the new Cosmo is harmful to minors.  

However Hills doesn’t necessarily agree. “I don’t think it would be accurate to say that Cosmo used to be anti-feminist and now is feminist. I spent a bit of time in the Cosmo archives last year, and some of those issues from the 1970s are phenomenal—Susan Sontag was writing for them! I suspect Victoria Hearst would have been just as appalled by the Cosmopolitan of 1985 as she is by the Cosmopolitan of 2015.”  

But what about all the other magazines? Sure, Cosmo does have some loud headlines that may draw concerned glances at the checkout (one of the first issues I bought as a teen featured Kirsten Dunst alongside “Oral Sex Lessons” that drew judgemental looks from my parents), but what about other, far more harmful magazines? I’m not necessarily talking about men’s mags in the vein of Zoo Weekly (which could be a whole different article in itself) or Playboy (which is actually publishing more progressive content itself so now it really can be read for its articles), but weekly “rags” such as NW and New Idea which are also aimed at women because we love to gossip and humiliate each other, didn’t you know? A recent survey of the periodicals on offer at my local Coles included stories about One Direction’s supposed gay coverup, “Bikini Lumps and Bumps” and “Crazy Bachelor beach catfights” (because women can’t have level-headed disagreements without them devolving into “crazy catfights”), not to mention the squillionth Jennifer Aniston-pregnancy speculation. So diversity from the heteronormative sex positions “that’ll blow his mind” warrants concealment from the general public, however body shaming, outing and misgendering people is A-OK!?

Let’s hope that common sense prevails in Victoria Hearst and the NCSE’s quest to classify Cosmo as porn. In the interim, we can take solace in the fact that the blinders they intended to conceal Cosmo’s headlines has actually resulted in drawing increased attention to its cover subjects’ decolletage.  

Related: Shaming Lara Bingle.

Elsewhere: [End Sexual Exploitation] Cosmo Harms Minors.

[Politico] Joanna Coles: Cosmopolitan is a “Deeply Feminist” Magazine.

[The Wire] Hot Spring Trend: Hiring a Feminist Blogger at Your Women’s Magazine.

[Cosmopolitan] In the Age of the Internet, Changing Your Name When You Marry is a Terrible Idea.

[Cosmopolitan] Defunding Planned Parenthood is the Opposite of “Pro-Life”.

[Cosmopolitan] 15 Emotional Stages of Being a Lesbian in Love with a Straight Girl.

[Cosmopolitan] 15 Things I Wish I Knew About Being Gay When I Was Younger.

[Cosmopolitan] What It’s Really Like to Date as a Trans Person.

[Cosmopolitan] How to Deal with Painful Sex.

[Cosmopolitan] Asexuality.

[End Sexual Exploitation] Why Cosmo‘s Content Matters. 

[SBS] Coles Bins “Sexist” Zoo Weekly.

[Daily Life] Why is Pop Culture Obsessed with Celeb “Catfights”?

[Cosmopolitan] 28 Mind-Blowing Lesbian Sex Positions.

[The Cut] Cosmo Censorship Accidentally Highlights Boobs.

Image via Go Fug Yourself.

Magazines: Men Have Issues.

Last weekend’s edition of Sunday Life was dubbed “The Man Issue”, and it gives a forum to men to talk about the things that bother them: namely, stay-at-home fatherhood being seen as feminine and “what women should know about men”, with one clearly more profound and less satirical than the other.

Packed to the Rafters’ James Stewart covers the magazine and talks about his new role as stay-at-home dad to baby Scout, with partner and former Rafters star, Jessica Marais. He admirably says:

“I don’t want to be an absent father…  And now my partner—who has a much larger profile than me, can make five times as much money as me—is hot right now… So it was kind of easy for me to go, ‘Just stop what you’re doing, hang your boots up for a little bit, support her 100 per cent and learn to be a father.’ It was a no-brainer, you know?”

Swoon.

The article touts Stewart as “poster boy for modern-day ‘manism’” [quotations mine], a movement which “liberates” men “from their traditional masculine roles”. Um, I think we already have a movement that works to break the shackles of gender normativity and promote equality between the sexes and it’s called feminism.

In a rare moment of sense from Ita Buttrose, she tells the magazine that “We used to say to women, ‘Make your choice, don’t apologise.’ Well, I think those messages need to be given to men.”

Here, here.

But where The Age insert undoes all its equality talk is in an article that precedes the cover story, about the facts women need to know about men, by former Zoo Weekly editor Paul Merrill. He tells Sunday Life’s primarily female readership that “as hunter-gatherers, housework is not a priority” (how about you hunter-gather some washing?!), and that men prefer famous people who actually do stuff. You know, ’cause women aren’t capable of admiring anyone except the Kardashians. And speaking of that über-preened family, women must remember that “looks aren’t everything”:

“To a woman, the most important thing in any situation is how something looks—her hair, make-up, shoes and house… Who cares!… It’s not being slobby, it’s being less shallow.”

What do I think Merrill needs to know about women? We’d prefer to share the burden of housekeeping, we don’t only read if it’s a gossip mag or 50 Shades of Grey (which he infers in not so many words in the piece), and we don’t like to be called shallow for being well-presented. And where would Merrill be without the latter? Certainly not the editor of a lad’s mag.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Hot Pants & Slut-Shaming. Would You Like a Cardi With That?

Image via Sunday Life Facebook page.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

Zoo Weekly, what will you think of next? Australia’s hottest asylum seekers, it would appear. [Daily Life]

The dearth of protected sexytimes on TV and in movies lead young people to have more unprotected sexytimes. [Jezebel]

Twitter: humanising the porn star. [Jezebel]

To bleed or not to bleed, that is the question most doctors should be asking their female patients interested in hormonal birth control. [AlterNet]

Apparently, six-year-olds want to be “sexy”. Cue outrage. While some points of the argument are valid, children are naturally sexually curious beings. I remember all my prep friends and I wanted to be “strippers” when we grew up, we thought Salt-N-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” was the coolest thing going, and we used to play the “sex game” regularly. Kids just want to do what they think adults do, which they emulate in make-believe. I think it starts to become a problem if these ideals are still being expressed come the onset of puberty when the body is physically ready for what typically accompanies “sexiness”, but certainly not mentally. [Jezebel]

Image via The Hoopla.

Things Bogans Like

Riding on the back of the success of Stuff White People Like, new-ish blog Things Bogans Like is my latest online discovery.

Amongst the things bogans like: Bear Grylls (sorry all my definitely-not-bogan guyand girlfriends); 3D (ie. Avataragain, sorry!); the Logies; pre-mixed drinks; Aussie frickin’ hip hop; celebrity fragrances (guilty; I have succumbed to a few of these over the years); Hey, Hey It’s Saturday; anal (and no, not the retentive kind); the Lynx Effect; forgiving celebrities (more on that to come); Pandora bracelets (I second that; can’t stand Pandora!); doing their back in; Zoo Weekly; ADHD; Two & a Half Men; St. Patrick’s Day; tabloid “news” shows A Current Affair and Today/Tonight; News Ltd. newspapers; their children on Facebook; La Porchetta; Ministry of Sound; Southern Cross tattoos; glassingexcuse my Frenchc*nts; joining moronic Facebook groups; Thailand; tribal tattoos; “F*ck off, we’re full” stickers; pretty much everything to do with weddings; The Secret, and self-help books in general; Sexpo; glamour photography; Holdens; Underbelly; the Melbourne Cup (coming from a country town, just about every Cup!); personalised number plates; misspelling their kids’ names; books… but only after the movie comes out; prefacing racist statements with “I’m not racist, but…”; and my two favourite markings of the bogan: tramp stamps and Ed Hardythe uniform of the bogan!

This is a website worth checking out, as it is updated daily. So long as the bogan continues to flourish in Australian culture, so too will Things Bogans Like.