Popculture Smörgåsbord

So there are some posts that I’ve been meaning to write but I’ve been rushing to tie up loose ends regarding my submission to Hunger Games and Philosophy (edited by George Dunn and Nick Michaud) and now my thoughts on these bits and pieces are getting untimely so consider this particular post my way of saying got any thoughts on this nonsense:

1. Recently, yesterday in fact, I was reading Feministe and I became aware of a  30-year-old McCain staffer’s marriage to a girl who was 17 when they met. There are some semantics in this situation – she was of age when they married and they are very wealthy, blah, blah, blah… So the conversations about statutory rape and what not have gotten pretty overlooked, but what is the deal with women wanting to get married at 17? Ouch, say. Also, there is something so weird about how republicans can twist culture’s moral rules – think Bristol Palin pregnancy – and it’s okay but when liberals do this crap the world goes haywire.   Scarier is Doug Hutchison’s (51) nuptials to a sixteen year old.

2. I need to mention www.xojane.com. I’m not sure how many of your remember Sassy Magazine but as a teenager it was my bible and it’s existence started a life long love affair (from afar) between myself and Jane Pratt – who if you don’t know was also the editor of Jane Magazine for most of its lifetime, and I would argue that her retirement from the magazine caused its demise. That said, like other feminists, I am not feeling Pratt’s newest endeavor 100%. Perhaps I return to my not so third wave feminist outlook – but the website is  way more junk than edgy smart – a little more serious please! I want headings like politics and news – not just sex and beauty. What up, Jane?

3. It’s worth noting Anushay Hossain of ANUSHAY’S POINT. I first discovered her on Broadminded. She is Molly and Christine’s Feminist Broad, and her blog is always interesting and worth reading. Subscribe. Hey, while I’m at it subscribe to Feminist Cupcake, that blog is the bomb-diggity – you should subscribe to that blog too. In particular Anushay has written an informative ditty about Saudi Women’s Protest against the ban on women driving in their country.

4. Speaking of Broadminded – Yesterday morning I caught the last bit of a conversation concerning bullying and cyber bullying among teens. Unfortunately, I am not sure of their guest’s name but he said something about how our television shows and movies present adults making fun of people or embarrassing pranks as so funny and humorous – which in turn got me thinking about the movie Bridesmaids. I meant to review this film for you guys – but I’ve been busy, like I said.  There was feminist potential here but I think it sank. (More later). With regards to adult bullying, sort of, so many movies, including bridesmaids present other people’s embarrassment as something we should laugh at. Admittedly, there are moments when someone trips or slides on a piece of lettuce (circa 1996, June and Ho – Rye, NY) and you can’t help but laugh. But still – is food poisoning that causes you to poop your pants funny?  I say no. Maybe I’m too empathetic – but watching other people’s embarrassment – embarrasses me.

5.  Finally, I wanted to turn y’all on to Micheal Kimmel, who is a spectacular example of a male feminist. I am presenting at the NWSA conference this year and he’s speaking and I absolutely can’t wait. I also teach his article “Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity” in my classrooms. Recently, on his Ms. Blog, that considers the whole Wiener incident, “Ah-nuld, DSK, Weiner–And Us.” A worthwhile read.

Kim Gandy speaks for Clinton


Message from NOW PAC Chair Kim Gandy:

In a few hours, at 4:15 am to be exact, I’m headed out in the cold to yet another airport, this time to Chattanooga and then Knoxville, Tennessee to rally and speak for Hillary Clinton.

I’d go anywhere, any time, to shout from the rooftops that Hillary Clinton is the right choice for women, for our families, for our communities and for our future.

Here is why I care so much:

Hillary Clinton is a national leader of the highest order, with the strength and determination and experience to deliver real change to our country. She has been a leader on women’s rights and civil rights for over 30 years.

It is of special importance to me that Hillary is an unparalleled champion for women’s reproductive rights, justice and health. In fact, I’ve just signed a letter from many leaders: Martha Burk, Gloria Feldt, Cecelia Fire Thunder, Lulu Flores, Ellen Malcolm, Irene Natividad, Ellie Smeal, Gloria Steinem, and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones on why Hillary is the best choice for those of us who care so deeply about these issues.

Hillary has been through fire and emerged stronger with each challenge. She can take anything the Republicans can dish out, and give it back double. The Democrats need her, the country needs her, and she needs your vote on Tuesday.

Make no mistake, Hillary Clinton is the strongest candidate to win in November, and to set our country right. She beat the Republicans in two landslide elections, despite predictions that she couldn’t win in upstate and rural New York. And it will take someone with her economic and national security strengths to beat John McCain. We know she can deliver on Day One — from getting our troops out of Iraq, to fixing the shattered economy and the mortgage crisis, to winning health care that covers every single person in this country.

Please vote on Tuesday for Hillary Clinton, and if you haven’t done it already, please email your friends and contacts in the Super Tuesday states and tell them that:

from her earliest days advising battered women, helping abused children, and providing free legal services to the poor,
to her time in the White House advocating for universal healthcare, championing the S-CHIP (State Child Health Insurance) program, and helping to pass the Violence Against Women Act,
to her service as a U.S. Senator, standing strong for reproductive rights and writing legislation to expand contraceptive access, helping win approval of emergency contraception, sponsoring equal pay legislation, and speaking out on the floor against the nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, specifically saying that they would damage Roe v. Wade if confirmed. She was right, and I know we can count on her to nominate pro-women, pro-choice judges to the courts at every level.
She’s always stood up for us, and now it’s time for us to stand up for her with our vote and say “I’m Ready for Hillary.”

I’m ready.

P.S. Robin Morgan’s terrific new essay “Goodbye To All That (#2)” calls out the stereotypes, double standards and toxic viciousness against Hillary Clinton – Our President, Ourselves – and she concludes: “Me, I’m voting for Hillary not because she’s a woman-but because I am.”

Boo Bravo…

Last night after a weekly dose of the only reality television that I’m addicted to (Project Runway), I got trapped into Bravo’s newest atrocity to women-kind, Millionaire Matchmaker.

The premise of this show is vile, but i share it with you anyway. Patti, a professional matchmaker, searches to find “marriage material” for men who are very wealthy. Of course marriage material is defined first and foremost by appearance and then intelligence.

 One of the “eligible” bachelors, the owner of a sex toy business, say that a girl who has a degree from Harvard seems “a little intelligent.” The girls are just as hard to take, primping themselves and flaunting their cleavage all in the name of catching the attention of marginal looking men with dollars. Yuck.

For the first twenty minutes I let my jaw hang open at the sheer grossness of the whole scene, and then I began to wonder if I could still delight in my hour of meaningless drama and creativity, aka project runway, knowing that in some backhanded way I would be supporting Millionaire Matchmaker.

So, this morning to balance out my unyielding desire to know the outcome of PR and the degrading nature of this new show, I say Boo BRAVO!!

Go see Juno!

So in honor of Ellen Page and others getting an Oscar tap for Juno, I thought I’d blog about this truly nifty little film.

Juno is the story of a precocious teenager who finds herself pregnant and decides to give her baby to a “deserving” couple rather than have an abortion. It’s worth mentioning that this film is definitely a farce and social critique. You are meant to laugh and see truisms in this less than lifelike world. For example, no parent has ever taken their daughter’s teenage pregnancy as well as Juno’s parent’s do, and no teenager is as equipped to handle life as well as Juno does. As long as you keep this in mind, Juno reveals itself as a touching and hilarious film, featuring a strong-minded, smart protagonist, which us feminists can adore.

A tid-bit about me that most of you don’t know, I have a MFA in creative writing, which means I am eligible for two things, I excruciating job teaching college composition and the right to point out really bad and really great writing. (I paid close to 60,000 dollars for this privilege. Dope.)

Embracing my place in the world as a homegrown and ridiculously over-educated critic, I’m telling you that Juno is smart, funny, clean writing.  Diablo Cody brings rich sarcasm and cutting style to the page.

With this meaty script to work with, director Jason Riteman (Thank you for Not Smoking) and Canadian actor Ellen Page gracefully bring to life the world of this a knocked up and delightfully awkward 16 year old. Watch the trailer, go see the film, it’s easily worth two hours of your life and your hard earned pennies:

Check out the blog by Juno’s writer: The Pussy Ranch

Viggo’s still sexy, right?

Tonight I’m thinking about ageism and the double standard in regards to women. In general your female heroine is easily under 40, right?

Viggo.jpg Jessica.jpg

Take a look at these two. Both would be catagorized as sex symbols, don’t you think? This year Viggo will turn 50. It is my contention that there are few to no women who are 50 that would easily be catagorized as “sexy symbols,” still sexy, maybe. Isn’t that sad?

Women are strong and sexy way past fifty and in a perfect world magazines and hollywood understand this. Recently, in a creative writing class I wrote a short story about the screwed up love lives of sixty-something singles, the most consistant comment by my peers was a note that people in their sixties don’t have “love” issues. Please, life does not happen only between the ages of 18 and 45.

Excerpted from the Famous Plastic Surgery Paper…

I thought perhaps some of you out here in the blogosphere might be interested in this moment from my paper:

In order to understand ease with which we accept surgical modification, we must understand that with help from the media we have learned to categorize plastic surgery as an easy and simple modification process, which makes us better than we are. This point is exemplified by examining the article, “Booby Prize for Bunny Adrianne,” which was published in the December 2007 issue of Star. The beginning of the article reads:
Adrienne Curry will grace the cover of Playboy magazine for a second time in January – and she’ll be showing off something new: This time the reality TV star is sporting a bigger cup size. “Adrienne is so proud of her new boobs,” says a source. “She wants the whole word see how much curvier she is. She feels sexier than ever.”

Now, while you and I would not aspire to grace the cover of Playboy, there are many women who do and there are many people who believe that the women found on the pages of Playboy epitomize ideal physical Beauty. So, having your image on the cover of Playboy is a beauty status symbol and Adrienne Curry has this opportunity for a “second time.” Why? The implication of the article is that her “bigger cup size” makes her “sexier than ever,” and therefore Playboy wants her all over again. Curry is “sporting” her “new” boobs, like new accessory; she is “proud” to have undergone this surgery to perfect her appearance. The nonchalant, casual word, “sporting,” often used to describe throwing on something new and fashionable, implies that gaining these new breasts was simple, casual even. Photographs exemplifying Curry’s breast enhancement accompany the text. The smaller, less busty image is overpowered by the larger new and “curvier” Curry, reinforcing the idea that it is more worthwhile to look at her because she is more beautiful after her breast augmentation. Nowhere in the article is there any connotation that Curry’s breast augmentation was anything but positive. The article even adds that unlike “most models,” Curry was not “nervous or awkward” about her naked body. Curry’s surgery is presented solely as a means of increasing her Beauty status and creating happier more confident women.

YUCK! Bad Star Magazine, BAD!

Big Money Honey…

So I’ve just read that Reese Witherspoon commands 15-20 Million dollars a picture, which makes her the top paid woman in Hollywood. I know this thanks to the Yahoo and I find it interesting enough, because anytime a woman makes a Hollywood living based more on talent than tits, I feel good. (Even if her piece of the pie is overtly disproportionate, considering the suffering caused by this world’s extreme poverty and wealth.) What interested me most about this superficial article were the comments that other woman are making in regards these actresses. It’s a whirlwind, a frenzy of babble about their weights, races, and levels of talent, but most interestingly a lot of commentary on how little they do to earn what they earn.

These women are some of the most powerful women in the world. Not only do they work hard and make a whole lot of money, but they are the top of a trickle-down chain. They’re the female role models for our children and in many ways for ourselves. My guess is they know it. I imagine that there lives are pressured and filled with question. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel sorry for them. I just think it’s worthwhile to respect what they do. Someone like Angelina uses her influence to make the world better.

Instead of being jealous of their financial success or intensifying  the pressure for these women to say thin, fashionable, and young, let’s pressure them to be strong role models. Let’s comment on how powerful they are and ask them to wield that power in ways that make the world better.