Sunday night’s MTV VMAs: Miley Cyrus gets to wear and/or remove revealing clothes. She gets to put her hands and/or pelvis in assorted places. She gets to wear latex granny panties and grind up on a fully-dressed Robin Thicke. She gets to stick her tongue out — constantly — no matter how gross it is — like a cartoon dog seeing a sexy cartoon lady dog. Miley Cyrus is a grown woman and gets to use her body as she wants.
Using other people’s bodies is a different story, and a number of bloggers have commented on that crucial fact....read more
Washington, D.C. has an NFL team with a racist name. The team refuses to change the racist name. In response, the mayor of D.C. goes out of his way to avoid using the team’s name, and so do many media outlets — most recently, Slate. Good on them....read more
So far, the blogosphere has been busy extolling the big box office blockbuster The Heat, a film starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy that netted $40 million its opening weekend. Hailed as both a comic vehicle for its two superstars and a trailblazing movie that “breaks the mold” of the male “buddy-cop-action-comedy” genre, The Heat has garnered great reviews from critics appreciative of its girl power message (e.g., Laura Shamas’ July 1 review in The Huffington Post). No doubt, the film succeeds as a comedy, trading in running gags and clever parody sustained by the talents of Bullock and McCarthy. But is The Heat truly a feminist triumph? If so, what kind and at whose expense? Looking beyond the laughter, how does the film depict women’s ability to succeed in a male dominated profession? And does using this genre really “break the mold?”...read more
Note the first: Expect this review to include SPOILERS. Not that there’s a whole lot to it that isn’t fed to you by the trailer, but still. Stop reading now if you want to remain somewhat surprised.
Note the second: This movie is not high cinema. Don’t let Guillermo del Toro’s name on the onesheet fool you — you’re not going to leave the theatre saying, “I think the way the ferocious glowing aliens came through a rift in the ocean floor represents our own inner ambiguity about our place in a changing world.” You’re going to leave saying, “MONSTER ROBOT GRR KABOOM!” Because that’s what the movie is about....read more
We live in an era of unprecedented access to information about sex, imagery of sex and health care related to sex. Internet porn is ubiquitous. Sexual health information, though not always easily accessible, is more accessible online, in mainstream publications (hello Cosmo) and at doctor’s offices than ever before. Frank discussion of sexual pleasure is standard on television and in movies. There are entire university departments dedicated to the study of human sexuality. That’s all good, and we have early sexual pioneers and researchers to thank for it. But we still have quite a long way to go. I’d love to see us embrace a vision of sexuality that isn’t transactional or gendered or capitalist:...read more
Feministe friend Anoushka Ratnarajah and her friend Marcelitte Failla are working on a project called Toasted Marshmallows, “a film, performance and community building project chronicling two mixed-race women’s attempt at uncovering the cultures we were separated from.” A bit more:...read more
I’m sure Jenny McCarthy is a perfectly nice person and I have perhaps laughed at one of her poop jokes once or twice, but she’s the biggest anti-vaccine celebrity out there, spreading all kinds of misinformation. And as far as I can tell, beyond her anti-vax activism, she’s never had even had a passing interest in current events or politics. So why put her on a show where her job is to intelligently discuss current events?...read more
Scalzi pretty much nails it on the [eta] freedom of speech aspects of the question of whether to boycott or not to boycott the upcoming movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s classic SF story Ender’s Game....read more
With much of England and half the U.S. on Kate Middleton Baby-Watch this week, I’m writing about motherhood in the Guardian. It’s great (and normal) that we’re all excited about a new (and royal!) baby. Babies are really cute, and all of them should enter the world into the arms of folks who are excited to welcome them. But our celebrity pregnancy obsession, coupled with our unrealistic and condescending view of motherhood (it’s THE HARDEST JOB IN THE WOOOOORLD!) make real political change difficult, and keep parents (mostly mothers) unsupported. A bit:...read more
I might not remember what it felt like learning that I had passed my black belt test, but I do remember the first time my instructor asked me whether I had the ‘hots’ for another student.
I told him I didn’t want to discuss it. So he put me in a headlock so that I couldn’t breathe and told me that good Tae Kwon Do students always do what “teacher” says. When he released me, I said, “Yes, sir.”
I was twelve years old.
I was a good student.
My story is rarely told but depressingly common. Studies of female athletes indicate appallingly high rates of bullying, sexual harassment, and physical, sexual, and psychological abuse at the hands of (usually male) coaches. The problem starts in local pick-up leagues and reaches its grimy hands into elite international competition. Some studies even suggest that the higher one climbs in the sports world, the worse the problems get....read more
Earlier this week, Serena Williams made some seriously victim-blamey statements about the Steubenville Jane Doe. She apologized, but the apology wasn’t exactly spot-on. I wrote about it in my Guardian column this week, arguing that Williams’ comments were beyond the pale, but they’re part of a bigger cultural problem. The full piece is here; a snippet is below the fold....read more