Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"I'm not a woman anymore; I'm a mom!"

How could I have forgotten about this classic while we were reading The Women's Room and The Feminine Mystique??

Mom Jeans commercial - kewego
For moms who are not the greatest in shape, this is a commercial showing some different style of jeans that fit them.
Video from idog

Cleaning Out the Closet

After watching The Boys in the Band, in which self-loathing homosexual Michael desperately tries to out his apparently closeted college friend, I started to think about our culture's obsession with forcing people, especially celebrities, out of the closet whether or not they want to be openly gay. What I find most interesting is the common attitude among high-profile gays, especially those in the media, toward closeted celebs. Perez Hilton has no qualms about outing, Out Magazine notoriously featured Jodie Foster and Anderson Cooper on the cover of its 2007 issue titled "The Glass Closet," and Village Voice columnist Michael Musto still brags about being "one of the few people outing celebrities in the 1990s."

In this interview, he argues, "My theory is just that public figures sign an implicit deal with the media that their private lives are to be covered, and to leave out gayness because it is distasteful or there might be homophobes out there is homophobic in itself. It's hypocritical and it makes 'gay' the last taboo."
Point taken. I understand and, to a certain extent, agree that the general public's perception of homosexuality might change if enough beloved stars admit that they're gay, but in my opinion this attitude displays a troubling lack of empathy. The fact of the matter is, when a celebrity comes out, his or her career might not suffer in any way, but it is undeniably changed. They automatically become representatives of the gay community, they're expected to become activists. But sometimes actors just want to act, and musicians just want to make music. For every reality TV fame whore, there's a real artist who doesn't want every aspect of his or her personal life exposed to scrutiny, "implicit deal with the media" be damned.

Musto and his similar-minded colleagues can rationalize outing all they want, but as I see it, they are really just exposing themselves as highly insecure people trying to validate their own homosexuality, just like the sad protagonist of The Boys in the Band. I believe that no one has the right to out another person against his or her will.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Women in the Workplace

Very interesting article in Newsweek about sexism in the office and whether or not anything has changed in the past 40 years...

Sexism at Work

Monday, March 15, 2010

Caged Heat!

Watching the latest (and inevitably overrated) Lady GaGa video for "Telephone" made me think: what is it really like inside a women's prison?? Surely it is one of the most fetishized and homoeroticized spaces in all of female spacedom. GaGa's vision of bondage gear and girl-on-girl necking and brawling is only the latest entry in the tawdry women's prison canon. My personal favorite example is the gloriously trashy 1996 flick Freeway, in which a teenage Reese Witherspoon continually rejects the advances of creepy lesbian Brittany Murphy (RIP) before bashing in the face of another inmate with a telephone. Classic. (Low-quality but still awesome clip here)

On the other hand, how are men's prisons portrayed in films? As far removed from the titillating camp of women's prison pictures as possible. Either as a super-somber site of male redemption (The Green Mile, Dead Man Walking) or a living hell with the constant threat of (decidedly un-erotic) homosexual rape, as in Oz or American History X. GaGa may want you to drool over her lesbian lip lock, but a work like David Mamet's play/film Edmond unmistakably presents behind-bars male coupling as a man's ultimate nightmare.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


In what is surely the biggest interior design craze to sweep the nation since the breakfast nook, the MAN CAVE (best written in all caps, and preferably yelled aloud by the host of Spike TV's MANswers) has officially entered the pop culture lexicon, popping up in movies, on TV, and allll over the internet (google it!). But what is a MAN CAVE exactly??

according to wikipedia:
"A man cave is loosely a male-only space to retreat to, watch sports matches, or play video games."

the Man Cave TV show on the DIY network:
"An exclusive space to hang out in men's homes -- a refuge where they can enjoy what they love"

and of course, from I Love You, Man:
"There's no women allowed in here...This is where I jerk off."

What I find most intriguing here is the implication that a man need's his own space because the woman has claimed the entire rest of the home for herself. No sports, no video games, no loud music, no beer in the woman's territory. Is this how most marriages really work? I certainly hope not. My girlfriend, at least, is a die-hard Packers fan (I don't watch any football), she can drink most men I know under the table, and she can kick my ass at Mario Kart. I guess my question is: if a couple has such disparate interests that they need to spend significant amounts of time apart on a regular basis, can their marriage really be happy at all?

This article blows my mind:
"When Vicki and Brian Meldrum bought their first home four years ago in Cleveland, they made a pact: She could decorate and furnish the rest of the 1,110-square-foot house however she wanted, but the 15-by-10-foot finished basement was his."

Really?? Maybe I'm just being naive, but why wouldn't a married couple want their home to be a representation of both of them? Isn't the creation of such a distinct division between the husband's and wife's territory just begging for marital disaster? Apparently not, according to the psychologists interviewed in the article. Oy, and we wonder why the divorce rate among American's is so high. Sorry if I sound glib, but that's just my $.02.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Super Bowl Hates You

Another year, another Super Bowl. With the game itself even more predictable than usual (if anyone honestly thought the Colts had a chance in hell after watching the pre-game coverage, then they're far less cynical than I am), I was at least expecting to be amused by a few commercials. It's too bad they were without a doubt the weakest bunch in recent memory. Writing this less than 24 hours after the game, I could hardly remember 3 of them.

Of course, every year there are people (like this guy) who bemoan the blatant misogyny of the majority of these ads, and they are absolutely right. Advertisers anually perpetuate the idea that football is a man's domain, and during the Super Bowl woman exist solely to serve brewskis and Doritos to their men. During this sacred time for dudes, women are even susceptible to Tim Tebow telling them to "choose life." Well, he's a Heisman winner, so he must be right!

Here's the thing, though. As a man, I am equally offended by the depiction of my gender in most of these ads. Yes, they are chauvanistic, but they're actually degrading to the human race in general. In the realm of advertising, all women are sexy accessories and/or general pains in the ass, and all men are mentally deficient frat bros who would do anything for a beer. Case in point, the Bud Light Book Club spot. Man no like reading books, man like drinking beer and working out.

It's official: ad men have zero faith in humanity.
PS: Is there a male version of feminism? Masculinism, maybe? If there is, sign me up.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vanity Fair(Skinned)

Few spaces are as difficult to infiltrate as the magazine cover. Even as print journalism is in its death throes, the magazine cover remains as exclusive as ever. Case in point: Vanity Fair's newest issue, presenting the pale, freckled faces of "New Hollywood."
New? Looks a lot like the same old Holly
wood to me, completely devoid of prominent women of color. Just today, two of these actresses were bestowed with Oscar nominations. But wasn't there another young up-and-comer nominated as well? Oh, right, she's an obese black girl, so no one wants to see her posing in a skirt with the rest of the Stepford wives. I'll assume that Zoe Saldana, the star of two of this year's biggest blockbusters, was ineligible because of her age (these gals are all under 30), but what about the drop-dead gorgeous Freida Pinto? Shareeka Epps or Zoe Kravitz? Not exactly household
names, but neither are Mia Wasikowska and Emma Stone. It seems print magazines are not becoming old-fashioned and passe because they use paper and ink, but because of their content as well.