Just a small comment about intent

Posted in controversy, doin' it wrong, New Zealand on December 2nd, 2010 by steph – 17 Comments

I,  like many people, am appalled and annoyed by the “I’ve got a lovely pair” fundraiser launched by NZGirl (it’s pretty easy to find if you want to find it). This is just one more brick in the wall that is the sexification of titty breast cancer. Better bloggers than I have already hit this one out of the park (yes, each of those is a different post!). But what I wanted to say concerned the idea that maybe NZGirl had good, honest intent. That they did this because they genuinely believed this is a good way to raise awareness and somehow help people with breast cancer or help people be more aware of how to get check and be proactive about their health. When I hear the word ‘intent’ thrown into the mix, I can’t help but think of this post over at Genderbitch: “Intent! It’s Fucking Magic!”. While the post is not about this topic specifically, I can’t help but think of this passge on the power of intent whenever someone says “I didn’t mean to offend!”

Because you see, Intent is the ultimate alchemy. It doesn’t change lead to gold, it changes harmful, negative or damaging actions into happy, fun, “everyone hugs and no one is oppressed”, magical unicorn actions. It dips its eerie powers into the pools of time and space and counters each and every ripple of fuckery and pain created by the actions of an unthinking douchebag who was too privileged or self absorbed to see that their actions were a problem.

So, I really don’t think that NZGirl having good intentions really makes this excusable. Maybe you don’t intend to be offensive but that certainly doesn’t mean that the thing you do isn’t offensive. And in that case, you shouldn’t get a free pass and an “oh, okay then, I see now”; you should get a chance to apologise for the inadvertant offense and a chance to understand the perspective of others and maybe learn something.

The Hangover 2: No Mel Gibson for you

Posted in controversy, film on October 22nd, 2010 by steph – 5 Comments

Well I still believe that The Hangover 2 will be a terrible pile of racist crap, it’s good to hear that the proposed cameo by Mel Gibson has been canned

Scandal-ridden Hollywood star Mel Gibson has lost out on a cameo part in the movie sequel to smash hit comedy The Hangover after objections from the cast and crew, the film’s director said.

Director Todd Phillips and film studio Warner Bros were ready to cast the Oscar-winning actor and director of movies such as Braveheart as a tattoo artist in The Hangover 2, but have now withdrawn the offer.

“I thought Mel would have been great in the movie and I had the full backing of (the studio),” Phillips said in a joint statement with Warner Bros.

“But I realise filmmaking is a collaborative effort, and this decision ultimately did not have the full support of my entire cast and crew.”

No reason was given for the apparent rebellion against Gibson performing in the sequel, but it follows a scandal that has engulfed Gibson for months over audiotapes of phone calls in which he rants at his former girlfriend.

I can only hope that the reason was “because we object to working with a racist, abusive jerk”. It’s probably more that working with a racist, uncontrollable bigot would be awful and possibly putting onself in the firing line, as well as taking a chance that the movie would collapse in on itself and not get made/finished/make money. But I hope that acknowledging his prejudice and awful behaviour is at least part of the reason.

Sexy, sexy inequalities

Posted in change the record, controversy on October 22nd, 2010 by steph – 5 Comments

So, I’m going to add my two cents to the racy Glee photoshoot zomg1!!!1 chorus. (Among others: here, here, here, here and here.)

No, I’m not going to side with the holyshitpaedophilia furore; my opinion is this:

YAWN. Change the fucking record, why don’t they? Because all the defenders saying “oh but the saturated colour hues, and the strong theme!!”; nup. This is such a stale cliche; and I wasn’t shocked to find out that Terry Richardson, slimeball extraordinaire, was the photographer. It screams Terry Richardson.

My first reaction was pretty much this

Of course he didn’t dress all of them up like porn fantasies, just the girls. Guys don’t do sexy. Guys have sexy done for them. Guys stand or sit fully clothed while girls are meant to writhe and gyrate and spread their legs in their underwear. That’s the way of things. Great message there, morons.

and this

Richardson, as usual, was highly original in his concept: Mostly-naked chicks. Or, more specifically, have all the men fully clothed, but make sure the girls are in their underwear.

It was the first thing that jumped out at me; oh, here we go again, the fully clothed dude gets to have his hands on the asses of two much less clothed chicks. Oh, clothed dude gets to play the drums and lurch awkwardly forward with a baseball bat on his shoulders, and one of the women is sucking a lollipop in her underwear. Sigh. And the argument that “oh, it’s GQ, that’s a dudemag so of course the chicks would be in underwear and the guy clothed” doesn’t really fly with me, because as many commenters have pointed out, there are sure to be men reading GQ who would appreciate a shirtless dude. And more than that, I’m sure most men who saw a shirtless guy in a GQ shoot with scantily clad ladies wouldn’t freak the fuck out about it. Although there will always be that special kind of bigot who thinks that seeing another man partially undressed is some sort of freaky gay thing, and lashes out. So maybe GQ is just cowardly or thinks topless men will scare away their readers? To be honest, it seems like more of a case of “this is the dynamic, and this is how we do things here: man touches ladies/women get touched; man gets to be clothed/women’s bodies are there to be exposed and looked at; man gets to be active/women get to be sexualised”. That’s why I hate this photo spread: yes, it is tacky and boring and such a “sexy cliche” that it becomes unsexy; but moreso it reflects the roles that men and women get to fill, the things they get to do and the images they can portray. It reinforces ideas about who is sexualised and who is objectified, and it says hey, this is how things are, and this is normal.

I’m not a “prude”, I don’t care about “racy photos”, and I don’t think it is “borderline pedophilia”. I’m just seriously frustrated by the ideas about men and women that these photos reinforce.