Archive for October, 2010

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the Oscar-winning actor and director of movies such as Braveheart as a tattoo artist in The Hangover 2, but have now withdrawn the offer.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.

Female-only swim at George Washington University

Posted in Sister Splash on October 22nd, 2010 by steph – 4 Comments

George Washington University (in Washington DC) has begun offering women-only sessions at the school’s  indoor pool.

Last week, the Muslim Students’ Association and the University opened up “Sisters’ Splash,” a female-only hour at the pool.

Every week, GW plans to close the HelWell pool to men and will cover the glass door with a dark tarp, giving female Muslim students the chance to swim at their leisure. The University also hired a female lifeguard to be on duty for each week’s event.

Valdez Williams, the operations manager of the gym, said the University helped the MSA coordinate the weekly swim hour because GW wanted to make the girls feel comfortable.

“At GW, we try to take care of all of our students,” Williams said. “As long as it’s requested and works within our policies and procedures, we will generally accommodate them.”

Williams said the University would try to schedule one hour each week for the female students to have private access.

“The girls should be able to swim here,” Williams said. “We will not penalize them because of their religious beliefs.”

Naturally, the idea of accomodating someone else’s beliefs totally chapped the hides of some people, like Erin Mew:

So as a white, conservative, Christian woman, I would like to make a proposition. I would like to have a Christian-only swim hour once a week at the Lerner Health and Wellness Center. That isn’t too much to ask, is it? Maybe I do not want to swim with certain people because they make me feel uncomfortable. Shouldn’t the university demonstrate to me that it is tolerant of my lifestyle and my beliefs?

Honestly, I don’t have a problem with a women-only pool hour. One hour? Per week? It isn’t an unreasonable request. The reporting of the situation is a bit confusing; some saying it is for females only, other saying for female Muslim students. One of the comments on the TBD article made a good point: there are probably at least a few women out there who would feel more comfortable swimming during a session where no males are present, religion aside. The idea of a safe space might really appeal to some women, and it is possible that Christian women or atheist women might not feel  comfortable being in just a swimsuit with men around but also may want to be able to swim. So, all up, I’m not on team Christian-only swim in this case.

Another comment was ‘well what if we had a men-only swim session, huh? HUH???’. If there was a legit reason, and it didn’t affect women’s access to the pool (the Sister Splash program has both a legit reason and only takes one hour a week away from men’s access to the pool), then fine.

Cosmo and tips for meeting men

Posted in advice, Cosmo? Is that you? on October 12th, 2010 by steph – 4 Comments

You know what the worst thing is about this post, titled “The Best Places to Meet Guys that Cosmo Won’t Tell You About”? It’s that I’m pretty sure Cosmo actually has given some of these places out as ridiculous suggestions on where to meet men.

The Men’s department of a clothing shop? Yeah, I guarantee you that Cosmo has offered up this tip. I would put money on it. I can hear it in my head now; they would suggest going into the men’s department to buy something (socks/tie) as a birthday present for your male relative (brother/dad/grandfather), and if you spy a hottie across the pyramids of folded shirts you should grab the oppourtunity and ask for his advice in picking something out. “Sorry to ask, but I’m trying to buy a tie for my Dad and I was wondering if this is a bit garish for a guy to wear. What do you think?”. Then the Cosmo writer would have ‘jokingly’ said “or be bold and say to that cutie ‘hey, you’re about the same build as my brother; would you mind trying on this shirt I’m thinking of buying him?’ “. I am positive Cosmo has suggested you trawl the menswear section for guys.

I don’t think they have suggested a Horseback Lion Hunting Safari; however, I do imagine they would advise that during an activity you choose to undertake that you should always be vigilant for new and exciting men, and take any chance you get to pretend not to know how to work a piece of equipment/do a particular task so that you can ask this mysterious new man to show you how. Preferably by standing behind you with his arms around you and hands over yours to show exactly how to do it correctly.

Meat market #3 that Cosmo isn’t telling you about is Laser Tag. This is a variation on the Go-Kart racing/paintball shooting/touch rugby at the beach tip that Cosmo has most definitely told us about. See, if you take part in a fun and lighhearted physical activity where you get to wrestle with and/or touch your crush, it’s a win. Especially if it’s an activity where you get to show people that you’re “one of the guys”/a “guy’s girl” (because then you are low maintenance and spontaneous and casual, not like one of those prissy girly girls). And Cosmo would tell you not to be scared of whoopin’ his butt, because this would totally be a turn on to a guy: a lady who can be kick-ass at a man’s game? Mind. Blown.

#4: Emergency Zombie Defense Station. If this was a real and common thing, Cosmo would tell you to pick up guys there. The only reason they haven’t given this tip is the constraints of reality (which is a rarity for Cosmo…).

#5: The Emergency Room. I doubt Cosmo has ever actively encouraged readers to meet guys here, but I bet there has been at least one gushing piece about a couple who did actually meet in an emergency room, and who are now married. Also, Cosmo would probably tell you to always be on the lookout for potential Mr Right, even when bleeding from an open wound or accompanying someone else who is. Cosmo’s mandate is to make sure you don’t let any oppourtunity escape because maybe that guy you didn’t talk to was actually The One, and now you will die miserable and alone.

#6: Planned Parenthood. I guarantee that Cosmo has touted doctor’s waiting rooms as a fertile hotspot for man hunting. I guarantee it. And it would be perfect, because you could come back out of your doctor’s appointment with your giant box of subsidized condoms and your clean bill of health, and just cut to the chase.

#7: Ski lift in the Austrian Alps. I don’t think Cosmo would be so specific, but it would totally tell you that if you spy a cute guy in line for the chairlift, try to get in there next to him. In fact, it probably already has told you this.

#8: Space Camp. Also a bit too specific for Cosmo’s general style. But the general theme of encouraging you to do a “guy activity” where the ratio of men to women is in favour of single women? Classic Cosmo.

#9: School (your child’s school). I would bet that Cosmo has also suggested this tip; either seriously, or in a “just joking people! (but actually I’m not really!)”.

The lesson? Nothing is too low for Cosmo. No place too ridiculous when it comes to looking for guys. These places that have probably never been thought of before as pick-up spots? Cosmo has almost certainly been there. Cosmo has been everywhere, and has no concept of “too far”, or “too absurd”. Need proof? Read an issue; at the the risk of your own sanity, of course.

Sophie Elliot Foundation update

Posted in sophie elliot on October 7th, 2010 by steph – 6 Comments

Here is the website for the Sophie Elliot Foundation, and the Facebook page.

Breast Cancer Awareness

Posted in Breast Cancer Action Month on October 6th, 2010 by steph – 17 Comments

So, for a few days now I’ve had people on facebook posting status updates along the lines of “I like it on the floor”, “I like it on my kitchen table”, etc. And I figured it was some sort of super-secret funtimes game where actually you were talking about where you keep your stack of unpaid phone bills or something. And then today I got this message on facebook

Remember the game last year on FB about what color bra you were wearing at the moment? The purpose was to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was a tremendous success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the news.
This year’s game has to do with your handbag/purse, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example “I like it on the couch”, “I like it on the kitchen counter”, “I like it on the dresser” well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let’s see how powerful we women really are!!! REMEMBER – DO NOT PUT YOUR ANSWER AS A REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE- PUT IT IN YOUR STATUS!!! PASS THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW

Oops, spoiler alert, y’all. Except I don’t really care that I might have spoilt it, because I think the whole thing is ridonkulous.

First of all, October is actually Breast Cancer Action Month (or at least it is here in NZ; possibly this is different in other place).

Secondly, why the fuck aren’t we raising awareness by actually talking about it? I don’t want to keep men guessing for days, I want to be spreading awareness of the issues. I don’t want a girls club of  ‘let’s do this fun thing but not tell the men what it’s about’, because by the time people find out the either wont care or will think it didn’t achieve anything. I don’t want a silly facebook game to make the news, I want Breast Cancer awareness month to make the news on it’s own merit.

Additionally, I dislike that a huge element of this relies on the ineveitable innuendo of the status updates: liking it on the floor, on the bed, on the table, etc. There are tons of things you could ask people to put as a status that would also be based on a secret question but wouldn’t allude to something sexual, thus relying on the titillation factor to get attention. I don’t really care about whipping my male facebook friends into a frenzy wondering if all these women they know are secretly kinky sexual dynamos; if the allure of this was really about the mystery and the curiosity and wonder, then the sexual element isn’t necessary. I have no problem with something being sexual, but it isn’t necessary when the point is apparently to raise awareness of breast cancer.

And also; “Let’s see how powerful we women really are!”. For reals? Because I honestly don’t see how this is indicative of the power of women. It shows that people are interested in the cause, and like to have a bit of fun, but I think touting this as powerful women-driven action is just appropriation. What would be showing how powerful we women really are? Speaking out about the fucking issue! Spreading the word, talking about how breast cancer has affected us or people we know, educating ourselves and others about how to be breast aware. Donating money, taking part in actions, volunteering to collect for the Breast Cancer Foundation or give your time in another way. This Facebook status thing? It’s an empty gesture. It doesn’t even mention the real issue until well after the excitement of the game has passed. I understand that many people don’t feel as motivated to volunteer or give money, and a Facebook status is an easy way to feel as if you are contributing. But if a Facebook status is the way you want to go (and in no way am I criticising people who don’t go out and do something “big”, because little things matter too), then make your status something about Breast Cancer Action month. Link to the site, link to information about how to give self breast checks, let people know what events are  happening this month and how they can help. Please, make the issue the real focus

 

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Invisibility

Posted in advice, bullying, homophobia on October 4th, 2010 by steph – 4 Comments

This morning, a friend of mine on Facebook who is training to be a teacher posted a link about how to make your school bully-proof. This is the start of the post

On September 23, 2010, a 13-year-old who had endured years of bullying at school committed suicide.[1] The day before that, an 18-year-old university student committed suicide after an act of cyber-bullying, and a few days later a student at another college who’d been bullied also took his own life.[2]

What immediately jumped out at me was the thing that wasn’t there: any mention of the fact that both of those instances of bullying were homophobic. Nowhere in the ‘how to’ (the text or the actual steps an individual can take) is anything of the sort mentioned. I think this is terrible. I understand that it is meant to be a general article about bullying prevention/intervention, but to not even acknowledge that the two quoted cases of bullying were fueled by homophobia, and that homophobic bullying is a huge fucking problem? The first tip is

1. If you are a student, initiate a club that promotes tolerance and respect. Work with teachers and administrators to create schoolwide activities. Hold assemblies and make them both informative and fun (go multimedia!).

and this would be the perfect place to talk about LGBT-straight alliances, or drop some sort of reference to the specific issues that these clubs can be advocates against (racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism).

So, I changed it:

On September 23, 2010, a 13-year-old who had endured years of homophobic bullying at school committed suicide.[1] The day before that, an 18-year-old university student committed suicide after an act of homophobic cyber-bullying, and a few days later a student at another college who’d been bullied also took his own life.[2]

(emphasis mine to show my changes).

Hooray!

Don’t leave it too late to ruin your career by having babies!

Posted in advice, New Zealand on October 2nd, 2010 by steph – 3 Comments

Two headlines from the Life and Style section in The Herald:

“Don’t leave babies too late, says expert”

and

“Starting a Family Still ‘Damages Careers’ “

The first one is about how many women are leaving their babymakin’ later and later, and shouldn’t expect to be able to fall back on technology to help them out if they do so. It also includes the quote

Couples beginning relationships late in life and women’s focus on career – combined with the ease of access to fertility treatments – are tempting couples to wait until later to try for a child.

Well, is the focus on careers a surprise, given that – as the second article tells me-

Despite years of equality, women who leave their jobs to have children still face a tough career progression, say unions.

Helen Kelly, president of the Council of Trade Unions, said it was difficult for women to maintain an equal foothold in the workplace, particularly after having a baby.

“Many women who return to work return to jobs where they are overqualified, or at a lower level of pay.”

and

Employers and Manufacturers Association employment services manager David Lowe says employers have made giant leaps in working with women who leave to start a family.

But he admits that anyone who takes extended leave from a business poses difficulties for their bosses.

So yeah, it really isn’t surprising that women are putting off having kids because of their career worries, as the first article told me. I was just a touch amused to see both articles posted on the same day, almost side-by-side. I feel it gives a false impression that these two issues aren’t as intertwined as they are; at least the content of the articles does acknowledge that this is the case.