#Problematic: Taylor Swift Has “Style,” Beyonce Has Pores & Iggy Azalea Bails On Twitter
Good morrow, readers. This week I have to be honest that I am an unreliable narrator. I think since it’s February, winter weather has been a thing for a while, but it just finally reared its head in my part of the country, where I was told I would be safe. Humans were snowed in, liquor cabinets drained and Kroger beer aisles cleared out. I now know the brilliance of a few more 70’s films, and have seen a few more shows in their entirety. I also made some pot brownies that were basically just sleeping pills because I’m too old for this shit, and now I’m back here with you, trying to weed whack through Twitter wars and blogs about Oscar diets. I think winter was a thing elsewhere as well, because this week was so boring that people like Amber Rose had whole think pieces dedicated to them, but there’s still plenty to discuss. If anything, this week’s #problematic shots were mostly taken at women, by women, likely because New York fashion week is more of a disease than an event, and it infects our collective consciousness in a real way.
1. Taylor Swift Has “Style”
I’m only letting her be number one out of adherence to the week’s chronology, and because I’m pretty sure if I didn’t I would get a magical Cease and Desist in the pizza I’m going to order when I finish writing this. A Swift-version of a Hogwarts invite, it would sing infectious and pristine insults at me, letting me know that whatever I accomplish in this world, Taylor Swift will trademark, and there’s nothing I can do about it. (Maybe those pot brownies did work?) Anyways, I ramble for a reason, and it’s to let you know that I am not the woman’s biggest fan. I try not to get deluded by my resolute belief that Taylor’s an evil genius trying to re-link and subsequently rule Pangea, with Max Martin as Secretary of State (There is no Vice President. She will live forever.), and every other pop star who tried to make music during her reign in the old world sentenced as court janitors. However, I can admit with the rest of you that 1989 is magic. It has been ellipticized and danced to by all, including me.
And now in a move that I am still surprised by, I shall defend T. Swift, because I promised to call bullshit, and I’m a woman of my ever-lip syncing words. Last Friday, Swift released the video for the third single off of 1989, “Style,” and everyone was pleased. Well, everyone except a few people who only watch music videos that — cringe — “make a statement.” Some think that the video deviates from the silly, self-aware side of Swift that we all know, and a few people love. One piece describes the video as, “filled with slow, sultry shots of muscular white boys taking off their shirts from a variety of angles, plus shots of Taylor looking distraught yet hip in a variety of highly Instagrammable locales. In short, it looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog.”
Well, first of all, there’s only one shirtless white boy. Perhaps they were too mystified by the Herculean, two-tone-eyed beauty of Dominic Sherwood, and tried to divide him up like a Hydra in order to take it all in. Regardless, the omission of the age-old music video staple of casting a comparatively unknown lead, sparking a heated 15-minutes of fame, further proves their ignorance of music video history. Just ask Tawny Kitaen. However the most problematic touchstone of the video’s criticism, is the inability to perceive the tiered unveiling of Swift’s new image. Much like she slowly amped up the pop sounds on her records leading up to 1989, since the album’s release, she’s slowly shed her more quirky image. She’s asserting her right to make your average high budget video where she gets the guy and gets to look pretty, just like the rest of them. And that’s all that ever needed to be said about that video (unlike all of this scary fan mess where people divided up the video to make it applicable to other songs on the album).
As #Problematic as … Sarah Michelle Gellar never overcoming being pigeon held as Buffy:
2. Selena Gomez Is The First Adult To Star In Child Porn
Selena Gomez is a former Disney star, and we all know what the world likes to do to them (see: Britney). So it shouldn’t be a surprise that some nasty mommy bloggers and reactionary real ones decided to take huge issue with her recent V magazine cover. (Apparently all of her upset fans missed “Spring Breakers.”) The 22-year old actress and singer is featured on the cover wearing only some very seductive shorts, with big hair and eyelashes, hoops and a bow—reminiscent of a ‘70s Sports Illustrated cover if anything at all.
Yes, Gomez does look young on the cover, but just because she has a young face doesn’t mean she can’t be posed the same as other women would be, because she too is an adult. It’s the age old adage: if Hollywood expects women to always look young and seductive, but no one wants to be reminded of it, can we still have magazine covers? The whole gross conversation lacks any reverence for the hyper-sexualized climate that the entertainment industry creates for women. Jennifer Lawrence posed in some equally Bardot-esque ways when she was around the same age, but she had a more womanly look and had already been given an Oscar, so the pitchforks were left in the closet. Ariana Grande on the other hand has a very similar pin-up image to Gomez that can’t help but be made more bubblegum by her youthful look; but since she’s topping the charts right now, no one accuses her of making anything reminiscent of kiddy porn.
What’s really problematic here is that Selena Gomez’s most successful moment so far was as a Disney star. She’s yet to be really lauded as a singer, and outside of the cult fan base of “Spring Breakers,” she hasn’t made much noise as an actress. Her highly publicized relationship with Justin Bieber, someone else trying to break out of the child star mold, is really her most noted attribute. Because Gomez’s career is still in its adolescent stages, she’s being seen as such as well. All I have to say is that her new single is damn good, and she can pose topless if she wants to.
As #Problematic as … the FDA requiring gay men to be celibate for a year in order to donate blood:
3. Beyoncé Has A Face
If you could have heard the sounds I made while I was reading about this one, well, you’d probably check the oven and make sure the cat wasn’t in there. So. It’s public domain that everything ever is Photoshopped. Your stupid breakfast was Photoshopped. Ad campaigns. Promotional photos. Even the actual talkies! What apparently has yet to make it as universal knowledge is that women don’t always look as perfect as society dictates that they should. Beyoncé in all of her glory even paid homage to that exact sentiment with “Flawless,” making “Woke up like this” a feminist mantra.
Despite that, a website called The Beyoncé World, that potentially exists to demonstrate the limitless time of the average individual, posted 224 un-retouched photos from Beyoncé’s 2013 L’Oréal campaign. I’ve decided I can’t rationalize why a fan site would stoop to the normal shenanigans of a gossip magazine, fan sites exist in that same weird portal where Voldermort hides. But, Sasha Fierce herself would cackle in their faces regardless, because the queen is still queening. Yes, she looks a little more like the rest of us than usual, but still immortal nonetheless (100 percent sure Beyoncé is immortal). The photos were also taken with the hot lights and unflattering camera angles of any commercial ad that would make a mere normo look like a wet cat.
What’s actually problematic is that the Beyhive (ugh) lost their ever-Beyoncé-loving shit that anyone would insult their leader. Tweets and comments insisted that the un-retouched versions of the photos were Photoshopped to make her look less gilded, because no one has anything better to do than try and bring Beyoncé down. Giving the word fanatical their own special meaning, their online battle cries caused The Beyoncé World to take down the photos in a mere hour. The site released a shaken up statement stating: “Some of the things we have seen posted were just horrible.”
As #Problematic as … the world’s reaction’s to Uma Thurman at “The Slap” premiere:
4. Iggy Leaves Internet
Iggy Azalea announced Wednesday night on the internet, that she would be taking a break from the internet. To add to the whole flux of “who cares,” a lot of internet hubs that have also published thinkpieces about how terrible she is, also wanted to shed a word-count tear for her departure (and that’s advertising dollars for ya, folks). Most notably, Forbes reported last May that “Hip-Hop is run by a white, blonde, Australian woman,” summing up the general consensus that was ramping up towards the end of 2014, that the rap artist (idk what to even call her?) was seemingly everywhere without an invitation.
In a slew of tweets, Azalea articulated that the internet is “negative and draining,” and she’s not wrong. She claimed the final straw was being stalked by paparazzi on her most recent vacation, only to return home and find that TMZ was using them to make fun of her butt. On the one hand, body shaming is a real fucking travesty. It’s ruining the self esteem of women young and old everywhere. The internet is making it so much worse, and the entertainment industry should be ashamed of the part it plays. But on the other hand, Azalea has gone to a lot of effort to make her ass the center of her mystique, so she needs to take a giant reality-Xanax and understand that the media is praying on a trap she devised. Also, the whining of celebrities about the woes of being famous is literally the sound the wind makes blowing through some weeping willows in one of the circles of hell.
It seems all the the controversy surrounding the Australian “rapper” is due to the fact that we’ve been paying her the attention that she wanted by having a musical career in the first place. What’s problematic is that she had to waste records of tweets in the Library of Congress to announce it. Perhaps she should pull a Hathaway (Anne Hathaway), and take a time out. It worked for Anne; she came back in a Jenny Lewis video—coolness resurrected.
As #problematic as Sarah Jessica Parker today:
5. Hollywood Shuns Mo’Nique
Sigh. What’s new? It’s a fucked up place, trust me, I lived there. People get stabbed all of the time on the Walk of Fame, literally, and now for our last issue of the week, metaphorically. The latest jab of the sort was taken at everyone’s favorite charm-advisor, Mo’Nique. The “Precious” star won the 2010 Oscar for best supporting actress, and in the five years since has seen little traction in her career. Apparently Mo’Nique was not taking a sabbatical, but instead “blackballed.”
The actress told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview for their February 27th issue that she had received a call from “Precious” director Lee Daniels a few months ago, in which he told her that she wasn’t being cast anymore because she “didn’t play the game.” This allegedly led to Mo’Nique losing roles in “Empire,” “The Butler” (replaced by Oprah), and as Richard Pryor’s grandmother in an upcoming biopic (also replaced by Oprah). The idea that Hollywood is just as much of a high school gossip circuit as it appears is sobering, but not surprising. It’s incredibly problematic that anyone thinks that Mo’Nique had to play any games in order to keep her career afloat after winning an Oscar. I’m pretty sure that whatever those ass-kissing games entail, Mo’Nique was required to do a lot more of it than say, a young white woman winning that same award. So more power to her for abstaining. Apparently she and her husband are making movies independently now, and that’s a badass way to continue to work without having to bend over for a backwards industry.
What’s really problematic here is that anyone still thinks that an Oscar is a guaranteed ticket to bigger and better roles. Yes, in many cases it can be, but if that is the outcome of an Oscar win, it is a by-product. People forget that the Academy is an institution with its own stakes in Hollywood outcomes. They play to their own audience just like any movie. They give Oscars out to appease their own benefactors, sometimes yielding to a woman or person of color (sometimes both!), but always reinforcing the white male savior complex of the entertainment industry. What’s most problematic here though is that Oprah is stealing all of Mo’Nique’s roles. First of all, because Hollywood should have more than two acceptable options for casting an older black woman. And secondly, because Oprah, like Taylor Swift, is also vying to take over the world and people should challenge her motives more often.
As #Problematic as … Kaley Cuoco’s take on feminism: