A Frisky reader sent me the lyric video for Pink’s new song “Slut Like Me” and asked what I think. To be honest, musically, I think it sucks. But I have a feeling he was asking what I really think about Pink owning the word “slut” and using it to describe herself — which I’m cool with in my own life. We have to be aware of the nuanced differences between how different people use “offensive words.” Those words can be powerful or harmful depending on who is using them and how. It’s totally different when I call myself a slut in a positive, pat-on-the-back way than it is when an angry man calls me a slut because I rejected him at a bar. (Or, you know, Rush Limbaugh calls Sandra Fluke a “slut.”) “Slut Like Me” is no great piece of music, though. I wish it was worthy of the debate over women using the word “slut” that it is going to cause! [YouTube]
A who’s-who list of indie musicians and artists are contributing to a new e-book of essays published to help raise money for the Pussy Riot legal defense team. Three members of the Russian feminist punk band were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism” last month after they staged a protest inside a church and spoke out publicly against Russian president Vladmir Putin. Yoko Ono, Le Tigre’s JD Samson and Johanna Fateman, Justin Vivian Bond, and others will contribute essays to the $2.99 Pussy Riot! A Punk Prayer For Freedom, which is out September 21. [Gallerist NY]
At this point, I’m absolutely over the phrase “having it all.” It’s been beaten to death, taken out of context, used as link bait, etc… And I’m over it. I’m mostly over it because it’s a convoluted concept. “Having it all” doesn’t have one universal definition and it is something we only lord over the heads of women. It’s problematic on many levels, yet that doesn’t stop folks from hammering the point over and over and over again. But because the concept of “having it all” is so entrenched in our society, when an accomplished professor (of a feminist anthropology course, no less) ends up bringing her sick baby to the first day of class, and at one point nurses her, it becomes fodder for an investigative story.
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“With ‘Bachelorette,’ I thought of these really thin, beautiful women, who if you saw walking down the street you’d think, ‘These girls have their lives together and it makes me feel bad about myself.’ I wanted to examine how they are gluttonous through drug addiction, materialism, sexual voraciousness, eating disorders — literally take, take, take, consume, consume, consume. Then there is their friend, Becky, who is moving into adulthood. She’s the one who appears to be the gluttonous one, who you might point at and say she has a problem because she’s overweight. You might feel better about yourself and move on. But she’s the one who’s getting out of the prison that these characters have created for themselves. … I couldn’t for the life of me think of one good moniker for these women and who they are that wasn’t punitive. You know what I mean, like ‘Sluts’ or ‘Bitches,’ and who would see a movie called that? All we’ve got is this feminized version of this male idea, that’s, by the way, a great thing if you’re a man. If you’re not married and you’re a straight guy, the world is your fuckin’ oyster, but if you’re single and you’re a woman and you’ve got something going for you, it’s just so sad you’re not married yet. It doesn’t make any sense to me. But what do I know? I’m sad and alone.”
Watching “Bachelorette” on Video On Demand is on my to-do list this evening, so I was interested to read this Q&A with the writer/director Leslye Headland. “Bachelorette,” as you’ve probably heard, is about four high school friends who reunite for one of their weddings — and the other three freak the fuck out because they’re still single and childless. And snorting loads of cocaine, apparently. As someone who is gearing up for her 10-year high school reunion and is also “sad and alone” according to societal standards, I have to say it’s a topic of interest! The subject of the movie, I mean. [BlackBook Mag]
And lo, the Lord did create the men and women who populated the earth. The manifold men did go to the office and get good jobs in middle management and take the trash out on Thursdays while lady helpmates did joyously stay home and wear aprons and make dinner and vacuum and mop and scrub the toilets and make the beds and raise the children and dust the bookshelves and manage the home accounts and do the grocery shopping and mend the clothing and take the children to appointments and preside over the laundry apparatus, which the Lord, in all his wisdom, saw fit to make too difficult for men to comprehend.
This was called the division of labor, and behold, it was fucked up. Keep reading »
Shulamith Firestone, an iconic figure in the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s, has died at age 67. Firestone was the author of The Dialectic of Sex: The Case For Feminist Revolution, which she penned at age 25 and which became one of the key texts of second-wave feminism. Dialectic, which was reissued in 2003 by the publisher Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, put forth a feminist theory that feud the work of Simone de Beauvoir, Sigmund Freud, Frederick Engels and Karl Marx. Firestone was also the co-founder of the group New York Radical Women, a late ’60s feminist group that famously protested the 1968 Miss America Pageant, and edited various journals about radical feminism. Rest in peace, Ms. Firestone. [Tablet Mag; The Villager]
Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! Tom Smith, the Senate candidate from Pennsylvania who last week compared pregnancy from rape to having a baby out of wedlock, has verbal diarrhea again. Last week, Smith introduced vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan at a campaign event in PA and was filmed working the crowd. As you can see in this video of his greatest sexist hits (it’s the second item), Smith walked up to
Carrie Bradshaw and Samantha Jones two women and asks them, “What are we talking about here? Two girls together talking!” One of the women answers, “We’re talking about the power of petite women.” And then Smith replies, “My guess would have been you were talking about shoes.” You know ladies: always talking about shoes! I guess we should be grateful he didn’t say “nail polish,” though, right? [Huffington Post]
To say that I am a fan of the British sci-fi show “Doctor Who” would be and understatement. Not only do I have “DW” viewing parties at my apartment, I own a sonic screwdriver, I’ve eaten fish fingers and custard (a “DW” inside joke), I waited for hours to get a glimpse of the show’s stars when they shot an episode in New York, and I even traveled to London to go to the “Doctor Who Experience.” Despite some missteps (cough, “Daleks in Manhattan,” cough), “Doctor” Who won my heart(s) long ago, and I keep coming back for more adventures in that blue box.
But then I saw the promo art for season seven in which the titular character of the show, the Doctor, looks darkly determined while carrying his unconscious companion Amy in his arms. (“DW” has always referred to the people who travel with the Doctor as “companions.”) If my life were a preview for a romantic comedy, this would have been the moment you heard the sound effect of a record scratching to a stop. What the what?! Is “DW” really going there? Portraying Amy as merely a victim for the Doctor to save?
It gave me pause, and it made me think about the way the show has portrayed (or betrayed) its female characters in the past. Keep reading »