February 3rd, 2010 marked the 116th birthday of Norman Rockwell. Google's clever inclusion of his art among the letters of the search engine's logo alerted me to the historic date. Oh Google! You went and did it again with your clever intertextuality.
Rockwell rose to artistic fame with his Americana paintings depicting everyday life and its sentiments. On May 29th, 1943 The Saturday Evening Post ran as its cover Rockwell's painting of "Rosie the Riveter." Norman Rockwell's painting was the first widely publicized visual representation of Rosie the Riveter. Rockwell's Rosie was a commanding figure decked in overalls and a matching work shirt. She is confident as she gazes out into the distance, all the while using as a foot stool a bruised and battered copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf. Rockwell's Rosie is undeniably a more potent image than that which has come to culturally represent Rosie the River, J. Howard Miller's "We Can Do It."
Makeup giant Maybelline has a newsletter of sorts in which consumers answer a few questions and get tips on choosing products most suitable for their look. An Asian-Canadian blogger who uses the moniker Rasilla was happy enough to answer Maybelline's questions about her appearance. But after choosing "brown" for eye-color, Rasilla was asked to select the shape of her eyes. Her options? Close set, wide set, hooded, Asian, almond, down-turned, deep-set, prominent and centered. Let's backtrack for a moment. One of the options was Asian. That's right, Asian. Rasilla wasn't too pleased about this.
While my love for female-based rock music is well-documented and longstanding, even a fangirl like me can easily admit that riot grrrl and the punk scene more generally have long been a largely homogeneous affair, with a lack of racial diversity and inclusion among its iconic musicians and those who loved them. Partially inspired by Black History Month and partially by Beyonce's rendition of Alanis Morissette's classic at the most recent Grammy's (skip to 3:10 in the video), I wanted to showcase some women who defied narrow expectations and produced amazing music.
People often think about vegetarianism or veganism as an ethical framework or intentional life choice, but in her new book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, Dr. Melanie Joy posits that eating meat comes from the same type of belief system. Dr. Joy, a professor and psychologist who works to promote empowering relationships between humans, animals, and the earth, spoke with me at length last week, and our talk is split into two parts here this week.
Before I started writing about women's reproductive health, I'd pretty much resigned myself to being a film journalist for life. All the free movies, premieres and parties were a lot of fun, but I was beginning to think that my choice to give a film five stars or one star was being unfairly swayed by whether the complimentary pastry was stale or if the air conditioning was turned up too high.
If you've yet to read Ishamel Reed's editorial "Fade to White" in the New York Times about Precious, get to it post-haste! In the piece, Reed makes some excellent points about portrayals of black men in popular culture and why the film has received such a favorable reception from whites but been met with resistance in the black community.