June is LGBT pride month, commemorating the multi-day standoff at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, 1969. When I've marched through the sticky heat of Washington, DC's pride festivities, I find myself wishing we were commemorating something in April, but the Stonewall riots are probably the best touchstone to choose, so June it is.
As commercialized as Pride festivals are these days—and here I note the full inclusion of a Frito-Lay truck having an actual float in this year's DC parade—it's easy to forget the moments that have been hard fought in the last 41 years. When I first came out in 1991, I thought gay marriage would never happen in my lifetime, and as of today, it is legal in five states and the DC. We have progressed further than I thought possible, and in other ways, we have barely moved an inch. [More]
2. Even female action stars must submit to the Makeover trope.
The trailer for the hotly anticipated Salt finds Angelina Jolie rocking the mess out of a pencil skirt and taupe heels, only later to revamp her exterior with some snug black clothes and Miss Clairol's bluest black. While it certainly makes sense for a person to alter their looks when being chased by the CIA, I'm not sure if why the trailer evoked films like Clueless, Pretty Woman and 13 Going on 30. More importantly, it's possible the audience can take for granted that Jolie has altered her appearance without being shown every detail of her transformation. The makeover trope is utilized for men, but often–even in action films–it's played for comedic effect. Harrison Ford might have grimaced his way through an application of Just for Men in 1996's The Fugitive, but it was clearly meant to be an amusing respite from all that heart pounding action. Yet Jolie's transformation feels like a rite of passage rather than a necessary element of survival.
Image: A seafoam green television from the past, the Braun HF 1. From Wikipedia.
TelevIsm is a series about currently airing television shows. I imposed this parameter on myself so that I would not post endlessly about shows that I love that are gone, like Battlestar Galactica and King of the Hill (an excellent show that the brilliant Snarky's Machine and I turn the discussion to in a few comment sections round these parts.) But today, I thought I'd shift the conversation to the future: the 2010-2011 network television season.
The title of this zine comes from an old Irish expression that says, "There will be white blackbirds before an unwilling woman ties the knot." The zine features interviews with 11 women who all have something to say about why they don't want to be married.
Speaking of interviews with internet phenoms, Jeanne Sager talks to Jamie Keiles, the high school senior undertaking a month-long project wherein she follows all of the advice offered by Seventeen Magazine.
Tracy Clark-Flory writes on the "powerful message" about domestic violence UK Border Agency officials sent when they denied singer Chris Brown entry into the country.
Latoya Peterson responds to a New York Times article on the impact the geography of colonialism and the transforming acceptance of women of color have on fashion model scouting in Brazil.
Sociological Images' Lisa Wade takes us back to a time when men's magazines promoted masculinity through "tests of strength, cunning, and fighting ability" rather than consumerism.
In a world where "pop is feminine" and "rock is for dudes" Sarah Jaffe writes on coming around to the former on Feministe.
Steve Haruch investigates the difficulties faced by the 5% of music engineers and producers that are women for the Nashville Scene.
Whenever I opted to play "superheroes" with neighborhood kids, I was often assigned Catwoman, since other gals had already called dibs on Batgirl, Superwoman, Mary Jane (didn't realize she was a superhero) and Wonder Woman. Backyard rules apparently dictated there could only be one of each female superhero, but had no prescriptive on the number of Batmans, Supermans and Spidermans battling the faux forces of evil in one backyard at any given time. Initially, I would rebuff the assignment, opting instead to battle the forces of evil as Chaka Khan. While being a superhero in my own personal world, Chaka Khan was not recognized as such by the Neighborhood Children's Superhero Committee - a governing body with chapters all over the universe - and therefore was prohibited. Despite its rather sexist and draconian guidelines in the case of female superheroes, the Neighborhood Children's Superhero Committee was rather flexible with male superheroes. Anyone - and I mean anyone - could be Batman, Superman or Spiderman. Though the first one calling dibs on Superman was the leader and free to restrict the number of Superman also-rans under his/her command. As Catwoman I was tasked with reconnaissance and retrieval; as children we were well acquainted with the naughtiness of theft, but not acquainted with the concept of moral ambiguity. My job was to find object and information - by any means necessary, even a tap dance (the "sexiest" interrogation tactic we knew) - and report back to the primary Superman, who often ate cookies and stabbed holes in his spent Capri Sun drink.
We've been reminiscing a bit at Bitch HQ lately about Free to Be... You and Me. Remember that jam? Even if, like me, it aired before you were born, you're probably the product of its lovey message in some way or another. If not, it's not too late. Check out this video clip of Rosey Grier singing "It's Alright to Cry." Do it! It inspired this week's BitchTapes!
A powerful message, especially coming from a masculine-seeming type like Grier. We all know that men aren't "supposed" to cry. But Grier isn't the only man who'll admit to shedding a tear now and then. For evidence of this, here's a mix of songs by men, about crying. Track list after the jump!
I don't mean to get stuck on Sarah Palin, honestly. She pops up on the media's radar, however, for a whole host of reasons:
* She gives meatier, off-the-cuff remarks than most anyone, including Joe Biden
* She is something other than a white guy in a stuffed suit
* She looks like she's gunning to run for President in 2012
* She has sex appeal
This last point isn't my own assessment—I'm just saying I think mainstream media thinks she has sex appeal. Either from what she radiates in the way of sinewy forearm muscles (see Wednesday's blog post), or because the media is premised at least a little bit on a sexist framework, when there are articles about Ms. Palin, there often is a focus on something other than her policy stances. So I wasn't exactly shocked to read this headline on Thursday morning—Sarah Palin (DD-Alaska)?—from the Boston Herald. [More]
Since I've begun my stint here at Bitch, I've been watching a lot of Bones on Netflix. Are you ready for a surprise, faithful TelevIsm readers?
I'm kind of in love with it.
I spend a lot of time critiquing how ladies and folks of color are portrayed on television, but Bones is a rare show that consistently portrays their politically marginalized characters as competent, admirable, and worthy of respect and commendation.