I wrote recently, on Twitter, that I was getting the word "feminist" tattooed on my ass. I was only joking, but I might as well have been serious. It's true that in all the most important things I am—mother, writer, hiker, wife, daughter, seeker—feminism is at the center. It's a descriptor so clear and permanent it seems to me it's inked on my ass whether it's literally there or not. I've been a feminist since before I knew what a feminist was. It's an indelible part of my identity and it informs everything I do.
On television, there's no shortage of portrayals of young, aspiring writers. From ruthless journalists to confessional novelists to sensationalist writers, current TV shows offer us a wealth of female publishing hopefuls. And while this inspires a new generation of women to make themselves heard in a largely male-dominated landscape, the growing number of TV portrayals of female writers reflects how the world represses young voices in general—and young, female voices in particular.
Welcome to the first proper installment of RetroPop! A blog in which I, your humble guest writer, bring together my loves for the Billboard Hot 100 and bodacious bits from female artists of the past. It's all based on my argument that lady-related pop messages of today are no less worthy than pop messages from the canon of women artists throughout history, and that by comparing them a bit maybe we can have some fun and give today's female pop stars a bit more cred in the process. (Possibly making us "thinking girls" feel less guilty about bustin' a move to Beyoncé? Added benefit.)
Today, in this first true demonstration of the RetroPop mashup style, we'll take a look at some parallels between Carly Rae Jepsen's dancelicious song of the summer, "Call Me Maybe," and my favorite Jane Austen novel, good old Pride & Prejudice (P&P).
Tits and Sass is a blog written and run by sex workers who saw a void when it came to a smart, witty response to the public image of the sex industry. The ideas promoted about sex workers in the public eye have as much an impact on the realities of the lives of sex workers as the law. For this reason, one of the site's co-creators, Charlotte, says, "we're not letting any more dead hooker or stripper bones jokes pass by without comment."
Contributors come from different backgrounds and locations across the country. They work as strippers, porn performers, pro-dommes, and prostitutes—work that supports the 100% volunteer operation. "[Tits and Sass] is our space for calling out pop culture fails, celebrating sex worker culture, and talking shop."
Bitch had the opportunity recently to ask the site's creators a few questions about Tits and Sass. Their answers (and an NSFW photo) after the jump!
"It all started with Stephen Elliot. I read his book My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up while in grad school and I started following him. I discovered the Rumpus and submitted an essay. I got rejected until I wrote something they liked."
Here is the semi-embarrassing circumstance that resulted in the more-than-semi-embarrassing-realization that I haven't yet written about Maya Angelou for this blog: I was watching the first day of OWN's (Oprah Winfrey Network, duh) new programming with my mom, (...nope. Can't even come up with a sarcastic parenthetical. I just was.) and saw that Dr. Angelou would be featured on an upcoming series called "Master Class." Actually, I saw that a new show on OWN would feature Maya Ang—, which is all I saw before I bolted off the couch to my computer and yelled back to my mom that we needed to figure out DVR recording before Sunday night at 10. She was surprised by my new enthusiasm for the Winfrey gospel, needless to say. And I'm surprised I haven't yet waxed adoring on this writer, this poet, this actress, director, dancer, professor, activist, this woman who more than any other artist makes me glad to be American, to be female, to be human at the same time as her.
Although you can count her published works on one hand, Nella Larsen's achievements went beyond literature. She was a head nurse at the Tuskegee Institute, and the first African-American woman to graduate from library school as well as the first to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship.
We've got five new shows coming up with women on the creative team and I thought, as I wind up my time here, that I'd delve into them to see what we have to look forward to this fall/spring, and to see what kinds of women-led television make the brutal cuts of pilot season.
Two of them are romantic comedies. Two of them are cop dramas. One of them is a medical drama.
It's notable that these shows, for the most part, aren't being created by women writing about women's experiences. Evidently the networks feel that such a thing wouldn't be very interesting to members of the general public.