Masha Tupitsyn writes about film, feminism, love, and being human in a media-drenched culture. Her new book, Love Dog, is a multimedia print version of a one-year blog project on love. The text is interspersed with film stills, URLs for movie clips and music videos, and more.
Love Dog feels like (one version of) what a book should be right now—a print text that's constantly in conversation with other texts and people and mediums.
When I started this column on race in dystopian YA literature, a reader recommended I check out Shadows Cast by Stars, Métis author Catherine Knutsson's dystopic tale set on Canada's western coast 200 years from now.
In the book, a plague has ravaged the world. The only cure is antibodies found in the blood of aboriginal people (or "Others" as they are known by non-aboriginals).
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in his directorial debut, Don Jon, which centers on the life of a "porn addict" Jersey guido named Jon Martello.Though plenty of people will likely flock to a film that centers on two sexy stars and a porn addiction, Don Jon attempts to deconstruct the ways in which rigid notions of masculinity and femininity are damaging.
Xavin explaining not fitting in to male-female gender roles in Runaways. via
Both print comics and webcomics seem to be paying more attention to being inclusive these days, especially when it comes to LGBT characters. I've long treasured the diversity that's out there in webcomics if you dig a little bit, but even the comics you don't have to dig for are starting to include characters of color and queer characters. Jeph Jacques, for example, upped the inclusion ante at Questionable Content last year when two women of color and a white transwoman appeared in a one-panel diversitysplosion. Other comics seem to be moving in the same direction. Maybe next Randall Munroe will strike a blow to androcentrism and retcon the xkcd stick figures into being female-to-intersex pansexuals of color.
To celebrate inclusion in comics and encourage more, I'd like to put forward my top five list of the best genderqueer characters in comics.
While I ended my last post by snarkily suggesting that pop culture's fascination with fathers might give way to an interest in motherhood, the truth is a lot of messages about moms are already encoded in these male-centric narratives.
Men who care for children are afforded high status in pop culture if their role is part of some macho, justice-seeking mission (The Pacifier, Kindergarten Cop) or incidental to their real life, allowing them to maintain a cool image (About A Boy, Role Models). When he takes on a childcare role for no other reason than to get paid, however, a man should be prepared to sacrifice his self-respect.
In Melissa & Joey, Joey Lawrence plays an Ivy League-educated former commodities trader (yup) who went broke thanks to a Ponzi scheme. When local politician Mel takes in her sister's kids, Joe becomes their housekeeper and nanny as a last resort, having previously been living in his car. In one episode, Mel finds out that Joe has donated to a sperm bank, and asks him what the most degrading thing he's ever done for money is, hoping he'll admit to selling some of his swimmers. Instead, he gestures around the kitchen and replies, "By far, this." He's not entirely sincere, but the joke (such as it is) is predicated upon the audience acknowledging that this isn't a suitable job for a man who values himself.
When a Man Loves a Woman opens with one of the oddest (and, frankly, creepiest) meet-cutes I have ever seen in a movie: Alice (Meg Ryan), sitting at a bar in broad daylight (it looks like she's just finished lunch), already wincing at unwanted attention from the guy sitting to her left at the counter, is approached by Michael (Andy Garcia), who asks her to pick up his laundry for him, bring it to his hotel room later that night. "I'll pay you," he says. "Thirty bucks. That oughta cover it." At first, she's irritated, and then she's amused, flirting back.
Then – right after my boyfriend shouted, "Oh, come on, Meg!" and I scribbled something in my notebook about how women alone in bars are always assumed to be prostitutes – the scene takes a cutesy, unexpected turn.
One thing I found in planning my own wedding, and in being semi-privy to other queer weddings, was that the very fact of queerness and/or same-sex-ness sort of short circuited everyone's conscious and unconscious cultural assumptions. It's almost as though since the expectation of adhering to a traditional template wasn't there in the first place, it opened the playing field to a real sense of freedom of expression, experimentation, and individuality. YAY!