Whether in the form of advertisements, cartoons, books, food, or toys, pop culture is out there and is feeding a host of tropes and stereotypes that can heavily impact a developing mind. This series will take a look at where pop culture, parenting and feminism meet, as we explore the affects (whether outright & obvious or much more subtle) of media & marketing on children, and their families. I'll also take a look at how pop culture promotes certain stereotypes of families, especially in so-called "reality" shows.
Welcome to this week's edition of Pop Pedestal, Bitch's series of tributes to characters we love. Today, I'd like to recognize the Greendale student whose favorite film is "a tie between Ghostbusters, An American Werewolf in London, Back to The Future, Blade Runner, Stand By Me, Stripes, Star Wars IV through VI, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Jaws, Raising Arizona, Jurassic Park, Seven, The Matrix, Goonies, Breakfast Club, Real Genius, Better Off Dead, and The Fog of War." I am referring, of course, to Abed of NBC's Community.
You know, I was gonna start off with a standard intro, but that was mucking up my flow, so I had to switch it up in order to get unstuck. If you've spent some time around these parts, you may remember my original Bitch blogging series, a two-parter called On the Map, where I provided a slight peek at feminisms that exist around the globe. It's been a year since that gig ended, and I am thrilled for the opportunity to return for a new series—this time about an issue I've been struggling with for two decades that has picked up steam in the mainstream: street harassment. I use the word "struggle" intentionally because of its multiple meanings, and if you continue to read Takin' it to the Streets (which I dearly hope you do!), then you'll soon find out what I mean.
Creating art is walking through a minefield, especially in a society like this one that doesn't really do much to support said art. And since many of us critics are also creators, we know that we don't want to discourage creation, we want to make it better.
I think the best way to fight knee-jerk reactions to pop culture discussions, to resist the sense that one is being personally attacked, is to step outside the equation, and to step away from the keyboard to do some thinking. Remember that the writer probably doesn't know you, isn't thinking about you while writing the piece, and doesn't think that you are a bad person. The writer is just discussing something seen, an embedded message.
After all, you didn't create the piece of pop culture under discussion. You may be complicit in the social attitudes that it embodies, but that often happens on an unconscious level. You are not responsible for not seeing everything in all things, but you are responsible for seriously evaluating and considering critiques pointing out things you didn't see.
The other night, I found myself sitting in a concert hall with a thousand other people having an absolutely A+ time at one of the few North American dates on the farewell tour for Euro pop icons a-ha. Yes, a-ha. No matter that I'm not old enough to have fully appreciated their short-lived American heyday (although they've never ceased to be a presence on the other side of the Atlantic) in the mid-80s. I learned about them via the Pop-up Video treatment ( I'm sure there are even readers who are too young to appreciate that show) of "Take on Me" and more seriously, their concert participation in Live 8.
As I sang along with "The Living Daylights" and "The Sun Always Shines on TV," I started thinking about nostalgia. Specifically, Gen Y's relationship to nostalgia. I can't be the only one to see that the proximity of what counts as bygone days has been increasing dramatically in recent years.
In 2008, 58 teenage girls published their take on body image, family, politics, and pop culture in the anthology Red: Teenage Girls in America Write on What Fires Up Their Lives Today. Page Turner caught up with five of them to talk about feminism, teen-girl falsehoods, and what's happened in their lives since their essays left off.
Coming onto the German hipster scene just one year ago, Missy Magazine looks at pop culture, fashion, art, sex, and music through a feminist lens. (Hmmm… sounds like a US-based feminist magazine I know. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.)
As I mentioned before, I've been really struggling to stay on course when it comes to blogging these days. My heart is in Gaza right, now, but my fingers tell me I must be here, in front of the computer, writing essays about everything except Gaza.
I'm thankful for the opportunity that Bitch has provided me here. A chance to at least meld what is going on in my life with what I'm "supposed" to be doing--talking about pop culture. Debbie's support at this difficult time has meant the world to me.