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Re-Plotting History: Omission, Race, and “The Vampire Diaries”

In race, teen soaps, The South on December 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Aoife Ní Dhochartaigh

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

It’s no secret that The Vampire Diaries is obsessed with history. I suppose it’s kind of a given on a show about immortality. The past informs the present: the characters constantly react to, reference and repeat history. Mostly, of course, they engage with their own, private histories. Stefan thinks of the people around him in terms of people from his past: Caroline as Lexi, Elena as Not-Katherine, Klaus as Damon (once upon a time.) Damon casts his sexual partners as himself, and himself as Katherine – reliving that particular shitstorm over and over – which has resulted in some pretty horrific abuse over the course of the show.

And one of the great things is that TVD references its own history – the history contained within the show – in really effective ways. They don’t need to tell us that history is cyclical, because they do such a good job of showing us. The dialogue and visuals contain so many parallels that the repeated settings and lines become hugely meaningful, especially to dedicated viewers like me. (To name but a few: Wickery Bridge, Elena’s porch, the whole ‘always’/’right now’ thing.)

Despite this historical obsession—both American history and the show’s own history—the story TVD tells is structured by one clear and egregious absence: slavery. Instead, the hideousness of slavery keeps being suppressed, and keeps manifesting in gross, awful ways: compulsion, sire bonds, the relentless economics of the doppelganger body. Read the rest of this entry »

Curating Erotic Art: An Interview with Catherine Johnson-Roehr

In Interview, Kinsey, museums on September 30, 2013 at 4:51 am

In July 2000, Catherine Johnson-Roehr (CJR) became Curator of Art, Artifacts, and Photographs at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. Nestled in Bloomington, Indiana, the Kinsey Institute is a leading organization for the study of sexuality. In this interview, Johnson-Roehr discusses the use of the collection, the ever-intriguing work of Robert Mapplethorpe, and the joys of curating an incredibly distinctive (not to mention sexy) collection of artwork.

PJP: The Kinsey Institute is in Bloomington, Indiana. Can you talk a little about location? In New York, it might be harder to get attention. The Museum of Sex is there, but of course the Museum of Sex also borrows items from the Kinsey for their displays.

CJR: Many people are surprised to find us in Indiana, but there’s a simple reason for it—Dr. Kinsey was a professor at Indiana University when he founded his institute for sex research here in 1947.  It would be much more expensive to run an operation like this in New York. We’re also so much a part of Indiana University. It’s hard to see how we might move away from this area. We do loan materials for exhibitions in New York and elsewhere, and we have had entire shows travel as well. Right now, I’m working on a request to send some photographs to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

PJP: Which photographs?

CJR: Five George Platt Lynes photographs. We do what we can to make it possible for people to see the remarkable materials that we have here.

PJP: As the curator, you of course want people to have access to the materials–but when a class comes in you may also worry about preserving them. How do you balance creating access with preserving the materials?

CJR: We do provide access for anyone who wants to do legitimate research using these materials. But it’s not completely open access. We require that anyone coming in to view materials has some sort of research agenda in mind. We just can’t accommodate a lot of people browsing. I also provide show-and-tell sessions for students.  I bring materials  out for the class to view  and we can talk about their significance for their course.

PJP: Is that because you want to project the privacy of some of the donors?

CJR: We do have some sensitive images. Some of our material actually came to us from police departments—it may have been a confiscated item. We may not know anything about the individuals in the photograph, or even who took the photograph or where. That image could still be useful for research; for example, it may illustrate clothing or behavior from a particular era. If a scholar is researching gay men in the 1920s, he or she may want to use a photograph from our homosexual male category to illustrate an article or book.

PJP: I know at Indiana University’s Lilly Library, Jerry Slocum, a collector of puzzles, has stayed really involved with the puzzle collection he donated. Does the Kinsey have any donors who stay connected to the Institution?

CJR: We do. One that comes to mind is Herbert Ascherman. He’s a photographer who has donated more than 1,500 of his own prints. He has had a long career, so he has given us recent work, as well as photographs taken over several decades. He’s done a lot of work photographing communities, such as the Leather community or LGBT couples and events around Cleveland where he lives.

Herb has donated a lot of his own work, but he’s also become very interested in helping us expand our vintage collection. He enjoys going to photography sales and conferences. He likes looking for old photographs. He’ll stop at antique shops and look for tintypes.  He’s given us some really wonderful examples of early photography—several daguerreotypes, as well as  tintypes, carte-de-visite photographs, stereo cards, and other examples of  nineteenth century photography. He’s someone who’s really helping us expand our collection in several ways. He’s also active as our advisor on photographic issues. Most donors aren’t quite that involved, but I’m still in touch with quite a few people.

Read the rest of this entry »

To Make Fit Again: C.K. Mak’s “The World’s Most Fashionable Prison”

In Documentary, Film on November 13, 2012 at 7:22 am

Guest Contributor Paul B.

Given the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival’s historic penchant for extreme sport videos, the screening of Singaporean C. K. Mak’s recent documentary The World’s Most Fashionable Prison was a pleasant surprise. Even more surprising was that a queer prison-film should turn up in Arizona, a state infamous for its privatized, for-profit prisons and merciless lawmen such as Maricopa County Sheriff Arapaio, whose treatment of inmates has been roundly criticized.

Today, “rehabilitation” has shed its Latin coifs for the much hipper “rehab,” but its migration from penal discourse to addiction says less about a change in alcoholism than in prison policy. Not only are almost 1% of US citizens imprisoned (.78%, to be precise), but purgatorial sentencing, privatized prisons, and a greater than 50% recidivism rate each conspire to keep them there. With few exceptions, rehabilitation has low priority with both public and policy-maker discourse where the bottom line is prison costs.

Though The World’s Most Fashionable Prison doesn’t explicitly address US prison issues, its title invites comparison and discussion of global incarceration, of which the U.S. leads the charge. What does it mean, then, to claim that New Billibid, the largest maximum-security prison in the Phillipines, infamous for its gang wars and violence, is “fashionable”? In an obvious sense, the title refers to the plot. The film follows the flamboyant Filipino fashion designer Puey Quiñones as he teaches inmates how to sew and design clothes for their own fashion show. “Fashionable,” however, also conjures up the innovative, trendy, and unprecedented, and in this sense, the film praises Quiñones’ collaboration with the prison and prisoners as a pioneering exchange that demonstrates the potential of rehabilitation. Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “The Kahn Game” (Season 3, Episode 9)

In Pretty Little Liars, Television on August 9, 2012 at 10:40 am

This week, our fab four split off for individual or pair-oriented adventures. Emily spent the entire episode watching videos from Maya’s vlog, and it was sad. Hanna made up/made out with Caleb, and he officially voiced his intentions to join Team A Take-Down. Spencer and Aria went to a post-collegiate-aged party and had a Noel/Jenna smack-down. A rented an apartment or something and it truthfully wasn’t as sinister as usual, which is maybe a nice break. Even murderer/stalker/blackmailer types need some downtime every once in a while. Read on for more ponderings on “The Kahn Game.”

Don’t mess with the (evil) best.

What was your take on the insanely high-stakes game of “Truth or Truth With a Stopwatch, Everybody Act Like This Is Intense Even Though There Are No Real Consequences”?

Sarah T: Here are my thoughts in numerical order. One, the Noel-Aria face-off was full of spite! Do you think he still resents Aria for kinda-dating him and then getting back together with Ezra? Two, the Jenna-Spencer face-off was full of simmering rage, but I was interested in that scene beforehand where Jenna’s telling Noel she won’t let Spencer bully her again. I’m curious about how true that reading of Spencer is, from Jenna’s perspective, and how much that comment was just damsel-in-distress misdirection. Three, what do you think Jenna and Noel talk about together? What kinds of activities do those two creepers get up to? Noel-Mona were about presenting the pretty polished surfaces, but Noel-Jenna seem to be about cobwebs and axes of evil and adopting pet snakes. They’re such a fun couple.

Phoebe B: Yes! Noel seems a tad bit pissed still about the Aria-Ezra situation. To Two: I was so intrigued by that exchange between Jenna and Noel and was trying really hard to remember whether Spencer had ever bullied Jenna. And then I thought perhaps Ali had told Jenna lies about Spencer or maybe there is a yet to be revealed moment of Spencer being mean to Jenna. Also, I imagine that Jenna and Noel talk about plotting evil A related things or just plotting evil in general. They are a great evil-power couple. Also, Truth with a stopwatch game. What is going on?! And what a contentious round between Spencer and Jenna? Oh my. And what is going on with Cece? I am so suspicious of her and I feel like she did not give Spencer’s application to the UPenn guy (I don’t even think he exists).

Is Caleb a brave white knight or a misguided one?

Sarah T: Misguided FTW! I mean, I totally get why he wants to help Hanna, and I get why he wants to go after A (especially given that he now knows A went after his mom). He should probably do those things, even though the more he gets involved in mystery-solving the more scared I get he’s going to get blown up. But what about the “You’re talking to a guy who just kidnapped his own girlfriend” line and the “I’m not asking for your permission” line? Both seem aimed at positioning him as the Take-Charge Guy, although he didn’t kidnap Hanna at all. He tricked her into meeting him outside a cafe and then she willingly got in the car with him. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with being take-charge guy, as long as he doesn’t think that means he is the ONLY person in charge or that he is in charge of anybody else. Hanna is in charge of herself. Ahh, feminism… Sometimes I just gaze off in the distance and think about how much I love it (not sarcasm).

Phoebe B: I think Caleb is perhaps a white knight but also maybe more like a equal partner white knight. I think it is great that he is on board! And not taking no for an answer. Mostly, because I think more people on the anti-A team, the better! And I feel like Caleb understands that he is not in charge of Hanna but that he wants to help and that he wants to be part of the team, rather than getting shut out. I think too, that for the PLLs, it might be an important lesson to ask for help or allow themselves to be helped.

Read the rest of this entry »

DayZ: Where Everybody Is a Body

In games on July 25, 2012 at 7:47 am

Guest Contributor Allison Bray

It is a silent and unremarkable landscape devoid of people. A subdued version of the apocalypse. Depending on which direction you walk, and for how long, you may find hills, streams, farmhouses, or industrial areas. An approaching figure could be a zombie or a human being, but the latter does not guarantee survival. Humans are just as likely to kill you in order to loot your corpse. You’re equipped with little more than a flashlight—useless in a fight. If you run, and many do, the environment poses its own threats. You could die from hypothermia, starvation, dehydration, shock, blood loss, or infection. If you die, and everyone does, you lose everything. Start over.

That is the bleak and uncompromising experience of DayZ, a new online video game that’s been met with widespread acclaim despite—or perhaps because of—its gritty and utterly unsexy minimalism. DayZ could be described as a simplified zombie survival game with an emphasis on realism, or a realistic survival game that happens to include zombies. In either case, the simple premise doesn’t sound that different from many other games on the market. DayZ has set itself apart, however, by throwing out the prevailing formula and its familiar balance of narrative, character, and gameplay. As the gaming industry moves ever closer to cinematic standards in producing that balance, the small team responsible for DayZ stripped away the elements of narrative and character altogether, leaving little more than a player, their on-screen counterpart, and the very real question of what they are willing to do to keep that lone figure alive.

The first people who played it must have been baffled not so much by what they found, but what they didn’t find:  DayZ drops you into a world without context or guidelines. Joining a server loads you onto the map, a fictional chunk of Eastern Europe roughly 225 square kilometers in size, but there is no introductory cut-scene establishing the details of your environment or anything else. Besides the lack of items, there is no map or compass automatically available for navigation. There are no tutorials for new players, no pop-up screens with tips or hints, and no witty sidekicks appear to ease the tension and help. Since this is a game downloaded online and not purchased at a store for sixty dollars, there isn’t a glossy booklet with explanations of the world and its items. The only information available is a small inventory screen, nearly empty at the start, and a small stats display that is a window into the heart of the game.

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A well-stocked inventory.

Like other games, some of the statistics relate to your success within this world, but success means something different in this world. No real plots or large objectives mean no progress meters, experience points or levels, and even though a counter keeps track of the number and type of kills (zombie or human), you don’t win by obtaining the highest tally of kills. You avoid losing by staying alive. Read the rest of this entry »

Olivia Newton John, Carly Rae Jepsen, and the Slapstickiness of Female Desire

In music videos on July 23, 2012 at 9:43 am

Guest Contributor Paul Bindel

He won’t be calling.

Some may click through blogs or Songza for the musical scoop of the hour; others trick to summer festivals to hear the best new band. This summer, my primary source of new music happens to be junior-high girls—vanloads of them, giggles and whispers, as I shuttle them on outdoor National Park tours. iPhone after iPhone comes trickling from four rows of backseats, mixed with exultant, usually off-key sopranos. We dance, we crank it, we sing, mixing the right soundtrack for sights of bears and bison and rock formations.

I haven’t decided if I’m in the trenches of new music (particularly when it comes to country tunes) or caught in the Adele-an or Taylor Swift-ean eddies from last year. But I’m not sure trendiness is more important than pleasure, and these girls enjoy their music. Sure, “I Gotta Feeling” may play five times before 2:00 p.m., but once the snare hits, the irony drifts out the van window: we’re all in 7th grade again, and it’s summer.

This week, I was fascinated to hear how my passengers relate to Carly Rae Jepsen’s ubiquitous single “Call Me Maybe.”  Few audiences are better than teenage girls for a song about female desire, vulnerable angst dripping even from the title. The song has mostly come up as our vans imitate the Harvard Baseball team’s van dance cover. (Yes, we posted our version on Youtube. Yes, “the boys’ van totally copied us.”)

I wasn’t exactly curious about the song until a girl mentioned it over dinner: “Did you see the ending of her music video? It is so crazy.” At the prospect of more than fist pumps, I asked for more details. “Well, this girl is in love with a guy, and he’s so cute. But when she gives him her number, he’s actually gay and wants to date her band member. Can you believe that?”

I could and couldn’t, but was struck that the plot so resembled Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical,” another viral video with a gay twist. The songs’ similarities made me wonder about female desire. With more than 30 years between the two videos, why do women whose songs directly express desire become exaggerated objects of desire in their videos? And why do the video’s desirable men end up desiring other men? Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “The Remains of the ‘A'”: Season 3, Episode 6

In Pretty Little Liars, Recaps on July 21, 2012 at 10:15 am

This week on Pretty Little Liars, everyone dropped everything to flock to the white-hot heat of a church dance celebrating a rummage sale; a trap for A shockingly failed to ensnare the hooded top banana; Ezra is probably going to join the embezzler’s club (currently headed by Ashley); Garrett got off the hook for murder, and Spencer subsequently broke down. Intensities abound! Read on for our thoughts.

Just a totally regular interaction between two people hanging out normally.

This storyline was heavy on Spencer-Alison drama. Thoughts?

Sarah T: I love it whenever the show concentrates on Ali’s individual relationships with our PLLs. The friendship between her and Spencer has always been shown as the most tense and conflict-ridden, largely because she didn’t hold the same kind of power over Spencer as she did over the others. In the present day, she resents Ali more than the others do (but that also suggests she’s maybe hanging on to some things the others have let go of). But in this episode, the dynamic got a bit more textured when we see Spencer feeling hurt and frustrated because Ali bails whenever they make plans. And then Ali tries to reframe the conversation in terms of maturity, which is a total power play — she’s leaving to get them all fake IDs, so that “instead of languishing at the kiddie table, we’ll be mixing it up on futons with frat boys.”

But I also thought it was interesting that this episode highlighted the friendship between Hanna and Spencer in the present as a contrast to the Ali-Spencer relationship in the past, since Hanna’s storyline is partly about becoming Ali 2.0: Now Far More Benevolent. When Spencer confesses to Hanna that she fantasizes about what her life would have been like if she’d never met Ali, Hanna understands — and when Spencer adds, “But then I have to remind myself, if I hadn’t met Ali, I wouldn’t have been friends with you,” it’s clear she feels the same way. Spencer’s always needed the other PLLs the most, I think; in a lot of ways she’s the loneliest (because her family is uniformly made up of possible murderers and accessories to murderers).

Phoebe B: Yes and yes! I loved that part between Hanna and Spencer and appreciated the focus on both of them this episode as they are my favorites. But also I thought it was interesting to see Spencer looking at the anklet and on an A-related adventure with Jason, whom I am not sure I completely trust (despite that they are siblings). Also, how creepy was Spencer’s dad when he was watching her and Toby chat on the bench? Ugh I do not like him. Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Days: Will Horton’s Coming Out Storyline on NBC’s Days of Our Lives

In Television on July 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Guest Contributor Drew Beard

When I was fourteen years old, I was sentenced to a month of doing dishes for getting caught watching the NBC daytime soap Days of Our Lives. My parents didn’t feel that soap operas were appropriate viewing material for a teenage boy such as myself. When I protested that it wasn’t particularly racy or violent, my mother replied that “only old women watch soap operas,” revealing that this was more about genre and gender norms than it was about content (I made that connection even then).

Of course, this didn’t stop me, as my parents both worked and I was home alone after school. I was just more careful about my Days watching—after all, I needed to find out who killed Curtis Reed, and I couldn’t bail in the middle of a murder mystery storyline. In fact, I’ve continued to watch off and on for the past two decades or so, and never tire of pointing out to my parents the futility of their anxiety over a daytime soap like Days and its potentially insidious influence on my development as a young man.

Like sands through the hourglass, anxieties surrounding gender and sexuality, especially queerness, have long been part of how we think about soap operas.

I take this anecdote as my starting point to show how soap operas have long been informed by anxieties surrounding gender and sexuality, especially queerness. Soaps have historically been gendered female and ridiculed as such, considered the province of bored housewives and melodrama-starved gay men. While this demographic stereotype betrays the diversity of the daytime drama audience, it does contain the proverbial kernel of truth. A considerable queer audience exists for daytime soaps, despite the fact that these programs, for the most part, revolve around heterosexual romance along with traditional notions of family and community. Read the rest of this entry »

GLG Weekly Round-Up

In Weekly Round-Up on July 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Just some good reads from around the web this week. Have a great weekend!

Two takes on the Daniel Tosh rape joke controversy, from Lindy West at Jezebel and Roxane Gay at Salon. And coming on the heels of this week’s conversation about rape culture, an article by Liz Gorman describes being sexually assaulted in broad daylight and “walking while female.”

Anna Lekas Miller writes about the fetishization of race at Feministe.

Amy Poehler, Best Person Ever, debuts a new video series in which she gives advice to teens.

A Turkish art student re-creates famous scenes from Hollywood movies as Ottoman miniatures.

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “That Girl is Poison” (Season 3, Episode 5)

In Pretty Little Liars, Recaps, teen soaps on July 13, 2012 at 8:20 am

This week the PLLs were back and super-suspicious of everyone, but with good reason. After all, Jenna did reveal that she could see; Garrett got out of jail for a night (creepy!); and Spencer had some amazing lines. Read on for our thoughts on this week’s PLL adventures.

Is it that girl who is poison?

Is Jenna evil? Or good? And why were there so many awkward hats at her birthday?

Phoebe B: I am SO confused about Jenna. Then again, this entire episode (including the hats) confused me a lot. I definitely did not believe her plea a couple weeks ago to the PLLs, when she asked them to keep her vision a secret. But I was willing to think that she too was being tormented by A, but now I feel confident that she is on the A team (remember when she drove to meet someone we couldn’t see last season?). Aaah!

Sarah T: Hahaha, there were so many weird hats. I don’t know, I feel like a Wonderland theme is a little childish for Jenna. (Although–Red Queen reference to the card Mona was holding and singing about the other week?) Anyways, Jenna seems to walk the line between good and evil — which is the most interesting way to be. Good job, Jenna! Our PLLs do too, if you stop looking at things from their perspective and start thinking about their tacit support of Ali’s reign of terror, their involvement in the fire that blinded Jenna, the lies they told and continue to tell their loved ones, etc. Morally flawed toasts all around. I don’t think I saw anything at the party that made me particularly suspicious that she was part of A, though — Phoebes, did you spot something in particular that made you flip on her? Read the rest of this entry »

GLG Weekly Round-Up

In hip hop, music videos, Weekly Round-Up, Women's health on June 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm
Here are some of the GLG folks favorite reads from around the web this week. Have a great weekend!

 

 

Some amazing thoughts on Lupe Fiasco’s “Bitch Bad” from Crunk Feminist Collective.

 

And over at Disgrasian, Jen Wang gracefully tackles Amy Sherman Palladino’s response to Shonda Rhimes in “Sorry but Criticizing a TV Show For Its Lack of Diversity Does Not Equal ‘Woman Hate.”

 

Crunk Feminist Collective breaks down the Supreme Court’s historic heath care decision: “Health Care, Reform, and Policits: Is the Supreme Court Crunk?

 

Lastly, a quick shout out and thank you to Fembot for linking back to GLG today!

Divas, Lawyers, and Why “Drop Dead Diva” is the Best Summer Show You Are Not Watching

In body politics, Drop Dead Diva, Lifetime on June 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Recently, Jennifer Lynn Jones and Phoebe B. got together over a Google Doc to discuss one of their favorite summer shows, Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva (DDD). Read on for thoughts on why DDD is the most awesome, the recent season, and much more!

Jane, KK as Nikki , and Stacy (courtesy of Lifetime)

What made you start watching the show? Why do you keep watching it?

Phoebe B: Honestly I can’t quite remember what made me start watching it, but I am SO glad that I did. It is perhaps one of my favorite Summer shows on TV. I keep watching it for a variety of reasons but I think one of the things I like most is Jane (and Brooke Elliot who plays her is so amazing). She is such a badass lawyer and such a great friend (I kind of wish we were friends). But perhaps most importantly, in a TV landscape that is often unkind to women as we’ve seen in Lena Dunham’s recent treatment, DDD celebrates women of all shapes and sizes.

Jennifer: I started watching it because it seemed like it might have some connection to my dissertation, which is on fat stars. I remember it started in the summer of 2009, right around the same time as Fox’s reality dating competition More to Love, so that moment seemed to present a potential zeitgeist for larger-sized characters sans makeovers on television. At first I’d be hard-pressed to say I was a fan of either, but DDD definitely won me over by the end of the first season. I think the hardest part for me to swallow was that the most winning characteristics of Jane’s personality seem to come from Deb, so that the traits of the “thin model” seemed to remain the most significant parts of the character. Over the next few seasons though, it felt like the specter of Deb sort of “thinned out” in the character, and what remained was Jane as this unique, large, lovely character, who yes, I would also very much like to be or know in real life!

How would you describe it to people who haven’t seen it?

Phoebe B: Deb, a super skinny model dies on her way to a Price is Right audition, goes to Heaven’s processing center, pushes the return button, and finds herself back on earth in the body of Jane, a plus size braniac lawyer. Deb, now Jane, has to learn to live in and love her body while also learning how to be a lawyer and grieve the loss of her fiance. There are love triangles, there are musical numbers, and fabulous guest judges. Jane, as she struggles with Deb and learns to navigate her new life, becomes a truly compassionate, complicated, and delightful character.

Jennifer: Yes, that exactly! I often call it an updated version of Ally McBeal, with Jane being a combination of Legally Blond’s Elle Woods and The Practice’s Ellenor Frutt.

Phoebe B: Oh my goodness, that’s PERFECT. Jane’s hair flip often reminds me of Elle.

Jennifer: Yep, that flip from this week is definitely an Elle trait, as well as the “toe tap booty bounce” from the first episode.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Birds of a Feather” (Season 3, Episode 4)

In Pretty Little Liars, Recaps on June 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

This week, we learned a lot about the patterns our PLLs fall into with their extended network of psychopaths, boyfriends, and family members. Hanna and Caleb continued their who’s-protecting-who spiral of deceit. Spencer had blinders on when it comes to her big sister’s nefarious ways. Aria was still trying to shield her mom from her father’s skeezy choices, and Emily was still grieving over Maya (and finding comfort in talking with Maya’s new-to-town cousin). But a few twists — and at least one major revelation — shook up the status quo. Read on for this week’s recap, and let us know your take in the comments.

“Trust me. It’ll work. Hot. Mama.”

Melissa is the Black Swan! And we found out that she had been faking her pregnancy for super-long. But do you believe her?? Was she really threatened by A?

Sarah T: The first part of this season seems to be devoted to giving all the prime suspects alibis. Last week Jenna explained why she’d been faking her blindness; this week Melissa explains why she’s been faking her pregnancy. Maybe next week Noel Kahn will explain why he’s been faking his… general opaqueness? Anyway, it’s true that Melissa was trying to tell Spencer something in that one episode last season, and that she called it off when she saw Spencer’s phone, so that part matches her story. And I guess I believe that A might have made her be the Black Swan, although why she would end up running away when she saw the rest of the PLLs still doesn’t make much sense. Actually, you know what I think? I think Melissa a) had something to do with Ali’s murder and b) is not part of the A-team. So I believe that she was getting threatening texts from A but I don’t believe she’s innocent — not with the incriminating video evidence, Ian’s line about how he was doing all this for Melissa, and her ample motivation for wanting Ali dead.

Phoebe B: Hmmm, Sarah I think you are on to something! I too am oh so suspicious of Melissa and can’t imagine that she is completely innocent. I mean she did fake a pregnancy for months and was sketchily hanging out with Garrett before his arrest. It would make sense if Melissa had something to do with Ali’s murder or at least knew something. (maybe Ali had something on her too?? Just like the PLLS.) But I agree I don’t think she is A or perhaps even on the A team. Also, I LOVED the PLLs snooping around Melissa’s apartment and making comments about she was more anal than Spencer and then I also giggled when they found the feather in the costume dress after the dramatic unzip. Such great stuff.

Read the rest of this entry »

GLG Weekly Round-Up

In body politics, hip hop, race, social media, Weekly Round-Up on June 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Here are some super interesting reads from around the web this week. Enjoy!

An intriguing read on social media, viruses, and violence from A.J. Aronstein, “The Plague Years” at the New Inquiry.

Arturo Garcia provides provides coverage about Jonathan Wall’s racist and violent treatment at a North Carolina bar, on Racialicious: “Grad Student’s Story Leads To Protest Against North Carolina Bar.”

Cord Jefferson has a terrific essay exploring the capitalist underpinnings of “No Church In the Wild” and the Watch the Throne version of revolution.

The writers at XOJane are public personae. Does that mean they can (or should) write about each other? Tracie Egan Morrissey considers Cat Marnell at Jezebel.

A great piece from Dances With Fat, “Feeling Fat vs. Being Fat” in response to Daisy’s “I’m Fat and I’m Not Okay With It” piece at xoJane.

A Giant Anniversary

In feminism, Food Network, girl culture, Hunger Games, Teaching, teen soaps, violence on June 19, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Phoebe B. & Sarah T.

It seems like only yesterday that Girls Like Giants was a tiny blog-like twinkle in our eyes. But the calendar doesn’t lie: GLG is officially one year old.

So much has happened in the last 12 months, it’s as if we all exist in a perpetual state of hyper-reality. Titanic sailed back into our lives on the winds of romantic nostalgia and 3-D mania; Katniss slew our hearts with her hardcore, hard-up courage; Rihanna found love in a hopeless place; the whole internet world stopped to argue about Girls. And this blog became a place for sometimes-complicated, sometimes-funny, always-thoughtful conversations about media and popular culture.

That last development is thanks to GLG’s awesomely talented contributors and to our equally awesome readers. You are the smize in our eyes, the Knope in our hope, the Unique wonder that makes us feel glee. Basically, you’re the best. Without you, we’re just a blog in a big old black hole of nothing.

To celebrate our blog-o-versary, we’ve put together a short list of some of our favorite posts from the past year. We limited ourselves to picking just one post from each author. What were some of your favorite posts from the past year? And what kinds of subjects and topics would you like to see GLG take on in the future? Let us know in the comments — we’re all ears.

Sarah T. tackles literary sexism in “Jonathan Franzen, Edith Wharton, and the Problem of Personality.”

Phoebe B. reflects on a gymnastics-filled childhood, tough coaches, and her favorite show in “Post-Dance Academy Reflections on Teaching, from a Former Gymnast.”

Melissa S. considers how to reconcile her love of Kanye with hip hop’s frequent women-bashing in “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Affair with Misogyny, Hip Hop, and Post-Feminism.”

Chelsea B. explores how removing Katniss’s voice impacts The Hunger Games movie in “On Silencing Katniss and Lady-Feelings.”

Sarah S. revels in Vampire Diaries, Caroline, and second chances in “The Unique, Potentially Surprising Ethics of The Vampire Diaries.”

Chelsea H. examines the Food Network’s treatment of ethnicity, race, and cultural cuisines in “Food Network Star, Branding, and Ethnic Entrapment.”

Brian P. contemplates cross-playing gender in video games in “Gender/Play: The Problems, Promise, and Pleasures of Video Game Crossplaying” Part 1 and Part 2.

We also want to thank our other amazing contributors Narinda Heng, Taylor D., Jennifer Lynn Jones, Austin H., Jeni R, Sarah H., and Gina L. for allowing us to post their thoughts on everything from rock climbing to The Hunger Games, Torchwood, Rachel Dratch, Scored, and beyond.

GLG Weekly Round-Up

In activism, gender, race, Weekly Round-Up on June 15, 2012 at 9:38 am

Here are some fun and interesting things the GLG folks read this week. What did you read this week? Let us know in the comments!

From the Racialicious Tumblr, debunking the Kumbaya myth.

Check out the awesome trailer for the upcoming Dear White People movie here and their Tumblr here.

What pop culture items do academics study most? Buffy? The Matrix? Find out the answer this week at Slate.

A recap of the misogynistic backlash to Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarted project about video games and misogyny, on Feminist Philosophers. And another post from Slate on this same topic.

Lastly: Going on a date this weekend? And looking for a perfume? Smell like Labyrinth! Check out Labyrinth-inspired perfumes over at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “Blood Is the New Black” (Season 3, Episode 2)

In Recaps, teen soaps, Uncategorized on June 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

The PLLs are gearing up for a scary, confusing, and crazy season. This week, we discovered a dark secret in Aria’s past; Meredith returned (ugh);  Ella took a test; Mona stabbed her finger with tweezers; and the PLLs proved that Jenna can see. Read on for some GLG musings on this week’s episode!

What’s up with Jody from Center Stage (aka Meredith) getting all up in Aria’s grill? Does her end game involve Jamiroquai

Phoebe: Firstly, is is so weird to see Jody from Center Stage being mean! I just want her to do a rock ballet to a Jamiroquai song. Secondly, Meredith is SO mean! Although some of her meanness makes sense now that we know she was unfairly accused of destroying Byron’s office … It also seems like maybe she suspected Aria of the vandalism already. Also, why are all the women that work at Hollis College really mean and horrible? Like Meredith and Ezra’s ex-girlfriend Jackie (was that her name?).

Melissa: I was also wondering why Meredith and Jackie were so…similar. Snarly diva attitude? Check. Hair that’s just like the PLL’s hair from season one (voluptuous, shiny, long, and curling-iron perfect)? Check. Vendettas straight out of eighth grade? Check. Inappropriate levels of rage towards a high school girl (having nothing to do with her TERRIBLE dress made out of a canvas sack but having everything to do with her terrible, pretentious, cheating father and her terrible choice to date a semi-adult-man who is her teacher)? Check. Also, just for the record, while I’m not planning on having an affair with a much-older and meaner married man any time soon, should I do so, I would kinda expect his children to be vengeful. I’m just saying…

Spencer drank all the coffee out of this bag, then I draped it around my knees and used belts to hold it up!!!

Read the rest of this entry »

Weekly Round-Up

In Uncategorized on June 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm

A cornucopia of idea-feasts from around the web this week.

From Aymar Jean Christian on Televisual, “She Got Problems” Will Make You Sing and Laugh on Alison McDonald’s hilarious web shorts.

From Kendra James on Racialicious, a great post on race, cosplay, and fandom: “Race + Fandom: When Defaulting to White isn’t an Option

And also on Racialicious (via Ashley C.): “Why the Pretty White Girl YA Cover Trend Needs to End,” by Ellen Oh.

A cool post on “Seeing Income Inequality from Space” over at Per Square Mile.

Are you a chaos muppet  or an order muppet? Dahlia Lithwick at Slate poses the most important personality-defining question of our time.

Nature is harsher and more complicated than we tend to imagine: J.B. MacKinnon’s “False Idyll” at Orion

Examining the new generation of action heroines with Inkoo Kang

Why (and whether) we laugh at jokes about taboo subjects: Michael Rottman at The Morning News

Pretty Little Liars Recap, “It Happened that Night” (Season 3, Episode 1)

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, teen soaps on June 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

The Prettiest of the Little Liars are back and A is scarier than ever. Last season ended with a Psycho-esque turn. With Mona tucked away safely in a mental institution, the PLLs thought their A-related troubles were over. Sadly for them, but lucky for us, they were wrong. This season looks scarier than ever replete with empty graves, a new and more terrifying A, and much much more. Read on for GLG’s thoughts on this season’s opener.

“Mona played with dolls, I play with body parts”. -A

What do you think about the PLL’s individual states of being? Emily is understandably having a rough time…

Sarah T.: I’m glad they all had prototypical summer activities: Spencer was scholarly, Aria was artsy, Emily was a do-gooder and Hanna had fun with cooking classes and new vocabulary a la Cher from Clueless. (Maybe my favorite moment of the episode was her solemn attempt to comfort Aria by correctly yet oddly using the word “jubilation.”)

Spence and Hanna seem to be the most stable at the moment. It completely makes sense that Emily’s in heavy-drinking and mourning mode: she’s now lost two people she was close with (and with whom she had romantic relationships ranging from semi- to fully-realized). Shay Mitchell did good job of showing how Emily’s sullenness is a cover for the real pain she’s dealing with.

Aria seems more fragile than usual in the aftermath of the A-bathroom scare, which probably has as much to do with the fact that her parents are splitting up as it does how terrifying that hoodie person was. (What happened when the stall door swung open slowly? We never find out. Did she have a panic attack and black out the way Emily did, or was there no one there at that point?) I’ll be interested to see if A is finally going to start coming after her the way A has with the other three girls.

Phoebe: I totally agree about Emily and feel like her response is pretty reasonable. Although, I felt so sad for her when she felt guilty as if A basically abducting her and taking her to an empty grave (ie framing her) was her fault! Also, I thought it was weird that this episode the PLLs were apart so much. Like they were together initially at Spencer’s house and then the Lake house but then spent most of the episode in separate places, which made me anxious!

Also, Aria! So, while the episode totally set us up to believe that she has having a panic attack (what with her earlier bad dream at Ezra’s) I am not sure that she did have a panic attack. I wondered if perhaps A was in the bathroom and being extra scary. Since A seems to always know everything, maybe A knows and is cruelly playing on Aria’s panic attacks?

Lastly, I love that Spencer spent her summer sitting in the former A room at the former creepy motel and trying to reconstruct it from memory. (Although I am worried that her computer will be gone by next episode since she foolishly left it in the room when the PLLs went out to discover all the photos in Spence’s car.) But I love that she realized that there is more to A than Mona and that she decided to be proactive and detective like about it. Go Spencer!

Read the rest of this entry »

Walking Into Bars, Baring It All

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2012 at 9:30 am

Guest Contributor Jennifer Lynn Jones

It’s a good time for the female comic memoir. Chelsea Handler, Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Hannah Horvath… Well, the last one’s a little speculative, but it seems like it would fit, doesn’t it? Television has been an especially fertile ground for this genre, and these specific examples provide pretty interesting case studies.

They’re all certainly exceptional. All of them are writers and producers, creatives who don’t just appear in front of the camera but also work behind it. In two big boys clubs—television and comedy—they seem to have found sturdy and admirable footholds for climbing Hollywood’s ladder, leading others to success as well.

In a sense, their exceptionality has led to their familiarity. The better they do, the more we get to see of them. Handler is on E! practically every day and tours relentlessly. Fey’s been on TV consistently for the past twelve years, Kaling more than half that. We’ve been able to watch their successes play out on our screens, and we get to know a part of them through their routines and their characters. Their memoirs show us even more of their lives, giving us humorous insights into their ups and downs, both personal and professional, making them feel a little more familiar, a little more accessible to us. (By the end they all make me feel like we could TOTALLY be best friends.)

However, the comic memoir takes on a tinge of the tragic when the star at the center of it is no longer on the rise, maybe not even on the horizon. In a sense, these kinds of stories are headed in a different direction. They may still be funny, but the humor has more of an edge when the subject seems to be experiencing more downs than ups. There’s more at stake in what these memoirs tell you, so what they share feels more intimate.

This is a significant part of what differentiates Rachel Dratch’s new book Girl Walks into a Bar…: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle from the rest of the pack. Dratch’s memoir falls into three sections: her life before, during, and immediately after Saturday Night Live; her dating life once work dried up after SNL; and an unexpected romance and resulting motherhood in her mid-forties. Dratch covers a lot of territory here, some of it a downer (wah-wah), but all of it funny and most of it surprisingly optimistic. With the disappointments Dratch has experienced since leaving SNL, I could understand if she were more defensive and protective of herself, but in Girl Walks Into a Bar…, she reveals as much as possible, and becomes more relatable and surprisingly more captivating as a result.

It’s hard not to draw a comparison between Dratch’s book and Bossypants, the best-selling 2011 memoir by her friend and comedy colleague Tina Fey. Both books give details about family and education, early training in performance and comedy, and friendships and romances. And while both are very funny, they have very different tones. In comparison, Fey’s seems more distant. She has plenty of similarly funny and certainly embarrassing stories, but she still seems to be carefully eliminating the parts that might cut a little too close to home. For example, she shares the story of her disastrous honeymoon, but reveals little else about her relationship with her husband, Jeff Richmond. Dratch, on the other hand, really bares it all, almost literally with at least two stories about accidental nudity. She shares the good, bad, and ugly in her personal and professional lives. As such, in opening so much up, she makes herself more vulnerable than Fey, and comes off as warmer and more relatable for it.

Read the rest of this entry »

50 Shades of WHAT IS GOING ON

In girl culture on June 4, 2012 at 7:21 am

Sarah T.

The summer before I started college, the graduating seniors at my soon-to-be school pulled off the prank of a lifetime. Each incoming freshman received, on official-looking letterhead, a note informing us that the book selected for our required summer reading would be Truly Madly Viking. Eventually the college got wind of the switcharoo and sent out the real summer reading notices, but it was too late for some of the over-achieving types (a category that does not include yours truly unfortunately), who had already dutifully plowed through the timeless tale of the love between a modern woman and a tenth-century Norse warrior.

I’m holding out hope that 50 Shades of Grey is also an elaborate practical joke. But on the off chance that it’s neither a prank nor a collective international nightmare, here’s the basic rundown. 50 Shades of Grey is terribly-written Twilight fan fiction that somehow manages to be a million times worse than the (ludicrous) original. It is a masterpiece, and by masterpiece I mean that it masterfully manages to make this charming young man hide inside his hoodie with discomfort. (He actually does a really funny and great job reading selected quotes, and if you’re curious about all the fuss but don’t want to subject yourself to the actual book, the video and the hilarious recaps from Oh Hai Desk are solid alternatives.)

The hoodie-hiding in which readers may feel compelled to engage probably won’t have much to do with embarrassment over the supposedly racy subject matter. The book pulls off the trick of selling itself as risqué (thereby sending digital copies flying off the e-reader shelves) while actually being remarkably tame and boring. We are talking about a book that includes pages and pages of a legal contract complete with clauses and appendices. Multiple times. THE SAME CONTRACT. We saw it already, E.L. James! Why don’t you and BarBri get a room. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome Back Pretty Little Liars!

In girl culture, Pretty Little Liars, Recaps, teen soaps, Television on May 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Next week, the Pretty Little Liars are back! And a few of us at GLG are pretty excited for their mystery-filled summer return. But before they’re on our screens again, we thought a little pre-season catch-up might be in order. Read on for our thoughts on last season, our favorite and least favorite beaus, and some predictions for the PLL’s summer homecoming.

In your opinion, what are some of the most important things that happened last season?

Phoebe: Jenna can see! Remember when she hit that fly in the mirror and it was AMAZING. Also, Mona is A or part of A and also pretty crazy, it turns out. Poor Hannah … But, oh man was Mona’s final monologue in the season finale amazing (and Norman Bates-esque). And, Mona was visited by somebody (maybe Vivian Darkbloom?) while in the mental hospital. Also, definitely worth noting, A is definitely a group of people, not a single person. The therapist is back but I’m a little bit worried that she has returned to do A’s bidding, rather than help the PLLs. Importantly, the season ended with the PLLs finding out that Maya is most likely dead and most likely killed by A, whomever that may be.

Melissa: Phoebe really hit the highlights. Can you say VIVIAN DARKBLOOM? Also, love-problems: Aria’s dad tried to send Mr. Fitz to Georgia; Toby thinks Spencer was dating Wren (or does he?!?!?!) and seems to be back in service of Jenna; the probably-dead Maya seemed to have some secret goings-on that she kept from Emily, and I’m not talking about under-water light-mobiles; and Caleb is going behind Hanna’s back to elude her overly-protective, blender-wielding, thumb-drive-demolishing ways. Also, the moms thought about mobilizing again to protect their daughters, though that hasn’t yet come to fruition.

Sarah: Since you two have covered the most important plot points, I’ll focus on the most important style points. Aria wore neon platform clogs and ladder pants and some kind of dead Muppet vampire vest. Wren perfected the rumpled, spritely English gentleman vibe. Paige dressed in a tuxedo at the final dance and she looked hot. Mona was a vision at all times and I started wearing a side ponytail so I could be more like her, although now it appears I should also invest in an oversized black hoodie and a straitjacket.

Read the rest of this entry »

Replay: Kimbra’s “Good Intent”

In music videos, Uncategorized on May 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Kimbra ripped into the American consciousness belting out a blistering rebuttal to Gotye’s woe-is-me soliloquies in “Someone That I Used to Know.” But there’s much, much more to this New Zealand songstress than one smashing guest appearance. Her U.S. debut album Vows, now streaming at NPR, reveals an artist that’s part edgy Betty Boop, part pop star, part soul singer, and 100% addictive.

This week, Girls Like Giants follows Kimbra back in time to a retro era of fedoras, smooth dancing moves, and triple-vision. Behold the glory of “Good Intent.”

Sarah T:

The first time I watched this video, I was like, “Why do I feel a particularly strong affection for red-dress Kimbra? Is it just that the dress goes well with her coloring? Is she a winter?” I knew that technically the same person was dressed in black, white, and red, but somehow I loved her the best in scarlet. Watching it again, I realized that Kimbra is playing slightly different characters depending on the color of her dress. Kimbra in black is cold and sexy and elegant, like Angelina Jolie in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Kimbra in white is a swooning ingenue. And Kimbra in red is a bold, insouciant siren: no WONDER I was mysteriously convinced that she was the coolest. Read the rest of this entry »

Fall TV Upfronts: The Cliff’s Notes

In Television, Uncategorized on May 21, 2012 at 8:50 am

Upfront season has come and gone, like a mysterious stranger who really wants to talk to you about dystopias and dating in the big city. Below, Phoebe and Sarah chat about a few notable shows heading to a television/Hulu near you this fall. What’s your take?

The Mindy Project, Fox

Sarah T: I am torn here. Mindy Kaling is really funny — I liked Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) — and I dig the idea of her as a single, fun-loving OB/GYN in the big city. But the trailer makes the show look as if it’s going to embrace a pretty mainstream rom-com idea about What Women Want, you know what I mean? Like there’s going to be a lot of jokes about buying shoes and the impossibility of having it all. And that is fine, I guess, but I have higher hopes for Kaling. (Although her comedic persona is kind of about doing a twist on those tropes, so maybe this is actually what I should have expected.) Anyway, I’ll definitely give at least the pilot a shot, if only to see how many sparkly dresses she can wear in one episode.

Phoebe: I am intrigued by Kaling’s show and actually thought the trailer was quite funny. I do see the potential pitfalls of embracing the mainstream romantic comedy situation, but at least the preview felt like it was super self-conscious about its genre and will play with it, which could be quite fun and intriguing. And dating when you work a lot, in a city and in general, is hilarious and weird and hard and I think this show might be a fun take on it. Plus, Kaling is running her own show! Read the rest of this entry »

GLG Weekly Round-up

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2012 at 11:52 am

Here are just a smattering of good reads from around the web this week. Enjoy! And if you have any links you think we should include in our weekly round-ups, e-mail us at girlslikegiants@gmail.com.

Jay Smooth on Hip Hop, Conspiracy Theories, and the Prison Industrial Complex, from Ill Doctrine.

The new F/X comedy, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, show featuring W. Kamau Bell, discussed on Racialicious, sounds amazing!

John Scalzi uses video games to explain how privilege works; the crowd goes wild (the post goes viral).

Alyssa Rosenberg at ThinkProgress on the race and gender demographics of the new fall TV lineup.

A Few Awesome Things About Being Disabled by Sarah Eyre.

On the coverage of the tragic death of Lorena Xtravaganza, by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano.

Hanna Brooks Olson explains why women’s razors (and other products ) cost more than men’s, and what to do about it (via The Beheld).

At The New York Review of Books, Elaine Blair explores how Girls “raises questions in its opening episodes about how young women are to understand and make use of their sexual freedom.”

And Sarah S. passes along a slideshow of photographs by artist Jen Davis (and an accompanying interview) that deal with body image, weight, and perception.

Hello Again, The Bachelorette

In Television, Uncategorized on May 18, 2012 at 7:00 am

The Bachelorette is back but sadly not better than ever. Last week, we were told that this season is making Bachelorette history by featuring its first single mom, Emily Maynard. And the production moved ALL the way to North Carolina for Emily and her daughter Ricki. Also, in a new twist, the men all knew the Bachelorette would be Emily. History in the making! Okay, maybe not. But Girls Likes Giants still wants to chime on the new Bachelorette season, Emily, and the season premiere.

Sarah T:

The Bachelorette is back! On a scale of negative 3 million to 1, how invested are you in this season? The woman looking for love is a beautiful robot with the mannerisms of a game show hostess, and the show expects us to believe that the words “luxury brand consultant,” strung together, can reasonably be understood as a “job.” That is not a job, show! That is a made-up thing that people put on their business cards so they can pretend like they’re doing something with their lives besides paying too much money for hair products and belts and macaroons. WHERE I COME FROM PEOPLE DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF BELTS. (Technically false, but true in spirit. I own four belts. 2/4 are inherited from my mom, one I bought in high school, and one I got at H&M three years ago.) Read the rest of this entry »

An Ideological Mess or: How I Learned to Not Stop Worrying and Still Love Rock Climbing

In class, gender, race, Rock Climbing on May 11, 2012 at 6:54 am

Guest Contributor Narinda Heng

Iíve been climbing fences, balconies, and trees for years, but it wasnít until January of 2011, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, that I went rock climbing for the first time at Malibu Creek State Park. It’s funny that instead of participating in a Day of Service, I went rock climbing. I guess that could be seen as one of the very first moments when I had to grapple with feeling a contradiction between pursuing rock climbing and the many other ideals and identities that I hold dear. And now here I am–here we are– discussing race, gender, and class in rock climbing.

And it feels good. Really good. Even though it’s uncomfortable and difficult. Because I don’t feel like I need to ignore or hide the fact that I think about and experience these contradictions, and what’s more, I’m seeing that there are so many people out there who are supportive of talking about it. And my partner, who has been climbing and dealing with this for much longer than I have, gets to heal a bit from her earlier discouragement with discussions like this in the online climbing community.

I submitted the link to Melissa Sexton’s article Ashima and Obe: Should We See Race/Class/Gender on the Rock?”  to Climbing Narc because recent discussions made me feel like there were people in the climbing community who were ready and willing to talk about it. I was also ready to see people be defensive and assert that there’s no race/gender/class on the rock, and I actually agree with that–those delicious moments of just climbing are part of why I love it. So I understand why Guidoprincess said this:

I think the reason many people, including myself, find this offensive is that we turn to climbing exactly to avoid worthless BS like this. While many other public forums are full of this ìracial landscape navigationî nonsense, climbing is a pure activity where everyone can just chill the f*ck out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Replay: “Call Me Maybe,” Carly Rae Jepsen

In girl culture, music videos, Replay on May 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm

What do you think of when you think about Canada? Maple syrup? Scott Pilgrim? A moose? Universal health care? A Place To Which One Might Abscond Should the U.S. Magnify Its Aura of Impending Doom?

From here on out, perhaps the irresistible bubblegum chords of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” will come to mind too. The  singer-songwriter hails from British Columbia and rose to fame on Canadian Idol. The U.S. has embraced her pop export with open arms, partly because “Call Me Maybe” is an earworm of a single, impossible to shake, and partly because of her music video’s campy charm. The video both captures the breathless excitement of a newborn crush and winkingly acknowledges that swooning over a hot somebody you know nothing about is a little ridiculous — which doesn’t make it any less fun. Read on as Girls Like Giants tries to peg down Jepsen’s number.

Read the rest of this entry »

GLG Weekly Round-up: Race & the Media

In activism, race, violence, Weekly Round-Up on May 4, 2012 at 10:13 am

It has been a rather quiet week on GLG (mostly because we are having an in-person GLG reunion over here in Oregon) and we shall be back in full force next week. But, in the meantime here are some links on race & the media. Have a great weekend!

From Adrienne K. of Native Appropriations:
http://nativeappropriations.blogspot.com/2012/04/johnny-depp-as-tonto-im-still-not.html

Not from this week, but a great post from Herman Gray on Flow TV on race, space, and the media:
http://flowtv.org/2012/03/gloved-hands-pressed-uniforms/

From Thea Lim at Racialicious:
http://www.racialicious.com/2012/05/02/a-historical-guide-to-hipster-racism/

Also from Racialicious, Arturo Garcia on Ashton Kutcher in brownface (WTF!):
http://www.racialicious.com/2012/05/03/half-baked-popchips-and-ashton-kutchers-brownface-fiasco/#more-22466

From the Nation, a great post on Race, Racism, and Millenials:
http://www.thenation.com/blog/167590/race-millennials-and-reverse-discrimination

Lastly and importantly: race, violence, transphobia, and activism for Cece McDonald.
http://supportcece.wordpress.com/about-2/background/

Replay: “Turn Me On,” David Guetta Ft. Nicki Minaj

In hip hop, music videos, Replay on May 1, 2012 at 8:09 am

Nicki Minaj never ceases to amaze and intrigue the GLG ladies, and this video is no exception. David Guetta’s “Turn Me On” plays off the Frankenstein story, with Guetta as Dr. Frankenstein and Nicki Minaj and others as the Monster, or in this case doll-like creations. Nicki Minaj becomes Barbie here, as she is literally a doll–flesh built over complex mechanics–who runs out into the night and away from Guetta’s character.

Read on for some thoughts on “Turn Me On.” And we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Read the rest of this entry »

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