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Archive for the ‘Rebound’ Category

Rebound: HBO’s “Girls,” Media Madness, and Screen Shots

In advertising, HBO, race, Rebound, Television on April 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Phoebe B.

I have been reading Girls reviews, critiques, and commentary for the last two weeks. And I can’t remember the last time there was SO much media hype for a single show, which inevitably comes with a media backlash. There has been a lot of great commentary here, including discussions of the problem inherent to the show’s universal title (from Kristen Warner) for a show clearly about a specific demographic: white, straight, educated, and privileged young women living in New York on their parents’ dime. This critique happens to be one I wholeheartedly agree with. But, there has also been a lot of misogynistic and bad commentary. And, while I didn’t particularly love the pilot, I didn’t hate it either. It was, like many a pilot before it and I imagine many a one after it, just fine.

However, what is not fine is the backlash from the Girls writers’ room, including Dunham’s “it’s not my fault” defense of the show’s whiteness. And the show is blindingly white. The only exceptions are the former intern turned publishing house employee who wants a Luna Bar and Smart Water, who is Asian, and the crazy old man at the end, who is Black, and I’m quite sure that Hannah (Dunham) passes ONE other Black man on the sidewalk in Brooklyn (right?) early in the episode. This is weird for a show with a claim to realism. I mean, I was recently in New York and in Brooklyn and it didn’t look like the white vacuum world of Girls. But whatever. The problem, rather than this not-realistic-NYC, is that Dunham proclaims her innocence as to the exclusion of people of color from the show—odd for a show that everyone else, and she’s not correcting them, seems to think that she has complete creative control over. This presumption of innocence, as Kristen Warner notes in her post on Girls (linked above), is particular to white women. That Dunham can insist on her lack of responsibility emphasizes that she is blithely unaware of her white privilege at the same time that she mobilizes that privilege.

Then, today! Today, Lesley Arfin (one of the Girls staff writers) tweeted this:

“@lesleyarfin: What really bothered me most about Precious was that there was no representation of ME.”

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The Oikos University Shooting & The Erasure of Misogyny

In gender, news, Rebound, social justice, violence on April 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

Chelsea B.

I am a very casual consumer of news media. Mostly I find it to be boring and upsetting, and I get what I need from my Twitter and Facebook feeds without having to filter through substandard reporting or redundant articles. However, earlier this week an article that I would qualify as “news-y” stood out to me in my internet wanderings as I had yet to see the story mentioned on any of my social media. The article is titled, “What Made One Goh, the Oikos University Shooter, Snap?” and is authored by Dara Kerr of The Daily Beast.

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Rebound: Texts from Hillary

In news, Rebound on April 12, 2012 at 11:02 am

Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became a meme! Have you seen Texts from Hillary? It is hilarious. Apparently Clinton (aka “Hillz”) thought so too. She even invited the Texts from Hillary guys to the White House and wrote her own Text from Hillz.

But much like a beautiful shooting star, this meme was only crossing through our stratosphere for a brief time. TTYL indeed, oh pioneers! In the aftermath of the phenomenon that was our Lady of Clinton’s imaginary digital conversations, we at GLG sift through the sands of the hourglass and ponder our own mortality–and also, the Secretary of State’s viral Internet fame.

A-mazing.

First thoughts on Texts from Hillary:

Phoebe: So, I think these are hilarious and also kind of bad ass. And, I love that Clinton appears to love them too and has a sense of humor about herself. I feel like the picture of her laughing with the two guys from Texts from Hillary is awesome and shows a very different side of her than I feel like we have been privy to before. I also love that she composed her own one. I have never quite known what to think of her, although I have always respected her, but I feel like this Tumblr and her response to it have made me a fan. Plus, she does appear to be a pretty darn good Secretary of State too. But seriously, I think this side of Hillary is one (as Sarah goes on to say below) that counters and plays with the media-constructed image of her during the 2008 primaries, which was extra serious. And, I think it is great that in the photo of her on a military jet, everyone else seems to be heading for an exit or trying to get off the plane but Hillary is still working away.

Sarah T: I’m a longtime mega-fan of Hillary. She’s like Mama Rose! She never gives up! You either have it or you’ve had it! The ambition and the glory and the disappointment and the striving! I could go on forever, and I would like to see a biopic based on Hillary’s life and future presidency ASAP. So I was thrilled to see a Tumblr that celebrated her wry dominance at life. In all of the Texts from Hillary posts she’s in a position of power and wisdom — turning down Stewart because she’s already booked Colbert, rejecting friend requests, keeping Biden and Obama in line with their Bieber-fandom, advising Romney to drink up. I mean, she’s even got the Pretty Little Liars on a string.

What’s also great about the meme is that rather than punish her for being a powerful and ambitious woman — as the media did throughout the 2008 primaries — it celebrates her by making her look cool. Founders Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith chose an image of her that showcases her authority (she’s on a military jet, surrounded by paperwork and people in business suits) and her unflappable attitude (her shades, her mouth set in a no-nonsense line, the one-handed texting suggesting that her facility and hipness with technology). But she also looks like a mom (my mom!) with her brooch and blazer and hair-flip. The meme suggests that she’s a leader, a person who has Got It Together, but also a real human being with warmth and humor and sassy attitude. So it’s no surprise that it’s sparked fresh conversations about 2016. If her (hypothetical) campaign team can replicate this version of Hillary in their PR, they’re in business.

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Rebound: Samantha Brick and Beauty

In body politics, gender, news, Rebound on April 9, 2012 at 10:08 am

Chelsea B.

I want to draw your attention–again, I’m sure–to Ms. Brick, who has been impossible to miss on the internet this week. The condensed version of the story goes like this: Samantha Brick wrote an article for Daily Mail titled “‘There Are Downsides to Looking This Pretty’: Why Women Hate Me for Being Beautiful.” As is unsurprising, based simply on the title, people reacted strongly to her claims.

My concern with the whole debacle begins when Brick says in a televised interview:

‘People mistake self-confidence for arrogance […] But it’s a fact that women are not nice to one another.  They all stab each other in the backs in my experience.’

Disagreeing strongly, [Ruth Langsford of ITV] interrupted to suggest that rather than her beauty being the factor that creates instant enemies of other women when she enters a room, perhaps it is actually her arrogance and ‘air of superiority’.

I wholeheartedly agree with Langsford, one of the interviewers, that it is great that Ms. Brick is confident in her own attractiveness but problematic that she assumes and continuously asserts that women dislike her before even speaking to her based solely on her appearance. In other words, Brick is dismissive of anyone identifying as female, insulting their intelligence, compassion, and capacity for forming meaningful relationships based solely on a few personal experiences in which she believes she was mistreated by other women due to her attractiveness. Read the rest of this entry »

Rebound: Shall we receive GCB?

In GCB, gender, Rebound on March 6, 2012 at 7:58 am

Rebound is a new short-form GLG column that seeks to respond to, critique, and ask questions about current media events and affairs. –Phoebe & Sarah T.

Phoebe B.

On Sunday night, GCB premiered on ABC following the network’s self-proclaimed original “it girls,” the desperate housewives. GCB is one of two new shows that invoke, but do not proclaim, the word “bitch” in their title. The other show being, Don’t Trust the B— in apartment 23.

the ladies of GCB

GCB is all about post-high school mean girls in Dallas, TX and the grudges these ladies carry.* GCB seemingly revels in and produces humor via women being cruel to other women and reliving the icky cliques of high school. And, it is all about women competing for, and being paranoid about losing, their men—a narrative that always pits women against each other and blames women for the choices men make. The use of “B” as a stand-in for “bitch” in the title seems to suggest that the show revels in, and glamorizes, this mean behavior. Indeed, behaving like a “bitch” is seemingly the bread and butter of GCB.

However, the title’s juxtaposition of “Good Christian” with “bitches” suggests the underlying, and humorous, tension of the show. Indeed, the pilot pokes fun at the not-so-Christian undercurrents of this church community. For example, one of the most pious characters secretly owns a Hooters style bar, but she chastises one of the other ladies for working there (before her ownership is publicly revealed that is). And in this way, the show is quite funny and aptly timed—given Christian groups self-proclaimed righteousness and current attacks, in the name of Jesus, on women’s health and LGBTQQI teens. So, I see the point of the title and I like the juxtaposition of good and bad within it. But, I worry and I wonder about the invocation and use of the word “bitch.”

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Rebound: GLG responds to Flavorwire’s Fave Female Characters

In girl culture, race, Rebound on March 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Rebound is a new short-form GLG column that seeks to respond to, critique, and ask questions about current media events and affairs. –Phoebe & Sarah T.

Today Flavorwire published their list of the top ten most powerful female characters in literature in honor of Women’s History Month. The list includes wonderful literary (and filmic) women from Jane Eyre to Hermione Granger and many more. GLG discusses our take below, but we also want to know what you think. Do you like the list? Who would be on your own list of most awesome female characters?

Chelsea H: I’m not familiar with everyone on the list, but those I know I generally approve of. I adore the inclusion of the Wife of Bath – she takes control over Chaucer’s project in a way few of his other characters do, and in fact, I’ve just entered revision stages on a dissertation chapter that deals with her and her self-creation and performativity a la Judith Butler. She certainly belongs here among these greats.

It surprises me that Katniss gets knocked for “boy-related waffling and wailing” more than Jane Eyre does – the internal monologue Jane provides is much more brooding and agonizing over Mr. Rochester than Katniss’s confusion. As I read her, at least in the first book, Katniss can’t understand why Peeta would be acting the way he does – she can’t even fathom that he could have genuine feelings about her given their circumstances. That seems more practical than whiny to me.

I might want to add Sethe from Beloved. Talk about strong and conflicted! Her story is all family and self survival. Maybe Lady Macbeth too – though most of the women on this list are heroines and Lady M. is a “bad guy,” her power is incredible as she manipulates her husband through desire, ambition, treachery and murder. Her downfall at the end of the play, I think, only enhances her power and independence: though she descends into madness, she makes her own choices through the whole story. Read the rest of this entry »