Tuesday, December 16, 2008

RIP Bettie Page 1923-2008


Here are some links to excellent articles on Bettie, her life, her legacy. I won't try and re-write them or whittle them down. Instead, just my favourite quotes from each article.

"She’s not playing stupid in these pictures, and it’s genuinely hot. She’s naughty without seeming to have an ounce of guilt to her. They cater to the fantasies of men who want something more interesting than cheesecake. But it was women (well, women like me and a lot of women I know) who put her popularity over the top. I suspect a lot of women see her picture for the first time and think, shit, I can actually be sexy without getting breast implants, dyeing my hair blond, and adopting a cloying posture. For real."

"I remember finding one of my grandfather's Playboy magazines and finding the image of Bettie wearing nothing but a santa hat pinning an ornament on a xmas tree. I sat there for hours looking at her. It was her joy and sexual confidence. She looked so different than the other women in the magazine. She was happy. She was sexually expressive. And she was powerful. "

"In light of her status as a darling of third-wave feminists -- between the sexual liberation and the cute bangs, what's not to love? -- it's worth remembering that her fame came, at least in part, from a lack of options. Page had already tried and rejected being a teacher, a secretary and a housewife when she got into modeling -- there weren't too many more careers available to women of her generation."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Do High Heels = Empowerment?

I read this article by Germaine Greer today. In it she is suggesting that high heels don't empower us, and the addiction to them is all "our" (read: women's) fault. Yes, it's all our fault! We prevent our own empowerment. With our love of shoes.

Now, it's worth a read, and I do suggest you pop over there and have your thoughts provoked. But it's something about the following paragraph that really puzzles me:

"Ever since the courtesans of Ancient Greece signalled their presence by the clacking of their shoes, high heels have been sexy. The margins of my surviving schoolbooks are filled with drawings of f***-me shoes. As an eight-year-old whiling away the long hours of watching over my baby sister I would prop my feet on dominoes set on their ends, and twirl my newly leggy self in front of my mother’s full-length mirror, yearning for proper high heels. Sadly, long before I was old enough to wear them, I had grown too tall. Like Jackie Kennedy, Princess Di and now Carla Bruni, I found myself restricted to kitten heels or downright flats. "

When I read this, I think....um, you aren't allowed to wear high heels because you are tall? How exactly is specifically choosing NOT to wear heels, because of your height, empowering yourself? Wouldn't it be quite the opposite?

Now I know some very tall women who don't like to wear heels. They don't like to tower over men, or their friends. It makes them feel less feminine, I suppose. As a person who is, by conventional standards, tall at 5'8", this has never been a question for me. I always wanted to be taller. So I will wear 4" or higher heels without a second thought. In fact, there's nothing I love more than the feeling of being taller than a man, or looking eye to eye with a man over 6' tall. I find it empowering, and it makes me feel sexy. Which is also empowered, in my books. But that's another blog entry, I suppose. And so it's hard for me to relate to the feeling of being "restricted to kitten heels," because I've never felt restricted.

Isn't this the ultimate in empowerment? Freedom? Never feeling restricted? That it is your choice to do and say and wear whatever you please?

The love that women have for shoes runs much deeper than the height of the heel. Single women are a new purchasing segment of the luxury market - and yes, we are sold to in a sexist, sometimes offensive manner. But we have spending power like we've never had before, because we are more liberated than we've ever been before. The correlation between Sex and the City and shoes isn't just that Carrie Bradshaw preferred shopping to sex, as Greer suggests. It is simply a new model of woman. Carrie Bradshaw, however unrealisitically, was an independant woman. She had her own apartment, worked full time, dated, had friends, and bought herself things with the money she earned. I don't want to equate empowerment with the ability to buy things. However, one way of looking at it is that Carrie wished to demonstrate her wealth - her self-made wealth - with her shoes. This is her choice, and I'm not sure that I can buy that this action constrained her in any way.

To me the modern idea of feminism and empowerment is centered on the right to choose. One must be aware of the fetishistic association with heels, and the physical discomfort. They can think of the weakness that heels ensure - for example the inability to run away from an attacker. If a woman is aware of all of these things, yet chooses to wear the shoes anyhow - for her own reasons - is this right to choose not empowered? I feel that it is. I feel empowered in the right environment in high heels. Because I dress for how it makes me feel, not for how I think it makes others feel. I think most women do.

What are your thoughts on this?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December is Buy Nothing Month

Buy Nothing Day. Have you heard of it?

If you haven't, the quick answer is that it is a day, usually the friday after American Thanksgiving, wherein you choose not to purchase anything. In doing so, you are protesting consumerism. Some would say that the day also "raises awareness" of the pitfalls of consumerism.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is known in the US as "Black Friday". To Canadians, we could really only compare it to Boxing day sales - our Christmas season starts after Halloween, so the Christmas rush has a slower start here, more gradual. Black Friday in the US is the offical start to the holiday shopping season, and it is on this day that the protesters have chosen to protest. The busiest shopping day of the year.

I have a lot of problems with the concept behind Buy Nothing Day.

Firstly, it is impossible for me to buy nothing. If I want to work, I have to buy gas. I also have to have auto insurance and home insurance and mortgage insurance, etc. Just some daily costs of living. However, there are plenty of others who simply couldn't buy anything at all. In contrast to myself, they are unable to participate in the consumerist society. It is very unfortunate. So, what exactly am I raising awareness about? How middle class I am? That I could buy anything that I want but I'm choosing not to? What value does that have?

Let's look at my lifestyle: Besides the things that just have to be purchased, like my gas, I also need to eat. I guess I could fast for Buy Nothing Day, but that seems to be unfair. Am I raising awareness about hunger and how mean I can get after six hours without food? Or am I protesting consumerism? Does food count? There are people who couldn't even buy food if they wanted to. Wouldn't it be better if I bought someone else something? What about Buy Someone Poor Something to Eat Day?

Not only is it insulting to not buy something for one day in protest, only to turn around and buy it the next day (or day previous), it's hypocritical. As such, I think if you really want to protest consumerism, you should do it in an authentic way. Perhaps giving some of your worldly posessions to charity would be a good idea. Donating some of your work wardrobe to an organization that helps young women find jobs. How about you hold a yard sale, sell your stuff, and then give the money away? That would be fighting consumerism. After all, consumerism is wrapped up in how your things make you feel. For me, my shoes make me feel good. Also my lingerie. What things in your life make you feel good. And could you do without them?

My job is in the wholesale business, so consumerism pays my bills. It keeps me in a nice home, and allows me to live a luxury lifestyle - not compared to television - but compared to the world. For me to not buy something, for one day, does not protest the world we have created with our North American capitalism. It also protests my own life and existence. It does not fix anything for anyone anywhere.

Raising awareness is one thing. Actually doing something? Much better.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Illustrator of the Month November - Pascal Blanchet

Pascal is a French-Canadian illustrator who knew from his earliest childhood days that he wanted to draw for a living. "I think it would have been impossible for me to do something else," he says. "Drawing is the thing I really love in life." Born in 1980, in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Blanchet never studied art or drawing in school.

Blanchet has developed an award-winning illustrative style that has been embraced by international publishers and commercial clients. He also writes graphic novels. You can check out more of his work and find links to those novels here.

I just love the retro style, the evocative use of colour and the soulful expression of sound and feeling. I am foaming at the mouth to work with him soon! Here's some of his work:





Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reach Out

Here it is, the new Hilary Duff video. This version of the video is banned in the US, because of it's sexual content. Keep a close watch for the thumbsucking! Is it a terrible song? Yes. Despite it's sampling of Depeche Mode, it seems like a washed up mess of Madonna from the Erotica and Like A Virgin eras, if she had a love child with Kylie Minogue. But the video is definitely worth the view, because in spite of all that, it's hot:

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Gwyneth Paltrow was recently approached by PETA, who were complaining that she, as a eco-conscious vegetarian, should not have appeared in a Tod's advertisement wearing fur. Here is the ad:


So, Gwyn replies, "That was awkward. And I’m glad you asked, because I do not wear fur at all. It was a daylong photo shoot on a boat near Capri, and there were all sorts of poses with all kinds of clothes — none with fur. During one set-up, a stylist came up from behind and draped a stole around my shoulders... I know it’s not a great excuse, but I hope you and your members understand.”

Man, this makes me so irritated. It's not that I'm some big fan of hers or have any ill will either. I really felt very meh towards Gwyn up until this. But the fact of the matter is, this reply is pandering to Peta, trying to keep any popularity she might have with their members. It's very smooth, the way she distracts with her mentions of Capri, and then blames it on a stylist. But let me poke a few holes in this idiotic line of b.s. that Gwyn doled out. Firstly, I'm pretty sure Gwyn has a good idea about the company Tod's , since she is their spokesmodel. I mean, they are known for their leather boots, so you would think she might assume they use animal products. Is fur not leather with the hair still on?

In her own newsletter, "Goop" , Gwyn recently suggested we all purchase a Tod's cashmere trench coat, because it is classic and we can all afford it, right? Anyhow, I doubt very much PETA is fond of the use of rabbit hair in making coats. That is what cashmere is, isn't it?

Oh Gwyn, this is my point. If you are so anti-fur, perhaps you shouldn't be hawking leather boots and cashmere coats, you sell out! And, if you like the leather and the cashmere, then stop kissing PETA's ass, please.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Charley Harper for Old Navy

It's at times like these I wish I knew more babies.

Charley Harper has done a collection for Old Navy! Who is Charlie Harper you ask? Well, see some of his work here. But you know him already, and not because he's a legend, but because you are familiar with the book The Giant Golden Book of Biology which he illustrated, and which you probably read in grade 3!

Some of the products...


A Memory Game:

An ABC Book:

Find Charley Harper for Old Navy here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


My grandfather was a navigator in the Royal Air Force during WWII.

He told me stories from time to time about the war itself, but he mostly told me anecdotes about the more pleasant memories. I guess this was in an effort to protect me from the gory details, or perhaps it was in order to protect himself from remembering the worst. He spent quite a long time in a POW camp, long enough that when he was released he burnt his diary. He told me what he missed most while in the camp was brushing his teeth. They never once let them do that.

One story he always fondly told me was about a small german boy. My grandfather's plane had been shot down and he and a couple of the other survivors from the plane were wandering on the german countryside, not yet captured. They came upon a river and decided to strip down and get clean, having not showered or bathed in some time. While they were wet and, as he tells it, quite enjoying the day and the fresh water, a young boy approached them. Immediately they recognized the child to be german, and thought this was the end of the line for their freedom, if not worse. The child shouted something to them, turned, and ran away.

The men hurried to get clothed again, struggling, trying to place wet feet in their boots. The boy rushed back out to them, barrelling down hill from a farmhouse, his mother not far behind. They were sure now, they were caught, this was it.

When the boy got close to the river, he began speaking to them again. They stood, waiting, wondering what would happen. They could make out some of what he was saying, but not much. When his mother finally walked up behind him, the men could see she was holding something close to her body. They were sure it was a gun.

Instead, she had a bunch of biscuits, as my grandfather calls them, not the cookie kind, but the sort you'd get down south with gravy. She had them in her apron, which was rolled up towards her body to keep them secure. She unravelled the apron, and left the biscuits on a rock. She gathered up her son under her arm, and started back to the farmhouse without saying a word.

My grandfather said they were the best-tasting biscuits he ever ate in his life.

He and the others were captured a few days later.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Why Wearing the Correct Bra Size is a Feminist Act

In the 70's, feminists burned their bras. Now, I wasn't alive then, but my understanding is that this was a symbolic gesture intended to express their belief in freedom from the patriarchy, like refusing to shave your legs might be. And to be honest, it is a good symbolic move. I never want to diminish the importance of those actions.

However, women began wearing bras again. Some of them, of course, never stopped. Some still don't wear them and consider them to be a tool to hide and change a woman's body - still a tool of the patriarchy. However, I don't agree. For me, a bra is all about comfort. I just don't feel comfortable in the office without one. So for me, wearing a great bra is crucial to my rise up the business ladder.

As time wore on, the 80s came, big capitalism and bigger companies overtook industries. Women don't know how to sew as much as they once did, and the concept of taking your bra to be custom sized sounds insane to most women of the modern world.

So instead, 80% of women parade around wearing the wrong size bra. It's not because manufacturers don't make all the sizes needed to suit all the women in the world- they do. The situation is that in America, most women don't realize there are over 100 sizes available. Stores like Victoria's Secret, La Senza and department stores don't carry all the available sizes, even if they are available in the brand.

For example, I was in a Victoria's Secret store and saw a brand of sports bras that comes in every size from AA-GG and beyond. They offer some of the best sports support and comfort, not to mention style. They make it possible for me to jog at the gym and not feel weird or sore. I got pretty excited to see that VS was going to be carrying a wonderful brand such as this. Until I looked closer. They were only carrying

32B 34B 36B
34C 36C 38C
34D 34D 36D 38D
34DD 36DD 38DD

That's it. 13 sizes. The brand comes in well over 50 sizes. So why wouldn't VS want to offer all the sizes available, so that each customer is getting the best fitting, most comfortable, most functional bra they could get? I'll tell you. If they sell less sizes, they make more money per sku.

I'll save you the business logic behind that, unless you really want it, but it's kinda boring. And what it comes down to is the bottom line for Victoria's Secret is PROFIT. They want the largest profit they can get from any product they sell. And the less sizes they offer, the bigger profit they make. This male owned and operated organization is not selling comfort and support to women. They are selling ill-fitting, ill-made garments for more than they are worth to the wrong customer with no regard for their body image or needs.

So, how is wearing the right size feminist?

For one, you will likely be purchasing your bra from a smaller business. It might even be a woman-owned and operated business, such as Secrets From Your Sister in Toronto. You will be purchasing a bra in a smaller shop because only smaller shops cater to these "specialty" (read: NORMAL) sizes. By refusing to support the big bra business that lies to their customer through their sales staff and advertising, you will support a smaller business that is there to help you.

For two, you will be comfortable in your bra. The right size just feels great. And feeling great is the first step to confidence. Confidence is the first step to success! You can't go after that big job above the glass ceiling while you constantly adjust your bra straps, can you? Maybe you could, but I'd feel self concious. And I'm not at my best mentally unless I feel well presented, no matter who is interviewing me.

Three, a great bra makes you feel hot. And because no one sees it, it's not about feeling hot for the male gaze - it's about feeling hot in your mind, each day, when you leave the house. Feeling hot for sake of your own mind is a pretty feminist act, if you ask me. It's why I shave my legs sometimes, knowing no one will notice but me. It's a way to take something back, and own it, that was once forced on you.

Four, a great sports bra will prevent any thoughts of "I can't go play soccer with all those guys!! I'll be bouncing all over the place!!" Just like tampax, you can even ride a horse. I'm kidding, but only half.

Fifth, and most importantly, by shopping in places other than the big box lingerie outlets and major chains, you are putting a dent in their profits. You are proving through consumer spending that you are normal, that you are a potential customer and that you should not be overlooked. Every time one woman has the epiphany that they were wearing the wrong size, and that gets corrected, they tell two friends. And so on, until one day, there is so much of a market for the correct size, that the male big-wigs will be forced to take notice, and offer a full range of sizes to meet the full range of women in North America. This business model of offering all sizes is working in Europe and Asia, and there is no reason it should not in North America.

Now check out this great TV ad by British retailer Bravissimo , who are actually a super awesome woman-owned organziation who sell the bestest stuff ever.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yay Obama!

Obama for the win!

This woman's expression says it all, doesn't it?


What a wonderful time for America. I am thrilled to be able to see the first African-American president in my lifetime. I do want to clarify from my post yesterday that I'm not suggesting I'd rather have seen a woman president - what I wanted to see was CHANGE, and it came. And the doors this dramatic change has opened for all people - all genders - can not be understated.

Yay America...for actually doing something the world can love you for.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Today is the big ol'merican election. And regardless of the outcome, it will be historic. On one hand, we have potentially the first black president, on the other, the first femal V.P.

When I look back with my children and talk about this day, it will be in a way they will not really be able to understand. When I was a kid, I really couldn't get the whole Kennedy thing, the whole Trudeau thing, but I understood that important historic things were tied into it. I don't think I understood that whole "I remember where I was when...." thing until September 11th. I remember where I was that day. Looking back on this day, I will recall that I was out at a Colin James concert, and when I got home, I found out that I had lived long enough to see the first black man to lead America, or the first white woman to...well...sorta lead America. I wonder which it will be?

At the beginning of this election I was a Hillary supporter. Still to this day, I wish Obama had chosen her as his running mate. Because I would have loved to been able to be writing this post, knowing one day I'd look back and say this was the day the first woman VP was elected and ALSO the first Black President. Alas, we can't have everything.

What seems like ages ago I was having a conversation with a very liberally-minded American friend. I was shocked to discover that at the time he was surely going to vote for McCain. He saw this as a vote for someone fit to lead a nation, someone with age and experience. I was truely shocked he wasn't voting Obama. In the months that passed, McCain really f*cked things up (in one determined flash) by picking Palin as his running mate. What at first seemed to be a genius move has now seemingly cost him the election (if polls are accurate, of course.) My friend is no longer voting McCain.

Such a shame, really, that a woman like Palin was picked. Not a woman who is more experienced, more capable, more professional, because they exist. The choice of Palin is confusing even to those who support their campaign. It seems, many pundits, bloggers and theorists agree (myself included), that this was McCain's election to lose. And he really seems to have done that with Sarah Palin. He really seems to have messed up his whole campaign, destroyed the reasons to vote for him, and distracted us so much from his own qualifications (by parading her lack thereof) that we now look to his party as a 'joke'. Is he making a scapegoat of her?

It is unfortunate that the first female candidate on a presidential ticket will likely be held responsible for the party's failure. It is unfortunate because much like Canada's first female prime minister Kim Campbell , Palin will not be remembered for any good work she did in her life, or the things she achieved (of which I am sure there will be more things than there are now, one way or another), instead being remembered for her failures, her shortcomings. Kim Campbell's failure to be properly re-elected is virtually all kids know about her. Will being a failed candidate be all kids know about Palin in the future? Even my cold liberal heart softens for this woman when I think, despite her lack of feminism, despite her stance on women's rights issues, she is still one of us. And I would like to see her succeed with some ounce of pride.

I recognize the importance for diveristy of race and culture in politics. It is sorely needed. However, I do not want to understate the importance of female participation in politics - women of all races - and the importance of those in power giving opportunity to women - not when they need a scapegoat, not when they need a distraction, not when they need a stunt ballot....but when they need a good leader and sound mind at the helm.

I want to look back on my life and say I lived to see a day that a woman could truly achieve anything she wanted to in life - even being the President. I wish that really could be a dream or a goal for a young girl, and not be a 'crazy' idea. I want to be able to tell my kids that I voted for our female leader because she was the better choice based on her skills and experience, not cause she was cute and "relatable".

I want to be able to tell them that we, as a gender, went from not even being 'people' and not being allowed to vote, to leading the nation, all within a century.

I hope most of all that this election has broken boundaries forever. Now it won't seem wild to have something other than white men on the ticket. That being black or a woman isn't something to make a news report out of, because it is so normal. I know it is possible. It is happening in other parts of the world.

My fingers will stay crossed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Colour Geeks

I'm a colour geek. I really love how a red scarf thrown around a grey outfit can change how you feel in it. I love how a red painting over the bed creates a warmth that no radiator ever could.

Imagine my joy in discovering this new website which is a virtual smorgasborg for colour geeks: colourlovers.com!

The site is really huge, I mean, searching for colour palette suggestions gets you thousands of options, which is super useful if you are planning a project or home decor change. One great use would be to enter your exact colour that you are sure about, and then let the site suggest thousands of colour combinations based on that first colour.

The site also covers trends, has a blog, groups (where you can chat with other colour geeks), a store, palettes, patterns, textures....

I'm hooked.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Hallowe'en!

I hereby petition for the apostrophe to be returned to the greeting. Why did they remove it, anyhow?

I've been terribly spotty with my posting lately, for which I must apologize. Things will be back to normal come November. Those who know me, know October is like my December...not in the Kelly Clarkson way, but in the sense that every important event of my entire year seems to fall in this month. Yay October!

To apologize, and make it up to you, I hereby present the most insanely rediculous "sexy" hallowe'en costume I've ever seen.



Monday, October 20, 2008

Catholic School Girl

I read recently in the daily National Post that Catholic Schools are beginning to phase out kilts from their uniform options. About time, I'd say~!

While there are arguements both for the removal and against, I am strongly for the removal of this option. The thing is, as innocent as a kilt may have been at one time, the sexualization of the look is rampant - from nightclub events to porn, the uniform is now drenched in a secondary meaning that has almost eclipsed the original. One could say it is the viewer that places this meaning on the wearer - but I know from my own experience that 16 year old high school girls know full well the power of what they are wearing. Britney Spears apparently knew the power too.

And while I do generally support the freedom for women to express their sexuality as they choose - I don't think they should be doing it at school. A large part of why the kilts are being phased out is an attempt to prevent them from being rolled at the waist to make them at most 6-8" in length. I've seen girls on the bus with their kilts rolled so short I can see their undies. Not exactly the 'pure' and 'innocent' look of yesteryear. As one parent in the article points out - it's quite uncomfortable for a male teacher to tell a student her skirt is too short, regardless of how obvious it is.

I also wonder about the safety of travelling to and from school in such a uniform. And really, why are girls made to wear skirts while boys wear comfortable grey slacks anyhow? While many argue that the kilt is part of 'tradition', I argue that many other things were once part of 'tradition' that are now deemed sexist, racist and intolerant. Is 'tradition' really worth arguing for anymore? We are in the modern era - and girls and boys have equal opportunity in school. Their uniforms should reflect this.

After all, it's just not okay for a young girl to go to school in anything resembling this:


Illustrator of the Month - October

Alana McCarthy is a Toronto based illustrator who works mostly in acrylic on canvas. She sells prints of her beatiful pieces on her website AlanaLand, which is definitely worth checking out; it's chock full of stunning artwork. Her work is punctuated with bright colors, strong contrast, stylized realism and unique lighting.





(I'm lucky enough to own the original of this one:)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Slut-O-Ween "Now for pre-teens too!"





These are all available in Children's sizes. Need I say more?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Girl Gamers

Any industry that is trying to build profits has a few ways of going about it. They can raise prices, or sell more, or open up a new market. Those are the basics. In consumer products, raising prices is tricky business, and selling more to an already saturated market is difficult. So, creating a new market is usally a great way to go, if it is a possibility.

It seems that video game developers decided that women were an untapped market just waiting to get into the game. 38% of gamers are now female, up 33% from 2 years ago. Personally I would assume this has a lot to do with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, but I don't have numbers to back that up at the moment. I think it is a safe assumption though, that these type of social and interactive games are what is drawing women in.

Of course numbers like these make marketing men so excited. And so, they try and develop games just for girls. And what do girls like? Why, fashion, cooking, babies and makeup, of course!! What else is there for women?


Enter "Imagine Babyz" (reviewed here) an "action" game for girls which is, " the first simulation game focused on caring for babies. Players take on the challenges of raising a baby throughout all stages of development and will also be able to take photos and exchange tips and clothing through a unique online component."

Ok. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure simulated baby experiences help all kinds of people. They give you those sacks of sugar in highschool family studies for a reason, right? On Degrassi it was an uncooked egg. Now I hear it's an actual life sized baby that really cries and pees. And you know, if these help girls who might be considering having a baby while they are very young to consider different options for their life, I am all for it.

What I wonder is, who on earth is going to buy a video game like this? I mean, raising a baby is hard work. Not exactly fun, like say, racecar driving or super star wrestling. Why would anyone want to simulate this as a hobby?

What is next? "Period Party Time!" "Divorce Extravaganza!" or "Train the Doggie!"? Girls like things other than those which are domestic, see? We enjoy all sorts of unique experiences.

Here is my advice for game developers: how about some female kung-fu characters? How about an all-female "Rock Band"? How about women's soccer?

How about simulating things that women actually like to do?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sunny Choi

Canadian designer Sunny Choi is highly regarded as one of North America's leading designers of women's clothing, but she started out as an art major. Recently she has returned to her roots and has has opened a gallery in the West-Queen-West area of Toronto, and her first show is of her own work.

The brand-new Sunny Choi Gallery is at 1046 Queen Street West, Toronto. I was lucky enough to walk past it after having a few-too-many and fell in love with these wonderfully beautiful paintings. Beauty will be the theme of the gallery, and they accept submissions from both established and emerging talent. The website is worth a look, because you can view there much more fabulous work by this Canadian talent.



wow. lots of art lately!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Drink & Dream Window Shades

I've heard of artistic window shades before, but these ones from Drink & Dream are the coolest I've ever seen.

buddy holly

june & johnny

the ramones

A special mention goes out for their Salt n' Pepa salt & pepper shakers.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Actually Thought This Was A Joke

When I first stumbled upon this article , I thought it was misplaced from the onion newspaper. The headline reads, "Judge To Anti-feminist: Ladies' Night Is Alright". And yes, the article is about an self-described "anti-feminist lawyer" who attempted to sue Manhattan-area night clubs who hosted "Ladies Night" because this practice was descriminatory to men. Of course fails to realize that the purpose of these nights is attracting men. Hilarious!

This jackass has also recently sued a university for offering a Women's Studies program, because they don't offer a "comparable program" for men. In his suit, he called women’s studies “a bastion of bigotry against men” and said the program “demonizes men and exalts women in order to justify discrimination against men based on collective guilt.”

Again, he obviously fails to realize that the rest of the university's history programs are "Men's History". For that matter the name itself, "HIStory" really says it all, doesn't it? Obviously he needs to take some Women's Studies courses to understand what they are really about.

But wait! It gets even better. The lawyer admits that he's on this rampage, because when he was in Russia, he met and married a young woman who was completely submissive. However, once he brought her to America, he realized she had only married him for the green card, and his money, and had no intention of being his doting bride. And promptly divorced him. He says, post divorce, "[he] tends to be attracted to black and Latin chicks, and Asian chicks," so be sure to be on the lookout for this winner, ladies!

The amazing thing about this story, of course besides him losing every case so far, is that someone this dumb and clueless about the world could actually pass a bar exam and become a lawyer.

In fact, it's making me rethink my whole life plan.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Good Read

In Conversation: Gloria Steinem and Suheir Hammad

A feminist icon and a rising star on the sexual revolution, the booty-call nineties, and the Superwoman myth.

Check it out here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Photo Friday!

Italian Vogue recently asked photographer Steven Meisel (popularily known as the guy who photographed Madonna for her book Sex) to "do something crazy," and this is what he came up with. My word, they are stunning photographs, with an absolute overload of pattern and colour and shape to dazzle the eye.

Check out more of them here.





Oh, and in case you were wondering, patterned fabrics and fashions are "in".

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


According to a report by Optenet Research, the number of Pro-Anorexia and Pro-Bulemia websites on the internet increased 470% between 2006 and 2007. If you don't know what a Pro-Ana website is, google it. But reader beware! It can get a bit disturbing.

It is important to note that there has been a substantial increase in the number of personal websites, such as blogs, so it makes sense that the material floating around on the internet will change along with that.

Somehow though, I find this remarkable increase more expected than surprising.

What I find obvious about this situation is that Pro-Ana sites have become a mainstream phenomenon. Now, needless to say I am not the target market for Pro-Ana sites, but I have heard of them. In the last year or two, I have heard of them quite often in fact. One example is a teen drama on TV I saw (the specific title of the show escapes me) wherein one of the characters started a Pro-Ana website and another follows along with her, and struggles to overcome her worship of this Pro-Ana girl in order to get well herself. I have read about Pro-Ana sites in newspapers, teen magazines, and on websites. It's one of those situations where once you've heard of it, it puts the idea in your head. I know this because, before ever hearing of such a thing, I'd never even have thought they were real. The day I heard of them, I googled. Imagine you are a person struggling with your weight and wishing to be rail thin. You have never heard of such thing as a Pro-Ana site before. Well, now you have. What do you think will happen?

The unfortunate thing is that while media talks poorly of these websites, and any celebrity or media persona will talk about them in dismay, the message the media feeds back to young girls, who are particularily affected by them, is this:

90210 (the new class...or whatever) starring:



I'm not saying that anorexia is all the media's fault. Or 90210's either. I'm not blaming these poor girls. (I'm not even really saying these girls are anorexic. I'm just saying they are awfly thin and maybe could, I dunno, eat and work out more often?) But I do think that it is high time television showed more real figures. Healthy figures. Ones that are on bodies that are well fed and exercise. Because as insane as it is, subconciously, most women compare themselves to the people they see on TV and in magazines. I think with healthier images, women's self image would improve also. Lets be honest - women look up to other women they see on TV or in magazines, and we don't have many healthy female examples in the media to look up to.

It would be nice to see some curves once in a while, so that the aspirational aspect of watching a glamourous nighttime soap such as 90210 is just a little more attainable. Because I don't think we can remove that aspect of media consumption - so if we can't do that, what can we do?

We can show more realistic body types on television. And by 'real' I don't mean actually-skinny-but-in-comparison-to-a-model-"fat". I mean actually real figures. Because actual 'real' figures can be something to aspire to, and in my opinion, it is just healthier to want to have a curvier ass. That's something that you can work on, while eating or exercising.

It seems when I canvas people I know, they find curvy women more attractive anyhow. Kim Kardashian is inspiring to many because she actually has a bust, waist and hips, and shows them off. And looks great doing it. I mean, it is possible to look great no matter what your shape.

What I'm getting at, is I think it's time for this unrealistic "waif" body shape to go out of style, and curves to come back in. The 90's are over for pete's sake. Lets let heroin-chic die, shall we?

The entire online trend report is available here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beautiful Clutter

Website The Selby is a photography blog that is "In your space". It is a side project by artist Todd Selby, and he started out by visiting close friends and photographing their homes, mostly in NYC. Now that he's gaining momentum and a fan following, he's been to LA for a few shoots as well.

I love the site, and the photographs. He focusses in on things that perhaps a regular home photo journalist wouldn't, like paintings on walls or what the side of your pen cup says. I find the images incredibly inspiring, because unlike traditional decor magazines, these houses appear lived in, full of beautiful clutter.

Here are a few examples of some shots I found inspiring.





Monday, September 22, 2008

Why Palin is like Perry

Writing in Salon about why Palin gives her nightmares, Rebecca Traister could have been describing "I Kissed a Girl": "What Palin so seductively represents... is a form of feminine power that is utterly digestible to those who have no intellectual or political use for actual women. It's like some dystopian future... feminism without any feminists." What's worse is that people are falling for it, mistaking a pat on the head for progress.


Thursday, September 18, 2008


Heelarious "Her first High Heels" is a product created by two stay at home moms who wanted to be enterprising. They created soft High Heeled baby shoes. Let me say that again: HIGH HEELS FOR BABIES.


Yes, they are funny. Don't you just want to puke from laughing so hard? The first time I saw them at a wholesale market, I laughed. They were generating quite the buzz. Grandmas don't have enough to spend their money on, apparently. So I laughed. But not in a "oh, those are too cute, let me get them for my neice!" kind of laugh. Rather, a "Oh my lord help the child whose parent buys them those!" kind of laugh.

Can't we let children be children any more? Maybe I have no sense of humour. Something says to me that allowing your daughter to begin wearing mock high heels, virtually at birth, is going to lead to a 6 year old begging for clear lucite platforms that light up for the junior dance. Also inappropriate. But how can you explain that to a child whose bronzed keepsake baby shoes are pink stilettos?

Check out this video showing the shoes in action, both crawling and walking. The video also features the product's creators talking about their motivation.

Lets just all agree to stop with the whole turn-your-baby-into-Carrie-Bradshaw shit, ok?

No More Bratz in Canadian Schools

Remember book fair day? Book fair day was always a favourite of mine, even though my mother proclaimed Scholastic books 'overpriced' (I'm sure influenced by the fact that she worked in a bookstore) she would still allow me one pick. Reading is a healthy, important part of childhood development, and book fair day was the total embodiment of that. It helped make kids excited about reading. Perhaps other kids, ones who maybe couldn't afford books or who didn't like to read didn't share my excitement. But I'll put money on all of my readers here knowing exactly the feeling that I am talking about.

The feeling of book fair day was pure and beautiful. Having not been in a public school in so many years I had no idea that Scholastic was selling a line of Bratz Books. Scholastic defends its choice to sell the books in the past as they "...appealed to "reluctant readers" and [their] job was to "offer materials that appeal to children where they are, not where we would like them to be." Well, I can see where they are coming from. Some kids just don't have the passion to read, and maybe the books being about a topic they are interested in, Bratz, Spiderman, etc, will get them interested. Fair enough.


Thats where the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood stepped in. They determined that the Bratz series promoted "precocious sexuality". And I can't help but agree.

Why you say, would I be ok with Barbie, my homegirl, and not Bratz? Here's the answer to that: Barbie was an adult.

Barbie was an adult or at most a "teen model". Barbie gets to be all sorts of good things like a Doctor, Teacher, Fashion Model or Rock Star. Barbie is a mature adult, who is choosing to wear clothing that maybe is slightly inappropriate. Perhaps there have been editions of Barbie with a mini skirt, or an overly made up face. Yes, her boobs are unnaturally big. But the fact is, as a child, I knew that Barbie was an adult, and that I wasn't, and therefore what was OK for her wasn't for me. I know some people say that Barbie contributes to poor body image, but I can honestly say I never wanted to look like Barbie, or be Barbie. (Actually at that age I wanted to look like Annie Lennox.) I used her to explore all sorts of ideas I had in my head and I built her beautiful apartments made of Lego, thus expanding my creative design skills. Barbie was an outlet for fantasy, a way to explore what I could have or be someday.

Bratz, on the other hand are doll-children who are sexualized to look like adults. They are characterized by large heads with wide eyes and full lips. Don't take my word for it though, ask the American Psychological Association:

"Bratz dolls come dressed in sexualized clothing such as miniskirts, fishnet stockings, and feather boas. Although these dolls may present no more sexualization of girls or women than is seen in MTV videos, it is worrisome when dolls designed specifically for 4- to 8-year-olds are associated with an objectified adult sexuality"
– Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls

According to the New Yorker, the dolls look as if they, "[have] undergone successive rounds of plastic surgery," and "have large heads and skinny bodies; their almond-shaped eyes are tilted upward at the edges and adorned with thick crescents of eyeshadow, and their lips are lush and pillowy, glossed to a candy-apple sheen and rimmed with dark lip liner. They look like pole dancers on their way to work at a gentlemen's club." Even Barbie is a classier act than that.

And so I say a fond farewell to the Bratz books series on Book Fair Day. Here's hoping the 4-6 year old girls pick up something a little better for their minds:


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Target: Breast Cancer


Click on over to Jezebel and see just how wrong big ol' marketing companies and giant charities can get it sometimes...

In Jezebel's words "...taking the age-old stereotype of a man gawking at a woman's tits and trying to twist it into a positive message," is missing the mark just a bit.

Illustrator of the Month - Sept

Kerry Beary was born near Manhattan and has been painting and illustrating since the early 90's. She obtained her degree and masters in fine art in NYC, and taught art at the highschool level before tiring of city life and moving to a beautiful modern-era ranch bungalow in Louisiana. Kerry presents us with women as icons; strong women from which an infinite number of associations can be culled.

You can purchase prints from Kerry at her Esty Shop.





Ok, Now This is Really Getting Out of Hand

Check out the new cover of Seventeen Magazine:


It seems that they aren't even trying to make photoshopped pictures look like reality anymore.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Just found a new blog with some delicious smut.

Must get back to writing smut.

There is not enough smut on my blog.

(For shame)

Relationship Role Models

Quick question: who are your relationship role models?

Over the weekend, a girlfriend and I were discussing relationships, imagine that! And one of the things that came up was why we are so hesitant to marry, or commit long-term. I think for myself, and many other women I know, one of the troubles we have in our relationships is knowing what is acceptable behavior and what makes a great partner. We have trouble knowing what to forgive and forget, and what to make a 'deal breaker'. I think this is because we have trouble identifying what a 'good' relationship is, exactly.

We've certainly learned what we don't want, and mostly we've learned that from our parents. For example, I don't want to marry someone who expects me to take care of them. I want an equal partner. But I've learned that from witnessing what I believe to be an inbalance in my parent's relationship. So this has taught me what I don't want. But what do I want?

As a generation, we are really the first ones to be seeking a 50-50 sort of relationship, one that truely breaks the gender roles and allows us to determine what kind of role we wish to play in any life-long commitment we may make. While we might have romances to look up to (I for example, look up to the romance my grandparents still had after 60 years of marraige) but what balanced, work-shared, 50-50 relationships do we have to emulate? We are the first generation to really have this hurdle to cross.

And so I put it to you dear reader: What relationships have you witnessed in your life that made you think, "That's the kind of partnership I want!" and what was it about the relationship that made you think that way? I'd appreciate your suggestions.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sex With Sue

Canadian sex expert Sue Johanson was interviewed recently by the National Public Radio and had an excellent comment to make on abstinance-only education. Her message was "...that abstinence-only educations are pointless since every single sex educator does emphasize abstinence". I assume this to be true. I don't recall this portion of my sex-ed class, but I'll assume this is because I was more interested in all the stuff about having sex.

Something tells me deep down this is the information that most kids are actually interested in knowing, even if they are wearing purity rings.

Why are parents fearful of their children being educated? I'll never understand this.

In the Interest of Not Seeming Totally One Sided

One in five men are extremely unhappy with their body image, and the number of men with anorexia or bulimia is on the rise, according to Dr. John Morgan, a leading British eating disorder specialist. Men make up 15 percent of eating disorder sufferers in official estimates, but the number doesn't take into account men who compulsively exercise because the definition of illness focuses on women. Morgan says media images of male beauty, slim but muscular guys with six-pack abs and big arms, are part of the problem. "It's completely unhealthy, and to achieve that sort of shape you've got to be either working out for hours in a gym, making yourself sick, or taking certain kinds of illegal drugs." [BBC]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sex Sells

I fancy myself a feminist. A liberal feminist, I guess, not a die hard feminist who thinks all porn is wrong or anything, but a woman who believes in equality. Equal pay, equal respect, etc.

I think the reason for my somewhat moderate stance is that I'm a libra. Ok, not really. But all horoscopes say that libras make good judges because we can see both sides of an arguement. Hence the scales being our symbol. Well, personally I think being able to see both sides might not make one the best judge - in fact, it makes me kind of indecisive most of the time. It also makes me read back in my blog and disagree with myself, but I digress. Perhaps it is being a libra that has always made me feel as if I have a dual nature, one that society has as well.

Here is one area where I am truely divided on my opinion. Sex in advertising. Part of me believes it is essentially wrong. Using tits to sell cell phones doesn't seem right, however, it totally works. And in many ways, I am a capitalist. This sales techniqe plain works - even on me. A beautiful woman will make me look twice every time. Fortunately for my morals, the area of marketing I work in doesn't use sex to sell - because I think I'd be one of those domineering female marketing executives that would look at a mock up for an ad for kitty litter and ask the designer, "Where the heck are the hot lady legs in the background? I told you HOT LADY LEGS!!!"

One arguement would be that living in a patriarchal society has molded me and skewed my reality so much that I am, in my own way, sexist towards women. Perhaps that is correct. I just can't accept this as reality - and if it is reality, then I just can't escape it.

The thing is, women are hot. And I like looking at them, in general. Men are ok too - but lets get down to it. The basic 'S' curve of a woman's form that I have so dilligently studied in life drawing classes is a lovely shape, one that any eye can enjoy. And so what is the harm in using this shape to sell consumer goods? What is wrong about putting a hot lady on a bicycle to get you to consider purchasing that particular brand? One might say it is exploiting the woman in order to obtain profit. It is using sex to sell. To me, using sex to sell is effective because it is universal in attraction. And I find it much less insulting than those darn women-only yogourt commercials. (Really, click that link, it's worth it.)

Being a liberal person has lead me to the following conclusion (and who knows, maybe I'll argue this one with myself in a few days); the solution to the overuse of womens bodies to sell products is simple. Use male bodies more! Perhaps they are not as effective from a visceral S-curve point of view, but I can't help but think there is a place in the market for more hot men. After all, gay men are a huge money spending demographic that is under-tapped. And, if the ad appeals to straight women and gay men, we're up to about, oh, 52% of the population. After all, there have been a few ads which have used the male form to sell, notably the diet coke commercials:

They were so memorable, therefore they must have been successful (in the intangable way that advertising is successful). So why is there not more of this?

I want more naked men in advertising, not less naked women.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Please Sit Down Jordin Sparks

edit: the video has been removed. here is the quote: "I just wanna say, it's not bad to wear a promise ring because not every guy and a girl wants to be a slut, OK?"

Watch the video above & see her say, in so many words, that having sex before marraige makes you a slut.

Yes, Jordin, thanks for a) not having a sense of humour about these things, and b) for making sure kids today know that there is no grey area betwixt "slut" and "virgin". How helpful of you to say so.

Well, I guess she got her soundbite. Hope it doesn't come back to bite her in the ass someday. Like some other people who said they were going to be virins until marraige. Ahem.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

America Has Gone Insane

I fear Obama will get elected, then assasinated. It would be horrible, but look at this and tell me you can't see where I'm coming from:


Hallmark Debuts Same-Sex Wedding Cards

I caught this article in a trade journal today.

Hallmark has decided to introduce same-sex wedding cards to their offering. Hallmark says the move is a response to consumer demand, not to political pressure, which is also good, because let the consumers speak, I say. The inside greetings won't mention marraige specifically, which is also great. Just a lovely front image of intertwined tuxedos or men's rings, two bouquets, etc.

I had the experience of trying to buy a wedding card recently and it was really difficult to get one that wasn't a) ugly, b) interesting or c) super religious. I'm well aware that marraiges are intended to be a union betwixt the bride, groom and god, but lets move into the new millenium shall we? I know my social circle is made up of mostly like-minded individuals, so my experience with weddings is pretty limited and also secular. However, I must not be the only one who goes to secular wedding after secular wedding, and doesn't want to give a card that speaks of 'blessings' and 'holy unions'. It just doesn't feel right.

Hallmark offers about 200 wedding cards in total, including those aimed at interracial or inter-religious marriages and blended families. Hallmark also started offering coming out cards last year.

Next up, I'm hoping Hallmark will come out with a line of cards for christenings that aren't religious. I know this sounds insane, but at my neice's christening I had a really hard time deciding what to do so I ended up with just a little gift tag. It didn't seem appropriate for me to give a card all about god and jesus when I'm not religious at all; it seemed too insincere.

"Dear Neice,
I don't believe in god much, but you should, happy christening!
Love Auntie J."

I hope they sell the crap out of the same-sex wedding cards, so that one of the world's major retailers can set a standard for inclusiveness in the world of commercial goods. You know that Walmart ain't jumping on board any time soon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Marie Claire Brands Us Sluts for Liking Sex

Today I read an article in women's magazine Marie Claire titled "What makes someone promiscuous?" that really got me all riled up, irritated and feministy. Perhaps I should expect this when reading a women's magazine.

The author, a male, is attempting, I think, to find some sort of commonality between women's sexual appetite, and the events in their lives which have shaped their sexual experiences. He suggests that allowing yourself to be felt up as a youth might lead to drug use and being "generally broken" later on in life.

I give him credit for attempting to use politically correct language, and for touching on some broad issues such as abuse that can lead to an unhealthy promiscuity in some cases. Certainly there is a link between childhood sexual abuse and certain self-destructive behaviors. The thing is, he doesn't get too indepth with this point; it's glazed over.

About being a slut he says, "Unfortunately, we are in a society that does not vilify men as much for sleeping around. The nickname "player" for a man does not carry the same stigma as the word "slut" which we use for a promiscuous woman." Well, thanks for that enlightening tidbit. He says it is 'unfortunate' but then goes forth in the article to continue perpetuating this stereotype: "I can tell you that guys rarely stick with a girl who has sex on the first night-which is kind of hypocritical considering guys seem to always be after sex. But, no guy I ever knew ended up in a serious relationship with a girl who he had sex with too fast. " Gah! So irritating. The least of which because in reality, at least with my self and my own social group, the relationships that I've been a part of and my girl friends have been a part of, almost all started with sex. On the first date. And then afterwards became lasting relationships. Maybe this guy just knows jerks?

What really grinds my gears about the article is the suggestion that promiscuity somehow equals sluttiness. That if you are promiscuous, you are therefore a slut. He seeks to find out why some women are more promiscuous than others, therefore why some women are sluttier than others. And herein lies my problem: promiscuity does not equal sluttiness. He states "I've been thinking about promiscuity and how it is most likely linked to someone's life situation...this has to be linked to some deep psychological experience or collection of experiences. " Well, certainly the way we behave in life is linked to our experience, but does being promiscuous have to be portrayed as a deeply rooted error in our way of behaving?

I've touched on the topic of sluttiness before, and I won't go on and on about it. My big point is, just because you have sex with multiple partners, it doesn't make you a slut. It bothers me that a women's publication would publish an article suggesting that you are a slut if you sleep with someone on the first date. They don't even bother to suggest that a woman might actually enjoy sex! Many women enjoy casual sex. We are free to do so, and don't need some dude in a magazine questioning us on our childhood traumas when we choose to have sex. It bothers me because if I was to pick up this issue, I'm sure it would be chalk full of sex tips (intended of course, to be shared only between me and my long term bf or husband, with whom I have only ever had sex of the vanilla variety.)

Has Marie Claire not considered, not even for one moment, that women might like to have sex purely for pleasure? We are living in an age where pornography is available with the click of a button, when flashing your crotch is no longer shocking, and being a virgin isn't even carried with pride. You've surely met someone who was ashamed to admit they haven't had sex?

Most of my female friends like sex for the sake of it. Not to reproduce, not to keep a man, not to gain popularity. In my understanding, they do it because they enjoy it. They feel free, in this modern era, to lust after men as men have been lusting after women since the beginning of time. I really feel like my generation is one of the first to feel this freedom. To 'hit it' if they want to. Damn You Marie Claire for raining on this parade.

Am I to understand that I am to follow some set of societal rules about how many dates I have to go on before I can "allow" a man to sleep with me? Am I to take from this article that if I have (gasp!) the desire to sleep with someone, that makes me a slut? This is the message I'm getting. I'm told that any female who chooses to sleep with more than some 'normal' amount of men, whatever the f that is, is a slut. How insulting! How puritain! How Scarlett Letter!

A key concept in feminism is that we have the right to control our bodies. We can choose when to have babies and when not to. We can even choose if we have a period at all. We can now go to any school and have just about any career we so choose. We're becoming educated on how to avoid sti's and date rapes, we're allowed to ask men to dance, lord, we're even allowed to wear pants!

Surely with all these rights and freedoms we women have been given, we should be allowed to choose with whom to have sex, how often, and how immediately upon meeting the person-we-wish-to-bang. We certianly don't need to be called sluts by male writers, or the so-called "women's magazines" who publish them.

Shame on you, Marie Claire.

Illustrator of the Month - August

Mike Lowery's work you might recognize from recent Starbucks campaigns. His style has a strong signature, and I love the characters he creates.

His technique is a mix of traditional and digital - he works on paper first, and then cleans it up and colours it digitally. I think this is really the new way to illustrate, most illustrators I know do this now. Cheats are important, but can't replace what you can do with your hands.

He lives and works outside of Washington DC.