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.