It’s designed to encourage women to go into science, which is really awesome, as that’s a field where women are underrepresented. The problem is, it makes women in science look like a joke. Let’s take a look at things piece by piece.
It’s not like makeup is inherently bad. I wear a lot of it, and that doesn’t make me any dumber or more vapid. The problem is when makeup is associated with being female, as whatever advertising firm made this ad seems to think. It’s true that we need more women in science, and it’s also true that the way to involve more women in science is to make it accessible. This is not how you do that, though. I know from my experience that most teenage girls prefer being talked to, not talked down to.
So, as I mentioned in my musicals post, I mentioned that I wasn’t going to get into my complex feelings on “Glee” just yet. However, its spin off, “The Glee Project”, feels like an entirely different entity. It’s a reality show, and two episodes in, this season doesn’t feel as strong as last season, and I have figured out why: In its tone, it’s less of a reality show and more of a show about inspiring people. Last season, there was more competition, and there were more polarizing people. This season, however, it’s less about talented people competing, and it’s more about people who have overcome something performing. There’s less competition, and fewer standouts. Also, starting with fourteen contestants makes it harder to remember everyone. Last season’s dozen still took a few episodes to get used to, but this year, everyone just seems the same. Ultimately, this season highlights a flaw that has existed since last season: it’s not a competition you can win by being talented, but by being dynamic. It’s a judgement that comes from personality, which is why everything feels so arbitrary. Last season was great, but this season? Not so much.
So, my latest Netflix binge, in a way, came from my “lost childhood”. Let me explain: When I was growing up, I didn’t have cable. I know, first world problems. I could have had it a lot worse. I remember watching PBS kids with my brother after school, and sometimes I would watch shows on Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network when I was somewhere that did have cable. However, there was one show that I knew of, but never seen: Avatar: The Last Airbender. So, when everyone started talking about Korra, I decided I had to watch the original series.
Let’s get started. It was way better than I expected. No wonder everyone is talking about this show! Normally when people talk about kids shows, it’s derisive, as if kids have no taste, but TLA proves that a show can be targeted towards children and still be good. Honestly? I can’t help but feel cheated by the fact that I was watching Spongebob instead of this show when I was younger. There are a few plot holes if you think hard enough, but that is a problem that plagues most fantasy series. TLA is definitely worth giving a shot, now I just have to bring myself to accept the fact that it ended a few years ago and watch the finale.
Avengitis: when you experience all the feels for all of the members of the Avengers cast.
A friend just shared these two images on Facebook with the caption “Remember the days when beauty was truly beautiful?” And, well, first of all, no you don’t. You were born in 1991. The earliest beauty icons you can “remember” are, like, Kelly Kapowski and DJ Tanner. But also, give me a fucking break.
Beauty standards have always existed. Back in Ye Olde Days, when most people were starving in the streets (or starving in the fields, or starving in the wherever), it was cool to be fat. This is pretty much common knowledge. Fat was a status symbol. It signified that you had a lot to eat. That’s why statues and paintings of larger ladies were so common in this time — the subjects of those paintings were most likely super wealthy. THIS IS NOT NEW INFORMATION. Blah blah blah fast forward a while, and say hello to the Industrial Revolution! Aside from being responsible for pollution and a whole lot of shitty child labor standards, it also ushered in the new concept of standard sizing — before clothing was mass-produced, you (or your wife or your mom or your tailor) made it by hand for you. It had to last a long time, because folks were not exactly rolling in ca$h back then, and it’s not like you could just pop into J. Crew or Uniqlo if you got a big gaping hole in your only work smock, so clothing was made to a higher standard and tailored exactly to fit your body. But with the advent of the textile industry, people started buying clothes made by total strangers, so a standard sizing chart had to be created. Yaaay, Industrial Revolution! Your #1 supplier of fucked-up beauty standards and orphans working 18-hour workdays since the 1750s!
Stuff kind of pogoed around for a while after that. Newspapers and mass media as a whole were just becoming a thing, and then there was this war that people had to deal with or something? Anyway, then the 20th century hit, and it hit hard. Gibson Girls were the first major development, around the late 1800s and spanning into the early 1900s. The Gibson Girl “was tall and slender, yet with ample bosom, hips and bottom. She had an exaggerated S-curve torso shape achieved by wearing a swan-bill corset. Images of her epitomized the late 19th- and early 20th-century Western preoccupation with youthful features and ephemeral beauty.” Pretty much the first widespread American ladies’ beauty standard. When flappers became a thing in the ’20s, it became trendy to be very thin and flat-chested, as to best wear the fashions of the time. Then movies happened, and Americans pretty much shit their pants. Movie stars were a thing! And they were beautiful things! And frequently very slender things, albeit with sweet boobs and a moderately heart-shaped ass! Movies were immediately huge, especially during WWII, because they were cheap and there wasn’t a lot else that you could do for fun. This was the first time you could actually put people on screens and have other people stare at them and go, “Yes. This is what I want to look like.” (Or, “Yes. This is what I want my wife to look like.”) Hollywood and ADVERTISERS (the main culprits here, because one could argue that Hollywood and the film/TV industries only exist by the grace of advertisers) has pretty much dictated how women “should” look ever since — we’ve gone through phases, obviously, but it’s not as if American women as a whole have been particularly in control of our beauty standards ever since the advent of moving pictures.
Which brings me back to the ads above! Come on. You can’t seriously argue that ad men telling you not to be skinny is any better than ad men telling you not to be fat. (Which, by the way, they were doing back then, too. Just sayin’.) It’s the other side of the same coin. And, for that matter, standards of beauty were even stricter back then, because not only did you have to be slender and conventionally pretty to fit that standard, you also had to be white. Post all the old-school “nobody wants a skinny girl!” ads you want, but you have to admit, none of those women are anything but lily-white.
I’m not going to try to argue that today’s body image standards aren’t totally fucked-up, because, well, Toddlers & Tiaras exists. So does Cosmopolitan. So does that lady in England who gave her teenage daughter Botox and even Anderson Cooper was like, “I can’t even look at you. Leave. Get out.” But I definitely can argue that things weren’t significantly better back during the Cold War, or even before. And honestly, we don’t know how people will see us in the future — Earth-people in like, 2200 will probably look back at our Maxim Hot 100s and what not and see Christina Hendricks and be like, “This was the ultimate standard of beauty in the 2000s! All woman had to look like this!” Or they might do that with Beyonce! (Let’s be real, though. It’ll probably be Lady Gaga or Ke$ha, because I’m convinced that in the future, everyone will dress like them.) Point is, it’s full of tricky gray areas. And also, that girl on my Facebook was a dumbass.
So, in the wake of reading this terrifying shit, Postcard and I started chatting, as you do, about the zombie apocalypse. Here are some things Postcard and I enjoy: zombie media, common sense, and YELLING ABOUT STUFF. Thus, for your reading pleasure, please enjoy our simple twenty-step guide to NOT DYING in the unlikely event that a zombie apocalypse ravages humanity:
- IN THE EVENT OF AN ACTUAL APOCALYPTIC SITUATION, ASSUME THAT THE FOLLOWING THINGS ARE GOING TO STOP WORKING: running water (this includes toilets); anything that relies on electricity (this includes gas pumps); anything that relies on natural gas lines (this includes gas stoves/central heat); basically, anything that relies on there being a factory of some variety at the other end of thing you want to make do stuff. THAT’S ALL GONNA BREAK. THIS INCLUDES THE INTERNET. Thus, the most important thing to do in the event of a zombie apocalypse is:
- RESEARCH. For as long as you possess the internet, do everything you can to learn as much as possible. Research edible/medicinal plants (or seriously, go into a bookstore and loot your shit a guidebook, they’re not large, they sell little tiny ones, you can put it in your pocket, WHY DOES EVERYONE IN EVERY ZOMBIE MOVIE NOT DO THIS). Research, from available information, how the zombies work/which of their senses are functional—for example, if they operate largely by smell, you want to work on smelling not alive. If they operate largely by sight, DON’T LIGHT FIRES AT NIGHT. And speaking of fires…
So, I was looking through Netflix looking for something to watch and review for everyone, and I naturally went to the “musical” section. It’s kind of a good starting point for me because
Five seconds in I realized that over half of the titles were in black and white, as if to shamelessly say that they were made before technicolor became a thing. I found it so bizarre that this medium that had once dominated the screen was something almost rarely seen anymore on our cinema screens.
I have a few theories as to why this is a trend in recent media. First, we have to eliminate the assumption that people assume that musicals are for kids. While most musicals are directed towards kids, there are others that are very clearly geared towards adults, like The Book of Mormon. People mostly have accepted that musicals can be just as much for adults as kids, so why still the box office hesitancy?
I think it has to do with audience. The stereotypical demographics of a broadway musical are rich white people, and that’s not too far from the truth. While I was too lazy to get my readers around the paywall at Time.com, an excerpt from an article they did that fascinated me when they printed it shows that a night at the theatre can add up. That’s not to say that you have to have seen a musical to know about it, because I have fallen in love with musicals I’ve never seen, but it makes people hesitant to see a show less inclined to do so. Then it raises the point that it doesn’t need to have mass appeal to make millions a week, just have a really devoted fanbase.
As for the racism stuff? Totally valid. Look at all of the musicals that have been popular throughout the past few years, the best musical winners, starting from 2001, their protagonists are
I’m not saying that these musicals don’t have POCs as characters, I’m just saying that most broadway musicals tell stories about white people, and while it’s a problem in all media, it’s especially strong in broadway musicals. Again, remember the whole point about how because of ticket prices, broadway only has to appeal to a wealthy minority of people? Well, most wealthy people are disproportionately white. In order for something to cinematically translate, it has to at least pretend to communicate to audiences that aren’t white. Non-latino white people make up 63% of the US population. The other 37 percent have money, too.
Side note: stop saying that glee is a musical. It is a TV show. It has musical tendencies, a cast that has been involved in musicals, but it is not a musical. And stop saying it’s diverse. The screetime will show you it is not.
Also I will not be taking comments on this side note because my love/hate relationship with Glee is something for another day.
*Hairspray does get a lot of credit for some things for which very few things get credit: for example, the acceptance of Tracy’s weight or the fact that it passes the Bedchel test, it loses major points for fitting the plot of “white person helps black person with [insert problem here]”.
So, I’m going on one of my Netflix binges (get used to it, they happen a lot). Right now, I’m watching the US version of The Office for the second time. This falls into the same general slot as my other favorite shows when it airs, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation. The show features not only a strong main cast, but a strong supporting cast as well. It is truly the definition of an ensemble show. Pam, Jim, Dwight, Michael and Andy all seem to get equal time between them, and there is plenty of interaction between them and the supporting cast. The characters are well developed, and the zaniness doesn’t feel all that out of touch with reality. Ultimately? It’s a great show.