And Now For Something a Little Lighter.

by Isabel

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that not only am I aware of the series premiere of the new 90210 tonight, but I’m planning on having a little viewing party. I’m sure the new version won’t come close to the original series (For one thing, the bodies have become more streamlined and unattainable. FlowTV has a pretty good article about the shrinking bodies of the new cast, the increased sexualization, and the new emphasis on designer labels here), but I feel compelled to give it a chance anyway. I was a big fan of the first few seasons of the original.

Take a trip down Memory Lane with me!

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Quote of the Day: With Eyes Wide Open

by matttbastard

I know that we use media to anaesthetize our selves from the daily strain of this mortal coil however, a release should not be achieved by watching or listening to someone else be degraded.  The media is not the benign lifeless force that we construct it to be.  It helps to frame morals, and is a reflection of our social discourse. When we sit there blindly consuming these images without giving pause to understand that some of these images are a reflection of the ugliest parts of humanity, indeed we are embracing the darkness.  There are just some things that will never be funny.  When we sit there and laugh at things like rape, domestic violence, or the sexual objectification of women we are colluding with patriarchy in our own marginalization.  This has real world effects because it normalizes this behaviour therefore reducing the possibility that such crimes will be taken seriously.  Just because it is not happening to you does not  give you the right to assert privilege, and demean the life experiences of others.

– Renee, Feminists Have No Sense Of Humour

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Invisibility and the ‘Double Burden’

by matttbastard

(image originally uploaded by My Hobo Soul, posted under a Creative Commons License)

Attorney Sophia A. Nelson on Michelle Obama and being an accomplished black woman in contemporary American society:

Sad to say, but what [Michelle] Obama has undergone, though it’s on a national stage and on a much more prominent scale, is nothing new to professional African American women. We endure this type of labeling all the time. We’re endlessly familiar with the problem Michelle Obama is confronting — being looked at, as black women, through a different lens from our white counterparts, who are portrayed as kinder, gentler souls who somehow deserve to be loved and valued more than we do. So many of us are hoping that Michelle — as an elegant and elusive combination of successful career woman, supportive wife and loving mother — can change that.

“Ain’t I a woman?” Sojourner Truth famously asked 157 years ago. Her ringing question, demanding why black women weren’t accorded the same privileges as their white counterparts, still sums up the African American woman’s dilemma today: How are we viewed as women, and where do we fit into American life?

“Thanks to the hip-hop industry,” one prominent black female journalist recently said to me, all black women are “deemed ‘sexually promiscuous video vixens’ not worthy of consideration. If other black women speak up, we’re considered angry black women who complain. This society can’t even see a woman like Michelle Obama. All it sees is a black woman and attaches stereotypes.

Black women have been mischaracterized and stereotyped since the days of slavery and minstrel shows. In more recent times, they’ve been portrayed onscreen and in popular culture as either sexually available bed wenches in such shows as the 2000 docudrama “Sally Hemings: An American Scandal,” ignorant and foolish servants such as Prissy from “Gone With the Wind” or ever-smiling housekeepers, workhorses who never complain and never tire, like the popular figure of Aunt Jemima.

Even in the 21st century, black women are still bombarded with media and Internet images that portray us as loud, aggressive, violent and often grossly obese and unattractive. Think of the movies “Norbit” or “Big Momma’s House,” or of the only two black female characters in “Enchanted,” an overweight, aggressive traffic cop and an angry divorcée amid all the white princesses.

On the other hand, when was the last time you saw a smart, accomplished black professional woman portrayed on mainstream television or in the movies? If Claire Huxtable on “The Cosby Show” comes to mind, remember that she left the scene 16 years ago.

The reality is that in just a generation, many black women — who were mostly domestics, schoolteachers or nurses in the post-slavery Jim Crow era — have become astronauts, corporate executives, doctors, lawyers, engineers and PhDs. You name it, and black women have achieved it. The most popular woman on daytime television is Oprah Winfrey. Condoleezza Rice is secretary of state.

And yet my generation of African American women — we’re called, in fact, the Claire Huxtable generation — hasn’t managed to become successfully integrated into American popular culture. We’re still looking for respect in the workplace, where, more than anything else, black women feel invisible. It’s a term that comes up again and again. “In my profession, white men mentor young whites on how to succeed,” a financial executive told me, but “they’re either indifferent to or dogmatically document the mistakes black women make. Their indifference is the worst, because it means we’re invisible.”

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

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The Representation of White Perfection

by matttbastard

Professor, What If has embarked on a series of posts exploring how a consumption-obsessed culture in the US has continued to perpetuate the all-encompassing notion “that whiteness (in food, bodies, clothing, etc) is ideal”:

What if we woke up to the fact that white is not right, that brown bread is healthier, that teeth naturally yellow, that white t-shirts are boring, that, for god/dess sake, a white anus is darn right unnatural and unnecessary? Whiteness doesn’t do a body good-what it does is confer white skin privilege-a privilege that allows those with white skin to walk through the world with many advantages through no actions of their own. But [these] privileges are not good in the entire scheme of things for white skinned people either because what they perpetuate is a racist, colorist world that harms everyone-white people included.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

h/t Renee

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Read These Now

by matttbastard

Kinda sorta overdid it last night while celebrating a friend’s birthday.  Think I might have sprained my cognitive muscles at some point not long after last call.  So, in lieu of doing any heavy mental lifting myself, I instead suggest you check out the following (lots of good reads over @ Natalia’s place, too):

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A Superficial Antidote to Maxim’s Mindless Misogyny

by matttbastard

Perhaps it won’t heal SJP’s pain, but The Boston Phoenix’s annual 100 Most Unsexiest Men of the Year list does offer some choice smackdowns on a number of decidedly ineligible dickheads (most of whom have likely read Maxim at least once in their lives–solely for the articles, of course).

Re: aging glam metal reality show reject Bret Michaels:

Once accustomed to sloppy seconds, Michaels is now just sloppy: lumpy and oily, headband wound tight to cloak oddly shaped ears and rat’s-nest hair extensions. He resembles Goldie Hawn on steroids, or maybe a swollen bear cub tangled up in a camper’s leftover potty bandana.

And former Fox News blowhard John Gibson:

They say after age 40, you get the face you deserve. And Gibson’s— smirking mouth of yellowy, Chiclet-sized teeth; sallow skin; beady eyes framed by unstylish glasses; hair a cross between that of a televangelist’s and Eraserhead’s — is the perfect match for his twisted personality. It’s not that the Fox News host is conservative; it’s that he’s a prick.

Giggity.

h/t Roxanne

Update: Ok, is it that difficult to spread the sweet, sweet schadenfreude without resorting to cheap shots re: weight and gender identity? Sheesh.

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