Thursday, 31 January 2013

Random: Tampon vs. Moon Cup Rap Battle Extraordinaire

I don't plan to give up my tampons any time soon, but this was a lot of fun!

Portrait Session: Tara Riley

New work for 2013! I've been looking to focus more heavily on portraiture for a while now and I think this was a decent start. Tara is an old friend of mine from primary school and she was gracious enough to let me work with her on short notice. I definitely still have some work to do, but I think I've definitely improved since the last time I dipped my toes in portraiture. We shall see what else 2013 brings! Check out the remaining shots after the jump.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Feminism: My Convictions Are Not Situational OR I Do Not Turn Off My Feminism

"Straw Feminists"
Copyright Kate Beaton via Hark a Vagrant
Click through for full comic

A friend once told me that my feminism is limiting.

We were.discussing an article I had shared with him about a show we both loved that analyzed the way in which the protagonists were actually made to be the butt of most of the jokes, rather than the heroes of their story. I admitted that in recognizing that I agreed with the article's thesis, I had forever coloured the way I saw the show, and significantly reduced my ability to enjoy it.

"Why must there be something wrong with everything?!" He cried,  ever frustrated with the way feminism pervaded my life, and by extension, our friendship. 

I understood his point,  and honestly I can see how a constant feminist lecture about the oppression of the patriarchy can be just as irritating as a constant vegan lecture about the ethics of eating eggs, but the thing is, you can't unsee prejudice and inequality. Once you recognize that it exists, you DO see it everywhere because it IS everywhere.

Seeing the world through the prism of feminism doesn't limit you. I think it's quite the opposite in fact. It opens your eyes to the realities of the world. Admittedly, that reality is far less ideal than the fantasy we like to pretend we live in, but there's no way we can change our reality to match the fantasy if we refuse to acknowledge its existence altogether.

The thing is, feminism isn't convenient. It isn't supposed to be. In fact I think it should be about making things as inconvenient as possible until things change. If we all only concerned ourselves with injustice when it affected us, things would be much worse. As Martin Niemoller said,
"...Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me."
Does it suck that a show I once loved is now uncomfortable for me to watch now that I see the real way that the power dynamics play out? Yes. Am I a better person for recognizing that it should make me uncomfortable, and that we should be looking for representations of fringe cultures in mass media that don't present them as something to be ridiculed? HELL yes! And now that I recognize this fact, I can do something about it.

The thing is, feminism isn't just a movement. It's a way of life. You either are a feminist or you aren't. There really isn't that much grey area. The details and the ideologies many vary individually, but the basics are the same: EQUALITY. That's it. 

And being a feminist means taking issue with the things that hurt us on a societal level. It means not being complacent because complacency is easy. It means being willing to acknowledge that you are complicit when you accept sexism, racism, and all of the -isms as problems to be tolerated rather than fixed. Because if you think the -isms are "okay sometimes" you're not a feminist. 

Should you pick your battles? Absolutely. No one can be expected to be in a constant state of outrage (although, I must admit, I get pretty close!), but a feminist who only has an issue with inequality when it directly affects them is a straw feminist, and straw feminists hurt the cause by giving anti-feminists fodder with which to derail the conversation. Not cool.

The thing is, feminism isn't just about women. It's about combating systemic inequality in all its forms: from better representation of minorities in mass media to acknowledging the spectrum of gender, to reproductive rights, all the way down to better support services for rape victims, female AND male. Intersectionality is the future of feminism. And that means that no matter who you are, there's a place in the feminist movement for you if you want it.

This was originally going to be a long drawn out post explaining lots of things and declaring my feminism, but the truth is, I don't have to justify my feminism. You have to justify why you're not a feminist. Because you should be.

In any case, the point is that feminism isn't about picking and choosing which injustices don't matter. They all matter, and they all contribute to the problematic culture we live in. Some issues may be more pressing than others, but that doesn't make those others any less important. So I'll continue to analyze everything I come in contact with through the prism of feminism. Whether it's television, music or random arguments on facebook, it all matters. (Well, maybe not the arguments on facebook...) Am I willing to give up a few television shows if it means furthering the feminist cause? YOU BETTER FUCKING BELIEVE I AM.

How about you? Do you find it hard to enjoy television shows that have an anti-feminist slant?

Monday, 21 January 2013

Fashion Films: Lancôme puts on a show (Lancôme x Alber Elbaz )

It's going to be a long wait for Alber Elbaz's makeup collaboration with Lancôme. Beauty lovers can snap it up on June 15th! In the meantime, enjoy this delightful fashion video. I seriously need to get animated.

Editorial: Alek Wek by Tatijana Shoan for As If Magazine

Alek Wek by Tatijana Shoa

UGH. Working it.

Editorial: Naomi Campbell by Thomas Whiteside for Elle US February 2013

Naoimi Campbell by Thomas Whiteside

My last few posts have been so heavy, so I decided to get back to some fashion for a bit. Introducing, the original diva, Naomi Campbell. Looking gorgeous as ever, she rocks this Elle editorial in the way only she can. It's hard to believe she's been doing this as long as she has and still looks this good. But I guess when looking fabulous is your job...! Anyway, soak it all in. There's tons of fabooh to soak up from watching Naomi.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Feminism: Rape Culture, Male Privilege and the Miseducation of Men OR My Rape-Fatigue Magnum Opus

A friend of a friend wrote an infuriating article essentially detailing  the non-existence of rape culture and the "problem with feminists". Essentially, mansplaining for days. 

Naturally, as the "left-wing lib-rull feminazi" that I am, I was not pleased. But since my last interaction with that person on the topic ended in a particularly spectacular flounce, (on his part) I resolved to rebut, but remain civil.

It will be difficult, but I will soldier on.

My main issue with his piece is that his information is inaccurate. Many of the "facts" he states have long been disproved  He is clearly unaware of what feminism actually constitutes and the fact that it is not a monolithic group. And his blasé attitude toward the existence of rape culture is not just ignorant, but dangerous. It indicates his inability to recognize or reconcile male privilege, which becomes a problem when you make long proclamations about how to deal with rape; a problem that you are far less likely to encounter as a straight cisgender male.

But the biggest and most pressing problem is his (seeming) denial of rape culture. Without an understanding of what rape culture is and how it works, everything I say is essentially useless. So here's a nice concise definition:
"Rape culture is a concept used to describe a culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudesnorms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape." (retrieved from Wikipedia)
What that means is that we live in a culture where it is acceptable to question a rape victim's culpability in her assault. It means that in order to avoid rape, we tell women to cover up and not to entice men, rather than tell men that they are not entitled to our bodies for any reason. It means that we teach men that women's bodies are for their consumption and enjoyment, and that women have no value outside of how they can gratify men sexually. It means that even when a rape is reported, a woman stands the chance of not being believed. And when she is believed and charges are filed and the case makes it to trial, her past sexual consensual experiences will be used as evidence to discredit her. It means that after having to relive her trauma by recounting her story in front of strangers and being called a slut for her sexual history, she will likely not be the lucky 1 in 30 whose trials lead to a conviction; which for many women means either being forced to see their attacker on a daily basis, or uprooting their lives in order to avoid him.

So I will educate this friend of a friend, and anyone else who cares to read this. I will refute the arguments made point by point. It's important that when it comes to rape we start dispelling the long held myths. These myths are the very essence of rape culture, and they make it okay for ordinarily good men to justify sexual assault to themselves and others.

Monday, 7 January 2013

[Movie Review] Les Misérables: Hits And Misses

Images via Beyond Hollywood

Possibly the most (over)hyped movie of the year, the most recent incarnation of Les Miserables, stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, with Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers. Directed by Tom Hooper, the man behind the Academy Award winning The King's Speech, Les Miserables is a big, broad movie that embraces its considerable largess. 

There are problems of course. Hooper's insistence on sticking the camera firmly in every singing face is off-putting. I suspect I may well know every nook and cranny of Anne Hathaway's tonsils. To add insult to injury, the camera work is shaky; an artistic choice I'm sure, but a highly irritating one from the audience's point of view. The dialog is hard to follow at times as it is sung all the way through. This is no fault of Hooper's of course, but newcomers to the musical may find it difficult to follow along. 

There are very lovely touches though. The light melody of "One Day More" plays throughout and transitions into other numbers beautifully. It goes a long way to tie the movie together tonally, and helps dictates the mood from beginning to end. Tangentially, I found myself highly amused by the plethora of poor dental work, and the muskets that were good for only one shot. 

But the real selling point of the movie is its stars. From Wolverine's feats of strength to seeing Catwoman's head shaved and teeth pulled, the cast is varied, but ultimately strong. 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

In With the New: Starting 2013 with a Fresh Face and a New Attitude

Karlie Kloss by Patrick Demarchelier

I wanted to start this piece by writing something super profound about new beginnings for the new year and whatnot, but I'm not feeling very profound today. I'm actually feeling very ill and mildly feverish, and I can't breathe because I've had the flu for over a week. But YOU KNOW... these things happen. 

But on a serious note, I love new years. I love the symbolism of new beginnings, and new opportunities. 2012 was a difficult but ultimately rewarding year for me. I learned a lot about myself and what I'm capable of, and I can't wait to implement those lessons in 2013.

I have a lot that I want to accomplish this year. I'll be turning 23, crossing the one year mark post graduation, and continuing to make strides at my first "real" job, and doing more freelance and multimedia work. There are a lot of amazing things in store for me this year. I can feel it in my bones. And I'm very excited to see what those opportunities will be, and to dive into them headfirst. For the first time I'm in a position to go after the things that I want, and it feels scary, but amazing. 

There are twelve pristine months ahead of me. I plan to fill them with as much accomplishment and as many new experiences as I can. 

I can't wait!