In Hibernation

Bear_Hibernation

 

I have a ton of personal crap and work stuff to deal with. I don’t see any writing happening for the rest of the year. I envy that bear.

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Tove Lo – “Queen of the Clouds”

tove lo

Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo’s debut album, Queen of the Clouds, has some promising ideas, but ultimately feels too derivative to achieve them. The idea of a song cycle following the arc of a relationship is inventive, separated into three sections by brief spoken word interludes: the Sex, the Love, and the Pain. She doesn’t shy away from decadent displays of sex and drugs, and manages to keep it more sensual than trashy. Her sound is a consistently mid-tempo pop, that hints at the poppy R&B of Rhianna and Usher. As a result this can sound formulaic, and at worst her production sounds dated. She also has moments that hint the eccentricities of artists like Imogen Heap and Lykke Li, and I felt that I spent the entire album waiting to cross the threshold into the genuinely weird.

Upon first listen, I mistook “Like ‘em Young” as cougar anthem, and had a chuckle at her being under 30 (she’s actually 26). Then I realized she was talking about wanting guys her own age, and dissing her peers for chasing dirty old men. I think my favorite song on here is “Moments,” mainly for the line, “But on my good days I am charming as fuck.” I can see “Timebomb” bringing people to the dancefloor, and “Got Love” has a sweet groove. The Ali Payami remix of “Not On Drugs” sounds like it could be one of Usher’s leftovers. “Habits (Stay High)” has the potential to be a great breakup song.

Ultimately, it’s good music to chill out too. I think Lo is a promising talent, but I wish I saw a stronger sense of artistic identity.

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I guess Milo Manara really likes this pose

Much ado is being of Milo Manara’s artwork for the new Spider-Woman:

milo spider woman

 

Bootylicious isn’t she? Almost like she’s preparing for some doggy-style lovin’. I guess invariably strapless, body-clinging spandex isn’t illogical enough for female superheroes. We’re getting down to full on nudity with just a layer of body-paint separating our crimefighters from the bad guys.

I didn’t know anything about Milo Manara before this, and it turns out he’s an erotic illustrator of some note. After an image search, I can se why his work is so popular–it’s really beautiful and sensual. But when I stumbled upon this image, I was a little unsettled:

milo penthouse

 

It looks like he did the art for the cover of the November 1996 issue of Penthouse Comix. Also quite bootylicious, also like she’s ready for some doggy-style lovin’.

Before I go on, I want to make clear that I’m hardly a prude. I’m aware that there are plenty of artists who have done work in both the erotic world and in children’s books.  And when I was struck by the similarity of the pose to the Spider-Woman art, I couldn’t resist sharing. If I do have a problem it’s that Spider-Woman is intended to be read by people of all ages–who wants to be stuck explaining the doggy position to a nine year-old? Perhaps perched on that big building, she’s enjoying a nice breeze around her privates.

I’m probably more amused by the irony than anything. This whole thing reminds me of a joke on the Simpsons, where a character clearly based on Maurice Sendak explains that he got into writing and illustrating children’s books after Playboy kept rejecting his comics for being too dirty.

Also, I’d love to Manara’s version of the Kama Sutra, if it exists.

Categories: Art Star | Tags: , | 2 Comments

And this is what I got for leaving the house today…

My mother has a brain lesion and arthritic knees. And diabetes. Every so often we have to make a trek to deal with the powers that be regarding how her healthcare is getting covered. Never a fun way to spend an afternoon.

When we sat down to wait, there was young mother with a little girl already seated in front of us. The girl must have been about 3 and was coloring. She engaged me in a brief game of peek-a-boo from behind her chair, then went back to her coloring while I pulled out my phone to deal with email things. As this was going on, I caught my mother watching this jittery man move about the waiting room. He was very fidgety, and would sit in a chair, then get up and move to another chair a minute or so later. Eventually he wound up seated next to the little girl and her mother.

The little girl continued her coloring. The man started to ask the mother if she was single, asked them their names, if the child was her niece or her daughter. The mother responded first with an eyeroll, then the exasperated, “Ugh!” followed by another eyeroll. The man then asked if the little girl had a daddy at home, and the girl clutched at her crayons with fear in her eyes. Just the tone in his voice when he asked that made my skin crawl. As her mother scooped her up onto her lap, a little voice in my head said, “Oh hell no!”

“What are you doing?” I said loudly. “They don’t want to talk to you! Mind your business!”

He turned to me and said, “Who are you?”

“I am me,” I said. “And my business is mine, and you better mind yours.”

I know I didn’t really make any sense, but I was too angry to care. Seeing that little girl get scared pissed me off to no end. My mother tugged on my sleeve and loudly whispered, “Enough!”

The security guard came over and began talking to the man, and my mother was called for her meeting. When we left the building, the security guard came over to me, and pointed a cop out to me because they were having the man removed (not arrested? I don’t know), and they asked us a few questions. While in the meeting, we had apparently missed an even bigger show where the man took a toy away from a little boy and started to try to take pictures of everyone in the office.

I’m left in this sort of moral quandary. I don’t know if I did the right thing, if I embarrassed the mother, if I made the little girl even more nervous, if my yelling at that guy just made him upset to where he took that toy. It all just makes me want to crawl into a box of really fancy chocolates and never leave.

 

 

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#SharedGirlhood: What the fuck just happened? #FeminismIs4AllWomen

So this is another one of those Twitter moments where 140 characters just won’t cut it…

The other day, I stumbled upon the Twitter hashtag, “SharedGirlhood.” I don’t know who started it or why, and I really don’t care. I found it interesting and chose to participate because I do think there is some definite value in women discussing some of the dark weirdness of growing up female. There are certain things, like when you’re told to stop being a tomboy or that your interests aren’t “lady-like” or that it’s your fault guys are staring at you (and then some), that tend to unite women across the worthless barriers of class, gender and sexual orientation. And to that extent, the hashtag has had some success.

However, when I looked at it just now, all I could think was, “What the fuck is going on here? Why did this evolve into a knock-down, drag out fight between feminists and trans-women? I wonder if I can make the fighting stop…”

First off, I’m a white, straight, cis-gendered, blue collar feminist. I believe that if you can’t make a forum open to everyone, then don’t make it at all–especially on a social media site that anyone with an Internet connection can use. I was pretty disgusted by the blatant prejudice against trans-women I was seeing. Frankly, this should be a chance to open the channels of communication among all women, and I do include trans-women as my fellow women–just as I count lesbians, bisexuals, and non-white women as my fellow women even if I don’t have sexual orientation or race in common with them.

We, as women, face so many of the same obstacles–especially in regard to personal safety and professional progress. Just because I don’t share the physiological starting point as tran-swomen doesn’t mean I will deny them their rights. Especially their right to self-expression.

On the other end of the debate is the accusation that somehow the hashtag was made for the exclusive use of affluent white women. Again, I found myself wonder, “What the fuck…???” I’m willing to concede that feminism’s own history of exclusion is indeed working against sometimes. In fact, I’ll go so far to admit that as a blue collar women without an Ivy League pedigree, I do sometimes feel shut out of the Ivory Tower, and do sometimes find myself thinking that some of these jerks need to learn how to pick their battles. So yeah, I can see where a lot of women who aren’t white, aren’t straight, and were born with different equipment about the pelvic region don’t feel as welcome as they should.

So, the exclusionist bullshit ends here. I have no interest in being told I’m not a feminist because I include trans-women in my feminism, or being associated with anyone who is interested in making feminism so exclusionary and prejudicial. Likewise, I have no interest in being told that the concept of a shared girlhood is invalid. Granted, differences in geography, religion, and so forth are going to make for some obvious differences. But the reason I posted a link to my own story, “Mob attacks on women don’t just happen in Egypt,” is because that really does happen to women all over the world. Being sexually assaulted and then being blamed for our own assaults does unite women the world over. In fact, it even happens to straight men, and I also welcome them in my feminism.

Perhaps I’m guilty of oversimplifying or being naïve, but so be it. I once saw an interview with Paul McCartney where talked about how proud he was of the Beatles’ legacy being about peace and love. I want a feminism I can be proud of, and to me, that means being open and tolerant to women of all backgrounds.

Categories: Lady Issues, LGBT Rights, Politics & Society | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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