Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Future is Here

I'm so tired of this idea (often presented on Jezebel, among other places) that because plastic surgery is a CHOICE women make about their bodies, it therefore is equal to abortion or something and therefore one cannot denigrate it, and to denigrate it is to tell women what to do with their bodies/criticizing their bodies, and therefore patriarchal. Well, isn't anorexia a choice? Isn't hating yourself a choice? Isn't abusing yourself and holding yourself up to a horrifying standard a choice? As Gaby so eloquently put it, "Feminism isn't about choices! No one ever said feminism was about choice!" Choices like these are not made in a vacuum. They are reflective of disturbing, patriarchal cultural practices in our society, which contribute to an eerily futuristic and homogenized idea of beauty, marketability, femininity, and value. It is women caving into these demands, and it's fucking scary and horrifying.

I understand that some cosmetic surgery is supposed to be more culturally acceptable- ie, having a nose job if you have a prominent nose, but we have to understand these surgeries also do not spring from nowhere. We must remember it was our culture that made you feel bad about your nose, not the nose itself. Before there were mirrors, people barely had any idea what they looked like.

How ridiculous that Jessica Simpson has that TV show "The Price of Beauty" where she is supposed to be pointing out how twisted and weird the world's beauty practices are, when she and others spend their time having massive amounts of unnecessary surgery, having plastic balloons and rubber pieces inserted in their bodies, having flesh carved or sucked out of them, having skin pulled back and sewn back into another place, and being injected with fluids and chemicals? Like, take a step back, people! It's not okay, it's not a stylistic choice like your haircut or anything like the choice to have an abortion, and it isn't equivalent to what plastic surgery was designed for, which is for people with actual deformities/disabilities/etc. We shouldn't encourage a society where this is the standard. It is wrong. Period.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

YA Books to Movies: A Lifetime of Disappointment

Seeing the glossy promotional posters for the new Ramona and Beezus movie starring Selena Gomez as Beezus has renewed the anger I felt as a tween when my beloved young adult books were turned into shiny, boppy movies that totally ruined everything about the books themselves.

Now when I re-read YA books, particularly those from the 70's and early 80's, I'm truly surprised at how spare and realistic they often are. The endings are often abrupt and unresolved, and instead of a lot of cheesy poetic editorializing, we often get the straightforward narration of a young person. Read Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, and be struck by the dark undercurrents of her post WW2 life coupled with her naivete and adolescent awkwardness, all told through her eyes. And what about Harriet the Spy? I knew that book was totally weird even when reading it as a kid- her relationship with Ole Golly and the line drawings of Ole Golly's mother terrified me. Roald Dahl is another one whose work clearly has a sinister, if kooky, edge (which was actually pulled off in the first Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! And maybe The Witches? I can't remember.)

Even as a kid (though I was a little too old for the movies when the rash of 90's era ones came out) I was disappointed in these movies, which, distinctly, lacked any of the bite of the originals. I knew that Harriet was supposed to take place in the 1960's, that Matilda and her story were intensely and irrevocably British. I was aghast to see the girl cast as Sarah Crewe in The Little Princess; this was a character who was repeatedly described as odd, weird-looking, and a little off-putting. Sure, she had a kindly heart, but she wasn't supposed to be a child model.

And when I think about Ramona, I think about her overworked parents who struggled with money, her house in Klikitat street in the rainy Pacific Northwest, her so familiar hatred of staying with the babysitter or at another kid's house because of aforesaid working parents, and Beezus feeling horribly awkward and embarrassed about everything. This shiny, allergy-fighting pharmaceutical commercial-esque sunniness and Gomez' airbrushed face seem to have no relation to the original characters.

Taking the protagonist and giving her shiny hair and these ease of a one-dimensional popular girl is a common theme in movie-making, and somehow I can't imagine film executives pouring over Barthe DeClements oeuvre and saying, "Do you think we made this twelve-year-old girl character realistic? Do you think we picked up on the dryness if the original text?" Instead we get the Hannah Montana phenomenon, where everything for kids is glossed up and filled with ridiculous distractions, all made with the assumption that children cannot pay attention to anything for more than 20 seconds. They are probably thinking, "Little girls like glitter, hair extensions, pink, and commercial tie-ins!' We can take men and sometimes women seriously, but the media is clearly uninterested in how children might really think, act, and feel, even though we were all children once and of course can trace the route of our grown-up insanity from childhood.

Of course, this movie also comes after the recent trend of making movies ostensibly about little girls, but are really about the director's "vision," including The Fall, Tideland (do NOT see that one) and even the slightly better but still under the same category Pan's Labyrinth. These films featured young female protagonists only as innocent foils to the fucked-up goings on around them.

I love good YA because, at its best, it is simple, painfully realistic storytelling, as opposed to the meaningless jerking-off that makes up the work of so many "real" authors, who mostly seem interested in little girls sexually, or, again, merely as innocent foils. Is there a coincidence that the most famous "real" novel featuring a little girl is probably Lolita? I love good YA because it says, "These stories are not trivial." Believe it or not, realistic honesty in art if often more meaningful than obtuse truths and hidden themes. And because they are about kids, particularly little girls, the genre will probably never get its due.

PS: Ohmygod.
PPS: For more on this subject, read my The Golden Compass review!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Persephassa, my favorite Flickr person

Of all those who post their outfits, persephassa is my favorite. I love the way she puts clothing together and wears 30's gowns and old sweaters with an equal amount of queenly panache. With so many people, the clothes seem to be wearing them, as if they have no control over what is on their body and they were just attacked by whatever trends happened to be passing by; it is so nice to see people who are the exact opposite. In an ideal world, everyone would dress more intuitively, creatively, and colorfully, and be comfortable and happy while doing so.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Inspiration: Striped T-shirts

Look! A normal fashion blog-type post!
I'm always looking for the perfect striped t-shirt- I had a great one from Forevs that perished in the fire, but whenever I try on new ones it always seems like the necklines aren't right or the stripes are weird or something. Striped tees are hot right now, but as you can see they are a classic style.
PS: That last one is my "art." If you want to buy a gay sailors portrait, let me know!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hats Off to Everyone

Hey dudes, it's time to give these hats a rest! You're not Tom Waits, you're not William Burroughs, and you're not a 1950's-era jazz musician. The amount of men walking around this summer wearing a straw fedora, usually with the waning-but-won't-give-up deep v and shants, is truly devastating. Sometimes you have to take a step back and think, "If Justin Timberlake popularized this trend, does it make it less cool?" The answer is yes.

Here are some more trends and their current status:

-Mocassins/Minntonkas/fringe/feathers/The "Injun" Look
-Wearing a band around your head
-Huge Glasses
-Aforementioned deep Vs
-Cosby sweaters
-Pointy little oxfords
-Doc Martens

-Neons/Nu Rave
-Fashion mullets
-Random belts
-Wet look leggings (I did see some in the children's department of Target, though!)

-90's florals
-Any fucking kind of stupid hat
-Short puffy high waisted skirts
-Blazers with rolled up sleeves
-Horrible faux leather shrunken bomber jackets
-Big ugly shoes
-Flabby denim cut-offs
-Harem/bulky/pleated pants
-Socks with aforementioned big ugly shoes

-Sack dresses
-Leggings as pants
-Thinking skateboarding is cool
-Posing like a frightened but sexy four-year-old

-I'm thinking those 90's stretchy tops that you bought at like Gadzooks or Fashion Bug with, like, photo print daisies on them?
-Ball chain necklaces: let's make it happen!
-Ironic XL Tommy Hilfiger?

Photos of Inspiration

Whenever I do photo posts, I always think, "Oh god, I probably stole these photos from someone's blog who is looking at this post right now! I'll be exposed as a fraud!!!"

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Great Photo I Found on the Internet

Amazing! If anyone has photos of like this, send them to me. I'm contracted to do a coffee table book about awkward teenage bands.

Trend Report from American Apparel

Gaby sent me the link to these mesh harem pants, the glam "new" style from American Apparel. Reviews confirm that, upon wearing, "Men stare and women compliment!" Wow, men stare, do they? What a commendation! It's so hard to get that to happen! I might just have to slip these on and visit a bodega and let the sheer mesh harem pants do the talking, if you know what I mean! And then I can just transition to a gallery opening or a prix fixe meal or an Opening Ceremony trunk sale and I'll fit right in there too!

Says the reviewer, "I wear it with just a basic bodysuit underneath and a narrow belt on top. You cant find anything like this anywhere else!!" How about a mid 80's workout video? What I hate about American Apparel, besides the fact that they suck in every way, is that it's all about mixing frump with slore. All your sluttiness has to be coded in this weird flowy crotch and lank greasy hair or whatever to distance you from the non-ironic, non-pretentious, "run-of-the-mill" ho who you are so much better than. Speaking of which:

What the hell is up with this?! I've noticed this "new trend" at such places as Topshop, the worst store in the world besides American Apparel and also Opening Ceremony: the long shapeless sheer skirt. Finally, we can combine the dowdiness of a calf-length skirt with the sheerness of your favorite teddy. There us nothing more elegant than a cloud of polyester chiffon on a hot summer's day, especially with a thong underneath. Trust me, since you can see your butt though this, men will stare!

Also, these are the worst:

Also, let's give these monstrous, infantile hair bows a rest:

And lastly:

Visors?! Someday I'm going to take the stock from a dollar store and put new prices on everything and change the sign from Dollar Up to American Apparel and wait for patrons. Half the time I see an old Asian lady on the street carrying recycling I think she is an American Apparel type, and then sometimes the reverse happens.