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Archive for the ‘Just for Fun’ Category

kitten

Jim Windolf wrote a piece in the December issue of Vanity Fair attacking the new American obsession with all things cute (see, e.g., cute overload.com, icanhazcheezburger,  the Obamas, etc).  He posits that our obsession with cuteness is a way to cope with everything negative and destructive that is happening around us, citing that the rise of certain websites dedicated to cute animals and cute foods such as cupcakes began sometime around the time everything in this country began to fall apart (ie. Bush’s presidency).  He says:

For generations, kids couldn’t wait until they reached adulthood so they could smoke, drink, eat four-course meals, make money, drive cars, have sex, and, if they were the type to join the military, legally kill other human beings. Now we would rather log on and tune out, preferably in the womb-like comfort of a Snuggie, which is the perfect thing to wear as we gaze at photos of kittens while gnawing on delicious cupcakes.

I do admit, however, that cuddling parties (a real event where you pay $30 to participate in a session of fully-clothed cuddling) are a little strange. I’m a little offended by his resentment of “cute culture,” because I don’t understand why it’s necessarily a bad thing to take solace in websites like lolcats every so often in order to step back from all the depressing headlines we are constantly absorbing. Furthermore, I don’t really see this as that new of a phenomenon. Disney movies have always included super adorable characters in their films (Flounder in The Little Mermaid, Meiko in Pocahontas, Chip in Beauty and the Beast to name a few), and I remember a Hello Kitty and Sanrio craze back when I was in Middle School in the late 90s.  Maybe it’s more noticeable now with the popularity and advances of the internet, but I feel like the appeal of cuteness is not a new thing. Plus, what’s so bad about taking solace in photos of cute kittens rather than drugs or alcohol or other self-destructive behavior? I will certainly continue to enjoy my cute cupcakes and pictures of adorable baby animals, and I refuse to feel ashamed or somehow less intelligent because of it.

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high-heels-250x250There’s a great article in The Guardian today about flats versus heels. The author explains that wearing flats regularly instead of the heels that fashion magazines dictate is an “act of collective fashion disobedience.” She explains:

Fashion has given us shoes as decorative objects, not footwear. A couple of years ago, Prada brought out shoes whose heels were shaped as vases. They sent out a specific message about the person wearing them: that they had elevated themselves above such plebeian activities as walking. Like the towering wigs of women in the 18th century, or the hoops and bustles of the 19th, they signal a life lived entirely ornamentally.

While I appreciate the beauty of high heels, and do (on very rare occasions) put them on to feel particularly fashionable, I spend most of my life in flats – not comfort flats (and never sneakers), mind you, but flats nonetheless. My dad likes to say that women wear high heels in order to show off their chests and their butts. I’m not sure if this is really the case, but I do think that there’s this expectation that to be sexy women should be wearing high heels. A guy recently told me that he thinks women should wear high heels all the time, because it just looks better.

It does seem like many women wear heels in order to live up to some kind of beauty expectation that was largely put into place by men. In this way, I can see how not wearing heels is an act of feminist defiance. Heels are, after all,  incredibly uncomfortable (I dare you to find me a pair of 3 or 4 inch heels that you can wear comfortably all day), and they can cause long lasting back and leg pain. I will continue to wear my flats with pride, and I won’t have to worry about bringing a change of shoes with me everywhere I go.

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I saw Whip It over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised to see a female written, female directed, and female driven film that was smart, funny, and has appeal beyond women (my boyfriend loved it!). Whip It is Drew Barrymore’s first foray into directing (she also plays a supporting role) and stars Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, and Kristen Wiig. The film is the story of a teenager growing up in rural Texas, who is dying to escape her mother’s attempts at making her a beauty pageant queen. She makes it onto an Austin roller derby team, the Hurl Scouts, and the movie takes off from there.

Yes, the movie was predictable. Yes, the mother-daughter relationship was slightly cliche. But, the film was incredibly enjoyable, and it was refreshing to see women in such powerful roles, and not letting their lives revolve around men. Also, I could not be more obsessed with Ellen Page. She always plays the best characters.

I hope that Whip It is successful, so that studios don’t hesitate in producing more movies like it.

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GO BLUE!

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Happy Wednesday!

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