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Okay, since I’m STILL hearing people on the internet griping about the first Girl With The Dragon Tattoo poster, I felt the need to go on a little rant here. Bear with me.

Look at the image on the left. Now look at the image on the right. One of these images is of a “sexualized woman,” and the other is not. If you cannot tell the difference between a nude woman, and a sexualized woman, you are an idiot.

The fact that Rooney Mara is naked in the TGWTDT poster does not make her sexualized or objectified. David Fincher has not “missed the point,” he’s actually making a very insightful observation into the way nude women are portrayed in advertising and in films. Lisbeth Salander may be nude in this poster, but she’s miles away from the expected depiction of a naked woman. Rooney Mara said it perfectly herself:

There’s a certain way people are used to seeing nude women, and that’s in a submissive, coy pose, not looking at the camera. And in this poster, I’m looking dead into the camera with no expression on my face. I think it freaks a lot of people out.

The image of Katy Perry is clearly what Rooney is talking about here (I don’t have anything visceral against Katy Perry, I’m just using a picture of her to make a point). She looks sweet, coyly hiding herself from the camera, but still looking inviting and sexually available. Rooney Mara is the exact opposite. She is bold and uninhibited in her nudity, and she looks right at the viewer with a piercing glare that conveys an unmistakable message: come near me, and you’re dead. This is hardly in keeping with the conventional images of naked women that we are used to seeing.

Nudity and sexualization are not the same thing. Try to actually understand an image and look closely at it in relation to societal conventions and expectations before you make a judgement.

Reblogging, because I want to discuss this with Vicious.

There are a number of issues in this argument all being snowballed into sexualization: objectification, female nudity, society’s perception of female nudity, female nudity in pop culture, and David Fincher’s intentions behind the GWTDT poster.

There is a difference between female nudity and female sexualization and certainly a difference between female nudity and objectification, but when seen through the lens of pop culture and American society, those lines begin to blur.

(Note: I realize that because I can see Mara’s nipples that this is the European version of the poster, not the American. However as both myself and the author of the rant are living in America, I think we can safely take an American point of view on these posts.)

In the initial rant, Mara is not sexualized because she is not looking submissive, coy, sweet, or sexually available. Moreover, she is looking straight at the camera with an expressionless face.

The fact that in the image Mara is being held from behind by a clothed man in the darkness (as the heavy shadows show) with nipple piercings does not play a roll in the argument.

(Note: It is a topic of debate online whether or not novel Lisbeth has her nipples pierced. If anyone finds me a passage stating that she does, please let me know.)

Of the following images of blank faced nude models looking directly at the camera, please tell me which are sexualized and which are not.

All images via Ms Pussy Le Queer

Victoria’s Secret is huge into non-coy looking models. To argue that they are not sexualized is defeating a major point of the product they’re selling.

One can attempt to make that argument that Fincher is attempting to critique the way society views women and the way women have been portrayed over the past 120 years in the media, (with a focus on coy sexualization) but why would he choose to make this grand statement using the medium that he’s apparently contradicting?

More than likely, the graphic design team chose the photo and made the design of the poster. Yes, Fincher approved the design, but his producer or production team was there to remind him about the bottom line and MGM’s expectations. Mara’s role in this movie poster probably became about what most female sexualization in movies comes down to–selling tickets.


Why is pop musi…

Why is pop music the only art form that still inspires such arrantly stupid discussion?

-Sashe Frere-Jones, The New Yorker

There is a very simple answer to this–pop music is popular. So is stupidity.

Since pop music is popular, pop stars are glamorized and scrutinized in ways that other artists don’t have to deal with, or at least don’t have to deal with to quite the same extent. In the public eye, these people become more than just music makers. When conversation becomes vapid (as it always does when such a large group of people focus strongly on a single person) it extends past weight loss/gain, dating, social events, and other such things that have nothing to do with music to the music itself.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my profile picture lately.

It’s zombie Marie Curie saying,

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard that you become great in the process.

It probably seems stupid that I’m still reeling from the whole Effie’s Club Follies fiasco. Why would someone as talented and motivated as myself waste time even thinking about such people or organizations?

Because I refuse to use all of my time wisely?  Because I can’t help myself. Because that event uncovered some deep seeded, repressed fears–fears of becoming motivated by negative emotions, becoming bitter and resentful of those trying to help me; fears of failure.

In actuality, nobody would care if I failed at this. If the boylesque troupe Tim and I are attempting to start never got off of the ground and Burlesque Beta fizzled out over time, nobody’s life would be ruined. I have very understanding friends.

The pressure to succeed is self-inflicted. I think that’s the best kind of pressure. Society, I can hide from, but I can’t hide from myself.

If you know you can’t look at yourself in the mirror if you fail, it takes the option of failure away.

A Dash of Hope

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

— Howard Zinn


Via: Things I Love Thursday: Playing Tourist In My Own City!

from by Gala

The Sex Trade

After reading PÖMZ‘s idea for building a better brothel via the video game system (The Happy Escort Studio), I began thinking that the problem he is attempting to solve transcends a simple brand reboot. While the idea of combining the oldest profession with one of the newest is sound, the root of the problem is not prostitution, but how society views the trade.

At the time of first watching the video, my views were also influenced by the New York Time’s The Disposable Woman by Anna Holmes about how Charlie Sheen’s abuses of women are written off due to the professions of and the way society views the women who accompany him. In the article, Holmes talks about Charlie Sheen’s abusive behavior toward women being ignored and somewhat condoned by society because the recipients of these acts were deemed lowly (i.e. “sluts”). There is a certain amount of dehumanization that we, at some point in time, have been trained to call upon when reacting to those women in the line of sexual business such as porn stars, strippers, or prostitutes. While there’s no doubt that there is a stigma involved with women who sell their bodies, the odd part is where we, as a society, draw the line. This mindset is much more removed in response to other realms of the industry such as lingerie models, cam girls, or your mainstream pop stars.

The part of this video that didn’t appeal to me was the focus on the youth of the girl in question. The fundamental issue of today’s sex trade is sex trafficking, which tends to prey on underage girls. One would hope that anyone who argues for the legalization of prostitution would be against such atrocious acts. Despite the glorification of youth that constantly pervades our society, there is no fine line between sexual titillation and pedophilia. An important part of legitimizing the sex trade would involve separating the trade’s image from all of the nasty stigmas it possesses, including its link to the young girls it currently victimizes. This would take place after the trade was put under strict regulation to ensure there was no longer any real world basis for these assumptions.

Vegas does it right. The porn industry does, too. To make prostitution a viable product in the United States, there needs to be strict oversight. Pimps would have to make a strategic move up in the world, as well–give up the pimp lifestyle and learn how to manage people and money in a respectable manner. STD tests and protection need to be commonplace. And, of course, paying for a woman’s services should not be the financial equivalent of going grocery shopping. For many years, a prostitutes talent was based on how much she charged, but the affection of a woman, be it real or faked is an expensive item and should be treated as such. Hell, maybe these women could even unionize.

I think part of the problem is the disassociation between the actual women and the hyper-sexualized beings they’re presented as. “Our job requirement was to be someone unreal, a hyper-sexualized girl who danced and deferred, but in the dressing room, we could be ourselves, neither distorted by fantasy nor brutalized by judgment. We could fix our makeup, wiggle our toes, count our money, goof around and just talk,” says Lily Burana in When we were strippers. The whore-madonna complex is so pervasive in our society, that it’s easy to marginalize women in the sex industry. Men are not the only ones at fault.

The only defense these women have against the fictionalized world society creates for them is their co-workers. “What made that dressing room so special was that it was infused with the sex industry’s scarcest commodity: trust….That trust fortified us against the seamier aspects of the job: the cover stories quickly conjured to sustain a double life, the burnout, the dirtbag customers who thought it was OK to show up for a lap dance with reeking hair and wandering hands, management favoritism, and ever-changing, ever-more-demanding club standards.” Through one another, these women are able to create a defense against the weapons their customers and jobs fire against them, but what happens when they leave the safe space they’ve created? In marginalizing this group of people, society has made it even more dangerous for these women once they leave the club, the street corners, the studios where they gain their reputation.

It’s no secret that violence happens in the sex trade, specifically within the field of prostitution. There seems to be a correlation between the perceived amount of regulation behind the deal and the amount of violence that occurs.  According to “Solicitation: Part Four,” by Rachel Rabbit White, both Scott and Atchinson [sex work researchers] report that violence is more common in unregulated venues, like the street.” The article is full of first hand accounts of violence against sex workers, as well as acts from tricks that hurt these sex workers business (bad reviews on Craig’s List, ect.). The sheer suggestion of someone regulating the deal that is being made cuts this type of behavior down, perhaps due to perceived repercussions.

But there are no repercussions. In a system with no legal repercussions, the only threats one faces are those enforced by those in charge, and those in charge care nothing about these women.

Why is pop music the only art form that still inspires such arrantly stupid discussion?

-Sashe Frere-Jones, The New Yorker Feb. 6, 2012

The Burqa

As we have just passed the ten year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, we might consider how civilizational-sartorial thinking has shaped recent cultural politics and military policies. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, veils and veiled Muslim women were pathologized as passive victims in need of rescue from their oppressive religion, culture, and men. As I discuss in greater detail elsewhere, it was not just the fashion media but also the news media, politicians, and, yes, mainstream feminists who perceived the veil as the exemplary Other to fashion. Consider this statement by a writer: “frivolous fashion is itself a patriotic symbol of America: You may never be able to afford that shredded Georgette Givenchy gown, but at least you aren’t forced to live underneath a burqa.” The veil, within this civilizational logic, is rendered the material symbol of not only Eastern tradition (as opposed to Western modernity) but a tradition imagined as brutally backwards and oppressive. This image of the victimized veiled woman played a large role in substantiating the humanitarian justification for the war in Afghanistan. Recall all the ways in which the U.S. State Department’s Report on the Taliban’s War against Women centered on the burqa and its perceived infringement on Muslim women’s freedoms. Civilizational thinking occludes the possibility that the burqa might be a fashionable garment that women wear to express their own identities, worldviews, and choices. In other words, civilizational-sartorial thinking denies Muslim women’s agency and in so doing, it negates important feminist histories of veiling such as the choice of some Egyptian women in the 1970s and 1980s to veil as a resistant act challenging Western and secular cultural domination.

Fraught Intimacies: Fashion & Feminism (The Director’s Cut)

-found it on DeviantArt-

The Original: Females

Does the book contain one or more female characters? Yes

Do these characters have names? Yes: Daisy, Jordan, Myrtle, Catherine, Lucille

Do these characters talk to one another? Yes

Do they discuss something other than men? Yes. Travel (p.34)

Other-Though Fitzgerald seems to be less sexist than many of his contemporaries, the predominant sexist attitude of the time tends to slip through on occasion. For instance, when Nick first describes the lavish parties at Gatsby’s house: “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths” (p.39). One could make the argument that, like many of the wealthy men of today, the men of Gatsby’s parties are attracted to women very much their juniors, and therefore, Nick is simply describing the party-goers as he sees them. However, when speaking about his lover Jordan, this bias becomes clearer: “Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply” (p.58). Clearly, Nick can’t hold Jordan to the same moral standard as he would a man, because she is just a weak woman. The last sexist moment doesn’t come from Nick, but rather from Tom. Tom serves as the window character to show some of the more repulsive commonly held views of upper class society members of the day. Near the end of the novel, Tom makes Daisy drive home with Gatsby shortly after Gatsby reveals to him that he is in love with Daisy and that he intends to run off with her. For some reason, Daisy agrees, showing that both she and Gatsby are powerless in the face of Tom. To add insult to injury, Nick tells Gatsby after the fact, “I don’t think she ever loved him…You must remember, old sport, she was very excited this afternoon. He told her things in a way that frightened her” (p.152). Ah, yes. Women are known to betray every emotion and relationship they’ve ever had once they get excited, just like a dog that urinates on itself.


Does the book contain one or more characters of a minority race? Yes: “A Finnish woman, who made my bed and cooked breakfast and muttered Finnish wisdom to herself over the electric stove. ” (p.4)

Do these characters have names? No.

Other: Fitzgerald uses Tom to show the worst traits of upper class society, therefore making him a racist, along with many other things. Tom goes on and on in long rants about his views of minorities: “The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be–will be utterly submerged…It’s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out of these other races will have control of things;” “Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions, and next they’ll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white” (p.130). This racism also extends to Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, but to a lesser extent: “I almost married a little kike who’d been after me for years. I knew he was below me” (p.34). However, the idea that Fitzgerald is using racism as a literary device falls through once the narrator starts saying things a bit off color: “As we crossed Blackwell’s Island a limousine passed us, driven by a white chauffeur, in which sat three modish negroes, two bucks and a girl. I laughed  aloud as the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry” (p.69); “A pale well-dressed negro stepped near” (p.139).


Does the book contain one or more gay characters? No.


Does the book contain one or more lower-class characters? Yes and no. The book is aware of lower class characters, and even pitches Nick as one of them, as he is not super rich. However, someone whose parents pay for him to take a year off after college to find himself is pretty far from poor by any standards. The book constantly refers to these characters, but treats them as mythical creatures that they’ve all been told about in fairy tales: “One thing’s sure and nothing’s surer / The rich get richer and the poor get—children” (song p.95). Oh plight of the lower classes, you’re so funny.

The Bechdel Test Project

In this article  Frank Kovarik wrote for Jezebel, he began applying the Bechdel test to the classic literature he teaches in high school. For those of you unfamiliar, the Bechdel Test, created by Alison Bechdel in a 1985 Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip puts movies to three simple questions:

  • Does a movie contain two or more female characters who have names?
  • Do those characters talk to each other?
  • And, if so, do they discuss something other than a man?

A surprising number of films do not pass even the first of these questions, and very few can answer “yes” to all three.

You may think that it’s unfair to apply this test to classic literature. After all, we know that the majority of literature was written by old, white men, (in some cases young white men) but it is also true that these works are and have been extremely influential in American culture. After all, we all must read some amount of classic literature before we graduate any level of education, be it middle school, high school, or upper level education. Applying the Bechdel test to sexism, racism, homosexism, and classism and seeing how literature’s perception compares to the real world could give some insight into the collective consciousness of America.

So that is exactly what I intend to do. I’ve compiled a list of 78 books taken from 3 100 best novel lists: Modern Library, Time Magazine, and the New York Times. If a novel made more than one of these lists, it made my final list. I now intend to read every one of these books and analyze them in terms of sexism, racism, homosexism, and classism. Wish me luck.

  1. *ULYSSES by James Joyce
  2. *THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. *LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
  5. *BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
  6. *THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
  7. *CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller
  8. *THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
  9. *UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
  10. *1984 by George Orwell
  11. *I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
  12. *TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
  13. *AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
  14. *THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
  15. *INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
  16. *NATIVE SON by Richard Wright
  18. *A PASSAGE TO INDIA by E.M. Forster
  19. *ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
  20. *A HANDFUL OF DUST by Evelyn Waugh
  21. *AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
  22. *THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY by Thornton Wilder
  23. *GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin
  24. *THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Graham Greene
  25. *LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
  26. *DELIVERANCE by James Dickey
  27. *A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series) by Anthony Powell
  28. *THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
  29. *TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller
  30. *PALE FIRE by Vladimir Nabokov
  31. *LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
  32. *ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
  33. *THE MOVIEGOER by Walker Percy
  35. *THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
  36. *A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
  37. *OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
  38. *HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
  39. *THE DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathanael West
  40. *A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
  41. *THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark
  42. *BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh
  44. *THE DEATH OF THE HEART by Elizabeth Bowen
  45. *RAGTIME by E.L. Doctorow
  46. *THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
  47. *LOVING by Henry Green
  48. *MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN by Salman Rushdie
  49. *THE MAGUS by John Fowles
  50. *WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys
  51. *UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch
  52. *THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
  53. *ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand (cheat)
  54. *THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien
  55. *TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
  56. *DUNE by Frank Herbert
  57. *GRAVITY’S RAINBOW by Thomas Pynchon
  58. *SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
  59. *GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
  60. *A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving
  61. *THE STAND by Stephen King
  63. *BELOVED by Toni Morrison
  65. *BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy
  66. *ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute
  67. *GREENMANTLE by Charles de Lint
  68. *THE RECOGNITIONS by William Gaddis
  69. *AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS by Flann O’Brien
  70. *WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams
  71. *NAKED LUNCH by William S. Burroughs

73. *The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
74. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
75. The Golden Notebook (1962), by Doris Lessing

76. Herzog (1964), by Saul Bellow-?

77. Possession (1990), by A.S. Byatt-?

78. *Watchmen (1986), by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons