29 December, 2008

Arby's Food Disgusting; Ad Also Disgusting

This ad annoys the crap out of me; it is probably my least favorite commercial of 2008, which is saying a lot, since I've been watching more television than is probably healthy.

There are many things upon which I could enumerate when it comes to why this ad sucks--the one thing that sticks in my craw the most, however, is the overt sexualization of food service (especially since a woman is doing the serving!). The idea that men are obsessed with both sex and meat-laden food, too, is troubling. Would this ad be as "clever" if the gender roles were reversed? Probably not--especially given the not-very-subtle Arby's logo that literally pops up from the guy's head at the end.

15 December, 2008

Quick Hit Strikes Back: The Sexification of Illness

http://polkadotgals.com/index.html [NOT SAFE FOR WORK]

I do not begrudge these women for trying to raise awareness of fibro, but is a bikini/nude calendar really a good strategy? I also have to question the wisdom of selling lingerie [NSFW] in conjunction with the calendar in the name of "awareness."

What concerns me is the fact that many of the people who have posed for the calendar fit perfectly into the already-existing white, Western hegemonic ideal of female beauty, and are apparently nude in the name of "awareness." It's a move straight from the PETA playbook: using (white) naked female bodies to make consumers ostensibly aware of a cause without examining the larger implications of such a move.

How much "awareness" can one really have if one is too busy focusing on T&A?

For more on the sexification of illness and the related consumerist implications, read Barbara Ehrenreich's amazing piece "Welcome to Cancerland".

14 December, 2008

Quick Hit: Why I Strongly Dislike Jezebel

Because: using feminist rhetoric to slam fashion magazines and then turning right around to slam people whose issues you either cannot or do not wish to offer even a modicum of consideration to does not make you cool, or edgy. It just makes you an asshole. [I am aware that there are tons more examples of epic failure such as the above, but I lack the inner steeliness to go through the entire site right now in order to look for more.]

Judging by the site's popularity, however, I suppose that actively marginalizing and/or endlessly snarking on people who are--GASP!--different from you due to their (dis)abilities, differences of opinion, or perceived lack of what you conceptualize as feminist skills is the new "in" thing. I am all for using humor as a weapon and/or catalyst for change, but not at the very real expense of potential allies.

Yes, I am a total old-school style stick in the mud, and no, I do not intend to change this.

For more, check out this classic Feministing post on two of the Jezebel writers' (televised) drunken antics, and why the site's use of feminist rhetoric is problematic. Also, there's this. Totally awesome on the part of Jezebel and not at all problematic, AMIRITE?

Edited to add two more pieces worth checking out: One from Hoyden About Town, on Jezebel's use and abuse of ableist language (because this use is, of course, not just a one-time thing), and Deus Ex Malcontent's excellent analysis of some of the issues surrounding the Gawker fame juggernaut that spawned Jezebel.

07 December, 2008

oh hay look it'z my illness!


"Do you or someone you know suffer from fibromyalgia? Do you have constant pain and it's affecting your day to day life?"

Yes, and that's what fibro does. The constant pain affects your day-to-day life.

Were the topic "Do you suffer from fibromyalgia, and are you also filled with rage?" I would TOTALLY write in. Instead, they want to push some new treatment or something. Ergh.

So, who wants to inundate the Dr. Phil show with messages demanding that we angry fibromites get some screen time? ;-)

03 December, 2008

Who Needs Love, When There's Body Fascism?

So, Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls has recently gone public with her spat with her record label, Roadrunner Records--the label is refusing to promote the new single from her album (which I've been listening to NONSTOP, by the way) because her belly "looks too big" in the video.

Frankly, I'm not seeing this too-bigness:

Also, in a recent blog post, Amanda recounted a meeting with her A&R guy:

right before the european tour i went to the new york offices of roadrunner to say hi and check in.
my a&r guy (my main contact at the label) sat me down in his office and said he wanted to discuss the “leeds united” video.
he told me that there were certain shots that they wanted to either cut completely or digitally alter to “be more flattering”.

my favorite quote from that meeting:
“i’m a guy, amanda. i understand what people like.”

That last line is, I swear, just about the most unintentionally hilarious thing I've read all week. I like how "guy" stands in for all "people." Not all people are men, but okay, A&R dude. Congrats, you've just proved Laura Mulvey's 1970s-era theory about the male gaze, and it's 2008! Male is NOT the default, nor does it constitute the single set of eyes in the music video/film world or otherwise. How many times must us evil, hairy, angry feminists say it? GODDAMN.

Anyway, I'd meant to write about Amanda's album much, much earlier, as it's been in pretty much constant rotation here at the HamShack, but this whole debacle has given me an inroad. If you are looking for interesting, original music, please check out Ms. Palmer's work--both her solo album and her work with the Dresden Dolls. You can purchase her album here.