Archive for the ‘Movies & Television’ Category

What the Hell, Avril Lavigne?

Avril LavigneWhen Avril Lavigne first exploded onto the scene in 2002 with Complicated and put a pseudo-punk twist on pop-rock music, I was in mad love with her. Really liked the way she dressed (yes, I liked her ties), the way she sang (even if her live performances were off-key), and the way she didn’t seem to give a shit. It was also pretty cool knowing that she was Canadian.

But, of course, like with most singers in the spotlight, Avril Ramona Lavigne evolved over the years since she became more successful. She churned out hit after hit including the often-mocked Sk8er Boi, the ‘more mature’ I’m With You, and the teeny-bopper anthem, Hot.

Throughout her career, I can’t help but notice how she see-saws between promoting a stereotypical teenage girl and a strong kick-ass-take-names womyn of the world (yes, woman with a y – look it up).

Even though I’m no longer a big Avril Lavigne fan, I can respect her. She has a strong personality despite being 5’2″ tall. Dynamites come in small packages.

Heard that she’ll be releasing her 4th studio album, Goodbye Lullaby, on March 8, 2011. One of the singles on that album is called What the Hell.

Watch the Avril Lavigne What the Hell Music Video Here!

Although I think Avril Lavigne’s music is generally happy-go-lucky and feisty, a problem I have with her songs is that despite getting older, her songs remain very teenage-esque. Some people love her for that, and I can understand it, but I prefer artists who are able to break out of the teenage stereotype and still keep their aging fan base.

Now for a Play-by-Play of What the Hell

At the beginning of What the Hell, we see Avril waking up in bed with some random dude. She’s wearing nothing except a bra and panties. The guy wakes up and looks like he wants to cuddle, but she instead gets up and puts on a dress shirt. All the while, she’s singing about how the guy think she’s messing with his head because she made out with his friend. But “love hurts whether it’s right or wrong”. And she’s “having too much fun”.

The feminist behaviour here is her being authentic to her own wants. And it’s interesting to see how throughout the video, she keeps mentioning his feelings and how he keeps begging her to stay with him. But clearly she doesn’t give a glock! She’ll do what makes her happy. Bitch? Maybe. Bad? Sometimes.

The loser gets out of bed and tries to get fresh with Avril. She isn’t having it! She pushes him into a closet and locks him in there! WTF? Is he Charlie Sheen’s prostitute? (Sorry, I heard that joke somewhere and thought it was too good not to share.)

In the next scene, she steals a taxi cab and drives it erratically to get away from the guy (who somehow got out of the closet and is now pedaling on a bike to try to keep up). She’s carefree with her pop-princess pink-hair highlight, and breaks the rear-view mirror when she tries to adjust it.

In the chorus, Avril Lavigne says how all her life she’s been good, but now she’s thinking what the heck? Might as well fool around and enjoy myself. Who cares about getting serious with any guy?

As she gingerly exits her car, she lets it roll…and it crashes into a parked car.

But it’s the next scene that’s ridiculous with a capital R! She hits a basketball court with men who make her look like a midget. They throw the ball to her, and she shoots an easy lay-up.

Then, in a schizophrenic second, we’re whisked off to a vintage-clothing store where she tries on clothes. The guy (who’s now officially a stalker) finds her at the store and ends up having to pay for clothes she wears out of the store without warning.

And…another scene change! This time we’re in a sketchy hallway. Someone should speak to the landlord because the lights shine only blue.

Enter Mr. Stalker. Throw the poor dog a bone! All he wants is a smoocheroo. So she pretends to get all hot and heavy with him. But then she all of a sudden runs up on stage and starts performing. Our slow-witted Mr. Stalker who clearly can’t take no for an answer and who still thinks he has a shot smiles sleepily as he watches her perform.

Thinking that she’s a total badass, Avril flips the bird not once, but twice. Maybe in 1920 that would’ve been shocking, but now it’s as common a hand gesture as the thumbs up. To be a total badass, you need to do something fucking awesome…like get a “Mom” tattoo…hahahaha!

The final scene is Avril in bed again with Follower, and she winks to the camera because she knows that she’s the one who wears the pants in that ill-fated relationship.

It’s fun to sing the song even though I’m embarrassed to admit it. But because it isn’t much of a departure from Avril’s previous work, this isn’t a tune that I’ll be spinning often.

What do you think of What the Hell? Do you see it as empowering women to be free and do what they want? Or are you sick and tired of it being the same old, same old?

 

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Gregory Gorgeous on The Avenue Show

Gregory Gorgeous. You may have heard of him – he’s pretty big on YouTube. Every so often, I check out his channel because I find him to be very charming and funny. Sometimes he’s also ditsy and ridiculous. He’s one of those rare guys who actually looks amazing with makeup and women’s clothing. His fashion sense and personality is something truly fierce, and I commend his confidence to stay true to himself.

Some people have problems with blurring the line between genders. Many of us grew up in households where our parents taught us that this is how girls should behave and look like, and this is how boys should behave and look like. So when we see a man walking down the street wearing a dress and heels, it can cause confusion or even outrage.

But why is this? If a person isn’t doing any harm and is merely wearing clothes typically associated with another gender, why is that such a big deal? The clothes on our backs and the handbags we carry are just a form of self-expression. Let me tell you something – even those who don’t cross-dress are guilty for committing many fashion faux-pas! So if a guy wants to wear women’s clothing and can actually pull it off with flair, why should he be penalized?

Gregory Gorgeous is starring in a show called The Avenue. It’s based in Toronto, and is a reality-based show that’s reminiscent of The Hills. While I don’t think this will receive any awards, I do give it the thumbs up for being open-minded. There aren’t many Canadian shows out there that star a gay man who wears makeup and women’s fashion and that isn’t a deliberate comedy.

Okay, so the acting is pretty amateur. And yes, you can hear clothing rubbing onto the microphone so it’s totally a low-budget production. But the premise is fun and easy-going. Not every show needs to be a cheesy musical headache like Glee, a gory murder mystery like Dexter, or a beaten-to-death show like American Idol. Sometimes you just want something light and fluffy so you forget that the world is the place of hard knocks.

What do you think about Gregory Gorgeous on The Avenue? Will you be watching it? Do you support men who embrace femininity?

Near…Far…Wherever Flaky Characters Are

We’ve all seen James Cameron’s Titanic with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. I remember seeing it in the theater and loving it. The one scene near the end where the fireworks go off behind Jack as Rose is lowered in one of the emergency boats still gives me goosebumps for some reason.

Did you ever wish there was an alternate ending? Did you think that Rose’s character was really flaky? Do you think that you’ve seen all the Titanic parodies already?

Here’s a funny one I found on YouTube by LisaNova. Made me laugh – had to share it with you! It makes fun of the part where Jack freezes his skinny tush off while Rose lies on the raft.

Katy Perry on Sesame Street: A Dish Best Served ‘Hot n Cold’

Katy PerryAs far as I know, Katy Perry has never said that she’s a feminist. And if she has said so, then she’d be a major hypocrite with music videos like California Gurls where she’s hypersexualized and infantilized with Snoop Dogg filling his usual role as outlandish pimp.

She literally squirts whipped cream from cans attached to her, well, cans! And the make-believe world she’s frolicking around in is pretty much Candy Land.

Despite this, I can’t help but love Katy Perry. She’s not the best singer, she certainly isn’t the best dresser, and she wears a heck of a lot of war paint, but she’s got spunk in spades.

Far too many women take themselves seriously, so it’s nice to see someone having fun. Plus she gives Cheese Whiz a run for its money with get-ups like a carousel dress, an egg costume, and a really cheap-looking blue wig. She’s definitely not afraid to be cheesy!

So when I heard she was slammed for her appearance on Sesame Street, I had to watch her performance of Hot n Cold for myself to see if people were just being prudes or if she looked like she was working the street.

Bring on the cheese!

Elmo’s not wearing any clothes.

Okay, so her dress is cut really low and her hemline is short. But it’s not that outrageous. (Maybe I’ve become desensitized after having read rubbishy magazines.)

Take a look at any Barbie doll at the toy store. You’ll see something similar, and you don’t hear many parents squawking nearly as much. Barbie is just as sexualized as Katy Perry on Sesame Street, so why aren’t these same people also complaining about Barbie, a toy that’s generally accepted by the mainstream?

Also check out what The Little Mermaid is wearing. That’s even more revealing, yet parents don’t bat an eye and go out to rent or buy it so their kids can be entertained. The cartoon character doesn’t get bashed, yet Katy Perry (a real woman) gets called out.

I respect parents’ wishes to not want to expose their toddler to cleavage so soon. (After all, they do have many awkward teenage years to go through to figure that out, right?) But to be so outraged about this outfit and have it pulled from the children’s television show is a little harsh. It wasn’t like she was wearing Swarovski pasties and a mesh g-string with Tickle Me Elmo.

It’s also interesting that people are badmouthing just Katy Perry for her attire. Sure, she had the final say as to if she would wear something, but if you’re going to lash out at her, what about the lack of judgment of the producer, the stylist, the film crew, and all the other people who edit the look and feel of each show? Someone could’ve brought up their concern, too. But they thought it was okay.

What did you think when you saw the music video? Were you offended or did you think it was child’s play?

Betty White Reminds Us to Lighten Up

We live in a world where we tell people not to judge a book by its cover, but we’re actually obsessed with physical appearance because first impressions are lasting ones.

The fact that many women are preoccupied with keeping their youthful appearance is about as new as the Egyptian pyramids.

We strive to discover the Fountain of Youth amidst the drugstore aisles. Some, like Heidi Montag, take it farther and seek refuge in a plastic surgeon’s office as I blogged about here. And many women are even ashamed to admit their age, as if the older they get, the less appealing they feel they’ve become. All that knowledge and all those experiences you’ve gained throughout the years mean didley squat?

Kickin’ It Old School

Old women. Think about them. Chances are that you conjure up images of rocking chairs, knitting needles, evil queens, mean stepmothers, or anti-aging beauty products. And they’re often the butt of chauvinist jokes.

Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-a-Lam)!

Then a person like The Golden Girls sensation, Betty White, saunters in, and talk of her awesome monologue when she hosted SNL on May 8 goes viral. What is it about her that got people talking? How did she break the mould of society’s idea of old women sipping tea while watching reruns of Matlock?

I’ll tell you why she blew your mind.

Betty White wasn’t playing it safe. The Proposal star was candid, and she was proud of being 88 years old. (Seems like she mentions her age pretty often.) Betty White also had guts. She made fun of the youth culture (Facebook, anyone?), and for once the world learned to respect an old lady. Being fun-loving and funny, Betty White stole our hearts.

Betty White in Action

Betty White Says Glock You to Ageism

I’ve looked high, low, and upside down to find a video online that I could link to so you could hear her deliver the now-famous monologue. But no dice.

Instead, we can chew the fat on Betty White’s SNL monologue in black and white. Don’t worry – it’s lean cuisine.

Betty White:

“I really have to thank Facebook. I didn’t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time. I would never say the people on it are losers, but that’s only because I’m polite.

People say, ‘But Betty, Facebook is a great way to connect with old friends.’ Well at my age, if I wanna connect with old friends, I need a Ouija Board.

Needless to say, we didn’t have Facebook when I was growing up. We had phone book, but you wouldn’t waste an afternoon with it.”

Check out the below clip that shows Betty White in her hay days.

Betty White is a living example that you can be old and happy. You can laugh at yourself and laugh at others. You can be comfortable in your own skin. And you can find humour in anything. Her playful attitude teaches us that what makes us forever young is our ability to be young at heart. In the end, that’s what really matters.

The fact that many women are obsessed with keeping their youthful appearance is as new as the Egyptian pyramids.

Talkin’ Periods. Enter Exclamation Marks!

First thing’s first – Happy Mother’s Day! Hope you spent quality time with your mom, called her, wrote a letter to her, or at least thought about her. To all those women who’ve struggled, sacrificed their wants, and exemplified unconditional love: I salute you!

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

Periods. This isn’t the grammar police knocking down your punctuation doors. And it’s definitely not the Avon lady. Someone else is stopping by – your Monthly Friend (who apparently needs a condescending nickname).

It’s time to talk dirty – period dirty. Yes, Daniel Day-Lewis, there will be blood…just not the kind you were expecting. And no bowling pins are involved.

Before I go into how women perceive their periods and the media’s strong influence, let’s see how menstruation has been referred to as colloquially.

Redrum, Redrum!

Cher Horowitz from Clueless gets off the hook when she gives Mr. Halli the excuse that she was ‘surfing the crimson wave’. Crudely, having your period is also known as being ‘on the rag’. And then there are the nosebleed science textbooks that call the first period oh-so-fun names like menarche. (Zzz)

Even the word ‘period’ has negative connotations. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Stop. Right now. Stop. You’re in your period. Stop. (It’s like an annoying telegram!)

Women, when you’re in ‘That Time of the Month’, what do you think of? Cramps? Bloating? For some reason, girls are taught from a very young age to fear and loathe getting their periods. They’re told that it’s messy, painful, and uncomfortable. Special over-the-counter medications like Midol have been formulated to help women get through it.

For many years, females have been ashamed of this normal bodily function. Instead of celebrating this, we’re taught to essentially hate it.

Miracle on Elm Street

In television commercials, we see people in lab coats pouring blue liquid over pads to show us how well they absorb.

There are also women who testify that they’re able to play sports and resume normal activities when they’re in their periods because of pads or tampons.

‘Period’ical

Many years ago pads were bulky…like wearing a pillow between your legs. Now they’re ultra thin and even come in petite, regular, and longĀ  lengths. Tampons have transformed over the years, too, with a sleeker silhouette and with the invention of applicators.

Ever since I got my period and became a member of this ‘secret society’, I’ve noticed the packaging of pads and tampons. Years ago wrappers were usually pink. How stereotypically girly! Now, you might think that wrappers aren’t important. After all, you just throw them in the garbage anyway, right? Wrong. There’s been an evolution (and a revolution) that speaks volumes of a feminist movement.

After seeing pink and discrete wrappers all the time, I found it interesting when one day, Always started putting out pastel wrappers in non-traditionally feminine colours. Interesting! I sensed a change, and it was one I liked.

Rainbow Brite

Fast forward several years, Marty McFly. A few months ago, when I walked down the aisle for feminine-hygiene products in the pharmacy, something caught my eye. It was a rainbow. It was vibrant. It was U by Kotex.

Bright yellow, blue, pink, and green wrappers in fun boxes? They stand apart from their competitors because instead of trying to remain discreet, they’re flashing us!

Traditionally, talking about periods or drawing attention to your period isn’t very ladylike. I love how U by Kotex throws this out the window. (Not talking about something just leads to misunderstandings and even unnecessary fears.)

Check out the awesomely sarcastic 46-second U by Kotex commercial:

And here’s another goodie. At just 31 seconds, it does a great job at poking fun of absurd tampon commercials:

Fellow Canadians, you can get a free U by Kotex sample. (I requested mine.) And if you’re American, go here for the freebie.

What do you think about the U by Kotex commercials? Are you also intrigued with how this company took a blatant stand against commonly unchallenged gender stereotypes? Will you be supporting this by switching brands? Or do you think that it’s just another marketing strategy to make money and that it has no other agendas?

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