Archive for the ‘Pop Culture & Celebrities’ 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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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?

Man, French Connection, I’ve Gotta Hand It to Ya

Here’s a photo from French Connection’s latest campaign. They always seem to have over-the-top hilarious promo photos of men being stereotypically manly.

Pictures say a thousand words, so I’m going to let this one do all the talking. It’s all kinds of awesome!

And here are some older French Connection ads:

I think French Connection does a great job at making fun of gender stereotypes – totally love it when marketing teams exaggerate the ridiculousness of our culture.

Sweep the Leg, Johnny! We Shouldn’t Brush Off Sweeping Gender Stereotypes

Nice guys. They are often subject to ridicule, and we’re quick to peg them as chumps or losers – they ‘have no balls’. This backwards way of thinking puts unnecessary pressure on men to live up to the stereotypical standards that they must be macho, aggressive, and egotistical to be respected.

Instead of rewarding them for talking about their feelings or being chivalrous, many men find themselves being the nail that gets hammered. And when you’re down for the count on more occasions than you care to admit, you wonder if it’s even worth it to get back up.

Even a feminist like myself is strongly attracted to the bad boy – the guy who you should never introduce to your mom, the person who cusses like a sailor, and the man who encourages your bad drinking habits. There’s something wrong here.

Sure, the element of danger is hella sexy, but how evolutionarily adaptive is this? There’s no future with men who are essentially assholes. They won’t stick by you through thick and thin. They’re all about the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am. Then peace out.

Why is it that nice men seem to finish last?

While you think about that, check out this funny short clip I came across on Funny or Die featuring The Karate Kid star, Ralph Macchio (all grown up, but still as sweet as ever). You’ll also see some other familiar faces including Molly Ringwald and Kevin Connolly.

Click on the link below to watch the clip called “Wax On, F*ck Off!”

http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/40m8

The premise of the hilarious video is that poor Ralph Macchio is such a nice guy that his wife, friends, and even gardener are concerned and stage an intervention. They claim that he’s polite, kind, and gentle so there must be something wrong with him. He didn’t become an alcoholic or get tangled with prostitutes. He didn’t start taking drugs or have a sex scandal. Basically, he’s being questioned for being one of the good guys.

This is totally not meant to be taken seriously, but it’s interesting to see gender stereotypes brought to the forefront in such a comical fashion.

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.

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