Posts Tagged ‘Media’

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.

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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.

Stepping up to the (Dinner) Plate: Some Food for Thought from a Feminist Turned Vegetarian

When I made the decision to become vegetarian (roughly 3 years ago), little did I know that by choosing to give up meat, I was going to fight more battles than I bargained for.

Oh, the path to vegetarianism is paved with good intentions, silly jokes, and a cold plate of prejudice. Who would’ve thought that people would care that much about what I didn’t put inside my mouth!

Let’s rewind the tape and go back to simpler, more carnivorous times, shall we? Although twig-like in stature due to a combination of high metabolism and genetics, I loved me some bacon, steak, chicken wings, and ribs. The flavour. The way it smelled. The way it padded my stomach. Oh, it was heaven!

I didn’t become vegetarian because I didn’t like the taste of meat. In fact, I was one of those people who thought that she couldn’t give up meat and questioned why anyone would. Animals are for humans to eat. How can anyone live on salad? “I love meat too much to stop eating it.”

But then a guy shared this documentary with me called Earthlings. It’s long, propagandist, and has a very comatose Joaquin Phoenix as the narrator. In Earthlings, you learn more about the role of animals, how meat production negatively affects the Earth, and how by simply eating meat, you may be subscribing to animal cruelty.

But what made me second-guess my consumption of meat was a gruesome scene of a cow being slain inhumanely as it cried out in pain. Blood rained from the beast as it was hung to die. Then there were the chickens who had their beaks cut off and who were forced to live in confined, dirty spaces that drove them to insanity as they pecked at each other and inflicted wounds. And there were plenty more hard-to-watch scenes – to this day, I still haven’t been able to watch the entire documentary because it’s so unsettling.

So I tried the gradual approach and gave up seafood first. I didn’t much care for it (except shrimp, lobster, and muscles), so I figured it was the easiest elimination. Plus, it was just a trial run to see if I could do it. It had always been my intention that if it felt like too much or if I ever felt unhealthy because of my new diet, I vowed to turn back around. But if all these celebrities could be vegetarians, then so could I.

Well, guess what? I did it, and it was way too easy. Okay, hot shot. What about chicken? Could I give up that? Did it. Easier than I thought, too. To make a long story short, the last ones on my ‘assassination’ list were beef and pork. And I felt great physically – had more energy.

But this story wouldn’t be a good story if there weren’t some villains, right? [Cue the gang]

Here are the challenges I faced:

  • Eating Out at Restaurants – Lots of my old favourite places cater to meat eaters. Finding appetizing and filling vegetarian dishes was much harder than anticipated. Most places had salad, but I’m not the type of person who considers salad a proper meal.
  • Finding Meat Alternatives – Substituting chick peas, lentils, tofu, and the like made it easy to get my protein. And I discovered Tofurkey and soy products created to imitate things like ground beef, chicken nuggets, and even bacon (believe it or not – although the ‘facon’ as I call it tastes horrid).
  • Defending Myself – Every single time I refrained from eating meat and had to tell someone that I’m a vegetarian, I’ve been poked and prodded to justify my choice. It’s not like we ask, “Why do you eat meat?” But when you’re a vegetarian, you get bombarded with questions like: “Don’t you like meat?”, “How can you get full just from eating vegetables?”, “How do you know that vegetables don’t feel pain, too?”, and (my favourite) “What’s wrong with you? You used to eat meat and were fine with it.” My abbreviated answers?
    • “I liked eating meat, but I gave it up.” Just because we like something doesn’t mean we have to continue doing it. You like ice cream, but do you have to eat it every day?
    • “I don’t just eat vegetables.” Being a vegetarian requires that you eat smart and balanced meals that may include rice, bread, noodles, pasta, etc., and not exclusively vegetables.
    • “I don’t know if vegetables feel pain.” But let me ask you something back. How do you know that the animals you’re eating don’t feel pain?
    • “There’s nothing wrong with me for wanting to cut out something that has been linked to a number of health problems and environmental issues.”
  • Cooking without Meat – Since a lot of recipes call for meat, I was forced to dig deeper and research new dishes to make. And instead of relying on meat to provide the flavour, I had to incorporate herbs and spices. Because of this, I believe I’m a much better cook than I was before. My culinary repertoire consists of a nice variety including (but not limited to) the following: shepherd’s pie, lasagna, sushi, falafels, pizza, stir fry, Pad Thai, veggie burgers, Tofurkey roasts, ‘chicken’ Parmesan, spaghetti, cannelloni, salads, cookies, brownies, and muffins. Even so, I’m still trying to test out new recipes now and then and put my own spin on them. I’m also proud to say that I make a mean veggie lasagna that even several avid meat-eaters have told me that they think it’s the best lasagna they’ve ever had! And even my dad (who will never give up meat because ‘it tastes good’) enjoys my shepherd’s pie and homemade pizzas.
  • Thanksgiving Feasts – Having a turkey at Thanksgiving is a family staple, but I have to sit out and just have my Tofurkey roast. As great as my mom makes turkey, I have to say that I look forward more to the stuffing she makes – that’s my favourite part about Thanksgiving dinner!
  • Cravings – Every now and then, I think about beef jerky, sizzling bacon, and juicy steaks. Sometimes even run-of-the-mill hot dogs at an outdoor vendor makes me salivate when before it was nothing. But I rein in the urge to backpedal. I remind myself why I became a vegetarian, and then I go make myself something yummy to eat.
  • Not Letting Other People’s Prejudice Get to Me – Some people may see my being a vegetarian as a weakness, a stupid conversion, or me just being a picky eater. Well, we all have our preferences and quirks. Some people won’t eat bread crusts. Some people pick out the olives from their pizza. Some people enjoy drinking prune juice. The world’s made up of all sorts of people.

Becoming a vegetarian might not have been the easy path for me, but I’m sticking with it (as long as I still feel healthy and happy). If holding true to your guns even when the going gets tough and standing up for what you believe in isn’t feminist and empowering, then I don’t know what is.

Jon & Kate Plus 8 Becoming Jon Minus Kate Plus 8

GlockomaRocky road bars are delicious and easy to prepare. Rocky road marriages are bitter and hard to survive.

Who would know better than Katie and Jonathan Gosselin? Their relationship was broadcast for all the world’s critical eyes to see on what is now one of TLC’s hottest reality shows – Jon & Kate Plus 8. As if having eight children wasn’t enough stress!

You’d have to be living under a metamorphic rock to have not heard about the couple’s recent turbulent relationship. ET Canada, Access Hollywood, Us Weekly, and other gossip sources all planted the seed of suspicion in the air. Was Kate having an affair with her bodyguard? Who was that female Jon was seen leaving with after partying? The stories were unraveling like some cheap pants from a fly-by-night business.

I admit that prior to the reports of a crumbling marriage, I had never really watched more than a snippet of the show. But then like millions of other viewers, I fell prey to the hype beast and tuned in on May 25 to see the season premiere of Jon & Kate Plus 8.

Kate and Jon spoke openly about the rift in their relationship, and when asked what the future held, they both couldn’t say for certain except that they’d be there for their kids no matter what. A family torn apart. Now people were treating it like a Battle of the Sexes, and they began to pick sides.

The feminist in me noticed how quick the public immediately pointed the finger at Kate. They criticized her for being a diva because she was bossy and controlling. And some people said that she was a spotlight hog because it looked like she wanted the attention more than Jon. (If you watch any episode, you’ll notice how much more vocal she is compared to her husband, and therefore the camera is focused on her more often than Jon.)

A lot of people were quick to pounce on Kate with their claws extended. To me, she symbolizes the modern woman who’s able to fulfill the role of nurturing mother yet who still is independent and travels for her job.

Obviously what we see on Jon & Kate Plus 8 only accounts for edited moments when the cameras were rolling, so we can’t assume that we’re getting the total truth. Still, I have to say that from what I have seen, I think it’s refreshing to see a woman who’s undeniably in charge. Instead of the played-out traditional threat “Just wait until your father gets home!”, I imagine that at the Gosselin residence, it’s more like “Just wait until your mother gets home!”. That’s right – it’s the woman who lays down the law.

Sometimes she may come across as a cold and strict disciplinarian, but I believe that sometimes you have to have an iron fist. It’s not always about going to the spa and picking which colour to have your nails done. And hello, having eight kids? You have to exert tough love sometimes because if you’re a softie, they won’t just walk all over you, eight children will feel more like a stampede!

GlockomaKate has also come under another attack, which I’m going to defend. Some have said that she’s just hungry to be a TV star and doesn’t care about exploiting her kids for the sake of fame. Maybe she is the Very Hungry Caterpillar. But…maybe she was just really resourceful. Let me explain.

Imagine that you have eight children…going through hundreds of diapers, feeding those little mouths, and hearing all of them screaming and crying! Not only is it tons of work, but it costs elephant tons of money, too! I think that Kate was really resourceful when she pitched the idea for a TV show following the trials and tribulations of parents with multiples (as they call it).

I’m sure she knew what she was doing. If the crew has to film her at home, most likely they’d give her a “studio home” or spruce up her existing pad. And no doubt when a show’s successful, they’ll pay for a lot of things (e.g. transportation, food, trips, etc.). It was a very creative and clever way for Kate and Jon to be able to afford having so many kids. If not for TLC giving them so much, well, TLC, Kate and Jon’s bills would’ve taken a sledgehammer to more than just the Porcelain Piggy (i.e. the piggy bank).

Another point of interest is that Kate isn’t your typical woman portrayed on the Dick Tube (by the way, that’s what I say instead of Boob Tube). Okay, yes, she’s shown in the traditional role of a mother with a protective wing, but what’s different is that she’s not nearly as emotional as many women on TV who always seem to be crying or who are afraid about something. Kate usually has everything in check and can control her emotions.

And then there’s Jon. I’m intrigued by his quiet demeanor. Most men on TV are depicted as being loud, arrogant, obnoxious, and/or violent. But he doesn’t fall into any of those unfortunate categories. I like how he’s always calm and doesn’t look like the type who would blow up or instigate a yelling match.

Plus, I love the interesting twist of how Jon was the one who quit his day job to stay home with the kids so Kate could travel and still work to promote her book. Usually you hear more about stay-at-home moms than stay-at-home dads. It’s refreshing to see someone bringing attention to an important group that’s usually invisible in popular media (and on a hit TV show no less!).

The next time you watch Jon & Kate Plus 8, look for the things I’ve mentioned regarding their personalities. Even if the show was meant to only be candy floss for your curious mind, it surprisingly is a great longitudinal case study illustrating a strong woman and a softer man.

GlockomaWhat do you think?

It’s Glockoma, Bitch! Is Being Nice Really a Sign of Lacking Personality?

GlockomaI struggled to write and complete this blog entry because I was worried that it lacked focus and cohesion. Also, I couldn’t seem to convey a strong opinion on the chosen topic or even answer many of the questions I posed. But I’ve decided to post it anyway for what it’s worth. My thoughts may appear scattered and my prose may be clumsy, but it’s from the heart…and the middle finger. Sit up when you eat.

GlockomaEx-lovers subjecting each other to verbal lacerations that pack more bite than a provoked Pitt Bull. A gang member’s Stink Eye that tells you to back the fuck off or you’ll be missing some pearly whites and your wallet.

And then there’s the selfish bastard responsible for the largest investor fraud ever committed by a single person, along with the bruised prostitute who clings perilously to the thimble of self-esteem she has left.

Sometimes real life is so depressing that you find yourself automatically reaching for the whiskey and not noticing how god-awful it tastes. Then the bottle’s dry, and you thirst for happiness. But you’re left with a hangover.

The news is punctuated with so many stories of hatred and corruption that sometimes I think it really is a mad world. And as people, we are disgusting, taking enjoyment in digging up the dirt on others. Why do we do this? How is this adaptive? Why do we like airing out other people’s dirty laundry when we can’t even clean our own?

Hypocrisy is the new virus, and we are all infected.

Glockoma

Our society is drawn to negative sensation like moths to a flame – it’s like some strange addiction where we know the needle hurts, but we still need our fix.

We feast upon juicy gossip like the ridiculous Christian Bale outburst on set or the shockingly tragic way David Carradine died. Jon & Kate Plus 8 becoming Jon Minus Kate Plus 8. Susan Boyle’s hospitalization for exhaustion. Heidi Montag’s public breakdown on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! Honey, I could go on longer than the Energizer Bunny.

Is ‘Nice’ a Dish Best Served Cold?

GlockomaMy grade 7 teacher told the class to never use the word ‘nice’ ever again because it carries scant meaning. And when I think about it now, it’s true. Nice has become synonymous with mediocre. It’s not enough to be nice in the School of Hard Knocks. To graduate with honours, you have to make a statement that ends with exclamation marks. Stand out. Be heard. Be different.

Now it’s time to open up the can of worms…

The problem with nice people is that they’re so easily forgettable. And especially in the workplace, they’re the ones who are often overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated. You might even say that being nice is for chumps.

GlockomaNorth American culture socializes us to ignore and even belittle the shy, quiet one. If anything, we consider them ‘boring’. Well, why do we need people to be a marching band all the time, banging drums like a 2-year-old on kitchen pots? For one, people notice the rabble-rousers more than the church mice.

We can’t ignore the Janice Dickinsons and Simon Cowells of the world. They’re strongly opinionated, rarely apologetic, stubborn as mules, and overflowing with sarcasm. With nice people, you don’t get the snippy remarks, the funny put-downs, or the Shock Factor. You get Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank You Book with a side order of humble pie.

Mean or obnoxious people have an undeniable sense of self-confidence, ooze personality, and fight to attain selfish goals without concern of whose toes they’ve stepped on. They don’t even care how often they have to lie through their coffee-stained teeth to get what they want.

Being an individualistic prick can easily be spun as being a leader, whereas shy violets are often perceived as losers. Yeah, it’s not fair, but the world isn’t fair, so if we don’t do something to bring about some balance, we’re just sucking on a lemon.

Gets Some Edjumacation

GlockomaGlockomaI read some snippets from this interesting book called Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers by Lois P. Frankel. Apparently as girls, we picked up some bad habits (such as smiling inappropriately and presenting statements in a question) that are now impeding our chances of upward mobility at work. Basically we need to say goodbye to the ‘Nice Girl’ standard and get into the role of Assertive Woman.

Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work by Deborah Tannen is another book I want to get my hands on. Among the many key issues outlined, Library Journal emphasizes how “women say ‘I’m sorry’ without actually apologizing and tend to use an indirect manner of speech. These styles make women appear less confident, competent, and professional. However, women who learn to speak like men are accused of being aggressive and unfeminine.”

Obviously tossing out all the Rules of Lady Etiquette isn’t right, either. I’m not suggesting we clip our toenails on the subway while screaming profanities at everyone within earshot. We need to learn not just when to speak up and stand up for ourselves, but more importantly how to do it effectively. And the men out there need to learn how to listen.

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