Summer movies. Every year we are greeted with essentially the same rundown of events. We see the titles of upcoming movies grabbing headlines from every media outlet around, including blogs, newspapers, magazines and 30-second teaser trailers that pop up on television, blogs, Facebook and other social media sites. We’re told that if we are not super excited and brought down to the level of a hysterical and screaming Twi-hard, we must be missing an essential chromosome in our makeup. We are privy to the secret lives of celebrities as they appear on the covers of magazines with the promise that they will be spilling about their oh so normal lives on the inside. We get lengthier teasers that grow up to be full-length promotional trailers and before we know it, we’re seeing the smiling faces of the celebrities we just learned essentially nothing about in all of the countless magazine covers, stories and interviews they appeared in, only this time the celebrities we love so much and simply cannot get enough of are attached to designer labels, as they glide down the red carpet at their premieres. And finally, the big day arrives and you’re standing in line at your local movie theater and you’re excited to finally see this movie you’ve been hearing about for months on end. And sadly, a lot of times it sucks and you’re walking out of the movie theater an hour and a half to two hours later wondering where that precious time just went and what else you could have been doing that would have been better than watching that movie; like maybe washing the dishes or getting a Pap test.
We know the runaround and this summer is, of course, no different. Summer 2010 holds many little gems we have been told, are currently being told, and will be told we must go see or we will positively die! But when you get right down to it, summer blockbusters are generally a dime a dozen; there are a few chick flicks, a few movies for the kids, a few action-packed thrillers, and in essence, they all have pretty much the same ingredients that go into a summer blockbuster–and yes, most of them suck. But I recently came across a movie that is due out July 9th that looks like it won’t suck; in fact, I’m pretty excited about it.
Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right was a major success at Sundance and looks so promising that of course, I knew right away that it would not receive the amount of recognition that it most likely profoundly deserves. And what initially made me think it was a promising piece of work? It got the thumbs up from Women & Hollywood, the same blog that pumped me up and proved to be exactly right when it came to the film Sunshine Cleaning, and it also garnered a rundown of promising qualities from Jezebel.
The Kids Are All Right is a film that took seven years to finish, although its timing could not be better with the topic of same-sex marriage still very much on the minds of politicians and their critics across the country. The film stars Julianne Moore and Annette Bening in a refreshingly real, undeniably human (and yes, lesbian) marriage as they parent their two teenage children.
From the trailer alone, because I am not special and do not get to see it before it is released, there are a great deal of obvious warm and fuzzy moments that are a real treat to see being put in a film that could be for the masses–if only Hollywood would let it.
First of all, Julianne Moore and Annette Bening are amazing actors. They are both phenomenal women with impressive bodies of work who seem to jive and play off of each other very well. There is humor and quirkiness and real obstacles that long-time married folk find themselves in at some point or another.
In this case, their family is thrown through a loop when the eldest of the children, played by Mia Wasikowska from Tim Burton’s recent Alice in Wonderland, has just turned 18 and now as a legal adult, possesses the power to find out more about the sperm donor who helped to create her and her younger brother Laser; no I am not kidding. So she calls the sperm bank to find out more about this guy, played by Mark Ruffalo, and then after the kids meet him, they want to spend time with him, get to know him and, from what I have gathered, propel him into the role of ‘father’. And that is where the conflict comes in–Annette Bening’s character, Nic, feels like she and her partner aren’t enough for their children.
There are, of course, parts of the trailer that kind of make my stomach lurch in terms of ‘Yes, we know this is a story about a lesbian marriage and we know that they are lesbians, and oh yeah, lesbians‘ but that doesn’t take anything away from what looks to be a great journey in this coming-of-age story.
So hello summer movie that I am actually excited about. Of course, this movie is only being released in select theaters and seeing as how I live in the Middle of Nowhere, it will most likely not make it to a theater near me, leaving me very eager for the day it is released on DVD so I can go pick it up. I’ll let you know how the movie as a whole pans out for me and hopefully it’s worth the hype we’re seeing across the woman-written blogosphere.Friday, June 18, 2010
Menstrual Poetry, as you see it now, has been active since December 12th, 2007. Before then, it served primarily as a collective of random, angsty teenage poetry that I had accumulated over the years and wanted to stick somewhere because hey, all the cool kids were doing it. Menstrual Poetry started out as yet another domain I bought yet didn’t know exactly what I was going to do with. I have had several domains over the years, because that’s just what happens when you’ve been part of the “blogosphere” for ten years, but this is the one that I ultimately stuck with and through the years, I turned it into what it is now.
This website isn’t merely a hub of information; there are websites out there dedicated to merely being information hubs–and a lot of them make a damn good living doing it. Menstrual Poetry however, is personal and it always has been. Instead of merely posting about whatever the “breaking news” in the world is with a one-sentence description of what I’m quoting so I can feel like I wrote something meaningful for the day, I have always chosen to make this more of a personal space. That’s probably also the reason why I haven’t had the same amount of time I once had to dedicate to it. Sure, you can find a lot of information here, but you won’t find it without somewhere around 500 words at the very least about what I think about the topic at hand. I choose not to post about something unless I feel as if I have something meaningful to say about it or something of substance to add to the already on-going conversation. What can I say, I like to rant and I like to have a space where I can be myself and share just a small part of myself with anyone who chooses to read this website.
One topic I feel very strongly about, on a social issues level, as well as on a deeply personal level is sex-positivity. I have brought up the topic of sexuality as a whole, most frequently about church groups counseling women in porn and sex addiction only to come up with the conclusion that these groups are brainwashing women into believing that their sexuality in its entirety is shameful. I have posted information as well as a video review for Babeland’s not-so-recently-published but still very awesome book, Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex. I spread the word about Babeland donating 20% of their revenue throughout the month of April to Grist to celebrate Earth Day. Each of these three posts went over well and I felt that they were not only really informative and important, but I felt that they were also very much necessary.
Earlier this month, also known as the last time I blogged here, I wrote a review for Courtney Trouble’s Seven Minutes in Heaven 2: Tender Hearted. This post also went over well, which made me a happy little feminist blogger. Like I briefly stated in the beginning of the review, feminists have long been very much divided when it comes to porn and the sex industry as a whole. I don’t personally feel as if those who identify as feminist should be oppressing the very same people they claim to want to help. It feels very much like the pro-life debate when someone who identifies as pro-life states that bombing abortion clinics, killing doctors who perform abortions, nurses who help that doctor and the women who are there to see that doctor is what it takes to “help women” or “help fetuses.” To quote myself because I put it perfectly the first time–I don’t like that kind of negativity in my movement and I don’t like it being used to oppress my people.
Obviously, writing about Courtney Trouble’s Seven Minutes in Heaven 2 was something I felt very strongly about and I took it under careful consideration before posting it. I know that I have a pretty fabulous group of sexual assault survivors who frequent this website and because I’m considerate and know what it’s like to click over to a website only to become triggered by the content, I hid the entire review from the main page. Not only that, but I also hid the image accompanying the article and I included an adult/trigger warning in bold at the very top of the entire post because that’s just what it means to be considerate of the people who happen to stumble upon your space not knowing what, exactly, to expect. Everything above the fold was completely safe to read and you had to click over the jump in order to see the content. I figured that would be the best unspoken compromise I could have, considering that Courtney Trouble’s film is very much a woman-friendly, body-loving, feminist piece of work that I loved and felt compelled to share.
Luckily, I did not receive a comment, an email, Tweet, Facebook message, instant message, or anything else people use to communicate with me telling me that what I wrote was in any way inappropriate, misguided, offensive, or triggering. That is, until I received an email from my ad network.Friday, June 4, 2010
Warning: This post is all about porn. Please do not proceed reading if you are not completely comfortable or become triggered when seeing, reading about and/or discussing porn and other stuff sexually explicit in content.
I am by no means an expert when it comes to feminist porn directors. Tristan Taormino has long been one of very few who came to mind just because of her film Rough Sex, so when I heard that Courtney Trouble had made quite the name for herself in the world of feminist porn, garnering recognition large and vast, I needed to see what was so impressive. I have long been lusting after seeing what she was capable of, and when Babeland presented me with the opportunity to see for myself, I jumped at the chance.
First of all, let’s make something clear, shall we? Feminists have long been divided when it comes to porn. I happen to love porn. I have always loved porn; ever since I knew I was a sexual being and was first introduced to it as a naive teenager. (Hey internet, you listening? Yeah, thanks for that!) As I grew older and started reading anything and everything I could get my hands on in the realm of women’s studies and gender studies and started to identify as a feminist, one of the biggest things that has disappointed me within the feminist movement is the radical hatred a lot of feminists have when it comes to porn. I don’t like that kind of negativity in my movement and I don’t like it being used to oppress my people.
So with that out of the way, back to Courtney Trouble!
Courtney Trouble has won awards for the most diverse cast for Roulette, she was a 2009 Feminist Porn Award recipient, a 2010 AVN nominee for best soundtrack in both Roulette and Speakeasy, and she has also won an award for best queer porn site with NoFauxxx.com by the SF Bay Guardian. Yeah, she is crazy impressive.Sunday, May 30, 2010
I thought we covered this already; in fact, I know that many covered this during the 2008 presidential election, as well as after, but mostly during election time. But since this has come up yet again, I guess it’s time to give everyone a little refresher. So, for the record, Sarah Palin is not a feminist.
The first time I had ever even heard of Sarah Palin was when John McCain announced she would be running alongside him for the vice-presidential seat and within 11 minutes of hearing her name and doing some very mild research on her, I was seething from the amount of people saying she was a strong, positive, feminist role model. A woman who does not support pro-woman legislation does not a feminist make, folks. I wrote about Sarah Palin and how she has proven to not be worthy of the feminist label nearly two full years ago and at that time (and since) I have received nearly 100 comments, some from people who agreed with me and many others who did not and told me basically, that just because Sarah Palin is not “my kind of feminist,” doesn’t mean she cannot call herself one.
Sarah Palin and the word feminist seem to have a habit of coming up in the media quite a bit. It seems that whenever Sarah Palin emerges from her Alaskan bunker to face the world or to give a speech (that she is now charging upwards of $100,000 a pop for), the media is so eager to slap the title of feminist on her. Not so surprisingly, the only time that the media as a whole chooses to run a “feminism is positive” feel-good story, it is when they are attributing the title to someone grossly anti-woman who supports tragic, anti-woman policies.
During a speech earlier this month to the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List, an extremely modest spin-off of the pro-abortion-rights group, Emily’s List, Palin brought up feminism, feminists and sisterhood. She told the more than 500 women in attendance that they are “responsible for an “emerging, conservative, feminist identity” and have the power to shape politics and elections around the issue.” To complete this point, she also told these women that they should only support candidates for public office who are uncompromisingly opposed to abortion.
Is this sentiment a nod to the fact that she will, indeed, be running for president in 2012? Oh I’m pretty sure that’s a yes.
Also appearing in her speech were a few words for us other feminists out here, you know, the feminists who work hard and wholeheartedly believe in passing legislation that supports women and gives women the power to make choices that affect their lives. After speaking about her decision to not abort her youngest child because she found out at 12-weeks of pregnancy that he would be born with Down Syndrome, she said that women are strong enough to handle having a family in addition to “pursuing career and education and avocations.” A sentiment that feminists do in fact believe in; we actually want legislation passed that would make it easier for women to realistically have everything they want and work for in life. But then she goes on to say, “Society wants to tell these young women otherwise. These feminist groups want to tell these women that, ‘No, you’re not capable of doing both.’ … It’s very hypocritical.”
Sarah Palin is not new to the buzz word-invoking tactics she uses in speeches and interviews. When she was interviewed by Katie Couric she said that she was a feminist, but later told NBC’s Brian Williams that she was not going to label herself anything. In the world of politics, that is called a definite flip flop and apparently Sarah Palin is now making herself comfortable by calling herself a feminist, but only when it suits her needs and viewpoint.
As Jessica Valenti put it in the Washington Post, “It’s not a realization of the importance of women’s rights that’s inspired the change. It’s strategy. Palin’s sisterly speechifying is part of a larger conservative move to woo women by appropriating feminist language. Just as consumer culture tries to sell “Girls Gone Wild”-style sexism as “empowerment,” conservatives are trying to sell anti-women policies shrouded in pro-women rhetoric.”
So I’m just going to come out and say it, and yes, I know some of you out there were waiting for it. I’m sorry, but you don’t just get to say you’re a feminist and automatically be one. It doesn’t work like that. It’s not allowed.
Meghan Daum wrote an entire article for the LA Times about how Sarah Palin has “made peace” with the “F-word” and how now that it’s a word that she can use to work for her to win more people over by spinning its connotations completely backward, we should be all be overjoyed with this. Daum’s own view of feminism, as she highlights in her article, is pretty much something anyone can relate to and attribute to themselves regardless of where they stand practically anywhere on the political scale. Can a man who hates gay people, goes to pro-life rallies and has everything Rush Limbaugh has ever said recorded for repeated listening be a feminist? In Daum’s world, absolutely!
I don’t necessarily believe that people must be able to go down a list of viewpoints and be able to check most, if not all of them off as something they agree with before being able to be called a feminist, I just think that people who openly call themselves feminists should probably have a good grasp over the women’s liberation movement and where feminism gained its roots. I want people who call themselves feminists to know what they are talking about and I want them to work hard to make sure legislation and policies on a country, state and a community level are passed that will help more women than hinder them. Feminists should want to make sure that children today are raised with the knowledge and with the confidence to know that they can do anything and nothing can stop them from fulfilling the dreams that they wish to some day accomplish. I want someone who calls themselves a feminist to believe that people deserve to live in a world without gender stereotypes or roles, without bigotry, without hate or discrimination, without sexism and misogyny and yes, I want them to believe that women deserve to make their own choices, not only when it comes to their bodies, but when it comes to every single aspect of their lives.
Kate Harding wrote over at Jezebel about the 5 Ways Of Looking At “Sarah Palin Feminism” that is both incredibly hilarious and informative.Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Image Credit: Aag Blog
A few days ago I re-published maymay’s article from Maybe Maimed but Never Harmed, Edenfantasys’s unethical technology is a self-referential black hole. The article not only uncovered, but also proved without a shadow of a doubt the unethical linking technology used by popular sex toy shop and community, EdenFantasys. But this isn’t just a matter of ethics; it isn’t that simple and if it were, some of their most prolific and popular reviewers and contributors wouldn’t be walking away from the site completely because of it. Well, the reviewers who haven’t already been banned by the so-called transparent, honest and accepting forum, anyway.
What this means is that those who have done off-site reviews for EdenFantasys and have their reviews that they have written on their blogs linked on EdenFantasys, thinking that their Google pagerank would increase because they have been linked by such a huge website, are mistaken. In fact, if you check your website statistics, you will never see an incoming link from EdenFantasys show up. Their unethical technology is not only screwing you out of backlinks that lead to a Google pagerank increase, but also hits to your website completely. Anyone who runs a website of any caliber knows how important incoming links and hits are.
A number of months ago when I was propositioned through my other website to begin reviewing for EdenFantasys, one of the “perks” outlined in that proposition was being linked by EdenFantasys when I wrote an off-site review on my blog. When the woman I initially worked with from EdenFantasys stopped working with the company and after the person who replaced her also left the company, I was contacted by the third off-site review manager for EdenFantasys who once again gave me a run-through of the entire program and spent more time on why it was so great to be linked by EdenFantasys, focusing a great deal on the number of people who are part of the community who would see my reviews and be introduced to my website because of them. After I had been reviewing for EdenFantasys for a few months I received another email by a link manager for the website whose job it is to set up “link exchanges” between their site and blogs. The person whose responsibility it is to set up link exchanges did not even bother to look at my website, because if they had, they would have noticed that not only did I have a text link for EdenFantasys on my website, but I also had a banner present on my sidebar. I am not the only one who has received an email of this nature and what this proves is that EdenFantasys is employing someone to only set up link exchanges with blogs and they receive hits and Google pagerank increases because of the amount of links they garner from other blogs, not to mention that a reviewer must place no less than three links to EdenFantasys in every review they publish on their blog, but EdenFantasys never returns the favor because of their horrendously unethical linking practices. The people who they set up link exchanges with have been lied to and cheated by the entire company.
Obviously, when maymay’s article was published almost a week ago uncovering the unethical linking practices of EdenFantasys, people were outraged. A thread was started in the EdenFantasys forum with a link to the article and immediately, people wanted an explanation from the EdenFantasys staff. This is only natural and something people would expect from any company. Please note that EdenFantasys has gone above and beyond to try to solidify themselves as being transparent, honest and a sex shop you can trust. They showed a very hypocritical nature, however, when they decided to delete the thread that was started about their linking practices when it had gained 28 responses by concerned and respectful contributors. Luckily, a screenshot was taken of the forum before it had been deleted, just to prove that it had indeed been there. So much for that whole transparency thing.