Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Motherhood, French Vogue Style

Not much time to post, but mosey over to Jezebel for a great post (with more pics and hilariously thoughtful comments) on a fashion photoshoot from this month's French Vogue. Let's just say it ain't something you'd see on American stands.

Slate's XX Factor's reaction here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Go, Susan, Go!

Ok, I haven't seen this flick yet, and I'll admit I wanted to see it before even reading any reviews. But Slate's review today pretty much cemented my excitement. DreamWork's Monsters vs. Aliens looks like a tremendous amount of fun. Why did the Slate article catch my eye over the NYT?

An excerpt from the first paragraph:

"Not to let any unnecessary ideology creep into a review of a fun animated movie, but let's get this out of the way up front: Monsters vs. Aliens (DreamWorks Animation) is a film for children with a female lead. She is not the love interest, or the helpmate, or the mom. Nor is she a princess, or princesslike. She does not marry a prince or a prince-manqué. She does not marry at all. She tries to get married, but she is struck by a meteor on her wedding day (typical!), which transforms her into an unmarriageable, world-saving, 49-foot-11-inch superfreak and—thank you, O bountiful movie gods—a Strong Female Protagonist. (Or, as my more skeptical viewing companion put it, "a strong female protagonist who just happens to be ultra-skinny with big boobs and a pneumatic butt, and who sometimes wears a catsuit." Touché.)"

So, not only are there animated monsters and aliens, but a strong female lead! I'm ready to buy some popcorn. (I suppose it's worth noting that Princess Fiona in the Shrek movies is equally capable of kicking butt, though, she also has the sparkly "princess" title attached.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Teachable moment? Or learning by example?

So, let me get this straight. Evidently, texting in front of your boyfriend is an offense so rude it deserves a beating, complete with black eye? (By now, I'm assuming you know that the singer Rihanna was recently assaulted by her boyfriend, hiphop artist Chris Brown.)

It's all horrible, but what I find most shocking is the public's reaction. Depending on what entertainment blogs you're reading, young female fans are coming to Brown's defense, theorizing that Rihanna provoked him, and deserved what she got. The Boston Globe's site published the results of an informal survey of teens about the incident: nearly half said Rihanna was at fault. WTF?

"Health counselors are specifically concerned with teenagers' views of the controversy. Of the teens questioned, more than half said both Brown, 19, and Rihanna, 21, were equally responsible for the assault. More than half said the media were treating Brown unfairly, and 46 percent said Rihanna was responsible for the incident."

Let's look at this another way: if you were texting in an important budget meeting, and your boss pummels you, is that ok? If you're listening to your music on the train, and it's a little too loud, is it ok for a stranger to beat the shit out of you?

If we did a survey on either of those above scenarios, I don't think we'd get the same numbers the Globe did. Neither of those situations are acceptable, and neither is domestic abuse. The only difference is the relationship, and that doesn't give an abuser free reign. Just because he's dating you, doesn't give him any right to lay a hand on you. Sure, if you're doing something rude, he can get angry, but never so much that he can't control himself or his actions.

In what universe is this type of behavior acceptable? What leads teens, as well as some adults, to think it's appropriate? Sure, texting some friends while you're with your honey can be rude, but it doesn't deserve a hospital visit for stitches. Some counselors are trying to use this very public example as a teachable moment, but instead, it seems teens are taking their cues from the stars.

Slate's XX Factor has some in-depth thoughts on the whole debacle here. Funny how the incident happened in February, which is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (Rihanna might be in her twenties, but Brown is nineteen).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

An Axe Campaign I Like?

Believe it or not, I really dig the new Axe campaign that's been airing for the last week or so. Rather than the tired and offensive depictions of women fawning over guys who use the soap/gels, unable to control themselves, these new spots are, pardon the pun, spot-on.

Sure, gals are still involved, but in a way I find more genuine than past efforts. Body spray and shower products serve two needs: hygiene, and, yeah, attracting the opposite sex. It's never been my problem that Axe caters to this second need. It's been *how* they do it. Rather than portraying women as mindless sexual beings upon catching the scent of Axe, the commercials have identified a realistic teen image issue: young men tend to use way too much product. And girls don't dig it. So — use Axe, fix your hair, attract the ladies. Too much gel? You and your over-gelled spikes are gonna be lonely.

My biggest beef with the campaign? Overexposure. It seems every other commercial on Comedy Central is a "News Brief" for "the hair crisis" our country's young men are facing. Potentially good campaign feature? A sort of "hot or not" semi-interactive tool on the campaign's site, where guys can upload pics of their 'do, and supposedly, Axe's team of 100 women will vote.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Triple Chocolate Love

It's been awhile, I know. I've been out in the wilderness, foraging. Ok, perhaps that's not true since I live in Brooklyn, but I saw a commercial tonight that couldn't be ignored.

The product itself looks delicious as hell: Triple Chocolate M&Ms, a combination of dark, milk, and white chocolate. If these photos are to be believed, then woaaaah, I might have to revert back to my bad habit of ice cream and M&Ms for dinner.

Despite the wondrous idea of a layered chocolate confection, I have a slight beef with the commercials. Sexualized talking chocolate is just weird. Yeah, they're poking fun at the genre, but I'm a tad freaked out nonetheless. Maybe I'm just prude.

Or maybe these really should turn us on... if you've had 'em, report back!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscars, cont.

So I began thinking about the commercials we've seen tonight so far, and how this is the second most expensive ad-buy of the year. If the Superbowl is all about beer, guys, and talking animals, then the Oscars are about the women.

American Express, Mastercard, Dove, L'Oreal, Cadillac, and Venus have been the big advertisers of the night. Cadillac has even aired a spot talking about cupholders, specifically talking about sexism in car sales to women.

Interesting crop of ads, and interesting to note how different it is from the football crowd.

PS: Last note: Away from Her, one of the night's nominated films, was written and directed by Sarah Polley. She's only 29. Sigh. I'm one laaaazy-ass filmmaker.

The Woman I Want to Become

So I'm watching the Oscars (only having seen two of the films: Michael Clayton and Ratatouille), and there was an incredible American Express commercial on just now. It wasn't flashy- just a celebrity voiceover and a glimpse into her life. I was rummaging in the fridge looking for a snack when it came on.

The first sentence grabbed me though: "I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become."

Those words etched themselves into my mind, and my head poked out of the fridge, to see Diane von Furstenberg. "Fashion was absolutely an accident in my life. As a result of that, I was becoming independent and I was becoming more and more the woman I wanted to be."

As soon as I find a video, I'll post it. Strong message, very confident. The Oscars are becoming the second biggest ad buy next to the Superbowl, but so far, only this one stood out. (The user-created Dove ads were a tad lackluster I thought.)