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Archive for July, 2009

Professor Bean and I, along with the rest of the East Coast, were crushed by the heat and humidity, and therefore unable to think of any sparkling topic for a blog post.

Therefore, we’re punting with this fabulous link to The Twelve Creepiest Vintage Ads of All Time over at Retro Comedy.

While all are disturbing, be sure to click on #6 so you can read what Lysol is really for!

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I wasn’t going to post any more on marriage and love, at least for a while, but then I saw this Newsweek article on polyamory. Polyamory (many loves) is a type of open relationship–the article defines it as “loving, intimate relationships with more than one person.” And if I can quote Wikipedia without having my PhD revoked, polyamory also involves “the full knowledge and free consent of everyone involved.” I found this and other articles interesting for several reasons. First, without deliberately doing so, they seemed to answer all the issues raised by the “traditional marriage is dooooomed!” articles I’ve seen recently. Second are the comments left by readers, and the gender anxieties they reveal.  Finally the ways in which polyamory is or might be used against the fight to legalize gay marriage

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This is the first post I’ve written that is not tied to one specific popular culture anchor, so forgive me if I’ve already broken our nascent blog’s rules.  Perhaps my heightened awareness of gender issues in pop culture–thanks in large part to Professor Moss’s and my decision finally to start sharing our thoughts with the world–has just made me see this trope over and over again lately and compelled me to get out some thoughts about it.  Perhaps I’ve been watching too many movies like The Ugly Truth and too many television shows like The Bachelorette; oh, and don’t ask me why, but I thumbed through an issue of Maxim at my hair salon the other day and actually read the articles–big mistake.

I speak, of course, of the dreaded notion that men need to pursue the objects of their affection (and since our culture is heteronormative, this usually means women) and that women long to be pursued.  A traditional feminist way to view this cultural norm might be to say that it reinforces the power and freedom of men while taking freedom away from women.  While I think this is true in part, I don’t think it’s the whole story. (more…)

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The fact that women still do most of the housework in most families is not news. A 2003 study, for example, found women doing 23 hours per week to men’s 11, despite the fact that the women were earning as much or almost as much as their husbands. This seems to be one area where very little progress is being made. Various articles blame evolution (men aren’t “wired” to see dirt or piles of laundry because noticing details like that would get in the way during the mammoth hunting), parents (for providing old fashioned role models), and women themselves–a lot (usually for caring about such meaningless tasks, or being so unfair as to demand that men do them according to the female standard, aka “right”).

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Yesterday, Professor Moss vented her ire at the atrocious new film, The Ugly Truth.  Since I barely endured the entire 90 minute movie without reenacting the final scene of Oedipus Rex, I’d like to add a bit more insult to injury here: (more…)

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Professor Bean and I actually went and sat through The Ugly Truth (check out the website, where you can post your own ugly truth!) and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more horrible movie. If you took When Harry Met Sally and Cyrano de Bergerac, stripped them of any intelligence, humor or subtly, and then whizzed them in a blender with every single sexist stereotype in existence, you’d have this movie. I can barely write about the movie, but it would make for an interesting drinking game. Every time there’s a stereotype or cliche about men, the men drink. Every time there’s a stereotype or cliche about women, the women drink. The winners are those who lose consciousness first.

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Gentle Reader(s), it is now your turn.

The past few months have offered an orgy of hang-wringing and predictions of doom–the American marriage is dead.  Or dying. Or at least perverted beyond all recognition and decency.

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Last night ABC gave us the “Men Tell All” episode of The Bachelorette. While the teasers promised myriad secrets would be revealed, no one could have predicted the biggest revelation of all. There, on national t.v., America was introduced to the secret, illuminati-like world of the “man code.” (more…)

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I ordered Cristina Nehring’s A Vindication of Love because I thought her ideas might make good fodder for a blog post. Now, barely 20% of the way through the book, I have to stop and rant—not about her ideas, but about her support for those ideas. Google tells me this woman writes for The Atlantic and The London Review of Books (among others) and that she’s been called “trenchant.” Really? Because if she was in my freshman composition class, this book would be dripping with red ink, and if she was in one of my upper division literature classes, I’d sit her down and suggest another major. (more…)

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We love(d)…

Obama’s choice for Surgeon General–Dr. Regina Benjamin is a doctor who makes housecalls and ran a nonprofit clinic in New Orleans before and after Katrina. But she’s also the first black woman to head a state medical society and the first doctor under 40 to be elected to the AMA’s board of trustees.

The inability of the confirmation hearings to find anything of substance to question Sotomayor about. After whining that they needed more time to prepare it’s fun to watch the Republicans continually circling back to the “wise Latina woman” comment because they have nothing better to say.  It’s also heartening that Sotomayor’s gender has not been a topic for discussion in any meaningful way.

We hate(d)…

The fact that even with all of Dr. Benjamin’s credentials and passion, some people felt the need to comment on her weight. Because she can’t fight for better health care if she isn’t a size 2?

Republicans’ suggestions that Judge Sotomayor can’t be objective because she is a woman, Latina, or both.  When Justice Breyer compared the plight of a 13-year old girl who had been strip searched by school administrators to his own “hazing” experiences in middle school, the press made a joke of his comments but never accused him of bias.  No one asked any of the “Wise Causacian” men on the Court to recuse themselves, nor should they have, because it’s ridiculous to expect that a judge can only be objective when ruling on a case involving people just like him/her.   Unless she’s a woman, apparently.

The intensely irritating article TimeIs There Hope for the American Marriage?” Why are people suddenly so obsessed with the collapse of marriage (as if this time last year everything was peachy-keen), and why does everyone assume that marriage is about sacrifice, duty, and obligation, and then act surprised when people want something more fun?

We’re looking forward to…

500 Days of Summer claims it’s not a love story.  We’ll see, but the trailer shows some promise.  Could we finally have something positive to say about a new movie?

ABC’s “Dating in the Dark” looks bad, but we haven’t decided yet if it’s “good” bad or “bad” bad.  We’ll probably tell you Tuesday.

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