Boobs, boobs, boobs

Bonds Australia have recently launched an ingenious advertising campaign. And by “ingenious”, I really mean “somewhat uninspired and completely insipid”.

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We get it. Bonds sells bras. Bras = boobs. Therefore, popping the word “boobs” on giant billboards around the countries somehow equates to an ingenious marketing campaign, yes?

Unfortunately, no. But to make matters even more interesting, Bonds have launched an entire range of bras to accompany their “advertisements”. This range of bras veers towards the “Spice Girl” approach to product creation – there’s a bra for “sporty” boobs, a bra for “mama” boobs, and a bra for “super” boobs (and no, I have no idea what “super” boobs do either. I assume that they give you magical powers, a la Wonder Woman).

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If Bonds are going to attempt to venture down this particular path, I would make one small suggestion to them. And that suggestion is a little thing I would call “realism”. Let’s all take a moment to collectively ponder whether we would be caught dead buying a “wow” bra. Because if you’re anything like me, you probably can’t stomach that particular thought (if, however, you are inclined to purchase a “wow” bra, you can now feel more fully informed! You go, Glen Coco!).

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce to you my brand of Realistic Bras (TM):

“Sunday morning hangover” bra

You got home at 3:00am and fell into bed completely dressed – only to wake 8 hours later with your make up smeared across several sheets and pillow cases, and your cat licking your hair (or is that just me?). To make matters worse, you forgot to take your bra off – so your torso feels like you’ve just emerged from a particularly gruesome medieval torture device. What your boobs need in their current hung over state is something starchy and carby – sorry, I mean stretchy and comfy. This line would come in a set of neutral colours, of course. You don’t want to make that head ache any worse by staring at brightly coloured tropical prints on your bra, right?

“My eyes are up here” bra

Haven’t we all had this particular moment? You know, the one where you’re attempting to have a conversation with a person, only for them to stare, rigidly, at your breasts. That’s when you need the “my eyes are up here” bra.

Ideally, this bra would shoot bullets from it, a la the Fembots from Austin Powers:

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However, short of this, I’m happy to settle for it to simply dole out abuse to every single unsuspecting pervert who can’t make consistent eye contact with me. Insults along the line of “Yo, fuckwad, my face is 30cm north of your current gaze” would be broadcast at the press of a button. How convenient!

“Sore boobs” bra

Again, this is a common problem that bras could endeavour to fix – if they weren’t too busy trying to make my breasts look “wow” or “super”. Whether it be PMS-style soreness, or “I played mixed netball last night and got elbowed in the norks five times”- soreness, we’ve all had tender boobs. Hell, one time, I couldn’t walk down some stairs because the bouncing was too much for my sore breasts. What I’m saying is, I feel your pain.

The “sore boobs” bra would come with three layers of cushioned padding, and another layer of steel-styled armour – just in case someone else tries to elbow you. The bra would hold you snug, enabling you to conquer any form of “bouncing activity” without pain!

“I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly” bra

You know when you need this bra. You’re feeling bootylicious (probably as a result of having just listened to three hours solid of Destiny’s Child AND Beyonce). You’re ready to go out and conquer the world, one wheel of brie at a time. So, what do you do? You throw on your “single ladies” bra.

This bra would have every single accessory known to mankind attached to it. It would magically boost, plump, and sparkle-ise your breasts. It would also come with that immensely annoying accessory – the cleavage jewellery. You know, that little dangly sparkly thing that comes attached to the centre of bra, right between the two cups? There’s literally no point to that bit of sparkle - except in the case of this bra. In this bra, the sparkly dangly jewellery thing enhances your breasts, and everyone who views them will leave feeling both astounded and enlightened. Who knew that cleavage jewellery held so much power?

There’s so much potential in this “realistic” bra line. If only Bonds had bothered to survey some actual human beings before they launched their “wow” bras, they may have realised this. Instead, I am left feeling distinctly underwhelmed, and longing for a “sore boobs” bra.

Mama Mia, and selling inadequecies

I read an interview on Mama Mia yesterday where Mia Freedman (the former Australian Cosmopolitan editor/columnist writer/’Voice of Feminism’) interviewed Caitlin Moran (author/former journalist/ another ‘Voice of Feminism’). And look – far be it from me to be judgey-wudgey about ‘Voices of Feminism’, but there were just SO DARN MANY problematic comments made within one single interview.

Ahem.

So, of course, I’m taking to my soapbox blog to have a good ol’ pass at identifying and commenting on at least one of the comments made.

Mia: You hate Sex and the City, don’t you?

Caitlin: Yes. I think it was an important stepping stone in that it had women talking freely and openly about their sexuality… [but] the end thing that you take out is that it’s an enormous amount of hard work to be a woman, just to look beautiful.

And it’s hard work to be a woman, but I don’t want to put all my effort into looking fabulous and kind of maintaining my walk-in wardrobe. If I’m going to put that much effort into something it will be a fucking Marxist feminist revolution, it won’t be debating accessories. It annoys me that women are having their energy sidetracked. Every Christmas, I used to get a jigsaw, and one year my sister walked past me and she said “Why are you doing a jigsaw? You’ve just bought yourself a problem.”

And I said “I’ve just spent $7.99 to put to together a picture of some trees, and spend three days doing that. And that’s what Sex and the City seemed to be for me, it was women buying themselves a problem. You watched it to the end and you went, “Shit, I didn’t previously know that my life needed to be fabulous and revolve around racketing around bars, experimenting with my anus, and coming up with fifty new kinds of hair.

M: It’s the inadequacy though, isn’t it? It’s that so much media aimed at women and that depict women make us feel shit about ourselves because that’s not real life. I come from a magazine background – I used to be the editor of Cosmopolitan – and I’ve railed against the whole airbrushing/Photoshop bullshit. And I’ve now become one of those mothers who don’t allow magazines in my house.

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Want to know the immediate thought that struck me about “buying yourself a problem”? It went along the lines of “gee, doesn’t that sound like buying a Cosmopolitan magazine”. And my next thought was, “gee, who was the former editor of that again?!”. And then I repeatedly banged my head against my desk for a solid three minutes.

Because, yes, although Caitlin Moran is partially correct in making the observation that “Sex and the City” is a  bit like buying yourself a problem, it has nothing – I repeat, NOTHING – on ACTUALLY buying yourself a problem when you blow $7 or more on a women’s magazine such as Cosmopolitan. I’m not blaming Mia Freedman for being a former editor of Cosmo – because, as she said, she tried to make a difference there (particularly in regards to the airbrushing/Photoshopping crap) but Mama Mia isn’t always a shining light of intelligent dialogue, either – it can, and does, fall into the same trap. Case in point: on Mama Mia’s home page at the moment, they have an ad for ‘Mama Mia shopping’, and right under that, an article on a baby who died from whooping-cough at 6 weeks old. And right next to that, an article on Anne Hathaway’s vagina ‘going viral’, and whether girls are wearing underwear any more. Surely I’m not the only who thinks that’s a case of “women having their energies sidetracked”?

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Do you remember the #fakemamamia hashtag that was floating around on Twitter recently? The Sydney Morning Herald claims that it was apparently started by a tweet promoting an article on Mama Mia, which was written by Rosie Waterland. The tweet read “Am I the only one planning a c-section to avoid the pain and keep my lady parts intact?” I’ve since be told that the hashtag was started elsewhere, by @Shirleymullet, with the first tweet listed below. Regardless, what followed from the #fakemamamia hashtag was an at-times hilarious, at-times snarky avalanche of tweets ridiculing the Mama Mia website. Stand out tweets included:

“The 6 things that will tell you your partner will be a deadbeat dad #fakemamamia” @Shirleymullet

 

“Worried about the latest middle east meltdown? Here’s 15 great outfits to wear while worrying#FakeMamaMia@RedBaff

 

“This issue: ‘Learning To Love Yourself As You Are’. Next week: ‘Still Single At 30? It Might Be Your Fat Arse And Ugly Head’. #fakemamamia@deltrimental

 

“10 ways a new red Kitchenaid will save your marriage#fakemamamia@jarrodbooth

And so on, and so forth.

Look, I understand that Mama Mia doesn’t sell itself as a hard-hitting news website. It’s fluffy, with a focus on entertainment, fashion, motherhood, and other “women’s” stuff. I’m not attacking it for these reasons. But what does bother me is when a website that purports to promote ‘fluff’ then goes on to comment about issues such as victim blaming, and making judgements about the ‘inadequacies’ of one television show – whilst at the same time, trying to also tell me about a female celebrity’s vagina ‘going viral’, and whether girls are wearing undies anymore.

I’m not calling for an all-out women’s war (or as Caitlin Moran said, a “Marxist feminist revolution”), whereby we place a ban on anything ‘fun’ or ‘fluffy’ on the basis of it “side tracking one’s energies”. But what I would like is a little bit of perspective. When a website is able to grab the ear of the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader, it should take some time to think through and reevaluate some of its opinions. Particularly in relation to car-locking analogies for victim blaming, and attacking Sex and the City for selling “inadequacy” (whilst also trying to sell its own online clothing shop).

Just a little bit of self-reflection would be nice.

How to transform yourself into Lisbeth Salander

Over the Halloween season, I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few costume-heavy parties. After the realisation came to me that I actually had to ‘dress up’ for these events, I realised I needed a kick-ass costume that was easy on maintenance, and high on ‘scare’ factor. Enter: Lisbeth Salander.

In case you’ve never heard of her, Lisbeth Salander is the main character of the ‘Millenium’ series of books, the most popular of which is ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’. Two films were created, based on the book: one in its native Sweden, and the second out of the US.

The actresses who played Lisbeth in the Swedish and American versions of these films were Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mana, respectively. You can see them here:

I based my costume more around the Swedish version of Lisbeth – mostly because I think that Noomi’s portrayal is amazing, but also because it was a bit easier to achieve when considering my hair and eyebrows (I was not going to bleach or cut anything).

Let the transformation begin!

BEFORE: No make up, hair relatively frizzy, minus the ‘clothes’ part of the costume.

STEP ONE: Wet and then braid hair. I sectioned my hair off into two chunks, divided by the side part. I then pinned up the top section on my right side, in order to later ‘drape’ it over my face.

After doing this, I braided the two chunks of hair towards the back of my head, and then tucked them up and pinned them. From a distance, it almost looked as though I’d shaved my head, which was the intended effect.

STEP TWO: Apply liberal amounts of eyeliner. Just keep piling the stuff on.

Chuck on as much foundation as you like, and then powder over that. Try and make yourself as pale as possible (I didn’t have very much ‘pale’ make up, but I’m sure you can go out and buy some if you’re super-motivated).

STEP THREE: Apply approximately 543, 289 coats of eye shadow in grey, or black, or dark brown. Can you see how thrilled I am about the eye make up? But in all seriousness, you need a few coats. And then you’ll probably have to re-apply the eye shadow over the top of that.

STEP FOUR: Apply black lipstick. FUUUUN! I always like this bit. I couldn’t actually find decent black lipstick, so I made do with a black eyeliner pencil. It stayed on much better than lipstick, so it may be the easier (and cheaper) way to go.

STEP FIVE: Chuck on your costume. You’ll need whatever ripped black clothes you own, plus a pair of boots. I already owned the shirt, the cardigan, ripped jeans and some combat boots – but it would have been nice to have a leather jacket! The only thing I had to purchase was the dog collar.

STEP SIX: Apply piercings. Great if you already have all these piercings – and if not, you can buy a pack of 10 off eBay for about $6. Super cheap, and really easy to use.


STEP SEVEN: Go out and frighten the masses. You’ve earned it.

What relationships force you to learn

Relationships force you to grow. Either through their initiation, throughout their duration, or simply due to their termination – one way or another, your ex boyfriend or girlfriend will force you to learn something new.

Here is what I have learnt from previous boyfriends (and as a side note, I’ve used ‘boyfriend’ here as that’s all I have previously had – but the term ‘girlfriend’ is equally applicable):

- When a guy wants to show off what a man he is by driving recklessly in his car, he is usually “compensating for something” – and it’s not always the size of his penis. It can be related to other issues – but regardless, don’t let him show off, and don’t let him drive you around again. He obviously doesn’t value your life enough to drive carefully.

- When a guy you’re interested in doesn’t get back to you after a good first date – don’t chase him. Evidently, he doesn’t want to go on another date, and you text messaging him asking him if he got your last text message, and the text message before that, and the text message before that won’t change anything. It’s much more therapeutic to simply bitch to your friends.

- If your boyfriend cheats on you, it’s something only you can decide how to handle. Don’t let other people tell you what to do – whether you stay or go, it’s only something you can decide. Only you know how much shit you’re willing to put up with, and only you can learn if you’re willing to put up with that shit again, and again, and again.

- When your boyfriend knows you well enough to just tell that you are in need of lots of cuddles, you know you have found someone who “gets” you.

- If your boyfriend doesn’t look after himself (mind and body) then it’s not your job to step in and help. You’re his girlfriend, not his life manager.

- Not all relationships end with a fiery ‘boom’. Sometimes, they fizzle out over months or years – and it’s not until you look back at the mouldy, rotten hunk of cheese that was the old relationship that you wonder why you hung around inhaling that smell for so long. Don’t worry; this is called a ‘learning experience’, and you go through the ‘fizzling out’ period so you can better recognise it the next time around.

- Finally, there’s the superficial perspective. If none of the above helps you, it’s always reassuring that your ex has the potential of dating someone who just isn’t as ‘good’ as you next time around (and ‘good’ doesn’t necessarily = pretty).

Femininity, and women who know their place

A few weeks ago, John Laws appeared on the ‘Kyle and Jackie O show’. One of the ah, more interesting comments he made was in relation to Jackie O, and women. Apparently, he asked Jackie O if she was wearing a dress (because, of course, that’s highly relevant to her job) and said twice that he likes “feminine women who just know their place in the world”.

Now, if Jackie O was a feminist, she might have objected to these comments. As it stands, the comments left me asking what the hell is a “feminine woman”, and what on earth is their “place”?

After conducting a highly un-scientific Google image search, these images apparently represent “feminine women”:

Sidenote: this Google search also, somewhat hilariously,  led me to a blog post helpfully entitled “How to become more feminine”. Pro tips include “letting go of your desire to be right”, and “becoming a receiver”. I recommend reading it if you want to induce a migraine, as it reeks of sexism (“women are nurturers!” “let a man be a man, and show appreciation for a masculine man!”and “learn to let men simply ‘do’ for you!” are my favourite lines).

So, who are these ‘feminine’ women? They like wearing dresses, have long hair, and perhaps accessorising said hair with flowers or sparkly objects. Traditionally, personality traits include gentleness, empathy, and sensitivity (according to the completely unreferenced source of Wikipedia). Which, you know, is fine because being called ‘feminine’ alone isn’t necessarily an insult (although I would smack anyone down who tried to tell me to “become a receiver”). It’s the association to the female gender that bothers me. Here’s a mind-blowing thought: men can be feminine, too.

And women can be masculine.

And there is nothing wrong with this.

The argument that women are “naturally” more feminine is entirely up for debate in quite a few fields. It’s called “biological determinism”, and has been a point of contention for, well, ever. As you can probably guess, I stand firmly on the side that society, my upbringing, my peers, et al made me more “feminine” than “masculine”. I do not believe that my genetics made me more inclined to like pink, sparkly objects (because I am not a pigeon).

Now, onto this comment of Laws’ that Jackie O “knows her place in the world”. I am presuming that this “place” is in the kitchen, not the board room. Quite simply, all I can say to this is that a woman’s place is wherever she damn well wants it to be – and someone like Laws should not be dictating it for her.

To borrow from a meme, I don’t always gets angry – but it’s pretty much guaranteed that I will if someone tell me that I’m not in the correct “place” for a woman. It’s also the case that I will then demonstrate the correct placement of my womanly foot up someone’s ass.

To conclude: the idea of a “woman’s place” is outdated, oppressive, and serves only to remind women that they damn well had a ‘place’, and isn’t wherever they are currently located.

Wearing make up at the gym, and ‘looking good’?

Ladies, attention. Please. Can I take up a few of your minutes to talk about a disturbing trend that we need to step upon and squish, immediately?

It is called “wearing make up to the gym”. And it scares me. Over to Renae, from “Women’s Fitness” magazine, for more:

Image courtesy of @blue_cupcakes

Look, each to their own, and if someone wants to wear make up to the gym, fine. Personally, make up at the gym is not my thing – I’m simply grateful people are wearing deodorant. The gym is where people go to exercise, and as a rule, exercise involves sweat. Sweat, and frizzy hair, and red faces, and smelly underarms, and wiping your face ON A TOWEL multiple times. It involves running yourself ugly, as Nike would say:

When I’m at the gym (or anywhere, exercising, really) my primary concern is not how good I look. It’s my fitness, and how much of a bad ass I am for dominating the treadmill, or a set of tricep dips, or whatever other form of excruciating torture I have picked for myself.

Did it not occur to the author (or anyone else) that women should have a place where they are allowed to not look good (outside of their own house?) Personally, I have been known to visit supermarkets in pyjamas – but hey, not all ladies are as, uh, fashionable as me.

In the interest of research, I took a photo of myself after a typical workout.

This is me on a ‘fashionable’ day (ie, I am not wearing one of my dad’s old t-shirts). You cannot see the sweat from this distance, and nor can you smell my feet. You can, however, see my unimpressed expression – that’s due to the fact that the concept of me ‘looking good’ at this point time in time is about as relevant as me flying to the moon. It ain’t gonna happen.

The author then spouts something about it being “time to re-fit your kit – seriously, especially if you’re single”. If this writer had said that to me when I actually was single, I would have body slammed her (sans lipstick). I have met past boyfriends at gyms, whilst in the middle of working out – sweaty face and all. Anything is possible ladies – guys might even find you attractive without make up on! There’s no reason to be guilting on single ladies, simply because they’re single and then somehow need to magically “get their kit together”. Heck, they might enjoy being single.

Make up would have worked well in this situation

Women are more than just bare faced make up palettes. They’re people, too. They can go wherever they like, with or without make up on. The writer needs to stop shaming women (particularly single women) into ‘looking good’ (which, I might add, does not always constitute wearing make up) because “guys check out fit girls”. The entire piece contains such a bucket load of conservative, idiotic crap I would have enjoyed ripping it up (if I actually had a hard copy).

So to every female that feels that they have to wear lipstick (really, everyone? *Lipstick*?) to the gym, I say no. Don’t do it to yourself. Your sweat needs pores to escape out of, and if you block those pores up with make up, you’ll eventually just explode into a giant puddle of sweat – much like Alex Mac did back in the 90s. That is SCIENCE, people. SCIENCE. FACT*.

*Probably not an actual fact

‘Resident Evil: Retribution’ – A review

A few days ago, I had the ah, privilege of watching Resident Evil: Retribution. And it did not fail to disappoint, if by disappoint you mean an ample amount of leather, guns, ridiculous stunts and gaping plot holes.

For now, I shall try to skip over the feminist analysis (for more on that, see here) and launch straight into describing this entire clusterfuck of a film (if you don’t appreciate some spoilers, then I’d suggest you tune out now).

Retribution picks up exactly where Afterlife left off. Basically, it’s ‘The Boat That Rocked’, except with more zombies and less happy fun times. The opening sequence of the film was, to be honest, quite impressive. Everything happened backwards, in slow motion, with a typically ‘epic’ music piece playing in the background. Yes, it’s been done before – but there’s a reason they’re doing it again.

Unfortunately, it all went downhill from there. For the next five to ten minutes, we had ‘Alice in suburbia’, whereby Alice was a mother, Todd was a father, and they had a sweet little deaf girl. The best part about this scene was when zombies suddenly appeared and starting chewing Todd’s head off (no, really, it was – it ended the sickening goofy ‘white picket fence’ type scene).

Then Alice woke up like this:

I can just imagine the conversation between her and her director husband. Paul would be all, “We’re putting you in that paper outfit again” and Milla would be all, “Really? I’m pretty sure I could just wear clothes, y’know….” and then he’d compromise by giving her a sweet-ass leather BDSM style kick-ass costume for the rest of the film. Seriously, in this film, Alice has combat boot HEELS.

After Alice wakes up, the plot kind of goes “Bla bla bla, electrical malfunction, bla bla bla, Alice escape, bla bla, oh look, fake Tokyo! Oh look, zombies! Bla bla bla, Albert Wesker is good and has sent Ada Wong to help Alice escape, bla bla bla, escape into suburbia, and there’s the deaf girl no one cares about”.

(I was confused too, but remember what I said about gaping plot holes? Yes. Those.)

Moving along, Alice, Ada and Becky run through fake suburbia, and because Alice has come over all maternalish for this random deaf girl, she decides to sacrifice the future of the human race in order to save her. Of course. This makes perfect sense, because Alice is a woman, and is there a Slave To The Estrogen. At this point in time I started swearing at the screen about mother roles, and wailing “Why can’t Alice just KICK ARSE?! JUST LET ALICE KICK ARSE WITHOUT HAVING TO BE A MOBILE CHILD CARE UNIT!!!”.

Whilst Alice is off having a mother moment, there’s a ‘point team’ that have been sent to help Ada and Alice escape. The ‘point team’ consisted of what I can only imagine to be Luther, another few token well-muscled ethnic dudes, a white dude, and then someone who looked like Keith Urban. Seriously.

Yeah. Whatever. A few of those dudes die in the middle of a huge gunfight with Russian zombies who ride motorbikes (plot hole, plot hole and plot hole) and then they finally meet up with Alice, who rescues them in a Rolls Royce and drives them back into the submarine bay (did I mention this all takes place underwater, in the middle of a frozen lake, in Russia? No? Well, it does. Of course.)

Then everyone says, “Yay, there’s still five minutes for us to escape before the elevator thingy blows up and we’re trapped under here forever”. So, of course, everything goes to shit the moment these lines exit the actors’ mouths.

(As a side note, there’s such a huge plot hole with the entire “we’re going to escape from here and blow up the elevator to the outside world at the same time thing”, and it is, of course, remote detonation. This is such a huge plot hole that Anderson actually has a character explain why they are not going to do that. They may as well have a character turn to the audience and say, “We know this makes no sense guys, but we’re going to do it anyway. Hope you’re all cool with that”. Jesus, Anderson. Get some better writers, already.)

So there’s another fight scene, and Jill Valentine’s cleavage shows up and starts shooting at people:

Eventually, matters are resolved when The Cleavage claims a few more victims, and the rest of the good guys can return to the surface.

Once on the surface, another fight ensues (presumably because Paul S. Anderson still had a couple of thousand left in his budget, and Michelle Rodriguez insisted on beating up the boys on-screen). This time, Alice takes on Jill (and loses), and Rain/Rodriguez takes on Keith Urban and Leon. These fights take place within metres of each other – and yet, they get two ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SOUNDTRACKS. This fact absolutely killed me. I could not stop laughing at the ridiculous fact that every time the camera switched to a different fight, a different musical score would commence playing. I could *not* stop laughing, for some reason. It was insane. I can just imagine the editors cussing out Anderson every time they had to switch scenes, and switch soundtracks.

Anyway. Alice loses, but rips Jill’s cleavage jewellery off her bosom, so Jill is good again (and presumably gets a zip up costume as a reward in the next film). Luther dies, but Keith Urban lives, and Alice wins in another fight against Rain. Meanwhile, that deaf girl (you know, the one that inspired motherly instincts in Alice?) is crouching in the back of a truck nearby. At this point, I literally yelled “Nobody cares about the deaf girl!”. Yes, I’m heartless, BUT IT’S TRUE. I am not here to feel sympathetic towards a girl in a post-apocalyptic zombie world. I am here because I want to see Alice kick arse.

Finally, all The Goodies travel to Washington via super helicopter, land on top of the White House, and commence fighting to save the human race. Literally.

And in case you were wondering what a Russian zombie looks like? Wonder no more. As my friend said, “In Soviet Russia, zombies shoot you!”