Thursday, March 18, 2010

Femonomics reads the internet so you don't have to: Don't ask please tell, Sandy's tale of woe, and reality TV roundup

The NYTimes has a piece on a new book featuring photographs of gay men and women in the armed forces, posed with their faces obscured.  Go check out the author's website to see the moving, poignant pictures yourself.  The idea of our nation's soldiers having to cover their faces instead of hold them high (for fear of being discharged, dishonored, and stripped of benefits) just emphasizes to me how much this policy is not at all acceptable.  An Iraq war vet recently chained himself to the White House fence (and was later arrested) to make just that point.

As you've probably heard, a woman has come forward claiming Sandra Bullock's husband, Jesse James, had an affair with her.  Normally I wouldn't rush to believe the rumors, but given that Sandy canceled her scheduled European appearances for "personal reasons" and James has issued an apology, it seems likely at least some portion of the accusations are true. This really kills me, not just because Sandra seems like such a genuinely nice person who was so grateful for the recent accolades coming her way (and issued a heartfelt thank you to her husband each time) and who I just wish could have the chance to savor her little slice of happiness, but also because I know about the inevitable media storyline to follow: "Sanrdra Bullock's marriage collapses as her career reaches new heights.  Maybe there's just no way to have it all," I can already here the press cackling.  For some reason, journalists seem to delight in this arc of public success and private failure, especially when it comes to women who seem to be playing in the big leagues career-wise.  At least on these pages, we won't be drawing any conclusions about how her busy work schedule drove him to seek attention and comfort in another woman's (tattoo-covered) arms.  We'll just say that we're sorry, and hey, she'll always have Oscar.

And in other news two new interesting reality shows are arriving on VH1.  One featuring Jessica Simpson going around the world to try other cultures' beauty rituals, and the other featuring a transsexual makeover squad.  Check out feministing's deconstruction of both here and here.  I know these shows are far from perfect, and will probably end up using their constructs (foreign people doing crazy things!  Ladies who used to be men!) as gimmicks more than once, but nonetheless I find these two shows at least intriguing, as opposed to most of what VH1 and other purveyors of "reality" fare put out.  I say, bravo for pushing the envelope; now try to toe the line. 


  1. Jessica Simpson's show is worth watching (like put it on your DVR list and watch it one day when there's nothing on). i don't think it's trying to 'other' as much as it's accused of in those critiques you linked to. the focus of the program is to see standards of beauty in other countries and what women do there to be considered beautiful. i think we're supposed to relate with the fact that woman will go to extremes to fit the standards of beauty. So while there is a lot of goofing off they do try to focus on the main theme. in one scene they show a woman who damaged her skin using a bleaching cream which is popular in Thailand because fairer skin is considered beautiful.

  2. Jezebel has a good piece on why Jesse James makes us so mad.


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