A 72-year-old Chinese man named Liu Xianping is getting the world’s attention today for his work as a model. A model for his granddaughter’s boutique. Which sells clothes for teenage girls. After his first pictures were posted, Grandpa went viral and Web traffic to the store jumped. Liu says, “Why unacceptable (for someone like me to wear women’s clothes)? Modeling for the store is helping my granddaughter and I have nothing to lose. I’m very old and all that I care about is to be happy.”
Elderly Chinese man becomes star model November 20, 2012
Shameless on the AGO’s unibrow stunt November 8, 2012
To promote its special exhibit on Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario has been handing out stick-on unibrows and photographing patrons wearing them. Here is a nicely trenchant response from the awesome feminist youth mag, Shameless. (It really is awesome, by the way. Consider buying subscriptions for the youths in your life!)
Here’s a taste:
I hate to be a joykill, here, AGO, but since when did celebrating an artist who challenged our ideas of feminine beauty by refusing to change the way she looked involve breaking her down through the implicit public ridicule of her appearance? Over the course of her lifetime and afterwards, Frida Kahlo’s unibrow was viewed as many things–striking, daring, odd, challenging, coy, studied, bold, memorable, and the reason why so many men fell love with her–but never as a city-wide joke. Why start now?
How did Jessica Valenti lose the baby weight? September 15, 2012
A major news organization wants to know. Jessica Valenti, feminist activist and author, recently gave birth and wrote a book. In promoting her book, she pitched story ideas to various news outlets dealing with issues she address in Why Have Kids? One organization wasn’t really feeling her original pitch, and came back with this:
Would Jessica be interested in writing something about weight loss after having a baby? We’re doing a lot of coverage around Jessica Simpson’s efforts to lose the baby pounds, and we’d love to hear from Jessica Valenti about what it was like for her to shed the weight. She can get as personal as she’d like—our readers love personal stories. Along with the actual process of losing weight (what she ate, when she exercised, etc), it would be interesting if she could focus on setting realistic expectations for yourself as a new mom. I feel like a lot of conversation among our audience has turned to the fact that new mothers aren’t prepared for the onslaught of all the worrying that comes with having a baby, including her looks.
I nearly choked on my coffee this morning, trying not to laugh at the irony of it all. Read more here.
The Logic of Who Deserves Respect September 6, 2012
Potty Training Your Kids At The Restaurant Table Might Possibly Upset Nearby Diners
“I noticed that this lady was having her two — she had two twins, two little girls about 2-and-a-half years old, sitting on what I thought were booster seats,” one witness to a public potty training tells KSL-TV in Utah.
But she soon discovered that those booster seats were actually kiddie toilets. ”She had to undo the jumpsuits, and take them all the way down so they were completely nude, with the jumpsuits down to their ankles just eating their chicken nuggets, sitting on little toddler potties,” the diner recalls. “I was like this is not ok, we’re eating, there was a business meeting with about five or six businessmen going on right next to me. The place was packed.” So she did what lots of people would probably do in the same situation: Take a photo with her phone and post it on Facebook.
What is going on with the reasoning in this paragraph?: ”It is inappropriate to have your children exposed and naked in public. THEREFORE, I am going to take a picture of your naked children and display it in public.” It’s not a good enough answer to simply say, “Stupid people are stupid” because we see the same weirdly-contradictory logic in other situations:
–When people talk about women, self-respect, and sex. The narrative I’ve seen played out numerous times goes something like this: Dude is upset that woman is not protecting herself properly against inappropriate sexual advances; so, he starts making inappropriate sexual advances towards her. The idea is something like, in not ‘respecting’ herself enough, she is no longer worthy of respect from him.
–When someone is harassing a person on the street and they yell out, ”You’re beautiful!” but if ignored they will tack on, “F*** you, you Ugly B****!”
–When we talk about how innocent and asexual kids are but if one of them gets raped (but not also murdered) or has sex all of a sudden it’s completely plausible that they are mature, worldly, experienced, and sexual beings.
–When, “Black women are only seen in a barely positive light FOR sex. It’s an awkward turn to this stereotype – everyone wants to f[***] me, but I’m the ugliest thing walking, huh?” (From here.)
This incident with the potty training kids highlights the weird part of this madonna/whore logic where the meaning of “inappropriate” shifts. It starts out as, “These children are being inappropriately exposed and need to have their bodies protected” but then changes into, “the other diners are being inappropriately exposed to these bodies and thus (the diners) have a right to ridicule and display them (the bodies).” It begins as an impulse to protect but ends as a desire to punish.
What are other instances of this sudden flip from respect to disrespect or from protection to exploitation? And what are the unspoken premises here?
The whole, “Please stop, I’m unable to partake of food in the presence of grossness and/or social inappropriateness,” screams of #firstworldproblems.
If something is upsetting your sensibilities, please just be quiet and eat your damn dinner instead of proceeding to tell other people how gross and inappropriate their bodies are. (And I’ll admit, I still catch myself wanting to do this sort of thing because it’s a cheap and easy joke to deride someone for being gross and unseemly. But really it’s just spiteful judgement and petty hierarchy-climbing.)
Lovely story August 26, 2012
He’s simply smiling, when other boys ( and it’s nearly always boys) want to make fun of him and says: “You only don’t dare to wear skirts and dresses because your dads don’t dare to either.” That’s how broad his own shoulders have become by now. And all thanks to daddy in a skirt.
Hillary Clinton on what designers she wears August 14, 2012
MODERATOR 1: Okay. Which designers do you prefer?
SECRETARY CLINTON: What designers of clothes?
MODERATOR 1: Yes.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Would you ever ask a man that question? (Laughter.) (Applause.)
MODERATOR 1: Probably not. Probably not. (Applause.)
For the full story, go here.
Photographed like beach volleyball August 4, 2012
Thanks, Mr Jender!