Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Great Gatsby

I am super excited for Baz Luhrmann's upcoming version of The Great Gatsby. The novel has always been one that I've liked (though I haven't understand why it represents the American Dream, and other such stuff that English classes teach you about it) and now it is being done by one of my favorite directors. YAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!!!

The poster lies, however, because the release date changed to May. Major bummer.

The movie, from what I've heard, is inspired by art deco (as seen on the poster) and Kanye West's song "No Church in the Wild" (which I think is featured in both of the movie trailers).

The trailers are gorgeous and heart-wrenching. I am very excited about the soundtrack. Thus far, it sounds amazing. And remember Moulin Rouge? The music in that movie was SO GOOD.

Of course, it'll be a typical Baz Luhrmann. He's done the star-crossed lovers many-a-time. BUT THAT'S WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT IT!!! Because in the novel, you don't get the emphasis on the decadence of the roarin' 20s. These trailers alone are a VISUAL FEAST.

Guys, I'm not really even that much of a film nerd. BUT SERIOUSLY.

This one has the infamous line "You always look so cool" in it. I love that line. It's so ... paradoxical. Because Daisy says that line, and that's the line that gives away her affair with Gatsby to her husband. It's such a banal line, yet causes so much danger.

Enjoy. (You will). 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Perfect butts and Pinterest

So on Pinterest, I have this one friend who is constantly pinning different exercise pins. Every single day when I go on, she's got about 30 more. This may be a slight exaggeration, but only very slight.

Needless to say, she probably has an eating disorder. Especially since the occurrences of these pin rampages always seems to coincide with difficult breakups.

The theme of pins I seemed to notice today was how to exercise to get the perfectly shaped butt. For her, the perfect butt is the "bubble butt."

This is the bubble butt:  
Also, she's probably sticking her butt out, making it look bigger than it really is.

For others, the necessary butt workout can be the "bikini butt," the "Jessica Beil butt," the "tight" butt, the "LeAnn Rimes bikini butt," and so on. She even pinned this ridiculous-looking chart: 

Please, no one take this seriously.

There are so many good reasons all of these pins shouldn't exist, and my poor friend is the exact example of why. She is 22, and despite what she thinks, gorgeous. She is never lacking for male attention or compliments from others. Yet, she doesn't understand that she is perfect the way she is. She spends hours a day at the gym, puts herself on many different kinds of unnecessary diets, including the "military" diet, and never ever feels good about herself. After she moved out of the house we were sharing, I threw away a few years' worth of about three different health magazines. But she doesn't seem to realize that all of this, on top of about 300 Pinterest links to workout websites, can be seriously dangerous and harmful to her. 

And really, who wants to live their life that way? She is of average height and weight. There is nothing "fat" about her, especially given all the muscle she gains by exercising such an excessive amount. I hope I don't offend anyone by saying this, but I've always called the "bubble butt" the "black butt," because the only people I knew who had them were black (or Greek, actually). The point I'm trying to make by saying that is that butts are genetic, natural, biological, whatever. You probably can't get the bubble butt, or Jessica Beil's butt, or whomever's, because your butt is your butt. 

I'm currently trying to work up the courage to tell this friend that I am worried about her. But in the meantime, I wanted to tell you all how sick I am of "thinspo," and of hearing women call themselves fat. Please, everyone, work on loving the body you are in. Trying this hard to achieve a body that you are not biologically made for is only going to make you unhappy. Changing yourself will not make you happy - only accepting yourself and loving your body for all of its supposed imperfections can do that.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Another artist I like ...

... is Michael Summers. Colby and I went to San Diego for our honeymoon (woo!), and found this artist in a gallery in the Seaport area. Which is gorgeous, by the way, and I want to live there forever now.

Here are a few of the pieces we saw:

"Right as Rain"

"A Mother's Love"

Pretty cool, right? He's got this awesome surrealist thing going on. I love the contrast of colors.

My favorite one is this robot one: 

"Be Still My Heart"
It really isn't surprising that this is my favorite one, considering my love of sci-fi. But still!!! I love the contrast of nature with technology, as well as the colors again. Plus, the pitiable robot is so appealing.

Also, it may not surprise you that I like this artist if you saw my other artist highlight on Takashi Murakami. They are kind of similar in a way. Do you see it?

So Merry Christmas and go to San Diego, my new favorite place!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More sexism on Pinterest

It is no secret that Pinterest is dominated by women. The nature of Pinterest has become pictures of dresses, hairdos, cleaning tips, decorating advice, wedding planning, cutesy pictures of babies, sewing, etc. - all interests dominated by females (whether they should be or not). The few men on this social network are sadly, though understandably, outnumbered.

Which is why you end up getting many pins like these ones:

There's nothing really wrong with this one, except that there's only a woman in the picture. 

... and on and on and on. I've seen gift guides for husbands, sexy 12 days of Christmas for husbands, etc.

And all of them give good advice and ideas. I don't think I could really argue with "a marriage is made up of two good forgivers" and "use kind words."

My issue really comes from the fact that all of these are advice blogs are for wives on how to treat their husbands right. Although the advice is generally very gender neutral, it gets directed specifically at the women. I don't think I've ever seen one directed at men (though I have seen this excellent one by a man that is not necessarily gender specific:

I understand that it is generally women who are writing these blogs, so it makes sense to give advice as a wife to another wife. But I really wish they wouldn't. I believe that by directing this advice solely towards women, they are putting all the responsibility on the young women reading this to work on their marriages. If these bloggers never specified which person in the relationship the advice was for, maybe young women would be more likely to share the articles with their spouses after finding it on Pinterest.

So please, fellow bloggers who might be reading this: Make your advice gender neutral. After all, don't we want husbands to be respecting and putting forth as much effort into their relationship as wives?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Taking God out of things

I am home for the holidays!

My parents have recently moved to this very odd community in Southern California. I say it's odd because it's not far away from busy, thriving, ginormous cities, but it only has a population of about 22,000. It's two square miles large. And everybody seems to know everybody, either because they all went to high school together, their families have been in this area forever, they go to church together, or their kids go to school together.

Also, everyone here is super rich. The average family's house probably cost about a million dollars because housing is so expensive here. (Maybe that's exaggerating. But there are seriously a lot of wealthy people here. Tag Romney used to live here. Seriously.)

It's very strange.

And I HATE going to church here. I always go to the LDS church. And it seems like every single time, one of the extremely wealthy white privileged people (who are way more privileged than even your average white person) is making some sort of dumbass, ignorant comment.

This week, it was in reference to the Connecticut shootings, as well as other tragedies that they were glumping in there. A woman said that these tragedies are happening because we are trying to legislate God out of everything, and take God out of everything.

I was very angry at that remark, and then I saw this on my Facebook:

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as “Holiday Trees” for the first time this year which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this 
piece which I would like to share with you. I think it applies just as much to many countries as it does to America . . . 

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crib, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her: “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”
In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not, then just discard it.... no one will know you did. But if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. 
My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

First of all, Ben Stein only said about the first four paragraphs of this. Does the rest of this "pass it on or feel guilty" bullshit really sound like something a famous satirist would say in an interview? NO.

Second of all ... what the hell? Really, people? I'm kind of ashamed to have you as Facebook friends. (Slightly embarrassed that my mother liked it, but she's kind of a whore when it comes to liking Facebook things.)

The White House has many different people from many different cultures, customs, backgrounds, countries, beliefs, etc. visiting it every day. If they choose to be sensitive in what they call a fucking TREE, I find that commendable. Maybe the people who visit the White House don't think it's necessary, and maybe no one while be offended by a "Christmas Tree." But I believe that it is the thought that counts, and showing that they care enough to try to be sensitive is a good thing.

The comments of this viral post and the woman in church are both ridiculous. The world is changing and becoming more diverse, so it will never be as religious as their "good ole' days." People are going to be generally less religious as time goes on.

But none of that will affect individual religious families. If a family wants to be religious and have God in their lives and homes, they will ensure that it will happen, no matter what is going on outside of their door.

This is also what annoys me about "Keep the Christ in Christmas" and "Remember the reason for the season." I, personally, love being very spiritual around Christmas time. It's really the only time of the year that I enjoy it. However, I find that it is very wrong to try to force that on other people. If people want to celebrate Christmas without being religious, and with being shallow and spending hours playing video games, then let them. How does their behavior change your spirituality?

Also, I really disagree with the logic that God is going to punish us as a community. Or abandon us as a community. That kind of thing is what God allegedly did in the Old Testament, and I really don't believe he does that anymore. I guess that's kind of a matter of opinion.

But seriously, this Christian majority martyr thing is so pathetic. No one is persecuting Christians in this country (except I've heard that maybe in some parts of Utah people are being bullied for wearing cross necklaces. That is ACTUAL persecution). Christians do not need to be upset that the rest of the country is becoming more sensitive and belief-neutral.

Ugh. People. I hate them and all of their ignorant bullshit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Male Feminists

So in response to this article by a writer at Jezebel (, a male reader made this comment:

Which I think is great. I think it's wonderful that there are men out there who bother to read Jezebel and who aren't posting terrible things about how all feminists like to be victims (unlike someone else who had commented). For him to actually be supportive of Jezebel writers and feminists is kind of amazing. About half of the responders to his feed thought so, too.

But then there were those who bashed on him. Here:

I thought his question was extremely appropriate and thoughtful. I mean really, how can a man possibly know what to do in this situation? If he tries to take over the fight and be protective over her, he'd get yelled at. If he didn't do anything, that'd also be bad. Feminism can be a very touchy, sensitive thing (not feminISTS, you stupid trolls), and it's hard to know what is helping and what is overstepping boundaries.

The same sort of bashing on a male feminist happened in this article that argues against Hugo Schwyzer: I'm not going to comment on the author's other points against his article (I didn't read his article). But she goes on to say at the end of her piece that Schwyzer, who is frequently featured on Jezebel, should not be a voice for feminism because the oppressors (men) cannot lead the oppressed (women) out of their oppressed state. That would just be more oppression.

I happen to love Schwyzer's articles, as they are well-written and delve into the reasons why men act in a sexist manner, which is a perspective you don't get from female feminists. But also, I think it's ridiculous to say that a man cannot speak out for feminism.

First of all, feminism is not just about women, despite the "feminine" root in the word and its reputation. A large part of its movement does involve women, but it is not limited to that. Feminists believe that men also suffer from sexism, as they are similarly subject to media that pressures them into a specific kind of masculinity, etc. Feminists believe in equality for everyone, which often includes gay marriage, another factor that affects men.

And also, assuming that sexism is only a problem that affects women ... so what if men decide to be a voice in support of feminism? Isn't that a good thing? Wouldn't converting others to our way of thinking and educating them be exactly what we want?

Seriously, I think you're being a bad feminist if you're trying to exclude men who genuinely want to support the movement. If you think they're in the wrong, you can try to educate them, but ostracizing them not only gives feminists a terrible reputation, but is also extremely hypocritical.

Edit: I have since found out that Hugo Schwyzer tried to kill his ex-girlfriend in a murder suicide attempt, and other not-so-flattering misogynistic things about him. (Here: This definitely changes my feelings about him, and, at the very least, I take back my praise.

Monday, December 10, 2012


I've seen a few people in my internet feminist community start writing about modesty this week, so I thought I'd join in. I think my experiences on the matter are especially appropriate, given that I grew up in a culture that highly emphasized modesty, and, whether or not they meant to, pushed some sexist thinking on us because of it.

All of the hype has started because of a modesty club in South Pasadena (an area I actually have family in, so I'm really not surprised) that has gotten big enough to start a modesty week at their high school. It's also not surprising considering that the 15-year-old girl who started the club is a relative of Orrin Hatch, the incumbent Utah senator who shot down sex education in Utah public schools. She also has a brother who started a no cussing club at that same high school, but currently goes to BYU.

Of course, feminists do not want to tell women what to wear. I see absolutely no problem with women who feel more empowered and comfortable with their body when they are dressing modestly. I come from a family of extremely busty women (the kind of busty that creates cleavage even in a turtleneck), and also, sometimes I do not want eyes drawn to my body parts, so I completely understand. I do believe that it can, in fact, be very empowering.

But the problem seems to come in with the rhetoric of how modesty is taught in the Mormon church. At least, in my experience (though I'm sure my experience is not unique).

As a teenage girl in the LDS church, I was taught modesty a lot. I was told stories about girls wearing strapless dresses to prom, which made their Mormon dates uncomfortable because they didn't know where to put their hands. Certainly even their bare shoulders are too erotic for such a thing!

I was shown pictures of girls in full-out goth getup and told about how your clothing reflects on you, and allows other people to judge you, so you should dress modestly.

Above all, I was taught that I needed to be modest for other people.

How many millions of times have I heard this? "Modest is the hottest." It felt like to me that my fellow female church-goers only said this to try to convince themselves of it, because, let's face it, we all grew up feeling different and left out because of this particular lifestyle choice.

All of that built character or whatever, so I'm not complaining about that. I'm upset with this phrase because it compares girls who make a spiritual choice to be modest to other girls and tries to put them above those girls who do not make that choice. Being modest should never be about being better than people who choose not to be modest. I believe this phrase was invented by some adult somewhere who was trying to convince teenagers that modesty is "cool." But really, they just succeeded in furthering the whole I'm-religious-and-judging-you attitude.

If a woman chooses to be modest for her own spiritual enhancement, this phrase or attitude should have nothing to do with how they feel about it. I hope I don't offend anyone here, but let's take girls with Muslim beliefs as an example. Many of them choose to don clothing that is not mainstream in American culture for the purpose of enhancing their personal spirituality (as I understand it). Although I have not known many Muslim girls, the ones I did never really cared if other people chose to be modest too. They never had expressions like this. For them, modesty had absolutely nothing to do with other people (at least as far as I know).

Moving on.

I was also taught quite a bit that I needed to be modest for the Young Men in my ward and stake. I was taught that men are weaker in that they cannot resist sexual temptations the way that women can. At the time, I liked this, because I liked thinking that this was some kind of sacred responsibility and that women are on a pedestal.

All of that is complete bullshit. No matter what I wore to stake dances, there would be a dude who "accidentally" had his hand on my ass while we were slow dancing because he was "awkward" with girls. I totally fell for that bit more than once (to be fair, Mormon guys can be really awkward around girls). It is never a girl's responsibility to try to protect men from sexual temptations, and nor should we coddle them like that. Men are perfectly capable of resisting if they want to (even horny and hormonal teenage boys), and believing otherwise contributes to rape culture. Also, we should be teaching teenage boys that there is nothing wrong with being "turned-on," and that sexual interest is a natural and good thing, no matter what your religion teaches about sexual actions. That can be a topic for another post, though, so I won't delve deeper.

While some of the Young Men in my ward did eventually give in to sexual temptations, so did I. And I probably beat them to it, too. Because GIRLS WANT SEX JUST AS MUCH AS GUYS DO. Despite what movies and TV shows depict, or what my parents and church leaders wanted to believe, that is the truth.

So if I ever end up teaching Sunday School or Young Women's lessons, I would never say a word about needing to be modest so that you can be better than other girls, or needing to be modest so that men can better resist you. I would tell them that modesty is something that has nothing to do with their parents, their peers, the boys the have crushes on, or their church leaders, or even me. Modesty is absolutely a personal, private choice.