Tuesday, March 31

The horror! The worst re-make of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

I'm not sure that this counts as a disaster movie, even with my rather loose interpretation.

But I love Jules Verne.

So I figured I'd try it out on Netflix.

All I have to say is AHH.

Bad actors.

Bad dialogue.

Way too many liberties taken with the characters and plot line.

Sexist remarks from Captain Nemo with a little creepy rapist vibe.
I'm not joking.
He wants to keep Sophie (the new character) as his prisoner after the others are let go.
The Nautilus is NOT supposed to be a rapists den.

Basically, my worst nightmare.

They've ruined a wonderful book and created a movie that isn't even a good shlock.

It's just wrong.


Monday, March 30

When science goes wrong..or why I find this women's take on breastfeeding so irritating

I did another one of those link hopping things today. Followed a post from one place to another and finally ended up on the Atlantic Monthly's page.

There is an article from the upcoming issue about breastfeeding.

It's titled: The Case Against Breastfeeding

It made me want to throw a few things at my computer.

I decided that my computer was not to blame, and neither is the woman who wrote the article.

She actually makes several good points.

Women often face enormous amount of social pressure to do the right thing for their children, even when the 'right' thing can really be one of many things.

Women are often blamed for doing too little (Uh oh. Cold mother? Your child's autism is a reaction), too much (Clingy mother? You've made your son gay!) or things that are just plain bad (A glass of wine? Shame on you! Your child's delay is your fault!).

While I'm not advocating for being a non-responsive/overly-aggressive/drinker during pregnancy and childrearing, there's a pretty good body of evidence that women cannot and should not be blamed for the complexity that is human growth and development.

Anyway, back to my rant about the breastfeeding article.

The author, Hanna Rosin, spends most of the first page talking about the difficulties of being shackled to her baby during its breastfeeding months.

She points out that women are ostracized if they choose to bottle feed, and that scare tactics are used to keep women breastfeeding lest they create undernourished, stupid acne ridden children.

She's right about the weak evidence that links IQ or acne to breastfeeding practices.
She's right about how her baby would likely grow up to be equally intelligent, happy etc whether she bottle feeds him or not.

But she's forgetting that she's obviously living in a rather lovely bubble, vacuum cleaners and all forms of male oppression included.
She has high SES, which is the great equalizer for many other things.

Lead poisoning in your child? High SES will help ensure that their IQ remains along a normal path (not so if you're low SES).
Bottle fed or breastfed? Probably doesn't matter if you have enough money for good food, schools and ongoing parental involvement.

But she totally erases the expediences of many women, both in the US and around the world who cannot rely upon their wealth and status as the great equalizer for their children.

Maybe breastfeeding does not give your baby extra IQ points (and maybe it does! weak evidence does not mean no impact..just need more info!).

But in countries where the infant mortality rate is 7x (or even higher) that of the United States, early and exclusive breastfeeding has been found to be one of the most effective ways to save lives.

So while it's something worthy of a healthy debate among the playgroup tight jean set that Ms. Rosin so cleverly mocks, it's literally a matter of life and death for infants around the world and even in Ms. Rosin's own city.

So while I don't disagree with her characterization of breastfeeding as a personal decision (one for which women should not be shamed or ostracized no matter the outcome), it's rather upsetting that she repeatedly compares this important and life saving measure to vacuum cleaning.

I'd love to go toe to toe with her mountain of research.
I'm pretty sure my 'saves lives' research is more compelling in the argument for breastfeeding than the evidence against because it may or may not help prevent acne.

Sunday, March 29

Figured out how not to hate Charlton Heston..just make sure the cast is all men

I think the title of the post says it all.

I usually find Charlton Heston really irritating.
I've shared my feelings.

He didn't annoy me quite as much in Gray Lady Down.

I think I know why.

There were only 2 women in the movie.
They had a combined total screen time of like 5 minutes, and
did not overlap at all with Charlton.

That seems to be the saving grace for any movie with Charlton.

If there aren't women nearby he can't bully them into submission.

Overall it was a tolerable sub movie.

High on the drama and low on the special effects
(but that it totally understandable given it was made in 1978).

Overall, I'd give it a solid C. If I'm going to watch a dramatic sub movie I'd much rather watch U-571. And no, I do not want to discuss the fact that U-571 is a totally inaccurate portrayal of the time period and American involvement.

I'm a fan of the pre-sellout Matthew McConaughey
(which reminds me..if he makes 1 more romantic comedy I might have to
devote an entire rant to his recently dive into mindless crap).

Actually, I'm pretty sure U-571 stole a few key plot points from Gray Lady Down (heroic young guy drowning while holding a lever open, valiant captain wrestling with his sense of duty)..but I still prefer it and not just because Charlton is nowhere to be found.

Friday, March 27

The paradox of the self-rescuing princess babydoll t-shirt

I followed a link (maybe from Feministing?) to this t-shirt:

How cute!

It says 'self-rescuing princess' in swirly letters!
I'm not going to lie.
I like black t-shirt, I like swirly letters, and I think the princess concept is cute in certain contexts (i.e t-shirts, some ball gown styles and not much else).

I looked at the sizing (I'm a medium in case anyone wants to get it for me as a gift) and at the price.

Seems OK.

Then I saw the style/sizing option. The t-shirt style for women is 'babydoll.'

It made me think a little.

Here's this very adorable t-shirt with a great description:
"If you're reading this page, we're betting that you are that superheroine. But if you're not, we know you have one in your life. Your own personal Buffy, Lara Croft, Zoe, the wielder of The Witchblade, Xena, Kim Possible, Leela, Agent 355, Ripley, Wonder Woman, or (our favorite rolemodel for little girls) Elizabeth from The Paper Bag Princess. We could go on, but you get the idea. To paraphrase, geek girls kick butt and chew bubble gum, and we're all out of gum. "Self-Rescuing Princess" is printed in turquoise blue beneath a glittery crown / tiara on this black 100% cotton, babydoll (fitted) t-shirt."

Not only did I really appreciate the Buffy reference, I liked the variety of the list.

My problem is just with the babydoll t-shirt concept.

Why do we call t-shirts for grown women babydoll shirts?

I know this has absolutely nothing to do with the theme of the shirt, or the website that offers it for sale.

But really?

We have to go out of way to give clothing sized for women a fluffy extra-girly sounding name?

What's wrong with just calling it a shirt?

Sunday, March 22

Possible misogyny coming right up..trying 1 more Charlton Heston disaster flick!


Most people know how I feel about Charlton Heston.

Not as the gun-toting kind of sad version (thanks Michael Moore for making him actually seem a little sympathetic).

I mean as his movie persona.

Larger than life.

Pushy. Misogynist.

A big fan of smacking/shaking/deriding 'hysterical' women.

Well, I'm giving him another chance.

According to the Netflix reviews, Gray Lady Down isn't a 'typical macho Navy movie.'

Which to me, sound a little paradoxical. How can a movie about the Navy not be kind of macho?

But I'm going to give it (and Charlton) a shot.

Friday, March 20

Really. Who would't like spy gadgets and cute accents?

I've become a big fan of MI-5 (Spooks in the UK).

It's gotten so bad that I've stopped renting disaster movies, or really any kind of movies so that I can watch every single episode of this show as quickly as possible.

I recently had to put the obsession on hold (graduate school got in the way!).

But as soon as I get the work under control for this last term, I'm heading back to the world of British spy-craft.

I'm not surprised I like MI-5.

Almost every episode is like a mini-disaster movie.

The nice Brits have stopped at least 2 nuclear attacks, several bombings, a few assassinations and 1 fake act of biological warfare.

All of the violence and gratuitous killing off of main characters (yes, gratuitous. It's not necessary to kill off nice nerdy members of the team and make me cry) has made me think a little bit about why I enjoy the show.

Other than the aforementioned mini-disaster aspect.

Some of it is the gadgets. Some of it is the accents. I find both fun.

But I think at least a little of the appeal is the team dynamic and gender dynamics.
All of the MI-5 agents struggle with lying to their friends and family, the constant danger etc.
The female characters certainly show emotion, but they aren't given to panicking or becoming hysterical.
As for the male characters, its nice to see even some stodgy British spies cry. I like that MI-5 is one episode at a time providing a rather nice template for strong men who feel.

While the show is not without faults (we get it..terrorists can come from the Middle East...thanks for the memo), I'm sticking with it until my grades start to suffer.
And probably even after that point.

Monday, March 9

Also, why is an article on reproducitve choice in the fasion and style section???

See the title.

Enough said.

Is abortion a fashion issue? If so, Tim Gunn needs to show up stat..because I'm clearly missing something in the definition of style.

Pass the torch here!

I got really excited when I read this article in the New York Times today, titled: Where to Pass the Torch?

Part of the reason I got excited is that I'm a sucker for celebrity.
And I totally know Anne Baker and Sally Burgess (mentioned multiple times in the article).

I've also been to the Hope Clinic multiple times to tour, meet with staff and run educational programs.

So, kind of neat for a little clinic in Granite City, IL to be making the health page of the NYtimes.

I was less excited by the time I finished the article.

The question posed by the article: who will take over the fight for women's reproductive rights?

Apparently a lot of 50+ year old women worry that no one will 'take up the torch.'

Which is a little frustrating.

I spent over a year working with a reproductive justice nonprofit. My boss was barely over 50, but my co-workers the interns etc. were almost all in their early 20s.

We regularly attracted large numbers of young adults to events.

I am now pursuing my masters and am focusing on population & reproductive health.

My cohort here at Hopkins (about 15 people) is almost exclusively made up of young women.

Seems like there are plenty of us ready and willing to take up the torch.

I think that this disconnect is both generational and technological.

Some people think that activism must be played out via marching on the mall in DC.

Those of us under the age of 30 may be more likely to blog, twitter, facebook or create a viral marketing campaign...and then maybe march. Maybe.

I don't disagree that it's frustrating that so little has change in 30+ years.
We shouldn't still have to be fighting for these rights.

But we are still fighting, and a little more faith in the Millenial generation would go a long way. We're ready and willing to carry the torch..

if only more of these people (who have paying jobs!) would recognize the value of blog writing, and social networking and give us the opportunity to fight!

Wednesday, March 4

The 2 Coreys are back..I think

As if The Lost Boys wasn't bad enough, I decided to go ahead and watch the straight to DVD sequel.

That girl who was on the OC is in it..No not the annoying one or Summer..the one from the final season. I can't remember her name! I'll imdb it later.

Anyway, so far I've learned:

1. Being a slutty vampire chick is bad. Apparently this movie likes shaming: women & sluts. Oh, and vampires. But I can't really fault them for that part.
2. All girls are sluts. Oh, and the punishment for hoeing around? You either a) get killed (see above) or b) get semi-turned into a vampire.

At first I was kind of heartened to see that the main vampire character was going to be a girl. Kind of a new twist (at least from the original Lost Boys).

Sadly, I think that the gratuitous violence (I've now seen intestines MULTIPLE times) and sex isn't going anywhere interesting.