Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Bunheads Episode 2 (For Fanny)

So Hubble is dead. 

A lot of fans were confused, and thought that he was a necessary character. (See the piece I wrote on Foxjuice) But no. No, no. Hubble was a plot device. And that plot device has served its purpose. 

So this episode begins where the first left off. Michelle and Fanny, in shock, go back to the house. Fanny does not acknowledge Michelle. Michelle is like totally confused. 

The next day Fanny goes into full-on crazy mode and tries to organize a Buddhist/circus/hulabaloo memorial for Hubble, but she is soo far off in grief world to see that using a coupon on the intrepid is a little far. 

Meanwhile, the bunheads are in school, as they are teenagers, and process the information of Hubble's death by skipping class and going to the movies. Boo flips out, realizes this is an inadequate way to deal with death, tells everyone they're going to hell if they don't do a million pliés. Fanny, entering a 16 hour meditation, has forgotten that she had class to teach, and Michelle snaps out of her daze--understandable after her bizarre situation and after being snapped at by Fanny and the stalker-ex GF--when the bunheads come to her for help. 

So together they organize a nice memorial for Hubble, the girls dance to one of Hubble's favorite songs with Michelle's choreography. Fanny is grateful, and not just because she can cancel on the sitar player she'd been calling.

While post-memorial everyone is milling about and eating, Fanny sees Hubble's old friend from school (who is dreamy, clearly likes Michelle and is a clear potential love interest. BTW, he seems normal, despite remembering that Hubble told him that Michelle's shoe size was 9) and informs her that Hubble, during Michelle's hungover car ride, changed the WILL SO THAT NOW MICHELLE OWNS ALL HIS STUFF LIKE THE LAND.

And this is how Michelle will be staying in Paradise. Because now she has legal roots. I was wondering how they'd finagle that. And while that seems crazy that he would change his will that quickly, remember this is a man who married a Vegas show girl who he was obsessed with. 

Okay. So the dynamic between Fanny and Michelle is still rocky, and prone to television development. I'm also excited to see how things go with the Bunheads, since this episode saw Boo sticking up for herself more. LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE.

On Vacation


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer TV: Bunheads. Do we Love or Hate?

So I'm graduated. I've been watching a lot of hulu lately. And I saw like a billion ads for Bunheads, which appeared to be the stupidest show in the world.

I'm still not exactly sure what I think of it. I think I might love it.  But here's my review of episode one.  (SPOILERS!)

Michelle is a Las Vegas showgirl who is too talented for her sucky job. Hubble is her stalker. (WTF TV names, really? I mean, Hubble?) He comes to see her show all the time, always brings her gifts and crap and talks like a man who wants to rub the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again. So he's like in love with her even though she blows him off like all the time.

Really the issue is that Michelle is a fast-talking Amy Sherman-Palladino creature, and Hubble is a normal. Homebo(d)y can't keep up with her jam.

By the way, Hubble is ALAN RUCK.
But after Michelle blows an audition for Chicago (or rather... doesn't even get to dance because the director don't care) she's depressed, and she goes out with Hubble and gets real real drunk. She gives a strange talk about how she's a relationship godzilla and Hubble gives the weirdest speech ever on lizard eggs and asks her to marry him.

All of a sudden, Michelle is on her way to his house in Paradise, California, hungover, and MARRIED. 

Quickly Michelle realizes that this was maybe something she should have thought through. Hubble lives with his weird, controlling ballet teacher mom, ("You live with your mother? Like a serial killer?")  Fanny (Kelly Bishop, Gilmore Girls),  and she clearly hates Michelle. So she throws her a marriage party and sends her off to buy a dress at Hubble's obsessive ex's dress shop (a hilarious but strange scene.) 

The party is mostly a disaster. But then she tells Hubble that she doesn't love him, and he says nice things to her and she's like, oh no one has ever been nice to me, blah blah" and they have sex upstairs while everyone is bein awkward downstairs. Mama is none too pleased, and causes a ruckus about it, Michelle goes off. 

Meanwhile, Fanny's crew of misfit dancers are getting drunk in her studio. Michelle stumbles upon them, and like a responsible adult, takes their beer away. Some fast talking later, she ends up teaching them this fun routine. It's cute. It's an adorable little scene. Very empowering for the outcast girl, Boo, who loves dancing but isn't as skinny as the other girls. 

Fanny watches from the door. She looks mildly amused in the way that Kelly Bishop almost always looks like that.
 "I'm just saying, it's going to be Arab Spring up in here unless you discover iTunes, pronto" 
"You should have been a radio personality. Or an auctioneer. Instead you decided to dance." 

Fanny and Michelle go to the bar and have a heart to heart. As fellow dancers, they kind of get each other and Fanny warns her about not wasting time while she's still young and able to do crap. Michelle says she's over her Vegas party girl stage but she still doesn't know what she wants. 

Like any family show worth its salt, they bust out the juke box and dance together, rippin it up at the bar. Then Hubble's weird, crying ex shows up, and informs them that HE JUST DIED IN A CAR CRASH while he was out looking for them! Serious wtfs abound, but okay. 

So... alright, I was not too crazy about the surprise wedding thing that Michelle did, especially since Hubble was so creepy to me, even though when they finally had sex she was like, "Ooh you a good kisser" but like, serious ews. He was just too strange. 

But I am super interested in the dynamic between Michelle and Fanny, and in the subplots with the teenager ballerinas. As shows with majority female casts are few and far between, and as this one will probably be more about female friendships than like... dude huntin', I'm really interested to see how this series plays out. 

The Covert Ways Anti-Choice Fanatics Restrict Your Choices

Let's kick it with a couple facts for a second.

90% of the senators who voted against the Family Medical Leave Act are fervently pro-life 
-Christina Page, How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America. 

Of the Children’s Defense Fund’s 2004 rankings of best and worst legislators for children, the 113 worst-ranked are Of the best ranked politicians for children, 95% are pro-choice.

In Texas, a parental notification law in 2000 decreased abortion rates among 17 year olds, however, increased the 2nd trimester abortion rates of 18 year olds.

"The statistics show that the mandatory delays postpone the procedure much more than 24 hours. A study of the Mississippi experience found that after August 1992, when the delay law took effect, 53 % more women had abortions in the 2nd trimester. If a Mississippi woman sought a procedure in a neighboring state, where she could avoid the mandatory-delay law, the second-trimester rate increased by only 8 percent."
-Christina Page, How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America

Several states have new TRAP (Targeted Restrictions of Abortion Providers) laws meant to regulate abortion facilities or the practices of abortion providers What TRAP laws actually do is apply unfair rules to abortion facilities, and make it harder for them to stay open, and for women to access their rights to get an abortion.

What is happening here is a very organized effort to make it very, very hard to get an abortion. Where abortion remains legal, the impediments to getting one (parental notifications, mandatory delays, mandatory ultrasounds) increase.

These laws are often introduced with coded language saying that they're for the benefit of mothers, so that they have time to think about things, or that their parents know for their safety, all done under the guise of religious senators and law makers who do not actually give a shit about families.

The people who pass these laws, who believe that unintended pregnancies must be carried to term, are the same people who believe that cutting funding for childcare is right, that voting against equal pay protections for women is fine, that domestic violence laws should not take precedence, and that children who might come from abusive households do not have the right to choose to get an abortion without the permission of their parents.

They do not give a shit about you, nor your families, nor your babies. They say that their objectives are to prevent "baby-murder," when really they are aggregating the problem by forcing women who are not ready to be parents to have children. Sure, lots of unintended pregnancies grow up into normal, well-adjusted children with loving parents. But lots of people would rather choose to have children when the time is right for them. We cannot let these elected officials, who are supposedly representing us, continue to make all these shit laws that do not protect people in any way shape or form.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Womperz. The Only Appropriate Word to Describe the Past Two Years.

Two thousand eleven was a tough year for women in the United States. Conservative politicians and activist groups set their rage and fury upon women, specifically women’s reproductive health.

After the House voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood in February 2011, the hits kept coming. While many states have battled over access to abortion and restrictions to birth control for many years, there has not been this much public attention on women’s reproductive health since Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Just looking at the legal side of this, in 2005 there were 34 abortion restrictions enacted across the country, at the time a record.

In 2011—out of over 1,100 proposed provisions to existing laws—135 new laws about reproductive health were adopted, 92 of which restricted abortion.

Take a gander at this handy graph from the Guttmacher Institute.

Thing is, this massive increase in restrictions doesn't have anything to do with the number of abortions there are in the world. This isn't some response to a crisis level of abortions. Take a look here. While the graph only goes to 2005, the general trend follows.

The reason why we have so many freaking restrictions on abortions is because we have so many freaking crazy-level religious politicians and über sanctimonious conservative Christians lobbying for the end of reproductive freedom.


Good freaking question. The only logical answer I can come up with is that they have decided that they hate women. Which seems pretty damn illogical to me.

My other, more academically sound theory is that abortion and contraceptives are an easy target. It's easy to get people riled up about these things, whether they are pro-choice or anti-choice. Stuff like the deficit, foreign aid, oil, the war(s), job creation... a little trickier to make soundbites for. Saying that women who use the Pill are sluts... now that's an easy soundbite.

Depressed by how your reproductive freedom is being manipulated by politicians for their own personal gain? Well... you should be. But most of all, you should be angry. And you should be paying attention to what PPact and Emily's List and Miss Representation are saying because there are lots of people clued in on what we should be doing to make sure we don't elect these nimrods again.

In case you're feeling really down in the dumps, I'll leave you with this.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Feeling Good.

I currently work retail, selling expensive women's performance-wear. I get to wear sweat-wicking clothing all day, which is awesome. The store's mission is very lady-centric, which I like, and the women I work with and the customers I see all day are seriously awesome, strong, badass athletes, moms, and people in general.

I know that empowerment does not come through buying things. I've worked retail before, and even though my room is stuffed to the brim with t-shirts, I know that copious clothing is not necessary.
However, there's something a little different about performance-wear, and not just because to sell an $80 pair of yoga pants I must also know all the things that make the fabric special and whatnot, but that for most people, the clothing has utility. And through that, a lot of times I get to help women empower themselves that way.

For example, yesterday an elderly couple came into the store. I greeted them at the door, and she, wheezing, asked if we had sun-protective clothing. And then if she could sit down somewhere. I guided them to the back of the store where there was a sitting area outside the fitting rooms, got her color preferences, and got a few UPF 50+ coverups. Through working with this woman, I learned that she'd had surgeries and gone through chemo, and for the past few months, had been inside. She just got the go ahead to sit outside--as long as she stayed out of the sun. Her wheezing was because she and her adorable husband were working on her walking longer distances again. They had a house by the shore, so she ended up getting a t-shirt, a long-sleeved and hooded cover-up, and two hats so that she could sit outside with as little sun exposure as possible.

On other days I work with women who are losing weight, who are getting back into running after having children, or who are excited that they can find some clothing to exercise in that looks nice. A lot of it is very run of the mill, but I'm lucky enough that the store is small and lots of times I do get to hear these women's personal stories and help them find something that... maybe they don't need the way you need water to live, but something that makes them feel good.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Will Not Be Denied

The National Women's Law Center has some freaking badass healthcare videos on their youtube... check them out.

And okay okay okay. I know a while back I said that I was going to do a series on the War on Women, which I totally still want to do, I just got really tired after finishing the semester and then existed in this like Netflix-zombie state, but now that I'm not exhausted all the time... totally going to do it. So ... soon people, soon. My capstone was on this shizz... I am ready.

Get Ready to ... FOXJUICE.

I have often talked about how freakin awesome all my awesome, hilarious, smart, feminist friends are, and  here's an update/brag/shamless plug:


From our mission statement:

Foxjuice is a mostly-female collective of Philadelphia-based writers, interested in honest discussion of feminism, sex, gender expectations, media, and quality cheese and beer pairings. We throw down on the dance floor for Jolene and have choreographed routines toIndependent Woman. Every night is ladies night in our world.
We hang feminist mantras on our fridges, are continually amazed by the punk rock powers of the female body, and will talk to you for hours about The Business of Being Born. (We are also willing to discuss, at length, the dinner scene in Mrs. Doubtfire – that situation was totally preventable and gives us all a great deal of anxiety.) We wear the pants (and the skirts, and the rompers, and the occasional overalls) and aren’t afraid to ask out whoever we damn well please. Because we wait for nothing and believe in our own agency. We tried to burn our bras once but the fumes were pretty terrible.  
I am SUPER excited about this. I am continuing this blog on my own but I love the idea of doing something collective. Our original idea of Foxjuice was to parody the dumbness of ladymags, and I think there will be a lot of that once we get up and running, and right now there's a lot of talks of where we're going and what we're going to do and guys, it's going to be great. My friends are so smart and cool and I love that we're all going to be feminist blogging together. So get on over to tumblr and follow that shizz, it's going to be cool stuff.