Tag Archives: style

“Hymn for the Weekend”: Appreciation, Appropriation, and the Exotic Black Woman

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop listening to “Hymn for the Weekend” on repeat.

However, before I had even listened to Chris Martin and Queen Bey meld their voices in a divine mesh of harmonies, I was reading about it on Tumblr.

Cultural Appreciation vs. Appropriation

The first thing I heard about the video was that it had some pretty rampant cultural appropriation. Since there have been a number of music videos and performances accused of cultural appropriation over the last few years, I wasn’t too surprised to hear about “Hymn for the Weekend” being added to the list.

The video quickly split viewers into two groups, those who considered it cultural appropriation, and those who appreciated the video’s focus on Indian culture. The clip below highlights a few of the key elements that have been discussed and criticized.

This discussion is tricky for a variety of reasons. For example, there is a time and place when a white person can wear Indian clothing and accessories without coming off as disrespectful. In some cases, it’s actually much more respectful to embrace local dress customs than to ignore them.

There are even music videos where diverse customs and styles have been featured without any backlash about appropriation.

This debate can also seem confusing when Indian fans, or fans with Indian heritage, don’t seem to be bothered by the video’s representation of their culture.

anigif_optimized-20745-1454418987-1 Continue reading

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Jessica Jones Was Good, But It Should Have Been Great

When I saw the trailer for Jessica Jones I immediately decided it was going to be my new favourite show… until I watched it.

A lot of elements in the trailer suggested that it would resemble Netflix’s Daredevil series, which made me really excited. My love for Daredevil was a slow burn. Unlike Evan (who regularly reviews comics, like Ms. Marvel, for the blog), I’m not a comic aficionado. For me to really invest in a comic-based series I have to actually like it as a stand-alone. I’m also not a fan of dark dramas. I get depressed enough from real life, so my first choice for TV is lighthearted comedy. When John (my husband) finally convinced me to watch Daredevil with him it was a really hard sell. I was critical of the lack of diversity, the lack of interesting roles for women (although this got better as the season progressed), and the general lack of lighting in most scenes. What finally won me over was some of the best fight choreography I’ve ever seen on TV, and writing so solid that some monologues actually gave me chills.

When I saw the trailer for Jessica Jones I thought it would only perfect the good thing Netflix had already started with Daredevil. Not only would we have a dark and thoughtful plot, but we would have a much more diverse cast and more nuanced relationships between female characters.

How could anything possibly go wrong?

Apparently several things could, and did, go wrong. I’ve outlined a couple of the most frustrating aspects of the series below.

It had mediocre fight scenes

I get that it’s hard to make things look super realistic when you have a 90 pound woman throwing men around like ragdolls. I also get that choreographing these scenes would have to reflect Jones’ extraordinary strength. But is that really an excuse for scenes to look like something straight out of the 70’s?

Generally speaking, the fight scenes in Jessica Jones felt lazy. There are so many other ways you could demonstrate super strength beyond just throwing people, but for both Jones, and often Luke Cage, throwing seemed to be the primary mode of defence.

I mean, wouldn’t punching them in the face just be easier? Continue reading

Can A Feminist Wear High Heels?

And that’s a weird question to ask- especially coming from me.

Yours truly, for any new readers, is a dude. I’ve never worn high heels, and with my long and elegant (if somewhat hairy) legs, I’ve never had cause to.

Like this, only more so.

In spite of my obvious lack of experience, compounded with a whole gamut of cultural-historial-societal variables, I’d still wholeheartedly call myself a feminist. As such, I still feel compelled to ask-

Can a feminist wear high heels?

And I know this isn’t a new issue. For years, folks have generally agreed that high heels are uncomfortable and impractical. There’s not shortage of studies demonstrating the range of health issues they can cause: calf cramps, chronic (and permanent) pain, pelvic issues, callouses and corns, inflammation, pinched nerves, tendinitis, and a host of others which I could spend this entire post just listing.

I’m not going to do that.

According to science and common ****ing sense, no one’s are…

High heels are bad for you. That’s a cold, hard medical fact, and one that most everyone’s familiar with by now. Still, women continue to wear ’em, which again begs the question of “Why in heaven’s name would they put themselves through this?” Continue reading

Re: What Guys Really Think About Your High-Waisted Shorts

I’m not really sure how to preface this post. I suppose I could state that I am a straight male who is attracted to most women, but all that would really
communicate is the obvious fact that I am a human being who has his own personal preferences, just like anyone else. There are some things I like, and others that I don’t.

The article that I’m responding to, “What Guys Really Think About Your High Waisted-Shorts”, was written by Ashley Hesseltine, and I think it’s safe to say that she makes her opinion about particular fashion trends starkly apparent from the start. The people wearing the item of clothing she’s railing against are described as:

“Girls of all ages, body types, booty types, and textual orientations have been rocking these denim doozies with crop tops, fake flower crowns, and leather boots in 3,000-degree weather because fashion.”

Which, as I mentioned from the beginning, is more or less okay. We can have our own opinions about a number of things, and if one of those things is what Vanessa Anne Hudgens of High School Musical Fame [I wasn’t a huge fan of Bandslam, sorry] chooses to encase the lower half of her body then more power to you. Hesseltine admits outright in her second paragraph that she ” couldn’t care less which unflattering clothing items from Urban Outfitters females choose to wear in their attempts to be trendy-“. Then that sentences continues and fulfills the promise of the title:

“-but I was made aware that my male friends were NOT on board with this look. So I asked for their input, and as always…priceless.”

Continue reading

Culture War Correspondence: Modesty

EVAN: Welcome, readers of various genders, ages, personal beliefs, et cetera, to yet another installment of Culture War Correspondence. This week both Kat and I will be discussing how people need to stop being so gosh darn proud all the time. Seriously, take it down several pegs.

It’s hard for ginger cat not to feel a little proud.

Wait, no, I meant the other definition of modesty, particularly, though not restricted to, what people wear. Sorry, my notes got mixed up. No, I do not in fact take notes for these segments.

KAT: Ah, modesty. If you grew up in a Christian school that will be a very familiar term. Especially if you were a student of the female variety.

But what got you thinking about the topic to begin with?

EVAN: As our readers may know, as a believer myself I’m also primarily familiar with the issue via the Christian subculture, and I spent a good chunk of time last week debating it. And yes, as you said, it basically solely revolves around women.

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“Fully Clothed” ≠ “Well-Designed”

From November, when it was announced, until now right around its release the news outlets have been reporting on the new Ms. Marvel, particularly due to its protagonist being a Pakistani Muslim teenage girl [FYI it is also good]. With all this attention it’s inevitable that every facet of the character would be scrutinized, including what she’s wearing.

Over at the Washington Post they published an article titled “MS. MARVEL: Marvel Comics’ new focus on women ‘characters and creators’ aims to defy the ‘scantily clad’ cliche”. While it strangely refrains from addressing what Kamala Khan’s actual costume looks like, the sentiment is clear: comic books used to be a boys’ club and they’re seeking to change that. Marvel EIC Axel Alonso states that the female heroes headlining their new books-

“are not the big-breasted, scantily clad women that perhaps have become the comic-book cliché. They are women with rich interior lives, interesting careers and complicated families who are defined by many things—least of all their looks.”

It’s difficult to run from your past, any lion cub exiled from Pride Rock will tell you that. The main issue is that while Alonso [and I really do like the guy] uses the word “perhaps” the fact is that there are still costumes out there that would bar their wearers from entering the Vatican. Never fear, though, because this is the internet and on the internet someone always has a solution. Continue reading

Shame Day: War as a Fashion Statement

That’s about as provocative title as I could have given this post, so let’s move along posthaste so that we can get to the bottom of it. Yesterday the image below appeared in r/pics with the title “I think this is a pretty disrespectful fashion “trend”. Found on hipster clothing site.”

I’ve taken the liberties of adding our Shame Day mascot, Dr. Zoidberg, there at the bottom.

I wish that was more straightforward, but this is the internet so everything is complicated. Let me explain the background of the above image and the source of the hat in question. Continue reading