Links 2/17

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A links post with a one day delay. I’ve officially started on a two week break (but can’t get too excited because we have two exams the week we get back) and I’m debating whether I should go to The Catacombs today or take a joint trip to Maison de Balzac and the Monet Marmottan Museum. It’s a rough life full of hard choices.

  • Yara Shahidi was on Stephen Colbert, is turning 18, having a voting party, and is an amazingly well-spoken individual. I know it’s a cliche to say this, but we need more people like her in the world.
  • In spite of my issues with The Shape of Water, I do think it’s a bit unfair to sum it up as ‘the film where the woman has sex with a fish’. That being said, someone designed a dildo inspired by Fish God. You can find anything on the internet and this is why we don’t deserve nice things.
  • The inspiring knitwear of Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2018 collection.
  • The Obamas’ official portraits have been unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. They’re both pretty amazing, both from an historical and artistic standpoint.
    Buuuut: here’s a counterpoint and a deeper reading.
  • Wisecrack on how Monty Python shaped modern comedy (via postmodernism, the comedy of the absurd, and political satire).
  • A thought-provoking personal essay about an ‘accidental wedding dress’ and accepting that life rarely/never comes with the closure of a settled and final happy ending.
  • Similarly, this comic on the numerous ways to fill your heart and live a meaningful and love-filled life.
  • A surreal video of a very fluffy doggo swimming underwater.
  • The Louvre has created a Valentine’s-inspired Pinterest board. I’m particularly in love (no pun intended) the Antonio Canova’s sculpture of Cupid and Psyche.
  • I’m not planing on watching the newly reimagined/animated Peter Rabbit film ever, but there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle about a scene involving food allergies. I don’t think there’s much to be upset about but part of the reason I am steering clear of the film is that even from the trailer it struck me as being crass and mean-spirited. And I wasn’t even a Beatrix Potter kid.
  • And… a Disneyland social club is being sued for using ‘mafia-like’ intimidation tactics. What even is this world and what are people? Watch out for the White Rabbits or you’ll be swimming with the… flounder?
  • Reaffirming my goal to spend less time on my phone and computer.
  • I didn’t cry at this animated short, but I won’t lie- it did give me the feels.
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How to Reach Peak Feminine

I’m going to be honest, this is more of a rant/potential overreaction in response to a perceived injustice.

Perceived injustice in the form of something a friend/classmate said that I found both a) hurtful, b) thoughtless, and c) pretty damn problematic.
So definitely one of the lesser injustices in the world, but still something that raised a lot of feelings for me, which  am now going to get off of my chest.

The remark was something along the lines of stating that pregnancy= peak femininity. At know time in a woman’s life is she more truly a “woman” than when she is with child.

Ugh.

Okay, my problems with that statement first, and then a list of ways I think we can be EVEN MORE FEMININE.

  1. A lot of women cannot, in fact, get pregnant. A lot of women feel broken, less than, and incomplete because they can not give birth to the children they desire (or that society has conditioned them to see as the defining purpose of their lives). Many women feel like failures if they have infertility issues.
    I may be one of these women. For medical reasons, its quite possible that I won’t be fertile. I love children, and despite my fear of being a terrible mother and the pain of natural childbirth, having a baby is something  I would really love to be in my future (witness my obsession with baby names, children’s books, and all manner of miniature person paraphernalia).
    The takeaway here is- many women can’t have children and that doesn’t make them and less female.
  2. Defining the epitome of femininity as pregnancy- something kind of passive in that it is done to a woman by a man- is an issue for me.  It’s a really reductive view of what it means to be a woman- i.e. to be a baby-making machine, an oven for a bun, a brood mare, (your analogy here).  There is so much more to being a human woman than passing on your genes and prolonging the species.  And I’m not talking about boobs either.  It’s just such a dull view of what women can be. So biological, so without choice, so impersonal, so f*cking traditional and… medieval.
  3. Which brings me to I guess my last point, which is that society has conditioned women to see childbearing and motherhood as their final purpose, their definition, their ultimate test for hundreds if not thousands of years. It’s 2018. The idea of womanhood and femininity really needs to expand beyond basic biological processes to include all of the different things that womanhood and/or femininity (because anyone can be feminine, not only women- it’s a gender rather than sex thing) has to offer.  There are so many different ways to be feminine. So many different life paths you can take.  Deciding not to have children, being unable to have children, having an unconventional pregnancy or path to motherhood does not mean you’re not feminine or not a woman.

So here are some suggestions on alternative ways to reach peak femininity, that don’t involve getting knocked up. Or a penis. Or subjecting your body to drastic changes. Or a huge life choice that may or may not be what you want for yourself.

  • Take female-specific multivitamins.
    I have never felt more feminine that when popping a One-A-Day Women’s. Not sponsored.
  • Watch a chickflick.
    Do you self-identify as a chick? Is this a film you like? Then it’s a chickflick. Get it, girl.

You know, I can’t even do this anymore. I was googling ‘how to be feminine for more ideas that I could subvert, but they’re also a irritating, contradictory, and offensive that I can’t even complete this list.

Here are some favorites though:

  • Speak softly/learn to be shy (but also cool and be outspoken)
    No lie these four are all on the same list.
  • Smell good.
    Not like a smelly man.
  • Don’t cut your hair.
    After multivitamins, looking like Samara from The Ring has always made me feel particularly ladylike and attractive.
  • Avoid arguments.
    Well, failed that one.
    But can we also just recognize that this disqualifies SO MANY AMAZING WOMEN WHO ARE KNOWN FOR THE THINGS THAT THEY’VE DONE AND THEIR OPINIONS AS OPPOSED TO THEIR LOOKS AND BREATHY VOICES?
    Yeah, bye Rosa Parks.
    And don’t even get me started on the angry black woman not fitting the ideal vision of femininity because I’m already going to explode.
  • BUT DON’T FORGET: BE YOU AND LOVE YOURSELF FOR WHO YOU ARE
    Yes, this is on the same list. Excuse me while I go jump in a lake.

I just looked at another list thinking of continuing but there’s so much more and I’m getting keyed up. It’s 8:30 am on Sunday and I’m calling it quits.

It’s funny how when there are huge systemic problems involved you can never actually success in getting your frustration off your chest because there’s just more and more and more and more.

Friday Links: 1/26

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I turned 22.5 yesterday and today I have an exam that threatens to destroy all that I hold most dear. I’ve been studying since I woke up at 5:30 am. (Approximately five hours ago). There are about three hours left. It’s panic time.

Here’s what’s happening online:

Friday Links 1/19

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Happy Friday! I have the day off, which is many kinds of wonderful (not least because I get to go out and buy a pastry and check some travel guide out from the library and maybe find a waterproof pair of boots.)
(You know, the real problem is that I just want these ten year old riding boots to be new again, or to find a pair of Chelsea boots that are pretty similar. But the Vogue right now seems to be for combat boots or boots that are combat-adjacent so I’m having some trouble).

Anyway, links!

  • Collider (one of my favorite youtube channels on the film industry, frequently mentioned on the blog) doesn’t usually discuss anime, but Emma’s here to decode some common visual tropes and gags.
  • More things I’ve learned from my amazing and diverse ISIPCA classmates? Dan from Australia taught me about ‘Firehawk’ raptors, which spread bushfires to flush out their prey.
  • There’s a Star Wars-themed Creperie in Paris. The dishes are named after the planets by which they were inspired.  Not at all vegan-friendly, but I’m so amused.
  • I know I hate on GP’s goop, but this is actually a pretty good article about how our negativity is in many ways an adaptive strategy, a self-defense mechanism to protect us from past threats- and so a lot of negativity may no longer really be necessary (and may actually be counterproductive) to leading happy lives.  I know I sound super woo woo so I’ll stop, but it does resonate with a lot of what I’ve observed and thought re: my own negativity and cynicism.
    But yeah, no, I only skimmed the article.
  • What do I really want? Continuing to love Mari Andrew’s illustrations.
  • Also Poorly Drawn Lines’s send up of this classic Lion King scene.
  • Screen Junkies (another favorite youtube channel on the film industry) presents their annual Screens awards for the best and worst in movies and television.
  • Unforgettable movie style moments. Some (Keira Knightley’s green Atonement dress) would definitely be on my own list (which, hey, will maybe happen someday).
  • I hope you made it through Blue Monday (the most depressing day of the year, apparently) okay. If you’re still feeling a bit of residual down-ness, here are some lovely feel-good movie dance scenes. I still always listen to Dancing Queen when I need a boost. I have to say I think Moses Supposes from Singin’ in the Rain is actually more feel good than the title song, but whatever. Again, maybe this is a moment when a personal list is needed.
  • You’ve heard of the KonMari Method. Maybe you’ve even partaken in some Swedish death cleaning (I’m only 22 and I know I have. One needs to be prepared)- now t’s time for the hot decluttering trend of 2018: American Apocalypse Purging.
  • Another anticipated 2018 film (see earlier post): Love, Simon.
  • I watched I, Tonya and thought it was pretty good (Blades of Glory is still the best figure skating film), but you know what I’d love to see? A film about figure skating legend Surya Bonaly. Because a backflip is almost as difficult as the Iron Lotus.
  • The mindset of men and women re: sex and during sex itself, and how this influences the way women write about sex.  A really interesting read.
  • A very cogently written account of the issues with Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. It’s always brilliant when you find an article that explains your gut feelings. Beautiful film, serious problems.
  • There’s a Colette film coming! Keira Knightley’s going to star! I’m not sure those two go together! But I love both separately!
  • On Aziz Ansari and sexual assault vs sexual coercion: I don’t believe sexual coercion is sexual assault. But it’s not exactly enthusiastic consent either.  I don’t think it’s too much to ask men to interpret mixed signals, particularly when sexual violence against women is so common and fear of the consequences of refusal is so real.
  • If becoming a perfumer doesn’t work out, maybe I can go into gourmet ice cream.

Most Anticipated Film Releases 2018

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I’m back in France (landed yesterday morning) but still thinking about films. Some things never change.

  • The Post: They’ve asked tons screen this at the White House which I find very interesting given 1) the content and 2) the presence of the very-overrated Meryl Streep.
  • A Fantastic Woman
  • Loveless
  • Winchester: This doesn’t actually look good but I love creepy house films and I could be wrong.
  • Red Sparrow: Ballerina Jennifer Lawrence becomes Russian Intelligence agent. Could be good. Could be Atomic Blonde 2, Atomic Redhead.
  • Isle of Dogs: Wes Anderson!
  • Lean on Pete: Horses!
  • You Were Never Really Here: Joaquin Phoenix and guns!
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story: There’s been a lot of behind the scenes drama with this project. I hope it turns out well because I will never not love a good Star Wars. And I’ll be sad if they besmirch the Harrison Ford/Han Solo legacy.
  • Deadpool 2: Of course.
  • Ocean’s 8: I was questioning this on a kind of Ghostbusters remake basis but the trailer looks excellent and has assuaged most of my fears. Love that the heist is set at the Met Gala.
  • The Incredibles 2: Edna’s coming back!
  • Mulan: Live action Mulan. I’m torn. I don’t believe there’s a need but if one is coming I might be here for it.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody: Another film with a lot of behind the scenes drama, but I’m excited. Queen is cool.
  • Creed 2: It didn’t need a sequel but I did like the first Creed quite a bit.

You’ll notice that the list os largely big Hollywood films, as these are the ones that tend to schedule their release dates far into the future (as opposed to the smaller independent films I tend to prefer).

La Vie en Rose: All the things I’m missing

Good vittles, love, and kissing…

There are a few things that are harder to find here than at home, and that I find myself pining for every once in a while.  A lot of them surprise even me!

  • Tex-Mex: One of the few cuisines that is easier to find in the US than in France. (By the way, did you know France has the Lebanese restaurant market pretty much cornered? It’s great for me, a falafel-addict).  I need a burrito- STAT.
  • Vegan cheese and mayo: France rightly takes a lot of pride in some specific dairy products (i.e. cheese) and any attempt to change it up a bit is SQUASHED. At least i assume that’s why I can find no vegan cheese (or ice cream for that matter). And I guess they’re also pretty partial to traditional mayo methods? I guess they did invent mayonnaise… right? I feel like I learned that from a pirates of the Caribbean blooper. On the other hand, they’re vegan yogurt here is SO MUCH BETTER.  Apparently their non-vegan yogurt is also better (I have been told).
  • Body oil: I’m on the hunt for some combined body and hair oil, but I haven’t been looking hard enough. Really this is about me missing my big Target/Stop & Shop/ Walgreen’s superstores, where you can find anything under the sun, except under very unflattering fluorescent lights. I think I need a trip to Monoprix.
  • Consignment stores: Paris and France in general has great vintage shops, but what I’m really in need of is some bulky lightly used knitwear. Particularly of the turtleneck variety. Having worn through two beige turtlenecks in quick succession, I’m finding the cozy side of my wardrobe uncomfortably diminished. Also consignment is just how I’m used to shopping.
  • Some hipster earthy crunchy ingredients: This is probably just because I don’t know how to say nutritional yeast or vital wheat gluten in French.
  • Thanksgiving: Instead the French celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau day, which is like this weird wine-Octoberfest. Yeah, I don’t know either.
  • Watching the news: Although when my hosts have the French radio is on it is so often about Trump and it’s so cringe-y.
  • Saturday Night Live: SNL WHY are your youtube videos NOT AVAILABLE in this COUNTRY!?

And lots more, but that’s all that’s leaping to mind at the moment!

*On a similar note to the very narrow interpretation of certain dairy products, the French are also very specific about the things that you can and can’t do with grapes. Like you can drink wine or you can eat fresh grapes. There are no raisins here. Other dried fruit yes, but no raisins. And no grape jelly. Even though that’s the American staple jelly.  But I don’t miss these things because I’m not a big fan of raisins and because I’ve already written about HOW MANY EXCITING JELLIES THERE ARE HERE. Next up: rhubarb.

Friday Links 11/17

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I woke up too early for no reason so here’s a links post, on time for once!

Sorry for using up all of your free NYT articles!