The Glass Ceiling in Television Not Even Dented by Reality

anigif_enhanced-buzz-21683-1381975239-16 (1)Welcome to the Two Oh One Four. Fourteen years into the new millennium and we are still having the same conversations about politics, women and the media. Our depiction of female politicians in the media, especially as more women enter the real political sphere, lags behind the reality.  Real women entering elected positions is creating a real model of the politician “lady version,” yet fictional media representations of the political landscape not only disregards our increasing presence, the TV version of female politicians stands in stark contrast to the reality. Even in politically based TV shows with strong female characters, for example Scandal, the women in elected positions are portrayed as emotional, cheating, ambitious at all costs (until they lose because of lady parts) characters.

Let’s compare the two female candidates attempting presidential bids on Scandal to two actual female politicians, Senator Wendy Davis (D- TX) and Senator Michelle Bachmann (R- MN), who hold political office and are making considerable waves in national news this year.

Scandal:

Candidate 1: Josephine Marcus (D- Montana) (played by Lisa Kudrow)

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Likely character pitch: Naive, yet ‘intelligent’ female candidate who unexpectedly makes waves for off the cuff comments becomes a serious presidential candidate. A childhood secret threatens to derail her run and Olivia saves the day. Marcus is politically unpolished and repeatedly fails to grasp the realities of running for president in the current media environment.  She constantly exclaims ‘why does the public need to know about [insert personal issue]?’ as if the thought that her private life might become interesting to the public or her opponents never crossed her mind when she decided she would run for president. Eventually the character must sacrifice herself because she loves her daughter more than she desires to be president. O,h and somewhere in there she gives an amazing feminist speech, which I’m assuming is suppose to appease us, yet she completely fails to live up to her speech.

Conclusion: AWWW… this would be cute if it didn’t involve possibly being president of the FUCKING UNITED STATES. Any one, but especially a woman, who manages to put together a reasonable bid for a presidential nomination cannot be this naive, I’ve worked on a lot of elections, and candidates can be dumb but they can not be naive; naivety is the first thing to be weeded out.

Candidate 2: VP Sally Langston (R – Texas) (played by Kate Burton)

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Likely Character Pitch: Highly moral woman who helps bring the right over but is willing to bend her defining morals to become president, by switching to a pro-choice stance. VP Langston is consumed by her ambition, and demonstrates repeatedly her willingness to sacrifice everything with cold collected calculation.  However when her husband does the nasty with another man, which she implies she understood prior to their marriage, Sally flips and stabs him to death, effectively ending her run against the president.

Conclusion: Bitches be crazy.

Reality:

Candidate 1: Wendy Davis (D- Texas)

Wendy_Davis_2013

Character pitch: Known for her ability to filibuster unlike this country has seen since the 18th century, she knowingly positioned herself as the face of the new blue Texas.  After getting gerrymandered out of her district she decided to stage one last great state stand defending women’s right to their bodies in pink sneakers.  Almost immediately following this highly viewed senate session (over 100,000 people watched the live feed, over 150,000 tweeted, and many, such as myself, found themselves unable to access the State Senate Live Feed because of bandwidth problems), Senator Davis announced her bid for governor of Texas, and there is considerable buzz about a presidential run in the future.  In contrast to the fictional Marcus, Davis fully understands the implications of stepping onto the national stage, and further more is carefully crafting a public image useful for promoting her political goals.

Conclusion: These pink sneakers were meant for running (for president).

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Candidate 2: Michele Bachmann (R – Minnesota)

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Character Pitch: The darling of the Tea Party, Bachmann is as close as a religious libertarian can get to a true ideology. She believes what she believes, or at least knows that deviating is bad base politics.  Bachman clearly challenged the Republican establishment by incorporating the Tea Party wing better than the old white males who tried to cater their rhetoric to the new, very scary, branch.  I do not like Bachmann, but there is no way that the woman who stood in front of the country and called out the old Republicans would ever compromise her ‘values’ in a party that uses flip flopping to out their own incumbents in state primaries.  Moreover, there is no way a gun toting, Minnesotan, hunter would ever be stupid enough to stab her husband on a publicly owned rug when the presidency was within reach.

Conclusion: Bitches be crazy, but not stupid.

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The dumbing down of female candidates, on both sides, in media representations is dangerous.  What 90s kid doesn’t remember Topanga telling the class she was going to be the first female president of the United States? I believed that, and I was surprisingly disappointed when as an adult she became a ‘little wife’ to Corey (who I thought would be a great first husband).  For kids of the 90s, female television characters under the age of 15 talked about breaking the glass ceiling, yet that conversation disappeared after they started dating.  This model eerily mirrors the current statistics on women in the work place. Whether society models media or media models society is an issue too long for this post, but if we want to foster strong women in the future maybe we need to start looking at the women we are showing to young girls and women around us. In reality women in politics have made record strides this year, yet in media they are still stuck in the 1850s. Maybe its time somebody grew up.

Does it Really Matter if Chick-Fil-A had a Change of Heart?

So, apparently this happened:

(Links to Huffington Post article)

I raised my eyebrow when I saw this. My hometown Baptist caterer of Jesus Chicken isn’t exactly known for its flexible attitude. See, I had known about CFA’s questionable political donations long before the huge kerfuffle earlier this year. CFA is a private entity, so all I could do was proclaim that I wouldn’t be giving my money to them for them to pass on to people who chose to lobby to deny people of their rights. I know how stubborn Baptists can be, so I fully expected the Cathy family to stand by their principles until the company folded as the world moved forward. So, yeah. I was surprised.

You know, I just might.

More surprising, though, was the lack of fervor this seemed to generate among my friends; I thought they’d be happy to see their boycotting efforts had prevailed. But, alas. It’s easy, in light of a company’s blatant disregard for a group of people, to get your righteous anger on and spew all over the internet. It’s harder to manage that anger and consider forgiving.

Because I am an optimist, though, let’s consider the best case scenario: Chick-Fil-A decides to clean up its internal hostile practices against gay people and cease funding “traditional” marriage and family groups. Woot. Say they do this only because they want more money and not because they genuinely care about LGBT equality—should we go back to sucking down lemonade out of giant styrofoam cups?

Absolutely. In fact, we should be encouraged that Chick-Fil-A is so responsive to its customers. It tells us several positive things:

  1. There are enough people in America who care about LGBT equality to put a significant dent in the CFA profit margin.
  2. We have the ability to affect institutions in our society that we don’t have a vote in.
  3. CFA employees, managers, and operators get the opportunity to interact with people of the LGBT community directly, and, thus, the opportunity to change their hearts as well as their actions.
  4. Most importantly, that money isn’t going to be going to the aforementioned groups. Wasn’t that the point?

It doesn’t particularly matter whether the bully who has been beating me up stops because the teacher forced the issue or if it’s because the bully suddenly likes me. Action makes a bully, not thought. As long as bad actions have stopped, we should be satisfied.

So, Chick-Fil-A, take some preliminary congratulations. You’ve taken your first step to a whole other level of profit margin, and, hopefully, acceptance. But know this: We’ve got our eyes on you.

If We Can’t Share Marriage, Why Do We Get Marriage at All?

If it’s so awful that half of you get divorced, why won’t you just let us try it too?

I had to delete a Facebook friend. This wasn’t someone I particularly cared about, but it was someone who I thought was better than his recent posts would suggest. Even though this guy, John, was the weird kid in school who kept his head buried in a book for most of junior high, I would have defended him, and I did when other kids called him nerdy or awkward.

I’m sad to say that I can no longer defend John because he has no intention of defending me or my right to marry the person I love regardless of gender. Earlier this week, John posted this article. With a title like “I Was Wrong About Marriage,” I was under the impression that John, a Mormon, had come around, like much of the country after Obama came out of the I-actually-like-the-gays closet. But, as it turns out, I was wrong about John, and he is still wrong about marriage.

In that lovely link, I found a very well-organized argument for why the gays are too morally bankrupt to provide to the family system in a healthy way. According to this article, letting gays get married would be a crime not against humanity, but against humanity’s children. Can you imagine innocent kids growing up in a household that embraces equal love and compassion for all? It’s disgusting.

All sarcasm aside, I take a deep breath and remind myself that in a country that promotes freedom of speech, it is important for John to be able to post that article and not be punished by law for being an unforgivable bigot. When I think of what bothers me most about John’s post, it’s the same thing that bothers me about this entire debate. The talking points used to defend this bigotry are based purely in hate and bad information.

I could debate every argument used to defend not allowing gay marriage, but it’s starting to feel like that would be a waste of my time. I can only scream the gays won’t kill the notion of the family or the world will not implode if Sally has two moms so many times. It feels like the folks who have put their foot down about gay marriage have no interest in seeing things through any other lens. In their eyes, there isn’t even room to find a common middle ground.

So is there a common middle ground on this issue? I can think of plenty, but the country doesn’t seem to see it this way. For the pro-gay marriage side, the phrase “civil union” isn’t good enough for the gays, and for the anti-gay marriage side, the word “marriage” is too good for the gays.

The best way to solve this issue reminds me of how my mother used to solve sisterly disputes. Let’s say that we both wanted to claim ownership of the same toy. Neither of us can find a way to share this toy. Instead of continuing to let us bicker over the toy, mom steps in and says, “If you can’t share it, then neither of you get to have the toy.” She promptly takes the toy away, hiding it in a closet somewhere, and now we must find the same fun in other toys.

If we can’t find a way to share marriage, perhaps it’s time to take marriage away from everyone. Let’s examine the benefits we get from marriage and reassign them to our other toys, our other legal unions. The way we are fighting about this, no one deserves marriage as anti gay-marriage advocates want to define it — but good luck trying to take marriage away from them.

You Can’t Say That on Television: Sex, Violence, & Primetime Lies

If I had a dollar for every time I watched this kiss, I’d probably only have $50. That was a lot when I was 12.

You’ve seen it all before: A couple TV audiences have been rooting for is finally going to hook up. They’ve somehow ended up locked in a place with no way out, or in a really intense argument because the tension between them has been growing, and the inevitable is about to go down.

The audience feels the crescendo as someone inevitably leans in to snag that first much-anticipated kiss. It takes a turn for the passionate, but as things get more heated, the camera pans away from the action and blurs as it settles on some romantic light source in the room like the reflection of raindrops on a nearby window. Everything else is left to the viewers’ imagination. What happens after that passionate kiss, we assume, is that the characters took their clothes off and engaged in the commonly accepted form of a sex act: good old fashioned penis-in-vagina sex.

Unfortunately, TV has sex all wrong. It teaches us that there isn’t much to sex — other than passionate kissing and missionary. Television shouldn’t have to act as a replacement for sex education, but Googling #WaronWomen will show you just how much of a priority quality sex education has become in the US. So why shouldn’t TV be the thing that tries to present the realities of certain subjects?

Let’s take a look at Glee. Now, I know this season has been terrible, you guys. But let’s not forget the times Glee was honest with us about our lives. Those were the good ol’ days, weren’t they? Remember the one where all those crazy kids lost their virginities…twice? My favorite thing about the two episodes of Glee where people were losing their virginity is that virginity is presented in all ways.

OMG! Two boys kissing?! Call the FCC!

We see Kurt and Rachel, the romantics, taking their virginity very seriously. After having a frank discussion with his dad about the ins-and-outs of sex and the emotions associated, Kurt chooses to lose it to his long-term boyfriend. Finn and Santana, on the other hand, are coming from a side of curiosity. Sex is shown as something that can be simultaneously meaningful to one group of people and less meaningful to another group of people. It suggests that losing your virginity is something that is a personal choice, and every individual should be able to process the act however they please.

Lucille Ball, “with child”

The most unfortunate thing about this content is that when parents saw teenagers having sex on TV, they used it as an opportunity to kick and scream at the network and the advertisers instead of sitting down and having the frank discussions about sex. Instead of changing the channel to protect children that may be too young for such content, they protested advertisers and prevented everyone in the family from watching such filth. The more unfortunate thing is that this happens all the time. It’s been happening for a long time.

It all began with Lucy and Ricky. They slept in separate beds and weren’t allowed to use the phrase “pregnant” to describe Lucille Ball’s real life pregnancy with *gasp* her husband, Desi Arnez. Although it was being used in the plot, likely to avoid covering up the belly, it was still not something that could be talked about with such crude language as the word “pregnant.” The producers used more politically correct terms like “with child” or “expecting” instead.

America has finally come to terms with married couples sharing beds and pregnancy, but there are certainly some subjects that are still highly controversial on network television. Funny that none of these subjects are senseless acts of violence or acts of hate, but rather, the acts of love between two people. On shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, the detectives discuss the explicit details of violent sex acts. Why can’t characters on other shows discuss healthy sex acts with equal detail and candor?

The problem isn’t the amount of sex on TV, but that sex is portrayed dishonestly to viewers. This is not about more or less censorship and saying certain subjects shouldn’t be talked about on TV. It’s about the lack of sex education we already have being supplemented with more bad information.

A Complete Guide to ‘Feeling Superior and Deflecting White Guilt’

[Editor’s note: As should be abundantly clear by now, the opinions expressed in posts on Serving Tea to Friends are those of the authors and not of the other writers or editors. We encourage our writers to explore their opinions and express them here—that’s what this space is about. That being said, please read West’s article (also linked below) before critiquing this one. If you still have beef, we want to hear about it. Comment here, on Facebook, or email us at teatofriends@gmail.com. Hearts, Lyzi and Anna.]

By now it seems that everyone on the blagoblag has read  “A Complete Guide to ‘Hipster Racism'” by Jezebel columnist Lindy West. I’ve read it three times now. Honestly, when a coworker tossed this article my way I didn’t think much of it. Then I saw my friends reposting it on Facebook, and skimming through the comments I saw droves of people saying “This” over and over, and I suddenly became very concerned.

Like West, I believe people need to call each other out on their bullshit, and I’m afraid I might have to step up and do so here. So, I have for you today:

A Complete Guide to ‘Feeling Superior and Deflecting Your Own White Guilt’

Step 1: Pretend to Acknowledge Your Privilege

Good little self-conscious citizens of the world know that you always have to acknowledge your privilege. This, of course, means you have to simply state that you are a white, middle class, suburbanite. The more obscurely you do this, the better. If you can put it in a footnote at the end of your rant, that’s best, but at least put it in parenthesees (emphasis mine):

It’s the gentler, more clueless, and more insidious cousin of a hick in a hood; the domain of educated, middle-class white people (like me—to be clear, I am one of those) who believe that not wanting to be racist makes it okay for them to be totally racist.

 or set off in em dashes (emphasis mine):

People benefit from racism—hell, I benefit from it every day—and things that benefit powerful people don’t just suddenly get “fixed” and disappear because Halle Berry won an Oscar or whatever.

Pay as much lip service as you have to in order to get people to believe that you have humbled yourself, but do not spend more than a sentence on it. Under no circumstances are you to actually think about how your privileged position affects what you have to say and that by drawing attention to things that matter to you as a person of privilege that you might be damaging the cause you are pretending to care about.

Step 2: Trivialize the Oppression You’re Addressing

Your goal here is to make everyone who doesn’t agree with you feel like a complete imbecile. You do this by stating that racism is so simple that even you understand it. Better yet, say that it’s made up! Comparing it with a mythical figure is best.

Race is one of the least complicated issues that there is, because it’s made up. It’s arbitrary. It’s as complicated as goddamn Santa Claus.

Be sure to ignore the fact that there are entire fields of academia devoted to race and that race intersects with sex, class, and gender in a myriad of different ways that increases the complexity of the issue. No, my friend. Race is ‘made up.’ And anyone who doesn’t see that is idiotic. This allows you to elevate yourself above all the plebs you ridicule.   The more people who agree with you, the more superior you can feel. You can all be superior together.

Step 3: Isolate a Group of Other People who are ‘Bad’

The key to feeling superior and deflecting your white guilt is focusing as hard as you can on people who do something that is ‘bad.’ Because of step 1 and step 2, whether or not these behaviors have any relevance to people of color’s lives is now irrelevant. Your task here is to take the guilt that you feel for participating in and benefiting from a system that favors you and shove it onto a group of people who are popular to make fun of.

Hipsters. Pick hipsters. Everyone fucking hates hipsters.

Be sure to ridicule this group of ‘bad’ people as much as you can. Everyone hates them, so it doesn’t matter how they feel.  By focusing intently on what they  do that is perpetuating the disgusting racist cycle, you are now completely absolved from thinking about the things that you do that perpetuate the racist cycle.

Step 4: Protect Defenseless Minority

As we all know, people of color  are poor, ignorant, defenseless people who have absolutely no ability to write, read, or criticize those who wrong them. They don’t have a community of people or a diverse set of leaders from different places in the political spectrum who can speak out against the atrocity that you have identified. Therefore, you MUST use your power to defend what YOU think is the greatest threat against them: the inane conversation of your friends.  Be sure not to listen to any particular individual person of color in the vicinity who might have his or her own thoughts about such statements. S/He can’t have an objective opinion on the matter. Because racism is so simple, and because you understand it so thoroughly, you are adequately prepared to defend that person’s honor.

Better yet, write an article.

Step 5: Profit

Publish your work for a site widely read by white people so that there are very few people who will call you out on your bullshit, because they are so busy attempting to deflect their on white guilt. They will upvote, share with their friends, say “This.” over and over again, and perhaps get into a debate about whether ‘thug’ truly applies only to black people. This will get you and your website millions upon millions of hits, which your advertisers will love, and you will rake in 1 cent more per hit than you did before. Not only that, but now not only are you  not-guilty, you are in fact far superior than you were when you started out.

Don’t you feel better now?

‘Girls’ Reminds Me That Even If I Hate My Life, I Love My Friends

Life sucks, but at least our friends are amazing and beautiful and we love them to death.Much has been made of HBO’s new series “Girls,” with critics (including our very own Laura Donovan) unable to come to a consensus as to whether it’s a groundbreaking and real depiction of a floundering generation or a moronic, whiny collection of #whitegirlproblems that didn’t deserve ever to see the light of day.

Personally, I fall, more or less, into the first camp – I think the show says a lot of important things about the ways in which young, educated people are feeling about the bleak employment and cultural and romantic landscape we seem to have been randomly vomited out into. If “Girls,” and for that matter, my life and the lives of many people I know and love, had a tagline, it would be something like, “This isn’t how we expected it to turn out.” And sure, maybe that’s because we were ’90s kids and our expectations were unreasonably high, fueled by the sweet but misguided parenting strategy of, “You can do anything you set your mind to because you are SPECIAL and UNIQUE and the UNIVERSE KNOWS IT.” No I can’t, no I’m not, and no, really, it doesn’t. I am, you are, we all are average and relatively insignificant and by and large unskilled and unspecial in the grand scheme of things (sorry to be such a Debbie Downer but it’s true), and I think Lena Dunham’s writing conveys the gap between who we thought we would be and the normal/sucky people we ended up being brilliantly.

But that’s not what I want to talk about here. There’s no use dwelling on the massive disconnect between who I want to be and who I am, and who these TV characters wanted to be and who they are. It’s the plague of my generation but it’s not really worth harping on about, at least not on this corner of the Web that we’ve set aside for serving tea and, hopefully, some loveliness to one another.

No, what I want to talk about here is what Dunham calls the “real romance” of her show: the relationships between the female protagonists, and especially between Dunham’s character, Hannah, and her best friend Marnie (the ravishing Allison Williams). I knew the show was a direct reflection of my female friendships during two small but, to my mind, heart-stoppingly beautiful scenes in the first episode: first, the shot of Marnie and Hannah in bed together, in deep platonic love, limbs wrapped carelessly together in a posture that spoke directly to the deep, abiding and completely unselfconscious affection the best girl-on-girl friendships are made of. Later, the two sit casually in the bathtub together, Marnie shaving her legs, Hannah naked and eating a cupcake for breakfast. The comfort and tenderness with which the two treat each other, emotionally and even physically, tugged at my heartstrings in a way few onscreen romantic, especially heterosexually so, relationships ever have.

This, to me, is what “Girls” is about, and this is what makes it great television. It’s the same thing that was compelling in “Sex and the City” (a show that bears little other resemblance to “Girls,” save that it is also set in New York City and also starred ladies). I never cared much about the preposterous romances on that show, either (Miranda and Steve were sweet, I guess) but the women loved each other fiercely and eternally, and that, I think, is why so many female viewers stuck around – it was refreshing to finally see a depiction of the true love we felt for our closest friends, the bonds that went so much deeper than the silly, vapid, backstabbing excuses for female friendships that worm their way into most romantic comedies and other films ostensibly aimed at women.

This week’s episode of “Girls” contained another scene that spoke directly to me and made me ache for the days when I lived in a big rundown house with the lady loves of my life. In the last scene, after both Hannah and Marnie have gone through various bizarre, off-putting, and downright hellish encounters with the idiotic men in their lives, there’s nothing left for them to do but dance like crazy people in Hannah’s room, sloughing off the icky feelings of men who treat them badly by reveling in their true true loves – each other. When Marnie backs up into Hannah and the two put their arms around each other, I knew this show had won me over for good, because all I wanted to do at that moment was find my girlfriends and put my arms around them and say, “This is for keeps.”

At first it made me mad, but now “Girls” just makes me sad

If anything is certain about HBO’s new show, “Girls,” it’s that the contentious program has caused a lot of chatter and stimulated the economy as such, at least for bloggers and Internet writers. My default reaction to immense hype is often negative, and even though the pervasive nepotism in New York crushes my soul daily, I found myself enjoying “Girls” quite a bit. Is it groundbreaking? No. Are the characters bratty and entitled? Yes. But they’re also humans, and young ones at that. You’d be hard pressed to come across twenty-somethings who have everything together, especially in NYC, so the travails and misadventures of Hannah (played by Lena Dunham) aren’t completely unfamiliar to me.

Truth be told, I was Hannah a year and a half ago. Her character is an unpaid publishing intern who suddenly has to scramble to land a job to sustain her lifestyle in the most expensive city in the country. Her parents cut her off financially and express skepticism over her memoirist dreams, so she seeks refuge in the den of her useless, skeevy hook-up buddy, Adam, who carries himself as if he is far more stable than Hannah despite the fact that his grandmother pays for all of his essentials. He’s not a winner, but he kills time and briefly takes her away from her bleak existence.

The big difference between me and Hannah is that she’s more than a year out of college and still facing these issues. I, however, was in her boat for six months after finishing up my degree at the University of Arizona.

But I was a mess, so much so that I couldn’t even enjoy graduation. I remember telling family members that they shouldn’t even bother coming to my ceremony, as I had nothing lined up and therefore nothing to be proud of. When I traversed University Boulevard in my cap and gown on the big day, passersby cheered me on and clapped. I smiled, but had the urge to throw them for a loop with, “Why are you happy for me? My family invested so much in my education and I’ve been too scared to actually go out and find work.”

Angela and me in the south of France, May 2010! J'aime bien les baguettes!

And so I played around all summer. I hung around my college town for two weeks before heading to France for a month and a half with two of my close friends. Though the trip was relaxing, I remember being unable to sleep most nights out of fear of what would happen upon my return to the States. I’d have to become a real adult and start working. I wanted to do the latter, but was unsure of how to go about it. So Angela and I talked for hours on end about our fears while the rest of the house slept. She had the security of returning to college in the fall, but felt uneasy about other aspects of life. Neither of us was at peace.

After France, I moved back into my mom’s house for a month with the intent of relocating to D.C. before the end of the summer. My mother gave me a deadline to get out, as she knew I sought more than what my hometown could provide for me, and my friend Anna and I booked flights to Washington to lock down a year-long lease on a two-bedroom apartment. My mom advised me to purchase a one-way ticket, as she didn’t want me returning home for my things until I secured a place to live, so with that in mind, Anna and I settled on a huge apartment in northern Virginia within three days of being in the D.C. area. The building was far from pretty much everything from grocery stores to the metro, but the neighborhood was safe, so we were happy. It took us a while to find jobs, though.

Lena Dunham

Like Hannah, I worked as an unpaid intern. Thankfully, I was in a position to do so until the company offered me a position, but I know I probably wouldn’t have been able to immerse into the industry of my dreams without paying my dues and concentrating on being the best intern in the world. Before I even started interning at TheDC, I spent my days theatrically moping in coffee shops about a silly college boy who treated me much like Adam treats Hannah. At the time, I carried a lot of resentment towards this individual, and while I still think the nonsense I put up with is awful, I know he is just a person. We’re all flawed and I’m no exception. That doesn’t justify what happened, but there comes a point where you just have to let go of your negative feelings and find someone else. I sure hope Hannah’s character does the same before the conclusion of season one.

This week alone, three older women asked me whether sex as a twenty-something is really as awful as “Girls” makes it out to be. These are all accomplished, high achieving ladies who lived the “Sex and the City” lifestyle during the program’s heyday and think a lot has changed in the NYC dating world since then. For one, men are slacking off. Women are dominating in the workforce, so many poor fellows feel emasculated. Rather than “Man Up” as the ever brilliant Kay Hymowitz suggests, they have chosen to mope and aim low. You’ve got these hard-working “career women” (to borrow a phrase from slimy Adam) who are slowly but surely taking over the professional world. It’s great for us girls, but not so much for the guys, even though they now have a pool of intelligent, beautiful, and ambitious women to choose from. They should be happy, but they’re not, so they make us pay for it by being rude and inconsiderate. Young dudes know they’re few and far between in big cities, so they don’t waste time with politeness or common courtesies. The older women I’ve chatted with were horrified to learn that Hannah and Adam’s interactions are fairly common in casual dating. While I can’t say any guy has ever spoken to me as Adam has spoken to Hannah (i.e., “You’re a junkie and you’re only 11 and you had your fucking Cabbage Patch lunchbox and you’re a dirty little whore and I’m going to send you home to your parents covered in cum.” I’ll just say now that that would NOT end well), I do know what it’s like to endure neglect and be blatantly two-timed just to get occasional fixes. It’s not a fun memory to resurrect, and one would like to think she deserves more than a guy who refuses to return her text messages yet contacts her once a month at an odd hour for a quickie.

Then there’s Hannah’s other female friend, Marnie who would probably rather employ a vibrator or choose a life of celibacy than sleep with her pansy, florid boyfriend. He’s too nice for his own good and she’s looking for someone who will make her work for his affection. She’s the kind of person you should despise, as she can’t appreciate someone sweet in an overflowing pool of jackasses, but I actually found her story line rather fascinating and hilarious. I’ve been in her shoes and can say wholeheartedly it’s more nauseating than hanging around Adam types. When I told an immediate family member about this, he said I must have low self-esteem if I can’t handle too much niceness, and while that may be true, I also need somewhat of a challenge and excitement. Where’s the fun in everything being handed to you? That’s Marnie’s line of thinking, and I get it.

When asked whether she’s anything like Hannah, Lena Dunham said she used to resemble her onscreen persona, but not so much anymore. She’s not late all the time, remaining in bed all day, or running around the house in nothing but underwear as she did in “Tiny Furniture.” As noted by costar Jemima Kirke, Lena Dunham has lost tons of weight since starting the series, not because she’s conforming to Hollywood’s standards, but because she’s so busy with work that she doesn’t munch away quite like she used to. I’ve gone through the same kind of transformation since finishing college. A lot of people commented on my tinier frame after I left UA, and I chalked this change up to healthier habits. I no longer feast on Canyon Cafe scones several times a week. I walk everywhere in New York City and work out at the gym as often as I can. I have more consistent hours and eat three meals a day now. Though I’m still bored to tears around nice, attainable young men, I don’t get hung up on anyone anymore, especially not the likes of Adam.

On the other hand, I can relate to “Girls” because I know all about residing in Brooklyn as well as having to rely on the G train for public transportation. Like Hannah, I wince at being catcalled on the street by random hobos. More often than not, I need to shut up, as my mouth has a mind of its own and I have a tendency to unintentionally spout bad jokes and offensive comments. I also have a bratty and impulsive streak. Sure I wouldn’t let a publishing house string me along for more than three months as an unpaid intern, but I have quit a job on a whim before, so irresponsibility isn’t lost on me. This, older family members have said, is the kind of entitlement I have. I may not ask for money from my mom, but I can be very “my way or the highway” at times, and it’s something I need to monitor closely.

“Girls” is not a pretty portrait of what it’s like to be a privileged post-grad in New York, but it’s a fairly accurate depiction of the experience. Though it brings me back to an uninspiring time, “Girls” resonates with me regardless — if anything, because I’m now finally able to laugh at the parade of mishaps and awkward moments that fell into my lap after I was forced to say farewell to the comforts of university life. And it feels good to finally find humor in the sea of uncertainty I worried would swallow me whole.

This post has been republished from Laura Donovan’s personal blog.

It’s Irrational, But I Do It Anyway: Comparing Movies to Books

When I was 14, I was thrilled to be sitting in a darkened movie theater, about to watch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was my favorite book in the Harry Potter series by far, and I couldn’t wait to see the movie version of it. I left completely disappointed and crestfallen. All of my favorite scenes from the book had been taken out, and the stuff that was added in felt childish to me even as at fourteen. This was my first experience with being disappointed by a movie adaptation of a book I loved, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last. I have felt that way with almost every movie to hit theaters that was once a book, and I can assure you, in the past seven years, there has been a significant amount of them.

Recently, I have changed my tactic when I go and see a movie adaptation of a book and it has worked wonders. I always read the book first, and usually, it’s not intentional. Before a movie came out, I would always make an effort to reread the book. I went into the midnight showing of The Hunger Games not having read the book in four years. I remembered what happened and the big details, but I didn’t remember specifics. This worked wonders for me. I left that movie completely in love with it, and thinking it did such a great job adapting to the book.

A lot of fans that I have since talked to had a hard time appreciating the movie. I was lucky, because I had read and loved the book, and I watched and loved the movie. I looked at them as separate entities, and it made a world of difference. Since seeing the movie, I have gone back and read the book, and I understand a lot of reader’s complaints; the movie and the book are more different than I had remembered. However, I refuse to be upset about this.

Being disappointed that your favorite book wasn’t your favorite movie is absolutely irrational. Plain and simple, books and movies are different. A two and a half hour movie can’t include everything from a 350 page book, and you wouldn’t want it to! Even excellent book-to-movies like The Lord of the Rings cut out so much, and most fans are able to appreciate both. A movie needs a more straightforward narrative – all the asides that books are able to logically include don’t work in a movie. Movies also reach a wider audience of people.

A lot of people who didn’t read The Hunger Games have seen the movie. Instead of being upset that the movie wasn’t exactly the same as the book, we should be excited that more people are beginning to love something so awesome. If you’re that type of person who needs every single detail in the book to be included in the movie, just don’t go. I would argue that even with all the cuts the writers made, I still felt the same emotions watching the movie that I did reading the book. The intensity and horror was still alive and well, and the ability to see the fight scenes allowed me to better understand some of the more confusing passages in the book. The Hunger Games, despite its cuts, was still a great movie.

While waiting in line for the movie, my friend Ali reminded me of the first midnight showing we ever saw together: Harry Potter and the Half- Blood Prince. I left that movie so disappointed, because I had been comparing it to the book. She told me that that made her hate it, too, because I pointed out differences that she hadn’t remembered. So, if you have read the book and then go see the movie, don’t ruin it for everyone else. Let your friends enjoy the movie, and try to accept it for what it is. Trust me, in the long run, I am sure you will leave much more satisfied.

Why Nicki Minaj Kind of Freaks Me Out

Look at the picture to the left, and who do you see? Well, you say, that’s Nicki Minaj.

At first blush she’s your typical pop star. Airbrushed, exposed, luscious, sexy —  all the things that society tells women that they should be. If you look at some of her other pictures that come up on Google, she has a fantastic body in addition to her beautiful face.

So what’s your deal, Gina? Why you make a post about how this obviously gorgeous woman gives you the heebie jeebies? Well, simply put: It’s because I’m attracted to her.

My first exposure to Minaj was through her appearance on Ellen Degeneres’ show. Freaking adorable. I loved the way Minaj interacted with the talented youngsters, how she dropped everything to come on the show and meet them, and how she encouraged them to pursue music but to stay in school. So, I figured, you know, this lady seemed like a class act. Keepin’ kids on the right track, doin’ some music…and I can respect someone who changes her hair color with every outfit.  I had to admit that Superbass was hella catchy. What the hell, I thought, I’ll give her a shot.

Holy shit. Delving into the world of Nicki Minaj is like seeing all the horrible youth fetishism of our culture smushed into one horrifying example.

Take her video Superbass. The entire 3:39 minute debacle is a mix of absurd sexuality and absurd childishness. The barbie car, the expressions on her face,  the hot pink — everywhere. She juxtaposes things that we associate with being a kid with things that we consider to be sexual (the slow pouring of liquid on her breasts, the lap dancing, etc.). She is hybridizes being a kid and being sexual. This extends beyond Superbass. Her doe-eyed, incredibly expressive childlike face is a part of her core “image.” And so is her sexual nature.

This melding of childhood and sexuality becomes even more apparent in her recent appearance with Big Sean in his video Dance (A$$):

She looks like a kid. She looks like a kid that’s backed up on Big Sean. Nicki Minaj’s entire sexual appeal comes from the fact that she’s got a child’s face on a woman’s body.

It freaks me out.

It violates my delicate kids-aren’t-sex-objects sensibilities.

Now, if Nicki Minaj wants to sexualize herself, that’s fine. I will enjoy looking at her beautiful skin and wonderful ass as long as she wants to shake it. She’s hot, and she has every right to flaunt it. But the fact that she chooses to sexualize herself by looking and acting as much like a child as possible disturbs me. There is a line between accepting youth fetishism as an inescapable part of beauty in our culture (which it is) and actively perpetuating it. Minaj does the latter.

Most upsetting is the fact that all of this works. Who reading this wouldn’t agree that Nicki Minaj is sexy? We are attracted to her, and she looks likes a kid. She knows this and uses it — and that just disturbs me.

Weird Netflix Movie To Catch This Week: ‘Waiting For Forever’

Holding on to the past is a detrimental but universal part of our existence. We all do it, but some attachments are more pathetic than others. No one could be much more pathetic than the main character of “Waiting for Forever.”

The movie, which co-stars “The O.C.” cutie pie Rachel Bilson, follows Will, a floater in his late twenties who returns to his Pennsylvania hometown to see his childhood friend, Emma (portrayed by Bilson). Emma and Will were inseparable buddies until his parents were killed in a train accident and he and his brother were forced to live with relatives in Massachusetts. Saying goodbye to Emma was hard, but Will never forgot what Emma told him: “They will always be there. You will always be loved.”

Will in "Waiting for Forever"

Will goes back to Pennsylvania after he learns that Emma, who is a Hollywood actress, has come home to visit her mom (Blythe Danner) and dying father (played by the phenomenal Richard Jenkins). At first, it’s cute to see Will hitchhike across the country to see Emma, but we quickly learn that he has been following her for a very long time. Will’s older brother, who is married with children, comes out and says it qualifies as stalking, and I wholeheartedly agree. Though he hasn’t seen Emma in years, Will believes they can pick up where they left off in grade school, even though they’ve changed immensely since then. Will is an unemployment nomad by choice who wears pajamas in public and Emma is a Tinseltown starlet in a bad relationship. She cheated on her aggressive boyfriend with another guy, and this doesn’t go over so well with her bald, scary-looking flame.

Meanwhile, Will tells his friend’s baby all about his plans to profess his love for Emma. “I’m going to tell her I love her and that I’ve always loved her. In my dreams, I breathe her in, I inhale her…and I feel her in the blood of my heart,” he says, creeping out his male friend, who consults other women to see whether they’d be horrified or flattered if such a comment were directed at them. They adore it, but that’s probably not what you want to hear from a guy with whom you haven’t interacted in 20 years. Will’s older brother often chastizes him for not working, being homeless, and following Emma without actually communicating with her face-to-face.

When they finally do cross paths in their old neighborhood, Emma greets him with something along the lines of, “Look at you, whiskers,” to which he responds, “Look at you, breasts.” Of course, Will lacks the social grace to put on some real clothes or even pretend he has a purpose for being back in Pennsylvania. Emma doesn’t take it well when Will says he has been following her all her life. This crushes his idealistic, free spirit, and he learns what many of us figured out in high school: people change.

As to be expected, Emma is hysterical when Will reveals he has been following her for years. It starts when he says she dropped sixty cents in his hat when during one of his street clown performances. Because he was wearing makeup, Emma didn’t recognize Will, and she is disturbed to hear that he neglected to say hello when she left him the money, which he kept.

“Wait, you’ve been following me?” she says.

“No, I go where you go.”

“So you’ve been following me?” she says again.

“No, I go where you go.” MUCH better, right? “How can one step away from you ever be anything but a step in the wrong direction?”

At the beginning, you root for Will and Emma to date, as she helped him through a difficult period of his life, but you want to slap him across the face for holding onto something that never really was. It’s understandable that Will loves Emma because she was the only person to support him when his parents died, yet you can only coast off that for so long. Nevertheless, everyone knows what it’s like to soak up the final encounter they had with an old love and hope that more memories will be made with the person in the future. Most of us wouldn’t choose a life of poverty to have the freedom to chase our childhood love, but we do wish such a risk would be worthwhile for the one bold enough to take that path.

Though it has a solid cast, “Waiting for Forever” is far from a cinematic masterpiece. The weak plot line and main character’s delusional fantasies limit the movie’s chances for success, but it’s the all too familiar case of unrequited love and hopeless pining to which viewers can relate. If you’ve ever wanted to go back to a certain point in your life, relive your chilhood, reconnect with an old friend, or get back into a special relationship you wish never ended, you’ll appreciate “Waiting for Forever,” which shows us that life may not be “peachy” but has to power to surprise you with its beauty.