Will the power dynamic shift on The Hills?
"Defying our expectations," Heidi Montag "has emerged as a kind of feminist hero" in the new Hills season (airing tonight), a New York Times critic writes.
"Her groundswell of self-assertion begins when [beau Spencer Pratt] insists on eloping, prompting Heidi to declare, 'This isn't, like, Spencer's relationship and you decide what we do,'" critic Ginia Bellafante says.
"The full-on joyous Oprah-fication of Heidi culminates with the show's return and gives The Hills a new momentum," she writes. "After taking a break from Spencer at her parents' modest house in Crested Butte, Colorado, Heidi returns to Los Angeles to kick him out and chastises him for taking her flat-screen TV with him." (The happy pair celebrated Easter Sunday together.)
Meanwhile, Lauren Conrad, who spends her screen time "pining for [Brody Jenner], who, she has confessed, never makes her feel good enough... could learn from Heidi right now," Bellafante writes.
Conrad – who told the Wall Street Journal, "I'm sure a lot of people don't take me seriously" – is the cover subject of the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.
Written by women for women, these top 10 blogs focus on issues, news, and gossip geared toward educating, entertaining and empowering girls. While I’m sure there are plenty of men who enjoy the writings of these well-spoken gals, these blogs are predominately speaking to their sisters.
- Feministing believes that young women are rarely given the opportunity to speak on their own behalf on issues that affect their lives and futures.Feministing provides a platform for us to comment, analyze and influence.
- Feministe is one of the oldest feminist blogs designed by and run by women from the ground up.
- Our Bodies Our Blog is your your daily dose of women’s health news and analysis.
- Jezebel is a blog for women that will attempt to take all the essentially meaningless but sweet stuff directed our way and give it a little more meaning, while taking more the serious stuff and making it more fun, or more personal, or at the very least the subject of our highly sophisticated brand of sex joke.
- Broadsheet is the blog section of Salon.com that focuses on women and issues in news, politics, advertising and health that specfically affect females as well as celebrity gossip, fashion news and humor.
- Finally Feminism 101 is an information resource, for both feminists and those questioning feminism, concentrating on typically disruptive questions/assertions which frequently arise in online feminist discussions. It is a place to discuss basic feminist theory and serve as a sort of anthology of top feminist blogging on introductory feminist issues.
- Women in Media & News Blog WIMN’s Voices, the women’s media monitoring group blog, features a diverse online community of fifty women blogging on media coverage of women and a range of social, cultural and political issues every day.
- Holla Back NYC empowers New Yorkers to Holla Back at street harassers by inviting readers to send in photo of perpetrators. Whether you’re commuting, lunching, partying, dancing, walking, chilling, drinking, or sunning,Holla Back NYC promotes the notion that you have the right to feel safe, confident, and sexy, without being the object of some turd’s fantasy.
- MediaGirl is an online community blog by and for women (and men, too) to discuss, rant, blog, analyze, and/or laugh about media, politics and culture, all within the general context of progressive politics and feminism.
- Bitch Magazine’s blog is the online sidekick to Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, a print magazine devoted to feminist analysis and media criticism. Bitch features critiques of TV, movies, magazines, advertising, and other elements of pop culture as well as interviews with feminist pop culture makers, review new books and music, and lots more.
Why Women Aren't Funny
What makes the female so much deadlier than the male? With assists from Fran Lebowitz, Nora Ephron, and a recent Stanford-medical-school study, the author investigates the reasons for the humor gap.
by Christopher Hitchens January 2007
From the John Springer Collection/Corbis.
Be your gender what it may, you will certainly have heard the following from a female friend who is enumerating the charms of a new (male) squeeze: "He's really quite cute, and he's kind to my friends, and he knows all kinds of stuff, and he's so funny … " (If you yourself are a guy, and you know the man in question, you will often have said to yourself, "Funny? He wouldn't know a joke if it came served on a bed of lettuce with sauce béarnaise.") However, there is something that you absolutely never hear from a male friend who is hymning his latest (female) love interest: "She's a real honey, has a life of her own … [interlude for attributes that are none of your business] … and, man, does she ever make 'em laugh."
Now, why is this? Why is it the case?, I mean. Why are women, who have the whole male world at their mercy, not funny? Please do not pretend not to know what I am talking about.
All right—try it the other way (as the bishop said to the barmaid). Why are men, taken on average and as a whole, funnier than women? Well, for one thing, they had damn well better be. The chief task in life that a man has to perform is that of impressing the opposite sex, and Mother Nature (as we laughingly call her) is not so kind to men. In fact, she equips many fellows with very little armament for the struggle. An average man has just one, outside chance: he had better be able to make the lady laugh. Making them laugh has been one of the crucial preoccupations of my life. If you can stimulate her to laughter—I am talking about that real, out-loud, head-back, mouth-open-to-expose-the-full-horseshoe-o
Women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way. They already appeal to men, if you catch my drift. Indeed, we now have all the joy of a scientific study, which illuminates the difference. At the Stanford University School of Medicine (a place, as it happens, where I once underwent an absolutely hilarious procedure with a sigmoidoscope), the grim-faced researchers showed 10 men and 10 women a sample of 70 black-and-white cartoons and got them to rate the gags on a "funniness scale." To annex for a moment the fall-about language of the report as it was summarized in Biotech Week:
The researchers found that men and women share much of the same humor-response system; both use to a similar degree the part of the brain responsible for semantic knowledge and juxtaposition and the part involved in language processing. But they also found that some brain regions were activated more in women. These included the left prefrontal cortex, suggesting a greater emphasis on language and executive processing in women, and the nucleus accumbens … which is part of the mesolimbic reward center.
This has all the charm and address of the learned Professor Scully's attempt to define a smile, as cited by Richard Usborne in his treatise on P. G. Wodehouse: "the drawing back and slight lifting of the corners of the mouth, which partially uncover the teeth; the curving of the naso-labial furrows … " But have no fear—it gets worse:
"Women appeared to have less expectation of a reward, which in this case was the punch line of the cartoon," said the report's author, Dr. Allan Reiss. "So when they got to the joke's punch line, they were more pleased about it." The report also found that "women were quicker at identifying material they considered unfunny."
Slower to get it, more pleased when they do, and swift to locate the unfunny—for this we need the Stanford University School of Medicine? And remember, this is women when confronted with humor. Is it any wonder that they are backward in generating it?
This is not to say that women are humorless, or cannot make great wits and comedians. And if they did not operate on the humor wavelength, there would be scant point in half killing oneself in the attempt to make them writhe and scream (uproariously). Wit, after all, is the unfailing symptom of intelligence. Men will laugh at almost anything, often precisely because it is—or they are—extremely stupid. Women aren't like that. And the wits and comics among them are formidable beyond compare: Dorothy Parker, Nora Ephron, Fran Lebowitz, Ellen DeGeneres. (Though ask yourself, was Dorothy Parker ever really funny?) Greatly daring—or so I thought—I resolved to call up Ms. Lebowitz and Ms. Ephron to try out my theories. Fran responded: "The cultural values are male; for a woman to say a man is funny is the equivalent of a man saying that a woman is pretty. Also, humor is largely aggressive and pre-emptive, and what's more male than that?" Ms. Ephron did not disagree. She did, however, in what I thought was a slightly feline way, accuse me of plagiarizing a rant by Jerry Lewis that said much the same thing. (I have only once seen Lewis in action, in The King of Comedy, where it was really Sandra Bernhard who was funny.)
In any case, my argument doesn't say that there are no decent women comedians. There are more terrible female comedians than there are terrible male comedians, but there are some impressive ladies out there. Most of them, though, when you come to review the situation, are hefty or dykey or Jewish, or some combo of the three. When Roseanne stands up and tells biker jokes and invites people who don't dig her shtick to suck her dick—know what I am saying? And the Sapphic faction may have its own reasons for wanting what I want—the sweet surrender of female laughter. While Jewish humor, boiling as it is with angst and self-deprecation, is almost masculine by definition.read the rest here. http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/featur
this article was the inspiration for this months epic cover.
Who Says Women Aren’t Funny?
The idea that women aren’t funny—and which male said that?—seems pretty laughable these days. TV has unleashed a new generation of comediennes, who act, perform stand-up, write, and direct—dishing out the jokes with a side of sexy. Annie Leibovitz photographs a dozen of the wittiest dames in showbiz, from 30 Rock’s Tina Fey to Sarah Silverman, to S.N.L.’s current stars, while the author learns why the setup has changed.
by Alessandra Stanley April 2008
Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Tina Fey. “You still hear” people say women aren’t funny, Fey comments. “It’s just a lot easier to ignore.” Photograph by Annie Leibovitz; styled by Michael Roberts.
There are people who lament that no women now are as funny as Carole Lombard or Barbara Stanwyck in the screwball comedies of Lubitsch, Sturges, and Hawks. They are missing the point: today’s comediennes are on television, where they are often responsible for their own material. Tina Fey, for instance. The former head writer of Saturday Night Live, who wrote the film Mean Girls before creating the sitcom 30 Rock, is one of the leading voices in a new generation of comediennes—women who not only play comic roles but also perform stand-up and write and direct comedy.
Lombard and Stanwyck were great comic actresses on-screen, but they had about as much to do with the joke writing as Jennifer Aniston or Courtney Cox did on Friends. Off-camera Lucille Ball was about as funny as lead. 30 Rock is often compared to The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but James L. Brooks created and wrote that classic sitcom with Allan Burns; Moore and the rest of the cast were talented actors, not comedians. There were always exceptions, sui generis performers such as Mae West and Gracie Allen and Carol Burnett. The difference now is that funny is closer to the norm for women.
“There is no question that there are a million more funny women than there used to be,” says Nora Ephron, the writer and film director. “But everything has more women. There are more women in a whole bunch of places, and this is one of them.” Ephron knows exactly why female comedians are currently much more successful than they used to be. “Here’s the answer to any question: cable,” she says. “There are so many hours to fill, and they ran out of men, so then there were women.”
The humor of women has been a sensitive topic ever since the first one cracked a joke. (In Genesis, Sarah, pregnant long past her childbearing years, says her son is named Isaac, Hebrew for “laughter,” because it’s funny she would have a child at her age.) Throughout time, prominent, deeply serious men have argued that women have no sense of humor. Shakespeare didn’t agree, and the 19th-century English novelist George Meredith suggested that without the tempering wit of women there could be no real comedy at all. His examples were the Middle East and Germany. (“The German literary laugh, like the timed awakenings of their Barbarossa in the hollows of the Untersberg, is infrequent, and rather monstrous,” Meredith wrote, “never a laugh of men and women in concert.”)
But the suffragette movement must have taken a toll on the male ego: by the late 19th century the humorlessness of women was a staple of club toasts and magazines such as Punch. Jerry Lewis picked it up again in earnest in 2000, telling an audience at a comedy festival, “I don’t like any female comedians.” When Martin Short, also onstage, said that he surely must have liked Lucille Ball, Lewis flatly replied, “No.” (Lewis later softened his assessment on Larry King Live but not by much.)
And the question was recently reopened in this magazine: the polymorphously polemic Christopher Hitchens argued that, in general, women are not funny, and certainly not as funny as men. “For some reason,” he wrote, “women do not find their own physical decay and absurdity to be so riotously amusing, which is why we admire Lucille Ball and Helen Fielding, who do see the funny side of it. But this is so rare as to be like Dr. Johnson’s comparison of a woman preaching to a dog walking on its hind legs: the surprise is that it is done at all” (“Why Women Aren’t Funny,” January 2007).
Dissecting the nature of women’s humor, or supposed lack thereof, is a joyless and increasingly moot subject, but it boils down to the point Virginia Woolf argued in her essay about Shakespeare’s sister in A Room of One’s Own, and it’s analogous to the case Larry Summers made so clumsily with regard to women in the sciences that it cost him his job as president of Harvard: namely, that society has different expectations for women. Summers sealed his fate by also suggesting that women’s innate aptitude for science and math might be weaker. The nature-versus-nurture argument also extends to humor. It’s a shame that Margaret Mead never made it to that tribe in Papua New Guinea where women tell the jokes, and men pretend to find them funny.
Certainly, the rewards of wit are not nearly as ample for women as for men, and sometimes funny women are actually penalized. Not everything has changed since 1885, when educator Kate Sanborn tried to refute the conventional male wisdom in her book The Wit of Women. Sanborn pointed out that women have good reason to keep their one-liners to themselves. “No man likes to have his story capped by a better and fresher from a lady’s lips,” she wrote. “What woman does not risk being called sarcastic and hateful if she throws the merry dart or engages in a little sharp-shooting. No, no, it’s dangerous—if not fatal.”
Or as Joan Rivers puts it, “Men find funny women threatening. They ask me, ‘Are you going to be funny in bed?’ ”
It used to be that women were not funny. Then they couldn’t be funny if they were pretty. Now a female comedian has to be pretty—even sexy—to get a laugh.
At least, that’s one way to view the trajectory from Phyllis Diller and Carol Burnett to Tina Fey. Some say it’s the natural evolution of the women’s movement; others argue it’s a devolution. But the funniest women on television are youthful, good-looking, and even, in a few cases, close to beautiful—the kind of women who in past decades might have been the butt of a stand-up comic’s jokes.
And it doesn’t help to point out that Lucille Ball began her Hollywood career as a model and starlet or that Elaine May was—and still is—fetching. Onstage and even on-camera, funny women in the old days didn’t try to look their best; they tried to look comical. Lucille Ball would wear almost anything—Carmen Miranda dresses, muumuus, and crazy hats—to transform herself into the childish and braying Lucy Ricardo. When Phyllis Diller stripped off her false lashes and cotton-candy wigs, she actually looked attractive. Nowadays, Fey cultivates a “sexy librarian” look on 30 Rock, with foxy glasses and décolletage that slyly defies the show’s premise that her character, Liz Lemon, is a homely nebbish.
In her stand-up act and on her show on Comedy Central, The Sarah Silverman Program, Sarah Silverman is as crude and cruelly insensitive as any male comedian, but with a sexy, coquettish undertone—a Valley Village version of Brenda Patimkin, the Jewish-American Princess in Goodbye, Columbus. In one scene, Sarah calls her sister “gay,” then apologizes to her two gay neighbors. “I don’t mean gay like homosexual,” she says sweetly. “I mean gay like retarded.”
read the rest here. http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/featur
By Charlotte Allen
Sunday, March 2, 2008; B01
Here's Agence France-Presse reporting on a rally for Sen. Barack Obama at the University of Maryland on Feb. 11: "He did not flinch when women screamed as he was in mid-sentence, and even broke off once to answer a female's cry of 'I love you, Obama!' with a reassuring 'I love you back.' " Women screamed? What was this, the Beatles tour of 1964? And when they weren't screaming, the fair-sex Obama fans who dominated the rally of 16,000 were saying things like: "Every time I hear him speak, I become more hopeful." Huh?
"Women 'Falling for Obama,' " the story's headline read. Elsewhere around the country, women were falling for the presidential candidate literally. Connecticut radio talk show host Jim Vicevich has counted five separate instances in which women fainted at Obama rallies since last September. And I thought such fainting was supposed to be a relic of the sexist past, when patriarchs forced their wives and daughters to lace themselves into corsets that cut off their oxygen.
I can't help it, but reading about such episodes of screaming, gushing and swooning makes me wonder whether women -- I should say, "we women," of course -- aren't the weaker sex after all. Or even the stupid sex, our brains permanently occluded by random emotions, psychosomatic flailings and distraction by the superficial. Women "are only children of a larger growth," wrote the 18th-century Earl of Chesterfield. Could he have been right?
I'm not the only woman who's dumbfounded (as it were) by our sex, or rather, as we prefer to put it, by other members of our sex besides us. It's a frequent topic of lunch, phone and water-cooler conversations; even some feminists can't believe that there's this thing called "The Oprah Winfrey Show" or that Celine Dion actually sells CDs. A female friend of mine plans to write a horror novel titled "Office of Women," in which nothing ever gets done and everyone spends the day talking about Botox.
We exaggerate, of course. And obviously men do dumb things, too, although my husband has perfectly good explanations for why he eats standing up at the stove (when I'm not around) or pulls down all the blinds so the house looks like a cave (also when I'm not around): It has to do with the aggressive male nature and an instinctive fear of danger from other aggressive men. When men do dumb things, though, they tend to be catastrophically dumb, such as blowing the paycheck on booze or much, much worse (think "postal"). Women's foolishness is usually harmless. But it can be so . . . embarrassing.
Take Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign. By all measures, she has run one of the worst -- and, yes, stupidest -- presidential races in recent history, marred by every stereotypical flaw of the female sex. As far as I'm concerned, she has proved that she can't debate -- viz. her televised one-on-one against Obama last Tuesday, which consisted largely of complaining that she had to answer questions first and putting the audience to sleep with minutiae about her health-coverage mandate. She has whined (via her aides) like the teacher's pet in grade school that the boys are ganging up on her when she's bested by male rivals. She has wept on the campaign trail, even though everyone knows that tears are the last refuge of losers. And she is tellingly dependent on her husband.
Then there's Clinton's nearly all-female staff, chosen for loyalty rather than, say, brains or political savvy. Clinton finally fired her daytime-soap-watching, self-styled "Latina queena" campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, known for burning through campaign money and for her open contempt for the "white boys" in the Clinton camp. But stupidly, she did it just in time to alienate the Hispanic voters she now desperately needs to win in Texas or Ohio to have any shot at the Democratic nomination.
What is it about us women? Why do we always fall for the hysterical, the superficial and the gooily sentimental? Take a look at the New York Times bestseller list. At the top of the paperback nonfiction chart and pitched to an exclusively female readership is Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love." Here's the book's autobiographical plot: Gilbert gets bored with her perfectly okay husband, so she has an affair behind his back. Then, when that doesn't pan out, she goes to Italy and gains 23 pounds forking pasta so she has to buy a whole new wardrobe, goes to India to meditate (that's the snooze part), and finally, at an Indonesian beach, finds fulfillment by -- get this -- picking up a Latin lover!
This is the kind of literature that countless women soak up like biscotti in a latte cup: food, clothes, sex, "relationships" and gummy, feel-good "spirituality." This female taste for first-person romantic nuttiness, spiced with a soupÂ¿on of soft-core porn, has made for centuries of bestsellers -- including Samuel Richardson's 1740 novel "Pamela," in which a handsome young lord tries to seduce a virtuous serving maid for hundreds of pages and then proposes, as well as Erica Jong's 1973 "Fear of Flying."
Then there's the chick doctor television show "Grey's Anatomy" (reportedly one of Hillary Clinton's favorites). Want to be a surgeon? Here's what your life will be like at the hospital, according to "Grey's": sex in the linen-supply room, catfights with your sister in front of the patients, sex in the on-call room, a "prom" in the recovery room so you can wear your strapless evening gown to work, and sex with the married attending physician in an office. Oh, and some surgery. When was the last time you were in a hospital and spotted two doctors going at it in an empty bed?
I swear no man watches "Grey's Anatomy" unless his girlfriend forces him to. No man bakes cookies for his dog. No man feels blue and takes off work to spend the day in bed with a copy of "The Friday Night Knitting Club." No man contracts nebulous diseases whose existence is disputed by many if not all doctors, such as Morgellons (where you feel bugs crawling around under your skin). At least no man I know. Of course, not all women do these things, either -- although enough do to make one wonder whether there isn't some genetic aspect of the female brain, something evolutionarily connected to the fact that we live longer than men or go through childbirth, that turns the pre-frontal cortex into Cream of Wheat.
Depressing as it is, several of the supposed misogynist myths about female inferiority have been proven true. Women really are worse drivers than men, for example. A study published in 1998 by the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine and public health revealed that women clocked 5.7 auto accidents per million miles driven, in contrast to men's 5.1, even though men drive about 74 percent more miles a year than women. The only good news was that women tended to take fewer driving risks than men, so their crashes were only a third as likely to be fatal. Those statistics were reinforced by a study released by the University of London in January showing that women and gay men perform more poorly than heterosexual men at tasks involving navigation and spatial awareness, both crucial to good driving.
The theory that women are the dumber sex -- or at least the sex that gets into more car accidents -- is amply supported by neurological and standardized-testing evidence. Men's and women's brains not only look different, but men's brains are bigger than women's (even adjusting for men's generally bigger body size). The important difference is in the parietal cortex, which is associated with space perception. Visuospatial skills, the capacity to rotate three-dimensional objects in the mind, at which men tend to excel over women, are in turn related to a capacity for abstract thinking and reasoning, the grounding for mathematics, science and philosophy. While the two sexes seem to have the same IQ on average (although even here, at least one recent study gives males a slight edge), there are proportionally more men than women at the extremes of very, very smart and very, very stupid.
I am perfectly willing to admit that I myself am a classic case of female mental deficiencies. I can't add 2 and 2 (well, I can, but then what?). I don't even know how many pairs of shoes I own. I have coasted through life and academia on the basis of an excellent memory and superior verbal skills, two areas where, researchers agree, women consistently outpace men. (An evolutionary just-so story explains this facility of ours: Back in hunter-gatherer days, men were the hunters and needed to calculate spear trajectories, while women were the gatherers and needed to remember where the berries were.) I don't mind recognizing and accepting that the women in history I admire most -- Sappho, Hildegard of Bingen, Elizabeth I, George Eliot, Margaret Thatcher -- were brilliant outliers.
The same goes for female fighter pilots, architects, tax accountants, chemical engineers, Supreme Court justices and brain surgeons. Yes, they can do their jobs and do them well, and I don't think anyone should put obstacles in their paths. I predict that over the long run, however, even with all the special mentoring and role-modeling the 21st century can provide, the number of women in these fields will always lag behind the number of men, for good reason.
So I don't understand why more women don't relax, enjoy the innate abilities most of us possess (as well as the ones fewer of us possess) and revel in the things most important to life at which nearly all of us excel: tenderness toward children and men and the weak and the ability to make a house a home. (Even I, who inherited my interior-decorating skills from my Bronx Irish paternal grandmother, whose idea of upgrading the living-room sofa was to throw a blanket over it, can make a house a home.) Then we could shriek and swoon and gossip and read chick lit to our hearts' content and not mind the fact that way down deep, we are . . . kind of dim.
Are you fucking kidding!???!!!?
My question is this, why did this guy think this was a good idea?? She ended up getting an abortion becuase the pill had damaged the fetus.
for the full story,
Oh yeah, If i am so ugly then why do you Booty Call me all the time? In your dreams pal.