In which K and C gchat about Catching Fire

We are trying something new! Instead of texting or skyping about our reactions to Catching Fire, Kate and I saved our thoughts for a lengthy gchat, which we have posted here for your, um,  enjoyment (Seriously we didn’t talk about it AT ALL before this conversation. We must like all of you). It was an interesting exercise, because we knew we were writing for the blog, so it’s a LOT more sensical than our usual conversations, and with way less profanity and capslocks. We did a little editing for content, and for the fact that I type like a drunk raccoon. Let us know if you like this format and we can do it (or NOT do it) again in the future. We talk  a little about the whole series, but nothing super spoiler-y outside of Catching FireCatching-Fire-22-exclusive

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Blurred Links- Further news and thoughts

So remember, all that fun we had last month talking about Blurred Lines? Well, the internet is still going. Blurred Lines is the gift that keeps on giving (…or possibly an STD, you just can’t get rid of it completely).

In our Secret Sassafrakas Headquarters, we’ve been noodling around about how we feel about the song/video and sending related links back and forth. Is it sexy? Sexist? Super gross? Kind of a good time? The Internet is having this same multifaceted conversation, and it brings up a LOT of interesting angles.

This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive list, but Kate and I wanted to round up a number of articles/blog posts and video responses.

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Blurred Lines: I just can’t even

Well, let’s just dive in. Have you heard this song, Blurred Lines? It’s being called “the song of the summer.” Have you seen the video? There are two versions. One features topless models only wearing flesh toned thongs. The other version features the same models wearing underwear and clear plastic. Here is the edited, slightly suitable for work version.

I’m not going to link to the explicit version. You can go find it on VEVO (it’s been banned from YouTube) if you want to see it.  I draw the line at having naked breasts on this blog. For now. Continue reading

Pick-Me-Up: Thug Kitchen and more

Thug Kitchen on tomatoes

My roommate turned me onto Thug Kitchen a few months ago, and I love this site.  The recipes are excellent and healthy and the posts usually make me laugh.  More importantly, I think TK’s mission is increasingly essential.  From the FAQ page:

PART OF WHAT WE ENJOY ABOUT TK IS HOW, HOPEFULLY, IT WILL GET READERS THINKING ABOUT WHAT KIND OF ADDITIONAL BEHAVIORS THEY ATTRIBUTE TO PEOPLE WHO TRY TO EAT HEALTHY. EVERYONE DESERVES TO FEEL A PART OF OUR COUNTRY’S PUSH TOWARD A HEALTHIER DIET, NOT JUST PEOPLE WITH DISPOSABLE INCOMES WHO SPEAK A CERTAIN WAY. WE AIM TO EDUCATE AS WELL AS ENTERTAIN, MOTHER FUCKER.

Masculinity (and heart disease) inna a box…

The cultural trope of not only cooking, but of eating healthfully, being somehow “prissy” or otherwise feminine, is still pretty strong.  Vegetarianism and veganism are particularly ridiculed and associated with all sorts of negative traits: hypersensitivity, hyperbolic condemnation of meat-eaters, yuppie-ism, smugness, adherence to fads, delicacy, squeamishness, illogic, ditziness… the list goes on.

… while women laugh alone with salad. (Courtesy of The Hairpin.)

So check out Thug Kitchen and enjoy!

BONUS: Ron Finley’s “guerrilla gardening” project in South Los Angeles also tackles preconceptions about what it means to be a gardener.  The project is really lovely on a lot of levels – increasing accessibility to healthy foods, nutritional awareness, and an emphasis on creation as an act of defiance and empowerment.  Money quote:

So what I want to do here, we gotta make this sexy. So I want us all to become ecolutionary renegades, gangstas, gangsta gardeners. We gotta flip the script on what a gangsta is. If you ain’t a gardener, you ain’t gangsta. Get gangsta with your shovel, okay? And let that be your weapon of choice.

BONUS BONUS: 

Ray tells it like it is.  (From Achewood by the inimitable Chris Onstad.  Go read the whole goddamn thing.)

Ray tells it like it is. (From Achewood by the inimitable Chris Onstad. Go read the whole goddamn thing.)

Lucinda ate this this morning and will hopefully imbibe some of this later today.

The Hobbit: The Invisible Women

The Hobbit: an Unexpected Hotness. Credit: Warner Brothers

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Hotness. Credit: Warner Brothers

I’ve been carrying around some strong feelings about the movie The Hobbit. A lot of them are good. It’s charming, funny, poignant, it makes me feel nostalgic, and some of the dwarves are hotter than they have any right to be (hello, Kili, Fili, and Thorin Oakenshield). But I also walked out of the theatre in December feeling unsettled. The lack of diversity in that movie is staggering.

On top of that, we see the only named female character in the whole movie, Galadriel, for a grand total of five minutes. Even then, I understand that she is a character borrowed from Lord of the Rings, and doesn’t appear in the Hobbit book. I can’t even take a bat to The Hobbit like Kate did with Star Trek: Into Darkness because the women are simply not there.

Galadriel in all her soft focus glory. Credit: Warner Brothers

Galadriel in all her soft focus glory. Credit: Warner Brothers

Which leads me to a really strange argument and problem. Continue reading

Pick-Me-Up: Hello, Tailor Discusses Pepper Potts

WARNING: this site is addictive if you care at all about costuming.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts – ass-kicking girly girl who isn’t afraid to work hard, look good, or work hard at looking good.

Hello, Tailor is my newest obsession, thanks in large part to this post on Pepper Potts and why she is a great female character that is also an underrepresented type: that of the non-bitchy, intelligent, highly motivated girly-girl. Pepper (like Gwyneth) likes looking pretty and clearly puts effort into it. This article goes into all of the reasons why her character design is AMAZING, and how her costuming does a lot to enhance her character traits.

If you have any interest at all in costuming and the way that clothes shape our perceptions of people, I highly recommend checking the blog out. Nothing too technical or fussy, just an interesting take at a side of the movies that most people don’t actively think about.

Kate now has an overwhelming urge to go get her sewing machine fixed.

How Soap Operas are Changing the World, and Why That’s Great

I will not pretend to be a fan of soap operas, but this headline got my attention immediately:

The secret to bringing down India’s birth rate: get more women to watch soap operas

It turns out that there’s a significant level of correlation between which regions of India have access to cable television and which regions are experiencing lower total fertility rates.  The study on which the article is based goes into further detail of the positive social change in its abstract:

Using a three-year, individual-level panel dataset, we find that the introduction of cable television is associated with significant decreases in the reported acceptability of domestic violence towards women and son preference, as well as increases in women’s autonomy and decreases in fertility. We also find suggestive evidence that exposure to cable increases school enrollment for younger children, perhaps through increased participation of women in household decision-making.

Apparently, similar findings were uncovered when tracking fertility rates in relation to cable-viewing in Brazil.   Continue reading