Oh my god, and I do not think I could have handled dog ownership (which I leapt into after I starting reading your column, KNOWING they are disgusting and I should get rid of them). My dogs probably have you to thank for their lives.
Jolie, your column has made me a cleaner person. I make my bed every day (WHY didn't I before you wrote about that?? It makes life so much better!), you taught me how to mop a floor, you taught me how to clean my microwave and oven, you have helped me get SO many stains out of things, and you made me realize that cleaning, and keeping my living space clean, is not some impossibly difficult mystery that I can never hope to master. Your work has improved my life. Thank you, truly. And I am so looking forward to owning the book!
@Rubyinthedust GROTESQUE! That's perfect; my thoughts were dancing around that but couldn't quite seize on it. The mention of Miley makes me think about her licking the sledgehammer in the Wrecking Ball video, too--I've seen tons of mentions of how gross it was, or how it made the watcher uncomfortable, but I don't think I've seen or heard a single person say something about it being sexy. It's a really interesting trend to see among pop stars who started working at a young age, whose images have been heavily shaped by the demands of their careers and handlers, seize on a sort of lewd image and performance aesthetic while making statements about seizing agency and control over their own public representations. Almost like taking the tools that were so painstakingly shaped earlier in their careers--the sex appeal and carefully crafted public images--and blowing them up and upsetting people to greater success than ever. They take the "sexy" moves and images we've come to expect from pop stars and push it to the point of vulgarity, making viewers uncomfortable ostensibly by giving them what they want. Very compelling, I agree!
@Jennifer Culp Obviously this functions within the framework of our male gaze saturated society, which is where she's coming from (more so than us commoners!), but I do think she's effectively playing with gender roles and not exactly flipping them on their head, but subverting the dialogue and doing something unfamiliar and interesting.
@questingbeast She's sitting on a throne, wearing diamonds on her boobs, singing about how she's so rich she can indulge in a number of expensive vices and still got mo' money. I'd say that's right in line with the "commanding," "bossy" and "in charge" image you describe. I'd never heard the song before watching the video earlier today (prior to reading this article), and like Ruby find it otherworldly and fascinating. On paper, the lyrics read as pure braggadocio; there's nothing to suggest explicitly that the speaker is a woman. If I had to guess by looking at the lyrics alone, I'd assume this was a song by a male rapper. Her body and aesthetic appeal in the video almost comes across to me as another asset she owns/controls, but unlike other artists she might be compared to, she doesn't bother to make claims about her sexual appeal in the song. It's just apparent.
Though I certainly wouldn't argue that strippers aren't stripping primarily for men, I don't agree that this video particularly caters to the male gaze. I watched it earlier today after following a link to a celebrity gossip site that often features paparazzi photos of celebrity women in bikinis for criticism (gross, I know, I shouldn't have given 'em a click), and scanned some of the comments after watching. The majority seemed to be written by men who were HORRIFIED by the video, writing all sorts of nasty comments about how ugly, whorish, "tranny," blahblahblah Rihanna is in the video. Her look here reveals a lot of skin, but it's garish and far from conventionally flattering. If she were attempting to appeal to men, I imagine she would choose to present herself more like she did in her early videos: long, loose, more "natural" (by which I mean color, not necessarily texture) hair, more natural-looking makeup, simpler clothing. As for the raunchy butt shaking, I thought it was so interesting that Sarah Nicole Prickett brought up the point about the men she's dated preferring "safer" porn than she does. I've noticed a (maybe?) related commonality among men of my own acquaintance when it comes to dancing; a lot of them tend to prefer less "threatening" movements and would be actively put off by overt rump shakin' like that in the video.
I still haven't completely worked out what I feel about this video, but I think Rihanna's telling me she's got the best of all worlds here. She's got the power, she's got the money, she has all the trappings of a successful rich mogul and can do whatever she wants, AND she's also got tremendous sexual appeal and power and an enviably conventionally attractive body that she can decorate the way she wants, because it's hers. Her body is both herself and one of her possessions to be shown off. She doesn't care what we think, or what men think, she's on a friggin' throne and she's always got mo' money. It's the ultimate brag, and who can argue with her?
Enjoy your break, Baba! This series means so much to me, I thought you should know.
I actually prefer the typed "paper" images of Baba's advice and enjoy having to read closely and type them out if I want to quote them, but I'm thankful for the text versions here because I'm thinking of compiling them into a small printed book to keep by my bed. I ain't above copying and pasting for that.
@youresmalltime And the Leon smirk when he sees Jake help Sherry up!! Leon knows how these B.O.W.-fightin' romances start. I loved Helena, too. She got on my nerves at the beginning, but her lady bro badassness really grew on me. "Why do I always get stuck with the bossy ones?" Oh, Leon.
@Princess Slaya I started with RE4, and it's still one of my favorite games of all time. Sis-in-law started with 6 and then went back to play 4 and 5. Plot-wise, it really doesn't matter; you're always jumping into the middle of the most amazingly ridiculous soap opera. I tried to play the re-release of RE2 for the GameCube and got frustrated by the wonky mechanics, but I should probably put my old school pants on and tough it out one of these days.
@youresmalltime THE BROFIGHT BETWEEN CHRIS AND LEON, AAAAAAAAH it was so great, and of course I loved the part where Jake and Leon meet. "Let's just hope that Jake kid is as good as he thinks he is."
@The Mayor of Bethville Tonight! You free?