Sunday, November 29, 2009
The morning sun when it's in your face
really shows your age
But that don't worry me none
in my eyes you're everything.
(OMG The Pogues covered this? Awwwesome.)
Friday, November 27, 2009
A commenter on my last post, about high heels, said there was an incident this year of a girl who fell under a train because of her high heels. Eeps! I was curious about the story, so here it is...
A girl of 16 died after slipping in her high heels and falling under a train. Megan Moore was running along the platform as the train pulled away. She had just got out of one of the carriages and was tapping on the window to say goodbye to friends who were still aboard. Onlookers told how she plunged through the gap between the platform and the train. (Daily Mail)There are some mild-debatee comments on the story about whether to blame the heels or not. Personally, I don't think high heels are the devil's handmaiden--when I had a desk job I used to wear them more often (though I wear heels with some width to them.)
On the other hand, one commenter said this accident could have happened if she was wearing running shoes. Well maaaaybe. I gather that the gap between the platform and the trains in the UK can be fairly wide. The tube system has a disembodied voice that says "mind the gap!" and when I was in London I was surprised to see how wide that gap was sometimes--the metros in Montreal are really flush against the concrete.
So if the trains have the same problem, you could definitely slip in, and in any shoes--especially any slippery shoe. I wear clogs with decent grips on the bottoms, but they don't have good ankle support--they're good for the soles of my feet, but I can't run like the wind in them. But it's silly to say this sort of accident could just as easily happen in "trainers." Running shoes/good loafers/hiking boots etc. grip the pavement.
[HOT TIP! for a list of shoes you shouldn't wear while running along a train platform, click here!]
Probably the most astute comments, though, were those posted by railway employees who claim that people just aren't careful enough around trains. So maybe it's not about wearing sensible heels, but about being sensible in your heels. [...I'm starting to sound like Katie Couric.]
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
It can be hard to transport yourself to a different time and place and understand beauty standards you haven't grown up with--but I can sort of see the appeal. When in shoes, these women look dainty. And the unbound foot just reminds me of what high heeled shoes look like. It's sort of... the foot made into a high heeled shoe. Which is something we see as sexy here in the west, so... maybe not all that different, in terms of appeal.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
An expert commission of African leaders today announced their plan for comprehensive reform of music band U2. Saying that U2’s rock had lost touch with its African roots, the commission called for urgent measures to halt U2’s slide towards impending crisis.
“Our youth today are imperiled by low quality music,” said Commission chairman Nelson Mandela. “We will be lending African musicians to U2 to try to refurbish their sound to satisfy the urgent and growing needs for diversionary entertainment at a time of crisis in the global music and financial sectors.”
Many of the comments are even funnier:
I will be anxiously awaiting the Mandela Commission’s CURSD Report so I can start a proper 501(c)3 charity in the USA to help all those innocent victims of U2 music.
Have we learned nothing? Piece-meal reforms such as this will achieve nothing without a comprehensive “Make Bono history” agenda
you should have had African musicians/consultants advising U2 about how to get back to their IRISH musical roots (but with appropriate African influences/instrumentation, so as to maintain popular appeal in Africa…)
Instead of focusing myopically on GMP (Gross Musical Product), we should really be focusing African aid on at-risk groups within U2, such as bassist Adam Clayton or drummer Larry Mullen Jr. Only a strategy that effectively targets aid–such as technical assistance on polyrhythms and root-oriented bass lines–can effectively contribute to U2’s overall growth.
The Commission should have pointed out that Bono has clung to his office as lead singer for 33 years — much longer than leaders like Museveni, Obiang, Than Shwe, Kim Jong Il, or Mubarak.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
So here's the first. I'm listening to Prince while writing my story--specifically a clip of him doing a medley of songs at some live venue, with just his guitar.
And he's singing the song "Cream" and he's at the second verse, which goes like this:
"You're so good, baby there ain't nobody better--"
And then he stops and says: "You know I wrote this while I was looking in the mirror, right?"
I lurv humorous arrogance. I which I could go around talking like that. Like half the characters on Entourage.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Let Simon Doonan inspire you!
"This conformity trend where women are becoming these Stepford blowup dolls is very concerning to me, cause I think it goes against the true nature of women which is to be very much differentiated from one another, very much comfortable with the idea of eccentricity and individuality. ...Look inside, find that inner core of lava, that nucleus of burning eccentricity, and express it!"
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
She gave me a look of sheer and utter horror.
But that's how weddings get messed up, right? There's this inSANE striving for perfection, so everyone's nervous, and if something goes wrong it's a DISASTER and you end up on the Dr Phil show saying you've never gotten over your wedding day and it's ruining your marriage.
I remember watching some video years ago about a wedding ruined by a sudden hailstorm of epic proportion. I think the canopy collapsed and soaked several people. The bride was weeping. Other than concern for my guests being hurt, that's the kind of thing that would leave me in hysterics.
When I was in college I went to a girlfriend's house for the first time. When we arrived she realized she'd forgotten her keys, and her roommate wouldn't be home for another hour or so. I just laughed, and she snapped at me "It's not funny!" I stopped laughing but, gentle reader, what else can you really do? It was a gorgeous day. We weren't in any imminent danger of Being Uncomfortable while we waited for the roommate. And that was the day I realized... not everyone deals with stress using humour.
My brother is so much like me in this way, he's my favourite person to have around in a crisis (such as trying to drive home a far distance in The Snowstorm of the Century, or having my neighbour's dirty laundry water flood my kitchen floor when I'd already asked him not to run his washer for this very reason.)
Same brother sent me a link to The Happiness Project--about a woman who tried out all the "how to be happy" advice for a year. On her list of Advice from Parents is:
"--“The things that go wrong often make the best memories.” My mother told me this when we were getting ready for my wedding. It's a very good thing to keep in mind, because it's absolutely true, and it can also help you laugh at a bad situation while it's happening."
I advise everyone to try it. So you can later share the story about driving through the Storm of the Century when your brother desperately needs to pee. Or about the balloons your step-mother bought for your wedding, and they turned out to be a bag of discards like: "$7.99 buffet!" and "Happy Birthday Ernie!" And about the dog who woo-woo-woo'd through our vows because the other dogs had a peanut butter filled kong, and he didn't.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I don't have much to say about child beauty pageants. They are so so so beyond my comprehension... I can't even engage in intelligent discourse on the topic. I've watched one or two Dr Phil shows about it, and that's all I can tolerate. I'm not even curious about it. They should just stop.
For excerpts from High Glitz: The Extravagant World of Child Beauty Pageants
Salon article on the book and topic here.
Monday, November 16, 2009
But, as those who compete in paralympics, or queer games can attest, this level playing ground idea is really difficult to achieve. The most recent high profile case was that of Caster Semenya, the South African runner who was raised as a woman, but may possibly be a hermaphrodite (she reportedly has no ovaries, but internal testes, creating more testosterone.) At what point is a woman "too man" to compete against other women? Scientists have long claimed that sexuality is not as binary as we're used to thinking it is. (Eg. See the 1993 article from The Sciences: "The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female Aren't Enough.")
This is an ongoing problem in gay games, where there's a lot of controversy over transgendered athletes and which category to put them in.
And today I happened across an article about athletes and their prostheses--how having carbon fiber legs was once seen as a disadvantage (therefore, you wouldn't put these runners in the same races as people with flesh legs) until an athlete comes along who can beat flesh-leggers, and then suddenly it's seen as an advantage (and so they're still not allowed to compete together.)
The writer of the above article points out:
It's absurd to look at a star line-up of athletes and think that they all have an equal shot. We don't cry foul play when an athlete from the United States, with the best access to training facilities, coaching staffs, and nutritional science is up against someone from say…Uzkbekistan. It's tough luck that 5' 11" Tyson Gay has to line up against a 6'5" Usain Bolt. It makes me twitch when we talk about "a level playing field." No two athletes are the same genetically and environmentally, and the mental and emotional factors they've endured in their life are relevant in their performance, too.
I have no solution to all this. ...Just think it's interesting. Makes me think of Ayn Rand, who hated the trend towards insisting everyone be the same, because she believed it just encouraged mediocrity--rather than recognizing and thanking the superheroes among us for what they contribute to society. (For the record, I'm not an Ayn Rand zombie. But I agree with some of what she believed.)
Sunday, November 15, 2009
WWD: Do you have a motto?
KM: There are loads. There’s “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” That’s one of them. You try and remember, but it never works.
I at least appreciate the fact that she added "it never works." But as a successful business woman you'd think she could come up with a better motto to share with her fans. Ease.
I think the problem with this line is the way it devalues what a beautiful thing food is, how incredibly wonderful it can taste. It's not just fuel, it's an aesthetic pleasure. And there are plenty of people able to maintain a healthy weight and simultaneously treat food as something great. (Europeans, for example.)
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I like the page "The New Femininity" which is about "What type of clothing suits plus-size beauty the best?" Here are the 3 principles:
1. Romantic Details...The names of these outfits indicate just how unsuitable they are as women’s wear. “Men’s suits” are tailor-made for hard, muscular, masculine shapes, not for soft, feminine, curvaceous figures. And “pencil skirts” belong on individuals whose figures resembles pencils, not on voluptuous seductresses with sinful curves.
2. The Body as Fashion AccessoryThere could be no better indication of the media establishment’s conspiracy to suppress true, feminine beauty than the nonsensical (and highly suspect) fashion rules that it imposes on plus-size women—i.e., that they “skim over,” “cover up,” “disguise,” and “hide,” their curves.
...Not only should fashion work in harmony with feminine curves, but the greatest goal of fashion should be to function as a “frame for the female figure,” whereby it accentuates and draws attention to the beauty of the womanly curves, directing the eye towards the soft, natural contours of the womanly figure, just as a great frame leads the eye into the beauty of an exquisite painting.
3. Twenty-First Century Opulence
Just as a life-negating, minimalist aesthetic is tailor-made to suit emaciated, androgynous frames, so is a lush, opulent aesthetic ideally suited to adorn the lavish charms of the fuller female figure.
Long, cascading tresses arranged in captivating hairstyles, eye-popping cosmetics, and ornate accessories, are just three of the ways in which an opulent aesthetic can express itself in dress.
Let the waifs present themselves in a humble manner, if they like. They have much to be humble about. But wardrobe of a full-figured goddess should let the world know that she deserves to be worshipped as the deity she is.
I don't like the tone that implies thin / un-curvy women are not real women, but I can appreciate the idea of approaching curves as A Great Accessory!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Alexandra Shulman [British Vogue editor] ...has taken on all the largest fashion houses in a strongly worded letter sent to scores of designers in Europe and America. In a letter not intended for publication but seen by The Times, Shulman accuses designers of making magazines hire models with “jutting bones and no breasts or hips” by supplying them with “minuscule” garments for their photoshoots. Vogue is now frequently “retouching” photographs to make models look larger, she said.”
Shulman claims that the clothes created by designers for catwalk shows and subsequently sent to magazines for use in their photoshoots have become “substantially smaller”.
The garments are typically sent to magazines six months before they appear in the shops and editors have no choice but to hire models that fit the clothes or fail to cover the latest collections from the leading designers.“We have now reached the point where many of the sample sizes don’t comfortably fit even the established star models,” Shulman writes, in a letter sent to Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano and fellow designers at Prada, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Balen- ciaga and other top fashion houses.
[From Times Online.]
I was just wondering why designers would be making their sample clothes even smaller, until I looked at the fall shows of the designers Shulman addressed. These women are supposed to look like the (emaciated) walking dead, non? Vampires and zombies? So I guess we can blame this problem on the writers and movie makers. ;-)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The SkinnyJeans blogger made her decision during an 8 week experiment to update to Twitter instead of to her blog:
During my blog hiatus, I celebrated my birthday and it dawned on me, “How old do you have to be to stop obsessing about your body and your looks?” ...I have been obsessing about my body and looks ever since I was in Junior high school, and am now in my 40’s, and really, how much longer will I continue to obsess about my jeans size, wrinkles, flab, and crow’s feet? Do I want to be 45, 50 etc and still be fixated about being back in the skinny jeans? I've been blogging about this topic for 3 years and 8 months, how much longer do I want to continue?
At what age, do we women just stop focusing on the physical?
If you read the women’s magazines and sites, the answer would be never because entire industries are built around our constant insecurities about our looks and our continuous desire to be youthful and thin. We are taught to believe that female social currency is based on our physical beauty.
The true answer to when we stop focusing on the physical is this: It stops when YOU stop. That’s it.
Before the 8-week hiatus, I tried to focus on health and beauty subjects outside of the physical body, and be that voice of reason in a weight loss and youth obsessed media culture. However, doing research for those stories and keeping on top of trends still required me to keep reading all these magazines, sites, blogs and books that constantly perpetuate the beauty myth.Frankly, I just can’t stand to read it anymore…every day.
[To read the whole entry, click here.]
#1. Alicia Silverstone's vegan book. When I look up the topselling cookbooks, there's another meatless title (The Conscious Cook.) A lot of the bestselling books in the cooking category are about slow cooking / whole foods / simpler eating / and Julia Childs (obviously spurred by the movie, but fits into the slow cooking trend.)
#2 Metabolism -- the newest trend.
#3 Old fashioned low calories.
#5 A book from the diet web site sparkpeople.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I've never heard of model Joanna Krupa (clearly I don't stay in touch with international swimsuit model ratings) but she has some intelligent things to say about posing in Playboy:
"What is feminist about discriminating a photo shoot just because it involves female (partial) nudity that happens to give men pleasure? ...There are several great reasons why female celebs line up to shoot Playboy: finally a woman gets paid more than a man for comparable work, she gets to set the rules, gets to be in a real team work with other women, as many key positions at Playboy are in fact held by women! She brings in her creative ideas, gets involved in the photo selection and ends up with something she co-created through and through." (Read more here.)
Friday, November 6, 2009
Bruce Willis has renounced plastic surgery. This was a big enough story to hit Fox News:
"Cosmetic stuff, I am not a fan of it and I know a lot of people are. It's a big business and anytime you can make a lot of money off something it is going to stick around," “The Surrogates” star recently told us. "I don't plan on cutting myself up, you would be surprised there are a lot of male actors that think about it just as much as women do. I don't think about it very often I don't really care."
I get the impression from folk who've lived in California that people really are as obsessed with plastic surgery and weight and looks, as the clichés lead us to believe. If so, then I guess any star who's not going in for p.s. is a bit of maverick. On the other hand, if you're an Action Movies Leading Man, age isn't likely to stop you from getting parts.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Alicia Silverstone is the latest to put out a vegan cookbook disguised as a diet. Actually, it's not that disguised, since the title implies it's veganity.
The reviews don't sound great. When a customer comes into the store where I work, looking for a cookbook focused on fresh or vegan eating, I try to talk them into my favourite book by Jae Steele.