“So (re)invent us, still weeping the solutions we came from, imagining ‘things’ would be fine if only a single interpretation could be shared, meaning enforced.”
Laura Mullen, Complicated Grief

Golden fur and morning light warms calmly.
Energies, swirling, occasionally oppressive
as unconscious as the way we sell love.

The mural reflected a range of fruits found in this region,
geographic signifiers, orbs of light and juice. Positive
transformations expressed through practice, ritualized execution.

Repeat, forcing action. Asking for it, suppressing.
The real economics of what we dream, imagine, and desire
divided, found between centuries of exclusion, forced space.

Think about how resistance is holding what remains.


Look how much you
love me. Little maps.
from Bruises by Leah Horlick

Berlin Aug14
Berlin Aug14

The clouds formed an amphitheater
over a city transformed, a super city.
Its atmosphere thick with performance
and domination within its own limits.
Listen to the bubble pop pop pop.

Queering our gratification
– delayed to a frothy anticipation –
is an economic ritual with historical reputations.
Golden greeds and lusts as deep
as the veins that financed this spectacle.

Ceremonies of repressed aggressions
baptisms unfurling (catch and release)
physical bodies manifesting, hands cupped,
entertainment as reward and pleasure.
A violence that feels good.


“being devoured can make you cry” – Robin Coste Lewis

Beauty Bar Oct15
Beauty Bar Oct15

The earth is burning.
The jade tree hedges down the street are dying.
Stores release their fall line of sweaters, scarves, and jackets.

I have something to say, anything, nothing at all.
I write love letters in the middle of the night.
I think about your broken tooth, back, heart.

She spoke about representation and desire.
Our wars are a proxy for absence or relentless regrets.

I think we all
even you
want to escape
to start over
to be reborn.


artist: amandine alessanda, found via uppercasemagazine.tumblr

According to the New York Times, contacts that make your eyes look larger are both a dangerous fashion craze and a fad that’s already over. The article outlines an apparent global aesthetic for “huge eyes” and women’s willingness to stick medically unnecessary contacts in their eyes and believe it’s just like other make-up enhancements.

The article continues on with a hegemonic medical reminder that if a doctor doesn’t prescribe it, it could be dangerous. Because we all know that tummy tucks, hymen reconstructions, and other beauty regimes performed by licensed medical professionals aren’t dangerous and come with “grave concerns.”  A blip about “circle lenses are not just for Asian people” successfully  equalizes the multi-cultural phenomenon.

The male voices, the “experts,” are authoritatively paternalistic. The female voices, the consumers, are simply stating that looking good makes them feel good and happy. They get compliments from …. from who?

Can we assume these are all heterosexual women? Can we assume this hetero-normative gendered groupthink is because men told them they look desirable? The male gaze is seemingly lacking or absent so it’s difficult to conclude that answer.

What to make of these women who have a regressive belief that child-like is attractive? Why am I regressively assuming that they are wearing circle lenses for hidden sexual agendas? I’ve been reading Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity and I can’t stop thinking about gender performance and how that informs sexuality. Sometimes the obvious is the hardest to see. Or when you’re not looking for the signs, you’re likely to miss them even as they are staring right at you.

Wearing circle lenses isn’t any different from other forms of beauty regimes women subject themselves to (bleach douches anyone?) and they certainly won’t be the last.  Exposing the dynamic nature of beauty fads and their intersections of race, consumer culture, sexuality, class, and gender norms is fascinating to me. Thank you Mattilda and contributing authors for keeping my eyes open and huge.

Serious business

I’m not surprised that with the masculine tsunami that is about to hit the southeastern United States that this is the image that most fascinates me.

There has been much typed about women in the workforce which may explain the graphic representation of the “economic recovery.”

This year’s Super Bowl has been dominated by the concept of choice and the extremes that entail.  And the game hasn’t even been played yet.  It’s a classic tale of against-all-odds-I-will-survive.

I’m not sure who will win but as Dinosaur Jr wails, “I’m over it.”

If you’d like to subject yourself to even more hyper images of masculine femininity, go here.

Le River Rouge

The film, Zach Johnson, has been referenced here and here. Having men menstruate, or have symptoms of menstruation, has been done before. See video below:

Zach Johnson is a precocious boy who loses his penis and gains a vagina. Zach learns that boys are pigs, baking alleviates PMS, and wiki will shed light on things you can’t discuss with others. Despite its charms (the red river defined as masculine) this narrative is not transformative because the same tired cliches (i.e. fear of all things white) about menstruation are still there – being a girl sucks because you bleed.

I can’t help thinking about the Heaven’s to Betsy song, My Red Self, in which the lyrics scream:

“Is this the rag you use to humiliate me, cuz I was born, I was born a girl?”

This viral ad campaign is about selling tampons. Period.

The last entry of Zach’s blog, ends with the plea, ” Guys, you need to get your period. And you need to get it now.”

And you better use Tampax, please.

And don’t get pregnant, heaven forbid.

A Good Old Fashioned Capitalist Debate

I agree with Sarah. “End AIDS with your c(RED)it card” marketing campaign is dirty.

Selling products with an added “bonus” of social change is nothing more than money in the bank for the companies peddling their trinkets. It simply creates a false warm fuzzy that the pennies reserved for change will in fact change something. It solves nothing. It changes nothing. Manufacturing a desire for social change is nothing new. It’s comparable to the oil soaked ducks being saved by Dawn dish soap.

Some argue that any money gathered is worth the risk of bloating the megacorps profit margins. It’s trickle up philanthropy.

Can we access a database that shows where and how the money is spent? Is there a place to check in once in a while and assess that, in fact, our purchase has saved a life? Maybe that’s the next level of marketing?

Cheesy Rhymes With Sleazy

The latest One Million Moms initiative to save our innocent teenage sons.

Jessica Simpson popping pizza bites into a prepubescent boy’s wanting mouth is sexually suggestive. A woman’s body is used provocatively to entice young men to buy a product. This is defined not as sexually explicit, but rather a calmer sexually suggestive. Please be polite.

The official email action alert below:

February 24, 2006

Ask Pizza Hut to drop the ‘cheesy’ Jessica Simpson ad

Pizza Hut is currently airing a commercial featuring a sensually-dressed Jessica Simpson serving Pizza Hut’s new Cheesy Bites pizza. As she places one of the bites into a teen-age boy’s mouth, he faints.

Although not sexually explicit, Pizza Hut chose to use a sexually suggestive theme aimed at young teenagers. They shamefully directed the provocative Simpson to use her body to entice a young teen-age boy.

The ad is not sexually explicit, but it is very sexually suggestive. If you choose not to view the ad, simply move on to the action steps. If you do choose to view the ad, click here.

Here is what we are asking you to do. Please send your letter by clicking below. Then, and this is very important, please call Pizza Hut and ask them to pull the ad. Their regular number is 972-338-7700. A call here, which costs about 25 cents, is most effective. However, here is a toll-free number you can use: 1-800-948-8488

Here is what we are asking you to say to Pizza Hut when they answer the call: “I’m calling to ask that Pizza Hut please pull the ad featuring Jessica Simpson. This is not the message we want to be sending to our young teenage boys. Thank you for considering my request.” You may want to call your local Pizza Hut using the same message. Please be polite.

I’d like …

, a two comma salary ,

 Today the President released his 2007 Fiscal Year Budget Request. The winners?

Abstinence and defense. A true multilateral strategy on terror, freedom, and fear. Defending the home front is neither cheap nor easy.

Sanctioning repressive regimes is expensive:

  • abstinence only until marriage programs increased to $204 million
  • flat funding of $50 million for Title V and $283 million for Title X family planning services
  • abstinence only until marriage programs increased to $204 million

This includes the expressed desire of giving $4.5 million for abstinence program evaluations each year.

Policing and defending the sancity of virginity is an expensive business.

  • a request of $250 million for healthy marriages and strengthening fathering initiative

This year’s Superbowl ads were filled with misogyny, violence, and edible objectification. The models as meat was incredible in its blatant try-and-critique-me taunt. It is becoming too sad and too easy to point out the wrongs. Dismissing the absurd, ignoring the gaping wound, deny the backwards backlash are a few strategies I’ve chosen to adopt this week. Watching Rome burn is next week’s goal.


Tampax is Fresh. How fresh? Their tampons have scented cardboard applicators and their ads smell too!

How do you market a product that is unnecessary? Manufacture a desire.

Tampax is marketing their “new” tampon with a cheeky scratch-and-sniff advertisement. The ad copy reads: “Beguile your senses. Succumb to the freshness.”

Deceive your senses and others around you. Now others will think you smell like roses during your monthly visit. Yield to your overwhelming desire to have a scented cardboard tube enter your forbidden zone and leave smelling as good as when it entered. Truly scandalous.

For some, these ads represent a way to ameliorate the constructed embarrassment that is inevitably associated with menstruation. Hide the offensive product in a ambiguous marketing campaign and no one need blush about a natural body process.

Smells fishy to me.

Grab the Bull by the Horns

Why does PETA think parading naked women will make “Homeland Security Mom” and “Nascar Dad america” throw down their steak knives and join the animal rights movement?

The human cutlets exhibition, the Pamela Anderson lettuce bikini, and the “naked fur” blitzes are just a few examples of how PETA chooses to relay their anti-meat message. Their formula of human (mostly women) as sexualized object equals don’t eat flesh message is lost in the tits and ass eye candy media stunts. Water cooler discussions rarely focus on the complex dynamics of eating flesh, the digestion of murder, and the environmental damage of sustaining such a barbaric lifestyle. It’s hard enough explaining to the average bloodmouth that being a vegetarian isn’t that freaky or that hard. PETA continues to frame their public media actions in such a sexist way it makes it that much harder to discuss the topic in a non-juvenile way.

Images of violence bombard our screens everyday. Continuing to use sexist images and cliché slogans doesn’t help save anything except the current hierarchy. I doubt the millions of cattle in america’s feedlots care that a few stereotypical hotties giggling behind their homogeneous placards are doing it for them. When they cry out as their throats are slit for the mcburger they are about to become, the naked flesh of a PR release means nothing.

My Hemi Is Bigger Than Your Hemi

An experiment in gender or a no-brain look at how advertising shapes our consumer desires?

Forbes magazine recently listed the top selling masculine and feminine cars.

“Women buy cars that are affordable, practical and safe, and with a dash of design flair. Men, on the other hand, appear to love luxurious, high-performance cars.”
The Most Masculine Brands
Ranking Brand Percentage Of Male Registrants This Year
1 Dodge 85.2%
2 Lincoln 84.3%
3 Jaguar 79.8%
4 Porsche 78.2%
5 Infiniti 78.1%


The Most Feminine Brands
Ranking Brand Percentage Of Female Registrants This Year
1 Pontiac 53.0%
2 Hyundai 47.3%
3 Toyota 47.3%
4 Volkswagen 46.9%
5 Suzuki 45.8%

Dodge winning the masculinity war doesn’t have anything to do their recently commissioned survey by Harris Interactive, does it?

Commenting on the significance of gender stereotypes and the utopian ideal of static gender roles, Carrie Lukas, director of policy with the Independent Women’s Forum states:

“It just shows that there are some things that you can’t change and that, while feminism for a long time has been pushing us towards androgyny with little girls with trucks and guys with dolls, women tend to have feministic traits and guys the opposite. If anything, it shows what feminism hasn’t been able to accomplish.”

In honor of Danica Patrick – the first woman to ever lead the Indy 500, holding the lead for 19 of 200 laps.

It’s Misandry If You’re Nasty

Advertisers are well aware of feminism. They have been scolded, boycotted, and sued for their contributions to sexist imagery, misogynist diatribes, and cultural stereotypes. In our current postfeminist landscape, bikini girls are now repackaged, diluted, and reconstituted as somehow less sexist and quite frankly, boring. Men are the new fodder.

We can now witness misogyny and misandry. Is this the equality that has escaped us for centuries? Misandry – the opposite of misogyny – is the new trend in advertising. The dumb husband, the slacker father, and the horny bachelor are the hot stereotypes this year. Objectifying women is so 90’s.

Why haven’t the Limbaugh’s of the world united on this attack of their masculinity? Why so many erectile dysfunction ads lately? Is it the Male Hysteria of our times? Do we need a Desperate Husbands phenomenon to wake the brothers from their oppression?

It is unfortunate that we can’t sell bleach, beer, hot dogs, razors, or internet access without degrading somebody. Much of these negative campaigns are more than a mere battle in the gender wars. There are classist and racist ideologies embedded in this hyped consumerism.

Advertisers stick to their philosophical roots. Create a manufactured need and consumers will buy. Create a feeling of inadequacy and they will purchase to fill that void. Appropriate cultures and alternative ideologies and they will believe in the “new and improved” packaging.

The holy grail of advertising is Sunday. There is much ado about nipples or the lack of. There are promises of sensitivity and moral reform. I can’t wait. I’m betting we will see plenty of penis shields (jock straps) and malfunctioning wardrobes (rumor has it Paul McCartney won’t be wearing any underwear).


Is it ironic that President Bush chose Groundhog’s Day for his State of the Union address? I predict 4 more years of cultural winter.