Friday, November 20, 2009

my marxist feminist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.

finals. crunch time. copious amounts of double doubles, full throttles and adderal. nothing gets me off more than how brilliantly smart I am (and modest!) and how I do not regret my education path for a second. women's studies. film. marketing. all the makings for a samantha jones meets coco chanel. enjoy your education ducklings, because no one can ever take it away.
image credit:mbanas7, flickr

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

why blog?

Why blog, and what does it have to do with pop culture besides being trendy? On the surface, blog sites and twittering may seem very self absorbed and arrogant. There is a soapbox for every Geek, goth, frat boy and drama queen. Everyone has his or her chance to be heard. It appears to be quite egotistical to participate in any of these blogging forums, so why encourage it?
‘Blogs’ and ‘Blogging’ IS popular culture. The popularity of blogging is a result of it being so tangible. Anyone can be a participant and anyone can be a critic. The experts are no longer white collars behind desks, printing articles to make a buck. People blog about things they feel strongly about, for the simple reason of sharing their point. Things that are mentioned in more popular blogs therefore, become popular. If
Perez Hilton deems something ‘hot’ it’s hot. If says something is trendy, designers are running to get their version of this trend on the racks. Instead of products and services telling you what is popular- you tell them.

This is an excellent
article explaining the success of blogging and it’s effects on trendsetting and popular culture:

(Source a BLOG where everyone can be the author! Also note I had to carefully comb the definitions to find the one I found most appropriate…why? Because this is MY blog!)

Blog (blogging)- Once considered an 'online diary', has now become a new trendy word created for use on the internet to try and make something old and established look new and interesting and to make those who use the word seem relevant. What used to be called a forum where topics of the same subject or area of interest were discussed via posts are now called blogs. Those participating in these online discussions are referred to as bloggers and the act of doing so is called blogging. Check out these popular sites for examples: Twitter (twittering)- A form of chatline for social media "experts" to add thousands of random strangers and wank off to impress other social media "experts" by posting links to articles about the phenomenon of social media.
Perez Hilton & Fashionation.

Image Credit:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

keffiyeh: ignorance at it's finest.

The discussion of the keffiyeh is fascinating. Having first seen the keffiyeh on celebrities such as Kanye West, it was interesting to learn that it was in fact a symbol of Palestinian resistance against Colonialism. It was also very interesting to note the toll this ‘trend’ is taking on the creators of keffiyehs in areas they are produce. They are now made forty percent cheaper in China. Palestinian producers are now worried of losing a viable symbol of their national struggle as a result of mass production. They are trying to cope by adding colors to classic weaves to enhance the product solely for tourists. My knowledge of the keffiyeh has already been shared in hopes of spreading the word. Most people have no idea the implications of this trend and with more advertised knowledge we are closer to solving the problem.

The article, Catalog-ing Ethnicity: Clothing as Cultural Citizenship discusses how catalogues are simply representations of ‘Americanization’. Catalogues are slowly becoming a thing of the past due to the Internet. It is very accurate to say that catalogues such as J. Crew and Abercrombie and Fitch paint an unreachable portrait of “Americans” (or North Americans). All the faces of the models, regardless of race fit a ‘white’ heterosexual cut out. Are catalogues projecting imagery of what American’s see as themselves, or what companies such as J. Crew want their customers to reflect? During my research I was looking at the Abercrombie and Fitch web site. There was an advertisement for “vintage scarves” that are unmistakably replicas of the kuffiyeh. After learning about the symbolism and historical importance attached to the keffiyeh, it is scary how such an established company would have this in their catalogue (of Americanization). It completely goes against the meaning of the keffiyeh and passes it off as an “all American” vintage scarf. Overall, there is a valuable lesson in understanding the significance of certain ‘trend’s before jumping right in to them."

Source: Subbaraman, Sivagami. “Catalog-ing Ethnicity: Clothing as Cultural Citizenship.” Interventions. 1.4. (1999): 72-89.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

exotica: canadian film review.

I really enjoyed Atom Egoyan's Exotica (1994), I found it to be a very interesting story line that at no point spoon fed the audience. The narrative focuses on a nightclub in Toronto and it's owners, patrons and primary dancer (played by my favorite - Jennifer Connelly) and their intermingling plots. This is an excellent reflection of Canadian film in so many ways. Our ability to tackle the “exotic” if you will.

The story overlaps then breaks apart and re mingles connecting the dots. -Exotica both teases and in a sense educates- stripping away the layers. Healing and therapy are also major themes: “this place is for entertainment- healing should be sought elsewhere” Zoe. Watching the girls soothe clients soothes him too” in regards to Eric.

There is a considerable stretch of time elapses before its coolly juxtaposed scenes start to clearly connect mobilizing suspense. Egoyan uses ritual and repetition, from words spoken to actions made to images shown. Like a mirror image they repeat themselves,sometimes even doubling- like Thomas visiting the club for Francis whose fantasy investment in he club makes presence there a necessity even if it’s through a double.
The viewed object is not only taboo- a hand repeatedly blocks the camera’s view of a grainy clip finally revealed to be revealed as one of Lisa and her mother- too precious to touch. Exotica rehearses the concern with touch
Everybody Knows- you can look but you can’t touch”

image source:

Monday, April 20, 2009

canada's selective history.

Canada: A People’s History and Canadian Heritage Minutes and are a part of Canada’s nationalism that in many ways can be compared to a textbook of Canadian History. We are given this information about Canada as fact, and therefore have no reason to doubt its validity; especially with such established corporations as the CBC and Radio Canada presenting them. However, I believe it is important to question their selection in choosing these ‘Canadian’ moments in history, and more specifically what is not being mentioned. I found it interesting in the Canada: A People’s History when they begin with the white people saving the native girl. It is also extremely odd to me that in all the history of Canada, a soldier’s bear named after his hometown, inspiring a few children’s stories made the cut of a Heritage Minute. While both of the subjects do bring light to Canadian history, it is important to realize that it is a selective history being presented.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

slutty skirts.

The deliberation over women’s dress: provocative or empowering. It is a timeless debate. No matter what the case, what a woman wears is representative of her as an individual and as part her culture. In the case of `national culture’ for Tanzanians consumption of `Western’ fashion becomes part of this issue. Operation Vijana deals with just the consumption of objects signs and images originating from Western mass culture industries. The mini skirt in particular being a very controversial topic. The mini skirt raises politics of urban space and constructions of gender and the city. The mobility of the mini skirt allows for women to work easier whilst representing the city. It represented opportunity and threatened men by raising the bargaining position of women in the town

The sexualisation of the miniskirt is essential when discussing the men’s issues with the dress. Young men felt they were especially at loss in the issue of politics concerning Operation Vijana. They felt they were at a strong economic disadvantage to the `sugar’ daddies that the young women had relationships with because of the girl’s access. A woman her looking sexy will always be associated with prostitution, and will be assumed to gaining access to men and there money through sex. Is it valid to associate exposing skin with gaining power and to go as far as immediately linking it to prostitution? I am personally a believer of `returning the gaze’. I believe a woman looking sexy and gaining power and confidence as a result of this gaze is perfectly acceptable. I believe there are boundaries within each individual’s morals of what one will wear or how much to expose, as long as one is happy with what they gain through such means. Returning the gaze is a powerful tool that does nothing but help the advancement of any marginalized group.

Friday, March 13, 2009

fashion. representation. femininity.

Fashion and dress cannot be discussed without the topic of femininity. The idea of representation and fashion. What it means to wear something and what that something says about the individual. The article “Fashion, Representation, Femininity,” discusses two things that are taken for granted: fashion’s traditional identification with femininity and the primacy of the body within the clothing system. These are two very important topics within the course and women’s studies as it relates to fashion.The body has everything to do with gender difference and even more so dress. Fashion therefore incorporates both the body and dress, and it is fundamental in discussing gendered identities. From the time an infant is released from the hospital- it is either wrapped in a pink or blue blanket. Already at birth we can see the gendering of `dress’ and its role in determining an identity. Dress conceptualizes femininity and changes it. Does society’s effect of gender change fashion, or does fashion change how society reads gender?The article goes on to look at fashion as a practice, “...women as both producers and consumers of fashion design, and hence a practice, a signifying practice.” Couture set forth the business chic wear. Masculinity was transmitted into the femininity of dress. An example noted in the lecture and in the readings is Chanel’s famous suit. It has little or no emphasis on curves creating a sexual transgression.This brings me to the next article I would like to look at “Exotic impulses and techniques of Fashion.” The article discusses the techniques in which fashion `plays on social intercourse’ by visually displaying sexual transgressions. Exoticism I would define in one word: difference. The difference from western dress, that stands apart from western fashion and also influences it. The article discusses the body as a field in which people display belongings and materials to display personal status and wealth. Sexuality is achieved by `enhancing’ what is there. In both ways, the body and materials work together to create an end product of what we want to project to anyone looking. Objects that are original and rare are just as valuable in creating status as things with monetary value. This point relates to the ‘exoticism’, people who have the privilege of culture and travel build a collection of exotic goods and dress- only to be displayed to present status. Is this still prevalent in modern society? Does one display rare articles from different countries to simply imply snobbery? I believe that both of these articles are very true and not just in history but in present day society. I would argue that trend setting in regards to exotic fashion takes precedence over fashion of monetary value. However I will contradict this point by mentioning fashion that may be deemed `ugly’ upon first glance will get a second thought if there is a well established label attached. Dress and decoration still contribute to the display of wealth and status just as ever before. It is however, easier to mimic ‘high fashion’ with so many replicas and ‘knock-offs’. Stores like H&M pose a great threat to designers because of how quickly there designs are mimicked and reproduced to sell at these stores. Designers such as Roberto Cavalli and Karl Lagerfeld cope by launching lines at H&M. Knock offs, meaning a fake or identical mimics of an original are more serious issue. Corporations such as Ebay have been sued by Dior, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany. Fashion and femininity come hand in hand and one might say that is a perfect remedy for a cat fight.Sources; Evans, Caroline and Minna Thorton. “Fashion, Representation, Femininity”.Feminist Review. 38 (1991): 48-66.
Craik, Jennifer. “Exotic Impulses and Techniques of Fashion.” The Face of Fashion: Cultural Studies in Fashion New York: Routledge. (1993) 17-43.
Eva Friede. “Flattery of Fakery?” Montreal Gazette 30 Sept. 2008: 2.
SwanDiamondRose, flickr

men’s fashion: from tailored trousers to thug life.

My creative discussion is titled Men’s Fashion: From tailored trousers to thug life. It outlines a recent history of American male dress and suit as well as Hip-hop and thug life as dress and its relation to high fashion.

The 1900s are the earliest years researched in the discussion. The 1920s daytime and nighttime clothes were very formal, tailcoats and top hats were very appropriate. In the 1930s the stock market crash affected the fashion industry in cutbacks on the way clothes were manufactured and purchased. In the 1940s the Zoot Suit was introduced this gave a fantastic foreshadowing to the hip-hop culture that we know today. In the 1960s a more ‘feminine’ look for men became popular, bright florescent colors and puffy sleeves. Jewelry for men was introduced.

The 1970s liberation decade saw more exposed body and tighter clothes.
The 1980s an emergence of couture culture for men. Anna Klein, Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gautier were some of the many names pushing the male power suit. The 1990s casual Fridays implemented. Gothic and punk appeared. Men no longer had to conform to one look. Many styles were available and suits came in many varieties. Presently fashion is a combination of all the previous eras, there is a lot of repetition and re vamping of old trends to create this variety of present in men’s wear. Business fashion has not changed however has become newly popularized by such affordable labels as
Sean John.
Hip hop dress like hip -hop music un deniably stems from criminal lifestyles of trying to make a living to escape the “ghetto”. The word ‘bling’ comes from the sound associated with seeing a diamond. It is also associated with shiny objects such as jewelry, cars, and new technological accessories.
From the timeless suit to the very trendy ‘grilz’ (teeth jewelry) men’s fashion has maintained a visual representation of class and status. Hip-hop dress is all about displaying what you have become and what you can afford.

Men’s suits portray a vision of power and etiquette. Now, for the first time we are seeing a combination of these two very different styles through such artists as P. Diddy and his fashion line, Sean John. Representing class and status is evident in all forms of fashion and never before has it reached such a peak. •Men’s fashion is constantly changing and being re invented to suit the time. There is a variety of styles and representation within men’s fashion.

The suit will continue to be staple in Men’s dress and the symbolizations of status, class and wealth will forever be evident in male dress

It is important to acknowledge what certain dress represents; in the case of gangster fashion, representing gang life takes on a lot of social implications that are not positive to promote.

•“a legitimate concern for safety turns into the official harassment of a minority underclass -- or perhaps of poseurs laying claim to that identity -- and it is not always easy to know where one trips into the other” This quotation is from a Maclean’s article on banning of baggy pants in a London school. What are your thoughts on this quotation?

•Music has been very influential to men’s fashion, as we have seen in the Zoot suit and hip hop culture. What other factors (events or cultural sub groups) do you feel influence men’s fashion?
Image credit:mooosh ♥ miso funky flickr

Saturday, February 28, 2009

femininity and dress.

Reading female masculinities in the 1920s can not be looked at without discussing Radclyffe Hall. Hall was a lesbian and famous for her relationships and writings. The Well of Loneliness was her best known novel that features the life of Stephen Gordon a masculine lesbian who resembles Hall in many ways. In regards to the article, Hall’s appearance was a constant source of comment throughout her whole life. Her “sexual cross dressing” evoked a lot of controversy as far as dress and the implied meanings of that dress.Is it possible to dress completely masculine, and keep short hair, short nails etc. without being labelled a lesbian? In the 1920s the article states, boyishness as fashion meant passing neither as a boy nor as a lesbian and that we have to be careful in reading “masculine” as lesbian. There was a constant need to label one another during that time. Women who smoked and drank ‘like men’ called each other bi-sexual or sexless names such as, Bobbie, Jackie, Jo. Hall was exciting and brave to women and the Modern Girl was tempted to experiment herself.Hall created a style in affect by making her lesbianism more visible. Sexual ambiguity was broken down and the link between clothing and sexual identity was firmly established. A point of interest to me is the visual similarity found in Hall and Coco Chanel. Below is Radclyffe Hall, an established lesbian. Beside her, Coco Chanel, a straight woman. Both these women are fashion icons, one for masculine style the other for masculine design, yet very hard to differentiate which one is the lesbian.Sources: Doan, Laura. “Passing Fashions: Reading Female Masculinities in the 1920s.” Feminist Studies. (1998): 663-700.Wilson, Elizabeth. “A Note on Glamour.” Fashion Theory. 11.1. (2007): 95-108.11.

Friday, February 13, 2009

dance magic dance.

helena: "if I tell you something weird will you think I am crazy?"
valentine: "yes, I'd expect so" -mirrormask. 
If you know me, you still may not know this... I am utterly obsessed with all things fantasy and young girls in revolt. The combination of the two. Young heroines and their temptations of men and the unknown. The following is a comparison piece I wrote on MirrorMask, The Labyrinth and The Company of Wolves. If you have not heard of these films then I highly suggest if you have any childlike interest in stories of fantasy and adolescence to check them out. read more below:

photo credit: paper_wings(butterfly)flickr

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

rude:canadian film review.

I found the film Rude (1995), to not only be an excellent critical look at the Jane and Finch area and the struggle between the law enforcement and the criminals; but it gave a deep look at the struggle of marginalized groups. Not only was there a lot of critique of poor black individuals, but also it went further and looked at the marginalized groups within that group. For example it portrayed not just low-income black men, but as criminals. It used the Gaze on the black women with the constant use of the unwanted video filming, extreme violation of personal privacy and the scene of attempted rape at the end. Finally, portrayed lower in marginalization than the black woman, is the gay black man. Of course at the top of the entire hierarchy, is the white man, the puppeteer above it all.

Image credit:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Implicitly put.

with strong encouragement from my professor and inspirer of all things I love, I started blogging. realizing that I have far too many opinions and an interest beyond the surface of all things media related, this blog is now an extension of my past education in all things experienced and wondered. enjoy.