A list of people whose irrelevant opinions I don’t care to hear

In other words: STFU

Whoopi Goldberg, Jill Scott or CeeLo on Bill Cosby.

That one hack dude at The Wrap on how ‘the Cos’ (puke) is the real victim.

Sharon Waxman on how publishing despicable victim-blaming columns by hack dudes is contributing to “the debate” because FREE SPEECH. Pretty sure you can contribute without resorting to victim-blaming.

Relevant opinion: Cosby accusers on Cosby. See e.g: Barbara Bowman

Mike Ditka (HAH!) on Ferguson. “This policeman’s life is ruined. Why? Because we have to break somebody down, because we have to even out the game. I don’t know, I don’t get it,” he says, completely oblivious to the fact that Darren Wilson’s life is just fine, while Michael Brown is dead. “Maybe I’m just old fashioned.” Yeah, you know what else is old fashioned? Your racism.

Anyone who yells #ALLLIVESMATTER as if that wasn’t already an accepted fact. #BlackLivesMatter because American society acts like they don’t.

Anyone who tries to tell black people how to act appropriately post-Ferguson, post-Garner, post-everyfuckingotherthingever.

Relevant opinion: People of colour on race. See e.g: Roxane Gay and Black Lives Matter.

Anyone who says #GamerGate is absolutely not about misogyny and manchildren crying about the wimminz in their video games, but about ethics in journalism. LOL.

Relevant opinion: Anyone with an ounce of sense. See e.g: Jesse Singal’s pretty on to it, but this The Mary Sue piece rounds out Singal’s reporting with some other choice bits too.

Piers Morgan on anything ever. But especially not on the n-word or the legitimacy of Shia LaBeouf’s rape. As a friend once said of Morgan: “What a bombastic fool”.

Originally published on Medium

The Feminist Maleficent

NOTE: This post is about the Disney movie Maleficent, released in theatres today (May 30, 2014). There are many spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want major plot points spoiled… read no further. 

I got invited to a MAC makeup party and advance Maleficent screening at IMAX earlier this week. And while the makeup range was suitably stunning (dat smokey eye palette) — and the IMAX 3D viewing was probably the best 3D I’ve ever seen — this probably isn’t the type of post they were hoping to inspire. Oh well.

It must have been a tough job to humanise one of the most notorious and iconic of all Disney villains. In the original Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent – as with other evil women of the Disney-verse – represented a sort of dark sexuality in opposition to the pure,  virginal representations of innocence in Aurora or Snow White. Maleficent is perhaps the most stark example. Her arch eyebrows, blood-red lips and angular cheekbones pervert the idea of classical beauty.

(warning: thar be spoilers beyond this point!)

Continue reading The Feminist Maleficent

Adventures in San Francisco

Haight / Ashbury

Continue reading Adventures in San Francisco

One year on…

This week I passed the one year anniversary mark of my move (back) to the US. I’m feeling a little reflective so I thought I’d look back over the last year and try to figure out how I’ve fared. I came back to the US to work on my writing career, really. There didn’t seem much point committing myself to being a freelance writer in New Zealand when I was in possession of US residency that could open up a whole other world of employment and exposure. So I came back.

Financially, freelancing is really hard. You write something one month and might not be paid until two months later. And you have to hustle for almost every job. I’m not naturally great at that, though I’m learning. The money situation also makes it a lot harder to afford going out, spending time with friends, going to events where I could make the connections that could lead to more work. That’s led to a solitary year for me. But I should be honest, the solitude has often been self-imposed. I’ve missed home and friends like woah, and I’ve missed other things too…. I landed at LAX with a broken heart and I’ve been nursing it ever since.

Continue reading One year on…

We’re having the wrong conversations about birth control

What’s that saying Don Draper’s always trotting out to Peggy?

“When you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation.”

Today the US Supreme Court is hearing arguments in Sebelius vs Hobby Lobby Stores and is scheduled to make a ruling in June. I’ll try to make this background quick: the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) mandated employers offer health insurance plans that meet minimum requirements, one of those requirements being that contraception be covered. The evangelical Christian owners of the Hobby Lobby stores maintain it curtails their religious freedom to be required to meet those requirements – specifically they object to having to offer plans that cover Plan B (the morning after pill) and IUDs, which they incorrectly believe to equivalent to abortion. There’s another case being heard on the same principle, this one involving Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp, a Mennonite company with the same objections. At stake are a whole lot of issues of whether or not a corporation can hold religious beliefs, and whether or not anyone is able to opt-out of government operations they disagree with – and these are the issues likely decide the case one way or another… but those are not what I want to talk about right now.

Continue reading We’re having the wrong conversations about birth control

Music to write by

Unlike some crazy pants people who think writing and music shouldn’t go together, I’m *all for* shutting out the world with a good pair of headphones and sweet tunes while I write. Or work. Or read. Or sometimes just walking down the street so people don’t talk to me.

Either way, lately I’ve been seeing and responding to a bunch of requests all over the corners of the internet I inhabit for good music to write to.

This killjoy study found that listening to music significantly impaired memory recall but since writing is an act of creation not memorisation, writers are in the clear to listen to whatever they please. That being said, there are two key guidelines that’ll make your listening/writing experience go more smoothly.

Continue reading Music to write by

Stop being awful to Angie Wilson

Angie Wilson via stuff.co.nz
Angie Wilson via stuff.co.nz

Ugh, this is really bugging me.

Quick background for those who don’t know: Angie Wilson is a 19-year-old Kiwi woman who, at 17, was involved in a sexual relationship for money with a 40-year-old man.

She felt guilty when she found out he had a partner and “freaked out” when she thought she would not get money he had promised her.

During a four day-period, she sent text messages threatening to expose their relationship. She texted: “I’m only 17. It will look bad.” She demanded $3000.

The man told his partner and then killed himself the next day. Later, one more text arrived from Wilson: “Make sure there’s 4K in there tomorrow or I’ll tell everyone you are a dirty old man.” (via stuff.co.nz)

The reaction to this on reddit has been nothing but vitriolic,  and all aimed at Angie – who had previously been warned by the police for harassing a man she engaged with sex with for money. Those who dared empathise with her didn’t come off much better.

Continue reading Stop being awful to Angie Wilson

Passing the Bechdel Test is not a victory for feminists or ‘strong female characters’

This feel-good chart from Versha Sharma and Hanna Sender at Vocativ had me feeling momentarily good about the state of women in film. It shows that films that pass the Bechdel Test vastly outperform films that don’t at the US box office. In case you don’t know, the Bechdel Test is a litmus test for any one film’s treatment of its female characters. To pass, a film must meet these ridiculously simple three criteria:

That it have (1) at least two named women, who (2) talk to each other, about (3) something other than a man.


The chart shows that  out of the Top 50 grossing films (determined by US Box Office in 2013), those that passed (if even dubiously) the Bechdel Test, easily outperformed those that didn’t. US box office is only half the story, so I went to Box Office Mojo and tallied up the worldwide gross (that is, including the US and the rest of the world) to see if the pattern held internationally. I don’t have as pretty a chart to show you – but yes. It does. Perhaps even more so.

Continue reading Passing the Bechdel Test is not a victory for feminists or ‘strong female characters’

Rant warning: expat problems, bank fees, and maths ahead

Being somewhat of an international girl, I find myself having to transfer money between my US and NZ bank accounts on a somewhat regular basis. Also being that I’m usually pretty broke, I’ve prided myself on being able to find the best deal on forex for small amounts. But after a few changes over the past few months to the services I’ve known and loved, all the savings I’ve ever discovered have been eroded and I’m now pretty convinced the banks are definitely out to screw us all. As if anyone needed more convincing.

Continue reading Rant warning: expat problems, bank fees, and maths ahead

Double the bumble, half the cute

To be clear up front: ‘double the bumble, half the cute’ refers to my interviewing skills, not the movie. Which is not bumbling at all.

So this was pretty cool. I got to interview the director and lead actor for BLUE RUIN last Friday, right before their movie preemed at AFI. It began its run earlier this year when it was accepted into the Directors Fortnight selection at Cannes, and won a FIPRESCI prize (the critics award) alongside a film you’ve probably head a LOT about this year, BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR. You know, the one with the 7-minute lesbian sex scene that everyone from lesbians to the actresses involved have criticised. Anyway.

I’m a pretty awkward person in real life, so it’s sort of hilarious that I even make money as a journalist which forces me to interact with strangers and ask sometimes awkward and personal questions of them. I sought advice of a friend (thank you!) for tips before I went into this interview and then it basically all went out the window the moment I was there. I discovered interviewing really busy people during a film festival doesn’t go down like it does in my imagination, which involves a long conversation, perhaps chai tea, many laughs, heartwarming revelations, and ends on mutual respect between interviewer and interviewee. Instead, I got 20 hurried minutes whittled down to an even more hurried 16 minutes, in a noisy filmmaker lounge, while the three of us huddled over my iPhone to record the conversation and I prayed it was working because there was pretty much no way I could take notes as a back up. I sweated and fumbled my questions and hoped I wasn’t asking the most inane questions in the most inane of ways. I nearly tripped over my bag and also nearly forgot my phone on the way out. I am Zooey Deschanel with double the bumbling and half the cute.

But I actually loved it.

After all that, if you still want to read the review and cringe your way through my awkward interview tactics (feedback welcome!), then check it out.

Continue reading Double the bumble, half the cute