SATC: The Legacy

“You’re such a Charlotte.”

“This is just like that episode where Carrie has to choose between smoking and Aidan.”

“He’s like my Mr. Big. Not in the sense that he’s my destiny, but in the sense that we’re basically having an affair.”

“Why can’t I get pregnant? I mean, Miranda got pregnant after one night of sympathy sex with one-ball Steve!”

miranda

“I’m mostly a Carrie, but with a splash of Samantha.”

“Remember that episode where Carrie freaks out about all the money she’s spent on shoes over the years? That’s how I feel about my finances.”

“I learned what kegels were from Samantha.”

“He broke up with me via email. That’s almost as bad as a post-it.”

post it

“Ever since the Charlotte/Trey proposal episode, I can’t stop using the word ‘alrighty’.”

“I’m a new woman. I feel like Miranda after Samantha gives her her hair appointment.”

“I don’t want to find my Mr. Big, I want to find my Harry.”

“It’s like, Season Two when her only income is writing her column for the New York Star, and she has the same Dior saddle bag in three different prints – do you know how much those bags cost?? Well trust me, she can’t afford them.”

“Can I pull off a tulle skirt?”

sex-the-city-intro-3-o

“Socks… men as socks… this article socks.”

^^ That’s what S wrote to me last night, when discussing ideas for a new Beauty Coup post. For those of you who don’t know, there is a nine-year age difference between S and myself. She is the Charlotte to my Samantha, in more ways than one. And while there are occasional differences in our pop culture experiences of the world (we definitely didn’t watch the same children’s shows), there’s one tenet that holds strong in its sway over both of our lives: Sex and the City.

We’ve both seen every episode, and so have you. We can quote many episodes, and so can you. We not infrequently relate the stories of those four women to our own lives, and so do you. All of this is true because SATC was unlike any show that came before it, and nothing has quite filled the space it left behind.

carrie1

It’s been ten years since the last season of SATC aired. In those ten years, the sanitized SATC movie and the atrocious sequel-that-shall-not-be-named have somewhat overshadowed the series, devaluing the cultural contributions of what was truly a groundbreaking show.

You’ve heard it all before – how SATC depicted women talking about sex, openly and sometimes crassly; how the focus of the show was on the female friendships, and how the men in their lives often took a backseat to a friend in need; how each of the four women had their own distinct goals and ambitions, further separating them from the once presumed Female Be All End All of love and marriage.

What you might not know is that even though the show’s creator, Darren Star, is a man, there were a lot of women at the helm of SATC, directing quite a few episodes in the first three seasons (prior to Star’s departure from the show), and featuring prominently in the writer’s room throughout the series. In the late 90s / early aughts, this was a significant shift in an industry that remains highly male-dominated. Let’s also remember that SATC only exists because of the source material from author Candace Bushnell, paving the way for a world where more and more women are the show runners for their own series.

four gals

Of course the show had its flaws. There was a lot of privilege on SATC, of both the racial and financial variety. All the same, SATC arguably blazed the trails that led us to Broad City, The Mindy Project, and Orange is the New Black – female-centric TV shows that are far more colorful in both representations of ethnicity and economic realities.

At the close of the Sex and the City series, the show cements its feminist underpinnings with a nod of the hat to being a phenomenal woman and having a room of one’s own. In the final episode, after all the ups and downs of friendship, the many and varied romances, the families formed and the choosing of choices, Carrie left us with these simple, powerful words:

“The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.”

cheers

Friday Feminist Funtimes

Happy Friday, RLB readers!

The internets are brimming with feminist delights this fine Friday, so I thought I would share some of my favorites with you.

Start with this primer over at Refinery29, on some of feminism’s fabulous future faces. (Today is also apparently alliteration day at RLB – see? I did it again!)

One of my personal favs from this list is Laverne Cox, who is one of the best parts of the great new Netflix show, Orange is the New Black. I made the mistake of marathon-watching it, and am now twiddling my thumbs awaiting Season Two. Ms. Cox is a smart, talented and savvy transgender activist who should definitely be on your radar. She also happens to be Goooooorgeous.

Next, the fiercest, funnest (first?) feminist rag ever, BUST magazine, gives us a glimpse into the genuinely diverse look book from Debenham’s, a department store in the UK. These images make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. PLUS, their PR director should be happy to know that the campaign is already inspiring others to create their own Real People in Great Fashion look books. Am hell-bent on getting my act together and following Ms. Jennie’s lead with an RLB Model Community Project of our very own. Stay tuned!

And Lastly, I give you your Friday feminist moment of zen.

thelma and louise

 

Orange is the New Skinny

There are a few other posts I have in the works (e.g., Women Who Kick Ass on TV) but today I read this article that a friend of mine posted in facebooklandia, and it got me thinking about #5.

Strong is the new skinny.
Fit is the new skinny.

Or the extra bewildering…
Sore is the new skinny.
You can google that one if you want. It’s basically a tumblr of fitspo porn, so I’m skipping the link.

The stand apart here is Healthy is the New Skinny, and we’ll get to why in a minute. If you clicked on all the links, you can probably guess where I’m headed.

First, we’ll acknowledge that Jezebel has already addressed the NY Post article (Strong is the…) and with their usual flair and panache. This is one of their posts that reminds me why I started reading Jezebel in the first place. It isn’t overly snarky or negative; it’s clever and astute and makes succinct, insightful points. The post is summed up with:

Being strong and formidable shouldn’t be approached as a goal that pleases others; being strong and formidable are their own rewards. And women don’t need a “new skinny.” They need to be left the fuck alone and given the space to exist for themselves.

The fundamental truth here is this absurd idea of a ‘new skinny.’ This is a play on words to indicate that skinny was the Old Ideal, which means that whatever word you put in its place (strong, fit, …….sore?) is now the New Ideal.

So far the only group or organization I’ve seen that is using this oh-so-cleverness in any successful way is Healthy is the New Skinny. Call me crazy, but I agree that Healthy, in fact, should be the New Ideal. HNS goes so far as to actually represent a variety of women in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes within their website-blog-modeling agency. Yes, modeling agency. They also have a non-profit body image program, and an HNS shop where you can shop clothes on “more realistic bodies,” because let’s be honest. Even among our thinnest, lithest friends, do we actually know Anyone who is built like Giselle?

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 5.13.17 PM
So while I still find the ‘new skinny’ concept to be a bit contentious, if anything is going to replace skinny as an ideal, healthy is what makes the most sense to me. Healthy is something we all can (and probably ought to) strive for. Regardless of height, age, shape, weight (ohmygod I can’t say this enough please let this sink in: REGARDLESS OF WEIGHT), muscle mass, hair color, straightness of teeth, broadness of ribcage, cancer diagnosis* or number of limbs, healthy is attainable. We can all make choices that support, improve, and maintain our health and wellness. These choices are personal, and we need to make them for ourselves, based on what we feel enriches our lives.

This is NOT to say that in ALL CASES healthy = attractive or vice versa.

For example, I would probably be thinner if I was vegan. So many actresses are vegans these days, and the majority of them attribute their svelte figures to their everything-free diet. Good for them! However, there are some skinny-ass vegans who do not look healthy to me. (I suppose some people might find fragile bones and sallow skin attractive?) Me personally? I will never, ever, ever give up cheeseburgers. My body is prone to anemia, and so from time to time it craves a g–damn cheeseburger. Sure, sure, spinach is high in iron, I know. So fine, put some spinach on my cheeseburger.

Example number two: It’s patently ridiculous how many times throughout my life I’ve been told some version of, “you’re a really sexy smoker.” And you know what? In all humility I have to admit – it’s true. I love smoking, and for some reason I look hot when smoking, and mmmmm, yum, cigarettes. BUT, I feel far more beautiful when I’m not smoking, not just because my skin looks much better, but because I don’t wake up with a mouth that tastes like I swallowed an ashtray. And der, smoking ≠ healthy.

So I choose to eat cheeseburgers and not smoke.** These are some of my healthy choices, and they are mine for my reasons. Your choices are yours, and even if our choices are the same, our reasons are probably different. Which brings me to my final support of Healthy as the ‘new skinny’ : Agency. When women make their own healthy choices, and determine what is best for themselves at any given point in their lives, this means women are taking agency over their own bodies, minds, and spirits. Trying to crush that agency is why absurd beauty ideals exist in the first place. It’s one more tool for a patriarchal society to make women feel they are Less Than, and that without this kind of ass, those kinds of boobs, and that kind of face, we are somehow Other.

What we can do is change the conversation to one about what makes us feel beautiful to ourselves. I for one will be eating a cheeseburger tonight.

*just want to ward off anyone who might think that disease makes a person unhealthy. healthy choices are not taken away from you because you are diagnosed with a disease. disease is not by default the result of unhealthy choices.

**…the majority of the time. as a human, I am fallible, but I choose to not smoke most of the time.

A Refreshing Dip in the Pool

Who else is tired of shopping for bathing suits that are modeled by 5’10 women who wear a size two? All of you? That’s what I thought.

Enter Modcloth, a website known for it’s bevy of adorable dresses with vintage flair. Turns out they also sell bathing suits, and they oh-so-casually use models who are, well, more People than they are Models.

What I mean is that shopping for bathing suits on Modcloth doesn’t generally leave one with the feeling of “that’s cute, but how would it look on me?” They do use the term ‘plus size’ which I know is contentious for some, but on Modcloth this is plus size and this is plus size. It isn’t a one-plus-size-fits-all situation. The other models represent a variety of body types as well, such as this girl, or this girl, or this girl. Oh and this girl!

Lastly, I love how their main swim banner features two very different types of women, without comment. It’s just a little nod to ‘hey guess what – we all wear swimsuits!’

Where there’s room for improvement: The two-piece section would lead one to believe that women over a certain size do not wear bikinis. Also, they feature a woman of color in their swim banner, but all of the models in the actual collection are white. This makes me want to tell Modcloth that they can go ahead and be fully awesome, not just halfway awesome.

It’s still nice to see a clothing retailer headed in the right direction where models and swimsuits are concerned. So in summary, Modcloth deserves our feedback, support and encouragement.

Do I have to say it? Is the pun required? …Go ahead ladies, dive in!

bathing suit

XOXO, Gossip Girl

Yes, everyone in Gossip Girl possessed over-the-top, screen siren good looks, and so body image was never really an issue. (Except kinda sorta in the first season, when we learned that Blair was kinda sorta struggling with her former bout with anorexia… so sometimes perfection is hard even for the very beautiful and very rich)

All the same, here is where I indulge my love of Fashion, and with this week’s Last Episode of GG Ever, Lou and I decided to do a fashion retrospective of the show’s two starlets, Blair and Serena, over at CWPL.

Clearly I wrote about Blair – the preppy, ladylike, Audrey aficionado.
Lou is writing about Serena – the oft bohemian, sometimes gaudy, always sexy siren.

S and I are in talks for a future post on RLB about women who use other women as accessories, but for now enjoy this Gossip Girl swan song!

Ps. For those who have (gasp) never seen the show, it’s worth mentioning that B is not just a “fan” of Audrey Hepburn. One of the best plot devices on GG was Blair’s frequent dreams starring herself as classic Audrey film characters. They were always entertaining, and showed off little Meester’s actual acting chops. Definitely a favorite part of the show.

You will be missed, GG!

XOXO

blairaudrey

 

Post Promotion

For today’s post, RLB is featuring an article by a guest blogger on Lou’s blog. Which I suppose you could classify as ‘stealing,’ but we prefer the term Promotion. Because that’s what it is! Promotion for both the blog, Cheap Wine and Pantylines, and for Crystal, author of the post. It fits so perfectly with the themes of RLB, we couldn’t resist. Besides, we have Permission, which makes all the difference. Read on, wear clothes that fit, and feel effing good about yourself today:

Don’t Tell Me What to Do 

Friday Beauty Shout

Fridays here at RLB are reserved for Shout Outs to ladies and gents around the world (some famous, some should be famous), who promote what’s real. They celebrate the variety among us, and the endless elements that make humans beautiful.

Today I’m going with a celebrity, although when I say “Alicia Silverstone,” I’m willing to bet that most of you think of this:

…and even though the 90’s are back, Alicia has in fact moved on from being Clueless to becoming a vegan eco-warrior who feeds her son from her own mouth.

Regardless of how you feel about her politics or her feeding techniques, Alicia is on our radar today because she has a new line of beauty products that go the extra mile when it comes to being green.

Considering RLB’s makeup theme for the week, I thought it only appropriate to recognize a lady who is using her fame and prowess to promote many healthy ways of living… even if some of them do kinda weird us out.