“But I think the key mistake at play in the debate over manipulations at Facebook or OkCupid is where we’re locating the problem. This is not an issue unique to cyberspace. Social media theorist Nathan Jurgenson has rightly challenged the fallacy of “digital dualism” and argued against the sharp distinction drawn between online and “real” lives. I believe that if we forget for a second that we’re talking about our cyberlives, the problems of the Facebook or OkCupid experiments become clearer”—OkCupid and Facebook Aren’t the Only Ones Manipulating You, but That’s No Excuse | VICE News (via nathanjurgenson)
"Back in the day, Walter would, every once in a while, forget how to draw. Remember?" Louise said. "Oh yeah," Walter agreed. "That still happens occasionally." "It's like, 'Oh my god, nothing I'm drawing looks any good anymore. My life is over as an artist.' And what I realized, because I was an editor at the time, and had seen a lot of work go past me, was that when you hit this phase where suddenly your stuff, which looks just like it did yesterday, doesn't look good to you anymore, it's because your mind has made a leap. Your brain has gotten farther than your hand has learned to do it yet. But eventually, give it a few weeks, keep it up and you've made a leap in your own craft." "That was a big help because it was so depressing when you realize you couldn't draw anymore," said Walter. "It's a physical thing," Louise said. "If you had seen it you would see that he hadn't forgotten how to draw, but he suddenly could see and understand better how to draw. But his hand just hasn't learned yet." "I still hit these patches occasionally. They aren't as -- maybe sadly -- they aren't as long as they used to be, and maybe they should be, but I still hit them occasionally," said Walter. "Now when I feel that I'm not as panicked as I was when this would happen in the old days."
“Her prose is simultaneously ornate and energetic to the point of recklessness, like a cathedral on roller-skates going downhill, and as sensual as fiction can be without getting your fingers sticky. Favored motifs include: virgins, snow, mirrors, blood (especially menstruation), white negligees (especially blood-stained), girls raised by wolves, female nudity, comparisons of female nudity to immolation, exposed genitals (male, female, and animal), exotic smells, less-than-exotic smells (a fish market is compared to “a brothel after a busy night”), necrotic aristocrats with unspeakable appetites, and roses (“their huge congregations of plush petals somehow obscene in their excess, their whorled, tightly budded cores outrageous in their implications”).”—From an article about feminist horror author Angela Carter. (via twiststreet)
The basics are that for every one female-speaking character in family-rated films (G, PG and PG-13), there are roughly three male characters; that crowd and group scenes in these films — live-action and animated — contain only 17 percent female characters; and that the ratio of male-female characters has been exactly the same since 1946. Throw in the hypersexualization of many of the female characters that are there, even in G-rated movies, and their lack of occupations and aspirations and you get the picture.
It wasn’t the lack of female lead characters that first struck me about family films. We all know that’s been the case for ages, and we love when movies like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen hit it big. It was the dearth of female characters in the worlds of the stories — the fact that the fictitious villages and jungles and kingdoms and interplanetary civilizations were nearly bereft of female population — that hit me over the head. This being the case, we are in effect enculturating kids from the very beginning to see women and girls as not taking up half of the space. Couldn’t it be that the percentage of women in leadership positions in many areas of society — Congress, law partners, Fortune 500 board members, military officers, tenured professors and many more — stall out at around 17 percent because that’s the ratio we’ve come to see as the norm?
OK, now for the fun part: It’s easy, fast and fun to add female characters, in two simple steps. And I want to be clear I’m not talking about creating more movies with a female lead. If you do, God bless and thank you. Please consider me for that role.
Step 1: Go through the projects you’re already working on and change a bunch of the characters’ first names to women’s names. With one stroke you’ve created some colorful unstereotypical female characters that might turn out to be even more interesting now that they’ve had a gender switch. What if the plumber or pilot or construction foreman is a woman? What if the taxi driver or the scheming politician is a woman? What if both police officers that arrive on the scene are women — and it’s not a big deal?
Step 2: When describing a crowd scene, write in the script, “A crowd gathers, which is half female.” That may seem weird, but I promise you, somehow or other on the set that day the crowd will turn out to be 17 percent female otherwise. Maybe first ADs think women don’t gather, I don’t know.
And there you have it. You have just quickly and easily boosted the female presence in your project without changing a line of dialogue.
Yes, we can and will work to tell more women’s stories, listen to more women’s voices and write richer female characters and to fix the 5-to-1 ratio of men/women behind the camera. But consider this: In all of the sectors of society that still have a huge gender disparity, how long will it take to correct that? You can’t snap your fingers and suddenly half of Congress is women. But there’s one category where the underrepresentation of women can be fixed tomorrow: onscreen. In the time it takes to make a movie or create a television show, we can change what the future looks like.
There are woefully few women CEOs in the world, but there can be lots of them in films. We haven’t had a woman president yet, but we have on TV. (Full disclosure: One of them was me.) How can we fix the problem of corporate boards being so unequal without quotas? Well, they can be half women instantly, onscreen. How do we encourage a lot more girls to pursue science, technology and engineering careers? By casting droves of women in STEM jobs today in movies and on TV. Hey, it would take me many years to become a real nuclear physicist, but I can play one tomorrow.
Here’s what I always say: If they can see it, they can be it.
"The end of the school year is awards season, when students of all ages are herded into auditoriums and cafeterias and cafetoriums to sit and listen to adults read off the accomplishments of a select few classmates. Sometimes the crowd is instructed to hold their applause until all the recipients have received their award, and if they forget, they are told, sternly, not to clap yet. By the end, every hand in the room hurts, and the kids who get their awards last get hardly any applause. The winners take beaming pictures with their certificates. I recently attended one such elementary school award ceremony. The children, who are students of mine, cheered for each other. Everyone seemed to have a great time, and afterwards, kids were leaping out of their seats to give speeches to the crowd about the year’s end. Fifth graders expressed appreciation for their teachers; a first grader told a joke. A kindergartner (who had won several awards) took the microphone, turned to his classmates, and shyly announced: “If you didn’t get an award… don’t cry.” I’m with him. I worry about the kids who don’t win. Because — and I can report this first-hand — not everyone gets a trophy. If there’s one thing that young people are told when there are trophies to be had, it’s that not everybody should get one. Millennials have been told it’s the thing that ruined our generation, and the ones after us, and the ones today. Adults have very strong feelings about kids’ feelings about trophies."
Trophy Season — via New Inquiry. If you like NI, I recommend subscribing to them.
"I was drawn to work in fashion because I’d been playing dress-up since earliest consciousness, because I believed in the power and beauty of performativity, because something about the way fabric moves on the body made my head throb heartlike. But one season covering international fashion weeks as a journalist—four weeks of daily runway reporting, plus the people and parties in New York, London, Milan, and Paris—confirmed something I’d suspected but wished away: that fashion (or at least the fashion system, as opposed to the pure act of putting symbolic material on our bodies) is a business first and foremost, a multitrillion dollar global industry run by a group of power players and conglomerates. I learned that ad buys are traded for editorial coverage, that a critical review can get you banned from the runways, that press gifts are not just commonplace but often counted as salary, and that, Cathy Horyn aside, it is near impossible to make a living as a critic in the industry but if you’re game to write press releases portending as journalism, you can fashion a handsome life for yourself. More than the dress-up or the fabric-inspired mindbeat, fashion compelled me because the field is underwritten. Very little in the way of popular writing considers both the material reality and symbolic worth of fashion and dress, considers the field as we consider other cultural fields as worthy of critical discourse. What crushed me most about my foray into fashion journalism was a Word document I titled “EDITED OUT FUCK” (EOF), where I collected my writing that had been cut due to advertiser conflict. Finding Not Vogue was like discovering a Wikileak of my EOF."
“For example, in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, the main character walks down a street passing by a number of shops whose names were specifically chosen and window displays specifically arranged by the director to convey additional meaning to the scene and to the film. At 720p or at a bitrate under 8Mbps, those details become indistinct and illegible. It becomes impossible to know that Kubrick was trying to tell you anything with those storefronts, let alone discern what he was trying to say.”—Netflix becomes Postmodern, splits into two, and races for the bottom | Partial Objects (via timoni)
"One year earlier, Daniel’s suicide note had been released on Gawker. “The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand,” he’d written. “How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle?” I remember waking up that Saturday and finding my wife reading it at the kitchen table, crying. By the time the weekend was over I’d made like CNN and forgotten it. Speaking statistically, on the day that Daniel killed himself, 21 other veterans did too, and we know this because it’s been reported lately as though it’s novel. Most big media outlets have covered the number itself as the full story, usually tying it—as Daniel’s parents did—to the failures of the VA. “US military struggling to stop suicide epidemic,” was how the Guardian put it, while the Times noted, “Baffling rise in US suicides plague military.” Twenty-two a day is high, but neither baffling nor anomalous. The average number of daily veteran suicides in 1999 was 20. Since then, it has never come up shy of 17. If anything, the new numbers show improvement over 1999, when veteran suicides were a higher percentage of total American suicides than they currently are: 25 versus about 21 percent. (So part of the story is just that more Americans are killing themselves.)
You won’t be seeing any more of Andrej Pejic, the androgynous male model who rose to fame in 2010 after Carine Roitfeld had him photographed in womenswear for Paris Vogue. An onslaught of editorials followed (including a shirtless Dossier Journal cover that was essentially banned by Barnes & Noble for fear their customers would think he was a naked woman), and he even walked as the beautiful bride in Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring ’11 Couture show (below). But Andrej’s days on the runway are over. However, Andreja’s career is just getting started.
Earlier this year, Andreja underwent sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). She always knew she was a woman, but her body, or at least parts of it, didn’t match up. Yesterday, the model trekked from her current Williamsburg digs to LGBT advocacy group GLAAD’s Chelsea headquarters to speak, for the first time, about her transition. Donning a white crop top and embellished Ports 1961 skirt, Pejic, who was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina but was raised in Melbourne (hence her charming Aussie accent), looked as angelic as ever. “I feel good,” she told me before sitting down. It showed.
You can bet you’ll be seeing quite a bit of Andreja Pejic—she has a role in Sofia Coppola’s forthcoming rendition of The Little Mermaid, and plans for fashion week are already in the works. Here, the six-foot-one stunner (who, it should be noted, has cheekbones that could cut glass) opens up to Style.com about her SRS, the challenges of being a transgender model, and why, at long last, she’s “ready to face the world.”
— Katharine K. Zarrella
How do you identify?
I identify as a female.
How did you identify before the sexual reassignment surgery?
I figured out who I was very early on—actually, at the age of 13, with the help of the Internet—so I knew that a transition, becoming a woman, was always something I needed to do. But it wasn’t possible at the time, and I put it off, and androgyny became a way of expressing my femininity without having to explain myself to people too much. Especially to my peers [who] couldn’t understand things like “trans” and gender identity. And then obviously the modeling thing came up, and I became this androgynous male model, and that was a big part of my growing up and my self-discovery. But I always kept in mind that, ultimately, my biggest dream was to be a girl. I wasn’t ready to talk about it before in a public way because I was scared that I would not be understood. I didn’t know if people would like me. But now I’m taking that step because I’m a little older—I’m 22—and I think my story can help people. My goal is to give a human face to this struggle, and I feel like I have a responsibility.
You seem to have had a firm understanding of your identity at an early age. Was growing up as a boy difficult? Gender dysphoria is never an easy thing to live with, mainly because people don’t understand it. For most of my childhood, I knew that I preferred all things feminine, but I didn’t know why. I didn’t know that there was an explanation. I didn’t know about the possibilities. And then I went on sort of a boyhood campaign from age 9 to about 13. I tried to be a “normal” boy because I felt like my options were either to be a gay boy or a straight boy. I didn’t feel that I was gay, so I didn’t know that there were any other options until the age of 13, when I went online and discovered that there’s a whole community of trans people out there. There are doctors, there’s medical care, there’s research, and that was an eye-opener for me. From that day on, I knew what I had to do.
Some people write off SRS as a purely cosmetic surgery. Can you speak a little bit about that, and why it’s not the case? Yeah, a lot of people view it as a plastic procedure, like you go to a surgeon and say, “Oh, I want to be a woman.” It’s so much more complicated than that. You have to get a psychiatric evaluation, which I started at the age of 13. I started seeing psychiatrists, and then I stopped when I started modeling, and I started again about a year and a half ago. But medical attention is crucial for any trans person because it helps you figure out who you are. You go through some really strict testing before you’re even allowed to have the surgery.
Are there any other myths you’d like to debunk? Or is there anything else you want the general public to understand about SRS and transgender people? I would like them to understand that we are people. We’re human beings, and this is a human life. This is reality for us, and all we ask for is acceptance and validation for what we say that we are. It’s a basic human right.
"Weirdness, in this sense, stands for experiences or events that seriously challenge the norm without leaving the empirical plane of immanence. The weird twists, but does not transcend. It doesn’t rupture reality but refers, enigmatically, to its perverse core."
You have a grasp on a voice that most don't.....with Marvel work do you r shift to different headspace from SA than Zero through music or film? I know they are different sides of a coin but still curious?
Thank you very much! I find I am just becoming properly acquainted with my voice now, and the process may take all my life, and at the end of it, I’ll find that “my” means everything, means nothing, the universal paradox. And it will be okay.
That said, I feel I am improving as a writer, and it feels good. I evolve, the voice evolves.
Yes, every project requires a different space and energy. It asks for it, in some cases so thoroughly that it finds a way into my life before I even realize it’s a project.
It’s a combination of a lot of factors, and it changes with every project. Research often involves specific music, film, comics, any other form of art, psychotherapy aimed at conscious/subconscious/unconscious mountains, oceans, deserts that feel ripe for exploring or just staying in, empty houses, past memories, memories of the future, anything.
When writing Wild Children I fashioned myself a tribal skirt out of the pages of Morrison’s and Bond’s ‘Kill Your Boyfriend’ and ‘Hellblazer: Shoot’ by Ellis and Jimenez. When writing Change I found myself executing certain scenes that happen inside the comic.
So: a voice. I am not so sure it is a voice as much as it is a cross-section between the story being channeled from the “outside” and a voice that is “inside,” both of which are ostensibly the same thing manifesting through different channels.
Reading your Secret Avengers comics fills me with so much joy, especially now that you addressed that Phil's PTSD will be treated with all the seriousness it deserves. As a person with a panic disorder, this is really important to me. I will definitely read more of your comics and I was wondering if you write about LGBTQ+ characters too or if this is something we can expect in future comics?
I am delighted that we’re bringing you a good time. I sometimes deal with anxiety issues and I choose to live in the world as it is, therefore I must strive to perceive it as it is, and inevitably my writing becomes a reflection of what is alive in me, and what is alive in me is alive in the world. If the external mirrors the internal, and I believe in no suppression of elements unless they bring direct harm to others (the first, I believe it does, the second, I do) it is my duty to let the world speak through me.
Considering the comics and film/TV projects I am working on this year — Zero, Secret Avengers, Winter Soldier, The Surface, Antistar, Gentrification, Wolf, the Zero TV package and two movies I won’t talk about because they are not ready yet — 6 out of these 10 projects have LGBTQ+ characters, often main protagonists, and the other 4 are not nearly formed enough yet for me to tell. Sometimes I don’t spell out that a character is LGBTQ+ because the story doesn’t need it — sometimes I focus on it because the story does.
Same goes for the traditional predominance of white male main characters — the Zero comic, the Zero TV show and Winter Soldier have one and I usually dig in and consciously work with the archetype and examine it instead of just letting it lie there unacknowledged and perpetuating the vicious cycle of white male privilege. Then there’s Secret Avengers, which is a very diverse group, Antistar is about a transgender Iranian pop star, Gentrification is predominantly Mexican, and the rest…goes places.
So yes. We live in a diverse world. Unless I decide to make a point about that by employing hyperbolic storytelling, my fiction will reflect it. And even then — the point will still be made.
You said that the crisis is going to be intensified by globalization, but you are not pessimistic. What are the reasons for not being pessimistic?
Baudrillard: It’s not because I described or analyzed a state of things this way, the order of things is nihilistic, it’s the place for the exchange of nothing. I describe it but I take a distance from it. The form in the discourse, it’s not only an analytic discourse, the theoretical discourse also is a form which is never pessimistic or optimistic, it’s just a form. The salvation is in the form, not the content, even when you say even the most pessimistic things. The content maybe pessimistic or nihilistic, but the form, if it succeeds, is never either one, it is a transfiguration of the content. You do that in the writing. It’s always a challenge between content and form, and that’s the difference between a rational, discursive discourse and a theoretical approach. I, for my part, say the most nihilistic things, yes, but the resolution of this pessimistic content is in a very glorious form. Then the writing is not an innocent act, it is a transmutation of the content. That’s why language is something very singular, it is always more than what it signifies and you must take into account this transfiguration of language. It’s always a challenge, you can describe the most apocalyptic system, but you can do it in a way that is not at all apocalyptic. The form can retain the singularity at the same time that it says something which is not singular but describes a non-singularity. It’s always a duel.
"The trend of androgyny and the exploration of trans beauty started around 2010, and that’s when Lea T and I both started [modeling]. Everyone was kind of saying, “Oh, it’s just a trend, it’s going to go away,” and it hasn’t. I think that’s because it represents a social layer of people who feel that they don’t want to conform to traditional forms of gender—who feel traditional forms of gender are outdated. That social base feeds the trend, and it feeds the exploration in fashion."
“I wish more people recognized and harnessed the capacity for language to communicate truths. I wish for patience and specificity. My life changed when I started narrating it as if I were like characters—not one, many—from novels. Before then, I was a Young Girl. Anguished in striving to be a picture in a magazine. That shit is real.”—Fiona Duncan, “Clothes & Class: For Feeling Like You Have A Purpose,” on Adult (via adult-mag)