All posts tagged: Pop culture

Lena Dunham’s Rich White Kids

I haven’t had the time to blog lately, so I wanted to jump back into things with a super short post on Lena Dunham. This is just something I wrote on my notes app one night last week, so my thoughts aren’t fully fleshed out, nor are they particularly well assembled. I was thinking a lot about Lena Dunham after she defended an accused rapist and had one of her Lenny Letter writers quit, citing “hipster racism.” Dunham has been doing and saying problematic things for years, and although I really wanted to be a fan (she’s an outspoken writer/director/producer and I look up to that) her work has consistently rubbed me the wrong way. One of the things that has always made Lena Dunham’s work a bit difficult for me to digest (beginning with Tiny Furniture, even though I enjoyed it overall) is that her very wealthy artist New Yorker background is so much a part of her storytelling. Her film, TV series, and writing is always about white girls, but specifically elitist, posh, rich white girls, which is …

My Makeup Dilemma

Like many women, I have a somewhat complicated relationship with makeup. Applying cosmetics and experimenting with new products, shades, and styles is an opportunity to express myself creatively, and wearing it sometimes makes me feel good. But once I start to peel back the label on the norm, so-to-speak, I remember what a problematic concept makeup is. At a certain age, women are expected to cover their flaws. We’re taught to wear makeup; just enough, but not too much. Too little and you look tired and lazy – too much and you’re “fake.” Some men complain of “false advertisement” when a woman wears so much makeup that her appearance is significantly altered, but the same men expect women to naturally look like living, breathing, Barbie dolls. Beauty is a multi-billion dollar business in the U.S., and the industry is so lucrative because many of us feel that our beauty is our worth. In America, and presumably much of the world, women who occupy professional roles are not necessarily required to wear makeup, but it’s certainly expected of them. It’s been proven that …

How YouTube & Instagram Are Normalizing the Vegan Lifestyle

  This post is a slightly tweaked version of a paper I presented as part of the Political and Social Subtexts of Food panel at the 2017 National Pop Culture & American Culture Conference in San Diego. ———– Thanks in part to social media, being vegan in America has become more acceptable and even “cool” in some circles. But more importantly, digital vegan activists have made veganism approachable for many of those who may not have access to the movement otherwise. YouTube and Instagram, in particular, seem to be platforms in which vegan content creators can work to normalize the lifestyle, while simultaneously creating a digital social community where vegans can find the support and resources they need to sustain their lifestyle decisions. Based on current food industry trends, the U.S. vegan population appears to be on the rise, though the exact increase is difficult to gauge since recent reliable data isn’t available. But with major ice cream companies such as Ben & Jerry’s and Dreyer’s now offering dairy free flavors, and a wheat, coconut …

Brown, Kiddo, & Tarantino

OR: Tarantino’s Leading Ladies: Jackie Brown, Beatrix Kiddo, & Women’s Empowerment On-screen Quentin Tarantino’s body of work – from his feature film debut Reservoir Dogs (1992), to his most recent epic The Hateful Eight (2015) – consists of films that are violent, highly stylized, dialogue-driven, oftentimes problematic, and always provocative. Though each film in Tarantino’s oeuvre is quite different from the one that came before it or followed, numerous qualities of his work remain consistent. In each of his films Tarantino celebrates popular culture by commemorating genres that were once relegated to the margins by Hollywood, such as martial arts cinema, Blaxploitation, and spaghetti westerns. While appropriating genres, Tarantino provides his own authorial stamp by writing dialogue-driven scripts which are benefited by episodic structures. A “Tarantino film,” one can almost always be assured, features revenge at the heart of the narrative and creates pleasure through the irreverent combination of humor and violence. And, with each of Tarantino’s films, the appropriateness of his representations of violence, race, gender, and revisionist history, come into question time and …

30 Badass Feminists to Follow on Twitter

I’ve discovered so many intelligent, humorous, bold, and inspiring feminists on Twitter. These women are writers, activists, lawyers, scholars, and artists who advocate for a number of issues essential to the feminist movement, including immigration, reproductive rights, safety and equality for the LGBT community, combating racism and police brutality, fair wages and the right to unionize, gun control and domestic violence, and the representation of race, gender, class, and sexuality in media – among numerous other issues. Being an outspoken woman online automatically results in a threat to their safety, and these women are berated daily for their unwillingness to be quiet or dilute their words. Be sure to follow them on social media and share and support their work. Like any online list, this post is seriously incomplete because there are thousands of woman who have not been included. Please be sure to share the names and handles of any badass feminists you follow online in the comment section below. Ijeoma Oluo → @IjeomaOluo Lauren Duca → @laurenduca Roxane Gay → @rgay Feminista Jones → @FeministaJones Caroline O.→ @RVAwonk …

Catalina Island: Facts n’ Photos

Before visiting Catalina I knew nothing about the island except for the fact that it’s off the coast of California and (most importantly) that it was the iconic setting for the end of Step Brothers. After spending a weekend on Catalina Island I learned quite a bit and am here to report back with some fun facts and a few photos I took during my short visit. 1. The Catalina Island Wine Mixer is now a real thing, and it’s happening in September! There’s even a Step Brothers themed costume party y’all. 2. The Wrigley family owns Catalina and has since the early 1900’s. 3. The Wrigley family were known for their gum and numerous other business ventures, including as part-owners of the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs even held their spring training on the island from the 1920s until the 1950s. 4. There aren’t many cars on the island. In fact, residents have to spend 30 years on a waiting list before they can even get a Smart Car. Now that’s patience. 5. Instead of cars people use golf carts, and they’re loud, annoying, …

#RESISTANCE Playlist

With major news breaking every single day, the enormity of the issues that we’re dealing with in the U.S. and abroad can seem insurmountable. In America, I feel as though we’re on the verge of a collective meltdown. Stress and tensions are mounting and the government seems to be doing everything it can to weaken the people. From blocking refugees, to pulling out of the Paris Agreement, and fighting to dismantle our healthcare system – the list goes on and on. Across the globe we’re seeing an uptick in fascism, and it’s our duty to fight it. On the day of the election I listened to a playlist I made in hopes that Hillary Clinton would become our first woman president. That day didn’t arrive, but I’ve continued to make playlists – for the inauguration and the historic Women’s March – to either get me through the day or strengthen my resolve. Today I wanted to share my #RESISTANCE playlist, which is short, but packs a punch. We have to persist, and listening to music …

Business & Leisure in San Diego

This past weekend my sister accompanied me to San Diego, CA, where I presented a paper at the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association’s national conference. My paper, titled “How YouTube and Instagram are Normalizing Veganism,” analyzes the ways in which vegan cooking and lifestyle content creators appropriate mainstream YouTube aesthetics, and examines the importance of a strong digital community for vegans. While the purpose of my trip was to present at the conference, I spent the majority of my time hanging out with my sister in and around San Diego. On our way down from Los Angeles we stopped in San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar, La Jolla, and Coronado Island, and in San Diego we spent time at Balboa Park and around Old Town. We also drank great coffee from Heartwork Coffee Bar and Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, and stuffed ourselves with food from Kindred and Barra Barra. Presenting at PCA/ACA not only gave me the chance to work on my public speaking skills (I’m doing better but there’s so much room for improvement), but it also provided me with some much-needed time for …

Calling All Vegans!

If you’re vegan and use YouTube as a resource for recipes and information, please reach out to me! I’m preparing to present on Veganism & YouTube at the Pop Culture Association and American Culture Association national conference in San Diego this April, and am looking for insight from vegans who include YouTube as part of their online community. If that’s you, please respond to the following questions using the contact form below. Be sure to include your name, age, gender (man, woman, or gender non-conforming), location, and how long you have been vegan. If you were vegetarian before becoming vegan, be sure to include the number of years you were vegetarian before transitioning. Did watching a YouTuber or specific YouTube video influence your decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle? If so, what YouTube channels in particular? How often do you consume vegan material on YouTube? What channels do you watch and why? What sort of content are these YouTubers providing for you (i.e. recipes, lifestyle tips, animal cruelty information)? What other materials do you credit to influencing and …

Social Media as Social Justice

I haven’t posted in a while because it’s been “one of those weeks” – or more like two. I’ve been far too wrapped up in personal stuff to sit down and write or share a post, but I finally think that I’m ready to come back. It seems irresponsible to have a media and culture blog and not comment on recent national tragedies, including the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge (let alone the atrocities in France, Turkey, and across the globe). But each time I try to sit down and write, nothing that I jot down precisely articulates my disappointment, my rage, and my anxiety. When I think deeply about the problems within my own community, some seem fixable while others feel inescapable. And if I begin to think of injustices on a global-scale, I’m immediately engulfed by discontent and pessimism. I prefer being open to the world’s innumerable flaws, rather than closeted by my own naivety, but at times I find myself overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems that I want to fix. In many …