The Hidden Feminism of Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum Feminist

I don’t know that much about Channing Tatum. I know he used to be a male stripper and that he’s pretty funny. The only movies I’ve ever seen him were the wrestling one with Steve Carell and one I had to Google search just now. “end of the world movie james franco.” It was This Is The End.

I specifically remember thinking he was cool in This Is The End because of one particular scene. He was in a gimp suit and got down submissively on all fours at one point. I’m pretty sure he acted like a dog and was wearing a leash. It was funny, and something I’m not sure a lot of male actors are secure enough to do on screen for a few laughs, or accustomed to doing thanks to the lopsided “artistic” sexual portrayals/exploitations of male vs. female actors in Hollywood.

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It reminded me of when I lived in Chile post-undergrad and my boyfriend at the time was trying yoga with me for the first time ever. We were watching a Yogamazing video podcast and, like at the beginning of many yoga sessions, we started by doing cat cow pose. That’s the one where you’re on all fours and arch your back to stretch your core muscles like a cow, then make a cat back to stretch out your back. Then you repeat for a couple of breaths and move on with your life.

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For some reason, after one try of these cat cow stretches, my ex became really angry. “I’m not doing this anymore! I HATE IT!!” When I asked him why, if something hurt, etc., he wouldn’t give me a clear answer, which angered me even more because whatever I’m thinking is wrong always leads to a 100% worse scenario. Is it because he has some cartilage stretching deep inside his body that doesn’t allow him to move well, and if he snaps it he’ll die? Is he jonesin’ to do a #2? Is he about to lay down a huge cheesy blaster? Is it because that’s what I look like when we do doggy style?

And that was it. I couldn’t stop thinking about that last one. I became convinced–and still am to this day–that that’s the reason he threw a literal fit about doing those yoga stretches. I’ll never know for sure if that was actually the reason because he strangely wouldn’t tell me–but I can’t let go that it isn’t.

I’m not really the type to start blaming myself for other people’s problems with sexism and the patriarchy. It’s honestly really sad to think about some man hypothetically believing a stretch is too feminine for him. But it does make me livid that he might have felt ashamed or less than doing a pose I do for exercise AND sometimes when we’re doin’ it. Well then, why the fuck are you asking me to bend over in the bedroom if you can’t even do it during yoga? If it’s that embarrassing for you, maybe it should be that embarrassing for me. *And so on until we all die from starvation and being lame af.*

That’s why I’m amazed every time I see Channing Tatum move his body. He is an incredible dancer who doesn’t, according to Sexist Stereotypes for Men, look like he would be. I haven’t seen any of the Magic Mike movies, but I have seen clips and am shocked at how confident and free he looks doing dance moves that most men would probably not attempt. Even more recently his incredible Lip Sync Battle where he dressed in drag as Beyoncé and fucking killed it dancing–and dressing–like her.

 

It’s honestly a breath of fresh air to see him not only pull off her moves, but look truly free and happy doing it–without the burden of cultural patterns of oppression weighing down upon his incredibly sculpted male physique.

Not that white straight dudes need a ton of attention right now in this country, but I could have used this Channing Tatum dance moment to show my ex that men can move their bodies in lots of different ways–and that doesn’t make them less of a person, a man, or whatever you want to call yourself. It’s also pretty insulting to be ashamed of being feminine.

The cultural importance of a straight cisgender dude dancing in drag, lip syncing with Beyoncé, on cable television, to a song called “Run the World (Girls)” is one huge point for feminism in 2016. Let us celebrate Channing Tatum for helping tear down the sexist patriarchy one hair flip, hip shake and back bend at a time. Just remember, boys: love like you’ve never been hurt, sing like nobody’s listening, and dance like Channing Tatum is watching. Feminism 2016™.

7 questions in heaven with Celia Inside, pt. 2

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My girl Jessy aka Celia Inside aka total babe pal from NYC (and my first real-life internet friend) has some new tunes on the way AND has just released a really fun cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” produced by Kid Jimi. Listen above to her buttery, pretty, is-this-B-on-the-radio-yet voice and read about what she’s been up to while recording her new r&b album “Overtime” coming out next year!!!

CELIA INSIDE FB, TWITTER, TUMBLR

How would you describe your new album “Overtime”?

It’s soulful, cool, sometimes playful + fun, a little edgy… and lighter than my previous work in a wonderful and necessary way, haha. The music has definitely shifted more into hip-hop and R&B territory — that’s where I feel most natural. It’s still full of harmonies and left turns, though. Overall, I think it shows some very different sides of me as a person and artist. It’s hot!

Is “Overtime” a departure from your last Celia Inside release?

It is in that it’s less emotionally heavy and more beat-driven. It’s less wanna-be alt-rock music, lol. I was really married to the idea of making indie rock music on my first EP, Remodel…. That had a lot to do with my environment and the people around me back when I was living in College Town, USA. I think I was trying to appeal to a scene more than honoring my own musical inclinations. Some really cool stuff came out of that creative time and I’ll always love Remodel, but the music I’m making now is the most exciting for me yet. And I think it’s the most exciting, period! These songs are coming out so nice!

What was the inspo?

The inspiration for the music is a big mix of my life here in NYC and the people who fill it every day; working + living in different parts of the city and experiencing the different cultures, clash of cultures and gentrification all of that entails; rediscovering my love for hip-hop and also parts of myself that kind of got buried during my college+ years… a lot of stuff. Figuring out what kind of grown up I can and want to be! (A #crazysexycool one, obvi)

What has changed since your last EP “Remodel”?

Oh, what *hasn’t* changed!? Haha, almost two years ago, I decided to up & move to New York — it seemed to be where I needed to go — and my life has changed a ton. I’ve made friends, found work I can appreciate doing, moved around, fell in love with someone amazing!…. I’ve learned and experienced so much in such a short time.

All of these things affect the music and how I approach all things Celia Inside. Then, I’m more inspired, motivated, and happy than ever and can’t wait to release and share more as I move forward — this time, with a real plan, and a lot more experience + vision.

Are there any challenges to recording in NYC like noise or 5 roommates?

Omg, yes. Both of those things, actually — haha. I literally lived with five roommates for a little while! It wasn’t as ridiculous as I thought it might be, though (and it made for some fun + diverse parties). Yeah, noise is always a challenge here but I do my best with what I have and there are ways to work around it.

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Are you playing any shows for this release?

That’s the goal, but I’m more focused on recording and building up my online presence right now. I’ve literally met all of my collaborators via the internet! And my next major release will be an EP that won’t be out for a little while. Lots of singles/covers here & there first.

I’m still figuring out what kind of live performance would suit me and these songs best. It’s exciting to enter this new realm of possibilities, though, and check out different kinds of equipment, which is totally new to me. I want to make sure my singing/harmonies are a strong component of my life set along with the beats to these songs.

Anything else interesting about the new tunes?

This is my C.I. era — I rap, I sing, I make beats, I produce; I’m doing a lot of things I used to just experiment with but never really gave my full focus (and confidence) to. I’m making music for myself now and the music reflects that. I’m a better producer now than ever and only getting better. In the words of Fiona Apple, “here’s coming a better version of me!…”

I couldn’t stop watching these celebrity documentaries

These Speidi and Amanda Bynes documentaries will change the way you think about celebrity

If you were obsessively reading Perez Hilton circa 2007 until he went soft (aka just became a different brand of ginormous asshole), these movies were MADE for you.

Will Rebein, the creator of these addicting as fuck documentaries, repurposed video from tabloids (lots of TMZ), tv shows and interviews to recreate a different story about a few of our favorite tabloid celebs. I very literally could. not. stop. watching.

His two documentaries focus on Speidi and Amanda Bynes. In Speidi, you get to watch the infamous couple spiral out of control from their days on The Hills to body dysmorphic disorder-induced plastic surgery to spending their fortune on MAGIC CRYSTALS. The body dysmorphia is really interesting to watch because you see Heidi turn into a numb person, probably caused by a combination of becoming famous too fast, having a terribly manipulative boyfriend and reading countless comments about her “horse face.”

What’s even more fascinating is that Speidi details a weird time in pop culture when celebrities were controlled WAY more by the media before social networks like Twitter or Facebook were the number one way for famous people to communicate with the outside world. Before then, it was allllll through paparazzi videos, tabloid articles and statements made to the press instead of pressing “send” on your smart phone. So worth it to watch.

Amanda Bynes in “I’m Not Crazy”

I’m Not Crazy shows you how Amanda went from cute child comedy prodigy and “good girl” Hollywood actress to a tabloid obsession struggling with, at the time, undiagnosed mental illness. Amanda later reported on Twitter:

Learning that Amanda Bynes is living with bipolar disorder and manic depression really makes you pause and think about what it means to make fun of any celeb who is “acting crazy!” in the press.

By far the worst thing I saw in I’m Not Crazy is a paparazzo relentlessly touching Amanda and pulling down her hood so he could get a picture of her. That scene makes you feel SO terrible, watching a paparazzo violate a mentally ill person’s personal space like that. And all to make a buck so shithole magazines can sell stories about mentally ill rich women to equally shithole humans so they can make fun of them. Gross AF.

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Once dubbed the “3 Bimbos of the Apocalypse,” Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton all make an appearance in I’m Not Crazy. Britney’s especially hits you hard as a viewer (or just me because I’m a huge, forever Britney fan) because she too suffers from mental illness. It’s really sad to see how she was treated by paparazzi, but what’s even SADDER is that at times the paparazzi seemed like Britney’s only real friends.

Anyways the docs are sad, incredibly poignant and provide a lot of commentary on the power the media and society have over famous people. Seriously worth the watch if you are obsessed with dissecting pop culture, fame, society and even mental illness.

Let me know if you watch them and what you thought because I’d love to hear how you felt about them at @ktbcolors on Twitter, on Facebook here or in the comments section.

 

The non-existent feminism of Selena Gomez

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I can’t get behind this cover for Selena Gomez’s new album “Revival”

In her new autobiography, “I’ll Never Write My Memoirs,” Grace Jones puts modern pop stars on blast for failing to be shocking by trying to be shocking:

 “They dress up as though they are challenging the status quo but by now, wearing those clothes, pulling those faces, revealing those tattoos and breasts – that is the status quo.”

Ms. Jones is so right. It’s not shocking AT ALL anymore when modern pop stars do something “shocking.” You know what would be shocking? Madonna making an age appropriate album instead of making us pretend for the millionth year in a row that she’s 21.madonna steve buscemi

That’s why when I saw the cover for Selena Gomez’s upcoming album “Revival,” I was nothing but disappointed at it’s sad attempt to be shocking, because I was unaware that patriarchal nudity was still considered shocking.

For real: Is she challenging the patriarchy by showing us her naked body on this album? Is she challenging rape culture? Exploring her own sexuality? Promoting feminism? A woman’s right to do what she wants with her own body?

Based on the lyrical content of her latest single “Good For You,” I don’t think so:

Gonna wear that dress you like, skin-tight
Do my hair up real, real nice
And syncopate my skin to your heart beating

‘Cause I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
I just wanna look good for you, good for you, uh-huh
Let me show you how proud I am to be yours
Leave this dress a mess on the floor
And still look good for you, good for you, uh-huh

First of all: honey, it’s 2015. NO.

Second: These lyrics are all sorts of NOPE.

The song was written, unsurprisingly, by three men and one woman.

Let that sink in like a long, wet fart from a stranger 5 minutes into your hour long bus commute. A 23-year-old female pop singer is singing a song written by dudes, about wanting to please dudes and look good for dudes. In 2015. It’s not as if songs like these haven’t been hitting our mom’s Dodge Caravan radios for decades/millennia, but the tides have turned. Rihanna is known for not writing her music, but at least she has the intelligence and will to curate empowering music like “Bitch Better Have My Money” that tears the shit out of the patriarchy.

More and more people learn about what rape culture is everyday. Feminism is discussed daily in the media. And “Good For You” is nothing if not another tired attempt at perpetuating harmful patriarchal ideas, like women only wanting to look good for the male gaze, or that anybody not going to their senior prom is wearing an updo. Which begs the question:

WHY IS A FEMALE POP STAR SINGING ABOUT LIVING FOR THE MALE GAZE IN THE MIDDLE OF A MAINSTREAM FEMINIST MOVEMENT?

Was Selena so hungry for a hit song that she didn’t care about the contents? Did her label make her do this? Is her career managed by 40+ year old men who have total boners for the patriarchy? All signs point to probably. This is hardly the first time she’s sang a song that is decidedly anti-feminist (no wonder Rihanna passed on “Come and Get It“).

It would be one thing if feminism wasn’t being talked about EVERYWHERE. Or if Taylor Swift, arguably the queen of the entire music industry right now, hadn’t ignited conversation about the importance of being a feminist for the past year. Or if Britney wasn’t tell all men to “suck my fucking toe.” Or, you know, if THE Beyonce hadn’t performed in front of a GIANT SIGN that literally said FEMINIST on MTV.

 

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SLAY BEY BEY

It’s very true that pop music has not always politically correct or woman-friendly (Blurred Lines, anyone?). But we live in a really special time in mainstream music right now where women are writing and producing their own music more than ever before in a typically male-dominated industry. Taylor Swift, Grimes, Katy Perry, SIA and Lady Gaga, to name a few, all have a heavy hand in writing, composing and producing their own music. It’s amazing! It’s inspiring! And it’s about goddamn time to have actual female perspectives via the written word in mainstream music.

It’s one thing if you’re writing your own music about loving the male gaze, or wanting to look good for that Canadian human mop Justin Bieber. But it is quite another to not even be involved in writing the gross songs that support the patriarchy. Good thing you’re teaching all your young, impressionable, coming-of-age fans that it’s cool to do everything you can to please men sexually. How progressive of u.

Lorde famously called Selena out in the press for singing anti-feminist songs. And she’s right. There’s no place for this in mainstream music anymore. Popular culture is changing, women in music are more empowered than ever and ain’t nobody got time for that male gaze shit. I get dressed for ME, I wear lipstick for ME and so should YOU, Selena. You, your fans and top 40 radio deserve better than this. It’s 2015©.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments. 

 

The actual best deodorant ever

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I am a sweaty person.

Not like, dripping-from-my-forearm-in-an-air-conditioned-room kind of sweaty, but more like sitting-on-the-couch-in-a-moderately-warm-living-room-armpit-sweaty kind of way. It’s annoying as fuck.

Trying to find a deodorant that works–and one that is not also an anti-perspirant–has been impossible. Those deodorants, in my experience, are made for people who don’t sweat much at all and enjoy the routine wallet masochism of buying useless products. I have never smelled worse in my life than when I tried Tom’s deodorant. I even talked to some actual, real-life hippies about the stuff, and even they were like “Oh fuck no, Tom’s makes you smell worse.” And it really does–more so than if you had put nothing on at all.

So in my sad search for a deodorant that isn’t a complete waste of time and money, I’ve just been using the regular anti-perspirant that’s filled with aluminum. (I’m not an organic-everything purist, but some studies over the years have linked to Alzheimers and traces in breast cancer. Although they’re not conclusive, it’s still something I consider when looking at shit that’s going on my body.)

Until now.

Since gaining a nice boyfriend in the past two years–and seeing him leave behind important things like a toothbrush, a pair of socks and (fuck yes!) extra snacks–I’ve discovered a huge beauty secret that men have been hoarding for millenia: Old Spice deodorant.

I decided to try out his Old Spice because I was feeling very gender fluid and carefree that day. I slapped it on and was amazed hours later when I wasn’t sweating profusely or smelling like I just took a bath in the juice of a big, ripe onion. Now, nearly two weeks later, I still am not smelling gross and am defintely feeling like this deodorant works great. I’m hypothesizing that it might be the alcohol-based formula that is the pop star ingredient here, as it’s not found in many other deodorants.

One big question I had after my great discovery in stealing my boyfriend’s shit: why don’t they make an Old Spice for women? Are they afraid we will all turn into the literal Old Spice, the secret 6th member of the Spice Girls who was cut right before recording their debut album?

Underground press photo of Old Spice, the forgotten Spice Girl

Underground press photo of Old Spice, the forgotten Spice Girl

 I was considering writing them and asking why they didn’t have a girl version because it’s been working for me so well. And then 2015 hit me and was like, girl wear whatever the fuck you want, you don’t need a gendered version that costs 36% more and doesn’t even work! 

It would be great to see the Old Spice brand move towards a more gender-neutral advertising campaign since their product is the best deodorant I’ve ever used. After all, gender is kind of boring and whatever conglomerate makes Old Spice could really cut down on costs having to make a bunch of shitty products for the opposite sex when they could just focus on one great deodorant for everyone. Until then, Imma keep stealing my boyfriend’s Old Spice and appropriating this awesome man deodorant/scent for myself. I urge all self-proclaimed sweaty bitches to do the same!

It's ours now.

It’s ours now.

So I’m trying to win a free vacation

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I’ve been trying to win a vacation online since January 2015.

Up until now, I’ve just gotten some promotional, newsletter-y emails at my win-a-vacation specific gmail account. They are normally from Sandals.com, the Travel Channel and wherever else I’ve signed up. Other than that, I’ve been virtually unbothered and totally out of luck.

Until today.

My phone rang with a number I didn’t recognize. Because I’m on the prowl for a new job, I thought the call was from a place I had recently interviewed and my heart jumped. Here it is! My new life!

“Congratulations!!!” said the person on the other end of the line.

I thought it was a weird way for a place to tell me I got the job, but it’s 2015 and everyone is losing their minds so fucking hard, so I shrugged it off. That’s so festive! And amazing for me! But sadly, no. It wasn’t them.

The phone call was actually an automated woman that went on to tell me free cruise tickets were waiting for me (!!!) and all I had to do was answer a few simple questions.

The questions went as follows:

“Do you have any pain in your joints or muscles? Press 2 for yes, 3 for no.” uhhhh sorta but I don’t want them to know that. I pressed 3.

“If I told you there were medical breakthroughs in non-habit forming, pain relieving topical creams, would you be interested? Press 2 for yes, 3 for no.” I pressed 3, but in hindsight I should have pressed 2.

Then they asked me if I had health insurance and something else I forgot.

I was hoping for more questions about topical creams and to hear about other sketchy medical breakthroughs that might change my life in the worst way possible if I ever used them. But this automated message had no time to fuck around.

“For two free tickets sending YOU and a guest on a cruise in the Bahamas, press 1 after this message, and a travel coordinator will call you in the next 24-48 hours. “ Wow, that was fast! I thought.  Bahamas here we come!! My boyfriend is gonna FLIP! 

However, seconds later my hopes to finally win a free vacation were dashed, just like that time in 2006 I realized “doing fashion in Spain” wasn’t a viable career.

The automated message HUNG. UP. before I had a chance to alert the eager travel coordinator that I wanted my two free tickets. How could this have happened to me? MEEE!!!!

I felt tricked. Foiled. Humiliated on my own couch! How dare they turn me into a focus group participant without delivering their reward!

10 minutes later, after I had consoled myself with a fresh bag of Pop Secret, I got a call from what my phone said was coming from a Hollywood, FL. (Is that not the saddest imagery EVER for a city? I need that t-shirt ASAP.)

I answered.

“Hello?” I said in my normal, casual tone of inquiry.

No answer. Maybe they didn’t hear me, I thought.

“Hello??” I said, this time louder and with a bit more gumption.

Still no answer. Am I being fooled here? AGAIN? On my own couch, for the second time in one day? How much more of this can I take?

I hung up the dead line and sighed heavily. I guess I’m not winning any vacation today. But on the bright side there’s always tomorrow. And every day after that until I win a goddamn free vacation on the internet or via phone scam. I’ll keep you posted.

The nostalgia of chain restaurants

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I’m not afraid to say it: I enjoy the occasional trip to a chain restaurant. The guarantee that the food will be mediocre and really salty is sort of enchanting. Like a fairy calling your name from the suburban woods, telling you to come home because Grandpa’s sick and your colon hasn’t been blasted by shoddy food in a while.

Growing up in the Midwest, I took a lot of road trips. A move from Kansas to Minnesota when I was 10 meant that we were haulin’ it every summer and holiday to go home to Kansas to see friends and family.

When you’re in the car for 8-10 hours in one day with your nuclear family, staring at majestic corn fields, smelling luscious dad farts and spitefully snacking on the healthy nut mix your loving mom packed while suppressing a Preteen cry for Cheetos, there’s no room for debate about which quaint Midwest country restaurant you and yours will dine at during your trip. You need dependable food and a familiar menu before anyone has a hunger meltdown in your prestigious Dodge Caravan.

As was normal on many road trips down I-35, my parents awoke me from the third nap of the day at 12:30pm, which meant it was time to start hunting for the highway “FOOD” signs.

The way it worked was if you’ve never heard of the restaurant before, we’re not going there. Oh, no commercial on national television? In your dreams, Shane’s Rib Shack. Take a hike, Grandma’s Kitchen. Nice try, Lou’s Food Emporium. 

Back in 1998 when I was 10, there was no internet in your hand and on-the-go. Taking a risk on a lesser known restaurant was not something any travel fatigued family wanted to do. Stopping to eat takes up valuable road time and you mustn’t take chances on unknown places. What if their decaf coffee is terrible, sending mother into a tailspin worse than you letting your Gigapet starve to death? What if they don’t have chicken strips? You simply can’t take risks like that when you’re travelling with anyone. The fallout would be unbearable in such close farting quarters.

Luckily, all the Chili’s, Applebees and Pizza Huts were conveniently located next to the highway so we only had to argue over which chain to eat at, significantly lowering the number of “I’M NOT EATING THERE!!!” screams from my preteen big mouth.

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The dependable chain restaurant food was just that: dependable. The chicken strips were gorgeous, the Heinz ketchup was perfectly room temperature, and the Pepsi on tap was always a disappointment. It was heaven. Plus, where else are you gonna get a plate with cheeseburgers, criminally delicious SOUTHWEST ROLLS, and the mythically “loaded” potato skin boats all in one place? It’s the definition of heaven on a plate. The menu at any one of these fine chain restaurants is the definition of mediocre innovation–but that doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful.

Now that I’m older and live in a big city, of course I have better taste, I’m not a total jerk. But once in a while, something greater than me pulls my body out to the suburbs like an alien magnate, where I find myself alone and uncontrollably smiling inside of a Chili’s. Yes Amanda, I AM just a party of one. Perhaps it’s because it reminds me of being young, or maybe it’s because you can’t get good chicken strips at nice restaurants. Whatever the case, chain restaurants will without a doubt always hold a beautiful mini-chimichanga space in my heart.