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CBS’s Recipe for Success in “FWBL”?: Sexism + Sexy Stars

May 16, 2014

After getting back from a long camping trip with my students, I decided to catch up on lots of television, including CBS’s Friends with Better Lives. I had so much hope for this show because a) I’m looking for a sitcom to replace How I Met Your Mother in my life and b) I am a sci-fi nerd who loved the show Roswell growing up and was so excited to see that Majandra Delfino is on the show! 

However, after binging on five episodes, it appears that FWBL relies on traditional views of femininity and masculinity to complete the show’s punchlines. For example, Jules, the super hot Brooklyn Decker, is engaged to Lowell, a vegan hippie who owns a sustainable cafe. In one episode, the men don’t want to invite Lowell to boys’ night because they think he won’t be “into” that kind of thing. When Andi asks for a reason, Lowell coincidentally walks over with a dessert and sprinkles flowers around it. Lowell’s feminine behavior gets a laugh because clearly if he acts like this he won’t be into boy’s night. When Lowell goes to boys night, he is shocked to see that the boys are eating cupcakes and watching The Good Wife. He mocks the boys and insists they do manly things like get drunk and steal police bicycles. (Okay, this sight was pretty funny!) However, I have a hard time getting behind a show that relies on the same old crap to get laughs. 

The show also gets at another one of my pet peeves: the archetype of a single woman who is always longing for a mate to complete her. Kate is spunky and funny yet it is revealed in a recent episode that what she really longs for is a soul mate who she can have her dream wedding with. I think this is something we can all relate to but it bothers me that the promo for this show clearly labels her as single. Does this really matter so much?

Let me also address that the show uses Brooklyn Decker’s supermodel status in the most stereotypical ways possible. Her character decides to become vegan for her fiancee yet Jules harbors a love for meat. Jules sneaks a bite of Kate’s hamburger and the camera goes in slow motion as Kate cannot stop eating this giant hamburger (Think every Carls Jr. commercial on the planet). This recipe (sexism + sexy stars) isn’t new for television. I would argue that How I Met Your Mother‘s success rests somewhat on its use of sexist jokes. We need to rethink “what is funny” in order to get better sitcoms on television.

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Move Over Ryan Gosling…

May 12, 2014

A new feminist is in town. I love this Twitter site, FeministTaylorSwift, that molds Taylor Swift lyrics into feminist messages.

Example:

I’m 13 now / And don’t know how / A person can be both intelligent and feminine at the same time / Because the media says I can’t

Too Sweet Not to Share

May 11, 2014

The Problem with Gender-Specific Toys

May 11, 2014

I read an article recently about engineering kits for girls, called GoldieBlox. Girl-oriented packaging and a storybook are included to attract girls to the product. While I love the idea of getting girls involved in building and engineering, I wonder if this product helps or hurts the cause. If a little girl wants to build, can’t she just pick up a set up legos? GoldieBlox goes off of the assumption that little girls like lighter colors (pink) and are more likely to engage in activities that involve stories and fantasy play. Aren’t these ideas that we must fight to create a world that offers boys and girls the same opportunities? I want my students to think all toys are open to them and they won’t be criticized for liking “pink” toys or vice versa. However, this idea that little girls must play with pink toys and little boys must play with blue or green is so entrenched in my world at school. It seems to be an unspoken rule for some little girls that building is not as acceptable an activity as others. So this has me thinking… If GoldieBlox makes building seem like a more attractive idea for little girls, then is it really a bad thing?

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Lego Friends (Another problematic toy targeted at young girls)

What I’ve Been Reading

May 11, 2014

Advice from Arianna Huffington. I am looking forward to reading her book, Thrive

A Harvard student prints makeup on a 3D printer

A list of the last feminist bookstores in the U.S. and Canada. I want to visit the one in Portland. 

What’s going on with sex education in this country? 

This is a beautiful video about an autistic boy who loves wind chimes. 

An incredibly moving video of Sam Berns’s philosophy for a happy life

I just saw Ingrid in concert and now I adore her even more for this gender-bending video. 

Get Kinky and Love Yourself

May 6, 2014

I love this campaign where celebrities wear kinky boots and encourage people to be who they are…

One of My Favorite Things

May 4, 2014
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I love these photos of Theo and Beau. Can’t wait to get the children’s book!