Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Hollywood Double Standard

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maggie Gyllenhaal was recently told that she was too old to play the lover of a 55 year old man.
She's 37. It's a never ending trend in Hollywood that men get lead rolls well into their *cough* senior years, while as women age, their choice of rolls get smaller and smaller.

A quote by Lillian Gish, "Lionel Barrymore first played my grandfather, later my father, and finally he played my husband. If he'd lived I'm sure I'd have played his mother. That's the way it is in Hollywood. The men get younger, the women get older."

This has been detailed in, but I'll do a little summary of their findings.

Denzel Washington: Ages were fairly close in Mo' Better Blues (35), Malcolm X (37) and The Preacher's Wife (41), then as he ages, his love interests get younger. He Got Game, he was 43, his love interest Milla Jovovich was 22. Training Day, 46 to Eva Mendez's 27. Deja vu, 51 to Paula Patton's 30. That's just naming a few, but the trend is the same.

Harrison Ford: The difference in age for Mr. Ford starts as early back as Empire Strikes Back with him at age 37 and Carrie Fisher 23. From there his onscreen love life ranges from Sean Young at 22 (to his 39 in Bladrunner) to Virginia Madsen at 44 (63, Firewall).

Now Richard Gere has had an older love interest. Once. In 2004 with Susan Sarandon. The rest of his love interests range from 5 years younger (Debra Winger, 27, An Officer and a Gentleman) to 29 (Laetitia Casta, 34, Arbitrage).

Liam Neeson by Karen Seto
Ok, one more. Liam Neeson. He actually  had two older love interests. Jessica Lange and Meryl Streep, I mean, hello. Of course, that last one was back in 1996 and those two were still lead actresses at the time. Other than that, his onscreen love interests range from 5 years (Frances McDormand, 33, Darkman) to a whopping 32 years (Olivia Wilde, 29 Third Person).

The site also runs through Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Steve Carell, George Clooney, Tom Cruise. Some of them don't have huge differences and have dated older women in films, but for the most part, the trend is the opposite.

What is this teaching us about society? What is this teaching our children? Girls, you better land a man before you hit 40 because after that, you'll be lucky to find someone your own age. Boys, don't worry about your age, there will always be a woman out there for you, probably 20-30 years your junior, if you know what I mean.

Um, really?

Seriously, I think this translates to real life sometimes. When I was doing the online dating thing, most men my age were looking for women at least 10 years younger. Wow. Does that mean I have to go up 10 years to find someone to date?

There are plenty of actresses over 40 who can still carry a lead realistically get a younger guy.
  1. Monica Belluci
    Monica Belucci by Tsui
  2. Cameron Diaz
  3. Gwyneth Paltrow
  4. Julianne Moore
  5. Sandra Bullock
  6. Catherine Zeta Jones
  7. Framke Janssen
  8. Halle Berry
  9. Jennifer Aniston
  10. Jennifer Connelly
  11. Julia Roberts
  12. Meryl Streep
  13. Helen Mirren
  14. Naomi Watts
  15. Nicole Kidman
  16. Salma Hayak
  17. Cate Blanchett
  18. Jane Lynch
  19. Diane Lane
  20. Jodie Foster
There are SO many more.

Lara Flynn Boyle before & after plastic surgery
It's no wonder these already beautiful women get plastic surgery to keep up with Hollywood standards. Some of them in their 20s and 30s!  And some of these ladies look much worse for wear or totally unrecognizable. Go look up before and after pics of Daryl Hannah, Lindsey Lohan, Lara Flynn Boyle, Rene Zellwegger, Melanie Griffith, Kim Novack, Goldie Hawn...unfortunately, this list could go on and on too.

So, Hollywood is telling women that natural beauty is not enough. You need big boobs, and artificial beauty to be taken seriously. Looking at these photos, all I see is a bunch of beautiful women that now look like some semblance of the Joker - high cheeked, fat lipped clones of each other.

This trend is very sexist and is a complete double standard. Hollywood needs to stop being a bunch of mysoginistic sexists and let the ladies have some fun with a younger lover. What do they think is going to happen? Armageddon? Do they really think they're going to kill sales? Wrong. Women will eat this shit up.

Hmmm, maybe there's a book in there somewhere.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rape Culture and the Religious Right

I'm so tired of people, mostly right wing middle aged men, trying to find the "positive" side of rape so they can advance their anti-abortion laws. Rape is a brutal, violent, traumatic crime that can leave victims with lifelong problems. There is no "positive" side.

In 2012 U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana thought that “...even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

I'm pretty sure no one's God would wish that on someone.

Or how about the Former Representative  Todd Akin stating that  "...if a woman experienced a “legitimate rape” she wouldn’t get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

Hmmmm, what exactly is a legitimate rape?Are there different levels? This one is implausible, this one absolutely fake, this one is invalid...Really? 

Washington Congressional candidate John Koster noted on what he called the "rape thing," " does putting more violence onto a woman's body and taking the life of an innocent child that's a consequence of this crime, how does it make it better?"

First, "rape thing" sounds like he doesn't even believe the crime exists. Secondly...I don't know, how about ridding yourself of the reminder of being brutally violated instead of having to carry it every day for the next nine months? I think that makes it better.

Photo by Gage Skidmore
And we all know good old Mike Huckabee, right? Well, "Ethel Waters (who is a singer by the way), for example, is the result of forcible rape."

Wow. Okay, firsts off, like "legitimate rape" is there any other kind of rape than "forcible?"  Of course, that doesn't matter because you've sold me. I won't abort my rape baby because it could become famous! (I have no idea who Ethel Waters is).
Representative hopeful Tom Smith compared having a rape baby to having a baby out of wedlock because, "Yes, it is similar."
And oh, good lord, is this a good one. "The facts show that people who are raped - who are truly raped (againt, "truly" raped. WTF?) - the juices don't flow, the body functions don't work, and they don't get pregnant." - former Representative Henry Aldridge.

I would like to see these "facts." Were they published in a medical journal? Complete bullshit.

"As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lay back and enjoy it." Another former Representative contender, Clayton Williams, comparing rape to the weather.
Let's see if you would be able to "lay back" or in your case "bend over" and enjoy it if it were you.

And just recently, "Obviously rape is awful. What is beautiful is the child is that could come from this." Delegate Brian Kurcaba.

There are SO MANY MORE! Some from women. This disgusts me. The ignorance these politicians display is truly sickening. Here is a site that has some posted.

I'm so happy that many of these people are no longer in Congress or lost their bids. These are not the people that should represent us, especially women.

There is nothing "beautiful" about rape. Not even a baby conceived as the result. It's violent. It's traumatic. It's an invasion, an assault, a desecration of the female body.  Forcing a woman to carry the reminder around for nine months would be agonizing, tortuous, and morbid.  There would be mental and emotional consequences for the rape victim, again, probably life long.

What if the victim is a child herself? 17, 15, 13? You want a child having to bear that responsibility? What if it were your daughter? Or, what about a baby conceived as a result of incest? What then? Should we just expand the family tree?

These politicians have no way of stepping into the victims shoes to see the damage a forcible pregnancy would cause. So why should they have the right to determine what choices we make with regard to the fetus?
I'm not for or against abortion, I'm pro-choice. I think abortion should be available for those who choose that option.  You could be a child, impoverished, too old, your health is at risk, a victim of rape or incest - the reason shouldn't matter. I will say that I do not think it's a good alternate to birth control. If you're having sex, you should be protecting yourself. But the fact is that people don't, and who am I to tell them what they can and cannot do with their bodies. 

If I was a rape victim, I would more than likely choose abortion. I have enough problems, mentally, financially, physically...I don't need to add another to my plate. You may not agree with my opinion, but I expect you to recognize that it is mine. I own it.

My life. My body. My choice.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Since I blogged about Thing Two yesterday...

Yes, I don't want to show favoritism, as both my daughters are cool, talented, beautiful and annoying. So today I'm writing about my older daughter, Mary. Mary isn't "classically" cool. She's funny, fun, friendly, goofy, a little on the airheaded side (sometimes I wonder if it's real of fake). This makes her incredibly likable. I can't say I appreciate her taste in music, but I'm sure a lot of people do. 

Her talent lies in soccer. At one point, I didn't think she'd excel in the sport. She was shy and lackedconfidence. She was a defender at first, and she got better. When she expressed a desire to play up front, I told her, "You have to prove to your coach that you can do it. You have to be aggressive and fight for the ball." The next practice, she did just that. She moved from defense to forward and in the next years she became one of the team's top scorers.

Now she's an excellent team player. Put her up front, she can score. She weaves in and out of players so smoothly she makes it look easy. I think her real talent lies in the midfield. She has a strong foot and can move the ball forward. Her passes are spot on. Plus, she can shoot for the goal from that position if she's open. I love watching her play. She's dedicated too. She eats fairly well, never misses practice, and exercises outside of practice. At her last physical, her doctor told her she was "pure muscle."

Let's talk about beauty. Mary is beautiful, there is no question. She has a confidence that I wish all teenage girls possessed. Her hair is always done when she goes out, unless she's going to work out. She dresses impeccably, when she's not in soccer shorts. And like I said, she's fit.

 There 's more though. You may not know it by looking at her, because she looks like any other popular girl, but she's as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. She's sweet, kind and thoughtful.

Now for the annoying part. She usually doesn't complain when I ask her to do chores, but it sometimes may take a day...or two...or three...or a week. She constantly has friends over and I can never enjoy my TV room when she's home (because she's bingewatching Gossip Girl or Vampire Diaries, or something similar). She is an exhibitionist to a fault. That's all I'll say about that.

She's really a loving person. She visits her grandparents. She misses me when we've not seen each other in a couple days and tells me so. She also tells me she loves me every day. She helps me when she knows I'm struggling. We talk to each other about everything. 

There you are Mary. No need to be jealous of your sister now. Love you girl.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Blog me

"What should I blog about today?"

I posed this question to my daughter as she walked out the door for school today. She said, "Blog about me."

"What should I talk about?"

"How cool I am. How talented I am. How beautiful I am. How annoying I can be. How humble I am." Okay, I made up that last one.

She told me about Childish Gambino. I'd never heard of him. If you haven't, apparently he is a comedic rapper/singer. I watched a couple videos's funny. He raps silly shit, but it makes sense, in a way, I mean, hard to explain. Here's some lyrics.

This one is from Sweatpants:

Hip deep in the Pepto, I got five on her like Ben Folds
I got more tail than that PetCo, you faker than some Sweet'N Low
Yeah, you got some silverware, but really are you eating though?

Here is some from Freaks and Geeks (warning, nasty nasty lyrics):

 Gambino is a mastermind, fuck a bitch to pass the time
Mass Appeal, orange rind, smoke your green, I'm spendin' mine
The beat is witches brew, but beware this shit is potent
E.E. cummin' on her face, now that's poetry in motion.

In his songs you can tell, or at least I can, or maybe I'm imagining it, what rappers he's making a parody of. But he does it so subtly, it's genius. He got his name from the Wu Tang Clan name generator. By the way, mine is Mad Scientist and Rachel's is Master Destroyer.

So, my daughter, Rachel, she introduces me to new things. New music, videos, interesting people. She's cool like that. She has great taste in music. I remember her first favorite band was the Beatles (she still likes them). She listens to many different genres, hip hop, rap, rock, alternative, indie...She plays songs that she's discovered for me all the time. She keeps a poetry notebook. She likes to draw.  She loves photography. She has many unique and different likes in this world.

Rachel is uber talented. Her talents began with sports. She could probably have played any sport she
wanted, but we put her in soccer and basketball. I don't know basketball very well, but I think her position was guard? She brought the ball down the court, great at passing. She was also a great shooter, but she was short. Get her at the free throw line though...golden.

She was an awesome keeper in soccer. I've seen that girl stop goals that looked impossible. From the time she was in about 3rd grade on, that girl was a menace on the field. Also, she could play any position on the field. The last year she played, she was reluctant. But I was coaching so I talked her into it. Her usual position, if not keeper, was defense. She had a great foot and could clear that ball with no problem. Same at midfield. Her passes were so accurate!! And she could score. She'd
sometimes get frustrated on the field and say she didn't want to go back in. I gave her a pep talk and told her exactly what I wanted her to do. Sometimes it was to  pass it up to the forwards. Other times, I would tell her to take it as close to the goal as possible and shoot. Other times (depending on team and keeper we were playing) I'd tell her to shoot when she got close to the 18. She had a strong foot, her shots were great and she wasn't afraid to shoot. I think she was my 3rd highest scorer that last year.

Her interests turned to music however. I was sad to see her quit soccer, but her musical talents rivaled her athletic ability. I put her in lessons for guitar and voice. Very soon, her teacher had her playing keyboards/piano and drums. One day she came home and said, "I need a bass."

Um...huh? "I'm in a band now. I'm the bass player."

"Do you know how to play bass?"

"I'm learning."

I think you could stick any instrument in that girl's hand and she could figure out how to play it. She even played the cello at an acoustic performance.

So, in this band she played mostly bass and  a little rhythm guitar. She also has a beautiful voice. She sang on some of their songs. And she writes originals. She fucking rocks.

At her high school, she's in both Jazz Choir and Concert Choir. Her Jazz Choir just took a gold medal at a competition in Seattle last month.

Okay, let's talk about her beauty. Yes, I think she's beautiful. Obviously the boys do too as she usually has a string of them waiting to be her next boyfriend.


 And she just recently went from long  hair to short. I was worried, but when she came home, it really did suit  her.

And yes, she's annoying. She's about the worst cleaner in the world (but the best mess maker). She doesn't always get her homework in on time. She's not found a job. She rolls her eyes when I ask her to do chores. But this is only a small part of who she is.

My daughter is cool and talented and beautiful. She walks to the beat of her own drum. She doesn't care about trends when it
comes to music, clothes. She doesn't care how people view her as long as she has friends and is happy. In many ways, she is my mini me.

So here you go Rachel. Here's your blog. You know I'm going to have to write about your sister tomorrow now.

Love you girl.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Well, it's 40 below and I don't give a...

Me, Jordan, & Deann
If you don't recognize what my title is in reference to, it's lyrics from the Rodeo Song. Look up the entire lyrics for a laugh, but only if you're not offended by swearing and inappropriate content. It's hilarious.

I use the song for my title because this last weekend I went to my first rodeo. The reasoning behind my traveling five hours away in a camper to a dust bowl filled with all the animals I'm allergic to is two-fold. 1. One of my best friend's daughter does rodeo. I've been wanting to watch her for awhile and rodeo season is almost over. 2. I've been thinking about writing a book about rodeo life. My friend, her name is Deann, moved to Wyoming way back after graduating college. She lived there for 20 years and now she's back in my hood, like, literally, she lives about a minute away from me.
This was the real traffic on our way out of town

On very very long drive, she and daughter, Jordan, schooled me on rodeo phrases, events, etc. I diligently took notes in a small notebook. During the rodeo, I continued to take notes and pictures so when I write this book, I can make it as authentic as possible.

Rodeo is an eye-opening adventure. You really have no idea about the skill, the danger, and the environment as a whole until you experience it, full force. Here is a run down of events:

  • Barrel Racing - This is done by females. They race their horses around three barrels in a clover pattern. 
  • Bareback and Saddlebronc - Males ride bucking horses until they fall off or reach 8 seconds. One with saddles, one without.
  • Bull Riding
  • Bull riding - Males ride bucking bull until they fall off or reach 8 seconds. With this and the Bareback and Saddlebronc, they are scored by certain actions they do while riding. That's how they get different scores.
  • Tie Down Roping - Males chase a calf, rope it, I hate to use the word throw but I don't know how else to say it...they throw the calf to the ground, and have to tie three legs together, The ties have to last for 6 seconds to get scored.
  • Breakaway - This is the females version of Tie Down, however the girls only have to rope the calf, then the rope between the calf and their horse "breaks away." The time stops after the rope breaks.
  • Steer Wrestling - Males chase a steer on their horse, when they're next to it, they lean over and grab it and leave their horse, then they wrestle it to the ground. They have to have all four
    Steer Wrestling
    legs in the air for time to stop.
  • Team Roping - There are two riders, can be all females, all males or one of each. They chase a calf. One of them ropes the horns, after that is accomplished, the other ropes the back legs. 
  • Goat Roping or Goat Tying - This is a female event. Same as Tie down for the men, I think. I never got to see this event. 
  • Pole Bending - Same as Barrel Racing except instead of racing around barrels, the contestants weave in and out of 6 poles.
I'm not the biggest animal lover, but I don't want harm to come to them either. I was assured that the animals used don't really feel the pain it appears they are enduring. Cows have a lot of fat on them, so when they're laid on the ground, it doesn't really hurt. They put protective gear on their heads during the roping events.  To make the horses and bulls buck, a strap is placed around their flank area, which is uncomfortable, but not painful (which is better than what I was led to believe, that their balls were cinched up). I was also told that when they're not doing rodeo, these animals are spoiled and have great lives. I hope this is the case.

Jordan competes in Breakaway and Team Roping.
Jordan doing Breakaway
Jordan & Team Rope Partner Jacob

It's not easy. You can probably tell that from the pictures. In fact, many of the riders don't get times at all because they fail in their tasks. Bull, Saddlebronc, and Bareback riders don't get a time if they don't last 8 seconds. Pole Benders and Barrel Racers don't get time if their horse goes off course. Those who do Breakaway and the Tie Down events don't get a time if they fail to rope, their rope comes off, or they don't finish in the allotted amount of time (latter is for team rope only).

In Jordan's events only 9 out of 26 got times for Team Roping and 11 of 35 for Breakaway.

The Rodeo World is pretty tight. These same kids compete at the same rodeos all over the state. So they all know each other. Cliques form  just like with any other environment, and the kids are in competition, so there's bound to be conflict. The parents all seemed friendly and supportive, and there were many tight knit groups. It was a positive atmosphere.

Aside from learning rodeo skills, these kids are taught responsibility and manners as well. They were all very polite, they treated their horses well. It was up to them to feed and water them and clean the stalls when it was all over.

Our home for the weekend.
I enjoyed the rodeo. It was interesting. It was fun to be a part of that environment for the weekend. Even staying in the camper was a blast, though close quarters. Over the weekend I was able to plot out some of the storyline of my rodeo book.

I think I'm going to go back with them in two weeks, when the kids compete for state championships. I'd like to see what it's like for these kids to win or lose.

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