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January 31, 2011

People of Color on the Vampire Diaries: Witches & Dead Bodies

Back when the second season of The Vampire Diaries started, we noticed something... There really aren't too many people of color in Mystic Falls. And those that were there? Most of them seem to be dead by now, except for a select few that have been allowed to survive in order to do the bidding of the other characters on the show.

As we continued through season 2, we noticed that there are only two roles for people of color on The Vampire Diaries: witches and dead bodies. (Or sometimes... dead witches.)

Maybe you think we're overreacting or exaggerating? Read more at ESCTVBlog.com and you be the judge.

January 30, 2011

Cosmo Quickies: January 2011

New year, same old Cosmo! Let's take a look at the January issue.

-We recently learned that Cosmo shows a different version of their cover to potential advertisers. The advertiser cover tones down or replaces the sex-related article titles. How very fun and fearless! (If you're new here, "Fun Fearless Female" is Cosmo's tagline, although it can sometimes be hard to figure out why when you're actually reading the articles.)

-In this month's From The Editor column we learn that Editor-in-Chief Kate White recently received an "Excellence in Contraceptive Reporting" award at an event for the 50th anniversary of the the Pill. I will say that Cosmo's sexual health advice is usually much better than their actual sex tips or relationship advice, but I never thought of it as award-worthy "reporting". I'm also going to guess that magazines like Bitch, Ms., and Bust weren't nominated for this award.

-This month's Guy Insight column is called "10 Things I Don't Get About Women" and is allegedly written by Glee star Chord Overstreet. Does anyone out there actually believe that these celeb guys have anything to do with crap like this? Especially when the "insights" sound suspiciously like the same old Cosmo-speak. But if you do believe, then you should know that Chord Overstreet thinks that confidence is sexy and doesn't like it when you wait too long to text him back or start getting ready for a date. Adjust your life accordingly.

-101 Things About Men includes a lot of decoding advice this month.
  • In "3 Signs He Has Something Up His Sleeve", a professional poker player helps you figure out if your guy is hiding some kind of secret. So if he pushes up his sleeves, gulps, or touches things with his hands, he's probably secretly gay or married or he's leaving you for a Pilates instructor or something. Be afraid.
  • Then there's "Decode His Emoticons", and I have to admit that I actually agree with some of their emoticon analysis. For example, a happy face means "I know you want me to say something nice, so I'm sticking this stupid smiley face here." Pretty accurate in my experience.
  • Finally, we have "Pillow Talk". Yes, Cosmo wants you to analyze the way that a guy lays his head on a pillow. Apparently "how he rests his head can tell you a lot about his personality, including his relationship MO." If he spoons the pillow he craves comfort and if he puts his head in the middle of it he's confident. The more you know...

-There's a hilarious piece called "What Your Ex's Next Girlfriend Reveals About You". Basically, no matter what she's like, it means that you're super awesome and way better than her and he wasn't good enough for you anyway, that stupid jerk.
  • If she's "the girl next door", that means she's basically a boring homebody and he was just "threatened" by how spontaneous and fun and fearless you are.
  • If she's a "plain Jane", that means "your beauty (and brains) intimidated the hell out of him" and he's better off with someone "bland" while you find someone "confident enough to be your equal".
  • If she's a "wild card", Angelina Jolie type? Well, according to Cosmo, "A man goes this route when he is lost (ahem, Brad Pitt) and wants a take-charge woman, whereas you accepted him for who he is. Don't change; just aim for a guy with clear goals." Boy, there sure is nothing worse in the world than a take-charge woman, am I right? And hey, way to stay topical and current with the Jen/Brad/Angelina reference. That will never be played out.

-In the Guy Watch section there's an article called "The New Male Grooming Obsession (They call it 'Back, sack, and crack'.)" I just...can't. I'm sorry. But I do look forward to future Cosmo investigative reporting on whether there's a male version of vajazzling.

-Here come the sex tips! This month, we've got 60 Hands-Free Ways To Wow Him. (#44 - "Lick his eyelids, and then blow on your saliva.") Here's how it breaks down:
  • Licking/sucking/kissing/biting - 21
  • Boobs - 9
  • Feet - 7
  • Inner wrist/forearm - 2
  • Chin - 1
  • Cheeks - 1
  • Armpit - 1
  • Hair, whipped back and forth -1

-Next up is Ask Him Anything, where Cosmo "guy guru" Ky Henderson solves all of your problems. Here's an example:
My husband and I used to have a great sex life. But in the past month or so, he often says he's not in the mood when I try to initiate action. He says he's just tired, but should I be worried that we're having less sex?

When a guy does not want to have sex, something's wrong. Though it could be a sign of cheating, this sounds more like work stress or general depression. The problem also could have something to do with you. Did you gain weight recently? Have you started pressuring him about having kids? Is there another unresolved issue?

Instead of trying to get him to have sex, think about why he isn't into it...and what you can do to address that. He is, after all, a guy. Once the problem is solved, his sex drive should return in full force.
Okay, let's recap. Since all guys are full-on horndogs 24/7, less sex is obviously a big problem. The good news is that he might not be cheating on you. He's probably just depressed or something. Obviously you shouldn't do anything silly like trying to talk to him about it. Instead, assume that the problem lies with you. He's probably just not attracted to you anymore because you got really fat (in one month) or turned into a huge nag. Just be a better wife and then maybe he'll want to have sex with you again.

-There an article in the You, Even Better section called "Are You Running Out of Time to Have a Baby?" I think it's a law of women's magazines that each of them must run an article about this topic at least once a year. There's a similar one in the new issue of Elle. Biological clocks must not be ignored!

-This month's Cosmo Confidential article is called "I Gave In to My Girl Crush". It's about an "intense college friendship" between two women that becomes "a frantic affair their boyfriends didn't know about". It's got lines like "Being around her gave me butterflies like no guy ever had - including my boyfriend" and "Hooking up with a girl for the first time was thrilling, but it also felt natural." But not to worry! She's totally not, like, gay or bisexual or anything. She reassures us at the end, "I still consider myself straight...I haven't had the same feelings toward another woman and don't think I ever will." What a relief.

We already have the February issue in our hands, so stay tuned for another month of fun fearless blogging. Remember, we read Cosmo so you don't have to. You're welcome.

January 26, 2011

Is Jennifer Aniston Confused By Chaz Bono?

Jennifer Aniston is on the cover of the February issue of Allure magazine. In the "Style Timeline" portion of her interview, one of the photos is of Aniston with Chaz Bono, an old friend from high school. The commentary is kinda cringeworthy.

JA: "Every day a group of us would go to Chaz's house after school. I haven't spoken to him in a while."

Allure: "Is his sex reassignment confusing?"

JA: "Well, obviously, yeah. I mean, even for his—her—mother, I think. His mother. But you know, good for her. She should just be happy." [Allure.com]

Oh, boy. Aniston starts off okay, but she's tripping all over pronouns by the end of her answer. I don't think it's entirely her fault though. The wording of the question leaves something to be desired too. Is "confusing" really the right word to use here? I think a word like "surprising" would have been okay in this case since we're talking about high school friends who haven't spoken in awhile. But what's so "obviously" confusing about Chaz's transition? Maybe I'm nitpicking, but the tone of this exchange seems to imply that the whole thing is some big weird mystery.

The good news for the confused among us is that Oprah's new OWN network has picked up the rights to Becoming Chaz, a documentary about Bono's transition that recently premiered at Sundance.
"I wanted to do this because I wanted to help people," Chaz said. "And I knew that...I could put a face on this issue that people just don't understand because it's a hard one to understand. I wanted to be able to change people's hearts and minds on this." [EOnline]
Maybe Aniston and Allure can have a viewing party.

January 22, 2011

Cosmo Kicks Janice Dickinson While She's Down

If you've been reading our Cosmo posts for awhile, you know that one of our favorite parts of the magazine to critique is the "What's Not So Hot" section of the Hot Sheet page. Each month there's a photo of a celebrity behaving in some way that Cosmo disapproves of, along with a letter shaming them for the offending behavior. The celeb is usually a woman and the letter often involves a healthy dose of slut-shaming. It's all very charming.

The "Not So Hot" victim in the January issue is Janice Dickinson.

Brief Encounters

Dear Janice Dickinson,

We know you used to model before Celebrity Rehab, but flashing your panties isn't going to land you a Victoria's Secret contract. It only highlights how far you've fallen.


The photo caption reads "At least you're wearing underwear".

Oh, Cosmo. Is this really necessary? I've seen a few episodes of Celebrity Rehab this season, and while Janice Dickinson's behavior was pretty irritating and disruptive at first, it seemed like she did make a lot of progress. She also opened up about some abuse that she suffered when she was younger and admitted to having suicidal thoughts. I caught a scene from a recent episode where she broke down in tears and talked about wanting to get better for herself and her kids, and also apologized to some of her fellow cast members for her earlier behavior.

Now, obviously this lovely letter was written before Janice Dickinson's season of Celebrity Rehab started airing. But they clearly knew that she was going to be on the show. So, if you know that someone has checked into rehab (even if it is reality show rehab), it seems extra petty and mean-spirited to find a photo of that person in which they're almost definitely under the influence of something and make it the subject of some pointless mocking. I also had to laugh at the dismissive tone of "we know you used to model", considering that Dickinson has been on the cover of Cosmo several times in the past. Apparently that wasn't enough for her to earn a break from the editors of the Hot Sheet. Stay classy, Cosmo.

January 20, 2011

Cosmo Quickie: Don't Judge the Models

Every so often we take a look at Cosmo's website to see if there's anything blogworthy going on. (Yes, sometimes reading the magazine every month is just not enough torture for us.) I was looking at the site today and noticed an article called The 10 Hottest Texts to Send a Guy. Here are a few of them:
I know you're busy today, but can you add one thing to your to-do list? Me.
Just got out of the shower. Why don't you come over and help me get dirty again?
In 30 minutes I'll be getting off. Will you be here to join in the fun?
Using one hand to write this text and press the send button. Using the other hand to press MY button...
See if you can decipher this abbreviation: OMG IWUIM
That last one is obviously Ignorant Whales Use Inferior Marmalade. Duh. Anyway, accompanying this brilliant article is a picture of a shirtless guy holding a phone. So it's pretty typical Cosmo fare, except for one thing. I noticed a disclaimer at the bottom that I've never seen before:
The models photographed in Cosmo are used for illustrative purposes only; Cosmopolitan does not suggest that the models actually engage in the conduct discussed in the stories they illustrate.
I'm dying to know what the backstory is here. I would think that this disclaimer would just be common sense to most people who have ever read a magazine or looked at a website before, so I'm wondering what prompted Cosmo to include it. I doubt they just randomly decided to add it on their own, because they wouldn't want to imply that there's anybody out there who wouldn't want to be associated with their wonderful tips.

So what happened? Did one of their models complain? That's the theory that I'm going with because it's the most amusing one. I'd like to think that the model who was used for this story was so offended by the implication that he might actually be turned on by any of these "sexy texts" that he demanded that the disclaimer be added to protect his reputation. Way to take a stand, Shirtless Phone Guy. You've struck a blow for bad sex tip article models everywhere. We applaud your courage.

January 5, 2011

Why Isn't There a Justin Bieber 'Scandal'?

So I just came across an article and photo spread of Justin Bieber for Vanity Fair (via New York's Vulture blog). The Biebs also graces the cover of the magazine's February 2011 issue.

Now I would really like to know why no one is outraged about this. Not just the fact that Justin Bieber was deemed worthy of the cover of Vanity Fair - although I am a little outraged by that, and nauseated - but the photos themselves. Bieber is covered in different lipstick kisses and his tie is being pulled somewhat suggestively. I don't personally think there's anything outrageous about these photos... but I think the fact that no one seems to have a problem with them is pretty fucking outrageous, when you remember the huge fuss everyone made over Miley Cyrus's photoshoot for Vanity Fair a few years ago.

Look at the other creepy pictures from the Bieber photoshoot and imagine what the response would've been if they had been of a 16-year-old Miley Cyrus (or another similar 'controversial' young starlet).

Imagine a photo of Miley laying down in the same pose with a bunch of guys staring in at her... Imagine Miley with ten different hands reaching out over her body... Imagine Miley with her shirt slightly unbuttoned playing checkers (wait, no, don't imagine that last one.)

If Miley Cyrus had, at age 16, posed for similar photographs there would have been a huge scandal, everyone from the ladies of the View to Bill O'Reilly would be talking about it, Vanity Fair would be accused of oversexualizing teenagers, Miley would be called a slut, and she would be forced to issue an apology about how sorry and embarrassed she was. (There might even be an action alert from the One Million Moms.)

The media would probably even find fault with these comparably innocent photos from the shoot:

Why the double standard? Bieber is only a year older than Miley was when her 'scandalous' photos were published yet no one seems to have a problem with these pics. Or what about this past summer's Justin Bieber/Kim Kardashian Graduate-inspired photospread for Elle? (via Jezebel via The F Bomb).

Um, does anyone remember the plot of The Graduate? Is that really an appropriately themed photoshoot for a 16-year-old pop star?

Apparently only if the pop star is male.