Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Was TV in the 90's more feminist than it is today?

I was somehow raised in a golden-era of feminist television
Photo by Paul Townsend

I think I may have passed my formative years in an oddly-feminist alternate reality of television.

Despite my parents' best efforts, I watched a lot of TV growing up. Once we got old enough to stay at home supervision-free, I pretty much spent my summer days jamming out with my Geocities Titanic/Kate Winslet fan site, Kraft Dinner, and lots and lots of television.

This is going to be a bit of a time-meld, because picking apart the memories of which shows I watched at which ages is going to be way too hard, but here is what my smooshed-together memory of "TV for Young Andrea" looks like:

Talk shows! Maury Povich, Jenny Jones, Ricki Lake, Oprah, and the Rosie O'Donnell Show!

Reruns! Mary Tyler Moore, Rhoda, Golden Girls, That Girl, and Designing Women!

New shows! Family Matters, Fresh Prince, Murphy Brown, Moesha, Sister Sister, X Files, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Breaker High, Blossom, Seinfeld, and ER!

Yes, this line up is almost entirely devoid of intersectionality. Yes, the talk shows were largely trash. Yes, the teen-geared shows were silly. Yes, there were still lots of problematic tropes of women as victims or emotional wrecks or desperate for male attention. And YES! Out of 21 shows, FOURTEEN are either named after women or have a female pronoun in the title. Several of the remaining shows have gender-balanced lead casts.

I grew up awash in stories about women of all ages working hard, living life, and having fun. I didn't have to try to look for them, they were just there! Everywhere! Want a show about old(ish) women living together and supporting each other? You got it! Want a show about women living on their own and working cool jobs? There's more than one! Want shows about teenage girls trying to figure out who they are? Here are several! Don't worry about it, they're just on TV with everything else as if they are perfectly normal things to watch and not special programming to make women happy.

How did this bizarre intersection of women come into my television? I somehow got caught in the crosshairs of older shows, played on constant loop on the "older classics" TV station, alongside new shows about women ranging from Murphy Brown to Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

It didn't occur to me to select for shows that featured cool women who were more than props. They were just the shows that were on TV. It seems like they were the ONLY shows that were on TV!

No wonder I grew up to be a feminist killjoy.

"Haven't you seen three vibrant, healthy, sexually-active women before?"


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Monday, May 22, 2017

Cute! Roundup: Problem solving dogs, a posse of opossums, and more!

Here's another photo of Gertie being a curious little champ at the vet. Because when they leave you alone in the room with your cat for 10 minutes, there's nothing to do but take a thousand pictures of her.


OTHER CUTENESS:

This bulldog has some sweet problem solving skills.

In case you didn't think a cow sticking his tongue out would be cute.

Mumma and bubba koala!

A posse of opossums!


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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Singalong! Shine by Collective Soul

When this song was new on the radio, I was still living in my fairly sheltered Christian music bubble. If you're unaware, imagery of inner lights shining is big in the Christian music bubble, so I naturally was impressed that this clearly Christian song made its way onto the secular airwaves. I asked my sister if Collective Soul were Christians and she said "definitely not."

I have to say, though, looking at the song now, I still think it could fit in perfectly to the Christian music-o-sphere, if the slightly more "open-minded, appealing to secular kids by being indirect about God" corner of the market.


SHINE
by Collective Soul

Give me a word
Give me a sign
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Lay me on the ground
Fly me in the sky
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Oh, heaven let your light shine down

Love is in the water
Love is in the air
Show me where to look
Tell me will love be there
Teach me how to speak
Teach me how to share
Teach me where to go
Tell me will love be there
Oh, heaven let your light shine down

Give me a word
Give me a sign
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Lay me on the ground
Fly me in the sky
Show me where to look
Tell me what will I find
Oh, heaven let your light shine down

I'm gonna let it shine
I'm gonna let it shine
Heaven send a light, let it shine on me

Hey yeah
Hey yeah
Heaven send a light, let it shine on me

It's gonna shine on
Shine on me
Its gonna shine on
Well come on and shine

Photo by Ankered182



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Friday, May 19, 2017

Learning! Roundup: Ancient comets, online bubbles, bone implants, and only children.

Great Comet of 1577 Woodcutting

A Giant, Ancient Comet

Ancient carvings in Turkey show that the earth was hit by a cluster of comet fragments around 11000 BC, resulting in widespread death. This was, possibly, the actual worst day in history since the ice age.

Online Bubbles and Partisan Politics

Here's an interesting piece, challenging the notion that our social media bubbles are increasing partisan politics.

New Bone Implants Generate Blood Cells

In a huge advancement for synthetic implants, a newly-developed synthetic bone implant can make blood cells in its marrow. This could be huge for treating a lot of blood and immune disorders.

Only Child Syndrome

Planning on having kids? If you just have one, it is likely to be more creative and less agreeable.

Save the Seals

With the changes in the climate, come changes in the diets of polar bears. Instead of eating seals, animals that are now very difficult to catch with the changes to the coastline in the arctic, polar bears are noshing on goose eggs. They are also traveling farther to find food than ever before.


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

How much is a healthy pet worth?


A couple of weeks ago I had to take my Gertie to the vet. She got a blood test, two x-rays, a shot, and some antibiotics.

The whole thing cost almost $500.

FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS! For some basic vet care!!!

I walked away wishing I had asked how much things were going to cost before getting them done. Were all those tests really necessary? Maybe I could have shaved it back a little bit.

Most pet owners know that at some point they're going to have to face a decision that pits money against the life of their furry family member. It's just a part of the deal. Unless you are super rich or your pet gets hit by a car five years in, one day you're going to be adding up the costs of meds or surgery and weighing them against the value of their life.

"Well, she's old and she's really sick," we say, "I could spend thousands of dollars on a surgery to keep her alive, or I could pay $50 to have her put down. She only has a few years left anyways and then I know she won't suffer."

Not that it's a light decision - it's heart-wrenching to balance your bank account, your pet's comfort, and their life, but it must be done.

The first time I went to the vet as an adult who paid her own bills, I was SHOCKED at how much it cost! Indignant, even! I couldn't believe that I had to pay so much for PET care, when MY OWN health care didn't cost nearly as much! How could care for animals be so much more expensive than care for HUMANS???

Then I remembered... Oh yeah. I live in a country where we don't want to watch people die just because they're poor, so I don't have to pay my human medical bills. They get split up by everyone.

Without making further political statements, I'm just going to point out that I'm really glad I won't have to make the same decisions about my grandma or sister as I do about my cat.


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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Inspiration! Roundup: Art in the breakdown, flute beatboxing, the world's largest book, and more!

Inspiration: I could use some tree time. Also, the moving art of Ida Applebroog, flute beatboxing, and doing things after your thirties
This Week's "I want to go to there":
I could use a little sun-dashed tree time.

Art in Breakdown

Artist Ida Applebroog had a mental breakdown in 1969 and was hospitalized twice. She drew some truly evocative pieces during that time.

Flute Beatboxing

At first, I honestly thought this was going to be a joke, like Will Farrell's jazz flute on Anchorman. It's so so so good.


Data-Free Communication

In countries that never got the infrastructure for landlines, cell phones were a lightning strike of communication. In crises, like the Syrian refugee crisis, smart phones have become a key way to keep in touch with loved ones, no matter where you end up. But what if you're in a country without free and open internet, or you just can't afford data? FreeCom is a new app that allows people in disaster situations to communicate without the internet.

The World's Largest Book

I just came across this article on the methods used to digitize the world's largest book, and while it's great that the British Library is investing effort into preserving the content of this book, I am most amazed by the fact that someone made this book in the first place! Does anyone else find it super inspiring when someone makes something like this, that is so impractical it can only be the result of love? (And perhaps some grandiosity.)

Human Rights Lawyer Wins South Korean Presidency

I realize I could be stepping in a huge landmine by commenting on international politics with absolutely ZERO context, but in a time when politics really feels like a zero-sum game at times, it is really encouraging to see that some countries are not setting themselves on fire. South Korea elected a former human rights lawyer as their president! (Now I just hope he's not a "former" human rights lawyer because he was disbarred for murdering babies or something.)

It's Not Too Late

In a world of "30 under 30", it's nice to remember that some people accomplish greatness in the many years that come AFTER they turned 30. It's not only reserved for the young folk!


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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How many light sabers do YOU own?

Sometimes DIY blogs go into territory I never would have expected. I mean, it just didn't even occur to me that someone might have so many light sabers they needed to come up with a storage solution.

Star Wars Room, via Quite Contrary blog

I mean, hey, using a mop hanger rack is kind of brilliant! Well done, you Star Wars-loving folks.

And truly, no judgement for all the Star Wars stuff. My house is full of fossils and cat paraphernalia. I don't even have one leg of judgement to stand on.


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