Archive for Feminism (Shades of Gray)

Gaga Must Be in Awe of Mark Ryden. (Hell, Who Isn’t?)

Posted in Art & Culture, Fame & Celebrity, Feminism (Shades of Gray), Goof & Glamour, I Heart Shaman*Art, I Heart Tricksters, In Celebration of the Absurd, Lipstick Shamaness, Psyche & Sexuality, punk rock, Sexuality, Sideshow Siren & Bearded Lady, Star F*#ker, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Top 2% of Coolest Mofos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2010 by alphabetfiend

   I didn’t watch the VMAs but, periodically glancing down at my iphone screen, I saw that twitter was all a-twitter over Lady Gaga’s meat dress.     

(Yes, IPhone, yes Twitter. Groan. “Long Story,” sighs The Lusty Luddite.)    

    

But no one was saying the obvious which was “OMG! Gaga’s gone real life Ryden!”    

Check out that white flaxen hair!

  

Being the selfish little writer-chick that I am I decided to save my “OMG!” for y’all. Except then I couldn’t get online for the umpteenth time (boy, the free wifi from my next door coffee shop sho’ ain’t whut it used ta be.) By the next morning, several people were pointing it out, including Ryden himself. (On Twitter. Hence Twitter.)    

    

Look, no one’s calling Gaga a Ryden rip-off or at least I’m not. It’s still super cool & mad genius. Once again, Lady Gaga used costume as an artistic and spiritual medium; stirring our own frockful fantasies; probing own throbbing architectures of mythos & meaning. So yea, it was pretty much awesome. After all, the girl in “Incarnation” isn’t a real-life girl with stepped-one toes. She was a fantasy, up for the taking.    

Gaga plucked that sucker from the tree of meaning and took a big juicy bite. Oh, wait, let’s try that again. >>I’m a bit rusty due to my recent sabBRATtical. << Gaga fillet’d that fucker from the flank of id and toothesomely tore off a hunk of bloody flesh.    

    

It was brilliant, really, I loved it, except… well, it would’ve been much cooler if she had given Ryden a big old “Yea, baby!” shout-out rather than mumbling some vague, tired shit about feeling like a piece of meat or being seen as a commodity or bla bla bla. Shaaaad up, Lady Bla Bla.    

    

Look, the whole feminism “feeling like a piece of meat” thing, I get it. I just don’t buy it. Not from Gaga.    

Lady Gaga is an absolute expert at letting her meat hang out. If she were really troubled — feeling like a piece of ass — she’d probably cover that ass.     

     

Nah, I think it’s much more likely that Lady Gaga, just like the rest of us, has spent hours agog and drooling over Ryden’s paintings, searching for ourselves from among his feminine archetypes.    

    

I’ve often blamed Ryden’s meat paintings on pop culture’s current carnivorous phase. At the store, as customers went nuts over steak bath-mats and bacon band-aids, I’d just chuckle at Ryden’s far-reaching influence. People may not know that Ryden’s the reason they’re craving meaty gewgaws but he is.    

Mark Ryden put meat on the muther-fuckin’ map. Mark Ryden made meat cool.    

I dunno but I’ve heard that if you wanna get more followers on Twitter, you need only name-drop bacon.    

And vagina.    

And penis.    

And there, folks, is all you really need to know about WHY we are so obsessed with meat.    

    

We are meat. Sometimes we forget that we’re meat. And sometimes we long to remember.    

    

Mark Ryden probes that soft, bloody, fleshy place inside of us. And we…respond.    

    

Lady Gaga wasn’t saying “How dare you treat me like a piece of meat!” Puh-leeze. She was shouting, “Hey, everybody, look at me! I’m meaty!”    

"Broken Label" with Mark Ryden

  

Gaga was acting on an impulse that wasn’t as wholly original as many non-Ryden fans might think. In 2009, freaky fashion blogger Tatianista gave voice to that Grade A urge.    

How utterly fabulous would it be for an underground fashionista like myself to have wearable meat a la Ryden to add to my ever-growing, glamorously eccentric wardrobe? So fab, in fact, that someone far more clever thought of it long before I did.    

Tatianista waxed poetic about the Nagi Noda / Mark Ryden collaboration, which launched Noda’s “Broken Label.”    

The first and only collaborative fashion collection the two artists produced…will likely be as highly collectible as just about anything else Ryden has produced…even more-so now that Noda, whose broad body of work included everything from popular music videos and commercials to sculpture, conceptual art and “hair hats” died tragically young last year. She left this world wearing her favorite Chanel boots, Victor and Rolf black lace eyelashes and one of her own Mark Ryden dresses.    

In February of this year (2010) the prescient Schadenfreude Pony declared of the meat dress in Ryden’s “Incarnation”    

GaGa will be wearing it next week.    

Unlike Tatianista and Gaga, I’ve never felt an enormous need to wear a meat dress. I’ve always been more into Ryden’s more mythic maidens, all filled-up from the inside with story & secrets.    

    

 I was obsessed for a time with creating a t-bone steak clutch, perfect accessory for the LBD, but was too lazy and never got around to making it.    

    

The ground chuck bag was a Ryden collab with Paul Frank. I’m not sure who did the pork slab but isn’t it the ideal briefcase for bringin’ home the bacon?    

    

My someday steak purse would not be a real t-bone, of course, cause I can barely stomach raw meat when preparing it for the grill (and my stomach.) My meaty fashion forays would be more figurative than real life soon-to-be rotting flesh.    

    

Such as these folks did for a Mark Ryden opening. (She’s in stilts, I think, which is all kinds of circusy spectacular)    

Man in a meat at Mark Ryden show

  

Though I give Gaga big props for keeping it real. I mean, look at these shoes.    

    

They look like they’re ready for the oven not the VMAs.    

    

One sultry June night in Toledo, I met my friend Dan McGuire — my Precocious Dandy — at a gritty east-side club. Dan was joining a local band, The Porn Flakes, on-stage. As a steak. All 6 feet and 5 inches of Dan had disappeared into a giant foam-rubber t-bone. Back stage, in the tiny yard behind the club, Dan stripped outta the steak and changed into a giant cow.  I dropped down onto the discarded steak, lounging like it was a carne-chaise. In a tiny pinkey-orange sundress & pink boa, with a nice marmaladey tan, I was feeling pretty luxurious, pretty damn cheeky. Things were going great, until one of the Porn Flakes began to eye me hungrily.    

“What?” I playfully glowered. “What am I? Just a piece of meat?”    

“I dunno, nah,” he drooled, “But you sure do look like a golden, buttery mushroom to me mmm.”    

“Hey, hey! ” Dan hollered. “That’ll be enough of that. Have a little fuckin’ respect, why don’tya?   

While Dan railed and ranted — protectively, possevively — I lounged extra lasciviously on my meat chaise. I batted my lashes as Dan hurried to pack his things. I smirked as he reached for my hand, yanking me up, pulling me away from those perverted Porn Flakes. I giggled as I caught up with his long aggravated strides, glancing back at my starving admirer. Then I leaned lovingly into Dan’s sturdy ribs as we ran excitedly down the dirty street, a trail of pink feathers behind us.    

*All paintings/art by the crazy gorgeous genius Mark Ryden. Check out his dot.com  

*For another meaty anecdote, read “Ham, I Am”

Lori Gottlieb’s Shot Gun Wedding: She says Settle, I say “I Do” to Love

Posted in Feminism (Shades of Gray), Friendship, Hooray for Choice!, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Intuition & Gut Intelligence, Psyche & Sexuality, Romance, Romance & Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2008 by alphabetfiend

 

A friend of mine was bummed after discovering an article in the Atlantic that urged women to settle. She emailed it to me with a one-word message: “depressing.” After reading the tedious thing, I didn’t feel depressed so much as annoyed. The writer Lori Gottlieb might as well be holding a shotgun to women’s heads and shoving them towards the unsuitable mate that awaits them at the altar.  She thinks she knows what we all want and need.

“Ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single heterosexual woman what she most longs for in life. Most likely, she’ll say that what she really wants is a husband (and, by extension, a child). To the outside world, of course, we still call ourselves feminists and insist—vehemently, even—that we’re independent and self-sufficient and don’t believe in any of that damsel-in-distress stuff, but in reality, we aren’t fish who can do without a bicycle, we’re women who want a traditional family. Every woman I know—no matter how successful and ambitious, how financially and emotionally secure—feels panic, occasionally coupled with desperation, if she hits 30 and finds herself unmarried. Oh, I know—I’m guessing there are single 30-year-old women reading this right now who will be writing letters to the editor to say that the women I know aren’t widely representative, that I’ve been co-opted by the cult of the feminist backlash, and basically, that I have no idea what I’m talking about. And all I can say is, if you say you’re not worried, either you’re in denial or you’re lying.”
What a presumptuous A-hole. “If you’re not worried, get worried. If you’re happy where you’re at, you’re a filthy liar.” Here it comes: YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. Obviously Ms. Gottlieb wishes she were a Missus who’d made different choices. That’s cool. It’s her right to assess her own life. But, if she’s made such a mess of things, should she really be giving the rest of us advice?
“My advice is this: Settle! That’s right. Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling “Bravo!” in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go.”
I, for one, don’t want to be saddled with someone whose breath curdles. And a fella with no taste, no thanks. I’m a voluptuary who would be desolate if stuck with a man who couldn’t appreciate the gorgeous shoes on my feet — satin peeptoe wedges, the satin printed with swirling fishes. Who didn’t even notice as I ooed & ahhed over them.  Who wouldn’t then secretly order them and present them to me on my birthday with a card that read “Shoes for the mermaid who walks on land.” This man exists. But had I married previous suitors, what then?

“Those of us who choose not to settle in hopes of finding a soul mate later are almost like teenagers who believe they’re invulnerable to dying in a drunk-driving accident. We lose sight of our mortality. We forget that we, too, will age and become less alluring. Which is all the more reason to settle before settling is no longer an option.”

No wonder she gave my friend the blues. Frankly, it pisses me off. I want to grab my friend by her luscious shoulders and shake the shit outta her. Don’t listen to the fear-monger egg-hoarder Lori Gottlieb. Her creepy advice is misguided at best and dangerous at worst.

“By 40, if you get a cold shiver down your spine at the thought of embracing a certain guy, but you enjoy his company… is that settling or making an adult compromise?”

If my friend came home from a date and said “Yea, I enjoyed his company but then when he hugged me, I got the cold chills, whaddaya think?”  RUN!  Pump them knees, change your number, block his emails. Too often women ignore their guts out of misguided politeness or because they think they are being “shallow” when really their body is trying to tell them that something is veryy wrong. Maybe the guy’s a misogynist rapist or maybe he’s just a really bad match genetically. Or spiritually. We are animals with animal instincts/signals.

  1. Another friend had a guy pal who she wanted to dig. “He’s so kind and he really likes me, ” she’d say. One night she woke up in a ice cold sweat with a stomach full of stones to find him in bed with her. After months and numerous apologies, she finally gave in to his advances. He turned out to be a cruel bastard and a cheat. I was about to say “Your tummy told you so” when she burst out crying, “That night, my skin was crawling, I wanted to puke, I knew who he was. I always knew.”
  2. When my mom was a young reckless hitchhiker she accepted a ride from a guy who was handsome and charming. She settled into his V-Dub Bug and they began to chat congenially. She was thinking “What a nice guy,” when suddenly her whole body revolted against that thought.  She bailed but years later she saw a photo in the newspaper and recognized the handsome face. He was the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. If my mom hadn’t listened to her inner-alarm, I wouldn’t even be here.
  3. I resisted the friendship of a girl who I found annoying and “ugly.” Her presense agitated me, her voice made my skin crawl. I struggled with immense guilt, grossed out by my own unkindness. When I yielded to her pursuit, things quickly spiraled into a terrifying single-white-female situation. Even in friendship, it’s a mistake to settle.

Lori Gottlieb’s advice is reckless and reeks of desperation. Don’t listen to her, listen to yourself. Don’t listen to your guilt, listen to your gut. This is the real world, with real dangers. It’s not an episode of “Friends.”

“And while Rachel and her supposed soul mate, Ross, finally get together (for the umpteenth time) in the finale of Friends, do we feel confident that she’ll be happier with Ross than she would have been had she settled down with Barry, the orthodontist, 10 years earlier?”

Rachael did lots of growing and changing in those ten years. And wasn’t Barry a total creepoid? Didn’t he pull some real skeezy stuff? I seem to recall something about Barry getting married but still trying to get into Rachael’s pants and then some weird vengeful ick at his own wedding right in front of the woman he was settling for. Which is the problem with settling. It’s not a good deal no matter how you look at it, for any of the parties involved.

It’s equally questionable whether Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, who cheated on her kindhearted and generous boyfriend, Aidan, only to end up with the more exciting but self-absorbed Mr. Big, will be better off. (Some time after the breakup, when Carrie ran into Aidan on the street, he was carrying his infant in a Baby Björn. Can anyone imagine Mr. Big walking around with a Björn?)

Aidan’s lucky Carrie didn’t settle. He wanted something else and he got it. Good for him. As for Carrie, it’s hard to say. Big did leave her at the altar but Carrie still chooses to deal with Big’s damage. For better or for worse. Carrie may not even want kids, in which case Big is a much better choice than Aidan ever was. Whose to say that even if Carrie had married Aidan that he wouldn’t have still gone on to fall in love with that baby-mama? Settling is strewn with sticky wickets.

“I’ll likely need to settle for someone who is settling for me…. My friend Alan justified his choice of a ‘bland’ wife with whom he shares little connection this way: ‘I think one-stop shopping is overrated. I get passion at my office with my work, or with my friends that I sometimes call or chat with—it’s not the same, and, boy, it would be exciting to have it with my spouse. But I spend more time with people at my office than I do with my spouse.”

Who want’s to be weighed down by someone who has “settled” for you and who shares more passion and spends more time with people at the office? What about that is “family friendly”? Let’s raise up some damaged kids who someday someone will settle for. The guy who gives you the shivers, with whom there is no sexual connection, maybe you will look back one day and say “Is it any wonder?” But it will be too late then. He’ll have already raped your daughter in her little girl gingham bedroom. From the time she was 5 ’til he she ran away and joined a cult at 15.  Sure, you want a partner in parenthood, but is the wrong partner better than none at all? How many childhoods have been shattered because selfish mothers believed a bad man was better than no man?  

“They, like me, would rather feel alone in a marriage than actually be alone. In practice, my married friends with kids don’t spend that much time with their husbands anyway, and in many cases, their biggest complaint seems to be that they never see each other. So if you rarely see your husband—but he’s a decent guy who takes out the trash and sets up the baby gear —how much does it matter whether the guy you marry is The One?

If you never see your husband and if what you know about him is “he’s a decent guy who takes out the trash” then what the hell is he doing in your home with your kids? Are you sure he’s a such a decent guy? Ask your daughter. She might know a lot more about him than you do. Ask your doctor when you go for that HIV test because if you’re not blowing him, who is?

In my formative years, romance was John Cusack and Ione Skye in Say Anything. But when I think about marriage nowadays, my role models are the television characters Will and Grace, who, though Will was gay and his relationship with Grace was platonic, were one of the most romantic couples I can think of. So what if Will and Grace weren’t having sex with each other? How many long- married couples are having much sex anyway?

If Grace had decided to spend her life with Will and raise a few kids, I’d say what I always say, “Hooray for Choice!”  Grace knows Will inside out. He’s a good person with a lot of love to give. And who says a family has to be what it’s always been? Lori Gottlieb says so. She’s not saying “grab a pal, raise some kids, be happy.” She’s holding a shotgun to your temple and saying “Settle. Or Else.” Will and Grace almost went that route, they came very close, but then they got swept up in romance and raised kids with their honey-pies. Either ending is acceptable. Hooray for choice! Goof love it. But Gottlieb says, “Don’t be choosy.” 

Screw that, I’m as choosy as it gets, I’m a modern girl that way. Over time I realized I was too much of an exhibitionist Ham to be with a jealous man, too wary to be with a sheltered mama’s boy, too liquid to be with a man who wanted to box me in (I leaked through the cracks and defied definition.) Eventually I met a man in the Laundromat. A punk rock Robot genius with a heart of gold. His take on this: “I used to wonder about you all the time but I never thought you actually existed. I thought I’d wait forever but I was waiting.” The vision he had of me defied all logic, where was that wierdo anyway? And then, one day, there I was — with 16 overflowing laundry baskets stuffed to the gills with silky bits — and wearing a vintage 1970’s Prostitutes Union t-shirt. He’d been waiting for me… so he was single. And I’d been picky… so I was able to pick him right out. You look really familiar. Don’t I know you from somewhere? 

Problem with your shotgun wedding is that someone's liable to end up a bloody mess.

Problem with your shotgun wedding is it's liable to end up a bloody mess.

Bitch, if you don’t get that shotgun out of my friend’s unbearably beautiful face, I’m gonna wrest it away and shoot you with it. Now Go. Go. And don’t come around here no more. Bang bang.

 Alphabetfiend is a writer & a prime choice luxury cut. Eat that!

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