Category Archives: Why I created this blog

So … what I hope we can do with this blog!

Here’s the thing. I am not a partisan, and I have never aligned myself with any particular party. I believe that ideology and identity are far more fluid than what being on a certain ‘side’ allows. I agree with rapper Killer Mike when he notes that our country conditions people to “think in teams,” whether it’s sports, or the clubs you should join starting in high school, or your religious affiliation. It is hard, as he put it, to just ‘be.’ Being curious, asking questions, and trying to form common ground are becoming more and more difficult in our seriously divided, increasingly corporatized culture.

Here’s what I hope to do …

  • I hope to blog regularly (several times per week).
  • My blogs will focus on three broad topics that I find myself always writing/talking about: critical media and culture; gender and sexuality; and critical posts on the fashion industry. I will also have a space for ‘inspirations,’ which will feature—you guessed it—all the amazing things that inspire me that week, from mantras to street art, poetry to speeches.
  • These posts will include links to relevant articles, radio shows, videos, magazines, academic material, podcasts and other blogs that have related and interested content.
  • I already have a ton of ideas (a review of the documentary film, Girl Model, about exploited underage models, the so-called elitism of the sustainability movement in fashion and other industries, why gender matters as much as sexuality in the marriage equality debate, why I love Frank Ocean in all of his gorgeous, ambiguous sexual identity, how the character Spinelli in General Hospital is challenging gender norms in ways I’ve never seen on a television show, and how the CW’s show Gossip Girl is selling haute couture and ideals of neoliberalism to millions of young women everywhere).

And here’s what I would like from you!

  • Please comment! I really want to hear your feedback! Tell me what you think about my posts and share your ideas, and definitely engage with each other! Feel free to share your constructive criticism as well.
  • Keep the conversation going and share! Feel free to send me interesting links—I’m always looking for new ideas to blog about! Also, link me to your blog so that we can keep the conversation going.
  • Let’s keep it respectful! Reading the comment sections of cultural and political blogs (more so political), really depresses me. How can most people be so civil in public but so hateful when the anonymity of the Internet allows it? I’m really not feeling that, and I don’t respect the opinions of people who feel the need to resort to that kind of dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE heated debate and dialogue, as long as it is respectful and actually engages with the other person!

My hope is that this space will encourage this dialogue, to engage others from different backgrounds and belief systems to join in the conversation, and really listen to each other, girlfriends. And yes, I call my friends, family and strangers on the street ‘girlfriend,’ including my guy friends. It could just be that I formed a subconscious response to the ubiquitous use of ‘guys’ to refer to any group of people, even if it is a group of girls! Or maybe it’s just because I watched the film Clueless one too many times during my all important, formative middle school years, and I have a bit of Cher/Valley Girl in me. :)

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Let’s get started! Why I started this blog …

So I actually started this blog a year ago, and after writing a couple of posts on American Idol (which were basically copied and pasted from a listserve email I was on) I gave up. I was, to keep it real, completely intimidated by the narrow focus of many of the brilliant blogs that I loved. With my varied interests and passions (fashion and sustainability, the intersection of culture and labor, gender/queer issues, identity politics, the corporatization of society) and the unfortunate circumstance of being a Libra AND the oldest child (indecisive, but also a perfectionist!), I basically decided to ‘gather my things and bid my farewell,’ as my BFF tells me whenever we’ve determined that a new job, boyfriend, or that retro-80s hot orange and pink dress I’ve tried on is probably not going to work out.

Two factors encouraged me to pick up my blogging again:

  1. First, my current research on sustainability, specifically focusing on the fashion industry, has invigorated me and made me want to share my research without the inaccessible jargon that has unfortunately become a fixture in cultural studies.
  2. And the second reason why I decided to start a critical culture blog? Chicken. No, the smell of my neighbor’s barbeque didn’t distract me. I am being totally serious.

OK, so here’s the thing. As someone who has taught critical media studies for the past few years, I was pretty aware of how seriously divided our country has become over politics and culture. The media only allows for the voices of a few partisan elites to control our dialogue, and I seriously think this has damaged the ability of many of us to nuance discussions about complex issues. But the Chick Fill A protests in August over the owner’s stance on marriage equality (please don’t call it ‘gay marriage,’ but I’ll get to that in another post), reiterated the fractured nature of our society. I mean here I was on Facebook, a social media network that has been touted for its supposedly democratic, inclusive, and even revolutionary potential, watching people defriend each other over different Biblical interpretations that determined whether or not they were going to eat poultry that day. I have to admit that I was one of those peeps engaged heatedly in debates with other people, and I was disappointed to see some of my Facebook friends supporting this franchise that I had admittedly frequented quite often.

And then I realized, that while I accused others of judging gay people, I was also judging by demanding a certain interpretation of the Bible. That’s not fair, and more importantly, it was beside the point! The protests over Chick-fil-A, and the larger issue of marriage equality, is not a religious one, it’s a civic one. And no one was really talking about that! Politicians weren’t, and the media was far more interested in getting pictures of a few gay men kissing in front of the store than having any kind of intelligent dialogue. And I found myself thinking, if we can’t even trust the media, an institution that was established to inform and engage its citizens, then where does that leave us as a country? How are we supposed to move forward?

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