Friday, November 29, 2013

DC Comics: Accidental Feminists?

Today I've got another special guest post for you! Please extend a warm welcome to my guest blogger Mr. Reluctant Femme - otherwise known as Alex Hardison. He normally writes excellent sci-fi,and has been published in noted webzine Flurb, but today he's agreed to tread unfamiliar ground and put together a non-fiction work for the first time since he escaped Uni on two subjects extremely close to his heart - Batman and feminism.

  I've often thought that the ongoing theme of surrogate family was one of the most interesting elements of the whole Batman world . The Bat Story begins when Bruce Wayne, playboy millionaire, loses his parents to random violent crime. He naturally then takes a sacred vow to fight against the criminals who plague his city for the rest of his days, and takes up the cape and cowl to become our beloved Batman. This is of course, too great a task for any one man, even one completely awesome as Batman, so he recruits a range of companions and protégés over the course of his crusade. In return for their help in his ongoing crusade against crime, Wayne attempts to raise, teach, and nurture his team in a way that his parents were never able to raise him. Mind you, how WELL he raises them is a matter of some debate. He’s not exactly the warm, light hearted father figure most children would hope for.

Serious Bat Business is Serious.
 Batgirl: Year One, Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon, Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

10 Random Things About Me

I'm really fascinated by this post of 10 Random Things over on The Militant Baker - partially because I am a curious kitten and I like knowing random stuff about people I think are cool. But what intrigues me the most about this post is how much people are sharing in the comments. It really illustrates (IMHO) just how much people are willing to share if they're only asked. If you've ever seen the stuff that comes out on Post Secret, then you know just how much people can sometimes keep inside, for fear of judgement. But I don't think people's silence is always about judgement, necessarily. People sit on potentially dangerous or shameful secrets because they're afraid of consequences, but I also think people sit on small, mundane secrets all the time because they don't think anyone wants to hear them. A lot of us have been taught to keep our business to ourselves, to not impose, and I think that's a really harmful thing. I hate the idea of people sitting on all these things they want to talk about, waiting for permission, waiting to be asked.

So my dear readers, I'm giving you permission, and I'm asking you to join in sharing. Of course, I'll share my 10 Random Things first to get the ball rolling, because I can't expect you guys to spill if I don't share first. You can either share your 10 Random Things in the comments, or do as I did and take the idea off to your own blog. If you do, be sure to share the link here and at the original Militant Baker post, so Jes can see how far her lovely idea has travelled! As always, anonymous comments will be enabled for the next fortnight, so you don't have to put your name to your sharing if you don't want to.

10 Random Things About Me

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bloggers+Indie Brands = OTP Part 2: The OKCupid Principle

Welcome back to the second part of my Bloggers+Indie Brands= OTP Series!
If you missed the first part, you can find it here

Part 2. The OKCupid Principle

Telling you to be respectful and play nice in order to succeed is all well and good, but what does that actually look like? What should you say? What shouldn't you say? Do you need different approaches for different people? Perhaps the most succinct way to explain how to communicate for both sides is that for maximum success, you should approach brand/blogger collaborations with the same basic principles as successful online dating. If you've never done online dating, you might not know this, but there's a real art to navigating it successfully, and almost all these principles can be applied to getting a successful relationship between bloggers and indie brands off the ground.

Friday, November 22, 2013

You Can't Take My Selfies from Me

I usually don't blog about internet activism events, but there was a hashtag going around this morning that gave me way too many thoughts to confine it to Twitter, where I usually do my most impassioned ranting.  Basically, Jezebel published an article condemning selfies on feminist grounds, and a large portion of Twitter reacted by posting endless selfies with the hashtag #feministselfie. Personally, I love this kind of immediate, groundswell response - it's one of my favourite things about being on Twitter. The way ideas bounce from one person to the next, to the next, and on in ever expanding ripples is something I find deeply fascinating, and I always love watching an idea sprout into a "thing", spreading seeds across the wilds of the internet.

ANYWAY, I have a lot of thoughts about this particular event, and for once I decided to jump on the bandwagon and dash something off before the zeitgeist rushes past. So let's talk about this Jezebel article. I don't actually read Jezebel a lot these days, because a lot of the articles they post make me really angry and I just don't need extra angry making things most days. However, a lot of people do read it, and a lot of people are influenced by it, so I feel like it's worth examining at least some of the problematic things they publish.

I'm going to start with this little gem here;

"Selfies aren't empowering; they're a high tech reflection of the fucked up way society teaches women that their most important quality is their physical attractiveness" 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bloggers+Indie Brands = OTP Part 1:R.E.S.P.E.C.T

I've only been blogging for just over a year, so I'm hardly what you'd call an expert on the subject. However, for a good ten years before I started blogging I was in Marketing and PR for various different firms, across a wide variety of industries.  While I'm still not an expert in marketing per se, I do have a ton of experience about how to get the most out of interactions between small media and small brands. Most of my career was spent convincing regional papers to cover things like Stamp Collecting Month, so if I know anything, it's how small media and small brands can help each other.

Just imagine customers are the crab - sorry customers.
Picture from National Geographic
Indie cosmetics brands and beauty/nail bloggers, in ideal circumstances, have an amazingly symbiotic relationship that I find absolutely fascinating from a marketing point of view. Indie brands don't have a lot of money to advertise their products (usually), and in a happy co-incidence, bloggers tend to be a pretty cheap form of marketing. Indie brands can't afford blanket awareness campaigns for their products, and so the vast majority of their sales are made through positive buzz, word of mouth, and reputation. It just so happens that these are the things that bloggers rely on for their audience, and also the primary thing they have to offer indie brands. Without a positive reputation, positive buzz, and word of mouth recommendations, both bloggers and indie brands are likely to severely limit their audience - but by working together well, both parties can gain a ton of what they need. Indie brands that work with bloggers get their products in front of eyeballs that might otherwise never see them, and bloggers who work with indie brands get a great deal of goodwill and "cool" status from covering products other people don't.  Indie brands and bloggers are truly what fandom calls OTP - one true pairing, an ideal pair of perfectly suited parties. When it works smoothly, everyone wins - but I've noticed it doesn't always work as smoothly as it could.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Home Alone - A Powder Perfect Christmas Collection

I'm pretty conflicted about Christmas. I love the giving and getting presents parts, and the eating until you burst parts. But the Santa junk, and bloody tinsel, and all that nonsense? I HATE IT. I'm that grinch you see scowling at the brass band playing Christmas carols in November. I'm the one in the corner rolling my eyes while everyone talks about the "spirit of the season". And most of all, I hate red and green together. I just do. I think it's gross. I like red, I like green, but put them together and I want to smash things.

So you can understand that Christmas collections from indie polish brands are a mixed bag for me. They're almost always where the best sparkly reds of the whole year make an appearance, and I'm a terrible sucker for any and all sparkly red polishes. But it can also get deeply monotonous - Christmas in and of itself isn't really a terribly wide pool of inspiration to draw from. Which is why I was so delighted when Powder Perfect announced their Christmas collection would be inspired by Home Alone, one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time.

(The best Christmas movie of all time is, of course, Die Hard)

Powder Perfect very kindly sent me Decorate A Palm Tree*, Kevin! and Don't Flash Those Babies Around for review, and considering how much I loved the last polish I bought from them I had pretty high hopes. Happily, I was absolutely delighted with every single one - a pretty rare occurrence when being sent things randomly for review.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Community College

I know I said I was going to continue this the day after my last post, but..well...I say a lot of things.

As I said in my last post, for a long time I was without a community, as such. I had friends, of varying numbers and degrees, but after exiting the Goth community in my great Interstate Flounce and returning to Sydney a couple of years later, I never really found anything to replace it. 
At one stage, I dabbled in the local Sydney poly scene, but never really got properly involved. I met a few nice people, and one or two great people, but an awful lot of dickheads as well. I had some really interesting conversations, but also had WAY too many arguments with people about why polyamory isn't actually the One True Way of the world - to be honest, I just had way too many conversations about polyamory full stop. The poly people were (on the whole) lovely, and fun, but I was going to tear my eyes out if I got into another round table discussion of how best to negotiate sleepovers.After a while it started feeling really....well, small. And not just because there are only about 50 people in the Sydney poly scene. The types of people in it are also very likeminded, and not just about relationship configurations. I think this is what made the scene start to feel stale and small so quickly - we were all of a similar age, similar financial circumstances, mostly cis, almost entirely white. A lot of the guys had beards, and a lot of the girls had long hair and a fondness for corsets. There's nothing wrong with any of these things on their own - but the sameness of the community left me feeling uninspired.

One of the symbols used to indicate polyamory: while I
have infinite love, it turns out I do not have infinite patience

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thnks Fr The Mmrs

I've been thinking a lot about my past recently. A couple of things have brought this turn of thought around - the end of the year always involves at least a little soul searching and taking stock for me. It doesn't help that my birthday is in early January, so the whole Christmas/New Year period has a real turn of the page feel for me, which naturally involves re-reading the page before I turn it. I also went to a FANTASTIC concert by Fall Out Boy the other night, which brought back a ton of memories of being twenty something, furious with everything, and firmly believing more eyeliner was ALWAYS better.

I went to the concert by myself, which was a little odd because I don't go out on the town without Mr. Reluctant Femme that often these days. I used to travel to parties, clubs, and concerts by myself all the time, so being on the train alone, in an outfit that my 20 year old self would have LOVED, to see a band that are the very definition of teenage angst really got me thinking. I found myself wondering what that angry little girl would think of my life as it is now. Would she be happy? Would she be proud? Or would she be disappointed?

I've been thinking about it for almost a week now, and I don't have anything like an answer. Perhaps there isn't an answer, really. There are so many ways my life could have gone from there - so many conversations I could have had or skipped, so many decisions I could have made differently. Or maybe I was always going to end up here, now, exactly how I am. Just like the great Captain Janeway, pondering the ramifications of theoretical consequences of altering time gives me a headache.

I'm on the far right - my cohorts shall remain nameless.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Antipodean Beauties - Spooky

 This post is just RIDICULOUSLY late, but hey, better late than never!

As a not entirely unreconstructed Goth, I was pretty excited when the "Spooky" theme came up on Antipodean Beauties. While I'm still not 100 per cent clear on what a "neutral" eye is actually supposed to look like, spooky makeup I can do with my eyes closed.

So I got out my palest foundation, my whitest powder, and my blackest eyeliner and set out to recreate a look I was obsessed with as a little Gothling.

Yes, I did actually go out like this. Rather a lot actually. Usually wearing cheap PVC.