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We're All Mad Here: The Institution in Music Videos

The institution as a recurring theme in pop culture tells us a great deal about how people think about institutions and mental illness, and music videos in particular provide a fascinating glimpse into perceptions of institutionalization and the institution as metaphor. Assembling this post, I pored through numerous videos depicting institutions and institutional life, ranging from the heinous...

Bitch Radio: Getting Ready for Geek Girl Con!

For this episode of Bitch Radio, I spoke with Jennifer K. Stuller about the first-ever Geek Girl Con! Jennifer is no stranger to the podcast, she was on Read My Bitch this past February, and you probably remember her great blog series Grrrl on Film! Today we talked about the upcoming conference (Oct. 8-9 in Seattle), what to expect (besides me and Kelsey on a media literacy, criticism, and...

On Our Radar

Hey everyone, take it easy with some of these fine links, hand-picked from all over the web.

  • Caitlin Boston gives us some pretty concrete pointers on how to hit on not harass an Asian girl.
  • Feministe dances a jig over Nepal's landmark gender legislation.
  • Attention students and academics! Of Another Fashion, a Tumblr started by Threadbared's Minh-ha Pham to archive...

BitchTapes: Songs About Home

I've been thinking a lot about my home this week, and by association the many emotions that thoughts of home brings—happiness and coziness and fun, as well as the heavier stuff, or even the feeling of lacking a home at all. Here's a wide-ranging soundtrack to accompany mental meanderings of home—some of my favorites, and some picks from the rest of the Bitch crew.

Track list...

Preacher's Daughter: Class Consciousness in Mavis Staples' "You Are not Alone"

Mavis Staples—gospel singer, soul artist and Civil Rights activist—is nothing short of a living legend. She started singing gospel with her family in the 1950s and had a successful Stax career as front woman for the Staple Singers. Though the family specialized in gospel, Staples' raw vocals and the band's bluesy arrangements endeared them to secular and religious audiences alike.


We're All Mad Here: Joanna is Mad! Isn't it Romantic?

Women whom history has deemed as "mad" play an interesting role in pop culture. Some of them are viewed as romantic figures, their stories revered and retold as tragic love. Others are viewed as passive objects, mostly used as props in men's stories. Still others are retroactively diagnosed as "mad" due to their actions, even when men who did the same or similar things were not.

A lot...

Sexual Inadequacy: SNL and K-Y

Last week K-Y released an ad featuring two ladies talking about their sex lives, and lubricant, and "special moments" represented by tasteful coital fireworks. They are both sitting on their bed in drab, comfortable clothes. And they have the following exchange:

(.doc transcript here)

Isn't He Lovely: The Cult of Muscularity

While I'm dubious that the Western female body ideal can be reliably found within in the pages of Playboy, a similar evolution has occurred in the sister (?) publication, Playgirl. A team of psychologists calculated the body mass index (BMI) and fat-free mass index (FFMI) of 115 Playgirl centerfolds and found that, lo and behold, the supposed male body ideal has...

Preacher's Daughter: St. Vincent's "Cruel" Take on Labor

Over the weekend, St. Vincent's upcoming album, Strange Mercy, started streaming on NPR. The woman behind the band, multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Annie Clark, started out as a member of the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' tour mate. She is known for juxtaposing sweet, Feist-like vocals with dark, often violent imagery. The disconnect between body and soul (that is,...

Douchebag Decree: Billy Corgan Decides Transphobia is the Only Way to Get Attention

Billy Corgan continued his downward trajectory towards irrelevancy (wrestling, anyone?) last week by not only insulting, slandering and threatening violence against Portland-based guitar pedal maker Devi Ever, but by making some incredibly transphobic statements for all of the Internet to see.