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This is the last episode of the season. Nicole Brown doesn't appear in it at all. The show spends some time with Noureen DeWulf at home. The other six women converge on Toronto for an event for Tiffany and George Parros's clothing lines. What made this episode stand out from the others is how much it really is focused on the women, with only a few appearances from their partners.

Recap/Review/Commentary )
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This episode was a little more freeform than the last one. We saw a few women together, but for the most part, this episode was focused on women and their partners as Christmas approaches. My favorite reviewers from The National Post were entertaining again this week, although I didn't directly connect any of their points to the rest of this entry. I'm will warn you up front that most of this entry is about Brandon Prust and Maripier Morin, and I didn't think much of either of them or their relationship skills.

Recap/Review/Commentary )
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This episode's structure was much more like the first episode than the last few. The episode centers on a launch party for the new social networking aspect of Brijet Whitney's hockey wives resource website and we follow everyone around as they converge on LA for the party.

Recap/Review/Commentary )
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In a comment on last week's post, [livejournal.com profile] secretsolitaire said, "I found this episode a little more boring than some of the others -- not sure why exactly." I enjoyed last week's episode, but this week's is where I started to lose interest, to the point that I kept bringing up the controls on my video player to see if I was close to the end yet. I'm not sure what made this episode less interesting to me than the others.

As seems to be the pattern now, this week's episode follows five of the women around - Nicole Brown, Kodette LaBarbera, Emilie Blum, Tiffany Parros, and Maripier Morin - including a planned trip for two of them - Maripier and Tiffany - to spend time together.

Recap/Review/Commentary )
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This episode continued on with following women around without too much (obvious) staging of the action. This week's ep focused on Noureen DeWulf, Tiffany Parros, Brijet Whitney, and Maripier Morin. We also see a lot of Kodette LaBarbera, but most of her time is spent with Tiffany and/or Brijet, so I've put her scenes in with my comments on the two of them.

Content note: Tiffany uses a gendered slur. The show beeps it out, but I've reproduced it here as part of a quote from her.

Recap/Review/Commentary )
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The structure of this show is a little odd. When the first episode profiled six of the women, I expected the second ep to profile the other four. Instead it continued to follow some of the women from the first ep and introduced us to two more. Surely, I thought, the third ep would profile the last two women. It did not; instead we followed five of the women we've already met. The feel of this episode was different too. In place of formulaic introductions and staged hangouts, we followed Nicole Brown to her kids' hockey and soccer practices, Noureen DeWulf to work and to an ultrasound appointment, Tiffany Parros to a househunting trip, Martine Forget to a modeling shoot, and Emilie Blum to an Iowa Wild game. In nearly every case, we also saw them connect with female friends who aren't themselves being profiled by the show. I thought the change in focus helped flesh out the portrayal of all five of the women.

Recap/Commentary/Review )
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Content note: this episode included a discussion about a modeling career, with all the beauty standards and weight talk that implies, and I've repeated some of those comments in this post. You can skip the two paragraphs about Martine if you want to skip that part and only read the rest of the entry.

Commentary )
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For the record, I loved the premiere of Hockey Wives. I watched it with focused attention (I closed both Firefox and my Twitter client), and with my knees clasped to my chest in delight. I know it's a manipulated reality show, and I still found it to be a fascinating look into the lives of a handful of women (there are ten on the show, but only five featured in the first episode) partnered to hockey players. That said, I think there's a lot of material there for critical commentary.

Commentary )
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I kind of wanted to see Begin Again anyway, and then [livejournal.com profile] lakeeffectgirl kept talking about how great it is, so I put it on my calendar and went to see it on Saturday.

If you want a very detailed recap of the movie, go read [livejournal.com profile] lakeeffectgirl's post. Here's my brief recap so you know what I'm talking about: Spoilers and Progressive Politics )
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Something I've been thinking about off and on is how the NHL will/would change as a social organization if there were (a) female players with male partners or (b) male players in relationships with men. I mean, I already have a lot of questions about what life must be like for players' wives and girlfriends (imagine how incredibly lonely Sylvie Briere must have been when they moved to Philly), but how would that change if the partners included men? Note: I am talking here about public relationships; I assume there's at least a player or two with a male partner and they're just not out.

First of all, if you follow any of the Tumblrs dedicated to pictures of hockey wives and girlfriends, you'll eventually notice most of the women fit a very similar type: white, conventionally attractive, traditionally feminine, long hair, lots of blondes. (I expect you'd find the same pattern in the female partners of any group of rich, white men between the ages of 18 and 30.) But when there are out gay/bi players in relationships with men, or straight/bi female players in relationships with men, are their partners going to fit a specific type? Or is there a wider range of socially accepted attractiveness for men?

Secondly, I'm interested in what the day-to-day lives of male hockey player partners would look like. I ran across this post where someone who claims to have dated a hockey player talks about hockey wives and girlfriends not having jobs outside the home:

But I honestly don’t know 1 guy who wants their gf to have a career. The guys are gone most of the time and when they are home, they want full undivided attention. If you work a 9 to 5 job, you are only going to see your guy maybe 2 nights a week when he is at home but there isn’t a game. The girl keeps him organized, buys presents for family members bday, goes grocery shopping, sometimes does laundry, sometimes cleans (depends on arrangement) and cooks or provides food for him to eat. When u are both there, your job is to be there for him physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually. The time you have for yourself is when he is away, then u can make phone calls home, hang with the girls etc. if a girl can agree to this, then in most cases he is ok with spending the $. This was one of the hardest things for me. When I was with my ex, my own life stopped. I put off semesters of going to my dream school so I could follow him around and be with him. My personal life was suffering. My friends were living it up in college and I felt like a housewife. Eventually I had to end it (for other reasons as well) because being strong and independent was more important to me than it was him.
In some ways, I find this to be a disturbing look into the gender roles of extremely privileged people. (Uh, let's be clear: I'm not condemning women who agree to this life. If I had a partner with a job she loved that paid her an outrageous amount of money, there's no way in hell I would have a day job. What I find disturbing is both the expectation that this is the only option and the part where "your job is to be there for him physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually." What if you need him to be there for you? Or you don't want to have sex when he does?) In other ways, I find it to be a fascinating look into the lives of hockey player relationships. And again, my question is: what happens when those partners are men? Does this pattern still apply? Does it apply if the male partners are partnered to men but not to women? Will the wider cultural expectation that men must be independent outweigh the hockey culture expectation that a player's partner's most important job is to support the player?

Thirdly, what happens to the charitable auxiliary arms of NHL teams when there are male partners involved? The Flyers' large public event/charity fundraiser is the Carnival, also known as the Flyers Wives Carnival, technically the Flyers Wives Fight For Lives Carnival, put on by the Flyers Wives Charities. Several teams have fashion show fundraisers where the players' partners are the models for the fashion shows. What happens when some of those partners are men? Does the Flyers Wives Charities (which is already inaccurately named given how many players have partners they're not technically married to) change its name? Do the male partners model men's fashions on the charity runways? How do male partners feel about being the charitable auxiliary? What's it like for the women to suddenly have a man as part of their group? How does that change the group dynamics?

I find all this interesting as a thought exercise, but I also want to see (more - there are at least a couple of stories that somewhat touch on it) fic that tackles this issue. If Tyler Brown stops playing hockey and becomes Tyler Seguin's househusband, does he arrange every part of his life around being available for Segs when he's home? How does he feel about that? Does it cause friction in their relationship? If a male player has a male partner who's never been part of the hockey world before, how does this system work for them? Does the fact that they're an out gay couple complicate it? If there are female players with male partners, how does this work for them? Do their partners resent this arrangement, or do they find partners who see supporting their partner and her success as more important than asserting their independence as men? These are the kinds of questions I keep thinking about.
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Today I'm thankful for Obama's re-election. I will always choose the candidate who thinks I have the right to (a) be an equal citizen and (b) make my own medical decisions.
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Patrick Kane

I love some varieties of fictional Patrick Kane. The real thing, not so much. I agree with pretty much everything in [livejournal.com profile] meiface's post on the subject (and her conversation with [livejournal.com profile] diora1 in the comments). Here's my problem: I have a number of in progress stories about him that I want to finish because I like them. But I don't want anyone to think I'm endorsing anything about how he chooses to behave. Maybe I'll have to just slap a "this story does not imply any endorsement or approval of actual Patrick Kane" disclaimer on things. (I expect this whole thing won't have a huge impact on fandom as a whole, since one BNF seems to be saying yes to fictional Patrick Kane/no to real life Patrick Kane and the other BNF seems to be ignoring it completely.)

Reunited Marrieds

This reads like the fake news story in an epic Jeff Carter/Mike Richards fic, except that it's an actual article on nhl.com. See also the primer, the reading of which made them my current favorite hockey story because they have a narrative plot. I would read so much fic about them. Specifically, [livejournal.com profile] lakeeffectgirl and I would like someone to write a soulbonding story where they're just soulbonded dudebros until they get separated, at which point just being bros is not enough. I started telling myself part of that story yesterday, and then I skipped to imagining Richie holding girl!Carter up against the door after she provokes him into fucking her the way she wants. (Whatever, like you didn't already know that was my kind of thing.)

Marrieds with Kids

Once upon a time, Claude Giroux and Danny Briere lived together in matrimonial bliss with their three kids and two dogs:

Videos. Yes, this is all real news footage. )

Then Claude moved out and baby rookie Sean Couturier moved in:

Video. Sean actually is the fourth kid. )

For some reason (most likely a combination of no BNF interest and a "they're so slashy; why bother writing about them?" approach), there is very little fic about all of this. For an even more unknown reason, I'm very invested in Danny and/or Danny and Claude being parental towards Sean. (I may have written approximately nine hundred words of them all being a family yesterday.)
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I saw The Hunger Games last weekend with two fangirls, a fangirl's wife, and my mother, which was a lovely group of women to spend the morning and lunch with. I've been slacking on making a post about the movie because I really only had three things to say. Now, however, I'm on a Hunger Games email thread that has brought up a fourth thing about the series that I want to talk about. This entry does include political discussion on race and gender lines, so if that isn't your thing, you can read to the first two points below and then leave this post.

The movie as an adaptation. )

The pairing I didn't expect to see. )

Race. )

Gender and Romance )
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Yuletide Story for Me
Someone wrote me Unasked. Rizzoli & Isles fic, just for me!

Yuletide Guessing Game
I wrote one story in the main collection and one in the madness collection. I talked to many of you about my story in the main collection, so those of you who heard about it are ineligible for guessing on that one, but I didn't talk to anyone about my madness story since I didn't know I was going to write it until I did. Anyway, if you guess what I wrote, I will write you a snippet of your choice!

Yuletide Recs
I surprised myself by how few Yuletide fandoms I actually wanted to read stories in. (The sexism/misogyny of so many of the requests I read on the spreadsheets of all requests also soured my enjoyment of the whole thing. Really, fandom, we're still doing that?) Of the things I did read, the following are the stories I liked best. AO3 usability hint: if you hate the Yuletide banner/margin, delete "collections/yuletide2011/" from the URL and it'll show the story without the Yuletide stuff around it.

open problem (Push, gen) - This is a fantastic post-movie story that manages to incorporate the same kind of twists and turns the movie does, and there's a line in there that is just a phenomenal perspective on the whole plot.

And You're Overdue ("You Make Me Feel" video, Gabe/Sabi) - I liked a lot of things about this video, but hated the way it reinforces the supremacy of couples and coupledom. This story fixes all that by making it a soulbonding story in a world with empaths, succubi, and other supernatural types. It also has this fantastic piece of dialogue about Gabe: "You were easy to find. Everything about you is very loud and your tour schedule is on the Internet."

All the Little Lives We Could Have Lived (Titanic RPF, Kate/Leo) - This is not a pairing I would have ever thought of on my own, but the fact that there was a story on some commentfic meme a while ago made me click on the fandom in the Yuletide collection. This is a lovely story that spans decades. I loved both the portrayal of their relationship and the way they are both such interesting characters.

Amy Potter and the Monkey of Salvation: an America's Test Kitchen Adventure (Cook's Illustrated/TV Commercials, gen) - I was curious about cookbook fic, and I have a soft spot for fic about Mayhem, so of course I had to read this. It's great. It's adorable and it made me laugh.

Three Scenes from Tiny Cooper's 2014 New Year's Eve Party that Will Definitely Be in His Autobiography (Will Grayson Will Grayson, Tiny/Will) - I was iffy about Will Grayson Will Grayson fic because the book is so fantastic, but this story didn't disappoint at all.

Other Holiday Challenge Recs
I read a handful of [livejournal.com profile] bandomstuffsit fics today, and there were two I absolutely loved.

Food Of Love (Play On) (Alex/Ryland) - This is a semi-AU where Cobra Starship never got off the ground, so Ryland is a waiter/aspiring actor who also plays in Gabe's band on the weekends. He meets up with Alex again when Alex becomes the new sous chef at the restaurant. This story is so perfect. It's romantic and funny and delightful. I almost emailed one of you a rec today, and then I realized the person I was going to email probably wrote the story and had to put it in a post instead.

the times, they are a-changing, or: a modern marriage of convenience (Brendon/Spencer) - There's sort of a plot here - Dallon suggests that since they're both single at the holidays, Brendon and Spencer should hook up - but mostly there is a really hot, kinky sex scene with Spencer subbing.
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I promise this is the last one of these entries for now, but I have some thoughts that didn't quite fit into either of the previous two, one more it is. Again, this entry involves pop culture critique along political lines, and if that's not your thing, you should skip it.

You may remember when I said that I would probably only watch Prime Suspect episodes when I was in the mood for a cop show. That hasn't been my actual approach. I have, instead, watched every episode. I still don't care about it as a cop show; I find their cases very uninteresting. But I find everything else that happens around the edges of the show fascinating. There are two particular points I want to talk about in comparison to my previous two entries.

First, the approach to cultural practices. Spoilers for Prime Suspect and H50 )

Second, although she was very much in the background, this show had a neutrally presented fat woman. Details/Minor Spoilers )
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This entry moves from gushing to contemplative and critical to critical. This is an entry comprised mostly of pop culture critique along political lines, specifically around issues of sex and race. If that is not fun for you, or you don't think that's a worthwhile use of fannish energy, you should skip this entry.

This entry includes spoilers for all aired episodes of all three of these shows.

Rizzoli and Isles

Have you ever watched a buddy cop show and thought, "If only this were about women"? If so, Rizzoli & Isles is the show for you. Angie Harmon plays detective Jane Rizzoli while Sasha Alexander is medical examiner Maura Isles. Together, they solve cases. They're also the kind of buddy cops who are practically married. They go undercover in a lesbian bar in season one and pretend to be together (unfortunately badly) in season two. They bicker and talk about fashion and facts and people. The show also does a fantastic job of including Jane's family. And I like the male cops. My two favorite things from this season: Spoilers )

Haven

Earlier this year, [livejournal.com profile] norwich36 linked me to an anonymous thread about shows with strong women characters to catch up on over the summer. Haven was one of them, so I started watching it. I was fascinated by how many people commented back about it when I tweeted about it, particularly for a show I'd never even heard of before. It's really good. Those of you reading this might also like it: the lead character is a woman, and there's a fantastic slash pairing. (Nate/Duke forever! Where is my story where they're exes?) But in the context of this post, what I want to talk about is how Audrey is interestingly nonsexual and nonsexualized, which is not something you see in women on TV. Spoilers )

Suits

In case you haven't noticed, I love Suits. The plot is stupid and gets in the way of a really fun show, but the fun stuff is enough to make up for it. My strategy has been to watch it once, and then only watch the fun parts again. But that's not what this post is about. This post is about women, so let's talk about the women on Suits. Parts of fandom (including me) are very excited about the women: Gina Torres as Jessica Pearson, lawyer whose name is in the firm name and who got Harvey out of the mail room and into law school in some fashion we haven't been made privy to yet; Sarah Rafferty as Donna, Harvey's fantastic assistant who gets all the best lines; Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane, paralegal who's smarter than most of the firm but with test-taking anxiety that's keeping her from taking the LSATs; and Vanessa Ray as Jenny, Mike's best friend Trevor's girlfriend who later becomes Mike's girlfriend. (Okay, fandom isn't as fond of Jenny. I think there are strong possibilities for some interesting stories there, but fandom's "OH MY GOD A WOMAN" thing means no one's likely to write them.)

But what I haven't seen yet (largely because I haven't gone looking for Suits conversation outside of the two email threads I'm on) is any discussion of the ways in which the show's portrayal of women is problematic. I think there's a layer of sexism on the show that's particularly insidious precisely because it's under the surface. Details/Spoilers )
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Last night, a friend and I went to see a local production of The Revenger's Tragedy. I wanted to go because a production of it is a plot point in Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, which is one of my favorite books of all time, and I'd never seen it. My friend knows the director who told her about one of the aspects of her directorial choice that made feminists like us interested in it.

The Plot )

The Production )
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I loved Friends With Benefits. It's a movie about people who have sex and then fall in love, which is totally a story I love. It's also by the guy who made Easy A, and like Easy A, I laughed all the way through it, except for the parts where I cried.

There are two things that make it very, very interesting as a mainstream movie:

First, the sex. There's a lot of it, and for the characters, part of what just sex means is that they don't have to engage in their usual patterns. Specifically, they can give directions to get what they want - and that goes for both of them. Yes, that's right, a woman in a mainstream movie gets to direct her own sex life for her own pleasure without ever being slut shamed for it. How often do you see that?

Secondly, one of the themes of the movie is that love should be a partnership, that happily ever after isn't being swept off your feet - although that can be fun - but walking through life together. In case you haven't figured it out from reading my LJ, that is exactly my belief, and you don't see it enough in the standard romance narrative.
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Post in question.

1. I hate editing posts. My perspective is that once you've put something out there, it's out there and you're stuck with it. However, I have edited yesterday's post to add a disclaimer I probably should have put on it in the first place. To anyone else I hurt by talking at you without making it clear that I wasn't saying, "You should do things this way": I'm sorry. :-( I feel horrible about it, and I hope the disclaimer helps make it better.

2. I've had that post in my Google Docs for months and months and months where I occasionally poked at it without making any substantial changes before I finally said enough is enough and posted it. This morning, it occurred to me that I can sum up that whole middle section about sex in one sentence: The issue I've been struggling with is how to write feminist heterosexual sex scenes that include more variety than I usually see in either the mainstream culture or fandom. I know it seems like the other things in the post are more important, but this is the point I keep coming back to and worrying at when I'm writing het.

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