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A guest post from Bel.
I do love having the latest fashion news sent directly to my inbox. I don’t love when it is filled with body dismorphia, cliched clothing and tacky writing.
The immediate clanger here is the obvious ”enhancement” that has gone on with the image of the model on the bottom right.
Perhaps it is some snazzy move that I missed the week I skipped America’s Next Top Model, but as far as I am aware, Tyra has not yet let us all in on a pose that instantaneously whittles your waist down to the width of your head. Practically miraculous, especially when you have two other photos of normal-sized waist to compare it to!
Overall, it was just plain disappointing to get a whole e-newsletter devoted to touting the joys of NAUTICAL. Nautical, you guys! Did you hear? It’s in! It’s in this summer! And do you remember last summer? Um, yeah – just like then! What’s that? The summer before… uhhh… maybe?
Pardon? Ever since Jean-Paul Gaultier’s debut collection in 1976? Or maybe since Gabrielle Chanel busted out a top she borrowed from the sailors of Brittany back in the 30s? Hmmm… interesting points. Fashion is know for being cyclic, but really, trying to act as if as there is a trend popping up when we’ve had nothing but blue and white stripes flung at us for season after season seems to be taking it a little far!
And it must be said, I love me a good pun [see: above]. This is a trait passed down from my mother, who is also a Scrabble champion and cryptic crossword queen. But “I heart bouys” is weak on so many levels. For one, it just draws my attention again to the fact that they are trying to act as if this whole nautical baloney is new and fun and exciting.
It also taps into a pet peeve of the way mainstream fashion retail stores, which used to cater for women in their 20s with a professional focus, are aiming more and more towards the teenage market.
*Things that upset me more in the world than inconsistent branding:
- That funding for evening classes has been cut and Education Minister Anne Tolley has suggested as the option for refugees to New Zealand who were using this as their way to become proficient in English, that they will now be allowed to apply for student loans.
- That the food from Satay Kingdom in Left Bank is cheaper than the food from the Thai place on Cuba, but their portions are smaller and I always feel too stuffed after a Satay Kingdom laksa.
- Murray McCully. I really hate that guy so bad.
- Finally deciding to use a voucher and finding out that it has expired. Gahh!
Recently the Miss Universe New Zealand pageant was held in Wellington, and I wrote about it rather snarkily on the Wellingtonista. I got to talking to one of the judges, Jack Yan from Lucire at Hooch last week, where he was working the room as only a mayoral candidate would do. I thought that regardless of how I personally feel about “beauty” pageants, it would be interesting to hear an insider’s perspective. Jack has very kindly provided us with this piece. Enjoy!
Ria van Dyke was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2010 at the Duxton Hotel on June 5. It was a very Wellington event: classy, with a great, supportive crowd, and even a nice, fine June day to boot.
Wellington hasn’t had a Miss Universe New Zealand pageant for some 20 years, and in typical capital fashion, we were marvellous hosts. Not only did the Duxton come to the party, the Museum Hotel hosted the girls and two of the judges, and the Bolton Hotel helped with inner-city car parking. Farmers Lambton Quay played host to an afternoon where the contestants had a chance to work in the beauty department. Mish Mosh on Courtenay Place gave the contestants a chance to chill out the night before the interviews. Johnsonville Shopping Centre and Kilmarnock Home in Berhampore gave everyone extra opportunities to contact members of the public. Finally, the contestants literally stopped Parliament during one of their tours as they stepped in to the gallery.
This was the most cooperative, professional and flash Miss Universe New Zealand I’ve ever judged—and I now have four of these events under my belt. That’s not counting some of the work I’ve done for Miss Sweden over the years. It’s not inter-city rivalry talking. Somehow, Wellington just inspired more decency. There were no girls in cliques. Those who might have done what I call ‘the Auckland pageant circuit’ were far away from any folks who could have egged on any nastiness. Even the Wellington media—Matt McLean and Corinne Ambler from TVNZ, and Laura McQuillan from NZPA (We love Laura! She is our precious sparklepony! – Jo) —reported fairly without having any agenda. The radio stations—including the Breeze, X105 and Wellington-owned Groove 107·7 FM—interviewed various contestants.
Nightline attempted to critique the pageant on cultural diversity grounds, though the reality is that the national finals have no control over who is sent to us during the heats. I think having one Indian out of thirteen is roughly the proportion we have in New Zealand, while many contestants were melting pots that one would expect to see: Filipino, Chinese, Maori and Croat origins were present alongside the usual occidental ones of Portuguese, Spanish, French, Swiss and Anglo–Saxon.
Post-pageant, there were next to no sarky comments on the beauty blogs (We’re a bit slow – Jo). People liked Ria—and for once we didn’t have all the BS about the pageant being ‘rigged’ by its director. I know there are aspects of pageants that are anachronistic, stemming from the ideas of objectification. Or the media’s obsession with thin. They are both valid criticisms, each capable of occupying entire doctoral theses. However, I still maintain that any young woman can win, if she displays the sort of confidence Ria did, both on the final night and an earlier evening. Then, she had to be interviewed by the five-strong judging panel in an Apprentice-style setting inside the Museum Hotel. Thanks to the more intellectual approach of the judges, there are pluses to this—namely the confidence the contestants gain. I’ve seen some go from nervous post-teens to confident young women.
I’m barred from discussing the judging in detail—sadly, I don’t make the rules on this one—but I can say that Ria impressed us strongly in the private interview session, where yours truly is said to be the ‘Simon Cowell’ of the pageant. I take exception to this description, as I have had no Botox. This year, I was joined again by Evana Patterson, an Auckland-based model scout who was, in fact, born here. She’s been with the pageant world for some time, so being my mayoral opponent’s niece is a coincidence. Carl Manderson of Salute in Lower Hutt and Samantha Hannah, stylist, joined us. Certainly not least, pageant veteran Dina Janse von Rensburg flew in from Auckland to round off the quintet.
My own interest is being on a judging panel to find the smartest, most capable young woman to represent New Zealand. Each year, I believe we’ve succeeded. Some cynics might say that I should turn a blind eye to pageants if I agree that they are based around a narrow definition of attractiveness, but I’d rather be in there to get us the brains to go with the beauty—inner and outer—than base this competition on looks exclusively. In fact, one former Miss New Zealand told me that many of her overseas competitors were, indeed, bimboes. That’s not the way I want Aotearoa to be seen. And bimbo is not a label that could ever be levelled at Ria—or, for that matter, Miss Wellington Regan Hillyer, studying for her M.Arch. at Vic, or Nafeesa Moses, who already has her MA. Ria’s own master’s area is on women’s studies in sociology, so if anyone’s aware of the relevance (or irrelevance) of pageantry in the modern world, it’s her. Love or hate pageants, they’re here and they’re experiencing a renaissance. And I believe we found the best winner in years who will do well in representing New Zealand at Miss Universe in Las Vegas, Nevada, in August.
Words cannot do justice to the amount of love that I have for Amy Poehler, but if you get your hands on the newest issue of BUST, you will find her on the cover and inside talking about feminism and comedy and babies and tarantulas and you will love love love her too. Also get your hands on her TV show Parks and Recreation. Season two is my favourite thing in the world right now. Oh, and it looks like I’m not alone in my love for all things Amy…
Most women in New Zealand do not realise that heart disease is the leading single cause of death in women. To help raise this awareness, a group of fashion designers like Annah Stretton, in association with Go Red For Women have put some original designer red dresses up for auction on Trade Me. If you are a size 10/small, you could purchase and buy one of these pretty dresses, and help raise money for the cause. If you’re not a size small, well really, what relevancy could heart disease possibly have to you anyway?
We know a lot of people who are competing in the 48 Hour Film Challenge shortly. Woo, glory, fun, games, etc. But Behind The Scenes have a different kind of film challenge going on. They’re asking people age 17-24 to make videos that promote healthy relationships instead of violent ones.
Make a video clip for YouTube promoting respectful boyfriend/girlfriend relationships and win a prize – $2000.00 first prize, $1000.00 second prize.
We encourage young men as well as young women to have a go at busting the myths about this violence
Although this project is about boyfriend violence towards girlfriends, many men have respectful and loving relationships.
Women have come a long way but some men still use violence towards women in relationships. Domestic violence has been dragged out of the closet. This is an opportunity to drag boyfriend violence out in the open! We want all young people to have a go at challenging this culture by promoting respectful relationships.
For more information, check out their site, or Are you okay? for help.
I’m watching Helen Clark giving her valedictory statement to Parliament right now and shedding a couple of quiet tears. It was a huge deal to have her as our first elected female prime minister, and have her be such a staunch feminist and believer in human rights. Luckily our loss is the world’s gain now she’s off to the UN.
If my room wasn’t so messy, I would be wearing this badge right now (and secretly to work every day). You can buy these badges at Madame Fancy Pants, I do believe.
Everyone loves Tina Fey (that is a universal law!), and we also love Amy Poehler, her often partner-in-comedy. I especially love Amy Poehler’s web series on smart girls at the party – girls who are making the world a better place by being themselves, and this clip is super wonderfully awesome, about Ruby, a seven year old feminist. Enjoy!
1. How did you get into roller derby in the first place?
I had a bunch of friends who were involved in the very beginnings of the league, and I jumped on board after an ill-fated New Years (too much alcohol and a break up and a tent = not good). My new year’s resolution was to do more things for myself and I joined derby because I loved the idea of skating and dressing up and having a pretend name and character… In the end though, I fell in love with roller derby because of the intense athleticism that is at the core of the sport, the amazing women that I skate with and the fun that we have.
2. Roller Derby can be seen to be about strength, which is an awesome thing, but it’s also about fighting other women, isn’t it? How do you think it fits into the feminist spectrum?
Hm, I wouldn’t describe roller derby as being “about fighting other women”, any more than I would say that rugby is “about fighting other men”. The contact is a part of a sport that is about agility, strength and power. Conceptualising derby in the feminist spectrum is interesting, and it’s something that bears a lot of thinking about; I believe it’s an amorphous situation, constantly changing depending on circumstance and situation, rather than one set in stone. I would say that as a rule derby deliberately plays with and subverts all sorts of stereotypical ideas about women and their sexuality – that is, by playing with these stereotypes and ideas we’re reclaiming power over them and making them a joke. Hah, we say!
3. How do you balance your in-rink persona and the real you or are they the same thing?
My in-rink persona, Ginger Tonyx, is an angry ex-Broadway broad (think: Valley of the Dolls). I love her, but I’ve had enough therapy to leave her in the rink! (Well, she sometimes comes to karaoke or out to the pub. But she’s very well-behaved then).
4. What do you wear/do to make yourself feel good?
I wear my red cowboy boots, red lipstick, vintage furs, cat ears, tutu (one at a time!); and I watch endless episodes of the Gilmore Girls, ride my bicycle along the waterfront, SKATE, op shop and knit/sew/cook.
5. How would you define pretty?
Pretty is playing with being a girl, and using the girly bits that work to the best of your advantage.
The bout will take place at on Saturday March 28, Wellington Basketball Association (behind Dance and Drama School) off Hutchinson Road and on the corner of Newtown and Mount Cook, Wellington.
Doors open at 6pm and the action begins at 7pm. Tickets are $10 and only available at the door. No eftpos so remember your cash.