You Play the Girl

You Play the GirlUplay Uplay YouTube Enjoy The Videos And Music You Love, Upload Original Content, And Share It All With Friends, Family, And The World On YouTube Enjoy The Videos And Music You Love, Upload Original Content, And Share It All With Friends, Family, And The World On YouTube Home Trending LibraryTraitor Free With Ads Major Injuries I Had As A Kid DayTheOddsOut M ViewsyearsYouTube Enjoy The Videos And Music You Love, Upload Original Content, And Share It All With Friends, Family, And The World On YouTube Herm Edwards You Play To Win YouTube Herm Edwards You Play To Win The Game Carson Can T Keep Up With Rodney Dangerfield S Non Stop One LinersDuration Rodney Dangerfield Recommended For You YouTube Music Check This Out On YouTube Music A New Music Service With Official Albums, Singles, Videos, Remixes, Live Performances Andfor Android, IOS And Desktop I Live You Play He Lives Apps On Google Play Play Now I Live And Give A Soul To Your Device Features Bring Your Baby Into The World And Bring Him Up Like A Real Child Breastfeed Him, Follow Him And Watch Him Growing He Needs Love, If You Don T Follow Him, He Won T Love You Give Him All Love You Can And He Will Love You Too Follow His Growht Phases, From His Born ToPlay The Game Idioms By The Free Dictionary Definition Of Play The Game In The Idioms Dictionary Play The Game Phrase What Does Play The Game Expression Mean Definitions By The Largest Idiom Dictionary What Does Play Pop culture has labeled "girls" for decades and they are portrayed as anything but empowering or even realistic. For decades, the women on the screen are seen as dumb sex objects, maddening incompetent nitwits or raging "bitches" out to get revenge. It has slowly started to change but it is still pervasive in all forms of media. Author Carina Chocano has written an excellent book on just how and why we got there. If you have a teenage daughter, you might want to pick up a copy and do a read together. There is much to discuss about her ideas so this is also a good book choice for bookclub reads. Four stars.
As research for a novel I'm writing, I'm not only reading detective fiction but branching out to read memoirs by women or Black, Hispanic and Asian writers for looks at how they see, or don't see, themselves reflected in popular culture. While I'd never followed the reviews of Carina Chocano during her tenure at the Los Angeles Times from 20032008, like Manohla Dargiswhose departure to the New York Times slid Chocano over from TV to filmChocano was a trustworthy voice from my generation, thoughtful, analytical and enjoyable to read.

Chocano's memoir You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks & Other Mixed Messages mixes stories of her childhood (she was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1968 and moved to New Jersey at the age of 5 when her father, a marketing executive for a pharmaceutical company, was transferred to New York), school days, marriage and motherhood (she gave birth to a daughter the year she was laid off from the Times) with criticism of how women are portrayed in a dozen or so pop culture institutions.

Nearly every print publication be it ink or electronic has someone like Chocano reviewing film and TV daily. What makes her book special is how much I realized I had in common with her beyond her impressions of Ghostbusters 2016 (good but not great summer movie). Like me, Chocano grew up in the suburbs in the '70s and '80s, went to school, dated and all the while absorbed many of the same magazines, books and movies that I did. Her book is sharp, creative, passionate and candid. She lays it all out there. She taught me a great deal about how women are misrepresented in film. Even better, she's often very funny.

On discovering Katharine Hepburn when she was 12 years old:

Before watching The Philadelphia Story, it had never occurred to me that femininity and femaleness were not one and the same thing. I'd dutifully absorbed the lessons embedded in movies, TV shows, ads, magazines, commercials, and cartoons. The frillier, flightier, wilier, sweeter, gentler, kinder, bitchier, more nurturing, scarier, more insecure, more insincere a character was, the more of a "girl" she was. I'd learned to rank female characters by prettiness. Little girls like to claim their heroines' beauty as their own. It's like picking a team, though it's unclear what's being won. The Philadelphia Story marked the first time I remember encountering the idea that this ephemeral but familiar thing I'd recognized all my life as the feminine ideal might be not just distinct from but also possibly oppressive to women. It came as a shock.

Here was Tracy, a heroinea bride, no lessand she was different. She was experienced. She had learned from her youthful mistakes and was making deliberate choices. She had agency. She had a horse. (Not that this was germane, but I really loved horses.) She was comfortable in her own skin, secure, and she believed in herself. She radiated confidence of a kind I'd never seen before in a movie heroine. It wasn't the kind of confidence you usually saw in movie stars. It wasn't just that she was secure in her sexiness. On the contrary, she didn't seem to think about her sexiness at all. What made her attractive was that she acted like a person, not a girl. I did think it was strange to be encountering this in 1980, given that The Philadelphia Story was released in 1940.



On revisiting a movie she was obsessed with at 15:

Only now, decades later, do I see Flashdance for what it was: a fantasy of selfcreation ungrounded in political, material, or economic reality. It was a feature length music video hawking the individualist, bootstrapping Reaganera fantasy. It said you can do anything (in your imagination). All it takes to lift yourself off the lowest social rung and be borne aloft on wings of stardom and true love is a big dream, a flashy style, a psychotic belief in yourself, and a willingness to sleep with your boss. You just have to want it. You can do it! Girl power! Dream on, sister!

And hey, if it doesn't work out, remember you have only yourself to blame. Maybe you weren't good enough, did you ever consider that? Here are some tips for selfimprovement. Flashdance taught us that stripping was cool and a great way to put yourself through school. It taught us that the window to success is open for a very short time. Without Nick, Alex would have curdled into something monstrous in no time.



I must pause to give Chocano credit for some awesome chapter titles:

A Modest Proposal for More Backstabbing in Preschool

The KickAss

The Bronze Statue of the Virgin Slut Ice Queen Bitch Goddess

You Play the Girl was already good but when Chocano turned her lens on the Seth RogenKatherine Heigl comedy Knocked Up, which she saw while trying to have a baby, her memoir really took off for me.

The problem with Knocked Up wasn't that it was full of moments that made it more than a little bit sexist, even though it was. The problem was that it presented an adolescent boy's perspective of what it means to be an adult woman in a world that has not yet come to terms with the idea of women as autonomous subjects. The problem was that it reveled in its hero's unearned advantage in this world while at the same time refusing to acknowledge what it's like on the other side. The movie refused to so much as utter the word abortion. (It makes somebody say "smashmorshun" instead.) Knocked Up wasn't interested in Alison's life or in her experience or in her options; it was the life stages of a woman as they are seen in fairy tales: child, maiden (hot chick), mother, and crone. Alison was an incubator, not only for her baby but for Ben's maturity.

The trouble wasn't only Knocked Up, of course. This take on gender relations circa 2007 was the only perspective anyone got. It was the most suffocating dudebro imperialism; patriarchy rebranded as "fratiarchy." Watching it, I felt the way I imagine Khrushchev must have felt as Nixon tried to undermine his selfesteem with a tour of the modern American kitchen. Khrushchev was, like, we have kitchens in Russia, too, you know ... But nobody listened.

I'm listening and I'd like to hope that content creators either have a jewel like Chocano reading their work before it's shipped worldwide, or has her terrific book on their shelf.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHzOO... **

“(…) there’s nothing like trying to live up to an impossible standard to keep a woman in her place.”

Last weekend, I watched “Desperados” on Netflix. I was bored, I guess, and I loved Lamorne Morris in “New Girl” so I figured why not? He was great, but the movie itself sucked. Not only did it suck, but it kinda pissed me off. The credits rolled and I think I said: “I can’t believe we still make this kind of trash chick flicks in 2020!” out loud (but there was probably more profanities in what I actually said). You know, stories about women in their 30s who are still boycrazy, surrounded by enabling friends who indulge the insanity and who project unrealistic Disneyinspired fantasies on the men they meet and then lose their fucking minds when the fantasy doesn’t become reality. Why is this still happening? If women like that are real (which I doubt, but I’ve been wrong before), why are we glorifying their dysfunction/belittling it, by making it an object of ridicule and then tying it up with a happy ending bow that makes no sense? Why is this entertainment? I ranted about it for a few minutes to my bestie, then watched “Mr. Jones”, a movie about the investigative journalist who exposed the Holomodor and inspired George Orwell to write “1984”. Because THAT, my friends, is interesting, albeit bleak, stuff (written and directed by a woman, too!). I also remembered I had a copy of “You Play the Girl” tucked away somewhere and I dug it out and put on my desk.

As a (popculture) nerd, I was very curious as soon as I had heard about this book. I have been a (sometimes unwilling) consumer of pop culture almost my entire life, and yet I can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times I felt I could truly identify with a female character. I spent a lot of time wondering if I was so abnormal as to not be worthy of representation. I also struggled a lot with the “dammed if you do, damned if you don’t” reality of growing up a girl.

“I believed that the days of telling girls to keep their opinions to themselves were over because I’d been encouraged to speak up in class my whole life.” Insert sarcastic laughter here.

This collection of essays bring together fascinating analysis of how women are portrayed in pop culture (from Disney princesses to sitcoms, musical icons and many more examples that we see on an almost daily basis) and the author’s personal stories, to illustrate how we internalize those representations, and how weird and confusing that is. I have personally experienced a lot of the mixed messages described in these pages, and it was fascinating and validating to read Chocano’s analysis; she brilliantly articulates the thoughts that often pop in my head when I watch TV or a movie and become livid at the madness being peddled at me. It’s always good to know you aren’t absolutely insane because you think “if I hear one more actress talk about how nice and refreshing it is to play a strong female character, so help me…”. I loved every chapter, but here are some thoughts and quotes that especially stuck in my mind.

“Sometimes, it seems like popular media exists primarily to set impossible standards and then to shame people who don’t try their hardest to meet them.”

The idea that society promotes motherhood but attaches so many responsibilities and standards to it that the woman’s personhood is eradicated in the process is also discussed, as is the toxicity of mommy wars, momshaming and all that vileness, and the design flaw of giving women no real way to work and fulfil the “biological duty” simultaneously (“We don’t live in an equitable society, we just pretend we do and are punished when we suggest otherwise. We force women into a false choice that isn’t a choice, really. Then we make them feel bad no matter which option they ‘choose’.”).

She uses “Frozen” to look at the concept of princesses, and what that means now (I was called “princess” by a man once; to me it felt like a slap in the face, but he obviously thought of it as a term of endearment; there was no second date). I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve seen enough Disney garbage to get the gist of it: a princess with a power of some sort has that power restrained or taken away from her somehow (for her own good!), and there is a sort of quest/”journey” to get that power back. Often, princes save the day, and “Frozen” is supposed to be different because that doesn’t actually happen, but reading about it, it sounds just as psychotic as the other moviesexcept “Mulan”, which everyone conveniently forgets about all the damn time. The other thing that everyone conveniently forgets a lot is that fairy tales were originally cautionary tales… It wasn’t something you’d want to live, it was about all the bad stuff that could happen and how you could get out of it, but that’s not how we think of them now… I loved that she notes how everything is a damn “journey” now, because using that word reframes bad decisionmaking and misery into just one hurdle to be jumped before the big happy ending.

“When I was growing up, the assumption was that as older generations were replaced by younger generations, sexism would fade. This narrative was not only rarely challenged but remains popular to this day. It’s hard to reconcile where we are with these obsessive, persistent, psychotically virulent attacks on anyone who refuses to conform to gender stereotypes, this insistence that certain fondly held ideas not to be sullied with empirical reality”, she writes in a chapter discussion the muchreviled 2017 “Ghostbusters” reboot (which I *gasp* adored, because the female characters in it are, well, people). She uses the insane reaction to the movie to parallel the criticism Virginia Woolf had received, eons before there were internet trolls, to sadly conclude that some things die very, very hard.

“It’s easy to deplore past injustices. It makes you look good. It’s much harder (…) to confront why injustice arises, how injustice is consciously and unconsciously perpetuated, and why it is allowed to continue while we are fed fairy tales about the way things are now.”

Wry, insightful, and something I think anyone raising daughters ought to read. I will be rereading “Alice in Wonderland”, but I’ll have a whole new perspective on it now…


**Watching this video again made me laugh: it is so 90s, but it reminded me where my undying love of liquid liner and ruby red lipstick comes from. You can also find this review at https://booksbestfriendblog.wordpress...

Note: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Similar to Bad Feminist, I often found myself nodding in agreement as I read You Play the Girl. For example, I also felt the same way as Chocano after watching Trainwreck. Why did Amy’s character think there was something wrong with her? Why did she have to use her father’s mistakes to justify her own life? Couldn’t she have both enjoyed having fun with no strings and then settle down when she wanted to? Couldn’t she just enjoy her life without defining it by both the absence, and then presence, of a relationship?

I also had the same issues with Frozen, and I can’t stand how it overshadows Mulan as Disney’s most feminist movie. I’m for anything that makes girls feel like they can be the leads in their own stories, but let’s not forget that Mulan took on the Huns.

Reading about Chocano’s experience with Playboy magazines just reinforces how damaging sexualized media images can be for young girls, and the Hefner interview she references reminded me of the definition of a slut: a woman with the morals of a man. Hefner has several relationships at once but expects his girlfriends to only sleep with him. I doubt any women who admitted to being in relationships with several men at once would be the exalted head of a magazine.

Chocano’s essays covered a lot of topics, and I mean A LOT. She moves from Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck to Alice in Wonderland to Playboy to Frozen with wit and ease. While I loved her insights, she didn’t really go as in depth on several topics as I would have liked. However, what she did cover was insightful and relevant, and I definitely recommend this book for those looking for a feminist take on pop culture. August 2017 My Book Box NonFiction Selection
Recently, I watched part of Keeping Up with the Jones. It’s a movie about a suburban couple whose new neighbors turn out to be spies/special agents/CIA something or other. It has a good cast, and there were parts that were quite funny. I didn’t watch all of it, however, because it soured. The two men become buds, in fact the movie is really a bromance despite the couples, but the two women nope. In fact, the suburban wife dislikes the spy woman even before the truth comes out. Because, as you know, women can never be friends with prettier women.
It was like, really? The wife is right, there is something sneaky going on, but her belief comes from jealously more than anything else. Additionally, proving her right also indicates that the female spy is not as good her husband, but it was really the whole friendship thing – men are friends, and that is emotionally important – while women can never be friends with other women. Not really.
I’m tired of that shit.
I think Chocano would agree with me.
Chocano’s book details the messages that pop culture seems to be giving women and girls, whether it is intentionally or unintentionally. Honesty, I want to kiss her because I thought I was the only one who was disturbed by Elsa’s change of dress in the movie. Her writing about Cinderella will ensure that you will never look at a Cinderella movie the same way. Her comments about being trained in English Literature are tattooed on everyone who has a literature degree.
The book is actually quite good because she focuses on things that are seen or meant to be “women’s” stories – like Sex in the City. It isn’t just the primary focus of the book – it is on pop culture and women, so shows like Mad Men are also discussed. She also addresses the desire to like something while realizing that it is problematic.
Chocano’s tone is conversational, and the book is an easy and engrossing read.
Overall, this was a fast read for anyone looking to think critically about the media we consume on a daily basis. Movies likePretty Women,Knocked Up,Thelma and Louise,The Stepford Wives... TV shows likeMad Men,The Bachelor,Inside Amy Schumer... All are dissected and analyzed critically. Carina Chocano had a career as a movie critic. Almost every essay uses TV/film examples to illuminate her thoughts.

Here's what I didn't like...

1. Chocano paints a vivid picture of the roles assigned to heterosexual, white women. No essay in this book includes examples of women of color or women in the LGBT community and how they are portrayed in films/television. Why didThe Princess and the Frogperform poorly in the box office compared toFrozen,Tangled, and others? If white women are assigned roles in Hollywood and elsewhere, what roles are assigned to nonwhite women? She talks briefly about women in the sex industryparticularlyPlayboy but how are lesbians portrayed in porn and maleconsumed media? Chocano missed a huge opportunity here.

2. Most of her essays had excellent thesis statements. But most of them fell flat. I would come across the final few paragraphs of the piece, thinking, "She's going to end this with a bang!" And she wouldn't. Most of her essays involved facts, facts, facts, minor opinion, facts, end. I finished some of the essays like, "I genuinely don't know how Chocano feels about this." The Amy Schumer chapter, for instance. Halfway through the piece, she's criticizingTrainwreck, then she's praisingInside Amy Schumer, then she's praisingTrainwreck. It brought up some great points that reaffirmed my love ofInside Amy Schumer but just didn't feel cohesive. Does Chocano think Amy is a feminist we should look up to or simply an unrelatable woman looking to cash in on being a hot mess? I genuinely don't know. (My personal thoughts are a combo of the two, leaning more toward the former, but I'm not the one who wrote a book here.)

3. TheFrozen essay. This one got on my nerves.
•In one chapter, Chocano is praising women for being openly sexual and themselves. In this one, she sees Elsa's transition into a "sexy" outfit during 'Let It Go' as outoftouch. "[Highly stylized hotness] demonstrates how transforming yourself into a trophy is a good outlet for any strength of will or creativity you may have been cursed with at birth... It teaches girls that selfobjectification is a great strategy for neutralizing the qualities others may find threatening, and deflects attention away from them." Or perhaps Elsa's stripping of her coats symbolizes her acceptance of her powers"The cold never bothered me anyway"and her attractive new getup displays her newfound confidence and empowerment, which is synonymous with her femininity rather than her masculine/genderneutral attributes (as the empowered Mulan and Merida have displayed in their respective films). Plus, don't we want to empower our daughters that the most "beautiful" women are the ones that are empowered and truly themselves? Materializing this inner beauty into outer beauty gives our daughters multiple reasons to say, "I want to be like Elsa!"
•As for the language of 'Let It Go,' Chocano says, "Is she submitting or rebelling? 'Let it go' isn't what anybody says when they want to encourage you to own your strength... It's what people say to other people when they want them to get over themselves, to move on, give up. 'Let it go' is silencing." Actually, letting go can be quite empowering for some people. For people with anxiety, letting go means not sweating the small stuff, not allowing what people think to ruin their whole day. For others, letting go can be ignoring other people's thoughts and preconceptions about them, so they can be themselves. Elsa is telling herself to let it go. In fact, this is one of the first times in her life she isn't being told what to do. 'Let It Go' is the modernday 'Hakuna Matata,' but with a powerhouse vocalist and catchier melody.
•Chocano considered it nonfeminist of Elsa to return to her sister rather than living independently and creatively. This, to me, is interesting, as one of the essays in the book talks about how Disney princesses' villains are almost always female because, well, female rivalry. To me,Frozen is a breath of fresh air. The whole ending involves the mending of a relationship between two females. Sure, Kristof is there, but it's clear that Anna and Elsa's relationship trumps Anna's relationship with Kristof. Rather than pitting women against each other (Rapunzel vs. Mother Gothel, Cinderella vs. stepmother, Ariel vs. Ursula, Aurora vs. Malificent, etc.), Disney has finally pushed for female empowerment in the form of female bonding.

It's not that I disliked this book. I didn't. It's simply that I expected more. Carina Chocano is the essay writer I wish I was. She examines how pop culture treats women and girls and how it affects us. From Katherine Hepburn and how her image had to be toned down for people to accept her movies; ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and ‘Bewitched’ (how two insanely powerful women constantly deferred to men); to the huge Disney princess phenomena wherein a princess is someone to be saved by a man or presented to a man. ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Real Housewives’, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’, ‘Flashdance’, the misogyny in ‘Can This Marriage Be Saved’ in a women’s magazine, no less, ‘Thelma and Louise’, ‘Pretty Woman’, Disney, ‘Mad Men’ and a lot more all come under her feminist microscope. And while you can tell she’s very frustrated by the way the media presents women, she is always entertaining and easy to read. I’d love to read what she thinks about ‘Wonder Woman’ and the new Dr. Who! Five stars out of five.

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This author's name sounded familiar to me, which was oddbecause as far as I knew, I hadn't read any of her works. Netgalley strikes again! As it turns out, Carina Chocano had published an essay in another feminist book I read recently, called NASTY WOMEN. The essay, titled "We Have a Heroine Problem" was about the Madonna/whore lens with which we view women in the public eye, except it's more like the paragon/demon complex (my name, BTW). Basically, women in the public eye are either put on pedestals or villanized depending on how well (or how poorly) they conform to society's gender norms.



YOU PLAY THE GIRL is a collection of essays about women in pop culture, and some of the confusing or even downright negative messages that these female representatives send to the populace. Chocano spans an impressive range of material. Just a few of the topics she hits on: Playboy Bunnies, sex dolls, Stepford Wives, Amy Schumer's Trainwreck, the Ghostbusters reboot, Flashdance, Pretty Woman, Katharine Hepburn, Mad Men, Maleficent, and the Desperate Housewives, just to name a few.



Sometimes these popcultural essays make me sideeye the author a little because two bad things can happen (apart from the book just being generically bad for purely technical reasons): 1) the essays are tonedeaf and either miss the point, or spend far too much time circling around it, or 2) the essays are unoriginal and make points that you could find on any blogspot or wordpresstype blog *cough*.



NOT SO, HERE!



In YOU PLAY THE GIRL, Chocano writes with vivid freshness, delivering new insights to books and movies you may have seen or watched dozens of times and never really thought deeply about. She talks about feminism, she talks about sexism, she talks about motherhood, adolescence, sexuality. There is so much ground covered in here, and I spent several nights last week getting only about 4 hours of sleep, tops, due in part to my inability to put this book down.



I really recommend this if you're a feminist or a pop culture enthusiastic. This author is just fantastic and has such an amazing way of writing in clear and concise terms. If she published another collection of essays like this, I think I'd buy it in a heartbeat.



Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!



5 stars! Very nearly a 5 so I rounded up for how much reassurance and joy this book brought me. I will expand on this soon.

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the You Play the Girl book, this is one of the most wanted Carina Chocano author readers around the world.

[Download] ✤ You Play the Girl ➸ Carina Chocano – Hookupgoldmilf.info
    As research for a novel I'm writing, I'm not only reading detective fiction but branching out to read memoirs by women or Black, Hispanic and Asian writers for looks at how they see, or don't see, themselves reflected in popular culture. While I'd never followed the reviews of Carina Chocano during her tenure at the Los Angeles Times from 20032008, like Manohla Dargiswhose departure to the New York Times slid Chocano over from TV to filmChocano was a trustworthy voice from my generation, thoughtful, analytical and enjoyable to read.

    Chocano's memoir You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks & Other Mixed Messages mixes stories of her childhood (she was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1968 and moved to New Jersey at the age of 5 when her father, a marketing executive for a pharmaceutical company, was transferred to New York), school days, marriage and motherhood (she gave birth to a daughter the year she was laid off from the Times) with criticism of how women are portrayed in a dozen or so pop culture institutions.

    Nearly every print publication be it ink or electronic has someone like Chocano reviewing film and TV daily. What makes her book special is how much I realized I had in common with her beyond her impressions of Ghostbusters 2016 (good but not great summer movie). Like me, Chocano grew up in the suburbs in the '70s and '80s, went to school, dated and all the while absorbed many of the same magazines, books and movies that I did. Her book is sharp, creative, passionate and candid. She lays it all out there. She taught me a great deal about how women are misrepresented in film. Even better, she's often very funny.

    On discovering Katharine Hepburn when she was 12 years old:

    Before watching The Philadelphia Story, it had never occurred to me that femininity and femaleness were not one and the same thing. I'd dutifully absorbed the lessons embedded in movies, TV shows, ads, magazines, commercials, and cartoons. The frillier, flightier, wilier, sweeter, gentler, kinder, bitchier, more nurturing, scarier, more insecure, more insincere a character was, the more of a "girl" she was. I'd learned to rank female characters by prettiness. Little girls like to claim their heroines' beauty as their own. It's like picking a team, though it's unclear what's being won. The Philadelphia Story marked the first time I remember encountering the idea that this ephemeral but familiar thing I'd recognized all my life as the feminine ideal might be not just distinct from but also possibly oppressive to women. It came as a shock.

    Here was Tracy, a heroinea bride, no lessand she was different. She was experienced. She had learned from her youthful mistakes and was making deliberate choices. She had agency. She had a horse. (Not that this was germane, but I really loved horses.) She was comfortable in her own skin, secure, and she believed in herself. She radiated confidence of a kind I'd never seen before in a movie heroine. It wasn't the kind of confidence you usually saw in movie stars. It wasn't just that she was secure in her sexiness. On the contrary, she didn't seem to think about her sexiness at all. What made her attractive was that she acted like a person, not a girl. I did think it was strange to be encountering this in 1980, given that The Philadelphia Story was released in 1940.



    On revisiting a movie she was obsessed with at 15:

    Only now, decades later, do I see Flashdance for what it was: a fantasy of selfcreation ungrounded in political, material, or economic reality. It was a feature length music video hawking the individualist, bootstrapping Reaganera fantasy. It said you can do anything (in your imagination). All it takes to lift yourself off the lowest social rung and be borne aloft on wings of stardom and true love is a big dream, a flashy style, a psychotic belief in yourself, and a willingness to sleep with your boss. You just have to want it. You can do it! Girl power! Dream on, sister!

    And hey, if it doesn't work out, remember you have only yourself to blame. Maybe you weren't good enough, did you ever consider that? Here are some tips for selfimprovement. Flashdance taught us that stripping was cool and a great way to put yourself through school. It taught us that the window to success is open for a very short time. Without Nick, Alex would have curdled into something monstrous in no time.



    I must pause to give Chocano credit for some awesome chapter titles:

    A Modest Proposal for More Backstabbing in Preschool

    The KickAss

    The Bronze Statue of the Virgin Slut Ice Queen Bitch Goddess

    You Play the Girl was already good but when Chocano turned her lens on the Seth RogenKatherine Heigl comedy Knocked Up, which she saw while trying to have a baby, her memoir really took off for me.

    The problem with Knocked Up wasn't that it was full of moments that made it more than a little bit sexist, even though it was. The problem was that it presented an adolescent boy's perspective of what it means to be an adult woman in a world that has not yet come to terms with the idea of women as autonomous subjects. The problem was that it reveled in its hero's unearned advantage in this world while at the same time refusing to acknowledge what it's like on the other side. The movie refused to so much as utter the word abortion. (It makes somebody say "smashmorshun" instead.) Knocked Up wasn't interested in Alison's life or in her experience or in her options; it was the life stages of a woman as they are seen in fairy tales: child, maiden (hot chick), mother, and crone. Alison was an incubator, not only for her baby but for Ben's maturity.

    The trouble wasn't only Knocked Up, of course. This take on gender relations circa 2007 was the only perspective anyone got. It was the most suffocating dudebro imperialism; patriarchy rebranded as "fratiarchy." Watching it, I felt the way I imagine Khrushchev must have felt as Nixon tried to undermine his selfesteem with a tour of the modern American kitchen. Khrushchev was, like, we have kitchens in Russia, too, you know ... But nobody listened.

    I'm listening and I'd like to hope that content creators either have a jewel like Chocano reading their work before it's shipped worldwide, or has her terrific book on their shelf.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHzOO... **

    “(…) there’s nothing like trying to live up to an impossible standard to keep a woman in her place.”

    Last weekend, I watched “Desperados” on Netflix. I was bored, I guess, and I loved Lamorne Morris in “New Girl” so I figured why not? He was great, but the movie itself sucked. Not only did it suck, but it kinda pissed me off. The credits rolled and I think I said: “I can’t believe we still make this kind of trash chick flicks in 2020!” out loud (but there was probably more profanities in what I actually said). You know, stories about women in their 30s who are still boycrazy, surrounded by enabling friends who indulge the insanity and who project unrealistic Disneyinspired fantasies on the men they meet and then lose their fucking minds when the fantasy doesn’t become reality. Why is this still happening? If women like that are real (which I doubt, but I’ve been wrong before), why are we glorifying their dysfunction/belittling it, by making it an object of ridicule and then tying it up with a happy ending bow that makes no sense? Why is this entertainment? I ranted about it for a few minutes to my bestie, then watched “Mr. Jones”, a movie about the investigative journalist who exposed the Holomodor and inspired George Orwell to write “1984”. Because THAT, my friends, is interesting, albeit bleak, stuff (written and directed by a woman, too!). I also remembered I had a copy of “You Play the Girl” tucked away somewhere and I dug it out and put on my desk.

    As a (popculture) nerd, I was very curious as soon as I had heard about this book. I have been a (sometimes unwilling) consumer of pop culture almost my entire life, and yet I can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times I felt I could truly identify with a female character. I spent a lot of time wondering if I was so abnormal as to not be worthy of representation. I also struggled a lot with the “dammed if you do, damned if you don’t” reality of growing up a girl.

    “I believed that the days of telling girls to keep their opinions to themselves were over because I’d been encouraged to speak up in class my whole life.” Insert sarcastic laughter here.

    This collection of essays bring together fascinating analysis of how women are portrayed in pop culture (from Disney princesses to sitcoms, musical icons and many more examples that we see on an almost daily basis) and the author’s personal stories, to illustrate how we internalize those representations, and how weird and confusing that is. I have personally experienced a lot of the mixed messages described in these pages, and it was fascinating and validating to read Chocano’s analysis; she brilliantly articulates the thoughts that often pop in my head when I watch TV or a movie and become livid at the madness being peddled at me. It’s always good to know you aren’t absolutely insane because you think “if I hear one more actress talk about how nice and refreshing it is to play a strong female character, so help me…”. I loved every chapter, but here are some thoughts and quotes that especially stuck in my mind.

    “Sometimes, it seems like popular media exists primarily to set impossible standards and then to shame people who don’t try their hardest to meet them.”

    The idea that society promotes motherhood but attaches so many responsibilities and standards to it that the woman’s personhood is eradicated in the process is also discussed, as is the toxicity of mommy wars, momshaming and all that vileness, and the design flaw of giving women no real way to work and fulfil the “biological duty” simultaneously (“We don’t live in an equitable society, we just pretend we do and are punished when we suggest otherwise. We force women into a false choice that isn’t a choice, really. Then we make them feel bad no matter which option they ‘choose’.”).

    She uses “Frozen” to look at the concept of princesses, and what that means now (I was called “princess” by a man once; to me it felt like a slap in the face, but he obviously thought of it as a term of endearment; there was no second date). I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve seen enough Disney garbage to get the gist of it: a princess with a power of some sort has that power restrained or taken away from her somehow (for her own good!), and there is a sort of quest/”journey” to get that power back. Often, princes save the day, and “Frozen” is supposed to be different because that doesn’t actually happen, but reading about it, it sounds just as psychotic as the other moviesexcept “Mulan”, which everyone conveniently forgets about all the damn time. The other thing that everyone conveniently forgets a lot is that fairy tales were originally cautionary tales… It wasn’t something you’d want to live, it was about all the bad stuff that could happen and how you could get out of it, but that’s not how we think of them now… I loved that she notes how everything is a damn “journey” now, because using that word reframes bad decisionmaking and misery into just one hurdle to be jumped before the big happy ending.

    “When I was growing up, the assumption was that as older generations were replaced by younger generations, sexism would fade. This narrative was not only rarely challenged but remains popular to this day. It’s hard to reconcile where we are with these obsessive, persistent, psychotically virulent attacks on anyone who refuses to conform to gender stereotypes, this insistence that certain fondly held ideas not to be sullied with empirical reality”, she writes in a chapter discussion the muchreviled 2017 “Ghostbusters” reboot (which I *gasp* adored, because the female characters in it are, well, people). She uses the insane reaction to the movie to parallel the criticism Virginia Woolf had received, eons before there were internet trolls, to sadly conclude that some things die very, very hard.

    “It’s easy to deplore past injustices. It makes you look good. It’s much harder (…) to confront why injustice arises, how injustice is consciously and unconsciously perpetuated, and why it is allowed to continue while we are fed fairy tales about the way things are now.”

    Wry, insightful, and something I think anyone raising daughters ought to read. I will be rereading “Alice in Wonderland”, but I’ll have a whole new perspective on it now…


    **Watching this video again made me laugh: it is so 90s, but it reminded me where my undying love of liquid liner and ruby red lipstick comes from. You can also find this review at https://booksbestfriendblog.wordpress...

    Note: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

    Similar to Bad Feminist, I often found myself nodding in agreement as I read You Play the Girl. For example, I also felt the same way as Chocano after watching Trainwreck. Why did Amy’s character think there was something wrong with her? Why did she have to use her father’s mistakes to justify her own life? Couldn’t she have both enjoyed having fun with no strings and then settle down when she wanted to? Couldn’t she just enjoy her life without defining it by both the absence, and then presence, of a relationship?

    I also had the same issues with Frozen, and I can’t stand how it overshadows Mulan as Disney’s most feminist movie. I’m for anything that makes girls feel like they can be the leads in their own stories, but let’s not forget that Mulan took on the Huns.

    Reading about Chocano’s experience with Playboy magazines just reinforces how damaging sexualized media images can be for young girls, and the Hefner interview she references reminded me of the definition of a slut: a woman with the morals of a man. Hefner has several relationships at once but expects his girlfriends to only sleep with him. I doubt any women who admitted to being in relationships with several men at once would be the exalted head of a magazine.

    Chocano’s essays covered a lot of topics, and I mean A LOT. She moves from Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck to Alice in Wonderland to Playboy to Frozen with wit and ease. While I loved her insights, she didn’t really go as in depth on several topics as I would have liked. However, what she did cover was insightful and relevant, and I definitely recommend this book for those looking for a feminist take on pop culture. August 2017 My Book Box NonFiction Selection
    Recently, I watched part of Keeping Up with the Jones. It’s a movie about a suburban couple whose new neighbors turn out to be spies/special agents/CIA something or other. It has a good cast, and there were parts that were quite funny. I didn’t watch all of it, however, because it soured. The two men become buds, in fact the movie is really a bromance despite the couples, but the two women nope. In fact, the suburban wife dislikes the spy woman even before the truth comes out. Because, as you know, women can never be friends with prettier women.
    It was like, really? The wife is right, there is something sneaky going on, but her belief comes from jealously more than anything else. Additionally, proving her right also indicates that the female spy is not as good her husband, but it was really the whole friendship thing – men are friends, and that is emotionally important – while women can never be friends with other women. Not really.
    I’m tired of that shit.
    I think Chocano would agree with me.
    Chocano’s book details the messages that pop culture seems to be giving women and girls, whether it is intentionally or unintentionally. Honesty, I want to kiss her because I thought I was the only one who was disturbed by Elsa’s change of dress in the movie. Her writing about Cinderella will ensure that you will never look at a Cinderella movie the same way. Her comments about being trained in English Literature are tattooed on everyone who has a literature degree.
    The book is actually quite good because she focuses on things that are seen or meant to be “women’s” stories – like Sex in the City. It isn’t just the primary focus of the book – it is on pop culture and women, so shows like Mad Men are also discussed. She also addresses the desire to like something while realizing that it is problematic.
    Chocano’s tone is conversational, and the book is an easy and engrossing read.
    Overall, this was a fast read for anyone looking to think critically about the media we consume on a daily basis. Movies likePretty Women,Knocked Up,Thelma and Louise,The Stepford Wives... TV shows likeMad Men,The Bachelor,Inside Amy Schumer... All are dissected and analyzed critically. Carina Chocano had a career as a movie critic. Almost every essay uses TV/film examples to illuminate her thoughts.

    Here's what I didn't like...

    1. Chocano paints a vivid picture of the roles assigned to heterosexual, white women. No essay in this book includes examples of women of color or women in the LGBT community and how they are portrayed in films/television. Why didThe Princess and the Frogperform poorly in the box office compared toFrozen,Tangled, and others? If white women are assigned roles in Hollywood and elsewhere, what roles are assigned to nonwhite women? She talks briefly about women in the sex industryparticularlyPlayboy but how are lesbians portrayed in porn and maleconsumed media? Chocano missed a huge opportunity here.

    2. Most of her essays had excellent thesis statements. But most of them fell flat. I would come across the final few paragraphs of the piece, thinking, "She's going to end this with a bang!" And she wouldn't. Most of her essays involved facts, facts, facts, minor opinion, facts, end. I finished some of the essays like, "I genuinely don't know how Chocano feels about this." The Amy Schumer chapter, for instance. Halfway through the piece, she's criticizingTrainwreck, then she's praisingInside Amy Schumer, then she's praisingTrainwreck. It brought up some great points that reaffirmed my love ofInside Amy Schumer but just didn't feel cohesive. Does Chocano think Amy is a feminist we should look up to or simply an unrelatable woman looking to cash in on being a hot mess? I genuinely don't know. (My personal thoughts are a combo of the two, leaning more toward the former, but I'm not the one who wrote a book here.)

    3. TheFrozen essay. This one got on my nerves.
    •In one chapter, Chocano is praising women for being openly sexual and themselves. In this one, she sees Elsa's transition into a "sexy" outfit during 'Let It Go' as outoftouch. "[Highly stylized hotness] demonstrates how transforming yourself into a trophy is a good outlet for any strength of will or creativity you may have been cursed with at birth... It teaches girls that selfobjectification is a great strategy for neutralizing the qualities others may find threatening, and deflects attention away from them." Or perhaps Elsa's stripping of her coats symbolizes her acceptance of her powers"The cold never bothered me anyway"and her attractive new getup displays her newfound confidence and empowerment, which is synonymous with her femininity rather than her masculine/genderneutral attributes (as the empowered Mulan and Merida have displayed in their respective films). Plus, don't we want to empower our daughters that the most "beautiful" women are the ones that are empowered and truly themselves? Materializing this inner beauty into outer beauty gives our daughters multiple reasons to say, "I want to be like Elsa!"
    •As for the language of 'Let It Go,' Chocano says, "Is she submitting or rebelling? 'Let it go' isn't what anybody says when they want to encourage you to own your strength... It's what people say to other people when they want them to get over themselves, to move on, give up. 'Let it go' is silencing." Actually, letting go can be quite empowering for some people. For people with anxiety, letting go means not sweating the small stuff, not allowing what people think to ruin their whole day. For others, letting go can be ignoring other people's thoughts and preconceptions about them, so they can be themselves. Elsa is telling herself to let it go. In fact, this is one of the first times in her life she isn't being told what to do. 'Let It Go' is the modernday 'Hakuna Matata,' but with a powerhouse vocalist and catchier melody.
    •Chocano considered it nonfeminist of Elsa to return to her sister rather than living independently and creatively. This, to me, is interesting, as one of the essays in the book talks about how Disney princesses' villains are almost always female because, well, female rivalry. To me,Frozen is a breath of fresh air. The whole ending involves the mending of a relationship between two females. Sure, Kristof is there, but it's clear that Anna and Elsa's relationship trumps Anna's relationship with Kristof. Rather than pitting women against each other (Rapunzel vs. Mother Gothel, Cinderella vs. stepmother, Ariel vs. Ursula, Aurora vs. Malificent, etc.), Disney has finally pushed for female empowerment in the form of female bonding.

    It's not that I disliked this book. I didn't. It's simply that I expected more. Carina Chocano is the essay writer I wish I was. She examines how pop culture treats women and girls and how it affects us. From Katherine Hepburn and how her image had to be toned down for people to accept her movies; ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and ‘Bewitched’ (how two insanely powerful women constantly deferred to men); to the huge Disney princess phenomena wherein a princess is someone to be saved by a man or presented to a man. ‘Desperate Housewives’, ‘Real Housewives’, ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’, ‘Flashdance’, the misogyny in ‘Can This Marriage Be Saved’ in a women’s magazine, no less, ‘Thelma and Louise’, ‘Pretty Woman’, Disney, ‘Mad Men’ and a lot more all come under her feminist microscope. And while you can tell she’s very frustrated by the way the media presents women, she is always entertaining and easy to read. I’d love to read what she thinks about ‘Wonder Woman’ and the new Dr. Who! Five stars out of five.

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    This author's name sounded familiar to me, which was oddbecause as far as I knew, I hadn't read any of her works. Netgalley strikes again! As it turns out, Carina Chocano had published an essay in another feminist book I read recently, called NASTY WOMEN. The essay, titled "We Have a Heroine Problem" was about the Madonna/whore lens with which we view women in the public eye, except it's more like the paragon/demon complex (my name, BTW). Basically, women in the public eye are either put on pedestals or villanized depending on how well (or how poorly) they conform to society's gender norms.



    YOU PLAY THE GIRL is a collection of essays about women in pop culture, and some of the confusing or even downright negative messages that these female representatives send to the populace. Chocano spans an impressive range of material. Just a few of the topics she hits on: Playboy Bunnies, sex dolls, Stepford Wives, Amy Schumer's Trainwreck, the Ghostbusters reboot, Flashdance, Pretty Woman, Katharine Hepburn, Mad Men, Maleficent, and the Desperate Housewives, just to name a few.



    Sometimes these popcultural essays make me sideeye the author a little because two bad things can happen (apart from the book just being generically bad for purely technical reasons): 1) the essays are tonedeaf and either miss the point, or spend far too much time circling around it, or 2) the essays are unoriginal and make points that you could find on any blogspot or wordpresstype blog *cough*.



    NOT SO, HERE!



    In YOU PLAY THE GIRL, Chocano writes with vivid freshness, delivering new insights to books and movies you may have seen or watched dozens of times and never really thought deeply about. She talks about feminism, she talks about sexism, she talks about motherhood, adolescence, sexuality. There is so much ground covered in here, and I spent several nights last week getting only about 4 hours of sleep, tops, due in part to my inability to put this book down.



    I really recommend this if you're a feminist or a pop culture enthusiastic. This author is just fantastic and has such an amazing way of writing in clear and concise terms. If she published another collection of essays like this, I think I'd buy it in a heartbeat.



    Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!



    5 stars! Very nearly a 5 so I rounded up for how much reassurance and joy this book brought me. I will expand on this soon."/>
  • ebook
  • 272 pages
  • You Play the Girl
  • Carina Chocano
  • 11 December 2019
  • 9780544648968

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