gillette

I hope by now you’ve seen Gillette’s breakthrough commercial.

(Here is a link.)

It has created immense controversy, sparked discussion, and garnered millions of views – everything a good ad should do.

In the quest to stay informed, navigate the gendered professional and academic worlds, and, of course, while watching Mad Men, I have become hypersensitive to ads. Gillette’s created a lot of buzz, and, personally, I love it.

The entire message is that men need to start holding other men accountable for their wrongdoings, especially towards women. Frankly, I think America needs to be reminded of this. Almost every single day I encounter some form or catch wind of either catcalling, assault, harassment, and so on.

It also touches on other important issues, like bullying, the glass ceiling, and the ever-present adage of “boys will be boys.” I am a firm believer that boys and girls should generally be raised with the same values, and that gender is not an excuse to behave a certain way, especially if it’s negative. I think it’s beautifully done, despite critics saying it only perpetuates male stereotypes and that the message is hypocritical, considering that Gillette has long branded their product as something to get women, as if they are a prize or possession. It calls to mind Don Draper’s point from his famous Kodak pitch in season 1 in which he presents that all effective advertisements use emotion, primarily nostalgia. The idea of something as simple as a razor evoking so much feeling, the freedom of childhood, the legacy of fathers on their sons, and the social upheaval our society is engulfed in, makes Gillette’s commercial memorable, whether you agree with the message or not.

Granted, I am obviously not a man, but I don’t think the ad is demonizing all men. To me, it’s a visceral reminder that good men – in fact, the best ones – uphold values of respecting everyone.

Also, Terry Crews is featured in the ad. I don’t know how you could watch a commercial featuring a prominent celebrity who was sexually assaulted by another man and think that the takeaway is that Gillette thinks all men are woman-beaters.

It ends by reminding viewers that “the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.”

I loved the sentiment. Sexism, racism, classism, and too many other -isms that ruin us are not inherent or innate, but taught.

Image result for gillette ad screenshot
[via sayanythingblog.com]
I first wrote this draft on January 19th, almost five months ago. There’s so much to dive into from not even two minutes of content, but I have been sitting on it for months and still don’t know that what I have to say is deserving of what I think is the best ad of the year. It came in the midst of the Dr. Christine Blasey Ford/Kavanaugh accusations, immense gender turmoil in my own personal sphere, and, as it always seems now, #MeToo allegations emerging left and right.

Do we ask too much of the men in our lives? Are we painting them with too broad a brush?

xx

instantblonde

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drink to celebrate life

In college, an organization I was part of that shaped many memories and gave me some of my lifelong friends had many tacit rules, but below was the most important:

No one drinks alone.

(To preface this, another tacit rule was also no one throws up alone, but that was when we were 18-22. Yikes! It was a different age, though the rules, I believe, are timeless.)

Although many of the principles and lessons I learned from this group are ones I carry with me throughout life, this one stands out the most. No one drinks alone. It came to me, and the group as a whole, in a time where loss was very prevalent. We were at the age where we had started to lose friends, parents, loves, pets, and so much more, or at least start to cope with loss as a young, fresh-faced adult, caught between the eagerness of young adulthood and the reminiscence of youth.

That brings me to the topic of drinking alone and drinking to cope with sadness. Of course, many times in my life, I have had a drink or met friends out when I am sad. But truly, I try not to drink alone or drink when I am down, and I don’t want anyone else to do the same. A good friend of mine, BK, who lost her father at a very young age and was a cool, yet approachable older girl in my sorority, shared this article from Bon Appetit by Marissa A. Ross.

While I initially shrugged it off as one of the clickbait posts BK is known to fall victim to, it spoke to me. After reading, and knowing that she has endured tremendous loss and come out on the other side of it, I understood why she made a point to share.

She also highlighted a quote that had particularly stuck out to her, and I found it to resonate with me as well. As someone who comes from family with a long history of addictions, including alcoholism, I understood this deeply, and processed it as a sign to drink to celebrate and not to grieve.

So please don’t drink wine when you’re sad. Drink because you’re happy. Drink because you’re in love—with someone, or many, or the world, or the city, or the meal, or yourself, or art, or that cute dog that walked by and licked your knee. Drink wine because it’s a beautiful day or because you’re stoked on your new project or you’re just feeling good. Drink to celebrate life, not to deal with loss.

I love, too, that it’s not just about drinking because you’re in love with someone. I think that our society is too quick to associate the word love with romance, sex, and coupling, and we need to recall that we can be in love with anything, as Ross says. Sometimes the most beautiful manifestations of love are the most untraditional.

Maybe this philosophy on drinking to celebrate life explains why I’ve always wanted an Irish wake.

xx

instantblonde

but you broke it first

If I could tell my mother anything, it would probably be this: I’m sorry that I broke your heart, but you broke mine first.

As an adolescent, understanding that I was no longer – and maybe never had been – my mother’s first priority was the largest, driest, most vile pill I’d had to swallow. She had shed the identity of being a mother, a change that, after a while, became clear to me that she had been trying to reach for many years.

She marks an interesting pivot in my journey. Before our turbulence peaked, I had only seen her in the light of my parents’ crumbling marriage and subsequent divorce. But once I moved past the pain of my parents’ joint failure and got to know her on her own, I saw her for what she really was.

If you know me well, you know about my relationship with my mother and how much of a toll it has taken on me. And when I was thinking about this the other day, about how many hours I’ve spent crying about how she can’t be forced to change or improve or even care, I realized that it’s possible that this has taken a toll on her too. It doesn’t seem like it to me, but maybe she is heartbroken.

I don’t want to hurt her. I just want her to care about me. I considered that despite her refusal to do so, she might still be heartbroken over the state of our relationship.

And if she is, I want to tell her that I’m sorry if I broke her heart. Somehow, though, I know that I’d stubbornly add: “But you broke mine first.”

She truly broke my heart when I was young. I have cried more tears over her than any man I’ve ever loved or friend I’ve lost.

For years, I have been working on overcoming the damage she has inflicted on me, and I am not nearly done. I can now appreciate her for providing me with the makings of an idyllic-on-paper childhood and, most importantly, a wonderful education, but it took me so much time to be able to move past the hurt and accept her emotional shortcomings.

It feels unnatural now to call her Mom. She feels like someone I used to know, a friend you’d bump into at the grocery store and awkwardly exchange pleasantries with.

Image result for elio and mother call me by your name
[via galsonfilm.com]
I have a feeling that our relationship will be something I will forever be grappling with, and, truthfully, I am slowly coming to accept that reality.

Every day, I try to move on. I thank the stars for my father, who is my rock and my greatest confidante, my brother, my friends, and all of the other people and things I’m so lucky to have. I work on myself, and develop my passions, fulfill my commitments, and seek out relationships that are healthy and equal.

I wonder, if surveyed, how much of the population would say that their first heartbreak was from a parent. I would certainly check that box.

xx

instantblonde

P.S. The article where I found the picture from one of my favorite films, Call Me By Your Name, is a great read. It’s called Gals on Film and I enjoyed their CMBYN piece, linked above, and several other short but hard-hitting reflections of the women we see in movies and what they say about our society. Their about page explains more of the site.

editing the details

Long time, no see. I know, I know.

I just wanted to share this phenomenal piece from NYTimes’ Modern Love series. It’s written by Peter Orner and I don’t know how I missed it, as it was published in 2017.

The entire short story was poignant, and reminded me of my own summer loves as the weather warms, but I was especially moved by this quote:

I’m always interested in the way people edit the details of their lives, the way they compress all the years into sentences.

On first glance, I scoffed. This is writing, sir, I thought, mocking the simplicity of the statement. But then, I realized that we do this in all forms of communication. How do we filter out the minutiae of our lives as we speak, write, text, call, and move through life? What’s left when we sort shells from sand?

I’m not sure I know how I abridge my young life when I am beyond the confines of my own brain. It’s excellent food for thought.

On that note, I’m off, listening to Bon Iver, preparing for the end of another academic year, and secretly dreading my birthday, which I have just realized is in a short six weeks. Time flies when you’re having fun.

xx

instantblonde

rbg

Tonight, I saw the new movie, On the Basis of Sex, about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It was phenomenal. (The trailer is here.)

Although there were things I’d definitely change, like the slow pace of the middle section and the small slice of her accomplishments it actually showcases, I’d recommend it. I rarely go to the movies to see anything, and On the Basis of Sex made my trip there well worth my exorbitantly-priced ticket.

Felicity Jones shines in her role of RBG. The film captures her from her first day of law school at Harvard all the way to her first victory in court with Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Smithsonian Magazine has a great article that I read after the movie ended that cleared up some historical inaccuracies and questions I’d had from watching.

Armie Hammer is also unmissable as Martin Ginsburg, her devoted and progressive husband. Not only is he easy on the eyes, but he is a beacon of fairness in marriages when that wasn’t the norm. Justin Theroux plays Mel Wulf, who kind of stole the show for me as a passionate childhood friend and ACLU attorney.

I also loved Ruth and Martin’s relationships with their kids, especially their daughter, Jane. It was a sweet addition to a history-heavy watch.

Every little girl should watch this.

Image result for young rbg
[via sg.style.yahoo.com, The Supreme Court of the United States]
xx

instantblonde

 

reads v

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my last reads! I am constantly scouring the Internet to find the best posts and articles and need to share them more frequently.

One of my absolute favorites, TheFashionMagpie, shared a post mentioning up and coming designer Rosie Assoulin last year that I rediscovered this morning. Of course, I immediately went to her website, which is filled with her absolutely decadent and different designs. I love the color, shapes, and prints she is unafraid of.

Image result for rosie assoulin cocoon top
[via rosieassoulin.com]
Most of her dresses were a bit much for me (price-wise and print-wise), but I liked a lot of her tops, especially more neutral picks like the one above. She has dressed many young- and old!- stars on the red carpet, like Millie Bobby Brown, Kiernan Shipka, etc. and you can see them all here. I also read her interview for Glamour, which was a great read too.

I came across this article exposing the true cost of being on The Bachelor from Grace at The Stripe, and I was shocked. The majority of women brought thousands of dollars worth of makeup and beauty products. I get wanting to look good on TV, and I actually didn’t know the show lacks a hair and makeup staff, but wow. Refinery29, you have opened my eyes.

Thanks to my minor in undergrad, I am abnormally fascinated by crime, specifically against women. When I found out that Netflix was producing a docuseries using Ted Bundy’s actual interview tapes, I immediately waited for the trailer. It came out a few days ago and you need to see it here. (It’s called Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. The full series comes out January 24th!)

With everyone and their mother obsessing about Marie Kondo, I liked this piece from Vox which gently and not-so-gently looks at if she’s really all that. It mentioned how Kondo’s idea of thanking items you discard is, well… dumb.

Speaking of snark, I laughed at this TeenVogue article about Internet heartthrob Noah Centineo. He literally is incorrectly slicing avocados during an Instagram Live while advising people to stop smoking cigarettes and partying like he was when he first made money in LA as a 20 year-old. As if, Noah.

xx

instantblonde

the best gifts i received for christmas

I am so lucky to know many, many generous people who are also excellent gift-givers. Although I like giving more, there’s nothing like the thrill of tearing open paper come the holidays.

These were my all-stars this year on the receiving end. I think you’ll like a lot of them as much as I do.

Image result for sephora collection face mask magic
via Sephora.com
Image result for anthropologie initial mug
via anthropologie.com

My brother’s sweet girlfriend visited and got me a face mask set and an initial mug. My roommate and I tear through masks- we love to try new ones, especially those on the more inexpensive side- and I always need a presentable vessel around for stowing makeup brushes, pens, or safety pins in.

Image result for nordstrom gift card
via shop.nordstrom.com

A Nordstrom gift card is always an incredibly useful and popular gift for me. This is probably the third or fourth year that my aunt and uncle have given this, and it never fails me. I try to buy higher quality shoes, bags, and jeans, and I know Nordstrom is a great place for that due to their stellar customer service, site, and in-store experience.

Image result for bagatelle hooded fur jacket
via nordstromrack.com

I’d been wanting a teddy jacket for a long time, but I fear the trend may be on its way out, so I asked for more of a faux fur look instead. With some help, my father absolutely knocked it out of the park with this Bagatelle beauty. The site lists its color as ’emerald’, but I find it to be a true mix of green and black depending on the light. It’s warm, has pockets, and is quite well made for its near $60 price. Win.

 

Image result for mophie charging phone case black
via mophie.com

My brother, the ever-practical engineer, gifted me a Mophie charging phone case, which I hear are quite the rage in the tech world. I’m always running out of battery, so this is something I’ll use frequently. I’m not sure if this is the exact one he got, but it was black and I’m nearly sure this is the model. A good friend from school, AS, who has a crush on him, told me that he was “extremely concerned” over what color I would want. I’m happy whenever he gets me anything.

Image result for j crew tortoise hoops
via jcrew.com

These J. Crew tortoise hoop earrings had been on my wishlist since the fall. You can’t beat the price, and I found them to be very lightweight but sturdy. If anything on this list could be given to anyone from eighteen to eighty, I think these would be it. My mother knows me too well and snagged the last pair out of our local store.

Really, each year Christmas is less and less about gifts. All I want is to be with my family and our dogs, but I never mind a few things under the tree.

xx

instantblonde