"30 is the ideal age...because you are mature enough to know who you are and to have your boundaries and your standards and not be afraid of [being] too polite."
The most mind-blowing realizations of 2019: There is evidence that the universe is curved and expanding faster than we've ever realized, TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world, and pop matriarch and Elder Millennial Taylor Swift is turning 30.
That means that the inexorable march of time towards 2020 (and our own eventual obsolescence, of course) feels more dreadful than ever. But ask Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, or Drew Barrymore, and they seem to have found healthy acceptance of their own mortality. Beyonce, upon turning 30 in 2011, spoke of having the confidence to set her own boundaries and standards and fully live up to them.
But that doesn't mean 30 is that illusory age that part of us always hopes we'll one day reach and suddenly become Grown Ups: infallible, full of confidence, and invulnerable to criticism or rejection. "Turning 30 means taking all the things from my 20s that worked, but getting rid of the rest," Barrymore said. "But I'd be lying if I didn't say that there are times when I still don't know who I am." She added, "I'm just really trying to be more honest with myself, be more direct."
For women, especially, turning 30 has been wrapped up in stigma and social pressures to maintain a veneer of perfection and having-it-all-together—all while looking damn good. Bored social scientists who study society's double standards for a living have been keeping tabs on this poison of the patriarchy for years: "While both men and women bear the stigma of their bodies as bearer of low symbolic value," one British study concluded, like a nerdy alien observing Western civilization, "it is argued that the aging female body is particularly devalued through the notion of a 'double standard' where physical signs of aging are more harshly judged in women than in men." To which most women can say, no sh*t. Or as Alana Prochuk wrote at Bitch Media, our culture's preoccupation with aging and its association of lost youth with lost value is pervasive in media. In cinema, for instance, "Hell Is Older People." She writes, "In a culture obsessed with female youth and beauty, the horror of aging is hardly gender-neutral, and there's remarkable overlap in the stereotypes about women and those concerning old folks (you know: needy, frail, and irrational)."
Of course, famous women must confront ageist double standards on a public platform. In the days leading up to Taylor Swift's birthday, right-wing YouTuber Stefan Molyneux trolled the singer's estimated 313 million social media followers by tweeting, "I can't believe Taylor Swift is about to turn 30 - she still looks so young! It's strange to think that 90% of her eggs are already gone - 97% by the time she turns 40 - so I hope she thinks about having kids before it's too late! She'd be a fun mom. :)" He then shared an ABC News article repeating the basic way that biology works in the female reproductive system, namely that a healthy cis woman is born with all of the eggs she'll ever have and they deplete throughout her lifetime; so, clearly, every biological female should be highly concerned with filling her uterus with progeny before she's all used up by the ravages of time. What else is she supposed to do with her body? (So far, Swift's had no comment on the inherently ridiculous subject. When a reporter asked her a similarly sexist question last summer, she responded, "I really do not think men are asked that question when they turn 30. So I'm not going to answer that question now.")
I can’t believe Taylor Swift is about to turn 30 - she still looks so young! It’s strange to think that 90% of her… https://t.co/8dNWENWRNo— Stefan Molyneux (@Stefan Molyneux)1575937250.0
Famous or not, most women are asked the same questions when the big 3-0 approaches: "Are you ready to settle down? Thinking about marriage and having kids...finally?" It's the Puritanical echo of A Woman's Place: to domesticate and be domesticated. As Susan Sontag wrote in 1972's "The Double Standard of Aging" (when she was 39 years old), "Growing older is mainly an ordeal of the imagination—a moral disease, a social pathology—intrinsic to which is the fact that it afflicts women much more than men. It is particularly women who experience growing older (Everything that comes before one is actually old) with such distaste and even disdain." She defines the double standard as "the social convention that aging enhances a man but progressively destroys a woman" and pinpoints it as "an instrument of oppression...Accordingly," she writes, "to liberate themselves, women must 'disobey the convention.'"
But in 2019, even as society becomes more culturally and socially aware of varying identities, social media and rampant, unchecked consumer culture have enhanced these double standards. Instagram, infamous for being the worst social media for mental health, only recently banned content promoting toxic diet culture, and it launched a version of its platform without the "like" feature, which promotes distorted thinking patterns like compulsively comparing oneself with others. With FOMO, "summer bodies," and barely legal "influencers" who don't remember a world before smart phones dominating the platform, we need the Lizzos and Jameela Jamils on Twitter to be Loud Women Online™, because the double standard is, in many ways, getting louder (and sneakier), too. Cue TikTok, today's fastest growing social media, where the age range of most users is 18-24. Woke teens are praised for their ironic political statements, but they only gain attention if they harness and mock the language of compulsively self-optimizing beauty and consumer culture–which are pretty much the white noise soundtrack to modern living. No wonder the average size of TikTok videos is 15 seconds (and no longer than one minute); it can only break through the white noise for that flashing minute.
To be fair, as Susan Sontag wrote, "Advanced age is undeniably a trial, however stoically it may be endured. It is a shipwreck, no matter with what courage elderly people insist on continuing the voyage..." But in the words of another iconic woman in her 30s who has defined her generation:
Got to take a deep breath, time to focus on you
All the big fights, long nights that you been through
I got a bottle of Tequila I been saving for you
Boss up and change your life
You can have it all, no sacrifice
...Baby how you feelin'?
Feeling good as hell
- Lizzo, 31
Taylor Swift - Beauty Standards Are False (and Created by Men)
"I've learned that society is constantly sending very loud messages to women that exhibiting the physical signs of aging is the worst thing that can happen to us," she wrote in Elle.
"These messages tell women that we aren't allowed to age. It's an impossible standard to meet, and I've been loving how outspoken Jameela Jamil has been on this subject. Reading her words feels like hearing a voice of reason amongst all these loud messages out there telling women we're supposed to defy gravity, time, and everything natural in order to achieve this bizarre goal of everlasting youth that isn't even remotely required of men," Swift continued.
Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.
Villains always have the best outfits.
From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.
Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com
But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.
Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.
Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.
Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com
Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.
As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.
History of Nazi Chic
For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.
The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.
Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it
Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.
The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com
Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.
Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.
Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com
Nazi Chic in Asia
Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.
A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.
In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.
OF COURSE. i.imgur.com
That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.
In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.
So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?
The answer is not so black and white.
On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.
But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.
Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.
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It's Halloween, so if you wanna scare your friends, here is your chance.
Halloween is right around the corner, and while the music video art form is undergoing a transformation thanks to streaming, many of today's artists still rely on music videos to help elevate their music.
Sometimes, the results are horrifying. We all remember the day we were first exposed to Marilyn Manson's eerie music video for "The Beautiful People," or what we were doing when Tool's cartoonish depictions of rape in "Prison Sex" sent us all reeling. As shown by our list below, the music video format is one that can truly shock and awe, and while horror films are having their moment this week, let's revisit some of the most disturbing music videos in recent memory.
"A Little Piece of Heaven" By Avenged Sevenfold
The playful animation, musical skeletons, and goofy cut-outs quickly lull the viewer into a false sense of security, but the next thing you know, the video's protagonist is killing his girlfriend and viciously raping her rotting corpse. At one point he even purchases a heater to keep her body warm. The cartoonish nature elevates the disturbing narrative told by M. Shadows and will forever change the way we listen to this song.
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