Tag Archives: pop culture

Don’t worry – Fifty Shades will fade away

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Fifty Shades of Grey was released in theaters last week and people have gone ape shit over it. Over the three day weekend, Fifty Shades broke box offices records making $85.17 million being the fourth all-time best opening. Before the movie was released, people were still losing their minds over the sultry books that lined the shelves of bookstores.

What is funny though is before the author of Fifty Shades, E.L. James, came out with this series, she was writing Twilight fanfic in the privacy of her home, living in the fantasy of vampires and werewolves; just like the readers of Fifty Shades are doing today.

When the Twilight franchise blew up, I was right in the middle of it. Being in my late teens/early twenties, I was engrossed in the books and in love with the movies. The odd “Romeo and Juliet” style book of the forbidden love been a vampire and human was enough to send any fan girl off the edge. I even had the pleasure of meeting Robert Pattinson at Stonestown, yes, the one right by SF State, one evening and sat in the madness of thousands of fan girls awaiting the arrival of the Twilight star.

We all remember that time, too, back when Twilight was the shit. People would be wearing their “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob” shirts, battling over who should win Bella’s affection. Hot Topic even went to the extreme by selling fake blood for people to drink – I promise you I am not lying about this – you know so all us vampires could still live.

Now, though, people will not admit to ever being in the Twilight crowd. Being closely associated to Twilight is a social death wish for any cool person. Even the actors of the movies hate themselves for letting the fade of Twilight brainwash them into thinking that the five part movie would be the greatest thing on the planet to make.

Coming full circle back to Fifty Shades, the same thing is happening. We are trapped in this pop-culture bubble where if one thing even remotely peeks the interest of people, it is suddenly a phenomenon. Today, there are people dying to be the next Ana, wishing they could stumble into Christian Grey’s office and be swept away in a dark, romantic fashion, knowing the secrets they keep are deep. Realistically though, by the time the second movie comes out people aren’t going to be as interested; then they will attempt the third movie, maybe even drag it out to a fourth to waste money and the souls of the actors, all to obtain money off of a dying franchise.

By the time the next Fifty Shades comes out, the next big thing will be developing, sweeping people into a crazy fan filled storm of “HOLY SHIT CAN THAT BE MY LIFE.” Personally, I have nothing against Fifty Shades or the franchise. If that is your thing, then you rock it to your fullest content – I am not judging. But also remember that when that next big thing comes out, it’s just a fad and soon will also be swept under the rug making way for the next fandom.

 

Twerk it Out

Sudan Medran (left), Vona Battle (middle) and Alexa Delaat (right) stand on their tippy-toes to resemble The Twerkulator's golden mannequin butt in Vallejo. (Annastashia Goolsby/ Xpress Magazine)
Sudan Medran (left), Vona Battle (middle) and Alexa Delaat (right) stand on their tippy-toes to resemble The Twerkulator’s golden mannequin butt in Vallejo. (Annastashia Goolsby/ Xpress Magazine)

Recently, famous entrepreneurial socialite, Kim Kardashian, “broke the internet” by releasing exclusive photos of herself posing nude for a spread that will be featured in the Winter 2014 issue of Paper Magazine.

These photos, taken by renowned French artist, Jean-Paul Goude, caused a frenzy among the Facebook and Twitter-spheres because of Kardashian’s flawless derriere. From comment after comment, Kardashian’s photos received both positive and negative reviews from celebrities and non-celebrities alike – the latter being the most dominant.

“Wait, I don’t get it. No disrespect to Kim but… people are offended by my breastfeeding selfies and are fine with her (amazing) booty cover?” tweeted actress, Alyssa Milano, who recently gave birth to her newborn baby.

However, with either good or bad reviews, Kardashian viewed the revealing photoshoot as something positive not only for herself, but also for other women.

The “Butt Culture” phenomenon has been sweeping the world for several years, and it has never been more prominent as it is today. Women everywhere are viewing the booty with more confidence these past couple years.

The butt in today’s popular culture is getting a huge bump. The pressure for a woman to have a nice shape down there is high as ever.

For example, surgical procedures seeking to enhance a woman’s “donk” is increasing in popularity over the last couple months. The Brazilian Butt Lift, a surgical process which costs about $10,000, allows women to increase their butts to roughly two sizes up through the usage of fat injections. Comparing this procedure to about ten years ago, butt enhancement involved silicone implants.

The butt movement of today certainly has not risen on its own. In the nineties, actress and musician Jennifer Lopez, arrived in the entertainment world flaunting her voluptuous body. Her buttocks, in particular, was what stood out to everyone. Her derriere was so unique that many thought Lopez had surgeries to enhance it and insurance to protect it.

Then fast-forward to today’s time, in Nicki Minaj’s recent music video for her hit-song, “Anaconda,” Minaj is seen shaking her behind in addition to other women dancing in the same manner. Minaj and her dancers happen to show off their butt more than their own faces. It is as if this bootylicious video suggests that a woman’s behind is the most appealing part of her body.

The rap song in itself also contributes to the gluteus culture as it samples Sir Mix-A-Lot’s, “Baby Got Back.” “My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun…” sings Sir Mix-A-Lot.

The infamous dance move, twerking, also made a huge impact in the butt movement after Miley Cyrus’s notorious performance with Robin Thicke at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2013.

Twerking, as defined by the Oxford dictionary, is a type of “dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low squatting stance.”

On-stage, Cyrus took upon the role as “twerk queen” after stripping off her emblazoned leotard and began the sexualized dance as Thicke performed “Blurred Lines.”

Alexa Delaat (left), Vona Battle (middle) and Alicia Lugo (right) grab each others bums to highlight the curvature of their backside in Vallejo. (Annastashia Goolsby / Xpress Magazine)
Alexa Delaat (left), Vona Battle (middle) and Alicia Lugo (right) grab each others bums to highlight the curvature of their backside in Vallejo. (Annastashia Goolsby / Xpress Magazine)

The twerking and lap dancing that Cyrus carried out demonstrated that a woman does not need to have a big butt in order to be a part of the trend. Instead, she showed women that knowing how to captivate one’s attention to a butt is all that is needed.

“We’re in a cool ass time of people actually being able to be themselves comfortably without being judged as much,” says Mikey Snider, one of the four men known as the Twerk Mob, who run The Twerkulator.

The Twerkulator, a gold-chrome party bus that roams up and down the West coast, was highly inspired by the infamous dance move. Curtis Nelson, creator of the bus, had the idea to turn a used RV into a mobile club that would simply give people another party experience.

Even though the interior portion of The Twerkulator is decked out in “white ostrich feather and chocolate wooden floors with five televisions lining the walls,” what matters more is that party-goers on the bus will have a good time and, most importantly, twerk their way into the night.

“At this time right now, [after] Miley Cyrus did her twerking thing, twerking became really huge along with butts,” says Brandon Coleman, a man part of the Twerk Mob, describing how The Twerkulator name came about.

Without a doubt, butts certainly took over the popularity of other womanly body parts, such as the breasts. Women are seeing that having a curvaceous behind is more of a positive aspect rather than a negative one because celebrities are constantly flaunting their own.

The derrieres of Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj and Jennifer Lopez are inspiring women that being voluptuous is not a bad thing. Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, proved to the world that even though she does not have a big booty, it still is something that a she has and can be proud of.

Despite the booty being curvy or not, what these celebrities are showing is that it is okay with having a booty or not.

Without a doubt, the underlying message that popular culture is trying to say is that a woman’s buttocks is one of her greatest assets. No pun intended.

Seven reasons I love Drake (and you should too)

If there is anything I remember about my formative years, it is being obsessed with Degrassi: The Next Generation. So obsessed that when I was presented with the opportunity to meet two of the main characters from the show, Manny and Paige, at a special screening of the show in Long Beach, I was somehow able to persuade my parents to let twelve-year-old me and one of my school friends fly to Long Beach for the event with my friend’s elderly grandmother and great-grandmother acting as chaperones. So obsessed that I spent a Halloween in seventh grade at home, because they were airing a special two-part episode of the show that night.

My love of Degrassi and my familiarity with every character and dramatic plot is why four years ago when Aubrey Graham, who played a character named Jimmy Brooks on the show (in true Degrassi fashion, Jimmy ended up confined to a wheelchair after falling victim to a crazed school shooter) was now going by Drake and dropping mixtapes, I was floored. I laughed. I made fun of him on my Tumblr. I did not think he would catch on. Fast forward to now, Drake is a big star and I am an even bigger fan; he is the sensitive rapper boyfriend I will never have. I love Drake, and here are seven reasons you should too.

Drake is inspiring
As evidenced by the backdrop he has been using on his current tour with Lil Wayne that simply reads “DRAKE KNOWS,” Drake knows and he is offering up some premium advice. Drake is all about reminding his listeners to ignore the haters, that jealousy is rampant no matter what you do, your hustle will never go unnoticed, working with the negatives can make for better pictures, and that hard work pays off and your Strawberrita dreams can too turn into champagne realities.

He is Canadian
And Canadians are nice people. He reps Toronto super hard and is often referred to as “Wheelchair Jimmy” in his hometown—where they have also taken to slapping pictures of his face on handicapped signs to pay homage to the star.

Photo via knowyourmeme.com


Drake raps about real, relatable shit.
You know what I cannot relate to? The Lil’ Waynes and 50 Cents of the world clamoring for girls to lick their lollipops and magic sticks. You know what I can relate to? Feeling both psychotic and iconic, acknowledging my flaws, having a tumultuous relationship with my father, feeling lonely, not wanting any new friends, and hating sleeping alone. You don’t love me/You just say that shit to get to me—we have all been there, right? Drake feels sad sometimes, and dammit, sometimes so do I.

Drake is true to himself
As a Jewish rapper, Drake is a minority. That did not stop him from re-doing his bat mitzvah and inviting all his Young Money friends to celebrate alongside his family and Jewish friends from Toronto. No matter how corny a white dude with a huge red beard acting as hype man for one of the world’s biggest artists is, that is Drake’s homeboy and he is sticking with him.

Additionally, Instead of pretending he did not get his start on one of the most popular Canadian teen dramas ever, he frequently shouts out Degrassi in his music. Degrassi is where I learned about bullying, rape, school shootings, abortions, ecstasy, eating disorders, and wet dreams. So I owe my knowledge about pretty much everything my parents would never think to talk to me about to Jimmy Brooks and his friends at Degrassi and it is nice he does not sweep that part of his life under the rug.

Drake likes all types of women
Whether you are a stripper, a waitress at Hooters, a single mom, a struggling college student, or Nicki Minaj, you could be Drake’s next lady love. And if you upset him enough, you could provide the fodder for his next album. Also he loves his mom. I know because he raps about that too.

He has a sense of humor
He hosted the first (and only) episode of Saturday Night Live I have watched from start to finish, during which he played Lil’ Wayne and a father trying to ward off the advances of his teenage daughter’s friends. I laughed, I cried, I DVR’d the episode.

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His Instagram
Constantly watching Drake videos on YouTube does not do it for me. I want to know what Drake is doing when he is not driving around Bay Area landmarks in a convertible while wearing limited edition North Face gear. For that, there is his Instagram,  @ChampaganePapi, where he posts pictures of himself  making classic Drake faces, with his friends, and photoshopped as “DrakeO Malfoy.”