[Reading] ➶ You Play the Girl Author Carina Chocano – Motyourdrive.co.uk



10 thoughts on “You Play the Girl

  1. says:

    4.5 starsA whip smart essay collection about how we portray women in movies, TV shows, magazines, and , as well as how women learn to internalize and emulate these portrayals Carina Chocano does an amazing job discussing the problematic ways women s stories get told, ranging form how women face objectification and sexualization, to how women always end up in marriages no matter how fierce or strong they seem, to how we glorify youth and innocence and slight playfulness in women and devalue all other attributes She discusses an impressive array of pop culture, including in depth analyses of PLayboy magazine, Flashdance, Trainwreck, Mad Men, Sex and the City, and so much A solid quote about ageism that highlights her conversational yet compelling tone When I first moved to Los Angeles, in my late twenties, I remember being shocked by how readily women my own age accepted the fact that they had aged out of desirability how resigned they were to their own irrelevance how uncritically so many accepted this ideology propping up privilege and power inequality as being synonymous with reality rather than helping produce and maintain reality how readily they mistook culture for nature It s like when a female reaches the age of 39 or 40 she simply needs to go away, Lauzen says When any group is not featured in the media they have to wonder, Well, what part do I play in the culture There s actually an academic term for that It s called symbolic annihilation I appreciate how Chocano integrates critical analysis and memoir in these essays She combines pop culture analysis with stories about how she learned about girlhood growing up, as well as how her daughter has interacted with portrayals of women in the media Reading this book reinforced for me the difficulty of raising a daughter in our society in such a way that would reject the plethora of sexist, dehumanizing portrayals of women that we see everywhere We see women suffer We see women objectified We see women s ambitions tamed for the sake of marriage Chocano points out these patterns with great skill and I hope we can learn to create better representations of women in film and television, as well as a less patriarchal world for women and everyone to inhabit Another quote, this one about Frozen, that shows how Chocano refuses to take things deemed feminist at face value Frozen was sometimes talked about as a feminist princess movie because it did not end with a wedding But, if anything, it was a feminist movie in that its heroine is being gaslit and put into one impossible double bind after another It was not so feminist in the way independence is conflated with solitude and loneliness, and creativity and power with madness Despite her rehabilitation, Elsa still bears all the vestiges of the Disney villainess, but she isn t bad She just does bad things She can t help it She can t control her powers, because she can t control her terrifying feelings It s her feelings that are dangerous Ultimately, Elsa does manage to break free, sort of But the forces that hold her back are diffuse and insidious, and she never really embraces her desire Overall, a solid essay collection I would recommend to anyone interested in feminism or film and media I deduct half a star just because I feel that some essays did not go as deep as they could have their analysis felt curtailed, like could have been said or a stronger conclusion could have been reached Still, an amazing book that appeals to my love of dissecting pop culture.


  2. says:

    Instagram Twitter Facebook Pinterest This author s name sounded familiar to me, which was odd because 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 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 pop cultural essays make me side eye 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 tone deaf 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 wordpress type 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


  3. says:

    August 2017 My Book Box Non Fiction 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 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.


  4. says:

    Overall, this was a fast read for anyone looking to think critically about the media we consume on a daily basis Movies like Pretty Women, Knocked Up, Thelma and Louise, The Stepford Wives TV shows like Mad 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 like1 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 did The Princess and the Frog perform poorly in the box office compared to Frozen, Tangled, and others If white women are assigned roles in Hollywood and elsewhere, what roles are assigned to non white women She talks briefly about women in the sex industry particularly Playboy but how are lesbians portrayed in porn and male consumed 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 criticizing Trainwreck, then she s praising Inside Amy Schumer, then she s praising Trainwreck It brought up some great points that reaffirmed my love of Inside 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 toward the former, but I m not the one who wrote a book here 3 The Frozen 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 out of touch 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 self objectification 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 gender neutral 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 modern day Hakuna Matata, but with a powerhouse vocalist and catchier melody Chocano considered it non feminist 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 .


  5. says:

    You can also find this review at I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewSimilar 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.


  6. says:

    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 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.


  7. says:

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


  8. says:

    You Play the Girl On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks and Other Mixed Messages is a four part book of well written and analytical essays of various cultural themes Popular films, books, articles and famous people and events are added and highlight author Carina Chocano s stories and observations Chocano, a journalist and storyteller takes pride in the creative thinking process, her short stories and articles have been featured in several notable publications including the NYT, Texas Monthly, Elle, and others In the first essay, Chocano revealed she learned about sex through Playboy Magazines and Bugs Bunny in Drag no relation to the sexy human toon Jessica Rabbit As children, many of us knew about the forbidden nature of the carefully hidden adult magazines Playboy reached its peak of readership between 1966 1976 Heffner called his beautiful hostesses and models Playboy Bunnies featured by the Bunny logo Heffner influenced American culture in numerous ways, notably the unrealistic beauty standards and behavior for American women Chocano explored this theme further with the emergence of The Feminine Mystique 1963 This was at a time when there were few single parent households, and women typically worked outside the home for extra spending money, not because they needed a double income The Stepford Wives 1972 existed only to please, nurture, and reflect a positive manner on their husbands social and economic status If a marriage failed in the 1950 s 1970 s it didn t matter that the husband was a womanizer, had a gambling, drinking, or domestic violence problem, the broken marriage was typically blamed on the regrettable lack of wifely effort The popular Ladies Home Journal Can This Marriage Be Saved column 1953 2014 totally advised women on the strategies of keeping their marriages intact.The wedding has always been another way for a woman of lesser means to snag a gazillionare, and live a life of luxury and prestige So goes the story when Chocano worked in the Silicon Valley in 1992, going into debt buying overpriced sandwiches in the company lobby The wages were low pitiful, and the rumor was that a 3,000 Christmas bonus was to materialize, so she remained on the job was it a good decision It was too easy to fantasize about a fairy tale wedding Cosmopolitan Magazine reminded women It was just as easy to date a rich man as a poor one The drawback was that these wealthy men had unrealistic standards a lot of them, in fact as to what their princess bride should look like.The Bachelor transports viewers to a fantasy world of Grand Canyon romance Helicopters whirl over the grand mansion setting, long walks, sincere talks and sweet picnics with food and flowers a girl can be seen winning her bachelor, she is lovely and admired by all Will the implied wedding date follow The bachelor and his bride may date briefly, and likely break it off In any event, the show is romantic and fun to watch.In her 4oth year, Chocano was not feeling as brave or courageous as Elizabeth Gilbert in her book Eat, Pray, Love 2006 Following the birth of her daughter Kira, Chocano took her time reading Gilbert s book In fact, she was overeating Cheetos and googling how to put a hex on someone s balls while reading it Traveling to exotic locations as Liz had done after shedding her annoying husband was out of the question for Chocano, she certainly would never find balance and spirituality in the pursuit of pleasure in India or in an Ashram With Oprah Winfrey s promotion of the book, and 9 million copies sold, Gilbert was a wealthy woman However, at the start of her memoir, LIz presented herself in an entirely different manner Are the elements of romance, escapism, exotic getaways combined with self help advice that connect readers with the author s life experience for real There were some pointed questions to consider.In Girls Love Math we realize that women have an expiration date, this date arrives long before a man s Older men are distinguished as they age, George Clooney, Richard Gere Chocano has laid awake mentally calculating how much time she would have before reaching the age when women were expected at age 39 or 40 to simply go away Even talking Barbie dolls have said Math is hard I agree The films Chocano chose to write about were overly long and less interesting However, Chocano makes up for it in a big way by the topics she writes about from Gothic Celebrity which was excellent to Train Wreck to writing about Kira s pre school Mom jeans and all The stories shared about Kira were alright Despite the topic of Virginia Woolf being overly written about, the closing essay there was really a good spin on this presentation, which matched the overall style of the book With thanks and appreciation to Mariner Books Houghton Miffin Harcourt via NetGalley for the direct e copy for the purpose of review.


  9. says:

    Chicano s focus on women s issues fills me with hope, and some anger She explores the state of our lives through popular books, movies, and happenings and she does it with literary skill and always a sense of humor and fun which helps when the reader s gut reaction is likely anger or even helplessness I last had the sense of being in the presence of someone who s wise years ago,when I read Faludi s Backlash and Wolf s Beauty Myth though neither of those women had he same joie de vivre that Chicano brings.It s difficult to look at these issues no matter how important they are but the medicine went down easily because of her humor The only place I felt lost is when she wrote about the possible meaning behind the movie Frozen She falters on this topic but to be fair she s up front about being in the deep end of the pool or I think likely we re al floundering in the shallows when dealing with Disney s popularity The messages in these movies are so mixed it s hard to nail down why we can feel such an upswell of emotion I also think the Frozen topic stands out so starkly because of the clarity Chicano brings in other topics You Play the Girl is well worth your time.Thank you to th publisher for providing an advance reader s copy.


  10. says:

    Chocano takes the reader through a fast paced yet precise history of roles women have played over time in real life and on screen in texts, seamlessly showing the parallels between the literal and the symbolic worlds There s even a brief history of the waves of feminism told through movies She s a brilliant essayist and cultural critic, with strong one liners, poignant questions, and a masterful way of weaving personal anecdotes, literary analysis, groundbreaking legislation, film reviews, and feminist critiques all in one By the end, she touches on over 70 works, including novels, movies, media articles, and academic studies, in a way that s so organized and captivating that you forget how much you re learning It s an essay collection that s unforgettable and important.


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