Storytelling is More Important Now Than Ever: Why Disney’s “Moana” is the Perfect Antidote to Trump’s America

It’s important now more than ever for stories about people of color to flood mainstream media; storytelling is the most powerful tool we have in the fight against hatred of any kind. Moana is a triumph in both storytelling and empowerment.

Marvel’s ‘Jessica Jones’ is a Frighteningly Stunning Look at the Human Psyche

Am I in control? Do I have any power in a seemingly powerless situation? How can¬†I possibly “move on”? Is it possible to mentally survive¬†a cycle of abuse? Most victims of physical and/or psychological abuse continuously ask these questions long after the actual acts of abuse have ceased; the lasting effects¬†can and often do continue […]

Chris Pratt and Male Body Image in Hollywood

Originally Posted August 4th, 2014; Updated June 26th, 2015 Chris Pratt is Hollywood’s latest TV funny man-turned viable Hollywood leading man; everybody seems to want a piece of the Pratt.¬†Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy may have been last¬†summers most surprising smash hit, raking in an estimated 94 million in its opening weekend (and breaking August […]

Iggy Azalea: 21st Century Black Face

Iggy Azalea was one of the most successful breakout rappers of 2014; she also represents the best (i.e., worst) example of cultural misappropriation. Since before the conception of her mainstream career, she has openly and bluntly made derogatory remarks about various races, subsets of people, and has made a career out of cartoonishly imitating ghetto […]

On Lena Dunham: Asking “Was It Molestation?” Is Like Asking “Was It Racist?” The Answer Is Probably “Yes.”

Originally posted on Punk Mum:
I’m going to engage in a full boycott of Lena Dunham’s work until she takes personal responsibility for her actions and admits that what she did was wrong. I don’t mean she needs to reveal that she’s a pedophile (she’s not), that she traumatized her sister (she didn’t), or that…

Is Feminism the New Black?: ‘Gone Girl,’ Laverne Cox, and the Intersection of Feminism and Pop Culture

Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher¬†and starring Ben Affleck and breakout star Rosamund Pike, is a smart, intense crash course on public perception and the twist-of-the-knife, cutthroat media circus that surrounds the national exposure of often small town tragedies. Based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, the story revolves around “fictional” […]

The Problem With Sookie Stackhouse: Thoughts on ‘True Blood’ Post-Series Finale

There’s a problem in Hollywood with the portrayal of female characters. They’re either so “strong” (objective word) that they come off as emasculating “bitches,” or they’re weak, perpetual¬†damsels-in-distress, who want to be strong and want to get ahead, but can’t seem to figure out the proper balance, which leads to them falling back on finding […]

OUTrage: What Does It Mean to be A Member of the Gay Community?

The (online) gay community is apparently outraged by Sam Smith “slamming” hook-up apps Grindr and Tinder. At least according to Rich Juzwiak at Gawker, who wrote a¬†scathing, fat-shaming, reaching-for-an-issue-that-isn’t-really-there article called “Sam Smith’s Fucked Up Gay Conservatism” about the openly gay singer. It’s also been picked up by Kevin O’Keeffe on The Wire, who wrote […]

“No Offense, But”: Reactions to the Possibility of The Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon (Maybe) Being Gay

Whenever somebody begins with the phrase, “No offense, but…,” rest assured that it’s probably going to be somewhat offensive, especially where gay issues are concerned. No matter how progressive our culture seems to be on the surface, beneath that glossy, shiny exterior plastered with photos from Pride Parades, individual state marriage equality victories, and cover […]

Not All Thought is Relevant: Why We Should All Boycott Thought Catalog

Originally posted on The N!colas Blog:
I‚Äôve only been close with one transgender person in my life so far, and she happened to be somewhat famous. Her name was Octavia St. Laurent, known by many from the iconic film Paris Is Burning. There‚Äôs nothing I can write here to convey how effervescent and lovely…

Dancing in the Dark: 17 Thought-Provoking Songs By Women About Female Perception, Identity, & Body Image

Mainstream pop music isn’t always about sex, love, and booze. More often than not, if you listen closer, it’s about so much more, especially where female pop singers are concerned. This is a problem. 5 Stereotypes of Women in Pop Music: They’re shallow. Their music is shallow. And fluffy. And shallowly fluffy. All they sing […]

Mary Poppins Quits, Demands Minimum Wage Increase, Wins the Internet!

Kristen Bell teamed up with Funny or Die for a Mary Poppins “Spoonful of Sugar” parody that demands minimum wage pay increases. Bell’s Julie Andrews-circa-Disney’s-Poppins is SPOT-ON, sometimes uncanny, and all-around a Jolly Holiday way to raise awareness about life below the poverty line (it’s not lost on us here at HyperReality that Mary Poppins […]

Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” Is A Bouncy, Body-Positive Summer Jam That Brings The Booty Back

Some of you might have heard about Meghan Trainor, the 20 year old musician from Nantucket who has written songs for Rascal Flatts and Sabrina Carpenter (the girl who plays spunky best friend Riley on Girl Meets World), among others. If you haven’t heard of Trainor, well, you’re about to because her debut single, “All […]

Female Thor, Wonder Woman, and a Call for More Kick-Ass Heroines!

On Wednesday, July 15th, 2014, Marvel announced that a new Thor comic book series would star — wait for it — a woman in the title role as the new God(fess) of Thunder.¬†Thor’s mighty hammer, Mjolnir, has rarely been wielded¬†by a woman, and for the first time in the 52 years since Thor’s first comic […]

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Is An Exploration In the Dark Side of Humanity

When I bought my ticket for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I certainly wasn’t expecting a startling commentary on human nature and the great “Nature Vs. Nurture” debate; though I shouldn’t have been surprised that that was exactly what I got, especially given the nature of the first film, 2011’s Rise of the […]

‘Stop The Beauty Madness’ Is A Call to Action: “Enough With the Impossible Standards!”

Many refuse to believe that we have an issue with body image, and many refuse to acknowledge the impact that mass media, including advertisements, television, film, music, etc., have on our perception of beauty; they claim “freewill!” and say that we have control over our own self-perceptions. To an extent, I agree, but for the […]

Tyra Banks’ Future Beauty Predictions Look A Lot Like ‘The Hunger Games’

Tyra Banks wrote an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal¬†(“Tyra Banks Says Beauty in the Future Will Mean Looking Different“) about her predictions for the future. With the tagline, “Plastic Surgery and Other Aids Will Be Widely Available, Putting a Premium on Distinct Looks,” it’s clear that Ms. Banks is dreaming of a plastic […]

Instant Gratification, Insta-lebrities, Instigation: Why Nash Grier Shouldn’t Have a Platform

Not everybody deserves — or should have — a platform. Eight years ago, ¬†internet-based celebrities were non-existent; the thought of achieving fame solely through the internet¬†was a concept that I don’t think anyone¬†anticipated, let alone expected to ever come to fruition. At the start of the 2000s, social networking was a relatively “new” concept, with […]

Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final: New Post-Potter Piece by JK Rowling Hints at More Potter to Come?

If you’re a member of JK Rowling’s famed Pottermore, a website devoted to everything Harry Potter (and more), you were greeted to a treat today: JK Rowling has posted a new “story” of sorts on Tuesday, July 8th; it’s an article from the Daily Prophet by the famed Rita Skeeter, written — of course — […]

#AskThicke Proves That Glorifying Rape Really Isn’t Cool, Score 1 For Human Decency

2013’s Song of the Summer was the mostly unexpected, hugely inappropriate “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, a song that both raced to the top of the charts, despite Thicke not having a hit since 2006’s “Lost Without You,” and glorified rape and promoted rape culture at the same time. Don’t believe me? Check out the […]

Men, Objectified: From Michelangelo to J.Lo, a Study of the Effect of Mainstream Masculinity on Male Identity

On March 13th, 2004, Jennifer Lopez released a music video for her new single “I Luh Ya Papi,” a bouncy new hip-hop infused jam to twerk to in front of the bedroom mirror. It was immediately promoted on social media and reigned down on the blogosphere as a refreshing twist on the usual “Let’s Objectify […]

‘Me. I Am Mariah … the Elusive Chanteuse’: A Benchmark Mariah Carey Record

Originally Published on May 27th, 2014; Updated on June 24th, 2014 “I’ll just sit right here and sing that good old school shit to ya/I won’t fool ya” Mariah coos on the first verse of “Dedicated,” a breezy throwback jam to 1980’s hip hop featuring hip hop heavyweight — and probably one of the last […]

Why Pop Culture Desperately Needs the Spice Girls

Originally Published on April 10th, 2014; Updated June 24th, 2014. The brightest spots in my days each week¬†happen during class periods when thought-provoking, deep discussions sprout from whatever material is being taught that particular day. Since I teach a wide array of classes, from core required Composition and Literature courses to upper-level English courses like […]

Lady Gaga Closes Roseland Ballroom, Minds Were Blown

Originally Published on April 7th, 2014; Updated on June 24th, 2014. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: Minds Were Blown. Altered. Changed forever. On April 6th, 2014,¬†Lady Gaga performed at Roseland Ballroom, the¬†penultimate show before the iconic venue closed forever EVER. On April 7th,¬†Gaga performs the¬†final show before embarking on her artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball tour. Arriving at […]

Leave Ellen Alone: A Lesson in Misplaced Transphobia

Originally Published: March 5th, 2014; Updated: June 25th, 2014 Comedienne, actress, host extraordinaire, and overall amazing human Ellen DeGeneres recently came under fire for a comment during her opening monologue at the 86th Annual Academy Awards, which aired Sunday, March 2nd. During her witty opening, which employed her signature wry-delivery and the pop culture-laden humor […]

Beware the Frozen Heart: Is Disney’s ‘Frozen’ An Allegory for Coming Out?

Originally Published: December 2nd, 2013; Updated: June 24th, 2014 Is Disney’s Frozen An Allegory for Coming Out? **WARNING: Mild Spoilers Ahead** Walt Disney Animation Studios, the brilliant tour de force¬†behind¬†animations greatest cinematic achievements like the use of a multiplane camera to¬†help create the illusion of depth in animation, among others —¬†ahem, Snow White and the […]