TaraElla Themes 2017-18

A Liberal and Truly Intersectional Feminism, no GLIF
Only Liberal Feminism is Truly Intersectional Feminism. Learn more here.
Both the Ideas Lab and The TaraElla Show aim to advance liberal intersectional feminism.
To learn more about how other 'intersectional' feminists are doing it wrong, read The Disappointment of G.L.I.F.

More Music
More new work will be added to the catalog of TaraElla's Music.

A Moral Liberty
Contrary to popular (American) belief, real liberals are not Left (or Right), but pro-liberty.
The Ideas Lab is on a campaign to revive Moral Liberalism.
For more about Moral Liberalism, read TaraElla's book Liberal Revival Now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Delicate is one of the Better Tracks off the latest album from Taylor Swift, but the Reputation Problem is still there

To be honest, I haven't quite enjoyed most of the tracks from Taylor Swift's Reputation album. Maybe it's a case of high expectations: Taylor used to be so cool, and her music used to be so good, a decade ago during the Fearless era. Truth to be told, once you've made an album as great as Fearless, it's difficult to come up with something better, so every following album could be in some sense a disappointment (even though Speak Now was a close second). Overall, I think that Reputation is mostly an average work. But Delicate still sounds quite special, in my opinion, even if it's still not as great as country Taylor could have been.

But there's still that problem: Taylor's obsession with her Reputation. I get that it's the title of the album, and these days artists like to insert the title of their album everywhere. But being obsessed with one's reputation is not healthy! Taylor appears very self-conscious that her reputation 'has never been worse'. I've got a suggestion for her: perhaps she should go back to being Fearless Taylor. Her reputation was quite good back then, right? (Not to mention her music was way better, or that she was actually, well, cool, and somebody people looked up to.)

Finally, let me say that I still think that Taylor is special, despite her current lacklustre form. So let me dedicate this song of mine to her:

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Are Hillary Clinton, Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham White Feminists?

In recent years, more and more self-identified feminists have condemned some fellow feminists as 'white feminists'. The precise definition of the term, however, is unclear. Does it mean feminists who happen to be white? If that's the case, then most of those doing the accusing fall into this category too. Therefore, this cannot be the real meaning of the term. Alternatively, does it refer to feminsts who are white and racist? Or at least white and don't care about non-white women?

Let's first look at who the term is actually being applied to. Hillary Clinton, Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham would have to be three of the most common names I have heard in association with 'white feminist' in the past two years or so. First of all, there is no evidence at all that any of these three are racist in any way, quite the opposite in fact. Therefore, 'white feminist' can't be just referring to racist feminists. As for a broader definition of feminists who are white and don't care for women of colour, I don't get that vibe from any of these three either. Finally, are these three any different from other feminists in their feminism? Do these three share some particular characteristic that 'good feminists' don't share? I don't see any.

So there you have it. The 'white feminist' label is meaningless.

What's the opposite of 'white feminist' then? The standard answer is, 'intersectional feminism'. Intersectional feminism is supposed to be the 'good feminism', the kind that cares about the intersectional disadvantages that ethnic minority women and queer women suffer. So how do the aforementioned three supposedly 'white feminists' measure up here? First of all, all three appear to be very queer friendly. Hillary Clinton may have come later than Barack Obama to the marriage equality table, but at least she got there earlier than many other progressive feminists, including even former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Taylor Swift even made sure there was trans representation at one of her concerts; how many other musicians have actually done the same? As for caring about ethnic minorities, these supposedly 'white feminists' aren't deficient either. In fact, Lena Dunham in particular really, really cares about being sensitive to ethnic minorities, and I have even cringed at hearing some of what she had to say about cultural appropriation in food. If Lena Dunham isn't left-wing enough in this area, I don't know who is.

But then, intersectional feminism, as it is often practiced, is effectively GLIF (gatekeeper limited intersectional feminism), where self-appointed gatekeepers decide what's in and what's out, and perhaps just as importantly, who's in and who's out. I don't exactly know how the gatekeepers decide who is a good intersectional feminist or not, but it may have to do with their own political views or personal likes and dislikes. For example, Hillary Clinton has arguably become the most prominent representation of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, and some socialists strongly dislike her. Taylor Swift is very, very rich, and again some socialists may not like that. Alternatively, her relationship history has made her unpopular with some women. As for Lena Dunham? Some people just strongly dislike her, for whatever reason.

In conclusion, if Hillary Clinton, Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham are 'white feminists', then the label effectively means 'feminists that some other feminists don't like', and is therefore effectively meaningless. We should all probably stop using it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Storm in a teacup: the Mystery of Who Bit Beyonce

This is how a storm in a teacup started. In a recent interview in GQ magazine, Tiffany Hadish revealed that she saw a unnamed female celebrity walk right up to Beyonce and bit her on the face, at a party she had attended. The female celebrity was probably on drugs. It is not even clear which event Hadish was talking about, but some speculate it to be a Jay-Z concert from late last year. Anyway, somehow people got interested, and media outlets have been asking celebrities and their representatives about the incident, of which most responded that they knew nothing about it.

Several celebrities, including Lena Dunham, even took to twitter to post their denial of being that unnamed celebrity or having any knowledge of that incident.

Which sounds like the perfect storm in a teacup. I mean, Hollywood has never been about serious stuff, but in a time when the world is facing multiple crises and there are lots of debates to be had on various issues, this is what you want to waste your time on? I mean, come on!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Taylor Swift can't seem to Shut Up about her Reputation in Endgame. It's really unhealthy!

Taylor Swift's evolution is getting weirder and weirder. Once upon a time, she only cared about making good music, she didn't seem to care about her reputation at all. I mean, this was the good old days of You Belong With Me. In those days, she actually had a reputation of being a good musician. Nowadays, I really don't know how I feel about Taylor's reputation. Not that I would naturally care, but apparently she really wants us to care! In her recent single Endgame, there really was a lot about her 'reputation'.

I get that her album and her tour are titled 'Reputation', and she probably thinks repeating the reputation theme over and over makes business sense. But I can't agree here. I mean, a good musician should care about their music, not their reputation. A focus on reputation cheapens the music. Moreover, confident, secure people don't tend to care about the judgement of others. Yet here is Taylor Swift, telling her millions of fans that she really, really cares about her reputation. What kind of message is that to send to our young people? I am really disappointed, Taylor. You really have gotten too involved in this game of celebrity.

Some may say that Taylor's reputation talk is just an ironic response to those who have been trying to damage her reputation over the years, citing her relationship history. But I can't agree here. If Taylor wanted to tell the world she couldn't care less, she could have done so more directly. Like this:

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Selena Gomez Takes a Stand Against the Beauty Myth, Amy Schumer joins in too. Good on you people!

Selena Gomez recently took a strong stance against the so-called beauty myth, after suffering some more body shaming from the media, something which unfortunately she is no stranger to by now. According to Selena, the beauty myth is 'an obsession with physical perfection that traps modern women in an endless cycle of helplessness, self consciousness and self-hatred'. I can't agree more, actually.

Amy Schumer also joined in, adding that we shouldn't strive to be another version of ourselves, and that we should love ourselves just how we are. Again, I couldn't agree more.

I actually feel like, with more and more voices like these, the beauty myth has already lessed in its grip on our collective imagination over say, the past ten years. So keep up the good work, people! Of course, we still have a long way to go, seeing that the media still likes to body shame, and that rates of anorexia and other eating disorders are still way too high. I guess the promotion of alternative beauty standards, and perhaps a relaxation in the strict binary view of gender, will be helpful in the road ahead.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Zedd and Maren Morris are unexpectedly good in The Middle. Does this mean Maren will be the next Taylor Swift?

Zedd the EDM DJ. Maren Morris the country singer. I would have imagined that these two would go together like custard and onions. In fact, I would never have imagined them working on a song together. And if I was told they would work together, I would have imagined something really, really weird.

Which means that I was quite pleasantly surprised by their latest hit, The Middle. Maren's vocals was very suitable for the song. On the other hand, the song showcased Maren's great vocal strength, perhaps even better than her own country hits have been able to do so, to date. Perhaps Maren should try to do more than just country music in the future. Perhaps she may even be the next Taylor Swift.

The TaraElla song I would choose to go with The Middle is Your Love Makes The World Beautiful. Well, not the version I recorded and released in 2014, but I can imagine the combination of Zedd and Maren Morris doing a cover of it, and making it sound really spectacular. If only I could get them interested in doing such a cover. But if you agree with me here, perhaps you can help suggest that they consider doing this cover?

Monday, March 19, 2018

That 'Times Up' Tattoo, and Questioning the Feminism of Emma Watson again

Emma Watson, who recently displayed a 'Times Up' temporary tattoo on her arm at the Oscars, was the talk of the town among some of my feminist friends. And not just because the Times was missing an apostrophy. (By the way, both Times Up and Time's Up have been used to refer to the movement, so Emma isn't quite wrong here.)

More interesting was the question of why Emma chose to use a tattoo to express her support for the movement, when other celebrities at the event were content with using pins. This predictably brought up the question of if Ms Watson just wanted to stand out, to grab attention. One of my friends even accused Emma of doing this whole feminist thing for her own publicity, which of course predictably caused fans of Ms Watson among us to list all her feminist achievements to date.

It really seems strange that Emma Watson is such a controversial figure in the feminist world, again and again, without her even saying anything particularly controversial. (By the way, I still have something more to say later about her Vanity Fair photo from last year, now that the dust has settled on that matter.) But which feminist isn't a 'controversial feminist' in 2018? It looks like being seen as controversial is probably the price one has to pay for being a feminist icon in this day and age.

Anyway, I think that Emma was just displaying her individuality. And unlike what some may think, a feminism without individuality would defeat the whole point about feminism, and would be a feminism not worth having. At least according to this liberal feminist.

So, the bottom line: I remain a fan of Emma Watson. We may not always agree, but I appreciate her individuality. Emma is indeed something special.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

No Excuses is yet another familiar sounding track from Meghan Trainor. It's time she raised her game.

Meghan Trainor's latest single, No Excuses, is proving to be another major hit for her. As you would expect it to be - radio friendly, catchy, and all that.

It also sounds familiar. Overly familiar, to be honest. I mean, firstly it's just more of her usual style. It reminds me too much of No (2016), for example. Or Dear Future Husband (2014). I do like her style, but perhaps it's time she introduced a bit of variation. Secondly, it also sounds too much like the generic radio-friendly upbeat song, which means you get tired of it after a short while. She's been a musician for several years now, I really hope she can take her game to the next level, to be honest.

Don't get me wrong though, No Excuses is actually quite good. The TaraElla song I would choose to go with it is The Real World is Overrated. It has the same upbeat style, plus both songs manage to complain about something and yet sound happy about it. If only every time somebody whinged about something in real life, they could sound this happy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

With Heaven (from Fifty Shades Freed), Julia Michaels has proven that she is no One Hit Wonder.

Last year, Julia Michaels burst onto the scene with her debut single Issues. Well written both lyrically and musically, it quickly became popular. It also introduced us to Julia's superb vocals. However, her next two hits were, in my humble opinion, much less spectacular. I was ready to put Julia Michaels down for a one hit wonder, to be honest.

But the release of the Fifty Shades Freed movie earlier this year brought us yet another Julia Michaels song, Heaven. And this one was surprisingly good. I mean, it's far from my usual style, but even I can appreciate it. Her vocals were really suitable too. And while the song's version of heaven is definitely NOT my version of heaven, it sounds really good, especially if you ignore the lyrics (which I don't agree with, sorry).

As for the TaraElla song I would pick to go with Heaven, I guess I'll go for a strong contrast, picking The Princess's Spirit. I mean, Heaven sounds very dark, and The Princess's Spirit is pure light. Also, while Heaven may be some people's version of heaven, The Princess's Spirit is close to my version of heaven.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Was Katy Perry a bad friend? I don't think you can judge her this way, seriously.

Apparently, Katy Perry can't even remember the face and name of her friend. This apparently means she's a really bad friend, some are saying.

In a recent interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, one of Katy Perry's old friends was there on the show to give her a surprise. Before the friend came on, Kimmel asked Katy to identify her friend from a choice of six pictures - which Katy got right the second time. However, she also got the name of the friend wrong.

Well, to be fair, it's an old friend from years ago. So you'd have to forgive her, right?

You seriously don't expect celebrities to be perfect people, do you? Celebrities actually live in the real world too. I mean, nothing in the real world is ever perfect.