A Review of Sexy Baby

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Sexy Baby is a 2012 documentary that examines what is like for women to grow up in a cyber society fixated on sexiness. The documentary opens with a little girl dancing to Lady Gaga. Although the audience knows that the little girl’s moves are innocent, a feeling of discomfort lurks in her every step. The audience knows that the disco stick in “Poker Face” is not simply a glittery toy.

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This sense of discomfort that is illustrated in the opening sequence extends to every moment of the documentary. After the dance introduction, the documentary then transitions into a profile of Nikita Cash, a former adult actress, Winnifred, a young 12 year-old, and a young kindergarten teacher who is hopeful that her labiaplasty will maker her more attractive. We know these women; heck may even see them walking down the streets or in those pestering, sexploitive pop-up ads. In the documentary, we see them in a different light.  Sexy Baby tackles the question of how this heavy presence of sexuality is reinforced, and furthermore how this saturating sexuality effects our younger population.

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Although Sexy Baby is compelling and introduces serious issues regarding being raised in a sexploitive society, the documentary only explores these complicated ideas at the surface level. The documentary presents an issue and doesn’t provide a clear stance on where it comes from. The documentary feels fixated on sex and how it is represented in the cyber age; however, it is not convincing in centering the issue in a cyber society. Instead, the documentary feels vague. Initially, the vagueness of sexploitation works to the documentary’s benefit.  However, toward the end, the documentary becomes a tangled pool of compelling but half-thought out ideas. Despite its faults, Sexy Baby is a compelling documentary, which forces the audience to confront the issues of sexploitation that seem so engrained in our society.


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National Poetry Month: Day 29

Memoryhouse has recently been collecting six-word memoirs from the UChicago community and now, to celebrate National Poetry Month, we are sharing them with you! We will be publishing two six-word memoirs every day in April along with fun writing prompts to inspire you to write your own six-word memoir, poetry, or autobiography. Want to share your six-word story with the world? Email us at chicagomemoryhouse@gmail.com or Facebook us. To submit longer pieces visit our Submit page.

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There are certain events and activities that can feel odd to do alone. Going to the movies, attending a concert, and eating in a restaurant are common things that people would rather do with a buddy. But what about the times when you simply can’t find anyone to go with you, for whatever reason, or when your buddy backs out at the last minute? Write about an experience you’ve had when going by yourself was the only option. How did it make you feel? Did it turn out all right in the end? If going to an event or engaging in a typically social activity by yourself is not a big deal, or you happen to prefer it, write about a specific instance that exemplifies why you feel this way.

National Poetry Month: Day 28

Memoryhouse has recently been collecting six-word memoirs from the UChicago community and now, to celebrate National Poetry Month, we are sharing them with you! We will be publishing two six-word memoirs every day in April along with fun writing prompts to inspire you to write your own six-word memoir, poetry, or autobiography. Want to share your six-word story with the world? Email us at chicagomemoryhouse@gmail.com or Facebook us. To submit longer pieces visit our Submit page.

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As the weather gets warmer, more and more people are getting outdoors to do some sightseeing. After all, with the trees budding and flowers perfuming the cool breeze, how could anyone resist a little adventure? This week, write about being a tourist. Think of a specific trip you took. Where were you? What did it feel like to be a visitor there? Do you enjoy being a tourist? If not, how come?

National Poetry Month: Day 27

Memoryhouse has recently been collecting six-word memoirs from the UChicago community and now, to celebrate National Poetry Month, we are sharing them with you! We will be publishing two six-word memoirs every day in April along with fun writing prompts to inspire you to write your own six-word memoir, poetry, or autobiography. Want to share your six-word story with the world? Email us at chicagomemoryhouse@gmail.com or Facebook us. To submit longer pieces visit our Submit page.

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There are several holidays that incorporate dressing up in costume: Halloween, Purim, and Mardi Gras, to name a few. On these occasions, the goal is to look like somebody (or something) else. But on the days that aren’t dress-up holidays or occasions, there are times when you put on a certain outfit or a particular style of clothing and it can feel like you are putting on a costume. Try writing about an experience you’ve had when you dressed yourself in a way that made you feel like a different person. Was it a pleasant or uncomfortable experience? Did people recognize you? Describe what it felt like.

National Poetry Month: Day 26

Memoryhouse has recently been collecting six-word memoirs from the UChicago community and now, to celebrate National Poetry Month, we are sharing them with you! We will be publishing two six-word memoirs every day in April along with fun writing prompts to inspire you to write your own six-word memoir, poetry, or autobiography. Want to share your six-word story with the world? Email us at chicagomemoryhouse@gmail.com or Facebook us. To submit longer pieces visit our Submit page.

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No matter how adventurous an eater you are, there’s bound to be some foods that immediately turn you off. It could be the smell, the texture, or just the way it looks that makes it unpalatable. This week, write about a time when you were faced with something that is supposedly edible but that you found absolutely unappealing. It could be a food from a different culture, an odd combination of flavors, or a culinary experiment a friend or relative cooked up that didn’t turn out as planned. Did you eat it anyway? Or did you leave it for someone else to enjoy?

The Women Behind The Lens: Meryl Streep To Fund Writers Lab

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Just a few short months after HBO announced a writing fellowship program for minority screenwriters (“minority” including all women, in this case), New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) has announced that Meryl Streep will be funding a writers lab exclusively for female screenwriters over the age of forty.

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With more Academy Award nominations than any actress or actor in history, Meryl Streep appears to be the perfect voice to lead a rising tide of female presence in film and television, two connected industries that have a reputation for catering to white, male writers. While many programs designed for screenwriters are encouraging minority and female participation (like HBO’s new fellowship), they tend to lean toward younger talent. Streep’s lab takes a unique approach by encouraging female writers over a specific age, particularly an age that isn’t often encouraged in an environment that places emphasis on young, “emerging” voices. While young voices do lead to diverse shows with compelling characters that reflect a modern age and ideals and values, the result can often mean our television shows and films are full of characters designed to mimic the experiences of a younger audience.

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According to Women Make Movies (wmm.com), “in 2012, women comprised 18% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films. This represents an increase of 2 percentage points from 2010 and an increase of 1 percentage point from 1998.” 18% percent is a low number, especially considering that when it comes to the Academy Awards, there have only been four female Best Director nominees in the Academy’s eighty-seven year history. And of those four women, Kathryn Bigelow remains the only female Best Director winner for her The Hurt Locker (2009). The push to include a new demographic of writers (and of women) is likely a result, in part, of the success of certain female writer titans in the industry at the moment. These titans include Kathryn Bigelow (who is sixty-three, pictured above), as well as women like Shonda Rhimes (pictured below), who is also in the age bracket above forty, and whose work includes hit television shows like ABC’s Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder.

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The writing lab will open to applications on May 1, and the deadline will extend to June 1. More information can be found on NYWIFT’s website, nywift.org. Statistics about women in the industry were taken from Women Make Movies. For more information about female presence in film and television, visit wmm.com.

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Pictures:

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National Poetry Month: Day 25

Memoryhouse has recently been collecting six-word memoirs from the UChicago community and now, to celebrate National Poetry Month, we are sharing them with you! We will be publishing two six-word memoirs every day in April along with fun writing prompts to inspire you to write your own six-word memoir, poetry, or autobiography. Want to share your six-word story with the world? Email us at chicagomemoryhouse@gmail.com or Facebook us. To submit longer pieces visit our Submit page.

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You know what April showers bring. This week think about flowers. More particularly, think about your flower. Is there a certain flower that you personally identify with or fills your heart with joy? If not, is there a flower that reminds you of a special person in your life or brings up a fond memory? Write about this flower and why it’s important to you, taking care to illustrate its beauty.

National Poetry Month: Day 24

Memoryhouse has recently been collecting six-word memoirs from the UChicago community and now, to celebrate National Poetry Month, we are sharing them with you! We will be publishing two six-word memoirs every day in April along with fun writing prompts to inspire you to write your own six-word memoir, poetry, or autobiography. Want to share your six-word story with the world? Email us at chicagomemoryhouse@gmail.com or Facebook us. To submit longer pieces visit our Submit page.

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Whether it’s with a sibling, best friend, or colleague, there comes a time in most of our lives when we find ourselves engaged in a bitter rivalry with another person. This week, write about someone you’ve had to go head-to-head with in order to achieve a personal goal. What were you two competing over? What were the driving motives behind the conflict? Were you and your rival pitted against each other by a third party? If this occurred a while ago, try and access the emotions you felt when it was all happening to strengthen the scene.

National Poetry Month: Day 23

Memoryhouse has recently been collecting six-word memoirs from the UChicago community and now, to celebrate National Poetry Month, we are sharing them with you! We will be publishing two six-word memoirs every day in April along with fun writing prompts to inspire you to write your own six-word memoir, poetry, or autobiography. Want to share your six-word story with the world? Email us at chicagomemoryhouse@gmail.com or Facebook us. To submit longer pieces visit our Submit page.

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It’s easy to slip into a bad attitude, and even easier once you’re there to stew in all that negativity. For most it’s a passing phase, but for some it can color their whole outlook on life. Would you describe yourself as a cynic? If not, do you know someone who fits the bill? Today, write down what happens to you using a cynical perspective. If you keep a journal, compare today’s entry with those of previous—perhaps more positive—days and note the similarities and differences in style, tone, and word usage.

National Poetry Month: Day 22

Memoryhouse has recently been collecting six-word memoirs from the UChicago community and now, to celebrate National Poetry Month, we are sharing them with you! We will be publishing two six-word memoirs every day in April along with fun writing prompts to inspire you to write your own six-word memoir, poetry, or autobiography. Want to share your six-word story with the world? Email us at chicagomemoryhouse@gmail.com or Facebook us. To submit longer pieces visit our Submit page.

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In his poem “Lament,” Thom Gunn writes, “I think back to the scented summer night / We talked between our sleeping bags, below / A molten field of stars five years ago: / I was so tickled by your mind’s light touch / I couldn’t sleep, you made me laugh too much, / Though I was tired and begged you to leave off.” This week, try and remember one of those nights when you and a loved one stayed up all night, too busy telling stories and enjoying each other’s company to sleep. Write a scene that encapsulates the feeling of the quote above, whether it’s set during a summer camping trip with a best friend, catching up with a cousin during a family reunion, or just an average weeknight spent staying up past your bedtime with your siblings or parents.