People’s Choice Awards Red Carpet

I always care about the red carpet more than the awards, and let’s face it, the People’s Choice Awards are just an excuse for Hollywood to blow smoke up its own ass. So let’s start judging.

Most Overdressed

Mariah Carey in Ysa Makino

My problem with Mariah, besides the fact that I truly believe her to be one of the most boring people alive, is that she is never appropriately dressed for anything. Granted, it is difficult to be appropriately dressed for any event when most of your wardrobe looks like it was stolen from an urban tween in 1999, but I digress.

Let’s put aside the fact that this dress does not do her figure any favors, and just ask: Why, Mariah, did you think that the People’s Choice Awards was the right event for you to wear a cheap-looking wedding gown to? I mean, I don’t think tacky wedding gowns are appropriate for almost any red carpet event, but it’s particularly over-the-top for a bullshit event like this. 

Newest Fashionista

Lea Michele in Nuj Novakhett

Welcome to the neighborhood, Ms. New Diva on the Block! The dress is cute, age- and event-appropriate, and flattering. The bust could be fitted a bit better, and something about her pose inexplicably irks me just a touch, but this is a great start for Lea. I think my slight discomfort is just that I’ve rarely seen her in a red carpet scenario, and I’m not used to her dolled-up look. But that will fade shortly, as Glee continues to take over the universe.

The hair and makeup are flawless. And I think it’s refreshing to see a hot young starlet in something that’s not a) black, b) slutty, or c), glittery. Not to mention, the shoes are fierce as hell (they’re Louboutins, of course).

Most Difficult to Recognize

Demi Lovato in Jenny Packham

I try not to follow teen Disney stars too closely, less I get attached to them and then Disney decides to ditch them as soon as they grow pubes, or a mind of their own (whichever comes first). But I’m also able to recognize most of them pretty well, as I read fashion blogs and trashy magazines (uh, you know, when I’m waiting for my copy of The Nation to arrive).

It took me a good ten glances at this photo to figure out who the hell this was. Not to say her face doesn’t look beautiful, because I actually think this is one of the better photos of her occasionally awkward features.  It’s just all very severe, no? The jet black hair, that looks like it’s been overteased/semi-dredlocked/made out of horse hair. The eyebrows that look painted on.  I can handle black nail polish on the red carpet, but black on the toe nails? Honey, it just looks like an uncomfortable fungus.

I think what makes me most uncomfortable is the opulent bling that points straight into the excessive cleavage. That’s quite a lot of titty for a seventeen-year-old. Especially because she and BFFAEAE Selena Gomez present themselves as the nice-girl alternatives to the Miley Cyruses of the world. I shouldn’t judge Lovato more harshly because of her nice-girl image, but honey, you’re 17. Save looking 25 for when you’re 30, and dress your age.

Do You Carry Condoms? Congrats. You’re a Hooker.

According to a post in change.org’s Women’s Rights blog, DC police officers can arrest prostitution suspects in areas that are declared “Prostitution Free Zones.” Seems reasonable enough, right?

Apparently, cops in the District consider carrying 3 or more condoms to be proof of intent to sell sex. That’s right – you can be legally accused of prostitution in our nation’s capital if you just picked up a 3-pack of Trojans from the CVS on E Street.

I understand why governments have an interest in banning prostitution, regardless of whether you consider it a moral issue. For the preservation of public health, it’s important to place serious restrictions on sex workers to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and infections. In the era of AIDS, this has only become more important.

Here comes the public service announcement part of the blog post, but it’s relevant to my point: One in twenty people in the District of Columbia has HIV. DC also has the highest rate of new AIDS cases in the nation. And up to one-third of the one million Americans living with HIV do not know that they are HIV positive. (These facts are from Whitman-Walker Clinic.)

So what do these facts mean, when we consider the costs of carrying condoms in DC? These cops are encouraging sex workers in the center of the American HIV epidemic to not carry protection. In order to crack down on prostitution, which is criminalized (in part) because of its public health risks, DC is risking the health of its residents by using safe sex as proof of sex work.

Not only is it completely offensive that planning on having sex three times in the indefinite future apparently makes you a hooker, it also encourages exactly the type of dangerous behavior that anti-prostitution laws are supposed to prevent. I think there’s also an extreme-right, abstinence-only education vibe to it: Having protected sex means you’re having sex for pleasure, not procreation. And having sex for pleasure makes you a whore.

I’m not saying we should legalize prostitution, but if the government could keep a closer eye on sex workers, perhaps our law enforcers could make prostitutes more likely to use protection, and therefore less likely to worsen DC’s already horrifc epidemic. Instead, we’re relying on the illogical practices of our nation’s capital, which are much more likely to spread HIV than prevent it.

Just remember: If you were considering finding a prostitute in DC this weekend for some pre-semester shenanigans, you might want to bring your own condoms, since the government is encouraging prostitutes to not carry them. And if you’re en route to Thurston for the same sort of fun, be sure to either hide your condoms, or watch how you dress, because in your stereotypically GW shirt-without-pants outfit, UPD just might accuse you of prostitution.

Obama Appoints Transgender Woman to Commerce Dept

Originally posted by me in the GW Discourse blog.

On Tuesday, January 5th, Amanda Simpson began her work as a Senior Technical Advisor to the US Commerce Department. Ms. Simpson is the first known transgender presidential appointee.

The backlash was immediate. Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth, an antigay group, released the following statement:

Is there going to be a transgender quota now in the Obama administration? How far does this politics of gay and transgender activism go? Clearly this is an administration that is pandering to the gay lobby.

The White House website currently shows 643 appointments and nominations made by President Obama. Apparently, 1 out of 643 represents a quota to groups like Americans for Truth, who are so panicked by Simpson’s appointment that they are ignoring her qualifications and claiming that this is a political maneuver by the president.

Simpson worked as the deputy director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems. She is a flight instructor and a test pilot, and with thirty years in the industry and degrees in physics, engineering, and business administration under her belt, she’s already proven more than worthy of the job. Her high qualifications only highlight the absurdity of claims by Focus on the Family that this appointment is just Obama’s “payback to his far-left base for their political support.”

If this is supposed to be payback to the LGBT community for their support, it’s too little, too late. The President is far too intelligent to believe that one appointment would make the LGBT community forgive him for his lack of progress on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s clear that groups like Focus on the Family either have no idea what the LGBT community’s priorities are, or they are just trying to instigate media attention with their radical messages.

Amanda Simpson represents a milestone in our nation’s history, and it is important to recognize what she has done for the transgender community. But we should remember that she was appointed because of her unique skills and qualifications, not because Obama wanted to use her to “pay back” the LGBT community.

Let us hope that this appointment ushers in an era not of quotas and political pandering, but of equality and opportunity for all.

Best/Worst of 2009: Superlatives

Time to finish up the best and worst of 2009 with pop culture overview. Here’s how I rate the lows and highs of pop culture.

Most Likely to Succeed

Don't stop believin'.

You can’t watch a talk show without one of these cuties popping up and charming the pants off the host and the audience. They’ve taken over facebook, myspace, and twitter. And they’re still adorable and fresh enough so that we’re not sick of them yet. This group of relative unknowns has been catapulted into the spotlight by the success of their hit show Glee. It seemed like a long shot for a musical dramedy with no big-name actors that’s basically geared toward choir geeks and theater dorks to have any sort of success, but what America needed most during a year of economic downturns and celebrity deaths was a bright-eyed show choir. Now that the show has ironed out some of its more absurd plot lines (Mrs. Schue’s fake pregnancy, anyone?), it can focus more on its strengths: The fascinating characters it showcases, and the show-stopping musical numbers. I’d like to see anyone try and rain on Glee‘s parade.

Biggest Comeback

It’s Kermit, bitch!

Sorry folks, but Britney’s comeback from the brink of fucking nuts started in ’08. It’s the Muppets who had a shockingly popular year.

Our furry friends were everywhere this year! Rocking out. Being worn as coats. Helping families on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (I’m watching it now, and let me tell you, it’s phenomenal). And since star of How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and my dreams Jason Segel has spent all year writing the next Muppets movie, 2010 might be their biggest year yet.

Most Changed Since Freshman Year

The good old days

It's Peter Jackson, right?

I think the photos really say it all.

Worst Thing to Happen to Nice Girls

Tiger Woods, I'ma let you finish, but Kanye West is one of the biggest douchebags OF ALL TIME! OF ALL TIME!

With the quote that launched a thousand memes, Kanye solidified his position as the Crown Prince of Douchery by destroying probably the most exciting moment of a young girl’s life (that is, until that young girl went on to win like every single other award of 2009). While he had a point that Beyonce’s video was probably more deserving of a VMA than Taylor Swift’s (if we’re speaking strictly about the video and not the song), his booze-induced improv session made most of America’s youth turn against him, in favor of Team Taylor. He might have destroyed Taylor’s night, but he also unintentionally rallied a huge amount of support in her favor and made himself an enemy to basically all nice people everywhere.

There is a lesson to be learned here: Friends don’t let friends drink an entire handle of whiskey on the red carpet.

Best/Worst of 2009: On the Red Carpet

Best of the Divas

It may be a cop-out, but I had to go with a three-way tie for this one. These three women had fantastic years for their careers, were all nominated for major awards, and all knocked their red carpet looks out of the fucking park. More than just being beautiful at first glance, all of these dresses were incredibly memorable for me.

Anne Hathaway at the Oscars

I loved this the moment she stepped onto the red carpet. She brings such elegance to everything she wears, and this Armani Prive gown was stunning to begin with. The impeccable styling and perfect fit add to Annie’s fabulous and classy runway persona. And the cherry on top is that she looks even better in it than the fucking runway model, even though she’s curvy and not model-thin. That is why Anne is a goddess.

Drew Barrymore at the Grey Gardens premiere

Drew went mega-period piece in this ensemble, and yet it looks event-appropriate instead of costumey. I usually loathe gowns that match the woman’s skin color too closely, but this nude Alberta Ferretti design is breathtaking. The make-up, hair, and accessories are perfect complements, and Drew’s old Hollywood glamour shines bright at the premiere of her crowning achievement in 2009.

Kate Winslet at the SAG Awards

If you lived in Ivory Tower 412 in spring of 2009, you would know that Kate Winslet was our queen. It seemed as though she was winning every award, looking fabulous all over the place, and making us weep with every acceptance speech she gave. She has an uncanny ability to speak in an incredibly humble and thankful way, while dressing like she knows she’s going to win. This Narciso Rodriguez gown is what the red carpet is all about. Flaunting the curves without being slutty, a color that pops, a perfect cut, and a few stunning accessories. This is the dictionary definition of what a winner should wear, and Kate just glows in it.

Worst Singer-Actress Hybrids

Let’s stick with our three-way tie theme, and begin with two hilariously memorable outfits from the same event, by the same designer.

Leighton Meester at the MET Gala

There’s nothing I can say about this except, WHY? The hair is awful, the make-up is clownlike, and the Louis Vuitton costume is beyond insane. To top it all off, her awkward stance and pedosmile make her seem legitimately insane.

Madonna at the MET Gala

Madonna. You’re 51 years old. The dress? Awful. The gloves and peekaboo bra? Seems like you’re trying to relive your youth. The boots? Far too trashy for that event, regardless of your age. The headpiece? I have no words.

Beyonce at the Oscars

I can’t find the name of the designer for this one, which means it was probably designed by Beyonce’s mother, the creator of all her most trashtastic outfits. This is a nightmare. The print is completely out of style, the dress is at least one size too small, and I LOATHE MERMAID GOWNS WITH ALL OF MY SOUL. Why do your calves need so much more room than the rest of your body? Oh, right. They don’t. So STOP IT. The fabric looks cheap and tacky, especially at the bottom. And it does not flatter her curves at all. She just looks like a large, uncomfortable couch. Beyonce, I deplore you: Find new gays, because the ones styling you now clearly hate you.

Best/Worst of 2009: On the Catwalk

Here’s what I loved and loathed on the runway this year.

Best of the Runway

Christian Siriano, by far the most successful winner of Project Runway to date, gave quite a show in his Spring 2010 collection. My favorite thing about Christian as a designer is that he is a showman, but unlike most fashion designers, he makes the drama all about the clothes.

Christian Siriano, Spring 2010

He nailed the look from head to toe: shoes that complement the look perfectly without seeming matchy-matchy, low-key hair and makeup, a perfectly fit dress that’s incredibly body-conscious, impeccable draping and a truly beautiful print.

Other designers try to shock you into paying attention to them with moth-eaten ball gowns, outfits made for rich aliens, or enough whimsy to make you gag. This isn’t to say that those kind of over-the-top designers are untalented; on the contrary, they are incredibly innovative and creative artists. But what I personally love about runway fashion is when the designers don’t just let themselves run amok. The true challenge comes when designers force themselves to create ready-to-wear looks, and don’t use smoke and mirrors to distract from their clothes. Christian nails that challenge, and that is why he is an amazing designer.

Worst of the Runway

Hands down, the Lindsay Lohan-led Emanuel Ungaro Spring 2010 line was the biggest hot mess to hit the runway this year. I actually had to choose between several different atrocious outfits from that line, as there were so many that made me question Lindsay Lohan’s judgment more than I already did.

Emanuel Ungaro, Spring 2010

My thoughts in a nutshell:

  • A tacky, unflattering strapless bra is not a shirt.
  • The colors are nauseating together, and not in an interesting way.
  • High-waisted genie pants. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that one.
  • Adding an ill-fitting bolero jacket does not elevate your look. It just makes it more depressing.

The collection was doomed from the start, and under serious scrutiny because of Lindsay Lohan’s relationship to it. But there’s no excuse for putting this kind of bullshit on the runway. It’s an insult to Fashion Week.

Tune in tomorrow for more best/worst of 2009.

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