This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

Menu

pop culture

November-December 2021

High School Musical lied to me

A youthful obsession with High School Musical leads to not knowing the truth about North American schools

Zeahaa Rehman

In the summer of 2008, I became obsessed with High School Musical. My family and I were “visiting” my paternal uncle in Canada at the time. I say “visit,” because it was more of a two-month trial for my parents to gauge whether or not they wanted to immigrate here from Lahore, Pakistan. During the […] More »
November-December 2021

The new and not-so-improved Naughty Aughties

Reboots and reunions are re-envisioning early 2000s TV, but the changes they’re making are disappointingly surface-level

Joelle Kidd

Every week, when I was a teenager, I used to squirrel my hand-me-down laptop away to my bedroom and scour the internet’s sketchy streaming sites for the latest episode of Gossip Girl. (I couldn’t watch it on the family TV—after all, it was, per its marketing, “every parent’s nightmare.”) From quippy dialogue, to attempts at […] More »
November-December 2021

Oops! … we did it again

Many are caught up in her legal battles and conservatorship, but more people should be paying attention to Britney Spears’s music

Sydney Urbanek

“Sometimes people’s … personal life becomes bigger than their work,” says pop star Britney Spears at one point during Framing Britney Spears, the New York Times-produced documentary released in February 2021. Though the complaint backgrounds a montage of Spears being chased around by paparazzi in the late 2000s, it may as well have been issued […] More »
November-December 2021

Another dystopia is possible

It’s time for sci-fi to imagine better futures for sex workers

Sid Drmay

I love sci-fi. I have since I was a kid, and I especially love weird cyberpunk movies. Lately, though, the main thing I notice in sci-fi is creators’ inability to envision a world without violence against sex workers. This really hit me watching both the 1982 film Blade Runner and the 2018 Netflix original Altered […] More »
November-December 2021

Crushing stereotypes

Series addresses fetishization of Asian women

Russul Sahib

Growing up as a biracial child, Beige Blum longingly wished to see fictional characters and media personalities that resembled part of her identity. Being of German and Filipino descent, she grew up noticing that Asian characters hardly made an appearance on screen, and if they ever did, they were almost certainly not Southeast Asian. Instead, […] More »
November-December 2021

Inside The Real Housewives’ feminism

The franchise might be known as toxic and trashy, but the reality reveals something different

Sadaf Ahsan

In its 15 years on television, here is a mere sample of the delicious moments Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise has come to be known for: New York housewife Aviva Drescher pulling off her prosthetic leg and throwing it across a room while shouting, “The only thing that is artificial or fake about me is this!”; […] More »
November-December 2021

Dear Alexis Rose

Let’s address your casual racism

Alisha Mughal

Dear Alexis, You once said you escaped a Thai drug lord’s car by bribing him with sex. You said that one of your longest relationships was a three-month affair with a Saudi Prince, but you spent two of these months trying to escape from his palace to an embassy. These are only a couple of […] More »
November-December 2021

Pop culture is political

From our November-December 2021 editor's note

Tara-Michelle Ziniuk

  Things I have been involved with in my life include anti-gentrification activism, a sex worker arts festival, protesting a youth superjail, harm reduction work, community radio, a feminist bookstore, and independent publishing. I’ve also watched 11 years of The Bachelor franchise, likely more than that of The Hills and related shows, and could draw […] More »

The obvious gender bias at play in the media’s coverage of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s deaths

The two died by suicide just days apart, but the coverage of their deaths that followed was stark in its gendered differences

Lisa Whittington-Hill

The new issue of People magazine has both celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade on its cover. Sadly, the magazine is the only weekly tabloid to give both stars the cover treatment, with other magazines featuring only Bourdain. When Spade and Bourdain died by suicide, just days apart, tributes and tweets celebrated the […] More »
November-December 2017

An ode to old technology

In defence of the big-ass cellphone in our pop culture favourites

Lisa Whittington-Hill

Dear pop culture, You know I love you, but you really need to stop making me nostalgic for the technology of days gone by. Please, I beg of you, stop reminding me of the good old days like I am Lindsay Lohan and you are 2004. In Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, Adam Driver’s character Paterson refuses […] More »

Please, stop pitting women in pop culture against each other

The media expects female celebrities to be in constant feuds. Enough is enough

Lisa Whittington-Hill

At this month’s American Music Awards, host and Black-ish actress Tracee Ellis Ross said the 45th annual show would focus on “women who take up space.” The awards featured numerous female performers, including Pink hanging off the side of a building, a 25th anniversary salute to The Bodyguard soundtrack (fun fact: the best-selling soundtrack of […] More »