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Top 10 Sex and Relationship Tips from The Breakfast Club

March 25, 2014

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Earlier today we imagined a 2014 remake of The Breakfast Club (and, yes, just the thought of this horrifies us, too!). As we took a trip down memory lane, calling up some of our favorite lines from the movie — still verbatim: no wonder we have trouble remembering who’s president of Iraq these days — we realized just how much excellent love and sex advice there is in there.

Here are some of our favorite life lessons culled from the movie:

1. You Don’t Have to Tell Anyone If You’ve Had Sex Yet
And anyone who pressures you into talking about this subject or calls you a tease and/or slut is probably hiding something (or else just an asshole).

2. …And If You Lie About Having Sex, Everyone Will Know You’re Lying
Especially if the object of your cherry-popping conveniently lives in some far-flung vacation destination.

3. “When You Grow Up, Your Heart Dies”
Ah, just kidding. It just feels this way sometimes in high school. And then the popular girl gives you a makeover or the cute jock kisses you and all of a sudden you hear birds singing and you realize that being goth was just a phase you were going through.

4. Taping Someone’s Buns Together Really Hurts
So if you’re thinking of doing this in bed, you better really like pain.

5. Giving Away Your Diamond Earrings Means It’s Love
Because love is stronger than diamonds! And just in case you didn’t get this from The Breakfast Club, then Some Kind of Wonderful hammers the point home, too.

6. Dating a Bad Boy Will Really Piss Off Your Parents
Especially when they find out you gave him your diamond earrings that were a sweet sixteen birthday present!

7. Math and Physics Clubs Are Terrible Places to Find a Date
Sure, they’re sorta social. But they’re demented and sad, too, remember?

8. Stupid Pet Tricks Are for Pets, Not People
Nobody really wants to see you apply lipstick by holding it between your boobs. Or if they do, they’re probably not the person you really wanted to impress.

9. High School Sucks for the Really Cool Kids
We’re pretty sure that dating in high school (or hooking up, or whatever the kids call it these days) is a lot more like the opening of this movie than the close of it. In other words, the chances of you getting stoned with a jock, a nerd, a criminal, a basket case, and a princess — and making out with one of them — are slim to none. But, hey, at least it gets better!

10. You Are Not Your Label
Whether you’re seventeen or seventy, there will always be someone who wants to reduce you to a tag: jock, princess, nerd, mom, feminist, bitch, playa, prude, careerist, leftist, buddhist, whatever. Don’t buy into it! This is the age of Twitter, after all: You can hashtag yourself however (and however many times) you damn well please.

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Re-Casting the Breakfast Club for 2014

March 25, 2014

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Did you know that this week is the thirtieth anniversary of the Saturday detention in the 1985 movie The Breakfast Club? Thirty freakin’ years! Man, we’re old. Not only do we know the entire movie by heart, we could even recite for you the differences between the original theater version and the dubbed-for-TV version (wherein “eat my shorts” became “eat my socks”… which sounds way dirtier, if you ask us).

In honor of this momentous — at least to us — occasion, we decided to imagine who would probably get cast if The Breakfast Club were remade today. Note: We think that remaking this movie would be a terrible thing to do — sacrilegious even. We’ll say that one more time: Hollywood, please don’t do it! Our best guesses at who would probably be cast should tell you why.

The Brain (nee Anthony Michael Hall): Michael Cera
Okay, so of all the possible re-casting decisions that could befall a remake, this one at least has a little potential. Cera could probably pull off the nerdy weirdness of that anecdote about borrowing his cousin’s shoes for a wedding. But deep down, we’d all know that he was really kind of a cool funny dude. Whereas we actually believed that Anthony Michael Hall had worn those creepy borrowed shoes.

 

 

The Athlete (nee Emilio Estevez): Channing Tatum
While we’d love to see Channing Tatum defend wrestling “tights” as the “required uniform,” we’re not sure we buy him having any inner sadness about his jock status. Nope, he seems pretty happy being a jock.

 

 

 

The Basket Case (nee Ally Sheedy): Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart wears a lot of black and she wears sneakers to red carpet events and she chews her hair and she gets vague blank looks during interviews. None of which adds up to interesting or rebellious in our book.

 

 

 

The Princess (nee Molly Ringwald): Selena Gomez
She’s so perky! She’s so pretty! She not-so-secretly loves bad boys (emphasis on the boy, Bieber). But can she do the Molly? Also, Selena is totally not a fat girl’s name.

 

 

 

The Criminal (nee Judd Nelson): Shia LaBeouf
Plagiarism is a crime, okay? And we could kinda see Judd Nelson’s Criminal doing that whole paper bag over the head gimmick. But watching Shia and Selena mash faces in the supply closet just wouldn’t get us all tingly in the right places (we mean our hearts, people) like watching Molly and Judd.

 

 

 

Okay, so we know this was kind of a straw man argument. We created a flimsy cast and then shot it down. But you just know this is what it would look like if the movie actually got remade! If you could remake it with anyone, who would you cast?

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Everyone You’ve Ever Dated, By 2014 Oscar-Nominated Roles

February 28, 2014

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Did you get a weird sense of deja vu while Oscar-cramming all the movies before Sunday’s big awards show? It’s not just because you can chart your dating style based on the Oscar-nominated movies (as we explained last week) — it’s because this year’s crop of best acting nominees, in the lead and supporting roles, somehow manage to represent the archetypes of every person you’ve ever dated. To wit…

The One You Date for Their “Potential”: Christian Bale, American Hustle

On paper, these people are all wrong for you: Maybe they’re already married, for example, or unemployed, or a con artist. But there’s something charming about them — maybe it’s their incongruous body confidence, or their tenderness toward stray animals or children — that takes you off guard, and convinces you that they have the ability to be a great person. While you hang around waiting for this person to change, you find yourself forgiving everything from premature hair loss to infidelity.

The Bad Boy/Unavailable Woman: Leonard DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street

It’s lust at first type with these partners: You find it hard to believe that someone so hot/charming/rich/sought-after would be interested in little old you. As soon as you have sex for the first time — which may or may not be on the first date but, let’s be honest here, probably is — this person becomes a little more distant, a little harder to reach, a little less likely to call, a little more likely to show up drunk or high. You hang in there  – often through bouts of infidelity, emotional abuse, and unreciprocated oral sex — because you want to believe that you are the one to make this bad boy/unavailable woman change their playa ways. See also: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave.

The High School Nerd Who Grew Up Hot: Sandra Bullock, Gravity

If only you’d noticed this person back in high school when there was zero competition and you had no date for prom! If only you’d joined chess club! If only you’d asked for their help on your college application essay! Instead, you track this person down on Facebook, many years later, and try to pretend that you’re more than just a superficial asshole who finds it hard to pay attention to what ugly people are saying. If this is true — hey, maybe you grew up to be a nice person — then this could be The One.

The One You Underestimate Because They’re Less Attractive Than You: Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street

This is the person you treat as Plan B — someone who will always pick up the phone when you call (or when you booty call), who will always be your plus-one when you’re invited to your cousin’s wedding, who will always boost your ego, and who will probably be willing to marry you if you don’t find someone better. You treat them like a back-up plan because they’re less attractive than you, or not as smart, or not as successful, or not as charming. And then they up and surprise you with a makeover/I.P.O./super-hot partner, and you’re left in the dust.

The One You Overestimate Because of Their Accent: Amy Adams, American Hustle

We’re talking to you, Juan Pablo Bachelor contestants! Before you take the relationship any further, ask yourself, would you still sleep date this person if they sounded like the Nanny/Peewee Herman? A sultry accent (even a fake one) can certainly make up for a nose like Gerard Depardieu, or a goiter, but it can’t make up for Tea Party-politics or an inability to ask an intelligent question.

The Hot Mess: Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

When you first meet, you’re incredibly turned on by this person’s brand of crazy, be it addiction or chronic narcissism or rage or stalking. You have wild, unpredictable sex — in public, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the day. You have phone sex and kinky sex and group sex and acrobatic sex. Until, eventually, the sex starts to slow down — to, say, just once a day — and you realize that the craziness outside the bedroom isn’t worth the craziness inside it. See also: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle; Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips.

The Surprise Hit: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

This person woos you with persistence or proximity until you finally give in and go on a date. Or maybe you drunkenly hook up after happy hour drinks and then realize you actually kind of like them. Or a mediocre date ends in mind-blowing sex and suddenly the next date is awesome. This person is not your type, and they don’t check any of your boxes, but somehow, it works. When friends found out you dated this person, they’ll be all like, “You dated them?” and you’ll smile slyly and say, “You have no idea.”

The Secretly Needy One: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

When you first start dating, this person is cool as a summer’s breeze. They’re confident, carefree, independent, and possibly even independently wealthy. But the deeper into the relationship you get, the more you realize that this person is an insecure black hole of neediness (and possibly even broke). Even worse, they resent their own neediness, which leads them to strike out at the people they need the most. You just better hope they don’t threaten suicide or social-media embarrassment when you dump them.

The Intellectual Connection: Judi Dench, Philomena

You make each other laugh, you make each other think, you make each other want to be better people. Unfortunately, however, this person just doesn’t inspire you in the sack. Everyone thinks you’re perfect for each other — especially you parents — and you probably are… if only you could get past that sex thing. Hey, maybe you’ll look each other up again on Facebook when you’re eighty and past caring about sex.

The One with Big Dreams: Bruce Dern, Nebraska

They tell you they want to be president (maybe of the local knitting club, you think). They tell you they want to make movies (but they never do). They talk about how awesome it would be to fly to Paris on a whim (you never go). They show you their poetry and ask if you think it’s good enough for The New Yorker (it never is). They have big hopes and dreams — for life, for love, for your relationship. But somehow, all you get out of the relationship is a beer belly and a commemorative baseball hat (and a sense that the relationship lasted a lot longer than it actually did).

The Delicate Flower: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

If only this person would realize what a catch they are! They’re sweet, smart, and fun to be around… until the sensitivity kicks in. A night in bed frequently ends in hugs and tears and warm cups of tea, while you rub their back and insist they’re good enough for you. Once in a blue moon, these hugs and teas and cups of tea are enough for this person to blossom into a ten-feet-tall sunflower, and you live happily ever after. More often, though, you end up feeling more like a therapist than a lover.

The Right Person, Wrong Time: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Maybe you were too young, or too stupid, or too ambitious, or too into blondes at the time, or too busy being a, you know, slave. Life’s like that sometimes. Fortunately for you, there’s Facebook. The one who got away can still be got back!

The One You Grew Apart From: Julia Roberts, August: Osage County

It was all so right, until it went so wrong. You were the envy of all your couple friends, and you used to look down your noses at couples who needed marriage therapy or spa weekends away from each other or forced date nights. But maybe if you’d allowed yourself a little marriage therapy or a spa weekend away from each other, or a cornball “date night,” you’d still be together. Or maybe you still would have slept with your executive assistant/tennis coach, who knows?

The One with the Bad Perm: Bradley Cooper, American Hustle

Everything about this relationship is perfect, except for their bad perm. Or maybe it’s their refusal to pluck their eyebrows. Or their inattention to pubic grooming. Or their preference for pleated khakis over flat-front pants. Or their goatee. If you can suck it up and move on from this trivial detail, you may well live happily ever after. But, more likely, you’ll obsess over this one thing until it snowballs into a serious relationship deal-breaker. Too bad.

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Your Dating Style, According to 2014′s Oscar-Nominated Movies

February 25, 2014

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Last week we dished up sex and dating wisdom from Matthew McConaughey, according to the various characters he’s played over the years — from Dazed and Confused all the way through to True Detective. This week we’re going to let you figure out your love/sex/dating style, according to which is your favorite Oscar-nominated movie of the list below…

American Hustle

You like kinky power play and roleplaying (especially with wigs). And you approve of mind games, both in and out of the bedroom.

We fight and then we fuck, that’s our thing. – Rosalyn Rosenfeld

You’re nothing to me until you’re everything. — Sydney Prosser

She was the Picasso of passive-aggressive karate. — Irving Rosenfeld

 

 

Captain Phillips

You think that communication is the cornerstone of all good relationships, and you won’t give up until you’ve perfected this. You play by the rules, because that’s how good relationships prosper.

The problem is not me talking. The problem is you not listening. — Captain Phillips

I came too far, I can’t give up. — Muse

I got bosses. They got rules. — Muse

We all got bosses. — Captain Phillips

 

 

August, Osage County

You like to talk dirty, and you like to fight dirty, too. You’ll hang in there until the bitter end, even if it kills you.

Eat the fish, Bitch! — Barbara Weston

Oh… oh… I got a big bite of fear! And it never tasted so good! — Charlie Aiken

My wife takes pills, and I drink. That’s the little deal we’ve struck, a little paragraph in our marriage contract. — Beverly Weston

Barbara Weston: Marriage is hard.
Karen Weston: That’s one thing about mom and dad. You gotta tip your hat to anybody who can stay married that long.
Ivy Weston: Karen, he killed himself.

 

The Wolf of Wall Street

Sex and love — it’s all just mergers and acquisitions to you. Which means you want more-more-more of everything… and you’ll screw over what really matters to you in the process of acquiring more and merging more.

Jordan Belfort: [holding his child] Does Daddy get a kiss from both of his little girls?
Naomi Lapaglia: Oh, no. No, Daddy doesn’t even get to touch Mommy for a very, very… very long time.
Jordan Belfort: Daddy’s really sorry about what he said in the other room, he didn’t mean any of it!
Naomi Lapaglia: Daddy shouldn’t waste his time. And from now on… it’s gonna be nothing but short, short skirts around the house. And you know something else, Daddy? Mommy is just so sick and tired of wearing panties.
Jordan Belfort: Yeah?
Naomi Lapaglia: Yeah.
Naomi Lapaglia: [pushes him away with her legs] But no touching.
Jordan Belfort: Oh, god.

 

Gravity

You like long walks in space, lots of extended, meaningful eye contact, and deep conversations about What It All Means. You like your personal space, but you also like being tethered to someone… it makes the abysss that much more bearable, no?

Matt Kowalski: So, what do you like about being up here?
Ryan Stone: The silence.

 

 

Her

Who really knows what it all means? Who really knows what love is? Who really knows if this post even exists? In that case… screw it! You do what you want, screw who you want, love who you want.

I think anybody who falls in love is a freak. It’s a crazy thing to do. It’s kind of like a form of socially acceptable insanity. — Amy

I wanted somebody to fuck me. I want somebody to want me to fuck them. Maybe that would have filled this tiny little hole in my heart, but probably not. — Theodore

Sometimes I think I have felt everything I’m ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I’m not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I’ve already felt. — Theodore

The past is just a story we tell ourselves. — Samantha

We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy. — Amy

The heart is not like a box that gets filled up; it expands in size the more you love. I’m different from you. This doesn’t make me love you any less. It actually makes me love even more. — Samantha

We spend a third of our lives asleep, and maybe that’s the time when we feel the most free. — Amy

 

Frozen

You’re a commitment-phobe who thinks that holding onto your independence is the best way to protect yourself from heartbreak. The problem with this approach is, you never get any practice at serious, long-term relationships, so when The One (or someone you think is The One) comes along, you might leap into a forever commitment without really thinking things through.

Anna: Why do you shut me out? Why do you shut the world out? What are you so afraid of?
Elsa: I said enough!
[In her fury, she conjures up an icicle wall around herself.

Anna: But I want to help!
Kristoff: No! I don’t trust your judgement!
Anna: Excuse me?
Kristoff: Who marries a man they just met?
Anna: It’s true love!

 

Before Midnight

You need to learn to appreciate comfortable silence in a long-term relationship. Just because you don’t have a fresh witty anecdote to share with your partner every minute of every day, doesn’t mean the “magic” has gone. In fact, you should consider it one of the benefits of long-term commitment, that you don’t have to perform constantly. Sometimes it’s okay to just be.

Jesse: You’re just like the little girls and everybody else. You wanna live inside some fairy tale. I’m just trying to make things better. I tell you that I love you unconditionally, I tell you that you’re beautiful, I tell you that your ass looks great when you’re 80. I try to make you laugh.
Celine: Okay.
Jesse: All right, I put up with plenty of your shit. And if you think I’m just some dog who’s gonna keep coming back, then you’re wrong. But if you want true love, then this is it. This is real life. It’s not perfect, but it’s real. And if you can’t see it, then you’re blind, all right, and I give up.

 

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Sex and Dating Advice from Matthew McConaughey

February 21, 2014

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about how Matthew McConaughey has reinvented himself as a Serious Actor, launching himself out of the chick flick ghetto (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past et al) and into Oscar-nominated territory with Important Movies like Dallas Buyers’ Club. But what we want to know is, how has his characters’ approach to love and sex changed over the years, and over the movies?

Turns out, it’s not just McConaughey’s Rust Cohle in HBO’s True Detective who has a bit of a philosophical bent. It was there from the start — it’s just been honed over the years, you might say. So here is a chronological timeline of McConaughey’s advice on love and sex over the years, according to his characters.

 

1993: Dazed and Confused

“Man, it’s the same bullshit they tried to pull in my day. If it ain’t that piece of paper, there’s some other choice they’re gonna try and make for you. You gotta do what Randall Pink Floyd wants to do man. Let me tell you this, the older you do get the more rules they’re gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N. ”

“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”

 

1997: Contact

“Is the world fundamentally a better place because of science and technology? We shop at home, we surf the Web… at the same time, we feel emptier, lonelier and more cut off from each other than at any other time in human history.”

 

2001: The Wedding Planner

“[My fiance] is great. But… what if what I think is great really is great, but not as great as something greater?”

 

 

 

 

2003: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

“Andie: True or False: All’s fair in love and war.
Ben: True.
Andie: Great answer.
Ben: Good question!”

“Andie: Does Princess Sophia want to come out and play?
Ben: Who’s Princess Sophia?
[Andie points at his crotch]
Andie: Little, big, little, big… I don’t know… we will find out!
Ben: You can’t name my member… Princess Sophia.
Andie: Yes, I can!
Ben: If you are gonna name my… member, you have to name it something hyper masculine. Something like Spike, or Butch, or Krull the Warrior King!”

“Guys, a woman’s purse, alright, it’s her secret source of power. Alright? There are many dark and dangerous things in there, that we, the male species, should know nothing about.”

2006: Failure to Launch

“I’m not afraid of love. I love love. Look, I’ve had a lot of girlfriends, right? And sometimes I’m the rebound guy. Other times, when I get lucky, I’m the “explore new areas of your sexuality” guy. But every single time, we have fun. Thank you. I have fun, they have fun. It’s good for me, it’s good for them. And I would argue that it’s damn good for civilization as a whole.”

[You're going to let her walk away?] “I’m giving her space, Mr. Axelrod. Now, I’m going after her.”

 

2009: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

“Someone once told me that the power in all relationships lies with whoever cares less, and he was right. But power isn’t happiness, and I think that maybe happiness comes from caring more about people rather than less.”

“Get over [him cheating on you]. It was years ago! With some slutty friend of yours! A friend, incidentally, that you’re not even mad at. And you know why? Because you don’t actually care. You love Paul so much you forgave him the second you heard, and that’s what scares you.”

“I’ve been in your shoes. You know what? It scared the hell out of me too. What if she hurt me? What if she left me? What if she died? It would have been the end of me. So I cut it short, before she ever could. And you know what? It was the biggest mistake I ever made. And you’re making the same mistake right now, and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to sit by and watch. You’ve got to risk love, Sandra! I didn’t and look at me! I’m a lonely ghost of a man. It doesn’t mean that you’re never going to get hurt, but the pain you feel will never compare to the regret that comes from walking away from love. And from someone who’s felt a lot of both, trust me, regret beats pain every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Don’t run away. Don’t do it… Now. Do you still want to get married?”

“When did casual sex become a crime? Really? I mean, now a days being a single means, what? You’ve lost your way? That something is missing? Never mind that every night I swim in a lake of sex, and they fall asleep in each others arms, spooning.” [Spooning is nice.] ”Yeah, not as nice as forking.”

2012: Magic Mike

“You are the husband they never had! You are that dreamboat guy that never came along!”

 

 

 

 

2012: Mud

“People just sometimes forget why they fell in love in the first place.”

“Don’t judge your life on all of our mistakes.You’ll make plenty mistakes of your own, no need takin’ on everybody else’s.”

 

 

 

2013: The Wolf of Wall Street

“You gotta stay relaxed. Do you jerk off?” [Uh, I don't know, like two, three times a week?] “Okay, you’re going to want to raise those numbers. You’re in the fucking minor leagues. Me, I jack it twelve to fifteen times a week. Twice a day. Once in the morning after I work out, once after lunch. If you don’t do it, the stress of this job, it’ll make you explode. Or worse, you’ll implode. You don’t wanna implode. … I want to jerk off, but that’s not why I do it. I do it because I need to.”

 

 

2013: Dallas Buyers Club

“Watch what you eat and who you eat.”

 

 

 

 

 

2014: True Detective

[Can you imagine if people didn't believe? All the things they'd get up to?] “Exact same thing they do now, just out in the open.” [past]

“I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law. We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self; an accretion of sensory, experience and feeling, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody is nobody. Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.” [present]

 

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10 Problems with the Sex Scenes in “Captain Phillips”

February 6, 2014

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1. We know that when a movie is literally swimming in strong female roles, it’s tempting to include gratuitous lesbian sex scenes, but we simply didn’t feel they added much to the story.

2. Okay, okay, we get it. Sailors stranded at sea masturbate. A lot. But did we really need the close-up on that industrial-sized vat of lube shared by the crew?

3. We read Captain Phillips’ memoir, and we’re fairly sure that he didn’t, in fact, secure his release from the pirates by trading in sexual favors.

4. Yes, everybody loves tight white sailor pants, but we think that tight white sailor hot-pants was a step too far.

5. What happened to the Navy SEAL striptease?! We were told there would be a Navy SEAL striptease.

6. Sorry, but we simply don’t buy that a seasoned, responsible, safety-conscious man like Captain Phillips would choose to indulge in kinky sex without a safeword.

7. For any viewers who may take this movie at its word: No, dunking your dong in seawater immediately after sex does not protect you from STDs.

8. Tom Hanks used a prosthetic penis for this role?! WTF!

9. We love the idea of dirty-talking pirates roaming the seas with their two-way radios, but we’re not convinced that pirates, even the Somali kind, would use the term “throbbing python of love.” Something maritime-themed, perhaps, like “deep-V diver,” would have been less likely to take us out of the moment.

10. Why does Hollywood feel the need to sexualize every single story it takes to the screen? If any movie needed more sex this year, it was The Wolf of Wall Street. Leave poor Captain Phillips alone.

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New Movie Encourages Open Discussion of Pregnancy & Infant Loss

February 5, 2014

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There’s a new movie set to come out in 2014 starring Minnie Driver called “Return to Zero,” about a successful couple who lose their first child in utero. Its award-winning writer/producer/director, Sean Hanish, has teamed up with ReconceivingLoss.com to help break the silence surrounding the topic, calling for submissions of stories, essays, poems and other artistic expressions about this type of loss for a digital archive intended to help foster healing, with the best being featured in the Return to Zero Story Archive here.

According to the press release, it is estimated that 25% of pregnancies result in loss annually; in the United States, the number of stillborn babies, estimated at 36,000, is equivalent to the number of automobile-related fatalities each year. If you’ve been affected by these numbers in some way, you can submit your story for consideration in the Return to Zero Story Archive here. Below are three short excerpts from featured selections in this Story Archive:

Miscarriage lays an odd kind of grief on the table. My body, once buzzing with hormones that announced an undeniable presence, now echoes like an empty mausoleum. One moment I was pregnant with the future, the next moment that future disappeared in the shades of gray image on the doctor’s sonogram screen.
– from Cheryl Dumesnil’s ReconceivingLoss.com submission “Ex Utero, A Post Partum Notebook

That’s what still trips me up: I learned to be thankful because I lost Liam. I don’t have the regret of not having taken advantage of our time when he was in utero. That regret would kill me, but I only have this appreciation because I don’t have Liam. I don’t want this lesson. I want one moment with my son. I want to know the color of Liam’s eyes.
– from Nancy Mendez-Booth’s post “With Deepest Gratitude

I cannot shake the sense that someone existed, something beyond myself, beyond my hopes and fantasies, even if it was just the slightest phantom of a person, a shadow of a ghost. He has a name, he has a grave. We saw his face. These things were real. He has left his trace on me, like a fossil embedded in my flesh. He never existed – but he still exists. I have nothing to remember, and yet I can’t forget.
– from Michael Ravitch’s submission “The Neverknown

Learn more about the project, share a story, or read other’s stories, including New Yorker contributor Daniel Raeburn’s essay on writing as therapy, at ReconceivingLoss.com.

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10 Thoughts on The Wolf of Wall Street

January 28, 2014

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photo via IMDB

1. Not since Requiem for a Dream have drugs looked so unfun.

2. This was billed as a black comedy. Which part was supposed to be funny, again?

3. Okay, so the part where Jonah Hill whips out his (prosthetic) dong in the middle of a party and starts jacking off to a female guest was kind of funny, but only because we think that Jonah Hill is the kind of guy who would never do something like this, which means it’s kind of funny to think of him filming the scene with a straight face. (Alright, alright, the scene where a stockbroker makes fun of Steve Madden shoes is kind of funny, too.)

4. We don’t have the same warm fuzzy feelings about Leonardo DiCaprio and the ladies, which makes his performance extra, er, convincing (you’re totally right: we mean extra icky).

5. Apparently, back in the ’80s, pro dommes didn’t take safewords seriously.

6. “Wolfie” is a terrible safeword.

7. The scenes of DiCaprio and Hill doing drugs together are a hell of a lot more intimate than any of the sex scenes.

8. If you’re whacked out on quaaludes, cocaine can instantly transform you into the kind of hero who saves his buddy’s life via mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (see #7, above). Just like Popeye’s spinach!

9. STDs used to be a lot funnier.

10. Not since The Accused has sex looked so unfun.

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Which Disney Princess Are You? (Em & Lo Style)

January 27, 2014

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Results from the Zimbio quiz “Which Disney Princess Are You?” have been popping up in our Facebook feed this week. Most of them are as saccharine and subtly sexist as the Disney movies themselves:

They’re just begging for a more honest edit, with a little tough love thrown in — one that reflects the disturbing messages about gender roles, romantic relationships and beauty often perpetuated by the Disney Princess Industrial Complex. Feel free to forward the following to any one of your friends who’s taken the quiz so they can read their real results:

 

 

 

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Do Naked Images Always Lead to Objectification?

December 4, 2013

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The stars and director of Blue Is the Warmest Color; photo via IMDB.com

A lot of the commentary about the new film Blue Is the Warmest Color — in particular, its steamy lesbian sex scenes — has focused on the issue of objectification. The director of the movie is male, and many reviewers — both male and female, it should be noted — have questioned his male gaze. Some people question whether it’s even possible for a man to film two women making love without objectifying them.

Well, what does it actually mean to objectify women? Literally, the objectifier (usually a man) sees the object of his desire (usually a woman) as a thing rather than a person — a thing without feelings, experience, thoughts, or autonomy. But do naked images, whether still or moving, automatically lead to objectification? Some scientists decided to take to the lab and find out.

As reported in the New York Times, some studies have found that when we view people’s bodies, as opposed to their faces, we judge them as “less intelligent, less ambitious, less competent and less likable.” One neuroimaging experiment found that, “for men, viewing pictures of sexualized women induced lowered activity in brain regions associated with thinking about other people’s minds.” (That said, we’re always a little wary of findings based purely on neuroimaging — the results are often more complicated and ambiguous than the resulting headlines would have you think.)

Anyway, scientists across multiple fields have confirmed this finding: Many psychologists, for example, agree that viewing someone as a body strips away their personhood. “Even if you are a staunch science-minded atheist,” writes psychologist Paul Bloom in the Times article, “in everyday life you still think of people as immaterial conscious beings — we inhabit fleshy bodies, but we are not ourselves physical.”

But. But. There’s another side to the story, according to Bloom. Objectification implies that the objects in question lose their uniquely human traits, but recent research by Bloom found that this doesn’t necessarily happen with naked images. For his study, Bloom used a book by the photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders (we remember his work well from our Nerve.com days) called XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits. The book features two side-by-side photographs of each pornstar, identical in all aspects (posture, expression, lighting, etc.) except that in one photograph the person is fully dressed, and in the other, naked. In other words, perfect for studying how we judge people with and without their clothes.

As expected, when participants in the study were shown the pictures, the naked people were seen as having less agency. But, writes Bloom, “they were also thought of as being enhanced experiencers, capable of stronger feelings and greater emotional responses.” In other words, kind of, er, human. Even more human, in certain aspects, than their clothed counterparts.

In a related study that Bloom organized, participants who were asked to give people electric shocks gave milder shocks to subjects who were partially clad vs full dressed. “Presumably,” Bloom writers, “because the flash of skin makes us more sensitive to others as experiencing beings.”

It’s not like anyone is saying (not yet, at least!) that viewing porn or naked images can make empaths out of men, but it does seem fair to say that the topic of objectification is a lot more nuanced and complicated than some of the “male gaze” theorists allow. (Of course, if there were an equally represented “female gaze” in pop culture, then we might not even feel the need for the debate to begin with.)

So if you’re looking for an excuse to see Blue Is the Warmest Color without beating yourself up about all of the alleged objectification going on, this may just be it. And just maybe you’ll find yourself musing, as you reach for another handful of popcorn, “How do these women really feel?”

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