High School Girl?

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Spoilers ahead, watch the video first ;) 

If you watch the ad again, you can appreciate the quiet subtlety with which it shows its hand: It’s less of a reveal than a call to be more attentive. The opening scene, for example, focuses not on the teacher but on what she is holding: An image of a piece of art depicting a woman. This image is flipped at the end to reflect how easily we can be fooled once we’ve looked at something, decided what it is, and moved on.Here’s the making-of video:

The vast gap between how the US and Europe think about teens & sex

milkboys Articles, Films & Cinema 9 Comments

Eighth Grade is a highly-acclaimed coming-of-age movie about a 13-year-old American girl enduring the trials and tribulations of modern adolescence. But while teenagers in the US might well relate to the movie’s heroine, they won’t be able to see the movie in theaters—unless they’re at least 17 or accompanied by a parent or guardian. That’s because the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave the film an R rating for “language and some sexual material.”

There aren’t many other ratings to compare that against. The movie has only been shown overseas in two countries–the United Kingdom and Canada. But in Canada, Eighth Grade was given a 14A rating, meaning that everyone older than 14 can see it without an adult. Meanwhile, the movie played at the London Sundance film festival, but hasn’t yet been released for commercial viewing in the UK. The British equivalent of the MPAA, the British Board of Film Classification, hasn’t yet rated Eighth Grade, but it’s a good bet that, when it does, the movie will be rated more leniently.

Scene from the Swedish teen film The Ketchup Effect

The discrepancy in Eighth Grade’s Canada and US ratings is symbolic of the difference between the US and the rest of the world, according to the movie’s director Bo Burnham. “There seems to be a strange double-standard between sexuality and violence,” he tells Quartz. “It’s a little weird how much violence you can have in a PG-13 movie.” That’s because, as Charles Bramesco argues in a recent piece for Vox, movie ratings reflect what a culture deems acceptable content for children. And the US and Europe are on very different pages about what they view as child-appropriate.

Read on…

Ryan Beatty writes Pop about Boys

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If we didn’t already know that pop songwriter Ryan Beatty (interview) is “proud to be a raging homosexual” (according to his Instagram), his finally released debut album, Boy in Jeans, would definitely confirm it ;)

Once dubbed “Justin Bieber 2.0″ — probably because he came up on YouTube, looks like a clean-cut twink and has a penchant for modern R&B — the California native is equal parts middle-of-the-road pop tart and hip-hop outlier (he sings the hook on Brockhampton’s Bleach). Though Boy in Jeans has its sights set on the charts, Beatty isn’t afraid to get a little freaky from time to time.

Ryan abandons his prom date to get busy with a guy in Bruise while, pretty much like everybody else, he gets high to Pink Floyd while searching for the dark side of the moon. He likes money and foreign guys (mais oui) on Euro and worries about his reputation throughout the single Camo. And he isn’t coy about sex. God in Jeans celebrates the beauty of his partner and the joys of sleeping “naked with the radio on.”

In other words, it’s business as usual for a young, healthy, hot-blooded American male who just happens to be gay. In a world where Troye Sivan and Years & Years are breaking glass ceilings everywhere, Ryan Beatty is what pops out.

Tender Friends

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What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room, but what happens in the dugout stays on national TV if the camera happens to be pointed that direction.

While battling it out with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves players Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies took a breather off the field, sharing an adorable cuddle and tender head caress.

The clip began to circulate on social media with many users critiquing the “uncomfortable” embrace. The negative feedback prompted a dialogue around toxic masculinity and why some men are unable to express emotions positively and healthily.

Good Job, Good Girls

milkboys Films & Cinema, Television 6 Comments

Izzy Stannard as Sadie in Good Girls

NBC‘s new comedy Good Girls (also available on Netflix) is about three women who, in the midst of financial emergencies, decide to rob a supermarket. The show has its central characters being unwittingly pulled into an even bigger criminal operation. The writing is smart and sharp, funny and a bit dark, and the chemistry between the leads is amazing.

As we are introduced to the characters, we learn that their primary incentive for the crime is supporting their family, more specifically, their children. Annie is the youngest of the trio. She is a single mother, though her ex-husband is very much in the picture, and the primary caregiver to Sadie, her 11-year-old daughter that has begun exploring their gender identity.

And, this might be the most exciting part, Sadie is portrayed by an actor that actually is non-binary himself. A refreshing decision in today’s TV business.

The FostersShamelessBillions, and Madam Secretary are among the shows currently featuring adult non-binary characters. What is unique about Good Girls‘ take, however, is that Sadie, at 11, is still figuring themselves out, and hasn’t expressed whether they identifies as female, male, or otherwise.

While a large part of the show highlights the struggles of everyday life for the main characters, that Sadie is non-binary or potentially trans is not one of Annie’s problems. The fact that Sadie is wearing boy’s clothes or has short hair is irrelevant, and Annie’s dedication to her child is such that she doesn’t miss a beat in completely shutting down her ex-husband’s suggestion to enroll Sadie in Catholic school, or that Sadie should be in therapy, as if there is anything about them that needs to be fixed.

Though Annie is portrayed as being the least responsible one of the Good Girls, it’s refreshing to see her become resourceful when it comes to her child. She enlists a dangerous criminal to go to Sadie’s school in order to scare the living daylights out of her bullies for pulling Sadie’s pants down, where he promptly breaks one of the kids’ fingers (like I said, it’s a little dark). Most of her money goes to hiring an attorney to help with maintaining full custody.

It would have been so easy for Good Girls to have taken the lazy route by making Annie’s dilemma that her kid is being difficult and won’t just put on a dress to make things easier for everyone. Instead, Annie’s distress comes from seeing Sadie navigate childhood, which is often times more cruel than adulthood. Her greatest struggle is making sure she’s doing all the right things to bring up Sadie in a safe space that will allow them to be strong and confident.

If the writers continue their approach in season 2, Sadie’s journey promises to be a satisfying one. Seeing a child who is non-binary on network television not have a completely miserable home life is the future. Let’s have more of that, more happy home life, more of Annie bringing Sadie to expensive stores and having her fitted for awesome suits. More of the Super Mom all kids deserve, when she’s not partaking in clumsy criminal activity.

 

No Love (Like First Love)

milkboys Music, Music & Dance 16 Comments

Nearly eight years ago, a timid 12-year-old walked onto the audition stage of Britain’s Got Talent and stunned the nation by belting out his cover of ‘Feeling Good’. Now 19-years-old, Ronan Parke is back with his comeback single, No Love (Like First Love), and it’s impressive.

The new single has all the hallmarks of a successful release, but no-one saw just how good it would be. The teenager’s voice has matured a lot since his first steps in the industry, but the youthful power is still very much there, and it is glorious in No Love (Like First Love).

Gay Teen gets kicked out by Parents, still finds Success

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For almost all kids the senior year of high school is fraught with stress, obstacles and challenges. But its safe to say most teens don’t have the year Seth Owen just faced: In the middle of his sophomore year in Jacksonville, Florida, his father decided to take an unapproved dive into his son’s cell phone, and in doing so realised Owen was gay.

His Christian parents gave him an ultimatum: submit to so-called “gay-conversion therapy” and attend their anti-queer church or leave the house. Speaking to News4Jax, Owen explained, “They made it clear the intention was to make me straight.”

While he continued to live with his parents, Seth found reasons to stay away from home. From after-school programs to swimming, Owen says he felt like he was “doing something good with the struggle instead of doing something damaging.” When he finally put his foot down about the anti-LGBTQ church, he was forced to move out this past February with no financial or emotional support from his parents.

“I was really, really upset,” Owen shares. “It was extremely hurtful to know that I was walking out that door not knowing what lay ahead and feeling I don’t know how to explain it, it was devastating, absolutely devastating.”

Sleeping on friends couches and holding down jobs to support himself, Owen did what seems almost impossible: he maintained a 4.16 GPA becoming the co-valedictorian of First Coast High School’s class of 2018.

Owen had already been accepted to Georgetown University receiving a $50,000 scholarship. But, the remaining $27,000 of the $77,000 annual tuition was to be covered by his parents. With no support in sight from his parents, one of Owen’s teachers created a crowd funding campaign that received more than twice as much money as needed.

“I don’t think thank you is good enough,” Owen says. “Of course I am extremely grateful, but I think thank you doesn’t say it. Now it’s time to pay it forward.” With an inspiring attitude, Owen says he plans to become a defence attorney for neglected teens who find themselves in situations like his.

Research found that American kids & teens that are queer are twice as likely to face homelessness than straight youth, and those who are homeless are at a significantly higher risk of violence and death compared to straight youth.