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Get Out Of My Hair: What Beyoncé’s New Bangs Taught Me About Society

Published October 21, 2014 by The Feminist

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I’ve got a question for you, dear readers. What was last week’s most talked about topic? You’re probably thinking  “Ebola” or maybe “ISIS attack on Kobani”.

It does seem rather logical to pick one of these topics, doesn’t it?

Well, dear readers, you are wrong. The most talked about topic was Beyoncé’s new haircut.

And more precisely, the fact that it may be – in some people’s opinion- the worst haircut choice she has ever made.

Beyoncé’s new bangs led to a complete meltdown of the internet and  –more worryingly- the often ruthless comments that soon followed on Twitter went viral and the many insults (or as the Tweeples would call it: “funny remarks”) spread like wildfire. It was the biggest news event of the week, which is ironic since there are probably more troublesome things to worry about, definitely in a context of things going “viral” and “spreading like wildfire”. (Yes, I’m referring to the dramatic toll Ebola has already taken on Western Africa, but hey, you Tweeples were probably too busy tweeting about hair to be concerned about something like that.)

However, apart from the very annoying fact that something as random as Beyoncé’s new haircut was more important than a deadly epidemic, the news about Beyoncé’s bangs also worried me because it showcased how society refuses to let people change.

From the moment someone decides to change their looks, he or she (but in this case –feminist alert!- it’s almost always she) is greeted by other people’s often unwanted opinions. Beyoncé got bangs. So what? If Beyoncé wants to get a new haircut, she can f***ing get a new haircut. No need to go all crazy about it. Beyoncé demonstrated a great sense of fashion. Beyoncé showed balls. Beyoncé was brave. Something many of the people who were dissing her are too regressive and bigoted to ever be.

As you may have guessed from the tone of this post, this is a very personal topic to me. I still remember all the comments –before and after- I decided to cut off all my long hair and go for a pixie cut. I still remember all the remarks when I dyed my hair red.

Seriously. What is their problem? If I want to dye my hair, I will dye my hair. I don’t need your opinion. It is my hair. Mine. Not yours. So stay the hell out of it.

So after seeing Beyoncé being attacked all over the internet last week, I could only think of one thing: Thank God I’m not famous. If even I get judged by people sometimes when I decide to dye my hair in a colour that is not to their liking, I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like if I were famous. Every time I would get a new haircut (which is rather often in my case), the press and the public would be on me like a naked Miley Cyrus on her wrecking ball!

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It is just a sad, sad thing. And unfortunately, Beyoncé wasn’t the first celebrity to get the full “Twitter treatment”. Remember when Miley Cyrus cut her hair? Or when Anne Hathaway dyed hers blonde? Yes, even when Michelle Obama got bangs one week before the inauguration of her husband, there was so much buzz going on all over the internet about her hair and whether or not it suited her, that for a moment her hairdo threatened to outshine the President’s inauguration. So she swiftly tried to tone down the comments by stating that her new bangs might be one of the first signs of her midlife crisis. Has it really come to that? That we have to justify our own hair  choices by blaming it on hormonal imbalances? Seriously, people??? Seriously?

Women, famous or not, constantly get judged by others based on how they look or how they dress. We have become so aware of all the scrutiny that many of us have become afraid to ever change the way they look, even if they really want to. We are afraid to take risks. Not because of how it may turn out, but because of how people will react to you changing. What will they think of me? Will they like the new me?

People who do dare to take the leap and change the way they look, whether that is by cutting or dying their hair or by embracing their own unique sense of style, are often frowned upon. Twitter may seem like a very modern and progressive thing, but when it comes to the people using it, it just goes to show how traditional and change-averse the medium really is.

We should be able to wear whatever we want. We should be able to do with our hair whatever the fuck we want. Your hair, your choice. No matter what all the Tweeples say. Remember: if Beyoncé is brave enough to do it. So are you .

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About Feminism, George Clooney and Incompetent Newspapers

Published October 5, 2014 by The Feminist

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Imagine you are sitting at the table, enjoying your breakfast with a nice cup of strong coffee and some incredible sourdough bread with marmalade, until you suddenly realize that your very own opinion letter got published in that morning’s newspaper.

Your initial reaction: Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God! I’m in the newspaper!

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Your second reaction once you’ve read through your letter and notice that they have LEFT OUT half of it and just printed some vague resemblance to what originally was one hell of an opinion piece:

*&%?*#£}**$&%%$*** (The profanity that come out of my mouth is not suitable for publication)

Yes, that is what I experienced yesterday. There I was, first over the moon with delight that the paper thought my opinion letter was good enough for print, until I realized that they had cut out the most brilliant *coughs modestly* sentences and paragraphs. Admittedly, it might have been a bit too long and it is not like they started altering or re-writing my own sentences (thank God for that!), but for someone with a degree in Languages, who loves spending hours searching for exactly the right wordplay, expressions and linguistic examples of pure beauty, it is incredibly frustrating when they leave out exactly that.

It felt as if they had cut out my core identity. Sure, the message still remains, but what’s the point of writing an opinion piece if you can’t even add some linguistic frivolity?

So out of utter frustration that said newspaper (out of respect, I will not mention which paper)did not publish all of it, I decided to quickly translate it into English and share it with all y’all. (Because at least you guys appreciate my linguistic pompousness!)

So here it is:

#Feminism is more than just a few hashtags

Feminism seems to be everywhere. Emma Watson talks about it. Sheryl Sandberg writes about it. Beyoncé sings about it. Even Karl Lagerfeld – but you can call him Kaiser Karl  – sends his models onto the runway with feminist banners. Conclusion? Feminism had become a fashion trend. At least, that was the conclusion newspaper X made in one of its editorials yesterday. As much as I would love to disagree with the author, reality forces me to concur with his views. To put it in fashion terms, feminism is like an It-bag: fun for one season, but after a while you just get sick of it, throw it onto a pile of unattractive stuff to be ignored for the rest of its sad closet life.

Because the fashion and showbizz industry are trying so hard to lay claim on the entire concept of feminism, the problem of gender inequality is slowly losing its credibility. Didn’t Lagerfeld once open a Twitter account for his own spoiled cat? And didn’t Beyoncé go on tour as “Mrs. Carter”? If the former believes that even his cat has something interesting to share with the public, and if the latter decided to tour the world with a name that more resembles a submissive suburban housewife from the fifties than a modern-day feminist, their call for more women’s rights sounds rather laughable.

However, gender inequality is anything but a joke. Yes, even in Belgium. Marianne Thyssen (a Belgian female politician) may have been appointed as euro commissioner, the amount of women in top corporate jobs remains alarmingly low. And even if they do manage to break through the glass ceiling, they are still often judged on their appearance, rather than their intellectual capacities. Belgium is definitely not the only country that is lagging behind, every Western country still has quite a long way to go.

The perfect way to illustrate this Western hypocrisy towards women’s rights, is to look at George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s wedding from last weekend. The wedding of Hollywood’s most obstinate bachelor was all over the news, but what I found all the more striking was how one-dimensional the media reported about the event. One of the only articles that reported about the wedding from a totally different perspective was the internet website thebusinesswomanmedia.com, which topped their article with the following head: “ Internationally acclaimed barrister Amal Alamuddin marries an actor”

Somehow, that just made me giggle. But what was I giggling at? Why is this head so funny? Isn’t the article just stating the truth? The fact that the article’s head was generally seen as an example of the site’s great sense of humor clearly indicates once again how problematic the issue of gender inequality still is. Every single media outlet most of the time talked about Clooney. Of course, the guy is super famous, so in a way it is only “natural” for the media to spend a lot of time covering a superstar, but why is it also “natural” to describe Alamuddin as a “beautiful humanist”, whilst there are plenty of other character traits about her that are probably more interesting? But no, apparently the only newsworthy thing was the fact that she wore an Oscar de la Renta wedding dress.

I’m to blame as well. Because even I, a self-proclaimed modern feminist, felt a slight hint of jealousy when I saw her fabulous, sun-kissed, reaching-into-the-sky legs. Whereas her fabulous brain should have aroused as much –or even greater- jealousy than her looks. The problem, hence, does not only lie with men, but also with us, women. Because we also find it difficult to step away from the rooted assumptions about the relationship between a man and a woman.

To improve this relationship and to –eventually- reach that dreamed state of gender equality, men as much as women need to concern themselves with this problem. “Gender equality is men’s issue too”, said actress Emma Watson in her speech in front of the United Nations. After her eloquent speech, plenty of male actors supported her campaign by tweeting pictures of themselves holding a piece of paper with the message #HeforShe written on it.  Tom Hiddleston, David Tennant, Eddie Redmayne,… their support definitely gives women’s rights more attention, but I am not naïve and I do realize that much more is needed to really bring about change. Change won’t happen with a couple of hashtags on Twitter. Indeed, Watson’s speech may have gone viral on the internet, but immediately after her speech some wacko hacker also threatened to put some nude pictures of her online.

Needless to say, we’ve still got some work to do. People like Beyoncé and Emma Watson may poke us in the right direction, as long as we don’t realize that feminism is more than a high amount of likes on Facebook, #genderequality will always remain nothing more than a trending topic.

Who Run the World? GIRLS!

Published June 5, 2014 by The Feminist

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This week is one full of girl power events. Yesterday there was the Chime For Change party, to celebrate last year’s charity gig that was set up to help empower women all over the world. At the same time as Beyoncé was playing hostess, across the Atlantic they were honoring the most glamourous women at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards.

In short, two events that proved that women are awesome! Let’s own it, ladies!

The Chime For Change party was hosted by Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini, in order to reel in more money to promote education, justice and health for women (hell yeah!). Queen Bey, as a fashionable philanthropist, donated 500,000 dollars (blimey!) and her lil’ sis’ Solange did her thing on the turntables.

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Unfortunately though, the entire purpose of the event got completely overshadowed by our desire to gossip, because it was Beyoncé and Solange’s first public appearance since  the infamous elevator incident at the Met Gala. Yessss, that incident.

Both fabulous ladies had plastered a flawless smile on their faces. Literally everyone was dying to know whether those smiles were genuine or fake. Why wasn’t Jay-Z there? Is she breaking up with Jay-Z? Is she temporarily moving in with Solange? Was the elevator incident just a publicity stunt in order to boost Solange’s popularity? So many questions, so few answers!

Gossip aside for a moment, Beyoncé looked stunning in that white jumpsuit.

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Apparently both sisters thought it might put rumours to rest to opt for similar outfits, because both Beyoncé and Solange went for plunging cleavages.

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Another attendee at the party was Black Lively. Just like Queen Bey and Solange, Blake opted for a daring cleavage but that sexy edge unfortunately isn’t enough to make us forget the downright ugly colour of the dress. I think it is supposed to be mustard yellow… or maybe mustard green?? Anyway,  after seeing that dress, there is only one place where I want to see that colour … on my plate, not on my clothes.

Meanwhile on the other side of the globe, her hubby Ryan Reynolds was present at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards, where he honored Dame Helen Mirren with the prestigious “Icon” award. His introduction was surprisingly good, in contrast to his actual acting (no offence, Ryan). Ryan wittily called her the Dame of Thrones ( thumbs up for the original word play!) and later added “someone we’re absolutely desperate to get drunk with at a party”. (I’ll raise a glass to that!)

However, even though these awards were all supposed to be about Glamour, there was hardly a frock in sight that I actually thought was beautiful. They were all ranging between “meh” and “get that ugly thing out of my sight”, so unfortunately my best dressed list is rather small.

No scratch that.

It is practically non-existent.

From all the women present at the event, there were only two (two!!!!) dresses I actually genuinely liked.

Let’s start with a bang: here is Paloma Faith in a stunning, dramatic see-through gown.

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And then there was Alexa Chung, looking elegant in a simple Dior Couture dress.

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That’s it.

All the other dresses/sacks/giant diapers are not worth mentioning.

Luckily for me, I could drown my fashion sorrow in handsome men, because the dresses may not have been memorable, the hot dudes attending the award show were. Phew!

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David Gandy, as always, looks like a Greek God in a fabulous, expensive-looking suit. Seriously, do you know that brain freeze you get from eating ice-cream? Well, I get that every time I see our dearest David. He is simply too much deliciousness at once to digest.

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Let’s not forget Mr. Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds: dashing as always.

So I guess you could say that the most memorable thing about this women empowerment week were the handsome men.

 Oh, the irony.

Met Gala 2014: Fabulous Dresses and an even more Fabulous Queen Bey

Published May 6, 2014 by The Feminist

It must be awful to be a celebrity in Hollywood if your name is not Beyoncé Knowles. Here you are, at one of the most prestigious fashion events of the year, totally ready to flaunt your elegant dress in front of the paparazzi and with high hopes of landing one of the spots on every blogger’s best dressed–list or even becoming a trending topic on Twitter …and then in comes Queen Bey and ruins it all for you.

Seriously. I feel for the Emmas and Zoes of Tinseltown. Beyoncé’s dress wasn’t even that memorable. Especially not when you consider that this year’s theme was “Charles James: Beyond Fashion”, which meant that the stars could stroll across the red carpet in voluminous puffy gowns without feeling sorry. The theme allowed them to go big, but our dear Beyoncé strangely enough did not do that. She opted for a sheer, sequined black Givenchy dress. It was indeed really pretty… but also really really predictable.

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I can imagine all those female stars secretly cheering and thanking God for Beyoncé’s safe fashion choice…

And then this happened…

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Her dress may not have been big or pompous, but this tiny little moment of spontaneity (that turned out to be a stroke of marketing genius) turned Beyoncé and hubby Jay-Z into the biggest stars of the night. When Bey’s ring slipped off her finger, her knight in shining armour went down on his knees to put it back on her finger. You know what they say:  If you like a thing, you should put a ring on it…

A fake re-proposal in front of the cameras? No matter how big your dress may be, it will never be big enough to top that.

Poor Emmas and Zoes. Look on the bright side, darlings. Benedict Cumberbatch was there and you surely must have seen him in his rather awkward but dashing regal appearance.

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That is something to be grateful for.

Now let’s move forward and give the female stars the proper attention they deserve. Here are my personal favourites.

Suki Waterhouse

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In contrast to Beyoncé, Suki fully embraced the night’s dress code and looked stunning in her poufy yet elegant dress with dark red lipstick. Although I do wonder why she is looking so angry in this picture. She was Bradley Cooper’s date for heaven’s sake! Surely even Beyoncé getting all the attention cannot ruin that?

Zoe Saldana

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One of my personal style icons. Zoe’s Michael Kors dress is perfectly balanced, with a clean and sleek top and an explosion of fabric at the bottom.

Emmy Rossum

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Emmy embraced the floral trend  and went for bold colours in Carolina Herrera.

Now on to a couple of showbizz pairs…

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield

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Don’t they look übercute? I love Andrew’s silver-gray jacket and I am totally obsessed with Emma’s choice of colours. We all know how much I love pink, so this dress is definitely a winner for me.

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds

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Damn it. Don’t you just want to throw something at your screen when you see this picture? I certainly do. These two are just too perfect and yes, in all honesty, it is making me bloody jealous.

Unfortunately though, there were some horrible dresses on the red carpet as well…

Katie Holmes

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What was she thinking? Do you know Penelope Cruz’ character on the last Pirates of the Caribbean film? Well, it looks as if Katie borrowed Cruz’ pirate outfit, turned it into a gown and then fell into a giant tub of mustard.

Lea Michelle

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Please scroll down as fast as you can, because I can assure you that staring at this dress for too long will permanently damage your eyes…

Rita Ora

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The wet hair, that ill fitted golden bustier thingy (whatever that is) and those horrible shoes. Is she auditioning for a B-movie version of Gladiator we don’t know about?

 

Me, Myself and I: 14 songs that say F*** You To Valentine’s Day

Published February 12, 2014 by The Feminist

For some odd reason, most people feel sorry for you when they find out you’ll be single on Valentine’s Day.  I have no idea why. Being single on February 14th is the best thing on this planet.

Think about it: You don’t have to spend money on a new dress. New shoes. New jewelry. You don’t have to shave your legs. You can eat as much garlic bread as you like and you don’t have to torment yourself by either sitting in an overcrowded restaurant for an over-expensive dinner or by pretending you like his home-cooked meal (when in reality chewing on a dry piece of overcooked salmon is giving you anything but a culinary orgasm).

And most of all: You. Don’t. Have. To. Share. The. Bottle. Of. Wine.

Case closed, I would say.

Being single on Valentine’s Day is fucking awesome. And that is why we should celebrate it! Forget all those cheesy romantic love songs! For once, John Legend and his “All Of Me” can go to hell! It is time for some empowering Single-And-Rocking-It music! Whether you have just broken up with your boyfriend, got dumped or just – the audacity!- like being a single independent lady, these are the songs you have to listen to:

I will survive – Gloria Gaynor

Best. Lyrics. Ever.

Just take a shampoo bottle, strip down to your underwear and sing and dance around the living room feeling absolutely marvelous.

Fuck You- CeeLo Green

Technically this song is about a man telling his ex to shove it, but I assume singing the F-word whilst doing some shimmy shimmies will definitely work inspirational for you as well.

Hit the Road Jack- Ray Charles

No better way to get over your ex than by replacing the name Jack with your ex’s name.

Trust me. It’s very therapeutic.

Single- Natasha Bedingfield

“I’m single right now and that is how I want to be.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Follow Natasha’s lead and sing along to your own Declaration of Independence!

So What – Pink

This is by far the most kick-ass break-up song on the planet. The beat is super duper exhilarating, the video is hilarious and the lyrics are spot on:

“I guess I just lost my husband, I don’t know where he went. So I’m gonna drink my money, I’m not gonna pay his rent. I’ve got a brand new attitude and I’m gonna wear it tonight…”

 

 

I Don’t Need a Man – Pussycat Dolls

Boyfriends are totally overrated. We girls can take care of ourselves!

 

 

Marriage Is For Old Folks- Nina Simone

Great words of wisdom : “One married he. One married she. Whaddya got? Two people watching TV.”

Since you’ve been gone – Kelly Clarkson

There is nothing more liberating than singing your lungs out to Kelly Clarkson’s best song ever. Don’t worry about the neighbours and their possible noise complaints. Go for it, girl!

Beyoncé

Beyoncé isn’t just one of the greatest stars of today, she probably has written more women empowerment songs than any other artist before her. Her feminist anthems encourage women to stand up. To be confident. To be themselves. To shine.

Single Ladies

Me, Myself & I

Irreplaceable

Independent women Part 1 – Destiny’s Child

One of the best women empowerment songs in music history, and Beyoncé –again!- had something to do with it.

“If I wanted the watch you’re wearin’, I’ll buy it
The house I live in, I’ve bought it
The car I’m driving, I’ve bought it
I depend on me, I depend on me”

Stronger – Britney Spears

Ah, good ol’ Britney. Back in the day when she still made rather brilliant pop music (don’t deny it, ladies! You all loved Britney in the early 00s!), she released one song that totally makes up for all the shitty songs she’s bombarding us with nowadays. Stronger not only is a great karaoke song, it also celebrates the triumphant victory of a girl getting over her D-Bag boyfriend.

Strong Enough- Cher

It might not be the wisest thing to declare my love for a Cher song on the internet, but just listen to the lyrics!

Don’t pretend you didn’t song along too!

Grammys 2014 Recap: Katy’s Dress, Pharrell’s Hat and Macklemore’s Wedding

Published January 27, 2014 by The Feminist

Contrary to popular opinion, the Grammy Awards are never about the actual Grammys. I’m sure the winners are very happy and all- because they now have something to decorate their mantelpiece with- but apart from them we (aka the public) don’t really give a shit.

The real reason why everyone loves the Grammys is because it is a night full of great performances (Katy Perry burnt at the stake!), great dresses ( Alicia Keys!) and great acceptance speeches (Jay-Z!)

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And this year, it was also about Pharrell’s hat.

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But more on that later.

Let’s start with the red carpet:

Not entirely sure whether Katy Perry’s wedding dress meets Ballerina Tutu is actually flattering, but who the fuck cares! It is a dress printed with music notes! ….MUSIC NOTES!

Katy Perry

Alicia Keys looks stunning in this deep cut, cobalt gown and don’t you just love that hairdo??

Alicia Keys

Taylor Swift has a huge soft spot for sparkly Hollywood glamour dresses. She looks amazing in this glittery Gucci dress, but it is starting to get boring seeing her for the umpteenth time in a different version of the same dress. Don’t be afraid to shake things up from time to time, Miss Swift!

Taylor Swift

Apparently she took my advice too literally and ended up head-banging behind the piano later on that evening.

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Pink totally rocked this coral red Joanna Johansson dress! (Look at the detail on that bustier!)

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Needless to say that she changed into a more comfortable outfit before she went on stage and did all those acrobatic stunts.

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Love the cane. That is practically the only positive thing I can say about Madonna’s Ralph Lauren outfit. I usually love tuxedos on women, but somehow this just all looks too clownesk. What do you think?

Madonna

Most stylish dudes of the evening: Ryan Lewis and Macklemore. They are the living proof that tuxedos don’t have to be boring, if you opt for a bold print (Ryan’s super cool houndstooth print!) or fabric ( Macklemore’s awesome velvet!)

Ryan Lewis, Macklemore

Pharrell Williams was the talk of the town yesterday evening and it surprisingly didn’t have anything to do with his great performance but with his choice of hat. By the end of the night it even had its own Twitter Account!

Pharrell Williams

I thought it looked ridiculous but on the other hand it distracted us from that awful red jacket

Beyoncé reminds us all what Bootylicious is all about.

56th GRAMMY Awards - Press Room

56th GRAMMY Awards - Press Room

Talking about Beyoncé, I think it is about time I start discussing the performances of the night!

Beyoncé and Jay-Z kicked off the show with a smoldering hot performance of Drunk in Love. It started on a black chair and it ended with the two love birds holding hands and dancing together. Beyoncé proved once again that she is the sexiest woman on the planet: her dance routine, her voice and –daaaamnnn-that outfit. I’m sure everyone in the audience wanted to take a shower after their performance. (Beyoncé, on the other hand, apparently had already taken one, because her hair was wet)

John Legend made all our hearts melt… again.

God, Chrissy Teigen truly is the luckiest girl in the world.

Daft Punk performing together with their best pal Pharrell, Nile Rodgers and the one and only Stevie Wonder: it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this was insanely good.

But it wasn’t the best moment.  That moment came when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed their hit Same Love while 33 couples wed live on air. With Queen Latifah officiating. I thought I was going to cry. (Correction: I did cry. )

Kleenex anyone?

The Met Gala 2013: Even better than the Oscars!

Published May 7, 2013 by The Feminist

The Met Gala is by far the most amazing, awesome, extravagant, luxurious fashion event of the year! How could it not be? It is organized by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, so if you want to see some breathtakingly beautiful dresses, the Met Gala is the place to be!
This year’s theme was: “PUNK: Chaos to Couture”. The possibilities are endless, I would say! It’s all about having the balls to wear something creatively insane, and rock it with a giant attitude! 😉
Let’s start with the night’s best-dressed :
Beyonce in Givenchy: hell yeah!

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Anne Hathaway in a stunning Valentino dress! And I give her extra credit for her bold blonde new hairdo!

"PUNK: Chaos To Couture" Costume Institute Gala

Though I’m not a big fan of Nicole Richie’s hair colour, it is definitely punk! And her dress is gorgeous and affordable!! (Thank heavens for Topshop! )

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Not exactly punk, I would say, but breathtaking nonetheless. Jessica Alba in Tory Burch.

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Though I’m not so sure about the bottom part of the dress, Kerry Washington is a vision- as always!- in Vera Wang. By the way, I.WANT.THOSE.LONG.LEATHER.GLOVES! NOW!

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I only have one message for Rose Huntington-Whitely: Give me that dress!

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In one word: WOW! Talking about rocking the red carpet: Blake Lively!

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The best dressed celeb of the evening by far: Sarah Jessica Parker! She looks incredible! (and hurray for head pieces!)

"PUNK: Chaos To Couture" Costume Institute Gala

In the “not so great” category:
Madonna. What was she thinking? Even if your name is Madonna, you cannot wear slutty, punky school girl outfits when you’re over 50. You simply cannot.

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I’m usually a Miley Cyrus fashion fan, but this time I was shaking my head in disapproval when I saw her Marc Jacobs dress.

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Remember when I wrote about the jumpsuit and how much I love it? Well, this is how NOT to wear it, Kristen Stewart!

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No Ashley. NO!

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So who do you think was the best dressed and worst dressed of the evening? 😉