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artist audrey wollen on the power of sadness

Culture
Photo via @audreywollen Instagram

sad girl theory, explained

L.A.-based artist Audrey Wollen made a digital splash last year with her Sad Girl Theory, the idea she proliferated across social media and in interviews that female sadness and self-loathing is not a singular experience to be ashamed of, but actually a form of empowerment that can ultimately unite women. Using Instagram as her primary platform, the ethereal, red-haired beauty transformed her feed into her very own art gallery, where she is the main attraction. Its provocative and enthralling mix of self-portrait selfies, where Wollen often objectifies her own body, inserts herself into famous paintings, and makes statements about her very particular worldview. We caught up with the fiercly intelligent and highly articulate CalArts student to find out more about Sad Girl Theory, her nuanced relationship with the Internet, and how she plans on spending the rest of the summer. 

How would you describe your artistic aesthetic?
I don’t know if my aesthetic is particular to my artistic practice or just a general methodology for existing or surviving—a way of thinking about “looking” that helps me continue this wavering project of “being”—but my summer aesthetic is currently in transition from “school girl Anime princess in Manchester, UK, 1988” to “18th-Century prostitute discovers Bjork CD on syphilis deathbed.”

What are you currently working on?
I’m writing a book. At least, I’m saying I’m writing a book to justify how much time I’m spending alone in my room freaking out about words. If you’re freaking out about words, say you’re writing a book. If you’re freaking out about colors existing, say you’re making abstract paintings, you know? I count freaking out as a kind of work, so right now, I’m freaking out about girls, our histories and our futures, words, and how they change what girls are, our histories and our futures, bodies, and how they change words, and how they change what girls are, etc, etc.  

How would you describe Sad Girl Theory?
Sad Girl Theory is the proposal that the sadness of girls should be witnessed and re-historicized as an act of resistance, of political protest. Basically, girls being sad has been categorized as this act of passivity, and therefore, discounted from the history of activism. I’m trying to open up the idea that protest doesn’t have to be external to the body; it doesn’t have to be a huge march in the streets, noise, violence, or rupture. There’s a long history of girls who have used their own anguish, their own suffering, as tools for resistance and political agency. Girls’ sadness isn’t quiet, weak, shameful, or dumb: It is active, autonomous, and articulate. It’s a way of fighting back.

Who are your favorite "sad girls?"
Every day, I find new ones or reconsider old icons. I have my familiar classics: Judy Garland, Sylvia Plath, Ana Mendieta, Lana Del Rey. And my new obsessions—right now, I’m really into Little Edie from Grey Gardens, Edie Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Eve herself, as in, Adam and.

What is the importance of sad girls and what is the importance of acknowledging sad girls?
I think it’s important to look very hard at anything that mass culture wants to stay invisible. Sad girls have been kept invisible for literally thousands of years. The number-one cause of death globally for girls between 15 to 19 is suicide, and yet, we still tell every girl that her sadness is individual, her own failure, her own symptom, and to keep quiet about it. Suffer alone. It’s often dismissed as teenage angst, or some narcissistic panic. Instead of trying to paint a gloss of positivity over girlhood, instead of forcing optimism and self-love down our throats, sticking a Band-Aid on this gaping wound, I think feminism should acknowledge that being a girl in this world is really hard, one of the hardest things there is, and that our sadness is actually a very appropriate and informed reaction.

How has Instagram worked for you as a platform? What do you like about it?
I started putting my work on Instagram at first simply because it was available. It’s a free and easy way to show people images that you have made. But I very quickly realized that Instagram gave a lot of young girls a way to control how they represented themselves, to play with their own performance, to construct an identity, alternate identities, and then tear down everything they had just built with a click. I like the little territories of female image-making that popped up: Sometimes they honestly feel like actual neighborhoods or camp grounds, a corner of digital space that girls managed to claim as their own. Plus, I kinda like that Instagram has boundaries that we can push up against. It’s not a utopia—it has obvious censorship problems, it has corporate bias, it profits off of people’s personal work and information. We can critique those issues from within the medium itself, and that’s exciting for me.

Do you ever worry about oversharing on social media?
Yes, of course, I worry. I literally worry about everything that I do, though. Honestly, I’m actually weirdly strict about what makes it onto the Internet. There are huge parts of my life that I don’t like sharing: I don’t like the social hierarchies that can develop, so I try not to post anything that shows off who I hang out with or who I saw at a party or whatever. I don’t post about the specifics of who I’m in love with. But I do talk about a lot of things that we are told should be kept “private” or “personal”: Nakedness, bodies, trauma, alienation, intimacy—you know, girly stuff. One of the most important mottoes feminism has given us is “The personal is political.” Usually, if a part of my life is considered “too personal” to share, I try to think about why that specific part has to be kept secret and who that secrecy is protecting.

Who are your largest inspirations?
I rely on a whole family of queens, past, present, and future, to keep me going. These range from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Grace Jones to my friend and teacher Maggie Nelson.

Who are your favorite artists?
Deee-Lite, Joan Didion, and Edgar Degas.

Who is your favorite new artist?
I love the girl noise duo odwalla88!

If you could have anyone as a roommate, living or deceased, who would it be?
Vivienne Westwood, easy. But Vivienne now, Vivienne at 74 years old.  

What's on your summer playlist?
Kylie Minogue’s album Fever (2001) is the best summer music of all time.

What are you looking forward to this summer?
Summer is actually my least favorite part of the year, because I’m always sweaty and sunburnt and sad, but I think this summer might be okay. I’m going to lie on the floor in front of the fan, and as long as I don’t move at all for three months, it will be okay.

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube www.youtube.com

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Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

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Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale youtu.be

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

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Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.

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