Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Psalm 133, Twitter Style

A while back, I wrote a post for Her.meneutics about whether Scripture dictates that women work in the home and men work outside, to provide. Owen Strachan, a professor at Boyce College and student at Trinity Seminary had written the initial post to which mine was a response and wrote a response to my response (Oy!). It won’t be too hard to guess that we hold very different beliefs about mandated gender roles and the normativeness (or not) of the curse in Genesis 3.

Earlier this month, Owen expanded his earlier post into an essay for the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the publication associated with the Council of the same name. Again, no one will be surprised to know that I disagree just as vehemently now with Strachan’s take on the issue as I did back in November. And this could easily turn into a response to his response to my response to his response that we’ve all heard before and that frankly needs to be heard but also, from time to time, needs to be set aside.

Although it is a strange and unequally weighted comparison, I think sometimes the egalitarian-complementarian debate needs a Christmas Truce. We need to set down our weapons, free ourselves of defensiveness and dissension, never relinquishing what we believe to be true but recognizing that all truths are subjugated to The Truth, God’s truth, which reminds us:

How very good and pleasant it is

when kindred live together in unity!

It is like the precious oil on the head,

running down upon the beard,

on the beard of Aaron,

running down over the collar of his robes.

It is like the dew of Hermon,

which falls on the mountains of Zion.

For there the LORD ordained his blessing,

life forevermore.

[Psalm 133]

Some friends asked me today what I thought of Owen’s essay. And really, they know what I think. I’ll never stop talking about the issue of women and their giftedness, but sometimes I need to remember, and live in, the greater truth–that Owen is my brother. So, earlier tonight in the spirit of the Christmas Truce, I put a goofy picture on Twitter and included Owen’s name, hoping he would get a kick out of seeing my husband in an apron making dinner. Owen wrote back that he had just finished doing some dishes himself. I wished him well with his work, and he thanked me, and he called me sister.

Very good and pleasant, indeed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

15 Reasons I Stayed in the Church

Is it weird to have Internet Friends? Sometimes I think so. Like they're not much more real than the imaginary friends my sister was always going on about when we were younger. Rachel Held Evans has become one such I.F., although I am led to believe that she is, indeed, a real person. Her blog is a fantastic resource for all kinds of issues, from Biblical authority to church culture to interviews with Christians of all stripes.

Earlier today, she shared a great post with 15 reasons she left church. She and her husband have been looking for a new church home, she writes, because staying where they were was no longer an option. Reasons like wanting to "help people in my community without feeling pressure to convert them to Christianity," or knowing that she would never see a woman preach in the church where she grew up. Reasons that would make me wrestle with the goodness of God and the purpose of the church. 

When I read things like this, sometimes it makes me wish that I had things harder. I know, it's a weird thing to say. But I'm a weird person. Sometimes I think that, I don't know, it would have helped me develop a sense of solidarity with people like Rachel that goes deeper than mental assent, or maybe it would have helped me form stronger opinions? Because that's an area where I'm seriously lacking. (NOT, as the kids say.)

But I didn't have things too bad when it comes to the church. In fact, I've had a pretty fantastic experience in the church. So, here are 15 reasons I've stayed.

1.  I stayed because I saw fantastic expressions of creativity. Dance, art, plays. They weren't always great, but they reminded all of us that there is a place for every gift in the life of the church.

2. I stayed because there was room for my doubts and questions as I grew up. I was allowed to grow into my faith, and still am. 

3. I stayed because I found some of the most authentic, vulnerable community that I've ever known in a small group of friends. 

4. I stayed because I have never been told by someone in my church that I cannot do something because I am a woman. I haven't always seen it modeled perfectly, but I've seen men and women working so hard for equality played out.

5. I stayed because one time my dad totally, embarrasingly mis-read Psalm 150:6 as "Let everything that has breasts praise the Lord." And people laughed and laughed and laughed and then they showed that video at the going-away service.

6. I stayed because when one of my dear friends killed herself, no one suggested anything other than that God loved her deeply and that she was with him. There was space for our confusion in the vastness of God.

7. I stayed because of my mom, whose capacity for awe and wonder at the world and whose incredible gifts of leadership have always had some kind of place in the church. She has been tenacious.

8. I stayed because of my dad, who said not too long ago that if Jesus could trust the news of his resurrection first to women, we as the church could damn well trust them to teach and preach. (I don't think he said 'damn well' in church, but you get the idea.)

9. I stayed because of my best friend Kaitlin, who has a heart-achingly sweet love for the church unlike anyone else I have ever seen, and who has shown me that even the worst and ugliest parts of the church are not outside of redemption.

10. I stayed because my ongoing struggle with anxiety has been met with compassion, grace, and listening. 

11. I stayed because I spent holidays with my family at soup kitchens and shelters all over the city of Chicago on trips organized by our church to serve, even when I really didn't want to. And I'm so glad I did.

12. I stayed because my husband and I got married in the sanctuary of the church we attend now, and every time we walk in I remember that funny, strange, wonderful day that we spent with all the people we love. 

13. I stayed because our church works with local community partners to further public education in under-resourced areas, which is really the gospel in action. 

14. I stayed because most of the people I talk with refuse to give pat answers to complex questions.

15. I stayed because I've found freedom in these remarkable places. 

Make sure to read Rachel's post if you haven't already. Have you left? Stayed? Why?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Day for Women

Today is International Women's Day. I never would have known that were it not for a college professor of mine - Susan Penksa - who taught international politics at Westmont as well as one of my favorite classes, Sex, Gender, and Power. There were about eight of us in the class; five women, three men, something like that. I loved that class so much, and for many reasons, not least of which that some of my research included reading through tens of issues of Vogue.

Because it is a Christian school, Westmont would probably end up a bit to the right of many public colleges and universities. But as a school, the spirit was very much one of inquiry and questioning assumptions and leaving nothing off-limits. The political science department, when I was there, had three professors, and they were all quite liberal. (Which I loved.) So we had classes like Sex, Gender, and Power as offerings, and we were able to have important conversations with our peers and professors about the very real inequality between men and women across the world and in America and in the church.

So, it's a thing I think about a lot. Women in the church, in the developing world, in politics. Why women still earn less than men for the same job. How so many women are pigeonholed professionally, ministerially, physically - in every way - because of our gender.

Sometimes, I wonder if we have all bought into a kind of theology that tells us that women are still essentially fallen, and men are fully redeemed. Not overtly, of course. But there's the danger--when we start to operate from the assumption that our culture defines our theology, we forget the radical message of Jesus that includes everyone as part of God's redemptive plan.

This kind of insidious thinking will cripple the church, and we do not have to buy into it. It is not the truth, but some people will be quick to tell you that it is, that women can only exercise certain gifts within the church, that it is better to leave the decision-making and the leading to the men. When you hear that, you guard your hearts. Hold your gifts tight in your clenched fists when you are with these people, and risk when you must, and open your palms to your safe community. But don't stop there.

So to the women in my life who have shaped me and continue to be some of my richest relationships--to my mom and to Kaitlin, to Courtney and my grandmothers and aunt, to Rachel and Myrna and Betsie and Lauren, to Mallory....there are no words.And to the amazing men who have also helped to show the way: thank you for your courage and your love.

Now go celebrate some women.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Seven years

It's hard to believe that seven years have passed.

I was in the backseat of a friend's car, driving back up to campus when I got the call.

Suicide was an abstract concept for me until then.

At first, we all thought she was missing. She was beautiful, bubbly, kind, trusting. The kind of person who would give up her first year of college to live and serve in an unknown town in Mexico. So it wasn't a stretch to think that, in a moment of characteristic warmth, she had let someone get too close to her.

From what I know of that day, she had, in some order: saw her fiance, taken a test at school, and driven away. Maybe she didn't actually take the test? I can't remember. Either way, she went missing. No one knew where she was, but we all had some strange confidence that she would be found. She was 20, beautiful, recently engaged.

They found her car near Shedd Aquarium.

They found her body in the lake.

I found out on a date with Zack. I found out right after dinner, and had to sit down on a pile of dog food bags outside of Petco in the Five Points shopping center in Santa Barbara. We had gone to dinner at Fresco, but I couldn't eat.

There was a big group of us in high school -- thirty, or so, at the outside, and about ten or twelve close friends at the core. Laurie moved between the outer and inner circles, but she was liked by everyone. We all knew her story, knew her family, we all got notes from her signed with a heart and a cross and a verse - 1 Peter 3:15; always be ready to give a reason for the faith you have.

And she was.

Until she wasn't.

I still find myself feeling surprised by it. Seven years after the day she killed herself, I wonder if it is real. If she didn't just go hide somewhere and start a new life. It doesn't compute. Behavioral psychologists talk about 'cognitive dissonance,' the tension people feel when they have to hold different beliefs simultaneously. Sometimes, I feel that way about Laurie. I believe that she is dead. I saw her water-bloated body at her wake, I watched my nineteen year-old male friends carry her casket down that aisle, I cried to my boyfriend about the injustice of it all. But then, I don't believe that she is dead. I don't feel it in my bones. It doesn't add up. Sweet, kind, happy Laurie. But she changed in so many ways after we all left for school. We lost touch except for the occasional email. We didn't know her anymore.

Since that year, every year on March 2nd I have gone for a long drive by myself, and I think about her. In Santa Barbara, I would drive up East Mountain Drive and then keep going until it was time to turn around. And I would listen, on repeat, to Jonathan Rice's "The Acrobat." It was the only time I would ever listen to that song because that was a sacred drive, a sacred moment.

One year, I drove to the end. As far as I could go until the mountain stopped me. And at the very end, at the end, in blue sidewalk chalk words was written:

"Welcome Home."

I haven't been back to the Aquarium since. I don't know if I can, because I don't know if I want to believe that she is gone. It's been seven years, and it feels like one, and it feels like one million.

If he should fall
He will surely die
And his body will sink and his soul will fly
Into the night where the spirits scream
He will leave this world and become a dream
He will leave this world and become a dream 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscars 2012: The Roundup

[A Note: I am in the process of creating a Big Girl Website. Which is not, as you might have thought, a website about big girls, but a website that I hope will display my writing more professionally and with less clutter. So, stay tuned for that, but also, apropos of that, I have no idea why the text background is this weird color and I cannot figure out how to make it something better. Sorry about that.)

What to say about this year's Academy Awards? After the trainwreck that was James Franco and Anne Hathaway, I think everyone was hoping that Billy Crystal would be a breath of fresh air. And he had his moments, but it mostly felt like the Academy were trying to do some song-and-dance about how things used to be--too many jokes about how long Billy has been around. Many of the award intros felt stale, too -- Sandra Bullock's weird language bit was apropos of nothing, and Robert Downey Jr.'s documentary gag was charmless and went on far too long. Don't even get me started on Diddy's First Wives Club, aka J.Lo and Cameron Diaz, and their strange backs-turned we're-friends thing, to say nothing of the former's alleged wardrobe malfunction. (One highlight that came from the evening is this video of Meryl's face upon hearing she had won.)

With all the montages and tributes, it felt like the Academy is maybe worried that we're all going to stop going to see films in the near future? "Movies! They're important! Remember movies? Here are some movie stars talking about why they love movies! Reese Witherspoon loves Overboard! Stars: They're Just Like Us!" 

However, at least one good thing did come from Sunday night's festivities: I won our family's annual Oscar pool! It had been a few years, and it was about time -- my dad and Zack have championed an ABL (Anybody But Laura) campaign recently, and they needed to be put in their place. 

But now on to the most important part of the night -- the dresses! Much like the work of God in our lives, the fashion of Oscar night will redeem even the most terrible of sins we had to suffer through. Right? Riiiiight?

Thankfully, we could tell Michelle Williams apart from her twin Carey Mulligan because Carey was nowhere to be seen on the red carpet. Unfortunately, this is what Michelle was wearing.

There was much ado about the color on the red carpet--Coral? Red? Orange?--and not nearly enough talk about what a crazy dress this was! The color, I think, was the only redeeming factor about an otherwise-schizophrenic getup. It's peplum (that little skirt beneath the bodice)! It's a bandeau! A corset! A ruffled maxi skirt! Belted, with a brooch! She is a beautiful woman, but she almost always dresses like she's straight out of the 1920s. I love a good vintage (or vintage-inspired) dress as much as the next girl, but I thought this was one of the worst of her rut. Bring back the canary yellow Vera Wang! 

I wish that Sandra Bullock had walked backward the whole night. Down the red carpet, up the stairs, and into her chair, because unless she was hiding her adorable son inside the front of her dress (and maybe she was!), there was no need for the blouse-y part to be so baggy. As I said earlier, it was like the evil twin of Claire Danes's Golden Globes dress; also, I am not sure what to make of the diamond leaves that look like skeleton fingers on her hips. Fun? Creepy? I'll let you be the judge. But the back of the gown was lovely! (Also, I was going to show the front here, but adding pictures to a blog is REALLY HARD GUYS and it made everything wonky, so just look at this).
NOW, can we talk about Octavia Spencer? Because she looked fabulous. FABULOUS. Her dress fit like a dream, and I loved every little detail -- the train, the cut of the sleeves, the color, the clutch! Perfection. Plus, don't you kind of love that she and Sandy are BFFs? I mean, as this picture suggests?

If you know me, you know that I have FEELINGS about Gwyneth Paltrow. Feelings included but not limited to annoyance which, on occasion, burst into outright flames of hatred. I just find her so inane and didactic, with her GOOP and her Glee and her singing with Cee Lo and macrobiotic vegan diet. She is the bitchy girl that you went to high school with who never understood why we couldn't all jet off to France for the summer or why people didn't get straight A's. So, yes, ahem. My feelings.

But, I will not let those feelings get in the way of a fantastic fashion moment. Clearly, she nailed it with this Tom Ford number -- and it's totally the kind of outfit that should be called a number. Even the cape didn't look stupid, which is a huge accomplishment because who would ever suggest a cape to the Oscars? She looked perfect. So, you know, there's that. But I still think she's a robot.

From far away, Shailene Woodley kind of looked like J.Lo in a super J.Lo getup with her hair pulled back and some assuredly insane cutout in the back of the dress. Sadly, it was none of those things, just another instance of the lovely 20 year-old dressing like she is a matronly schoolteacher from Star Trek. (Okay, that last one is a thing I found when I Googled "matronly schoolteacher from Star Trek.") I would love to see her dress more her age - which isn't to say slutty, just more like a young actress. As it is, this outfit looks too much to me like a 70s wedding dress with those small cotton fuzzy things from Michael's glued all over. Maybe next time?

Have you ever watched Sesame Street?

Remember Snuffleupagus? Specifically, his eyes?

Okay, now look at her boobs.

I rest my case.

Oh, look! Kristen Wiig is wearing another beige dress! Seriously, I like her SO much, but her ensembles have run the gamut of ecru to bone and back again more times than should be allowed. Plus, this particular dress seems to be cut into thirds. The top third is a cute, corset-y bit (if I do want to tug it up an inch or two), and the bottom third is kind of a pretty, flowy skirt. But the middle? It's like someone took a pair of huge nylon underwear and stretched them over her hips--just a weird transition from top to bottom, and in a color that super washes her out. Am I being too mean? We'll never know.

I mean, COME ON. It is just not fair how absolutely PERFECT this gown is. And maybe it's because I've been waiting my whole life for a redhead to finally wear just the right thing to an awards show, but as soon as I saw this dress I knew it would be one of my all-time favorites. The combination of black and that rich gold pattern look so lovely on her, and it looks (in the best possible way) like a set of drapes torn down at Versailles and made into a perfectly elegant couture getup, Gone With the Wind style. I could talk about the bottom for DAYS. And it's Alexander McQueen, which is fun not only because of the success of MoMA's Savage Beauty exhibition but also the fact that it really is wearable art. Overall, I think she has all the ingredients of a winning Oscar-night ensemble: Elegant, unique, well-fitting, and fun. 

Okay. You wanted good news first, right? Always get the good news first. Chastain was the ice-breaker. So now, Let's Talk About Angie.

Here's the thing: The dress was really pretty! Boring, sure--she wears black monochrome to, like, every other event. But it was velvet and had these really pretty brooches on the back. Her hair and makeup were super meh, and she did look incredibly thin, which, you know, not good. But really, the star of the show was The Leg. The Leg, which has spawned a Twitter account, inspired numerous Monday-morning watercooler conversations, and launched a phenomenon that has hit the farthest reaches of the Internet...It was, quite possibly, the unwitting highlight of the evening.

I think the main reason that we all loved it, though, is that this insistence on vamping regardless of where one finds oneself is proof that Angie is, indeed, the high-maintenance person we all secretly hope her to be. If she weren't, after all, we too could land Brad Pitt! We, too, could adopt children from around the globe and become UNICEF ambassadors and look like walking sex before 8 in the morning in one of our seventeen homes. But we want her to be difficult, arrogant. 
Anyways, enough social commentary. 

HOLA. I AM JENNIFER LOPEZ, and my entire dress is made of shiny packing tape and diamonds and little bits of money, all emanating from my womb, the provider of LIFE! The hair on my head is actually a performance piece comprising millions of tiny worms, all glued down so tightly that if you stand near enough to me, you can hear them scream. Where is Ben Affleck? Why is my scalp burning? 

All this fashion analyzing has me exhausted, and there is delicious Indian food on the way. But, I would be remiss to not to mention this year's First Annual Jessica McClintock Award Winner....

Wendi McLendon-Covey, the Bridesmaid that everyone forgot about until last night. The color is boring, the cut is totally something you would see on the rack of that famed mall chain, and the detailing is entirely too overwhelming and cheap-looking. Perfect J McC material. 

Honorable Mention: Milla Jovovich in a gorgeous, one-shoulder silver Elie Saab; Meryl Streep in the gold lame Lanvin that was practically begging the comparison to an Oscar; Stacy Keibler, whose metallic bronze number grew on me as the night wore on; and Emma Stone (even though the bow was very Nicole Kidman ca. 2007), for daring to wear that color as a redhead and pulling it off. 

Dishonorable Mention: Berenice Bejo, who I think is GORGEOUS, in a way too washed-out mint Elie Saab dress; Natalie Portman in a totally boring polka dot dress; Cameron Diaz reprising her Something About Mary hairdo (sans, you know, the gel); and Colin Firth's wife whose red getup did have a boob shelf that looked pretty handy for storing snacks.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Growing Up

"I don't think that growing up should be synonymous with becoming stressed about life, though. I don't think it should have to mean losing patience on the freeway or running errands all weekend or dashing out the door for work without having eaten breakfast. "

i stole the above quote from my friend maggie's blog awhile ago now, but the words still resonate with me as much as ever.

i've been thinking about growing up a lot lately. (A. LOT. - as michele would say). and when i think about growing up, i think about stress and bills and travel (not for-fun travel, but business travel with briefcases and work to get done on the flights). i think that when i read the newspaper, as a grown-up, it is no longer acceptable that i turn to the comics first or get bored by the front page or don't even bother to look at the business section.

i confess these things: sometimes, to me, growing up means being busy, all the time. hopefully busy doing really important things. and i kind of know where i got this picture, because both of my parents are very busy people. they like to be busy. but i forget sometimes the ways they build in 'play' to their daily lives. i forget about the things that mom says to herself just to make herself laugh, or the quiet mornings with steaming coffee and good music my dad has, or how he wears vacation hats and makes up stories or she does strange dances to christmas music.

i confess that in the middle of preparing and expecting, i forget and i grow anxious. i think of adulthood as what maggie reminds me it doesn't need to be: stressful, rushed, lonely.

awhile ago, my dad asked one of his friends what he needed to do to be spiritually healthy. the friend replied with characteristic wisdom and brevity: "you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life."
that phrase sticks with me, as i grow up.

i was in carmel with my dad last weekend, and went for a run that took me all along the ocean. i was feeling particularly anxious about growing up at that moment, and i detoured to some rocks and tide pools down the hill from the road. i saw a bunch of families out on a sunny afternoon, and watching the kids in their little-kid bathing suits with their little-kid floaties and little-kid bravado running up to wave after wave, i felt deep pangs of sadness for the little kid that i will never be again.

the more i watched, though, the more that i saw that it wasn't only the kids running and splashing in the water. their parents joined in. their too-cool older siblings got up and walked around, and their dogs ran and ran and ran until they could run no more.

the ocean is a great equalizer, and this is one of its ways. it is life-giving, and life-affirming, and reminds me that i am free to disregard whatever secret grown-up manifesto i keep thinking i have to embrace. Jesus does not stop doing his work in me because i am growing up; in fact, i expect that he will do even more. and isn't that lovely.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It's about that time

I should preface to anyone who has started reading this blog in the last few months: A few times a year, I take a break from my sporadic theological ponderings to review awards-show fashion. It is not the world's most serious endeavor, so feel free to skip this one -- or indulge the side of yourself that is sick of listening to me rant about Mark Driscoll.

OH, what a night! Ricky Gervais delivered on lackluster jokes about the celebrities in the room, George Clooney got away with the dirtiest joke of the night in his charming, I-stole-Brad-Pitt's'-cane kind of way, and The Artist and Downton Abbey deservedly won their respective categories. Of course, if you've been following this blog for any amount of time now, you know that this is all warm-up for the Oscars, which my family is absolutely religious about. So I'm on to a month of reading wacky prediction blogs, but before I go there, needed to debrief some of the Golden Globe fashions.

Loved Laura Dern's dress. Loved loved loved it. So classy, so 1970s Halston -- Sarah Jessica Parker would be proud. The color is so rich. It reminds me of Angie's Golden Globes dress last year, but I think I like Laura's even more. The V-neck adds something, and I love the contrasting colors of the collar and the belt. Her hair looks like she just read an article in Teen Vogue about putting it in two braids at night and then undoing it the next day for a fabulous style!, but it doesn't really do much for me.

Okay. Now that we've talked about her dress, can we talk about how she brought Ben Harper (her estranged ex-husband) as her date?! I love the two of them together, and the news of their possible reunification brings me great joy.

OH, Rooney Mara, I have a feeling that you love all the Lisbeth Salander attention you are getting these days. Since you've essentially transformed yourself into the character. Because they interview her all the time ("What was it like to get the role?" "When did you change from your seemingly sunny former self into a goth Method actress?"), I know that the most Commonly Asked Question of Rooney Mara is whether she kept her piercings from the movie. She kept a few. Consequently, all I could think when I saw her was, "I wonder if her nipple piercings are chafing under that dress." Because, I mean, ouch!

I would just like to say that Carey Michelle Mulligan Williams is looking very cute these days. Didn't you love when she sang "New York, New York" on Dawson's Creek? Or when she dated Shia LaBouef in Blue Valentine? What a gamine talent!

This one just makes me think of Jessica Biel, but looks ten times worse because the wearer did not just get engaged to Justin Timberlake, rendering her temporarily insane. What has Amanda Peet even been up to lately? Shopping Florence Welch's closet, apparently.

Zooey! You looked fantastic. Better than adorable, or 'adorkable,' which is a word I refuse to use, so let's pretend I didn't. Her Prada dress was gorgeous -- so different from what almost anyone else was wearing. I love that she had a pop of color on the dress and clutch, and the bottom of the dress totally reminds me of my wedding dress--except don't worry, it wasn't black, I'm not that weird--which is always a good thing. The only thing that really bothered by about this whole look was her hair. She looks like Liza Minelli (or, more accurately, the Andy Warhol image of Liza Minelli.) The fringe-y bangs combined with the oddly-layered hair makes for a funky combination. But overall, much more sophisticated than we might have expected. A victory. 

The winner of the night was, hands down, Charlize Theron. She looked absolutely stunning, and I know that the dress has a ton of stuff going on -- drapey bow, brooch, slit up to there -- but it just worked. The peachy hue was a gorgeous shade against her skin, and the headband and hairstyle and shoes all conspired to form a perfect Golden Globes look. Playful, stylish, not overly formal or elegant. She looked statuesque. The only thing I might have added was one of those backwards necklaces that are so hot nowadays. All jewelry should be worn backwards. 
This dress was also a great example of a skin-tone dress that was the right shade. Julie Bowen, bless her heart, gave it the old college try on Sunday night, and I LOVED the sleeves on her gown but the rest of it just looked like . . . pretty skin. Is that too Silence of the Lambs? 

Blergh! This makes NO sense, excepting the aforementioned temporary insanity plea. I mean, girlfriend. You are GORGEOUS. She looks like my friend Mallory from highschool, I think -- the prettiest girl next door/tomboy you've ever seen, so WHY are you walking around in an oversized doily with a scalloped center slit? Why do you want us, your loyal fans from the days of 7th Heaven, to think that you have a third boob somewhere on your chest? The phrase "Jessica Biel stylist" brings up a cadre of unrevealing results, so I can't tell if she was given professional advice to look like the Bride of Frankenstein or if she came to it honestly. Either way, blergh! ALSO, UPDATE, I just read that she was wearing a backwards necklace. So, you know, there's that. 
"Giddyup, ladies! I'm playing Annie Oakley in my next movie, Annie Oakley Sings!, a musical about a funeral singer named Annie Oakley who finally embraces her ancestral roots and impossibly high cheekbones. I -- I mean, Annie -- popularized the current phenomena of Dress Pockets, which you can see here by the way I have casually inserted my right hand into my Dress Pocket. An alternate title for the film was The Guns in My Dress Pocket: The Annie Oakley Story, but Lifetime didn't like it. Annie grew tired of excess material on the top of her dresses, so she replaced the top with whimsical mesh fabric and placed the extra on her hips, for an extra flattering fit! Oooh, my ponytail holder fell out! Must run!" 
I almost never post two pictures of a dress, but the back of Claire Danes's dress is what makes it. I was struck not just by how modern this dress is -- stark colors, simple design -- but how delicate it manages to be at the same time. The back, especially, looks held together by almost nothing, and the whole thing looks demure in the best possible way. Old Hollywood, if I dare trot out that old cliche. Her makeup was a bit much for me -- I get that people are loving a bright red lip right now, but it's not my number one favorite all the time. However, this was such a fantastic look overall that I can't complain much.  

Honorable Mentions: Reese Witherspoon, who was all vava voom with beachy hair and a mermaid red dress. Lea Michelle in a non-fishtail, non-little girl Marchesa number. Jessica Alba in a gorgeous lilac princess-y dress that was still sleek and elegant.

Dishonorable Mentions: Tami Taylor in what looked like a sequined linen napkin. Dianna Agron in a Valentino homemade Valentine (all that was missing were the dry macaroni noodles). Sarah Michelle Gellar in a tye dye experiment gone terribly awry. Angelina Jolie in what looked like another napkin, weirdly folded at the neck (and again with the red lipstick.) 

Madonna Mention: Madonna. I have no idea whether I loved or hated her dress, "The Punisher."