Tag Archives: Feminism

“Where Are The Women” in movies? A feminist Kickstarter project needs your help

If you’re one of the few folks still checking in on this blog:

1. Thank you. I know I haven’t been updating regularly (I always mean to write more, and have to figure out how to stop getting in my own way) but I appreciate the interest and support. Or even just the curiosity.

2. I’d like to bring this very worthy Kickstarter project, “Where Are the Women,” to your attention. MaryAnn Johanson of Flickfilosopher.com has been writing about movies for over 17 years and needs your support on an ambitious project to thoroughly examine how women are represented on film — movie by movie, on a granular level that’s much more in-depth than the Bechdel Test. (You can see her proposed evaluation method here, and an interview with her about the nitty-gritty of the project here.)

I’ve been reading MaryAnn for many years and am a big fan of her wit and snark and wisdom, and I think her perspective on how Hollywood depicts women — in both good ways and bad — will be absolutely worthwhile. But she needs time and effort and resources to make it happen. Here’s how you can help.

Thanks again.

(Image via Forge Today)

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“A new definition of manhood”

Colin Stokes of Citizen Schools gets it absolutely right:

(via TED)

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The stakes, cont’d

Another must-read from Bob Cesca:

This is the marquee election for the anti-choice movement. Anyone who can count and anyone who can look up the status of the Supreme Court justices knows full well that the next president will decide the fate of abortion rights and an entire array of issues.

Justice Scalia is 76 years old, Justice Breyer is 74 and Justice Ginsburg, well, she’s a 79-year-old cancer survivor. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that the next president will appoint a justice to replace at least Ginsburg, if not both Ginsburg and Scalia. Reasonably speaking, Ginsburg is almost certain. If she retires or passes, and Mitt Romney appoints her successor, the ideological balance of the Bench will shift to five conservatives, one swing vote (Kennedy) and three liberals — more than enough to decide conservatively on a variety of critical issues. Even if Kennedy were to magically swing left on every decision, it still wouldn’t matter. Conservatives would win the day for an entire generation.

However, if President Obama is re-elected and he appoints Ginsburg’s successor, the balance remains the same as it is now: four conservatives, one swing vote and four liberals (presumably, Obama would appoint a justice with a liberal record). Better yet, if the president is re-elected and replaces both Ginsburg and Scalia, the Bench would be tipped to five liberals, one swing and three conservatives — for a generation.

So this isn’t just about replacing a justice or two. This is about replacing a justice or two and defining the ideological composition of the Court for the next 10-20 years.

[…] I sometimes wonder if everyone else, including many of us who follow these issues closely, is aware of the potential human cost amid the ongoing horserace drama of the political campaign. These are our daughters, mothers, wives, sweethearts, partners and business associates, and I worry that too many voters are unaware that more than half of all Americans are being slowly and deliberately suffocated of their rights and physically targeted by their leadership simply because they have two X chromosomes. This election is the hinge upon which those rights hang in the balance. It might be the most important election of our lives so far, and not because of some relatively disassociated issue thousands of miles away, but because it will determine whether women — American women — will retain purview over their own bodies.

Cesca makes many more salient points and the whole piece is worth reading here.

(Photo via Associated Press)

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How to destroy your debate opponent

In the wake of President Obama’s inexplicably and inexcusably feckless debate performance against Mitt Romney last week, I’ve been jonesing for footage of warrior politicians able to make the Democratic case with style, with substance, with spines of steel, and with devastating effect. I haven’t been disappointed; in addition to my go-to clips from the always-brilliant West Wing, this political season has offered up some fierce and feisty real-life orators that Obama would do well to learn from. Are you taking notes, Mr. President?

This is how you enter a debate, find your mojo, and take early command of the field:

This is how you show up your opponent’s magic hand-waving and lack of substance — and how you make an eloquent argument for nuance and detail without getting lost in the weeds of nuance and detail:

This is how you do get into the weeds — but with clarity and simplicity, with an unwavering focus on underlying principles and values, and with a constant eye on the big picture and what’s at stake:

And this is how you expose, cheerfully, your opponent’s shapeshifting:

Offering inspiration from overseas, this is how Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard stands up for women and magnificently exposes misogyny and hypocrisy:

And this is how you stand up for women right here at home:

And finally, this is how you counter your opponent’s malarkey, make a forceful case for your core arguments, and fight for what you believe in with all your heart:

Mr. President, you’ve asked for passion and conviction from your supporters. You’ve asked us to believe in ourselves, to believe in the power of our concerted action, to believe in an American vision of fairness and compassion and community. But we need to believe in you as well. We need to believe that you’ll articulate and fight for that American vision with all the heart and fire and fearlessness with which you ask us to fight for it. You signed up to be the champion of our cause. We need to see you champion it.

The next debate’s coming up soon, Mr. President. Your move.

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“Dreaming is hard. It requires risks. It requires you to own the fact that you are capable of something great.”

If you’ve got a spare 35 minutes, this fantastic talk by astrophysicist Pamela Gay is absolutely worth your time. Delivered at the annual Amazing Meeting, the speech touches on many things — the future of American crewed spaceflight (Gay is more optimistic about this than Neil deGrasse Tyson is), some cool Citizen Science projects, and the importance of standing up against sexist bullshit, at professional conferences and everywhere else. But underlying it all, Gay lays out a powerfully compelling case for optimism as a stance toward society’s problems — optimism not just as idle wishful thinking, but (as “No Impact Man” Colin Beavan and Egyptian activist Wael Ghonim have explained) as a basis for courage and action.

From the transcript:

It’s a lot easier to do nothing… easier to lose hope that anything can even be done. And there are people out there who would encourage despair.

If, like me, you’re a child of the 80s, you may remember a movie called “Neverending Story”. It came out when I was a dorky little kid. This movie contained a certain giant wolf who totally understands trolls and their effect of creating their own great nothing in the world. (link) When asked why he is helping the great nothing destroy their world, this wolf responds, “It’s like a despair, destroying this world. … people who have no hopes are easy to control.”

Looking around the internets, I see a lot of people sitting around trolling, and a lot people experiencing despair. There are YouTube videos of people complaining, and blog posts of people expressing their hurt, and in many cases there are legitimate reasons for people to be upset. There are people dying because we’ve lost herd immunity (link). There are lesbian teens in texas being killed for falling in love (link). There are so many cases of abuse that it hurts to read the news. There are lots of real reasons to be frustrated about the world we live in and it is easy to complain… and it is easy to lose hope.

It is dreaming that is hard.

The Neverending story, in its childhood tale of morality, addresses this too. Through the voice of the Childlike Empress, the boy outside the story is asked, “Why don’t you do what you dream, Bastian?” Bastian replies the way I think so many of us reply when when asked why we don’t follow our wildest dreams, “But I can’t, I have to keep my feet on the ground!” (link)

Dreaming is hard. It requires risks. It requires you to own the fact that you are capable of something great.

A few years ago, I came across a powerful quote that was attributed to anonymous.

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? ” (link to old blog post on this quote)

I’d challenge you to let your feet fly off the ground and I’d challenge you to dream big and let your light push away the darkness of dispair in the world.

I challenge you to change the world.

There’s much more, and you can read the entire thing here.

More reasons for optimism here.

(via Bad Astronomy)

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Nora Ephron versus Anne-Marie Slaughter: Can women have it all?

Anne-Marie Slaughter says women still can’t have it all. Nora Ephron would have disagreed:

This is the season when a clutch of successful women — who have it all — give speeches to women like you and say, to be perfectly honest, you can’t have it all. Maybe young women don’t wonder whether they can have it all any longer, but in case any of you are wondering, of course you can have it all. What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind.

Read the rest of her very funny and inspirational speech here.

Or perhaps Ephron and Slaughter wouldn’t have disagreed at all; read Slaughter’s full article for her very thorough and nuanced take on what it means to structure society so that women (and men) get to lead full, and fulfilling, lives.

(via Brain Pickings)

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“My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman”

In her inspiring letter to her daughter, Mur Lafferty links to this powerful TED talk by activist Tony Porter, who reminds us that raising up women doesn’t mean putting down men; on the contrary, liberating men from the twisted social conditioning that leads them to denigrate women is absolutely crucial to the liberation of women as well. See the whole thing:


Dar Williams, in her incredibly wise “When I Was a Boy,” puts it this way:

Men and women are allies, or should be. And the idea that men should feel threatened by feminism is ludicrous, because feminism is a win-win situation: a path not to an imbalance or reversal of power, but to a society of mutual respect among fellow human beings, who have access to the entire range of human emotion and potential. We men need to try harder, to be humble, to learn more about how to be the fiercest allies we can be to our daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, friends. We owe it not just to them, but to ourselves.

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