Profile for Jessica Wakeman

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Rosario Dawson Blasts Looks-Obsessed Hollywood

“My whole job is mostly about feeling like I am discriminated against because I am a woman. It is completely OK to [discriminate] outright and out loud — it is wild, but I deal with it. I feel like being an actress, being told to lose weight and be younger — it’s crazy, but it is part and parcel of the game. To say that looks or age or sex doesn’t matter is ridiculous. But I feel lucky in that every single woman pretty much on the planet has to deal with that sense of how she looks, portrays herself, and this and that. We are scrutinized and compared and all of that kind of stuff. That is kind of what it is to be a woman, unfortunately, still to this day. Even with the coups of feminism we are still there. But at least every other woman is going through that. It’s not something extra special that I have to go through. It is just part of my job.”

— “Unstoppable” actress Rosario Dawson on Hollywood holding women like her under a microscope. While it’s true that it’s an image-conscious business for all actors and actresses, it’s no secret that the pressure is especially intense for women. [Daily Telegraph] Keep reading »

Men’s Studies Vs. Male Studies: What’s The Difference?

I took gender and sexuality studies as a minor in college, which is what my school offered instead of “women’s studies.” I assumed at first that they were just being PC with the name. But then when I took the first class, an introduction to the discipline, I realized it truly wasn’t just about women. We learned about constructs like gender and sexuality, yes, but we also devoted a lot of attention to the intersectionality of race, class, religion and able-bodiedness. That introductory instructor encouraged us not to assume gender was what individuals identified with first and cautioned us against ignoring other ways people are oppressed by focusing solely on gender. Gender studies was actually the hip new term for the discipline; “women’s studies,” on the other hand, sounded hopelessly old-school. I took four gender and sexuality studies classes and only one — “Women and The Media” — focused on women almost exclusively (that class was about media depictions). The other courses, however, were far more intersectional and examined all the different ways people can be oppressed; for example, “The History of Prostitution” talked a lot about how female sex workers flourished during Victorian times in part because men felt they had no other outlet.

I never took a “men’s studies” class that focused primarily on men. But if I could go back in time, I might have majored in G&SS instead of minored and taken a course strictly about masculinity. After all, gender is so intersectional and I do want to learn more about that particular construct. Approximately, 100 colleges around the country offer “men’s studies” courses — one would assume in the gender studies, sociology or anthropology departments — and though it’s not offered as a major anywhere yet, the proliferation of these courses is a good sign that in the coming years, masculinity will be critiqued and evaluated just as much as femininity has been by “women’s studies.”

So if G&SS is now incorporating the study of women’s and men’s experiences together, then what the heck is “male studies” about? Keep reading »

Ricky Martin’s New Song & Gay Pride Video Is Astoundingly Bland


I don’t know what I was expecting from Mr. Easy Listening himself, Ricky Martin. But his new song, “The Best Thing About Me Is You” (with Joss Stone), is as bland as it gets. I can see a class full of kindergartners warbling this to their parents at the school concert. But the music video is interesting, especially for the newly-out-of-the-closet singer. It has gay couples, interracial couples and attractive people of all ages! I guess there could be worse things than a 45-year-old soccer mom 9-year-old girl finding this on YouTube and bopping her head to love, tolerance and acceptance. [You Tube] Keep reading »

Girl Talk: I May Be Single, But I Am Not Alone

I’ve always been kind of a loner. While I’m silly and funny and irreverent with one or two people, I clam up in social settings and in groups. I think this is why I’m a good interviewer: I focus very intently and intensely on one person. More specifically, I need a lot of time in my own head to think. The two activities that I love the most — writing and reading — both require being alone. As with anything, I’m sure I came to be like this with some combination of nurture and nature. I am the youngest of five kids, so I learned as a child to be in the physical presence of other people but still do my own thing. But my parents were pretty preoccupied with stuff going on in my brother’s life from the time that I was 14 years old onward, so I also learned how to be independent. Keep reading »

Today’s Lady News: Are “Chinese Mothers” Superior?

  • The Wall Street Journal ran a controversial op-ed by Yale Law professor Amy Chua about “Chinese mothers,” or more broadly, a sub-set of strict parents who expect excellence from their children and force them to both study and rehearse instruments for hours a day. “Chinese parents can get away with things that Western parents can’t. Once when I was young — maybe more than once — when I was extremely disrespectful to my mother, my father angrily called me ‘garbage’ in our native Hokkien dialect. It worked really well. I felt terrible and deeply ashamed of what I had done. But it didn’t damage my self-esteem or anything like that.” She continues to explain her own parenting style with her two young daughters. It’s though-provoking, to say the least. [Wall Street Journal]
  • A former investment banker told BusinessWeek all about his mail-order bride business called Hand-In-Hand which “pairs” women from Eastern European countries with American men. These ladies are “unspoiled by feminism,” said Joseph Weiner. “You take a beautiful woman from the Czech Republic and you bring her into your home, she does all your cooking and cleaning and ironing.” [NYmag.com]

Keep reading »

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Shot In The Head In Tucson, Arizona

Gabrielle Giffords, a congresswoman from Arizona, was shot in the head this morning outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Arizona, by a white male in his mid-20s. Witnesses said she and members of her staff were greeting the public when a gunman approached her from behind and shot into her head. He reportedly fired about 20 rounds; approximately 12 others were injured in the shooting. A staffer tackled the young gunman, who has been taken into custody. Rep. Giffords, 40, a Democrat, has been in office since January 2007. In March, her Tucson office had been vandalized right before the health care reform vote; her office spokesperson said she received “nasty and rude and hateful comments” at the time as well. She was recently elected to a third term. NPR and CNN have reported that Giffords died, but as of 3:20 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, her husband, an astronaut named Mark Kelly, had confirmed to a local TV station that she is still alive. Our thoughts go out to Gabrielle Giffords’ family and loved ones.

[New York Times]
[ABC News] Keep reading »

Roseanne Barr Is Depressed By Feminism, “Ignorant Women In This Country”

ParentDish: Does feminism today depress you?

Roseanne Barr: Yeah incredibly so, until you actually meet a real Roseanne Barr might be just a wee out of touch about feminism/feminists these days, but I nevertheless find her crankiness delightful. (Later in the interview she called ex-husband Tom Arnold “one of the symptoms of me being a crazy person” – ouch!) [Parent Dish] Keep reading »

Girl Talk: Welcome To Heartbreak

broken heart photo

In the past three days, I have been suddenly and unexpectedly broken up with by my boyfriend of almost two years and asked to move out of the apartment that we have shared for a year and a half. The past few days have been horrible and sad, but mostly filled with dread about the uncertainty of the future. It feels like a nightmare that I am going to wake up from; a few times I’ve asked myself if I lost my mind a la “Black Swan” and this reality isn’t real. This morning I stood in line at Starbucks and pulled back the pinky finger on my hand, bent it so far until it hurt. Okay, I thought, I must be awake and alive. This must actually be my life. I don’t know how it is that I have put on pants every day, brushed my teeth, written emails, written blogs posts, done my laundry, and eaten food. My heart feels so bad I can’t believe I’m not glued to my bedsheets. Maybe I’m just in so much disbelief that I am numb. Keep reading »

John Edwards And Rielle Hunter Might Be Engaged

John Edwards proposed to his mistress/mother of his lovechild Rielle Hunter three weeks after his estranged wife, Elizabeth, died from cancer, The National Enquirer has claimed. Granted, it’s the Enquirer, but the supermarket tabloid was originally right about him diddling former presidential campaign videographer, so they may know a thing or two. A source claims John proposed to Rielle during a “festive holiday getaway” when he introduced her to his children and that Rielle coldly told the Edwards kids — Cate, Emma Claire and John — to “call me mommy.” The couple already have a young daughter, Frances Quinn, who was the product of their affair (though John long denied he was her father).

If the couple does marry, it might make a prediction in a dishy tell-all book by John’s former aide, Andrew Young, true: John had allegedly promised Rielle they would marry after his sick wife died in a rooftop ceremony in New York City with Dave Matthews Band playing. Keep reading »

Today’s Lady News: The Regrets Of A Stay-At-Home Mom

  • These are the regrets of a stay-at-home mom who “opted out” of the workforce, got divorced, and is now broke. For anyone who would eventually like to stay at home and raise some babies, this is a must-read. [Salon.com]
  • Beth Ditto of The Gossip is writing a memoir! Yay! [Vogue IT]
  • A Kentucky Senate committee OK’d a bill that would require a woman to view an ultrasound of her fetus before having an abortion. They call it “informed consent”; I call it somewhat cruel, depending on the circumstances. [Courier-Journal.com]
  • Sorta-feminist Naomi Wolf now has a (fake) Twitter account. [Twitter]

Keep reading »

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