Beating Meryl Streep for a 2009 Best Actress Golden Globe is no small feat. After watching actress Sally Hawkins in her latest film, “Made In Dagenham,” I now fully understand her talent. In the movie, which is based on a true story, Sally plays a working-class woman in 1968 Britain who sews car seat upholstery at the Ford Motor Company factory. Her fictional character leads a strike of women workers against Ford until they agree to pay the women equal wages to male workers. The strike made history because it led the British government to enact equal pay legislation into law.
After a recent screening of “Made In Dagenham,” I briefly chatted with the soft-spoken, almost shy Sally Hawkins about the film: Keep reading »
Starring Sally Hawkins, Miranda Richardson, Rosamund Pike, and Bob Hoskins
We all know what 1960s America looked like for white-collar professional women like the ones on “Mad Men.” While Joan and Peggy were fighting off handsy account men in New York’s office towers, women in working-class towns like Dagenham, England, were doing hand-to-hand combat as well — only against the entire Ford Motor Company. “Made In Dagenham” is based on the true story of 187 women who sewed car seat upholstery for a Ford plant in Britain and what happens when they banded together to fight exploitation by their bosses. Their classification as “unskilled” laborers and the fact that they earned a fraction of the male employees’ paychecks led these strong, brave ladies to launch a history-making 1968 strike. Keep reading »
I am absolutely fascinated by people’s reasons for holding onto stiffly defined gender roles. For that reason, this weekend’s New York Times Magazine article, “Housewives of God,” was an absolute treat. Journalist Molly Worthen profiled Priscilla Shirer, an evangelical Bible teacher who has published numerous religious books and workbooks and accepts 20 out of 300 speaking engagements per year. She is also the mother of three young boys and depends on her husband, Jerry, to pick the kids up from school, do laundry and prepare dinner. As journalist Worthen put it, “Priscilla Shirer’s marriage appears to be just the sort of enlightened partnership that would make feminists cheer.”
But Jerry Shirer is the head of the Shirer household. All phone calls regarding Priscilla’s career and decisions — including what to name the couple’s youngest baby — go through him. Priscilla also sees herself not as a rah-rah-independent woman, but as a “complementarian”: She and her hubby both have separate, defined roles from their gender and are “complementary” to each other. Keep reading »
Uh oh. We’ve heard this story before. Amy-Erin Blakely of Orlando, Florida, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit claiming she was fired from her job at The Devereux Foundation for complaining that managers made comments about her big breasts. Blakely also said she was told that her co-workers couldn’t concentrate in meetings because her boobs were such a distraction and that someone in management “talked about how large her breasts were and that she needed to ‘hide them,’” said her lawyer, Gloria Allred. Worst of all, she alleged that she was told by a manager she would not be promoted above her position as assistant executive director because she was “too sensual”! Keep reading »