We’re hoping that women like Kathryn Bigelow, the woman behind “The Hurt Locker” who could win the Oscar for Best Director this year, will begin to give voice to the silent minority in Hollywood: women. A recent study done at the University of Southern California turned up some disheartening stats about women in film. Of the 100 blockbuster films of 2007 that were studied, only 17 percent of them were written, directed, or produced by women. Even worse, they found that women were minorities onscreen as well. Female actresses were given only 30 percent of all speaking parts. (I wonder how many women were seen and not heard—that would be interesting to know.) While those findings are fairly depressing, there is some good news. Films with women writers, directors, and producers had about twice as many parts for females. So it sounds like the key to building women’s influence in Hollywood is for ladies to make their own material. Sure, it may be intimidating to go up against your allegedly egomaniacal ex for an Oscar, but if Kathryn wins (and even if she doesn’t), she’ll be an inspiration to up-and-coming females in the movie biz. Here’s to equality in Tinsel Town. [AOL] Keep reading »
I was interested to find out that before men compete in the Olympic ski jump competition and the Nordic combined, that women are testing out the hills for them. This is particularly noteworthy considering that women are barred from competing in these two events. And yet two women agreed to act as forerunners—the athletes that test out the jumps and runs to make sure conditions are optimal—in ski jumping this year. While these two ladies seem to be thrilled to be involved in the Olympics at all, other world-class female skiers are not cool with them participating and refused invitations to participate as forerunners because they believe it sends a message that it’s OK for women to watch from the sidelines. In fact, some female skiers were so upset about not being able to compete in 2012, that 15 of them filed a lawsuit in the Canadian courts. But the Supreme Court ruled against them. Keep reading »
Here’s a statistic that shouldn’t sit right with anyone: Over 73 percent of people in a study by the Havens, a sexual assault referral center in the U.K., believe the victim should “take responsibility” for getting raped if they’ve already performed another sexual act on the rapist. Raped? Well, you’d already given him a hand job so, really, you should have expected that to happen! Keep reading »
When I think back to the good ol’ kid years, one of my strongest memories is swim team—the grueling practices, the butterflies in my stomach waiting on the starting block to dive in for a race, even the joy of a Cheerwine (yeah, it’s a Southern thing) after a big win. Many of my friends echo this and very strongly remember their time on the volleyball team or as a star on their high school women’s basketball team. Title IX, which requires schools that get public funding to provide equal opportunities for boys and girls, has been in effect for nearly 40 years, and it’s led to an explosion in the number of girls participating in sports. Researchers are now starting to look at what kind of effect that’s had. In addition to having lower rates of teen pregnancy, girls involved in sports also get better grades and report higher levels of self-esteem. And a new study by Dr. Betsey Stevenson of the University of Pennsylvania looked at statistics state-by-state and found that in places where more girls participated in sports, there was a 20 percent increase in women’s education level and a 40 percent boost in employment for women ages 25 to 34. Another study by a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago correlated lots of girls participating in sports with a seven percent decrease in risk of obesity once the girls reach their 40s. Today, one in three girls plays a sport compared to one in two boys. What will happen when those numbers are equal?
Did you play a sport when you were a kid? Which one? Share a memory in the comments section. [NY Times] Keep reading »