”It seems young actresses are under pressure to look a particular way. They look the same, that’s the thing. And they’re all being photoshopped in adverts for all sorts of (products), so maybe that’s difficult as well — because you’ve got pictures of yourself looking perfect. They have to be this specific model size, and if they get on to the red carpet, they’re all having to walk like models and dress like models. I think the pressure is terrible. If you’re invited to re-invent yourself, in the language in which that conversation is couched, it’s difficult to resist: ‘You’ve got to be thinner.’ ‘You’ve got to be prettier. Because we need to sell you, and we won’t be able to sell you if you don’t look like this.’ It’s not about acting. They don’t care if you can act or not. I can only imagine what the pressures must be like. [If someone had tried to police my body in my 20s] I’d have told them where to shove it. I’ve always been a card-carrying feminist. But in those days, I was fierce, fierce, very angry. So I wouldn’t have put up with a single bloody minute of that.”
Damn straight Emma Thompson is a feminist! But wait — Emma, where do we get these official feminist cards? I need one for my wallet to whip out at appropriate moments. Please advise. [Telegraph UK] [Image via WENN]
Dear Variety Columnist Brian Lowry,
You wrote a negative review of Sarah Silverman’s new comedy special, “We Are Miracles,” which aired on HBO Saturday night.
And I get it.
The special felt stale, pointlessly antagonistic, and lacked actual jokes. But worse than the program itself was the bizarrely-gendered language you used to smash it.
The title of your piece, which I can only assume was approved by a Victorian-era ghost, was “Sarah Silverman’s Bad Career Choice: Being as Dirty as the Guys.” In the review, you claim Silverman appeared, “determined to prove she can be as dirty and distasteful as the boys.” Keep reading »
One of the most intriguing characters on “Scandal” is First Lady Mellie Grant. She’s not just a WASP sent from Central Casting, or a put-upon wife of a philanderer. Mellie gave up her Yale and Harvard-bred ambitions for the full-time job of photo ops and glad-handing as the First Lady. Just like Lucy Ricardo always wanted husband Ricky to just give her one opportunity to be in a show, Mellie Grant wants to influence policy and make big moves wherever she can. At every turn, she is stopped, often angrily, by her husband the President and his apoplectic Chief Of Staff. Both men remind her, every episode it seems, that the First Lady is supposed to be pretty sidekick, not a policy wonk. In one episode, Mellie is witheringly informed her job is to be “ornamental.”
Watching Mellie Grant on “Scandal” has made me look at Michelle Obama differently for sure. It’s not hard to imagine she, too, feels a bit trapped in a golden cage. We don’t exactly know whether Michelle Obama feels like her intellect is being wasted, but we do know from Jodi Kantor’s book, The Obamas, a portrait of the Obama marriage, that Barack’s high-level staff has bristled in the past at Michelle’s involvement. But also we know that Michelle dedicated her first year as First Lady to acclimating her two children to their new home and school and has spent many years since promoting healthy eating and exercise. All this has been summed up by Michelle Cottle, a Daily Beast scribe in a piece for Politico Magazine, as a feminist failure. Keep reading »
I am a black woman and my best friend is a gay man. He came out to me the summer between our senior year of high school and our freshman year of college.
“I really need to tell you something,” he began, while driving us home from our summer job at the local pool. I didn’t know what to expect — an admission of love, maybe? That would be awkward.
He pulled the car over, then stared deeply into my eyes and said, “I’m gay.”
I breathed a sigh of relief.
“Oh, that’s cool with me,” I replied.
He was excited that we would remain friends and was especially happy to have someone to go out and “meet boys” with. Together we frequented New York City’s gay clubs and bars, more often than the straight ones. Splash, Therapy or Barracuda, but The Ritz was a mutual favorite. It was a two-floor bar with a huge dance floor, usually jam packed with sweaty, shirtless men by 1 a.m. The environment offered us both freedoms: I could be as black as I wanted: dance to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” twerk it, shake it and break it (while being applauded), and he could be as gay as he wanted. Keep reading »
Over the last few days, a bunch of ink has been spilled discussing the topic of selfies — officially the word of the year! — and whether or not they’re good or bad for women. First, at Slate, Rachel Simmons suggested that selfies are a powerful self-esteem builder for girls. Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel took the opposite point of view at Jezebel, writing yesterday selfies are not empowering or feminist and are, in fact, a “cry for help.” Many women on Twitter were angry with her piece, because it failed to recognize that for women who don’t fit the white, cisgender, thin, able-bodied norm, posting selfies can be a radical act. Twitter user ConvergeCollide started the hashtag #feministselfie and encouraged women to start posting their selfies and before you knew it, the topic was trending.
I take a ton of selfies, for a variety of reasons, because most people who take selfies take them for a variety of reasons and not simply because we are A) making a feminist statement or B) crying for help. I take selfies because I used to feel like I was ugly and now I don’t anymore. I take selfies because my dog can’t take pictures of me. I take selfies because I like to spend most of my time alone but I still want to document that I exist. Here are 13 of those selfies, judged on how feminist they are.
We are obsessed with this brilliant commercial by toy company Goldie Blox, which aims to inspire and educate future female engineers. Their goal is to “disrupt the pink aisle,” as little girls are interested in lots of cool toys but primarily targeted with princess dresses and pop star dreams. The company’s creator, Debbie Sterling, is a Stanford engineering graduate disappointed with how few female classmates she had. Only 11 percent of engineers are female and Sterling believes that encouraging girls to be inventive at an early age with construction toys that come from “a female perspective” is a step in the right direction. The video takes the notoriously sexist “Girls” by the Beastie Boys and revamps it as something of a feminist anthem as the girls in the commercial get creative with household items — and those silly feather boas and tea sets they’re “supposed” to be sashaying around in. Anyone else want to adopt these three? [GoldieBlox]
New York city performer Amanda Trusty is no stranger to the scrutiny the entertainment industry feels entitled to when it comes to women’s bodies. In a (semi-NSFW) burlesque performance at a benefit for Hawaii Island Gay Pride, Amanda refuses to take that criticism any longer. Set to Katy Perry’s “Roar,” she finds a way to let it all go as she literally peels off hurtful words like “cellulite,” “fat” and “suck it in” that have gotten in the way of the joy performing should bring. I have never felt more empowered (and misty-eyed) just by watching someone dance! Read more thoughts from this amazing lady on her blog. Keep being awesome, Amanda! [Huffington Post; Amanda Trusty Says]
Did you know that every time you take your birth control pill, a tiny Victorian woman in your uterus hits a baby-carrying stork with an umbrella, and that’s why you don’t get pregnant? It’s true. This turn-of-the-century postcard knows what’s up. [Tumblr]