This weekend, Kira Kazantsev from New York won the 88th Miss America pageant at Atlantic City, which was inevitably followed by a slew of blog posts viciously skewering Kazantsev and the Miss America pageant in general. Gawker honed in on Kazantsev’s “rhythmless red-cup percussion“ rendition of “Happy,” inspired by the movie “Pitch Perfect.” Salon, in an otherwise sympathetic post, called the pageant “a collective American Nelson Muntz moment.” And Bustle redubbed Ms. America ”Miss Symbol of Conventional Gender Mores.”
Every year, I read these posts lambasting the Miss America pageant for being sexist, lame, irrelevant, and outdated, and the contestants themselves for being little more than a dumb person’s idea of ideal American femininity, anthropomorphized celery stalks liberally smeared with self-bronzer and Bonne Bell purple eyeshadow. And I agree with them, to some extent. (That flip-cup rendition of “Happy” wasn’t stellar, let’s just leave it at that.)
But mostly they just make my eyes roll into the back of my skull. Keep reading »
I guess, in our post-”Harry Potter” world, a lot of people would be really excited when a new movie comes out starring Daniel Radcliffe.
Alas, I am not one of those people.
When I heard about the cast for the new rom-com “What If,” I was more excited about Zoe Kazan. The Yale graduate does things like tweet about Criterion films and how “Boyhood” reminded her of Truffaut’s Doinel stories. She a star of stage and screen, appearing in shows like “The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie,” and films like “It’s Complicated,” “Revolutionary Road” and ”Ruby Sparks.” In fact, it’s “Ruby Sparks,” which she wrote herself, that made me a Zoe Kazan fan — there’s something very badass about writing yourself a lead role in a movie.
In “What If,” Kazan is a leading lady once again, playing Chantry, a young woman with a boyfriend (Rafe Spall) who befriends her cousin’s aimless pal, Wallace (Radcliffe). As their friendship gets closer and closer, Chantry and Wallace both start to wonder whether it’s possible to remain friends when you’ve got romantic feelings. It’s super emotionally realistic in a way most rom-coms usually aren’t.
Earlier this spring, I met up with a bubbly Kazan to chat about “What If,” rom-coms, feminism, and femininity. Our conversation is after the jump:
Keep reading »
Could it be that plain old mental habit is the reason for gender inequality at work? According to consultant and former businesswoman Caroline Turner, that’s pretty much what it comes down to. In a blog post for the Huffington Post, Turner said that the biggest reason women aren’t proportionately represented in business leadership positions is a set of “mind-sets,” or unconscious ways of viewing the world. The most powerful and deep-rooted of these mind-sets, it seems, is the “double bind,” or the idea that if a woman channels her more feminine energies, she’ll be liked by her coworkers but not seen as a leader. On the other hand, if she allows her masculine energies to lead the way, she’s likely to be judged and disliked. What I take this to mean is that the biggest obstacle we’re up against in the workplace is essentially subconscious stereotyping. Keep reading »
Miami NewTimes: Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Farrah Abraham: I’m pretty feminine. I think so.
Not feminine — feminist.
What does that mean, you’re a lesbian or something?
No, that’s not what I’m asking at all.
What context are you saying it in?
It’s a complicated concept, but I guess at it’s most basic, it means that women are equal to men.
Oh, I definitely feel that women are equal to men. No doubt about that. I mean women should have equal rights to men, every day.
– Farrah Abraham — “Teen Mom,” porn star, memoirist, and feminine-ist. I mean, that’s what feminism is all about, isn’t it? Or does it mean, like, being a lesbian or some shit? I don’t know, this question is hard. [Miami NewTimes via Jezebel] [Image via Splash News]
Francois Ozon: I think women understand the film more than men. … I think women can really be connected with this girl because it’s a fantasy of many women to do prostitution. That doesn’t mean they do it, but the fact to be paid to have sex is something which is very obvious in feminine sexuality.
The Hollywood Reporter: Why do you believe that is a desire? I really don’t think that’s the case.
I think that’s the case because sexuality is complex. I think to be an object in sexuality is something very obvious you know, to be desired, to be used. There is kind of a passivity that women are looking for. That’s why the scene with Charlotte Rampling is very important, because she says [prostitution] was a fantasy she always had but never had the courage to do it. She was too shy.
How did you come to the conclusion that is a theme in women’s sexuality?
It is the reality. You speak with many women, you speak with shrinks, everybody knows that. Well, maybe not Americans!
This is the French director Francois Ozon, whose film “Young & Beautiful” — about a Parisian teen girl who becomes a prostitute — screened at Cannes. At first I was inclined to think, ‘Oh, those French men!‘ but I do think this exchange is worth a closer look because it reveals a lot about his somewhat limited view of women’s sexual fantasies. Keep reading »
Last week, I was in a conversation on Facebook in which I admitted to not liking kids. (My comment: “Real talk: I don’t actually like babies, actually, or children.”) I thought about taking it down as soon as I posted it. An hour later, I was still thinking about taking it down. No one paid much attention to the comment; it’s not really a secret among my friends that I feel this way, although one friend wrote “Yikes,” which I’m still not sure how to respond to. Nevertheless, I felt like I had crossed some serious line. I post everything I write — mostly personal essays that connect to my political beliefs — on social media. As such, this status is definitely not the first time I’ve insulted someone with my beliefs. Yet affirming my dislike of children on Facebook seemed like a whole new level of evil.
But still, I didn’t take the status down. Keep reading »