This piece was cross-posted with permission from the Ms. Magazine Blog.
On Tuesday, Mother Jones released an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaking with members of his reelection staff. Much of the conversation focused on actor Ashley Judd, who, until recently, was rumored to be mulling a run against the current Senate GOP leader. For the most part, the recording is typical opposition research. An aide rehearses Judd’s public politics: She loves Obamacare, is pro-gay marriage and self-identifies as a feminist.
None of this, of course, is much of a surprise — Judd campaigned for President Obama and has spoken publicly on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America. More disconcerting than the rehashing of Judd’s political ideology, however, is when the discussion veers from policy to Judd’s reproductive choices and then quickly to her mental health. Keep reading »
Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Felicity Jones, and Rupert Everett
I wanted to love “Hysteria.” I really did. It has Maggie Gyllenhaal being her ball-busting feminist self, Hugh Dancy looking adorable, and the entire film is about the invention of my favorite thing on Earth, the vibrator.
But instead of being the kind of kickass film that had me texting my girl friends, You have to see this movie, “Hysteria” turned out to be pretty much be a rom-com that tries, and fails, to do “A Dangerous Method.” And it fails badly.
“Hysteria” is set in 1880s London and stars Hugh Dancy as Dr. Mortimer Granville, a dedicated, passionate young doctor who is fired from his job at a hospital for trying to introduce newfangled practices to cut back on germs. He’s hired at a private practice for Dr. Dalrymple, who practices “women’s medicine.” But Dr. Granville quickly finds out that the cure his boss is using to help women with their “hysteria” — anxiety, sadness and “nymphomania” — is squirting lubricant on his hands and … well … rubbing her clitoris. Keep reading »
“[My] favorite thing was a woman in Italy said to me, ‘Which do you think has done more for women’s equality and emancipation, the vibrator or the dishwasher?’”
– Poor Maggie Gyllenhaal. All her promotion for “Hysteria” — her new film with Hugh Dancy about the invention of the vibrator — is going to force her to talk about vibrators. Again. And again. And again. She must be getting so bored. (And horny.) However, I do love how one commenter on this interview with the New York Times answered, “Neither — the birth control pill and the washing machine.” That’s probably true. [NY Times]
Conservative lady-splainer Caitlin Flanagan is handwringing over the teen girls again. No, not only in her new book, Girl Land, which frets about “eighth-grade girls who know how to roll on condoms because they’ve learned that in school.” She’s also fretting in last weekend’s New York Times op-ed page regarding the teen girls in LeRoy, New York, who came down with Tourette’s-like symptoms like tics and barking. Flanagan, who writes for The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, tied it to other cases of female mass hysteria — emphasis on the word female here — including “the Salem witch trials” and “poltergeist hauntings.”
Her diagnosis of this hysterical outbreak? Teen girls “deserve more protection.” Keep reading »
The time before the invention of the vibrator is a dark period of world history which I prefer not to think about. But imagine, ladies, if you will, a period when all of a woman’s problems were attributed to “hysteria,” a vague pathological affliction which doctors found could best be cured by applying pressure to a woman’s most delicate regions. A suffering woman could be relieved of her hysteria by hand, of course, but the world needed a device to get the job done more quickly. “Hysteria” premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next month and stars Hugh Dancy as a young doctor in Victorian England and Maggie Gyllenhaal as his boss’s daughter, who knows at the root of all these hysterics is a need for pleasure. God bless electricity, that’s all I have to say. [YouTube] Keep reading »
Finally, the most under-appreciated invention in the history of the world is getting its due; this fall, Maggie Gyllenhaal will film an indie romantic comedy, “Hysteria,” about the invention of the vibrator! It’s set in Victorian-era London and she plays the daughter of a doctor who treats what used to be called “hysteria,” i.e., crankiness and tension. Hugh Dancy will play one of the docs and Rupert Everett will play his best friend. Both are convinced a new vibrating device could help ladies clear that “hysteria” right up. I hate to spoil the ending but … well, we all know it works. [Variety] Keep reading »