I spend a lot of time blogging complaints. Not enough women, too many but too insubstantial, why do they only talk to each other about men, etc., etc. This is a complaint commonly made about bloggers, and, hell, feminists, that they are too critical and don't ever seem to see any good in anything.
But today I've something positive for you. The other night I was watching the Colbert Report and a small, good thing happened. Colbert was interviewing Aaron Sorkin, who, if you've been living in media blackout for the last six weeks, has out a new movie about Facebook called The Social Network. The movie being essentially about a tech startup, not a form of human organization known for its devotion to vagina-ocracy, there aren't exactly strong female roles in it. This is not something I expect to be a common observation about the film, because at least as regards the gender of the main movers and shakers, the film is merely reporting the facts: they were men. So imagine my surprise when the one major issue Colbert stated about the movie was that its portrayal of women seemed flat. "The other ladies in the movie don't have as much to say because they're high or drunk or [beep]ing guys in the bathroom. Why are there no other women of any substance in the movie?" And then when Sorkin admits this is a fair question and terms the women "prizes," Colbert asks, "Are women at Harvard like that? I'm trying to figure out if I missed out on the college experience."
Last summer, which now seems so very long ago, we looked at some people and trends in US politics and policy making who have affected our lives, some for good, but mostly not. I really enjoyed the "Where in the world is" posts in the series, even as I shuddered to write some of them. Bob Packwood's "sinewy arms" just scare me. But as we look toward this midterm election season—and perhaps with some of those personalities of yore in our collective rearview mirrors as reminders of where we should not retread—it's time to ask where the politicians of today have in mind for our future.
Marcus is about to start her book tour, complete with appearances from Jessica Hopper, Anna Oxygen, Kathleen Hanna, Mirah, and Tara Jane Oneil, among others. Girls to the Front is very likely coming to a city near you, and I don't think you'll regret taking part in this Riot Grrrl revival. Check out the complete events list here.
This week on Grey's Anatomy, lightning strikes a flag football team, Doctor Yang breaks down in the operating room, Callie and Arizona spar over paint, Dr. Bailey lays down the law with Dr. Karev, Meredith opens up in therapy, and so much more! Find out what the Grand Rounds bloggers think about it all after the jump.
You feminist horror fans out there probably already know that The Exorcist is being re-released next week on Blu-Ray and DVD, complete with new special features and an extended director's cut. What you might not know, however, is that your friends at Bitch Media (hi, that's us) have five copies of said DVD that we'll be giving away throughout the month of October as a part of our Horror Show series celebrating feminist horror in pop culture! Read on to find out how to win one of these horror-filled DVDs—if you dare!!!
Via Muslimah Media Watch, Anida Yoeu Ali's "Mistaken for Muslim" is a powerful video that juxtaposes diverse images of Muslims, and the artist herself, with a poem relentlessly detailing xenophobic and Islamaphobic hate crimes in post 9/11 America:
Having trouble getting through your Friday? Take a break and check out what we've been reading web-side this week.
Meryl Streep was one of millions of disappointed women to hear that two Republican senators are holding up approval of a National Women's History Museum in Washington, D.C. because they think there will be a pro-choice slant to exhibits there. Jezebel is covering the story, and NYT columnist Gail Collins logged her support early this week as well.
Colorlines has launched a powerful campaign to Drop the I-Word. Join the fight against oppressive, hate-feeding language here.
The Nationposted several feminist articles on their site this week: An extensive piece on women in the Republican party; one on women in the Democratic party; and a piece by Feministing's Jessica Valenti on the commandeering of the word "feminist" in right-wing politcs lately.
The United Nations this week sent an official to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to investigate the huge numbers of civilians raped over a period of three days this summer by various armed rebel groups.
U.S. Census data was released this week, showing, among other things, that the marriage rate is at its lowest point in 150 years of data-gathering. Brangelina-esque protest, perhaps?
RIP Sally Menke, Oscar-nominated film editor who edited Quentin Tarantino's best-known films.
And finally, it's Banned Books Week, as Ashley pointed out on Sunday. Check here for events in your area!
What caught your eye this week? Tell us in the comments!
In this week's episode of Modern Family, "The Kiss," Gloria dreams that her dead grandmother wants her to connect to her roots by preparing traditional foods, despite the fact that, just last episode, we saw Gloria cooking up a shit ton of empanadas. No matter, we need a plot device! And food is a logical choice.
A year ago, right after the start of Glee's first season, I complained in this space that the show was riddled with stereotypes. These days I haven't much better to say about the show, other than that, from my perspective the writing has gotten even lazier, which I didn't think was possible. This week's Britney Spears episode, for example, didn't even have a nominal plot, just a disconnected sequence of novocaine-induced hallucinations. Increasingly the show is just an excuse to connect musical interludes, and as people more learned in the field of music have remarked, the interludes are less and less good as time goes on. (I admit I loved the football version of "Single Ladies," but it's been a long time since the show did anything near that inventive.)
I'm hardly the only person who complains about Glee, of course. It seems to be something of a lightning rod for people's complaints, particularly about diversity in television. The reason for this is somewhat immediately obvious; Glee presents itself as being a show about misfits. It's taking up the banner for every kid who hates the social structure of their high school, whose clothes were mocked, who liked the wrong things (like music), or who were just, in the extraordinarily cruel way of teenage thinking, not the right kind of person, because they had a wheelchair, they were pregnant, they were black. For the people for whom any of these things were true, that's a narrative that's pretty close to your heart, and when people go to reproduce it in popular culture, to speak for what it felt like to be excluded and rejected—well, you feel a special ownership over that, I think. At least, I still do, though I'm now more than a decade away from that time in my life.