If you're on a site about feminist response to pop culture (spoiler alert: you are), you have probably heard of the Bechdel Test for movies. Conceived in Alison Bechdel's Dykes To Watch Out For, the test is simple: to pass, the movie in question must feature a conversation between two named female characters that is not about a man. It's a good indication of whether or not a film is at all concerned with women, or if its focus is entirely on men. It's deceptively simple; upon hearing this for the first time, I thought "well, surely almost every film must pass!" But no.
While I am not the movie writer in residence here (check out Snarky's archive for that!) I've found that it's easily applicable to other forms of media, including television! It's not a standard I apply to every single episode of every single television show I watch, but more of something that occurs to me while I'm watching. "Oh," I'll think while watching Tami and Tyra talk about college on Friday Night Lights. "This episode clearly passes the Bechdel test! Awesome!" The Bechdel test is not a way to tell whether or not a show is feminist—that depends on the viewer's interpretation of the show and their definition of feminism—but it's a good way to gauge the development and value of female characters on the show.
There, I said it. No fairy godmother is going to come down and give you fancy One-seeking slippers, there's not some other higher-power-created other half of you waiting equally wistfully for you to walk into his or her life, and there's no ultimate, perfect person out there that, if you make one mistake or break one undefined rule, you'll fuck it up with and thereby end up alone.
The game is called "Hey, Baby", and it is a game about street harassment. It is a first-person shooter where you play as a woman walking around a city fighting off waves of men who approach you while repeating "classic" street harassment lines, everything from the notorious "Smile, baby" to shouted rape threats. Killing the harassers results in a gravestone popping up with their line engraved on it.
Fat fashion, while still leaving much to be desired, has definitely come a long way. I can remember going to Lane Bryant with my mom as a little girl and being horrified by the beaded, sequined, baggy travesties they called clothes. Now the travesties are poly-cotton blend! I joke; Lane Bryant is not my favorite plus size store, but they have improved 110% over the years.
I thought it might be fun to start this series by exploring some female creators who are shaking things up in their industries. These women are a sign of great things to come, like some shifts in the way that women are treated as creators both by fellow creative professionals and the general public.
When a conversation turns to branding (and don't all of your conversations turn to branding?) the efforts of Absolut Vodka, the little alcohol company that could, are inevitably evoked. There's good reason behind this, too. Although ads for alcohol are extremely problematic, Absolut has certainly made a name for itself with a distinct brand. In fact, I'd bet that most of you can conjure up an Absolut ad, complete with their unique typeface and slogans, without even having to consult your Google image search.
That's why I've been a little surprised lately to see Absolut eschew their brand for an over-the-top cinematic spot (one loaded with messages about gender, of course). Behold:
Although she always claimed her birthday was May 1st--International Worker's Day, Mary Harris "Mother" Jones was born on August 1st, 1837 (although she also claimed to be born years earlier, in part to maintain her grandmotherly public persona).
The majority of my life has been spent inhabiting a body deemed too fat. While I spent my early childhood and elementary years as a "normal" sized child, I soon started the upward climb towards "fat" and when I reached that particular mountaintop, my body built a house, bought the furniture, put in a pool and declared that this was where we were to stay. My mind, however, was a different story.