While I'm personally in no way rattled by the acquisition/merger, I do think that it provides some opportunities to discuss gender, entertainment and marketing.
Marvel has over 70 years of history, and Disney will have access to over 5,000 characters (though the ones that have been mentioned most in the past week are the most profitable: Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the X-Men. Hmmmmm . … what could be missing here?)
The deal has included lots of business speak about "brands," "vertical integration," "long-term growth," "value creation," and my favorite, "synergy," (mostly because it reminds me of 30 Rock's Jack Donaghy telling Liz Lemon to "never badmouth synergy"). There certainly will be many opportunities for profit, but I'm interested in how y'all respond to the fact that one of Disney's major motivating factors has been securing a young male demographic.
As if gay marriage weren't sweet enough already, Ben & Jerry's and Freedom to Marry have teamed up to present us with Hubby Hubby, a renamed version of their popular peanut butter & pretzel-y ice cream. Check it out:
In which I ponder the pleasures and perils of having sex with your ex. Does familiarity--or a breakup--breed contempt? Or are your exes a valuable resource in what my friends and I call women's "anti-celibacy campaign?"
I'm vegan. I think cruelty to animals is unnecessary and unjust. I don't eat animals. I don't wear them. And I don't kill them for sport. However, Ella Es el Matador isn't a film about animal rights, and treating it as such does it an enormous injustice. I don't believe in prioritizing a conversation about cruelty enacted on bulls over one about cruelty enacted on women while discussing a beautiful and melancholy film exploring the world of bullfighting through the eyes of female matadors—so I won't.
Newsweek has a piece on their website right now entitled, "How To Get A Raise: Stop Being Good" by Jessica Bennett. In it Bennett reviews a new book, Rachel Simmons' The Curse of the Good Girl which is about how raising girls to be "good" can actually be, well, bad when it comes to their careers. The book sounds pretty great, though not necessarily surprising. (Guess what? Women are socialized to be too nice to be taken seriously in the workplace!) Still, it's nice that Newsweek is addressing these issues for the not-necessarily-feminist set.
However, a lot was missing from the article, and a lot was there that frankly shouldn't have been. For example, as a photo essay accompaniment to the piece, Newsweek gives us "11 Powerful Women That Make Men (and Other Women) Squirm". While writing about the problems of the "psychological glass ceiling" that keeps many women from feeling confident in the workplace, isn't Newsweek perpetuating that same shit by basically calling women like Hilary Clinton, Martha Stewart, and Anna Wintour (and yes, they are all white women except for Yoko Ono) terrifying?
For at least the last thirty years (and probably more) my mom has been a faithful viewer of The Young and the Restless. For several years in there I was too - my earliest memories involve eating the peel from her apple while watching the show. Without fail, my mother has taped every episode, even if she's watching it live, in case she is called away. Great woe awaited the daughter of hers who accidentally interfered with its taping on the VCR every once in awhile - though always the result of a mistake my mother acted as if I had deliberately planned the ruin of her day. Vacations are organized with an eye to how my mother will get to catch up on her show. Nowadays I'll only see glimpses of it when I'm home, and not much has changed: Victor is still endlessly remarrying and divorcing Nikki, Jack Abbott still has an abundance of sandy blond hair, and there is always, always, a rhinestone somewhere in the frame.
I'll admit that despite all the wooden acting, the stilted dialogue, the unbelievable marriages and remarriages and devil possession plots, I did, for a while, succumb to the hypnotic power of the soap opera. There is something reassuring about them, the same people there every day, without fail, missing only a few major holidays a year, never changing and always predictable. And I can see, very well, that they broke up the monotony of housewivery for many women. Moreover, soap operas have occasionally displayed a penchant for progressivism: most recently, they've been introducing gay and lesbian characters with little judgment, and more than a little reverence.
Doris Walker worked throughout her life protecting and defending leftist causes and activists. She participated as an activist and legal counsel throughout almost every major America progressive social movement in the twentieth century, from denouncing Jim Crow laws and McCarthyism, to being a labor lawyer and labor organizer, to helping to successfully acquit Angela Davis, and even challenging the Bush Administration's invasion of Afghanistan in Iraq.
My husband's response: "Well, duh." (As you can probably guess, I relate to smart, sophisticated, powerful, independent women – I bet most of you do too. ;)
Elizabeth Tudor (1533-1603) was a complicated and fascinating woman who continually made it clear that she was rising above the perceived limitations of her sex to lead her country. She was known as The Virgin Queen; though whether or not she was a virgin in the literal sense remains debatable – she certainly belonged to no man. In fact, she claimed she was married to England.
She did entertain suitors (and often pitted them against one another) in order to gain political advantage. Marriage, of course, would have meant losing control of her affairs, and after having seen what her father did to her mother, Anne Boleyn, and to her sister's mother, Catherine of Aragon, as well as to her subsequent step-mothers, she was savvy to avoid such entanglements. As she famously said, "Better beggar woman and single than Queen and married," – a belief that ensured Good Queen Bess a freedom rarely afforded female monarchs.
Elizabeth I is a woman that captures the imagination, and many actresses have played her over the years – from Sarah Bernhardt's silent portrayal in 1912'sLes amours de la reine Élisabeth to Bette Davis in the Hollywood drama The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex in 1939 to Helen Mirren in Elizabeth I in 2005.
Listed below, in no particular order, are but a few of the women (and one man) who have most notably played the Virgin Queen in all her tempestuousness and grace.
Did anyone else notice the bizarre sexism during the commercial breaks on last night's episode of Mad Men? I can accept that a healthy dose of douchiness comes with the territory when I decide to watch currently airing episodes of a show instead of waiting for it to come out on DVD, but I honestly felt creeped out by how skewed all of last night's ads were toward a male (and sexist) audience. Could it be that, because the show itself portrays a stylized hypermasculinity, advertisers are missing the context and coming up with campaigns to try and match Mad Men's outdated sexism?
I saw ads for (and this is just what I can remember): Lipitor, Viagra, NFL Sunday Ticket, and more, all aimed at middle-aged men who I didn't think were following Peggy Olsen's rise to the top all that closely. Oh, and let us not forget this gem, from Clorox:
Because, you know, sometimes even MEN do the laundry! And Clorox apparently dragged that ad out of its archives (here is a Feministing post on it from two years ago) just for Mad Men. WTF?
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