If Alice Paul had gotten her way, the United States Constitution would read:
Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
This, her proposed text of the Equal Rights Amendment, has never come to pass. Drafted by Paul and introduced by two Republicans in 1923—one of whom was Susan B. Anthony's nephew—the ERA was introduced in every congressional session thereafter, until 1980. Nearly 60 years of finding a sponsor, and for all but three of those years, ERA died in committee. In those other three years, it either failed on a close vote in the Senate, or it passed, but with a rider that none of its supporters could stomach.
School's out for summer, and I'm feeling antsy. I want to throw garbage cans at mailboxes, drink warm Budweiser in the back of a pick-up truck, and smoke cigarettes in front of the arcade. I want to drive around the neighborhood with the windows down so everyone can hear the brilliance of Suzi Quatro.
You know how every once in a while someone comes into your life–be it in person or in book, music, film, or some other form–and totally blows you away because they're saying everything you've been thinking, but in a way that is smarter and better than you've been thinking it? Like they took what was inside your brain and made it make sense? Jean Kilbourne is one of those people for me. As a young feminist beginning my academic career in media studies, no one hit more nails on more heads for me than she did. I am sure I'm not alone in feeling this way about Ms. Kilbourne and her work, which makes it all the more exciting that her book, Can't Buy My Love, is our first Mad World Book Club selection!
June is LGBT pride month, commemorating the multi-day standoff at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, 1969. When I've marched through the sticky heat of Washington, DC's pride festivities, I find myself wishing we were commemorating something in April, but the Stonewall riots are probably the best touchstone to choose, so June it is.
As commercialized as Pride festivals are these days—and here I note the full inclusion of a Frito-Lay truck having an actual float in this year's DC parade—it's easy to forget the moments that have been hard fought in the last 41 years. When I first came out in 1991, I thought gay marriage would never happen in my lifetime, and as of today, it is legal in five states and the DC. We have progressed further than I thought possible, and in other ways, we have barely moved an inch. [More]
2. Even female action stars must submit to the Makeover trope.
The trailer for the hotly anticipated Salt finds Angelina Jolie rocking the mess out of a pencil skirt and taupe heels, only later to revamp her exterior with some snug black clothes and Miss Clairol's bluest black. While it certainly makes sense for a person to alter their looks when being chased by the CIA, I'm not sure if why the trailer evoked films like Clueless, Pretty Woman and 13 Going on 30. More importantly, it's possible the audience can take for granted that Jolie has altered her appearance without being shown every detail of her transformation. The makeover trope is utilized for men, but often–even in action films–it's played for comedic effect. Harrison Ford might have grimaced his way through an application of Just for Men in 1996's The Fugitive, but it was clearly meant to be an amusing respite from all that heart pounding action. Yet Jolie's transformation feels like a rite of passage rather than a necessary element of survival.