• This quote says it all: "If we as a society have any interest in preventing mass shootings -- crimes that seem so senseless, so unpredictable -- we have got to look at domestic violence." [The Stranger]
There aren't all that many fictional depictions of women in politics, at least compared with fictional portrayals of women in domestic service, women in trouble with the law, women in the porn industry, and women in some stage of being attacked and killed by a psychopath. Parsing through characters to search for patterns in these portrayals of politicians has led me back through decades, which has given me a little bit of reservation because I believe that different eras highlight their own tensions. On the other hand, we're only one remake away from reviving and re-distilling those stereotypes for today's audiences (I'm looking at you, Manchurian Candidate).
Anyone who's spent time on a social networking site, watched cable news, or opened their email inbox in the last two months has probably heard about the "GOP's war on women." From placing humiliating barriers between women and their reproductive health to erasing domestic violence laws out of the criminal code and denouncing any woman in the workplace or on birth control, the attacks have been constant this primary campaign cycle. I'm happy to return to Bitch's blog to discuss politics and feminism in the popular cultural sphere, but this go-round I'll be looking specifically at fictional politicians and policy makers. I'll be asking about what kinds of stories we find in these narrative portrayals and looking for connections to the continuing commentary about women from elected officials and those seeking office.
Hello, hello! Ready for some thought-provoking links? I knew you were!
Today, in bad taste... anti-abortion group Life Always is comparing aborted fetuses to people killed by the earthquake in Japan. The always-astute ColorLines reports on the wrongheadedness of this tactic.
TransGriot writes about the importance of having trans* people in US cinema, and not just as characters.
Did you see the New York Times' claim that all of Washington D.C.'s influential pundits are young men... and Ann Friedman's response? Feministe gives us a run-down.
Alvin McEwan muses on the irony of bishops denying queer people housing, and Frances Kissling talks about the life of Geraldine Ferraro, an influential pro-choice Catholic politician, both on AlterNet.
Some of us at Bitch HQ were unhappy to see this announcement about Mad Men's hiatus. Meanwhile at Philly, Ellen Gray explores the curious decision to include a documentary about 1960s divorce on the Season 4 DVDs. What's your take?
At HuffPo, Linkins argues against the claim that political liberals are silent about invading Libya.
Recently at a safety seminar, a Toronto cop told students that "Women can avoid sexual assault by not dressing like 'sluts.'" In protest, awesome local women are marching past police headquarters on Sunday for the Slutwalk!
No Piers, I'm not calling you out because you routinely dis audience favorites on America's Got Talent (although seriously, dude has built his career makingpeoplecry). No no, you are hereby declared an epic D-bag for interviewing one of the most intelligent, politically savvy women in the world and asking her why she's not married and what she'd cook you for dinner.
During the campaign season we took a look at a few campaigns that actively used race and ethnic stereotypes as part of their strategy on the road to Washington, DC. There were undocumented workers slipping across poorly guarded borders to steal American jobs and infect the country with drug-related crime. We faced Islamic terrorists who flaunted their hatred of the US right in the face of Ground Zero. The President himself was often a target, being caricatured as everyone from Che Guevara to Adolf Hitler to a turban-wearing Muslim, to an extra from Amos and Andy. One week out from Election Day, how did they do? And does anyone out there think that using these tactics had any effect on who showed up to cast votes?
This week's Feministory subject, Phoolan Devi, had a life that read like an action movie screenplay. In fact, her life BECAME an action movie screenplay. But integral to discussions of Devi and her harrowing story is the search for truth. Who knew the truth about her? Did she tell the truth? Did the books and movie about her tell the truth? Who WASN'T telling the truth? And which truth were her assassins following when they shot her in front of her home in 2001?
Once upon a time, politics was serious business. These days, however, presidential merit is measured as much by frat-house standards as by traditional approval ratings (apparently, American voters would rather have a beer with Bush than with Kerry), and a well-timed joke can sometimes sway public opinion more effectively than a reasoned argument.