In 1948, in a seventh grade classroom in Eugene, Oregon, a teacher dimmed the lights and flipped on 16mm projector. A film called Human Growth began to play and for 20 minutes, a fictional teacher explained the human reproductive system while animated sperm and ovum flickered onscreen.
When The CW canceled beloved TV show Veronica Mars in 2007, I was in my last year of college, huddled around the TV with friends. We all berated The CW for canceling our favorite show about a teenage private eye only to replace it with a reality show about The Pussycat Dolls.
Films and television shows tend to present a skewed portrayal of abortion—when fictional movies and TV shows include a plotline about abortion, the tale typically paints the procedure as riskier than it is in real life.
That’s the conclusion of the first-ever academic “census” of abortion in pop culture from two reproductive health policy researchers who watched every fictional plotline involving abortion they could find in American TV shows and films.
From Fast Times at Ridgemont High to Dirty Dancing, you can count the number of sympathetically-depicted cinematic abortions on one hand—leaving your other hand free to page through yet another one of those think-pieces about how filmmakers aren’tscared of showing abortions in movies, it’s just that abortions aren’t much of a plot line and audiences just don’t want to see abortions depicted on film. Oh, of course! Thanks for clearing that up, Hollywood masterminds! We’ll be sure to tell everyone who’s ever had an abortion that their experience has less cinematic merit than the 149thParanormal Activity sequel.
Egyptian comics character Qahera, a new Muslim superhero who fights street harassment and sexual violence.
At the beginning of September, around the time news broke of Ciudad Juárez's Diana, "Huntress of Bus Drivers," my dad informed me that a female family member of ours living near Mexico City was assaulted while waiting for the bus she took home each evening. So, after reading reports about Diana the Huntress from Mexican news sources like El Diario, I came to embrace the myth-worthy, middle-aged, black-clad vigilante with a shock of blonde hair who was quickly attainting superhero status for killing two bus drivers she alleged were rapists.
The Sapphires is a feel-good film about being "black" in a cross-cultural context. I loved it.
Based on the true story of four Aboriginal women who form a singing group and are invited to Vietnam to perform for American troops during the 1960's, the film has been lazily dubbed "the Australian version of Dreamgirls." But it's a lot more than that. So, when I saw the American DVD cover of the film, I cringed a little. It's at left below, compared to the original Australian cover:
• In notably less-awesome Obama news, the president's unresolved pledge to close Guantanamo Bay has left the naval base with more than 60 inmates still on hunger strike in what is now the sixth month of protests. [Colorlines]
The statistics from the 2011 National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs are grim. Trans people were almost two times as likely to experience injuries than cis people. Transgender people of color were 28 percent more likely to experience physical violence compared to people who were not transgender people of color. And people under 30 were the most likely to experience sexual and physical violence.
2011 was also the year that Shelley "Treasure" Hilliard was horrifically murdered in Detroit. Only 19 years old, Hilliard was an active member in Detroit's LGBTQ youth community, and her death shook the activists, family, and friends around her. But TransParent, a new film, is going beyond the statistics to share the story of Shelley, her mother, and the community around them.
Here in the blog series Reverse Cowgirl, we've looked at everything from women warriors to advertising aimed at horse-loving girls, each getting at this baseline question: what is it about girls and horses? Now, as it's time to hit the trail (sorry, had to), what can we come away with?