I'm a feminist and a high school English teacher in the south suburbs of Chicago. Last year, one of the students in my class was inspired to start a group for girls at our school and approached me about sponsoring it. Of course I agreed! A few weeks ago, we tackled the topic of positive female role models in pop culture. The high school students came up with a list of eight current, mainstream "feminist idols" they and their friends look up to.
The list is a good insight into what interests teen girls these days, as well as hopefully a helpful resource. We talk a lot about degrading and regrettable portrayals of women in media, here are eight actresses and comedians my high schoolers are excited about supporting.
1. Emma Stone: My students loved the movie Easy A, a modern film inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. In it, Emma Stone plays a high school student who tries to bring the book into her real life. The movie definitely has feminist undertones, but Stone herself is a major feminist. In a recent interview she did with her boyfriend Andrew Garfield, she was asked who her style icon was. After Garfield said he never got asked questions like that, Stone piped up, "You get asked interesting, poignant questions because you're a boy... It is sexism." Way to call out sexist media, Emma Stone!
Well, what do you know? I was just gearing up to write a post about
the Bitch library’s recent acquisition of a full set of Sassy magazines—the
first issue! the Kurt ’n’ Courtney issue! All the issues!—which were a
gift from the fabulous Rita Hao, forever friend of Bitch and a member
of our National Advisory Board. And then the news came down the
Intertubes that tiny wunderkind style blogger Tavi Gevinson will be
teaming up with founding Sassy editor Jane Pratt to launch a new teen
magazine at some point in the not-too-distant future. According to a
somewhat vague post on Gevinson’s blog, Style Rookie:
guys may know how I feel about Sassy. You also may know that I've been
babbling about how I think our generation should get one, too. Jane
Pratt, founding editor and then EIC of Sassy, also became aware, and
emailed me, and we've met a couple times, and it looks like we're going
to start a magazine for an audience of wallflowerly teenage girls.
(I am trying so hard to be cool and professional right now.)
(Trying. so. hard.)
Of course, it won't be Sassy (or the rebirth of Sassy, or Sassy
2.0) and nor do we want it to be. For one, you can't try to recreate
something that good. For another, while I can read old issues of Sassy
and relate, the world has changed a bit in the past 15 or so years, and
that whole Internet thing happened, and this world calls for something
different. Something that will use Sassy as a point of reference for
the whole teen-magazine-that-doesn't-suck thing, and something in which
Jane Pratt will take part, but something that is not trying to recreate
the other something a bunch of us love and don't want to see copied.
Disclaimer: I'm about to shamefully make a Huey Lewis & the News reference: It's hip to be...a perv? Well, Terry Richardson seems to think so. Ever since sexual abuse allegations against the hipster icon surfaced, the blogosphere has been commenting on the subsequent shit storms that keep popping up around this perv. So, it's about time that we deem Richardson a douchebag.