• A new study finds that the two HPV vaccines currently available don't cover the strains of HPV most prevalent among black women. Merck, the creators of Gardasil, are in the final stages of developing a new vaccine that will cover those additional strains. [NBC]
• This is the first year that the LGBT film festival in China was not disrupted by the police. The Advocate asks if this symbolizes progress for China, where TV shows and movies with LGBT themes are censored. [The Advocate]
• Indiewire looks at women in sitcoms and argues that while Jess from "New Girl" has evolved over time, Mindy from "The Mindy Project" still doesn't know who she is. [Indiewire]
• Indian Health Services finally expands over-the-counter Plan B access for Native American women to be in line with federal law (though it's still not part of their policy to make it available to all ages without a prescription). Access to emergency contraception is particularly important for Native American women because of the high rates of sexual assault they face. [Feminist Majority Foundation]
I admit I didn't join the Breaking Bad bandwagon for years. In 2008, a screenwriting professor suggested I watch the show after I wrote a similar screenplay about a woman with breast cancer who decides to take back her life—but I held off. In the flurry of grad school life, I didn't want to get sucked in to what everyone said was a completely addictive show. Until now.
In the last week, I've binge-watched every episode of Breaking Bad. I've been surprised, overwhelmed, humored, angered, saddened, and excited, and that's probably what show creator Vince Gilligan wants.
Anna Faris (left) and Rebel Wilson star in two of network TV's five new female-focused comedies coming up this fall.
What are you doing with your summer? Catching up with friends? Starting a fun, new creative project? Just kicking back and relaxing?
Wrong! The correct answer is: "Analyzing the fall 2013 network TV schedules!" I mean, seriously. You can go camping or swim at the beach any time! But you can only prep for fall's new TV comedies right now.
Based on this TV Guide listing of fall's new shows, 21 new network comedies are slated to debut this season. Of those, only five appear to be focused primarily on female characters.
A lot has been said about Mad Men's Betty Draper, from her cold demeanor to her role as a lonely housewife, but love her or hate her, she is a complex character functioning within a system that leaves her dissatisfied.
In the early seasons of Mad Men, Betty has pretty much only one outlet to help her to cope with her unfulfilling life: horseback riding. What do horses give her that being a wife and mother cannot?
Cowgirl narratives often depict women and horses building a trusting relationship. But though they're about collaboration and trust, in these stories women almost always employ traditional horsemanship techniques that are grounded in domination and submission. So while these narratives are important in that they show women exercising freedom and agency, they still retain some elements of patriarchy. Control of horses and natural is a parallel to the control of women.
We've already discussed that Betty White isn't the only woman over 60 on TV. But she's certainly the patron saint of older female television stars. Though White's long been a household name — her incredible career dates back to some of the first TV broadcasts ever, in the '40s — something special happened a few years back. In her late '80s, she suddenly became a hot commodity. The surge in her popularity was the result of a confluence of events: a scene-stealing role in the 2009 Sandra Bullock movie The Proposal and a funny Snickers commercial appearance that ran during the 2011 Super Bowl inspired a Facebook campaign to get her to host Saturday Night Live. Then she did, in the midst of launching a new show she happened to be in, TV Land's Hot in Cleveland. Suddenly major magazines were doing profiles, and talk shows were vying to book her. People suddenly remembered: They loved Betty White.
Today, in honor of International Women's Day, I want to recognize the women who have hung in there for decades on the small screen, playing (mostly) wives and mothers and then grandmothers to the ever-younger main characters. Who's ready to start a Facebook campaign to get one of these women hosting Saturday Night Live?