Category Archives: Feminism

Timeless Character Review: Emma Whitmore

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Timeless. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the first two seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Timeless to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Commitment is defined as the following:

“The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.”

If one were to look up the definition of commitment in the dictionary, they would see the face of Emma Whitmore (Annie Wersching). Emma was originally a double agent, working for Mason Industries while revealing the secrets of her job to Rittenhouse. When her secret was revealed, Emma joined Rittenhouse and never looked back.

The audience and the Time Team met Emma after she had faked her death and spent several years living in Missouri in the 19th century. Emma is a tireless foot soldier for Rittenhouse, willing to do anything and everything that is needed to ensure that her teams wins.  Not above violence when needed, she is smart, strong and is more than able to take care of herself. But that does not mean that she is without weakness.

Angry and jealous that Lucy is higher in the hierarchy of Rittenhouse due to an accident of birth, Emma takes great pleasure in torturing Lucy whenever she can. However, she is not all bad. In certain instances, she has let history take its course instead of following her instructions to the letter.

To sum it up: A character who is committed to his or her cause is a great starting point for their story arc. But there has to be more than this commitment. Emma is a good example of this because though she usually follows the dictates of Rittenhouse,  there are moments when she does not follow orders. Her jealousy of Lucy and the rare times when she does acquience to history creates a well-rounded character that the audience can relate to, even if they disagree with her actions.

P.S. It’s nice to see a badass redhead on screen, even if she is one of the baddies.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, History, Television

The Lost Carousel of Provence Book Review

Family secrets are like a poison. The secret itself may stay hidden, but the emotional consequences of the secret can leach out and have an effect on the family for generations.

The new novel, The Lost Carousel of Provence, by Juliet Blackwell, is set in three distinct time periods and told from the point of view of three different characters. Cady was raised by the system in California. The only parental figure in her life is her newly deceased foster-mother. With nothing to lose and nothing to keep her in California, Cady travels to France to take pictures of carousels on a freelance assignment. In 1940’s France, Fabrice is a young man who is fighting for his country by joining the resistance. He knows that it is dangerous and he knows there will be consequences for both him and his family if he is caught, but he feels that it is the right thing to do. In the early 20th century, Maelle is young woman who wants to do more than marry, keep a house and raise children. She wants to be an artist. She gets that opportunity, but that comes with life changing experiences.

All three characters, in their own individual lifetimes, are brought together by the Château Clement, an upper class estate in Provence and its legendary carousel. Each plays a part in either hiding or revealing the secret of the Chateau and the family who calls it home.

I really loved this book. I loved it because it was well written, it was exciting and I wanted to reach the end of the book to figure out the mystery. I also loved it because of the bold choice of the narrative structure. It takes a skilled writer to jump between time periods and the narratives of individual characters while maintaining an articulate story arc. While many writers are unable to do this because of the delicate balancing act required while writing a novel with this specific type of narrative structure, Ms. Blackwell is able to do in a way that I find enviable.

I recommend it.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History

Becoming Book Review

When we admire someone, we forget that they are fellow human beings who go through the same ups and downs that we  all do.

When Michelle Obama became America’s FLOTUS (First Lady Of The United States) in 2009, she was more than the first African-American First Lady. She was intelligent, educated, warm, loving and a devoted wife and mother.

Her autobiography, Becoming, was published recently.

Born in Chicago in 1964, Mrs. Obama came from a normal working class family. She met her future husband (and future POTUS or President Of The United States) Barack Obama when he was hired to be summer associate at the law firm where she worked at the time; she was assigned to him as his mentor. They married in 1992 and have two daughters. As the future POTUS and FLOTUS, Barack and Michelle did their best to balance their marriage, parenting their children and work. Then politics came calling and their status as an average middle class family in America forever changed.

I absolutely loved this book. I felt like I was having a one on one conversation with her. The book is personal, deep and makes the reader feel like they have a connection to her. Unlike other autobiographies where the writer is full of it and bragging, Mrs. Obama is humble and open.

I absolutely recommend it.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Politics

Thoughts On The 20th Anniversary Of Mulan

Twenty years ago, Disney introduced audiences to the newest member of the Disney Princess line: Mulan.

Based on the myth of Hua Mulan, Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) is a young woman growing up in ancient China. She is expected the follow the traditional path: marry, have children and live as women before her have lived.

Then the Huns attack and the men are called up to join the army. But Mulan is an only child and her father is not a young man anymore. She takes her father’s place and pretends to be a boy. The ancestors watching her are not pleased with Mulan’s decision and send Mushu (Eddie Murphy) to convince Mulan to stay home. But Mulan will not be convinced otherwise, so Mushu goes with her to battle.

Twenty years ago, Mulan was a revolutionary film for Disney. As a character, Mulan was the most progressive of the Disney Princesses up to that point. She was the second non-Caucasian heroine after Jasmine in Aladdin (1992). Marriage was not her first priority.She was also not a size 2.

In every Disney Princess film, the character’s emotional journey is kicked off by the “I Want” song. In a nutshell, the song describes what they want from life. Mulan’s “I Want” song is “Reflection”. 20 years ago, this song left its emotional mark on me and many others who saw this film. It’s about pretending to be someone else to please your loved ones and the emotional toll it takes on you.

While Disney has a long way to go in terms of how women are represented on film, Mulan was and still is a giant step forward for which I am grateful for.

Leave a comment

Filed under Feminism, Movies, Music, Thoughts On....

Timeless Character Review: Agent Denise Christopher

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Timeless. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the first two seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Timeless to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Every team needs a level-headed, capable leader. They are the ones who keep calm when everything and everyone around them is falling apart around them. On Timeless, that leader is Agent Denise Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey). Responsible for bringing and keeping the Time Team together, she is the unquestioned leader of their group. Part mama bear and part military general, it up to her to ensure that the missions are completed and Rittenhouse is stopped. But she also has to deal with the administrative part of leadership, working with Mason Industries and the her bosses in the NSA.

Like many working women, Denise juggles both a work life and a home life. Married too Michelle (Marci T. House), she has two young kids. But while her home life looks flawless, it was not easy to come out. When the Time Team met her in the early 1980’s, a younger Denise Christopher (Karen David) came from a traditional Indian family. Working as a police officer, she kept her sexuality close to her chest and nearly married a man to please her family.

To sum it up: Like anyone in a management, Denise Christopher’s professional life is a balancing act between caring for her team and making sure that they can complete the job they were hired to do. Add in her home life and you’ve got the average working woman. Any woman with a full-time job, a partner/spouse and children will tell you that it is never easy. But Denise Christopher stands out as a character because she balances both and proves that even though it is not easy, it is still possible.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, History, Television

The Other Einstein Book Review

There is an old saying:

“Behind every great man there is a great woman”

The issue with this statement (at least from my perspective) is that while a man is pushed to succeed and accomplish his goals, a woman is encouraged to put her dreams and aspirations aside to support her man.

Mileva Marić had as much potential to succeed in the world of science and math as her husband, Albert Einstein. But because she was a woman and he was a man, she put her ambitions aside to support his ambitions. Their story is told in the new book, The Other Einstein, by Marie Benedict. Mileva (or Mitza as she was known to her loved ones) met her future husband at University. As the only female student in her program, Mileva worked hard to earn the respect of her teachers and classmates. While Mileva was putting everything she had into earning her degree, Albert was not really putting in the effort. He was the kind of student a teacher might describe as having potential, if he was was willing to do the work to see that potential become reality.

They marry after Albert graduates and for a while, it seems like a solid and happy marriage. But as Albert’s fame and success grows, his marriage to Mileva is slowly shifting to shaky ground. Will their marriage last or will his fame break up what once appeared to be a perfect relationship?

I really loved this book. I loved it because it introduced me to a side of a legend that I had not known before. And frankly, it was a side that I didn’t like at certain points in the book. I also loved it because Ms. Benedict gave a voice to a woman who should have been able to succeed in her chosen field, but didn’t because of the era she lived in. It was a reminder to me that I shouldn’t take the educational and career opportunities for granted because it was not that long ago that woman had to fight for the opportunities that seem normal in 2018.

I recommend it.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History

The Favourite Movie Review

Politics can sometimes be construed as a game of one upmanship.

The new movie, The Favourite takes place in England in the early 18th century. Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) is on the throne, but she is not the one who is running the country. Emotionally unstable and in bad health, she relies heavily on her friend, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), who unofficially rules in the Queen’s stead. Enter Abigail (Emma Stone), a cousin of Sarah’s whose family has fallen from their aristocratic roots. Abigail is looking for a job and soon climbs up the ladder as Sarah’s maid. As Sarah becomes more involved with the war with France, Abigail takes her place as the Queen’s emotional support system. Seeing that power is within her grasp, Abigail takes it and challenges anyone who would dare threaten her new-found power.

This movie is very interesting. The dirty game of politics is usually confined to men. But in this film, the women play dirty, pull no punches and do what they have to do to gain or stay in power. Couched in the language and imagery of a BPD (British Period Drama), but adding layers of politics, feminism and history, this film is a must see.

I absolutely recommend it.

The Favourite is presently in theaters. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Feminism, History, Movie Review, Movies, Politics

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger Book Review

Gloria Steinem is said to have once stated the following:

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

Rebecca Traister‘s new book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, explains in no uncertain terms that American women are angry and not afraid to show that anger. For far too long, women’s anger has been dismissed, especially in politics. An angry women is a b*tch, unlikable and therefore not able to speak for and represent her potential or existing constituents. In the book, Ms. Traister writes about the history of how women’s political anger in the United States has transformed the country in such a way that we can never go back to where we came were.

I loved this book. Powerfully written, Ms. Traister not only illustrates how far we have come, but how far we have to go.

I heartily recommend it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Politics

Ralph Breaks The Internet Movie Review

When creating animated movies, the creators have to walk a fine line. They have to appeal to both the children and the adults, which is often easier said that done.

Ralph Breaks The Internet premiered today. A sequel of Wreck-It Ralph, the film starts off six years later. Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) are still the best of friends. But Vanellope is feeling hemmed in by how predictable her life is. When the game controller on her game breaks, Ralph and Vanellope travel to the Internet to find a new controller. Their plan is supposed to be simple, find the controller on Ebay and go home. But as the saying goes: “mortals plan and G-d laughs”.

While trying to stick to the plan, Ralph and Vanellope meet Shank (Gal Gadot) and Yesss (Taraji P. Henson). Will they be able to accomplish their goal or will things to awry?

This movie is brilliant, funny and appeals to all ages. It has the humor that speaks to the kids and the emotional gravitas that adults will appreciate. I also appreciated the scenes with the Disney Princesses. Without giving too much away, I will say that it was nice that Disney stepped into the modern era by stepping away from the traditional narratives of these traditional characters.

I recommend it.

Ralph Breaks The Internet is presently in theaters. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Feminism, Movie Review, Movies

A House Divided Cannot Stand And A Feminist Movement Cannot Prevail With Hate

There is an old saying: a house divided cannot stand.

A political movement whose ultimate goal is equality cannot last when hate worms its way into the movement.

Theresa Shook is one of the founders and leaders of Women’s March, the face of the modern feminist movement. She has called on her co-founders to step down due after accusations of antisemitism and anti-gay sentiments were made known to the public.

To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. If we are marching and protesting to ensure equality for one group of people, we must do the same for all. We cannot say one thing in private and say something else in public. We cannot demand equal rights for all women in public and in private make antisemitic and anti-gay remarks in the private.

In case these women forgot, this generations feminists did not just become feminists out of thin air. We stand on the shoulders of Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. All three of these women are not just icons of the second wave of feminism, but Jewish as well. The fact that antisemitism has infected Women’s March spits on these women who paved the way for us to fight for our rights.

When we have true equality, it will happen when we work together, not when we denigrate one another because of religion or sexuality.

Leave a comment

Filed under Feminism, National News