Category Archives: Feminism

Thoughts On The Al Franken Resignation

Al Franken resigned from the Senate today.

I have mixed feelings about the resignation. On one hand, what he did was wrong and he should be held accountable for his actions. Unlike the Cheetos colored blowhard sitting in The White House and the child rapist running for Senate in Alabama, Mr. Franken seems to be genuinely regretful for his actions, but there is also proof that cannot be refuted.

But at the same time, leaving an open seat in the Senate, especially considering with the questionable bills that the Republicans are trying to push through, it makes me a little nervous. With one less dissenting vote, the Republicans who are voting for party over country may have an easier time getting their bills through.

Only time will tell what Mr. Franken’s future will be and if the bills sitting in the House and Senate actually get signed into law. I just hope that there are still enough rational voices in Washington D.C. to continue to counteract the blind loyalty of those on the right.

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Tracee Ellis Ross’ Children’s Book for Handsy Men

Sometimes it seems like some grown men have the maturity of a toddler.  Talking to them like grownups gets us nowhere. We need to talk to them on a level that they understand.

Enter Tracee Ellis Ross, who is guess hosting on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week. The video below is brilliant, funny and hits the point home. No means no, means no. End of story. If you don’t understand the word no, just watch the news and see the men whose professional and personal lives have been destroyed because they didn’t understand the meaning of the word. It’s not exactly a path in life that someone would actively choose to take, if they understood the meaning of the word.

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Add Another One To The List IX: Danny Masterson

The list of prominent dishonorable men accused of sexual assault and/or sexual harassment has added a new name to the list: Danny Masterson.

Mr. Masterson has been fired from his Netflix series, The Ranch, after he was accused of rape by multiple women.

The women who make these accusations are not just a series of body parts that make up the female human body. We are someone’s wife, someone’s mother, someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, etc. The problem is that the perpetrators don’t see us like that.

Mr. Masterson has a wife and a daughter. I would ask him and every man accused of similar heinous actions how they would feel if it was their wife, their mother, their sister, their daughter, etc, who was raped or made to feel less the human because she is a woman? Would they be so willing to act as they did? I would think not.

I feel no sympathy for Mr. Masterson and I applaud the women who have come forward. Karma, after all, is a b*tch and she has no problem speaking up and fighting back.

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Billy Bush Finally Speaks

We all remember the Billy Bush Access Hollywood tape from last fall.

It was what many of us hoped would be the downfall of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign. Instead Trump won the election and Billy Bush‘s life and career were left in tatters.

Though he publicly apologized for the video’s content last year, Trump has recently rescinded that apology and claimed that it was not him making those statements.  In response to the rescinded apology, Billy Bush has not only written a NY Times Op-Ed about the video, but he also recently appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to talk about not only the video, but how his life has changed since last fall.

It’s not easy to do what he did, especially considering the very public downfall that occurred after the release of the video. Nor is it easy to forgive him for condoning Trump’s behavior. But the fact that he is willing to speak up says a lot. I hope more will join him. Perhaps then, this country will return to a state of normalcy.

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Thoughts On The 200th Anniversary Of Persuasion

No one goes through life without making mistakes or having regrets. It is part of being human.

200 years after, Jane Austen‘s final completed book, Persuasion, was published posthumously with Northanger Abbey, the first novel she completed.

It’s been nearly a decade since Anne Elliot saw Frederick Wentworth, her former fiance. At the time, Anne was 19 and living with her sisters and her emotionally bankrupt, but spendthrift aristocratic father. Frederick was a penniless sailor, not exactly an appropriate match for a daughter of the aristocracy.  Lady Russell, who was a close friend to Anne’s late mother and acts as a mother figure to Anne and her sisters, convinces Anne to break off the engagement. Anne does as advised.

Cut to the present time. Anne’s father has bankrupted the family and they must leave their ancestral home, Kellynch Hall, for more financially feasible lodgings in Bath. Before going to Bath with her father and sister, Anne spends some time with her married younger sister, Mary. Among the visitors to Mary’s home are the Admiral and Mrs. Croft, who have signed the lease on Kellynch Hall. Frederick Wentworth is Mrs. Croft’s brother, he too is welcomed into Mary’s home. The tension between Anne and Fredrick is palpable. Can their relationship be repaired and move forward or will they both be stuck in the past?

Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel. Not just because of the maturity of Austen’s voice as a writer, but also because the narrative contains a maturity that did not exist in her previous novels.  Their breakup weights heavily on the mind of both lead characters and colors how they see themselves and their world for most of the novel. That breakup and that unspoken anger/grief feels very modern, even though the book was published 200 years ago.  Austen was writing this novel at the very end of her life. It almost feels like she was using this novel as a way of exploring her own regrets, especially when it came to the question of how her life had turned out, had she made a different set of decisions.

Persuasion is beautiful, heartbreaking, romantic and simply one of the best books ever written. If you have not read this book, do yourself a favor and read it. I promise you that you will not be disappointed.

 

 

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Add Another One To The List Part VIII: James Levine

The list of prominent men accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment has grown today to include one more name: James Levine.

Mr. Levine the legendary conductor of the Metropolitan Opera. He has conducted orchestras all around the world and has mentored musicians and singers who have become successful in their own right.

Mr. Levine has been accused of taking advantage of a young man from the time he was a teenager until the time when he was an adult.

The myth about sexual assault is that the victim is female and the perpetrator is male. That is a fallacy. Victims and perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment can a male and a female or two men and two women. Unfortunately, this fact is often under-reported.

The fact is that we need to have this conversation, regardless of who is the victim and who is perpetrator. We need to openly and honestly talk about this because both sexual assault and sexual harassment are a stain on humanity. Until that stain is cleaned (i.e. these events are prevented and prosecuted, if they cannot be prevented), we will always have this stain on our cultural consciousness.

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Add Another One To The List Part VII: Geoffrey Rush

The list of prominent men accused of sexual assault or harassment by their female colleagues continues to grow. The newest name on this list is Australian actor Geoffrey Rush.

Rush, star of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, has stepped down from his role as as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts because of claims of inappropriate behavior by female staff.

The fact is that male privilege has gone unchecked for far too long. We are so ingrained, as a worldwide culture to not only show preference to men, but to look away and/or call women names who have had the balls to speak up when men have taken advantage of us sexually.

Frankly, it’s about bloody time that change is finally happening. If it makes some people (especially men) uncomfortable, then so be it. I would rather be uncomfortable and know that we are finally seeing real change rather than go back to watching the same sh*t happen all over again.

I could go on, but I think the skit from Saturday Night Live last night says it all.

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Once Upon A Time Character Review: Snow White/ Mary Margaret Blanchard

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous 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 Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Snow White is one of the quintessential fairy tales. The jealous stepmother, the poison apple, the handsome prince are all part of the basic narrative and character makeup of the fairy tale genre. But that does not mean that every writer has to stick to the same basic narrative and character arc.

In Once Upon A Time, there are two versions of Snow White  (played by Ginnifer Goodwin). In fairy tale land, Snow White is for the most part, the same character that audiences have come to know, with a few minor and important updates. In Storybrooke, she is Mary Margaret Blanchard, a teacher who in the beginning of the first season, like of most of the characters, were unaware of their true identities due to the curse that brought them to Storybrooke in the first place.

When the curse was lifted at the end of the first season, Snow White and Mary Margaret merged into one character. While she has her true love, Prince Charming/David Nolan (Josh Dallas, Goodwin’s real life husband), she also continually in the cross-hairs of her stepmother, The Evil Queen/Regina Mills).

This Snow White is an interesting mix of the traditional Snow White and characteristics of a modern, independent woman who audiences have come to expect.  She has a good heart and takes care of those around her, but also has no problem being a bad-ass when circumstances arise.

To sum it up: While traditional fairy tale characters (especially female characters) are great, they have been done to death. What the writers Of Once Upon A Time have very smartly done is taking the basic characters and narratives that exist with the fairy tale world and twisted them into new characters and narratives that audiences have not seen before. With Snow White, they have retained the skeleton of the character, but have made her human.

As writers, our job is not to create stock characters, but to use those stock characteristics as a building block for the character arc.  Stock characters are great, but if a writer just uses that stock character without building it up, the reader may feel like they have seen the story before and walk away. We don’t want the reader to walk away, so we must make sure that our characters are built up enough to stand on their own two feet and not rely on the standard stock character that has been seen for far too long.

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Filed under Character Review, Fairy Tales, Feminism, Once Upon A Time, Television

Add Another One To The List Part VI: Garrison Keillor And Geraldo Rivera

The not so honorable list of prominent men accused of sexual assaulting and/or sexually harassing their female colleagues has grown to include two more: Garrison Keillor and Geraldo Rivera.

Garrison Keillor is the founder of A Prairie Home Companion. Broadcasting since 1974, the show has become a staple of public radio. After it was discovered that Keillor crossed the line with a colleague, he was fired and A Prairie Home Companion was removed from the channel’s lineup.

Geraldo Rivera has been a journalist and talk show host for many years. Recently Bette Midler accused him of sexual misconduct in the 1970’s.

I get it that firing these men, especially at this point in time is necessary. A message needs to be sent that such actions are not ok and there will be consequences for those who do act in such a manner. But at some point, the firing is going to be counterproductive. I just feel like for now, there is no choice but to fire these men. If they are not fired, the problem will continue and it simply can’t.

 

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Flashback Friday-Legend (1985)

One of the great things about movies is that they can take us to places that we could never go to in our daily lives.

In the 1985 movie Legend, Darkness (Tim Curry) wants to destroy daylight and create a world where only darkness reigns. To do so he must kill the last of the unicorns and marry the fairy princess Lili (Mia Sara). Lili happens to be the significant other of forest boy Jack (Tom Cruise).  Jack must both save Lili and prevent Darkness from taking over the world.

I have mixed feelings about this film. While the magical elements add to the supernatural reality of the world in the film, the narrative is completely predictable. My issue with the film is also that Mia Sara’s character is the typical damsel in distress/hero’s love interest.  There is nothing more to her other than to the girl in the film.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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