Category Archives: Feminism

Ocean’s 8 Movie Review

Heist films are nearly as old as Hollywood itself. The question, is, does the film standout within the genre or is it just too unbelievable?

Ocean’s 8 is the next chapter in the Ocean’s movie series.

Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is the sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney), the protagonist of the previous Ocean’s films. When she gets out of jail, she gathers a crew together to steal a necklace worth millions of dollars at the Met Gala.

The crew includes Lou (Cate Blanchett), Amita (Mindy Kaling), Tammy (Sarah Paulson), Constance (Awkwafina), Nine Ball (Rihanna) and Rose Weil (Helena Bonham-Carter). The necklace is to be worn by Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) at the Met Ball in New York City.

I loved this film. While it helps that the main cast is made up of a group of diverse female performers, it is the narrative that makes the film enjoyable. It is funny, well written, thrilling and worth a trip to the movie theater.

I recommend it.

Ocean’s 8 is presently in theaters. 

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RBG Movie Review

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is without a doubt an icon. Without her intelligence, veracity and legal acumen, American women would still be stuck in the same place that their mother and grandmothers were in.

The new documentary, RBG, directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen, tells the story about the life and career of Justice Ginsburg. Born in Brooklyn in 1933 to immigrant Jewish parents, she came of age in an era when women were merely expected to marry and raise a family. Instead, she went to Law school. In the 1970’s, she started to gain fame when she represented parties who were discriminated against because of their gender.  Those cases would eventually lead to her joining the Supreme Court in 1993, where she has been ever since.

I really enjoyed the documentary. Though Justice Ginsburg is at an age when many have long since retired, she has the physical and emotional energy of a woman half her age. The fact that she still regularly works out is a testament to the fact that age is merely a number. I enjoyed the documentary because it is not only Justice Ginsburg’s story, but it is the story of America over the past 60-ish years and how she has helped America to reach the ideals laid out by our Founding Fathers.

I recommend it.

RBG is presently in theaters.  

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Thoughts On The 20th Anniversary Of Sex and the City

For most of human history, women’s voices have either been muted or silenced all together. Through generations of struggle, women have come very far in a very short time.

One of the markers of this change is Sex and the City. This week, the show is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Set in New York City, Sex and the City or SATC tells the story about the lives of four single women. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), the program’s protagonist, is a writer who writes a column about sex and love based on her own life. She is best friends with Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), an type-A lawyer, Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall), a publicist who has been around the block and Charlotte York (Kristin Davis), a traditionalist who works as an art dealer.

I very much appreciate the groundbreaking aspects of SATC. While the women had quite a few boyfriends, they men were secondary. The women and their friendship was primary. I also very much appreciate that the characters were sexually active and treated it as a natural part of adulthood instead of being ashamed of their actions. No subject was off the table with these women, they talked about issues that everyday women talk about with their friends.

However, I should point out that there are a few chinks in the armor when it comes to SATC.

  • While Carrie’s apartment was beautiful, it was a fantasy. Most writers would not be able to afford that apartment in real life.
  • The lack of people of color.
  • The fact that all of the leading actresses were a little too skinny.
  • The hookup culture that permeated the love lives of the characters. There are many women who would prefer wait to sleep with their dates or their significant others.
  • The New York City that is presented in SATC has a very glossy feel to it. The New York City that I know is a little grittier and not as pretty.
  • In the end, Carrie still lived out the traditional happy ending when she and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) finally made it official.

While SATC was not completely true to life, it was still a huge step forward when it came to how women were portrayed on television. For that reason alone, SATC will live on forever in the heart and minds of the fans and television viewers everywhere.

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Thoughts On The Changes To Miss America

For nearly 100 years, the Miss America competition has defined the ideal of what it is to be an American woman. That ideal is about to change.

Gretchen Carlson is the new chairwoman of the Miss America organization. The former Fox News journalist, who won the title in 1989, announced the changes to the competition this week.

The most notable change is that the bathing suit portion will be removed from future Miss America pageants.

Frankly, I think it’s about time. While the Miss America competition has the best of intentions, its a little outdated from my perspective. While I’m sure the contestants are intelligent and capable women, we have to be honest with ourselves. We are not judging these women on what they can accomplish, we are judging them on how they look (especially in a bikini).   In 2018, that should not be the message that our daughters are still receiving.

While I very much appreciate the changes that will be made to the competition, I have a feeling that the dent in the glass ceiling will not be much of a dent at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts On Bill Clinton’s #Metoo Comments

A Presidential Impeachment is history making. 20 years, Bill Clinton was nearly impeached for lying about the sexual liaison he had with then White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

While promoting his new book, The President Is Missing, (co-written with James Patterson) on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, President Clinton was asked about the scandal.

 

I believe that we have to take the following into consideration when passing judgement on President Clinton:

  1. He was not the first and will not be the last public official who is caught having an extramarital affair.
  2. An older male manager taking sexual advantage of a younger female employee is nothing new. Working women throughout history have dealt with this problem for an untold number of generations.
  3. We didn’t have the language or the perspective in 1998 that we have today. The #Metoo movement has shined a necessarily uncomfortable spotlight on the issue of sexual harassment and assault, especially in the workplace.
  4. Unlike other men accused of a similar crime (especially you know who), President Clinton appears from my perspective to be genuinely contrite about his actions.

However, his apologies cannot and will not absolve him of his actions. While his reputation has recovered, the reputations of the women linked to the scandal will forever be tainted. Monica Lewinsky will never lead a normal life. Hillary Clinton perhaps could have perhaps won the 2016 Presidential election, if not for her husband’s past misdeeds.

I don’t know if I will ever completely forgive President Clinton. But at the same time, I appreciate the apology and his support for the #Metoo movement. If there is any silver lining in this story, it is that the #Metoo movement is not going away. It is only getting stronger and will continue to grow until women are treated equal to men.

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The Female Persuasion Book Review

From my perspective, our early 20’s are our most formative years. We are no longer teenagers, but at the same time, we do not have the wisdom or experience that only comes with age.

In Meg Wolitzer’s new novel, The Female Persuasion, Greer Kadetsky is shy college student who meets 60’s and 70’s feminist icon Faith Frank after a lecture at Greer’s college. Greer becomes an instant fan girl. Like many young women, she is torn between personal/professional ambition and her relationship with her boyfriend, Corey. Meeting Faith ignites something in Greer and leads her, Corey and her best friend Zee on a path that no one sees coming.

 

I loved this book. I loved it because we can all relate to it somehow. Greer is a modern every woman, trying to make sense of it all, whether it is her relationships with Corey and Zee or the career path that she is following Faith on.

I recommend it.

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Little Women Character Review: Margaret “Marmee” March

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the adaptations.

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 Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

A girl’s first role model is her mother. More than providing food, shelter, warmth and clean clothes, a good mother does her best to guide and teach her daughter as she grows up. In Little Women, Margaret March, the mother of the titular heroines is known to her daughters are Marmee.

When the audience is introduced to Marmee, she is for all intents and purposes, a single parent raising four teenage girls. With her husband is fighting for the Union, Marmee is doing the best she can with limited resources.  While she is a practical woman who completely understands what needs to be done to keep her family going, she is not without a heart. Early on the in the novel, at Marmee’s request, the family gives their Christmas dinner to another family who has much less than they have.

In a certain sense, Marmee is a modern mother. She is not a helicopter parent, and allows daughters to make mistakes, even when she knows the mistakes are preventable. While she completely understands that her girls must marry one day, Marmee is not the matchmaking mama who throws her daughters at every eligible man in sight. She wants them to have solid marriages to men who respect and love her girls in the way that they deserve to be respected and loved. She also wants her girls to stand on their own two feet, well, as much as they could in the 1860’s.

To sum it up: In creating Marmee, Alcott understood the impact a mother has on her daughter. While Marmee, like anyone, has her weaknesses and difficulties, she does her best as a mother. Many times in fiction, especially classic fiction, mothers are dead, forever embarrassing their children or emotionally absent as a parent. Alcott broke the mold, creating a mother who while thoroughly human, is being the best parent she can be. That is what any reader or child could ask for.

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Thought On The Irish Abortion Referendum

When one thinks of Ireland, forward thinking and progressive is not usually the description that comes to mind.

Last week, the Irish government placed a referendum in front of the citizens. Should the current abortion laws, which only allowed for the procedure when the mother’s life was at risk be overturned or kept as is?

66% of the voting public voted for the law to be overturned.

The fact that 2/3rds of the Irish voters voted for the measure gives me hope. It gives me hope that one day, US voters will do the same. They will trust American women, the spouses/partners and their doctors to make a decision that is at its core a personal one.

From my perspective, those who want to ban or limit abortions do so because they have yet to see women as full-fledged human beings who have the capacity to make their own decisions. While faith and religious observance play a part in on how one might feel about abortion, when it comes down to it, in 2018, are women viewed as intelligent, rational creatures who have the ability to make decisions about their future or are they still viewed as second class citizens who need a man’s guiding hand on all decisions?

 

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Add Another One To The List XI: Morgan Freeman

Sometimes it takes public shaming for things to finally change. The list of powerful or famous men accused of unwanted sexual assault has grown again. Morgan Freeman is the newest name on this dishonorable list.

Sixteen people have accused him of either sexual assault or inappropriate behavior. Four of those who have made such accusations are journalists whom Mr. Freeman has been interviewed by during press junkets. They have accused him of making inappropriate remarks during their interviews. Chloe Melas, who is the co-author of the CNN article linked to above, stated that Mr. Freeman acted inappropriately towards her while promoting his 2017 film, Going in Style.

Based on the evidence presented, I don’t think that Mr. Freeman went as far as Harvey Weinstein did, however, that does not exonerate him. Mr. Freeman’s actions and words are a symptom of a much larger cultural perspective that still views women as sexual objects, regardless of whether actions follow the words spoken.

As much as I respect Mr. Freeman for his career, sometimes we must make public examples of bad behavior to make it clear that such words or actions are unacceptable.  Unfortunately, the public example that must be made in this case is Morgan Freeman, whose lapse in judgement reminds us all that inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated and those who still act in such a manner will be punished appropriately.

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Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World Book Review

In the fall of 2016, the feeling of change was palpable. Not just because Barack Obama would soon be finishing his second term as President Of The United States, but also because the possibility of America’s first female President was within our grasp. Hillary Clinton was running on the Democratic and it looked like it would be an easy win. But, as we all know, the results of the election was a shock to everyone, especially Jennifer Palmieri.

Ms. Palmieri, who had previously worked in the Obama administration before joining the Clinton campaign, is the author of a new book, Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World. Framed by her experience in our current political climate, it is a series of letters to the future female leaders of America, and specifically to the women who will one day become President herself.

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because not only does Ms. Palmieri write about the pitfalls of women in positions of political power, but she also encourages women to get involved in politics. If nothing else, the book is empowering its readers to become leaders in whatever walk of life they are in and not be afraid of the challenges that go along with being in a leadership role.

I recommend it.

 

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