Category Archives: Feminism

Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Nick Amaro

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In an ideal world, our past would stay in the past. We learn from our mistakes, but we don’t let those mistakes guide us in the present. But we don’t live in an ideal world. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Detective Nick Amaro’s (Danny Pino) past is complicated, to say the least.

As a boy, he and his mother escaped to Miami to get away from his abusive father. Though they had a tentative reconciliation later in life, the relationship between father and son was never ideal. Neither was the marriage to his ex-wife, Maria (Laura Benanti). The marriage ultimately failed due to lack of communication and mistrust. After things cooled, Maria asked if Nick would follow her to California, for their daughter’s sake. But Nick declined. Outside of his marriage, Nick also has a son from an ex-girlfriend.

Nick’s past also has a way of intruding into his job. He was the first partner that Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) had after the departure of her longtime partner, Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni). The initial stages of their relationship were not easy, but they worked through it eventually.

At work, Nick had some uneven patches. He is known to act rashly, put his foot in his mouth and shoot first (and ask questions later). This lack of professionalism led to a brief demotion before returning to the squad. At the end of his narrative, he was studying for the Sergeant’s exam and hoping to move up the corporate ladder. But when he is told that his past is the barrier to the promotion, he has a breakdown which leads to his retirement and eventual move to California.

To sum it up: Our pasts do not dictate our present. But, if we are not careful to learn from our mistakes, we will continue to make them. Nick Amaro never quite learns from his mistakes. His continual mishaps forever alter his life, both in the personal sense and the professional sense.

As a character, the fans remember Nick because of these mistakes and his attempts to make up for those mistakes. It is that human characteristic that makes us love him, in spite of his flaws. That is why we remember Nick Amaro.

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There is a Special Place in Hades for Women Who Assist in the Sexual Assault of Young Girls

When we bring our daughters into the world, we hope that we will do anything and everything we can to protect them until they are of an age to take care of themselves. Unfortunately, there are some who choose to put our daughters in harms way for their own gain.

I am convinced that there is a special place in Hades for women who assist in the sexual assault of young girls. Ghislaine Maxwell is one of these women.

After the explosion of the Jeffrey Epstein case and his subsequent suicide, many have been asking how and why so many young girls were brought into his home in the first place. The answer is Ghislaine Maxwell.

If the accusations are true, this woman knew exactly what Epstein was doing to his victims. She could have protected these girls and told Epstein that what he was doing was wrong. Instead, she looked the other way and for whatever her reasons were, just continued to send more girls his way.

Only time will tell if the full weight of the law falls on her shoulders. I hope that not only is she sentenced in this life, but in the next life. What she did was wrong and deserves whatever punishment she receives.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Amanda Rollins

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

We all have personal demons. The question is, do we let these demons rule us or do we find a way to live as best we can in spite of these demons?

On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) is one of the newer members of the the SVU. Originally from Georgia, she transferred to the NYPD in 2011. Initially, she was a little wet behind the ears, but experience soon kicked in.

Amanda does her job well, but she has her demons. She has been known to drink more than she should, has dealt with a gambling problem and has a younger sister who adds more to Amanda’s plate than is needed or asked for. While in therapy, she spoke of her tumultuous childhood and the impact it had on her as an adult. If all of that was not enough, she was taken advantage of sexually by a former boss.

But like anyone who has battled personal demons, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, if one is willing to do the hard work. Amanda is the mother of two darling little girls who have changed her life for the better.

To sum it up: it takes a strong person to not only fight their personal demons, but to win. Amanda has won, at least for now. Personal demons have a way of staying with us, no matter how old we get. It is just matter of choosing to let them control us or we control them. As a character, Amanda is an inspiration because she survived the battle with her demons. If she can do that, so can the rest of us.

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The Perfect Resolution to Grantchester’s #Metoo Moment

*This post contains spoilers about this season of Grantchester. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the entire season.

Women have been experiencing sexual assault and sexual harassment since the beginning of time. It is only in the past few years that the #Metoo movement has forced the hand of lawmakers and leaders to stop and/or prevent such acts.

This season of Grantchester tackled the issue as only this show can.

After having her children and spending quite a few years at home, Cathy Keating (Kacey Ainsworth) is ready to go back to work. It’s supposed to bring in additional income and give her something to do outside of the traditional roles of marriage and motherhood.

But like many women across the centuries, Cathy has more than the standard workload on her hands. Her lecherous colleague, Anthony Hobbs (Christian McKay) has wandering hands and the idea that his female colleagues are there for his sexual pleasure. The preview of the scene starts at :11.

There are two ways to resolve a story line of this manner: the easy way and the hard way. The easy way would have been that upon finding out about Mr. Hobbs, Cathy’s husband, Geordie (Robson Green) would have jumped into the car, driven to the store where his wife works and give Mr. Hobbs a beating he will never forget.

The hard way is for the women to stand up and use their brains to stop this man. Cathy enlists Mrs. Chapman (Tessa Peake-Jones) to help her get rid of Mr. Hobbs without relying on on her husband.

I won’t give away the ending of this narrative thread, but I will say that it felt satisfying, despite the frustration of Mr. Hobbs not being exposed for the predator that he is.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a little creativity to ensure that these men are treated as the criminals that they are. Especially when too many women still experience sexual harassment and sexual assault on a daily basis.

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Thoughts on the New Little Women Trailer

Little Women is one of those books. It is the literary gateway drug that for many young bookworms (myself included). I remember reading an abridged version of the novel when I was around eleven or twelve. I loved it then and almost thirty years later, that love has blossomed into a life long affection.

The trailer for the reboot written and directed by Greta Gerwig was just released earlier today. Stepping into the iconic, universal and beloved roles of the March sisters are Emma Watson (Meg), Saoirse Ronan (Jo), Eliza Scanlan (Beth) and Florence Pugh (Amy). Supporting and sometimes bumping heads with the March girls are Marmee (Laura Dern), Laurie (Timothée Chalamet ) and Meryl Streep (Aunt March).

As a friend stated on Facebook, about this trailer and the film’s potential success, ” If anyone can top Winona’s Jo, is DEFINITELY Saoirse”. I have an incredible amount of love for the 1994 adaptation, but if this version can top that love, I will love this film forever.

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The Kitchen Movie Review

When it comes to gangster films, female characters usually fall into one of two categories. If they are any sort of prominence within the narrative, they usually fall within the romantic or familial label: wife/girlfriend/mistress or the sister/mother/ daughter. If they are not prominent within the narrative, they are a nameless and faceless background character.

The new movie, The Kitchen attempts to change that. Based on the comic book of the same name, the film is set in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City in 1978. The Irish mob, known as the Westies, unofficially rules the neighborhood. When three of their members are sent to jail, their wives take their places within the mob organization.

Kathy Brennan (Melissa McCarthy) is a devoted wife and mother. Ruby O’Carroll (Tiffany Haddish) is treated like an outsider because she is an African-American woman married to a Caucasian man. Claire Walsh (Elisabeth Moss) has been knocked around by her husband more times than she can count.

Not only must the women contend with opposition from the men, they must also content with the fact they are breaking the law.

What I hate is that this movie has so much potential going for it. It has a great cast and a narrative, that if written well, could be compelling. Instead, this movie falls flat on it’s face.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely not.

The Kitchen is presently in theaters.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Dominick Carisi Jr

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

If there is anything that gets us in trouble, it is inexperience and the inability to control our emotions.

On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, that inexperience and the inability to control one’s emotions was the introduction to one of the newer members of the squad, Dominick Carisi Jr. Carisi is of Italian-American descent. Born and raised on Staten Island, he comes a tight knit and complicated family.

Over time, his inexperience and lack of ability to control his emotions was tempered, though certain cases brought out his lesser qualities. Looking to the future, Carisi started taking night classes at Fordham University to earn his law degree. Adding knowledge of the law helps him professionally, but the joke is that DA Rafael Barba (Raul Esparza) is not always pleased with Carisi’s interjection.

To sum it up: When a television program is only for as long as SVU has been on, the interjection of new characters and new emotions is needed to shake up both the narrative and the characters. Carisi, as a character, because of his inexperience and quick temper, was the shakeup that SVU needed. Though it sometimes got him in trouble, he has matured into a character that is beloved both by the other characters and the fans alike.

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Ashes in the Snow Book Review

When we think of the atrocities and the mass murder that was unfortunately part and parcel of World War II, we think of the Nazis and the Holocaust. We don’t think of the Soviet Union.

Ruta Sepetys‘s 2018 novel, Ashes in the Snow (originally titled Between Shades of Gray) begins in Lithuania in 1941. Lina is your average fifteen year old girl with a passion and a gift for art that shows promise. Then her world is turned upside down by the occupation of the Baltic states.

Soviet officers force themselves into her home in the middle of the night. Separated from her father, Lina, along with her mother, young brother and many others are forced into crowded trains. Their destination is Siberia and a work camp that is dehumanizing in every sense of the word.

Lina uses her artistic skills to keep herself alive mentally and to draw what she is experiencing while hoping that her drawings will reach her father. In spite of the conditions she is living in, Lina fights to survive with her family, but is that enough to keep them alive until they are free?

This book is amazing and a must read, in my opinion. It is obviously not an easy book to read, but a necessary book to read. Experiencing this world through Lina’s eyes, we see this young girl grow into a young woman under circumstances that I would wish on no one. If one thing stood out to me, was that Lina has this incredible source of inner strength that keeps her going when she could easily give up and let death take her.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Law & Order: SVU Character Review: Odafin “Fin” Tutuola

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

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 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There has always been the debate on whether it is better to see the world in black and white or color. On Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Odafin “Fin” Tutuola (played by actor and musician Ice-T), sees his world and his job as black and white. That view came from his early upbringing on the streets of New York City. As a young boy, he watched as the city rioted after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and saw his mother killed by one of his father’s business rivals.

As a cop first in narcotics and then in special victims, Fin sees the world as black and white. If the accused is guilty, then he or she deserves whatever punishment they receive. This point of view often led him to clash with his colleagues, who saw the shades of grey in the cases they were assigned. Outside of work, Fin sought to keep his private life and his job separate. But he eventually opened up to his partners, who became as close as family.

To sum it up: Sometimes a character is defined by his or her point of view. Fin sees his world and his job as black and white. Which is fine, because that works for the character. But there is also more to him than just a cut and dry perspective on the law. He has a big heart for those who he cares about and is willing to do what it takes to get the job done.

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Earn It!: Know Your Value and Grow Your Career, in Your 20s and Beyond Book Review

Life would be easy if it came with an instruction manual. But it doesn’t and that forces us to unfortunately learn as we go.

Earn It!: Know Your Value and Grow Your Career, in your 20s and Beyond was published earlier this year. Written by television journalist Mika Brzezinski and producer Daniela Pierre Bravo, this book is the guidebook I wish when I was in my 20’s. Using the personal experience of the authors and the experience of other successful women, the reader is guided through every step in the early stages of their career.

While I was reading this book, I kept thinking back to my 20’s and the career mistakes that I made back then. This book is the perfect book for the young person in their 20’s (young women especially) who are starting their careers and need a helping hand. It is part guidebook, part cheerleader and part fire lighting under the proverbial behind of the reader.

If I had to choose one aspect of the book that stood out, I would say though the advice is aimed at twenty somethings, some of it can be applied long after we have aged out of our 20’s.

I recommend it.

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