Category Archives: Feminism

Thoughts On The Harvey Weinstein Scandal Part III-Is it a generational thing?

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last week, he tried to defend himself. He claimed the following:

“I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”

I have mixed feelings about this statement, though I think it is still bullsh*t.  The 1960’s and 1970’s were a time of change in America. Women were starting to not just enter the workplace in greater numbers, but they were also starting to work in fields and positions that previously were open to men only. At the time, some men might have chafed at  working with women on an equal level. I call it bullsh*t because we are not living in either the 1960’s or 1970’s anymore.  But he seems to think so.

Weinstein is trying to defend himself, but his defense does not hold water. His defense does not hold water because not only did he know exactly what he was doing, but he also is not the only male to have grown up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. There is a whole generation of men who grew up in the era, I doubt every single one of them used their professional positions to procure sexual favors from female subordinates.

It is also not a generational thing because this kind of abuse has been going on for time immemorial. It’s time we admitted it, faced the truth and stopped this abuse once and for all.

 

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Thoughts On The Harvey Weinstein Scandal Part II

Since I last wrote about the Harvey Weinstein scandal last week, the floodgates have opened.

He was fired from Miramax, the production company he founded with his brother. His wife will soon be his ex-wife and the many women he took advantage of or tried to take advantage of have come forward. Kate Beckinsale, Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan (whose twitter account was locked) and Mira Sorvino are some of the bold-faced names who claim to have met the former movie mogul under less than honest and moral circumstances.

The problem is that what Harvey Weinstein has been accused of is not limited to just the entertainment industry. This heinous act is repeated every day in every corner of the globe. It could be a male teacher with a female student, a male boss with a female employee, etc. It’s just so disgustingly pervasive that we don’t have to read about or hear about a similar story.

The one small nugget of hope that I have in all of this, is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The men who commit these horrible acts will get the message that what they are doing is wrong and will think twice about doing it.

Perhaps then, we will be one step closer to being truly equal.

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Malala Yousafzai Starts College

It’s no secret that an education is the doorway to a better life. It is also no secret that many girls have had received either no education or minimal education that leaves them woefully unprepared for the world.

Five years ago Malala Yousafzai, a teenage girl from Pakistan, dared to speak up against the Taliban for denying girls the right to an education. They tried to kill her. She survived and became stronger than they thought she was.

This week, she started college at Oxford University.

For many women and girls, Malala has become an icon of this generation’s feminists. She is the voice in the crowd that will stand up for women’s rights when others remain silent.  She will continue to light the fire not just under the figurative behinds of women who feel like they have no voice or power, but she will continue to inspire men to join their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters in the fight for true equality.

I expect nothing but great things from Malala in the future. But the first step is always an education.

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Thoughts On The Harvey Weinstein Scandal

It’s nothing new to hear of powerful men using their stature and/or name to gain sexual favors from less powerful women in trade for something else.

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s name has recently been added to this list. Several women have come forward, claiming that over the past few decades, Weinstein has set up meetings with young actresses, who believe that they are meeting with him to advance their careers. Instead, he meets them, expecting sex.

If nothing else, this story reminds me that not only is feminism alive and well, but it still continues to be necessary in 2017. While we have no doubt come very far, there are also many battles to fight. Mr. Weinstein is not the first man, nor will he be the last man who believes that not only is he immune from the law, but that young actresses willingly submit to the casting couch to work in their chosen careers.

I keep hoping that as these men are publicly outed and vilified, that things will change for the better.  Women will not be seen as mere sexual playthings, but as full fledged human beings.

Mr. Weinstein will get what is coming to him, either in this world or the next. Perhaps this will finally send a message once and for all about how women are still being treated in 2017.

Perhaps is the key word here.

 

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Thoughts On The Passing Of Hugh Hefner

Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner passed away yesterday. He was 91.

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about the man.

There is no doubt that he is one of the reasons that we are no longer living within the same social and moral constrictions that existed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He was a progressive who believed in free speech and civil rights. Depending one’s position, one could also argue that Mr. Hefner helped to empower women to move beyond the traditional confines of marriage and children. His organization employed many women, including his own daughter, who ran Playboy for a number of years.

But….he also published a magazine that was known for pinups of nude or nearly nude women. He dated multiple women at the same time, some of whom were young enough to be his daughters or granddaughters. I’ve heard that the magazine also features articles by some of the best writers, but honestly, when we think of Playboy, most people conjure up the image of women being photographed in their birthday suit. The main goal of feminism is for women to be seen and respected as full-fledged human beings, not as individual body parts and not as a convenient sex partner when one has the urge.

To be honest, I’m kind of straddling the fence on this topic. I will let the ladies of The View weigh in on the topic.

What do you think about Hugh Hefner? Was he the icon of a progressive ideal or just another man portraying women as mere sexual partners without brains or ambitions? Leave your comments below, I’m curious to know what you think.

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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body Book Review

It’s not exactly a secret that women above a certain size are looked down upon.

Earlier this year, best-selling writer Roxane Gay released her new book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. Her most personal book to date, the book reads like a therapy session or an entry from her personal journal. After she was raped at a young age, she began to gain weight to hide her shame and mask her misery.

I’ve been a fan of hers since reading Bad Feminist (another book I highly recommend) for the first time three years ago.This book is poignant, emotional and it felt, for me as a reader, that writing this book was her catharsis not just as woman, but as a human being.

I absolutely recommend it,

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Battle Of The Sexes Movie Review

The Battle Of The Sexes tennis match in 1973 between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs was much more than a tennis match. It represented the future of America.

In the new movie, Battle Of The Sexes, Emma Stone plays Billie Jean King and Steve Carell plays Bobbie Riggs. At the start of the film, Billie Jean King is the women’s tennis champion and Bobby Riggs is the former men’s champion who now earns his living by working for his father-in-law. When Billie Jean and the rest of the women discover that prize money for the women’s tournament is far less than the men’s tournament, they revolt.

While this is happening, both Billie Jean and Bobby are dealing with personal problems. Bobby has a gambling addiction that could threaten his marriage. Billie Jean is married, but she is attracted to women and one woman in particular, Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough). The question is, who will win the Battle Of The Sexes?

I really liked this movie. I liked it on several levels. I like it a) because it is an entertaining movie b) the match itself is a historical moment that truly changed the world and c) it feels appropriate for what is happening in this country right now. I especially appreciated that both main characters were not slated into the typical hero/villain role. Riggs could have easily been shown as the big bad chauvinistic wolf (which he certainly was to certain degree) who is trying to blow King and the feminist house down. I also appreciated that Billie Jean King paved the way for only women in general to achieve whatever they want to achieve, but also in her own small way, paved the way for the modern LGBTQ movement.

I absolutely recommend it.

Battle Of The Sexes is presently in theaters.

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Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening Book Review

While feminism has created opportunities and advancements for some women in some parts of the world, other women are still fighting for their basic rights.

Manal Al-Sharif’s memoir, Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening, is much more than her want to be able to get behind the wheel. It is her story and how driving became symbolic for her need to recognized and respected as a human being.

I really liked this book. While I felt like the buildup to her epiphany about driving and feminism was a little slow, the end was totally worth it.

I recommend it for all women, especially women in the first world. We need to remember that while feminism has given us opportunities that our grandmothers could dream of, women living in some third world countries are still seen as second class citizens and chattel to their male relations.

This book is a must read.

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Character Review: Isabella Linton

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either book or the various 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 Wuthering Heights to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Not everyone can have their happy ending. Some of us, no matter how much we try, will never be able to walk into the proverbial sunset. In Wuthering Heights, Isabella Healthcliff (nee Linton) is Catherine Linton’s (nee Earnshaw) sister-in-law. When Heathcliff comes back into Catherine’s life a couple of years after she has married Edgar, Isabella develops a crush on Heathcliff. Why shouldn’t she? He is handsome, wealthy and in every sense of the word, eligible. Isabella is single, of age to marry and ready to marry.

The problem is that neither Catherine or Heathcliff have gotten over each other. Isabella becomes a pawn in their relationship. Running away with Heathcliff, they elope and Isabella is cut off from her brother. She will soon learn about the darker side of her husband. When she can no longer live with Heathcliff, she leaves hims and takes their young son, Linton to London.  She dies young,  hoping to leave her son in her brother’s care. But her husband wants his son back.

To sum it up: While we all wish for a happy ending, both on page with our characters and in our lives as human beings, we  may not get that happy ending. Isabella is unfortunately a character whose happy ending is not what she envisioned. But she does one thing that makes her ending stand out: instead of staying with her abusive husband, she leaves him and takes their son with him.

In 19th century Victorian England, this was a brave choice that is a small, but pivotal change in the way happy endings are portrayed. So in a way, Isabella got her happy ending, but it was on her own terms. In that sense, Bronte flipped the standard happy ending narrative on its ear, creating a new happy ending. If a writer is looking to clear up the loose ends of their story with a happy ending, why not change that ending? Flip that happy ending on it’s ear, make the story even more memorable and leave the reader wanting more.

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Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Leia, Princess of Alderaan Book Review

Writing fan fiction, as easy as it appears to be, can be tenuous. The writer must balance the story they wish to write with the already established narrative and characters that readers are looking for.

Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Leia, Princess of Alderaan, by Claudia Gray, takes place three years before A New Hope. Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan is 16. Before she can be officially named as heir to the throne, she must complete a series of tasks that are designed to test her. While she is going about accomplishing these tasks, the Empire is tightening the noose on the universe and Leia is slowly being drawn into the rebellion that she will one day lead.

Warning! The video below has spoilers about the book.

I truly enjoyed this book. Ms. Gray creates a new narrative for Leia while building in the facts (and some well placed Easter eggs) that fans are familiar with. Above all, what strikes me is that despite her status and what she is experiencing, Leia is still a teenage girl who is going through the same growing pains that we all go through at that age.

I recommend it.

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