Tag Archives: feminism

Throwback Thursday: Warrior Women with Lucy Lawless

History is written by those who have access to pen and paper. Unfortunately for 99.9% of women, this means that our stories remain confined to the dustbins of time and memory.

In 2003, Warrior Women with Lucy Lawless premiered. Hosted by Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess), this brief documentary series followed the lives and history of women who became warriors and heroines in their own right.

I’ve seen this series only briefly, but what I have seen, I have enjoyed.Without hitting the viewer over the head, this series is both a history lesson and a reminder that women are just as strong and capable as men.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Television, Throwback Thursday, TV Review

Rodham Book Review

Life sometimes comes down to a series of choices. But the thing about these choices is that we never know where these choices will lead us.

Curtis Sittenfeld‘s new novel, Rodham, was released back in May. The book asks one basic question: what if Hillary Rodham has not married Bill Clinton? How would her life had turned out?

The book starts out when they are both students at Yale Law School in the 1970’s. Finding a nearly ideal partner in one another, their romantic relationship is on fire. After graduation, Hillary follows Bill back to Arkansas. But instead of marrying him, she ends the relationship.

Over the decades, Bill and Hillary will cross paths as she builds a career in politics and grapples with the same sexism that existed in her youth.

This book is brilliant. Balancing both the known facts and the what if question, Sittenfeld creates a narrative that feels completely organic. I was immediately sucked in and taken through an alternative history that could have happened, had things gone differently.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Cursed Review

The myth of King Arthur has existed for thousands of years. From a writing perspective, the good thing about myths is that it open to a variety of interpretations.

Cursed premiered last weekend on Netflix. Based on the comic book by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler, the series follows Nimue aka Lady of the Lake (Katherine Langford). On the verge of adulthood, she, like many girls in their late teens or early 20’s, thinks she knows it all. With dark magic in her blood, she is persona non grata to those around her.

Then the Red Paladins destroy her village and kill her mother. The Paladins have an end goal of ethnically cleansing the land of Fey (magical non-humans) and their supporters. Charged by her dying mother to take an ancient sword to Merlin (Gustaf Skarsgård), Nimue starts on a journey that will change her fate. Among those who join her on the journey are the brother/sister duo of Arthur (Devon Terrell) and Morgana aka Morgan le Fay (Shalom Brune-Franklin).

*Note: I have not read the comic book, so the review is strictly based on the series.

I enjoyed this non-traditional retelling of the King Arthur tale. I enjoyed it because while it is still familiar, it is not the same story that has been repeated for thousands of years. The main reason it works is that it is told from the female perspective with an eye on expanding a woman’s role in this world. In the traditional Arthurian myth, there are two distinct types of women: the love interest/damsel in distress (Guinevere) or the evil witch bent on taking power (Morgan le Fay). Boxed into these stereotypes, these women are not allowed to more than a one note character.

The other reason it works is that the world is turned upside down. Merlin is not the wise, old Obi-Wan Kenobi type whose sole task is to mentor the future ruler. He is old, but his life and his choices are complicated.

It also helps that the casting is both gender and color blind, reflecting both the world that exists within the narrative and the real world of the audience.

I recommend it.

Cursed is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Filed under Feminism, History, Netflix, Star Wars, Television, TV Review

Thoughts On Ted Yoho’s “Apology”

There are two ways to apologize. There is the sincere apology in which one truly feels contrite for what their actions or their words. Then there is the forced apology in which the words are said, but the speaker feels none of the emotion.

Earlier this week, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), had an apparent run in with Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL). According to news reports, he called her a b*tch, among other things. When he was publicly called out by her on the House floor, his apology included the following statement:

“Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language”.

His “apology” if you want to call it that, was bullshit.

Aside from the bullying and sexist aspect of his chosen phrasing, I would like to call out two important aspects of his “apology”.

  1. That word is a female slur, equivalent to other racial, religious, and sexual orientation slurs that I will not repeat. I would love to see the Representative’s reaction if his wife or one of his daughters was called that name. I doubt he would be so callous in his response.
  2. If AOC was Caucasian, older and agreed with the Representative’s political views, I doubt he would have chosen that particular phrasing.

The fact is that over the millennia, men have become too comfortable in the power that has been theirs from birth. Now that women are speaking up, stepping up and taking that power, some men can’t handle it.

Women are not going to scurry quietly back to the neat little boxes that we have been forced into for far too long. We are going to take what is rightfully ours. It’s about dam time that we did.

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Filed under Feminism, National News, Politics, Thoughts On....

Gloria, A Life Play Review

Great women do not become great overnight. It takes years or even decades to be worthy of the title of greatness.

On Friday, Great Performances aired Gloria, A Life. Starring Christine Lahti, the play tells the life story of legendary second wave feminist Gloria Steinem. Via a small cast made up entirely of female performers, the audience is introduced to the real woman behind the icon.

I’m thrilled that this show was filmed for television. I didn’t see the play while it was open, though looking back, I wish I had. I loved it. It was educating, enthralling, and entertaining. If nothing else, the play is a reminder that the issue of women’s right is just a prevalent today as it was fifty years ago.

I absolutely recommend it.

Gloria, A Life can be streamed on the Great Performances website.

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Filed under Broadway Play Review, Feminism, History, Television

Mrs. America Review

In theory, feminism is an easy concept to understand and an even easier cause to get involved in. But for any number of reasons, some women see feminism as the enemy.

The new series, Mrs. America premiered last month on Hulu. Set in the 1970’s, it follows the battle for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). It seems that ratification is on the horizon. Writer/activist Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman), Representatives Bella Abzug (Margo Martindale) and Shirley Chisholm (Uzo Aduba), and journalist Gloria Steinem (Rose Byrne) are four of the women who are the faces of the feminist movement. Their goal is to see the ERA enshrined as constitutional law. Standing in their way is Phyllis Schlafly (Cate Blanchett), a conservative activist and lawyer who will move political h*ll and high water to prevent the ERA from being ratified.

I’ve seen eight of the nine released episodes and I am hooked. The main thing that strikes me is that the issues that these women were fighting for fifty years ago are the same issues we are fighting for now. If nothing else, this series reminds me how far we have come and how far we need to go before American women are truly equal.

It also humanizes the characters, especially the ones that are based on real women. We see them as giants and icons, not as human beings who were as fallible as anyone walking down the street. That humanization also stretches to the women who were against the ERA.

From the liberal perspective, it would be easy to label them as right wing nut jobs who are siding with the patriarchy. But in this series, they are portrayed as women who are scared. From the time they were born, they were told that the ideal life is to marry, have children and maintain a home. When the second wave of feminism began to affect the culture in the 1960’s and 1970’s, it felt like the rug was pulled out from beneath their feet. I absolutely do not agree with their political or cultural perspective. However, I understand the feeling of not knowing what to do when you are told that everything you know and love is wrong.

I absolutely recommend it. I would also not be surprised if this series did very well come award season.

The final episode of Mrs. America premieres Wednesday on Hulu.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, History, Hulu

It Would Have Been Nice to Say “Madam President” in 2020

If nothing else, America is an idealistic nation. We are dreamers and fighters, we do not give up because we are told no.

We are also a nation that can be hypocritical.

August 18th is the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment. In the nearly 100 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment, American women (and women across the world) have achieved what our grandmothers and great-grandmothers could have only dreamed of.

But with every battle that we have won, there is still much more work that is required of us if there is to be true equality between the sexes.

I would have liked very much to use the term “Madam President” this year. But there will be no women in either party on the ticket come this fall.

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In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s loss to you know who was heartbreaking. This year, we had brilliant and capable women who might have done a bang up job as President. Senators Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar had all of the qualities one would want in a President.

Of all of the female nominees, Senator Elizabeth Warren came the closest. Some in the press are arguing that it was sexism that ultimately doomed her campaign. I can’t disagree with their arguments, even if she was not my first choice for President.

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Though it is indisputable that these women will forever have a place in American history, it still does not dull the frustration of not being able to say “Madam President” in 2020.

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Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape Book Review

In the eyes of certain people (who shall remain nameless), when a women says no to sex, it does not mean no. It means yes.

Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape was originally published in 2006. Republished in 2019, the book is a compilation of essays put together by editors Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti. Open, sometimes hard to read and in your face without being difficult, the book explores how women’s sexuality is treated, especially when rape and/or sexual assault occurs.

This book is brilliant and a must read for anyone, regardless of gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. It throws off the old ideas of about women and the misconceptions of our sexuality. By throwing off these ideas, it forces readers to take a hard look at how women’s sexuality is viewed and what must be done so rape and sexual assault becomes a thing of the past.

I absolutely recommend it.

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The Witches Are Coming Book Review

In the past, when men were afraid of women, they accused them of being witches. But times have changed and the witches are coming for their accusers.

The Witches Are Coming is the title of Lindy West‘s new non fiction book. In the book, she examines and breaks down the sometimes painful ways in which anyone who is not a white heterosexual man is still disenfranchised.

I loved this book. While Ms. West does not pull punches, but she does so in a way that is humorous and speaks directly to the reader. I wish there were more books about feminism like this. Ms. West writes in such a manner that gets to the heart of the issues without getting on her soapbox. The book is well written, easily read and completely enjoyable.

I recommend it.

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