It’s easy to get on a soapbox and rail against whatever one feels is wrong with the world. But sometimes, it takes art and music to give that needed change life.
I Am Woman premiered last year. Starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Evan Peters, and Danielle Macdonald, the movie tells the story of the late singer Helen Reddy. The narrative begins in 1963. Helen (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) is a single mother with a dream of signing a recording contract. Originally from Australia, she is currently living in New York City. Making a living as a lounge singer, it looks like her dream is just that.
Her fate changes when she meets music journalist Lillian Roxon (Danielle Macdonald) and wannabe talent manager Jeff Wald (Evan Peters). Lillian inspires Helen to write her iconic song “I Am Woman“. Jeff straddles to the dual role of husband and manager.
It looks like Helen has everything she has ever wanted. But fame and the constant grind of work begins to take a toll on her private life. Jeff becomes an addict, forcing Helen to take a hard look at her life.
The thing about a movie or television biopic is that it can feel dry and predictable. The womb to tomb story arc has been done to death. But this movie is neither dry or predictable. It is entertaining, charming, and most of all inspiring. I love that the filmmakers wove in their protagonist’s story with the burgeoning second wave of feminism in the 1970’s.
Her most famous song is the 1970’s feminist anthem, “I am Woman”.
The thing that I love about her song is that it reflects both the joy and the work that comes with being independent. It is also one of the OG feminist songs, paving the way for future female artists to express themselves and inspire the next generation of women.
RIP Helen Reddy. May your memory be a blessing to all of us who have walked on the trail you blazed for us.
We live in a world in which antisemitism and misogynistic views still have a hold on us. But there is still hope that both can be overturned.
Last week, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral was held in Washington D.C. As I listened, my pride in her accomplishments as a Jew and a woman were just as prominent as my tears.
She is an icon for so many of us who feel marginalized and pushed aside because of who we are. Listening to Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt speak the ancient Jewish prayers, I had a feeling that in spite of the hatred that still exists, there is light and love at the end of the tunnel. We can look past labels and see each other’s humanity. We only need to open our eyes and our minds.
Though Judge Ginsburg is no longer physically with us, her legacy will last forever.
Every generation of the feminist movement builds on previous generations. However, that does not mean that the current generation honors or remembers the work of their predecessors.
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last Friday, the news sent shockwaves throughout the country. According to an interview with her granddaughter, one of the late jurist’s last wish was that her replacement not be confirmed until after the election.
It is therefore, a surprise to no one that not only was that wish ignored, but her potential replacement is politically conservative. Her name is Amy Coney Barrett. Though she has taken advantage of the opportunities that were created for her via Judge Ginsburg, she is everything that RBG was not.
Judge Barrett openly opposes abortion and marriage in the LGBTQ community. Her nomination, if confirmed, would tip the balance within the Supreme Court towards the right. In theory, the court should be apolitical. But, in reality, politics views will always play a role in the decisions that are handed down.
What is more concerning than the choice of Judge Barrett is that Judge Ginsburg is not even in the ground. As far as I am concerned, the Republicans have ignored the choices of both the voters and RBG. They are so focused on winning the election, that they have forgotten who has the power to hire and fire them.
Classic books were given the title of “classic” for a reason. However, that does not mean that a modern writer cannot put their own spin on the tale.
Enola Holmes premiered Wednesday on Netflix. Based on the series of books by Nancy Springer, Millie Bobby Brown stars as the title character. Raised by her widowed mother Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter), Enola receives an education that is extremely unusual for a young lady in Victorian era England. When her mother disappears, Enola’s much older brothers come home to take charge.
Her oldest brother Mycroft (Sam Claflin) is conventional in every sense of the word. Her second oldest brother, Sherlock (Henry Cavill) is more empathetic, but still concerned that his sister was not raised as she ought to have been. Before she can be sent to a school that promises to make her a proper young lady, Enola runs away to find her mother. Along the way, she meets a young aristocrat, Tewkesbury, (Louis Partridge) who is also running away and a new mystery is set at her feet.
I would categorize this movie as cute and empowering (if that makes sense). The message, I think, is the most important part of the film and feels very relevant for 2020. That being said, it is not without it’s flaws. However, it is one of those movies that is both fun to watch and an inspiration, especially for the younger female audience.
I recommend it.
Enola Holmes is available for streaming on Netflix.
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.
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 think it is pretty safe to say that social media in its various forms has become part and parcel of our everyday lives.
In a recent issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery, an article entitled Prevalence of unprofessional social media content among young vascular surgeons made headlines. In a nutshell, the article claimed that female doctors who share pictures on their private social media wearing bathing suits, drinking alcohol, and using profanity among other things were considered to be “unprofessional“.
The question seems obvious. Were the male doctors considered unprofessional if they shared pictures of themselves wearing bathing suits, drinking, and cursing? Probably not.
The double standard is loud and clear. A male doctor (or a male in any profession) would only be seen as enjoying themselves while on their day off. A female doctor (or any female in most professions), would likely be accused of doing or saying that something that negatively affects her employer.
The double standard, is as far as I am concerned, one of the main reasons why the feminist movement exists. Until the day in which men and women are judged equally and not by their sex, the fight or equality must continue.
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.
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”.
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.
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.