Video games have had an interesting journey. Increasing in complexity and sophistication, they are today’s most interactive way to tell a story. Recently, they entered the mainstream, no longer regarded as the lonely bastion of nerddome and geekery. This year has been particularly interesting in the world of video games and gamers. We have seen a lot of discussion in the mainstream media about the roles of games in our society. (We touched on this subject in our Feminists Are Ruining Video Games post). Feminist media critics have called attention to the dearth of women and minorities in video games themselves as well as among the developers. While big titles like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty are not very progressive in their politics, there are many games that are doing something innovative and beautiful with the genre. One such game is Never Alone.
It’s that time of the year when everyone is either frantically searching for a costume or, the craftier amongst us, painstakingly putting one together with a glue gun and a sawing machine. For those who care about Halloween, finding an appropriate costume is difficult enough, however when you add feminism to the mix, the task becomes even harder. Am I appropriating? I’m I being culturally insensitive? Can I wear a sexy costume AND still stick it to the patriarchy? Where did all the female role models go?
Today we take a look back on what’s already been written about Halloween.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for two noble public servants, Gov. Bob McDonnell and Gov. Chris Christie. Former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell was indicted and later found guilty on corruption charges, using the power of his office to promote business interests of a “friend” who showered the McDonnell family in $177,000 worth of gifts and loans. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was implicated in a scandal dubbed “bridge gate” when several leaked emails suggested his office conspired to create traffic on George Washington Bridge for political retaliation against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich who did not endorse Gov. Christie for re-election.
Both men quickly came forward to address those allegations and present the true guilty parties – crazy women. They gave the media the scapegoats, some sordid personal details, and the headlines wrote themselves. The politicians’ defense played on inherent sexism in our culture and gave us two stories: one of a nagging, crazy wife, and one of a woman scorned.
They say feminists don’t have a sense of humor. “They” are known to be a very vocal group that says a lot of things like “curiosity killed a cat,” “time heals all wounds,” or “don’t count all your eggs in one basket before they hatch.” Well, I for one aim to reclaim the title of feminist buzzkill. I embrace it with all my unfynny being. I delight in giving dudebros the deadpan, concerned furrowed eyebrow, or the death glare.
Here some examples for those who want some help becoming a feminist buzzkill:
1. Playing Spikeball at a party.
Dudebro: I smacked that ball like Chris Brown did Rihanna.
Me: That’s not funny. [Pause]. Violence against women is never funny.
We’ve written a lot about shaving here on DDP. Reyes wrote about why she shaves her pubic hair, but not her leg hair. Nadia Morris wrote about the social pressure on women to shave, and Skylar Fox explored shaving standards for men. At the time when I read my colleagues’ posts, I gave little thought to my shaving habits. I hated shaving my legs, but I regarded shaving as a necessary grooming ritual. A few months ago, I decided to stop.
Ceasing shaving has been a freeing experience for me. It gave me new respect for my bodily autonomy. It allowed me to examine the reasoning behind a daily activity, isolate social influences, and make my life just an ounce more intentional.
My leg hair has now grown to its full fuzzy glory. But it took a while to get here. Every step of the way, I was tempted to shave it off. I want to describe several milestones I had to pass, where the temptation was the greatest to give up on this experiment and welcome the soapy embrace of a razor.
Kay Hymowitz strikes again. In a new article, “Do Women Really Want Equality?“, the author of a book with a sensationalist title – Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Is Turning Men Into Boys – is trying to convince us that women don’t really want equality. Her article is peppered by the statistics of the gender gap in various fields and professions, yet her tone is very dismissive. While offering no counter-statistics or rebuttal, she skirts the issue by saying that numbers are just that and don’t tell the whole story.
Although Hymowitz’s M.A. is in English literature, she has fashioned herself an expert in sociology, psychology, and American history, writing extensively about parenting, marriage, and gender roles. This pasty-white culture warrior was even brave enough to tell black Americans why they are so poor (the death of traditional marriage of course) and what exactly is wrong with their culture in her book Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age.
So, after reading Do Women Really Want Equality? I have a few things to say to Ms. Hymowitz. Continue reading
We have often decried the dearth of women in film. This article expresses so well the frustration I feel. It talks about how even though we have all these “break-out” movies with female leads that make a killing at the box office (Bridesmaids, Hunger Games, The Heat etc), we are still not actually getting more movies with women in the leading roles. And last week Forbes published an article highlighting gender pay gap in movies (top 10 highest paid actors in Hollywood made 2.5 times more than 10 highest paid actresses). The folks at Forbes think that the lack of lead roles for women in highest grossing movies is the major cause of this pay gap.
With women comprising only 28.4% of the speaking roles in 2012, new movie coming out this weekend, In a World, is a breath of fresh air. Written and directed by Lake Bell, who is also the star of the movie, the film won the Sundance Film Festival’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Lake Bell plays a vocal coach who tries to break in into male-dominated field of movie trailer voice-overs.
Trailer with subtitles here.
I love movies. And so do most women who purchased 55% of movie tickets in 2009. But even though last year women comprised majority of the moviegoers, Hollywood has been slow on the uptake, continuing to produce movies that do not pass the Bechdel Test. If you do not know what the Bechdel test is, watch the short video below and prepare to have your mind blown (captions provided for the hearing impaired).
For more statistics on women’s presence in literature and film check out my IWD post.
So what’s socially aware feminist to do? Fear not, I’ve put together in no way exhaustive list of movies you can enjoy without betraying your feminist identity. Save the guilt for the pop corn (actually fuck guilt altogether, cut it out of your emotional diet).