Category Archives: Sexism and Media

Dear Pixar: Girls Like Movies Too…

Monday, NPR’s Linda Holmes issued an open letter to Pixar asking for a movie about a girl who “isn’t a princess.”  Titled “From all the girls with band-aids on their knees,” Holmes’ piece asks Pixar to make a movie about little girls and things that happen to them, just like they’ve made movies (a lot of them– 10) about little boys and the things that happen to them.  I thought this was interesting, even if the “open letter” format leaves a little to be desired.  However, when I sent the link on to my partner, he informed me he thought this was “a stupid request” because Pixar does organic story development and doesn’t really have a “writers room” or whatever.

I’m not going to lie, this really pissed me off.  Of COURSE he didn’t think this was interesting because HE had lots of media about adventerous boys doing cool things and meeting all kinds of magical creatures.  Me?  I was stuck with princesses.

Sociological Images (a great, great blog about representations of people and their impact on society) has been following this Pixar and gender thing for a few months now.  While there is only 1 member of the Pixar writing team that is a woman, I find it difficult to believe that Pixar would have a hard time recruiting top female writing talent (also, it looks like a few future films will have female writers).  Continue reading

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Filed under Feminism, Images of Women, Sexism and Media

Feeling Thankful

First, please allow me to appologize for my silence here lately.  Now that the election is over and Obama is doing all the right things, well… some of the pressure is off.  However, I just saw HBO’s Iron Jawed Angels and… well, it might be the red wine, but I loved it.  Sure, it was a little corny and the soundtrack hardly matched the era but I’m a sucker for a powerful story.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about feminism (er, Feminism?) and what it means to me.  After all, almost nothing I’m doing right now would have been possible without incredible sacrifice by brave, powerful women who came before me.  I’m unmarried but living with a man I love, I am getting an MA at a Major East Coast University, I control my reproductive system, and voted in the last election.

So, stay with me, this may take a while.

In many ways I am not an expert on gender theory or politics—I tended to doze through my classes on feminist art criticism in college; I’ve resisted the term feminist longer than many of my peers; and it is hard for me to get angry about someone using the phrase “you guys” instead of “you all.”  Also, and this may not make me popular with the feminist blogosphere, I think that American women have it pretty good– not in every way, and not perfect, but pretty good.  Hillary Clinton, after all, could only put “18 million cracks in that last glass ceiling” years after many countries, even countries generally considered hostile to women’s rights embraced female leadership.

As the daughter of a quiet second-wave feminist, I grew up wearing T-shirts that said “little me” and reading books about powerful, historic women (Nellie Bly and Margaret Sanger continue to be an inspiration).  I had no doubt that America will see a female president in my lifetime; I supported Barack Obama from day one and never looked back.  Until, that is, I had the opportunity to meet a woman named Michele who worked as an underground abortion counselor in the late 1960s in Minnesota.  Continue reading

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Filed under Feminism, Sexism and Media, Thought Provoking

Michelle Obama As Model and Role Model

I’ve been holding off on sharing my thoughts on Michelle Obama, not because I don’t think she is an unbelievable woman but because everyone from Feministing to Jezebel to Salon has noted how a woman with degrees from Princeton and Harvard, a successful career, two beautiful daughters and an accomplished husband is now talking a lot about… fashion?  And cooking?

In a year when women made huge leaps forward (even Sarah Palin, I’m embarrassed to say), why has Michelle Obama’s role as first lady been reduced to domestic concerns about schools, redecorating the White House, fashion, and hosting parties?  I thought that the National Post‘s story summed it up well and it is worth quoting at length (thanks to MicheleObamaWatch for the link):

The battle to conform to wifely expectations was previously fought by Hillary Clinton, a woman who recently made a hell-bent run for the exact same job her husband held in the years that she was forced to choke on her health plan and write books about the White House cat. (So let’s not pretend that the role of stifled icon might not take some independent women on a wacky psychological ride.)

But Michelle is in an even tighter bind, in part because of the legacy left her by Hillary and her detractors. Powerful couples must now tread as far as possible from the “two for one” talk, lest the female half get smacked with a nutcracker.

Like the women at Michelle Obama Watch, I have a couple of problems with this argument.  Mostly, of course there is the notion that women can’t be mothers AND be successful or that choosing to mother and/or follow your husband while he makes history is somehow less than a “successful” choice.  Feminism has been working for years to validate the choices women make, as long as women are making them– not their fathers, husbands, brothers etc.  Also, I worry that this idea that powerful women can’t be in the White House means that we’re reinscribing the idea that ANY woman can’t be a powerful force in the White House– even as a president, someday.  Even Hillary Clinton couldn’t escape the “her spouse will be too powerful” argument.  I don’t like the idea that the most powerful person the world can’t/shouldn’t have a spouse that challenges him/her or that has opinions of her/his own. Continue reading

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A Little Foe Outrage For Your Monday Morning

There have been a couple of posts over at the gnovis blog about what this election has actually done to the role of women voters.  We aren’t really hearing about choice issues, food stamps, child care, medicaid, etc.  While I understand that the economy and security will always be at the center of elections, I also feel like the economy has a major impact on many women, especially single-mothers and low(er) income women.  Talking about Wall Street v. Main Street doesn’t capture the unique position that many women find themselves in when child care becomes more expensive and wages are dropping (or vanishing outright).

This video, from Fox news, is indicative of how the media is treating “women’s issues” since Sarah Palin joined the election.  We’re talking about the relative merits of airbrushing Sarah Palin, an admittedly gorgeous woman, and not talking about sexual assault, the effect that widespread airbrushing is having on teen girls, eating disorders, etc. Continue reading

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Filed under Sarah Palin, Sexism and Media

Sorry Sarah

WTF?

WTF?

Man, this whole week is all about me apologizing to Republicans…

Anyway, Feministing pointed me to this charming website selling Sarah Palin dolls in a variety of outfits?!  The school girl outfit just doesn’t even make sense– when was she in Catholic school?

Just the other night I was complaining to someone about how hard it is to defend Sarah Palin and not actually support her.  I think that a lot of her stances on things like abortion are terrible and not needed in the White House but I also think that she has really, really gotten the short end of the media stick lately.

For example, did you all know that some a**hole Donny Deutsch on CNBC wants “Sarah Palin in bed next to [him].”  Oh, and Hillary Clinton needed to put on a skirt. (Skip to about 3:30 if you’re short on time).

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Filed under 2008 Election, Feminism, Sarah Palin, Sexism and Media