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Posted on January 28, 2015

All-Female ‘Ghostbusters’ Backlash is a Reminder Things Still Haven’t Changed for Women in Film

Pop Culture

Reboots and sequels are a hit or miss in Hollywood. The box office does not always play nice to the third or fourth unnecessary installment to a movie that ended fairly well, but that doesn’t stop filmmakers from jumping into familiar territory and stretching out storylines. If you’ve been to a theater in the past five years, than you know what I’m talking about, and if you’ve been online in the past 24 hours than you are aware of the criticism following the recent all-female Ghostbusters news.

Rumors about an all-female Ghostbusters reboot have been circulating for well over a year, but no official details solidified the reboot rumor, until yesterday when director Paul Feig tweeted a photo announcing the newly casted Ghostbusters gang, consisting of funny women Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon. Feig, who is best know for his female comedy Bridesmaids, which also starred Wiig and McCarthy, made social media waves, with the hash tag #Ghostbusters trending on both Twitter and Facebook. But just because your new comedy is trending, does not necessarily mean the emotions shared are positive.

From what I can tell so far, reactions to the reboot are not great. As expected, there are many angry Ghostbusters devotees who wished their beloved 80’s classic could escape the greedy grasp of Hollywood’s unoriginal film money pandering, but these reactions are minimal to a stronger reaction shared by many, and that is that having an all-female cast is a horrible idea and act of “gender pandering.” Read more

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Posted on January 27, 2015

Ways You Can Stand Up for Reproductive Rights: Tips for the Everyday ProChoicer

Abortion

To say that the first few weeks of 2015 were an emotional roller coaster ride for reproductive rights advocates would be a major understatement. 2014 alone saw 27 anti-choice measures enacted at the state level, so it wasn’t as though pro-choice activists were heading into the new year carefree. While there were a few victories in November’s mid-term elections, like the failure of “personhood” measures to pass in North Dakota and Colorado, the Republican National Committee (GOP) still made monumental gains; getting control of both the House and Senate for the first time in eight years.

That’s why no one was surprised when Congress introduced a controversial 20-week abortion ban on its first day back in session. There was no surprise, but there was exasperation. The 20-week ban was a direct attack on the constitutionally-protected right to an abortion that lawmakers were making no attempt to hide. It was expected to sail through the GOP-controlled House and Senate before being vetoed by President Obama, wasting time and money in the process.

There was surprise, however, when the vote was canceled. Scheduled to coincide with the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the DC-based anti-choice rally known as the March for Life, the voting on the bill and its subsequent passing were supposed to signal a new era for reproductive rights in America, or, more accurately, the lack thereof. No one expected a sudden change of heart from some congresswomen who weren’t comfortable with the stipulations of the rape-exception clause, which would have allowed a woman to get an abortion if and only if she reported her rape to the police.

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Posted on January 26, 2015

Four Steps to a More Inclusive Educational Experience Apart from White History

Education

If you were to open up any high school History textbook, I can bet you the story would be centered around white men with a slight emphasis on the cultures of the people they conquered and dominated. However, this story is extremely one-sided and virtually erases the true history of the cultures so savagely dominated. In many universities around the world, there are such classes offered as Women/Gender/Sexuality Studies as well as African American history, among other cultures, to fully demonstrate the histories and experiences of people typically underrepresented in mainstream History books.

Unfortunately, the students in these classes  — as seen from my personal experience — typically tend to be directly affected by issues addressed in the class, such as women or people of color. This is often due to the fact that people have not truly been exposed to these issues properly, and they often go unnoticed because of a non-inclusive education. Relatively few people go to get a degree in these types of courses as society influences us to not major in the arts, theories, or political. In order to expose more students to these issues as well as have a truly well-rounded and comprehensive education, these concepts and ideas need to be introduced at an earlier age. By doing this, acceptance and inclusion will be promoted at a younger and more open-minded age, within the typical books and standard classes. This sounds simple — at first — but can seem more complicated as the years go on since society has an impact on the child’s development. Children should not be exposed to the white-washed, patriarchal, heteronormative model given in elementary education. Rather, children need to see the truly diverse nature of the world in order to be accepting and open minded in our ever changing society.

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Posted on January 24, 2015

Your Footnotes on Sensitivity Before Binge-Watching ‘Transparent’

LGBTQIA

The suicide of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn this past December opened our eyes to just how much trans lives are in jeopardy everyday. In 2014, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) revealed that transgender individuals who experienced rejection by family and friends, discrimination, victimization, or violence have a higher risk of attempting suicide. So when Transparent creator, Jill Soloway, dedicated Transparent’s Best Comedy win to Leelah, she wasn’t only commemorating the death of a trans teen, but for all of those who were scrutinized for reassessing their gender identity before the guise of unsupportive friends and families.

Transparent groundbreakingly expresses just what goes on in a family when a loved one embraces a trans identity. Featuring the lives of a Los Angeles family mourning over the loss of “Mort,” their father, the Pfefferman family must learn to welcome mother Maura, and her transition away from Mort.

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Posted on January 23, 2015

‘Meninist Pride’ Is Just as Ridiculous as the Pseudo-Activist Movements ‘White Pride’ and ‘Straight Pride’

Gender Issues

It appears the trending anti-feminism hashtag #Menisim isn’t fading anytime soon, especially after men, and even a few women, have been donning Meninism shirts on Twitter and Instagram.

“#Meninism” is being sold on t-shirts online, and self-proclaimed “Meninists” are buying and sporting this anti-feminist merchandise, amusingly posting pictures of them wearing them online. As a feminist, I can’t help but compare this “meninist pride” to other forms of pride non-minority groups that have been promoted throughout history.

What comes to mind, at least for me, is the “white pride” and “straight pride,” argument, which has been frown upon by almost all activist circles, especially in this progressive age. Though, it seems that the meninists wearing their meninist swag try to avoid this image of pseudo activism while also trying to distance themselves from Men’s Rights Activists. Wearing shirts like this – especially emulating feminist pride or LGBT shirts — further proves that these meninists still don’t fully grasp what feminism is, and almost pride themselves of that.

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Posted on January 21, 2015

‘Vessel’ Breaks Waves with Story about Mobile Abortion Clinic

Movie Reviews

Being a proud feminist and a firm pro-choice supporter, I pride myself in catching up with the latest feminist news. I’m always on the radar for the newest trends or stories about women embarking on remarkable journeys in the name of feminism, so you could imagine my embarrassment when I saw a trailer for the trailblazing pro-abortion documentary Vessel (2014). I thought to myself, “When did this get released, and how did I not know this sooner?” Soon as the goose bump-inducing trailer finished, I searched the web for interviews, screenings and any other information I could wrap my mind around, and was pleased to know that I could rent and stream this film on a number of services online. Thank you, internet!

So I rented Vessel, a story about a group of women who sail on a boat providing women from anti-abortion countries safe abortions in international waters by director Diana Whitten. The story behind Vessel isn’t all that it is made out to seem in the trailer or any article you’ve probably read about by now. That is the magic of this story; it really shows you the rawness and the many troubles that undoubtedly came along with a mission as sensitive as this. And quite a mission it was, and still is today.

Vessel follows the incredible journey of the 1999 Dutch pro-choice organization Women on Waves. Founded by physician Rebecca Gomperts, WOW is a team of women horrified by the rising number of deaths resulting from the complications of illegal abortions in countries where abortions are forbidden. Together, WOW works to provide safe abortions via an abortion pill. Believing these women are being deprived of their human right, Gomperts and her team sought out a way to provide safe abortions legally, and found a loophole within the legal system: illegal abortion regulation does not apply in international waters. Armed with this discovery and the inspiration to help these women, WOW was created, and was fully equipped with a boat that met every requirement as an offshore medical center.

[SPOILERS AHEAD!]

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Posted on January 16, 2015

Broad City’s Take on Consensual Sex Leaves the Right Impression

Pop Culture

2014 was the year of the broads. Feisty dynamic duo Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s popular web series was blessed with an enormous push and support from feminist comedian Amy Poehler, resulting in one of the freshest and most talked about out series to have graced our living rooms: Broad City. Distributed by Comedy Central, the half-hour an episode series deflated the absurd belief that “women aren’t funny,” by providing hilariously witty dialogue revolving around scenarios as simple as being locked out of your apartment. Playing an exaggerated version of themselves, Ilana and Abbi became the poster girls of modern feminism and 20-somethings trying to navigate the harsh realities of a failing job market, a tech-obsessed generation and the complications that comes with sex as a single woman.

Wednesday’s Season 2 premiere was anticipated by many who could not wait to see what new fiddle the two would find themselves in, and though the episode did not disappoint at a comedy stance point, it did shed light on a complex topic: consensual sex.

[SPOILERS AHEAD!]

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Posted on January 14, 2015

Those Bechdel Test-Approved Movies Still Don’t Satisfy Our Demands for Equality in Hollywood

Pop Culture

Ladies, remember your last girls’ “movie night”?  Remember each and every female character on screen and what they talked about with their fellow girls? It may not be obvious at first glance, but chances are that a lot of what your favorite characters discussed that fictional day was just a regurgitation of a male writer writing for men, not you.

Have you ever noticed that women in movies tend to talk about men a lot? I’m wondering why women are portrayed as simply orbiting the male lead. I mean, I know all female characters have something awesome to bring to the table when they meet their friends for lunch on screen. The possibilities are endless; a new career move? Finally fluent in French? I know this because as women, we all have something to bring to the table, on and off the silver screen. And I don’t think I’m holding the film industry to too high of a standard to expect a reflection of real women.

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Posted on January 13, 2015

Femicide: The War on Women in Mexico

Gender Issues

You may have heard it plenty times before: “Mexico is dangerous.”

If you’ve ever travelled to, or even talked about venturing to Mexico, chances are you might have been met with genuine concern. Though Mexico is the home to some of the best vacation resorts and rich culture, states such as Jalisco and Chihauhua have been the target of crime.

News, such as the mass killings of 43 male students last September, shocked the world and deemed Mexico even more dangerous. The mass killings were met with fear, confusion and secrecy. Till this day, the world, and even Mexico, is still not completely sure how the mass killings could have happened, and their questions just pile up more and more, like the bodies of the students found months after the murder.

This unfortunately was not the first, nor the last mass murder Mexico experienced. Mexico is currently battling what is referred to as a “feminicidio,” which in English is translated to “femicide:”  a chain of murders that occur mostly on women.

According to AlJazzera America, six women are killed each day in Mexico due to femicide. The men committing these murders range from jealous boyfriends, rapists, and men who just do not value women and their lives. There is hardly any justice for these women because perpetrators are not reprimanded due to Mexico’s harsh governmental and political corruption.

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Posted on January 12, 2015

A Letter to My Future Child: Why I Won’t Buy You That Doll Made for Girls

Letters

Dear Child,

I knew that this day might come. They day that you ask me to get you a company manufactured doll like all of the other young children have. With her fabulous dream house, her seemingly flawless figure and her never ending wardrobe, she seems like the perfect toy to have.

You have no idea how it worries me, to one day possibly hear you compare yourself to the unrealistic standards she sets for young children like you.

It is because of this that I have decided to not buy you that Barbie doll or any doll that will make you feel inferior, to feel like you need to make drastic personal changes to yourself to feel of worth in this society. Instead, my love, I will make you a doll. A doll you and every other child should ever dream of having in their collection of toys. A doll that you will one day pass on to your own child (if you decide to have any) when you get older, in the hopes that you learn to love yourself and value who you are inside. It is with my sincere hope that you treasure this doll the way I wish you to treasure yourself.

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