In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

Horton Hears a Sexist

horton hears a who

Peter Sagal asks, What did Dr. Suess do to movie producers to make them so desperate to pervert his work? This time around, film makers created a brand-new subplot wherein the Major of Whoville has 96 daughters and one son.

Guess who gets all of his attention? Guess who saves the day?

You should read Sagal’s whole piece (it’s short), but this was my favorite part:

And there’s this — not only does the movie end with father and son embracing, while the 96 daughters are, I guess, playing in a well, somewhere, but the son earns his father’s love by saving the world. Boys get to save the world, and girls get to stand there and say, I knew you could do it. How did they know he could do it? Maybe because they watched every other movie ever made?

We got into the car outside the cinpeplex and I was quite in lather, let me tell you. How come one of the GIRLs didn’t get to save Whoville? I cried.

“Yeah!” said my daughters.

“And while we’re at it, how come a girl doesn’t get to blow up the Death Star! Or send ET home? Or defeat Captain Hook! Or Destroy the Ring of Power!”

“That’s rotten!” cried my daughters.

“How come Trinity can’t be the One who defeats the Matrix!” I yelled.

“What are you talking about?” they said.

“You’ll find out later,” I said. “But here’s one: how come a girl doesn’t get to defeat Lord Voldemort!”

“Well, wait a minute, Papa,” they said. “None of us would want to mess with him.”

I took their point. But I still wanted to grab that fictional, silly mayor of Whoville by his weirdly ruffled neck, and say, you see those 96 people over there? Those girls, those women, those daughters? You know what they’re saying to you, every minute of every day that you waste thinking about anything else?

They are shouting at you. They are shouting:

“We are here! We are here! We are here!”

Thanks to Julia for the link.

A request

Probably a stupid one, but what the hell.

I’ve been earwormed with a bit of song that I know is from a movie, but I can’t place it. Here’s the line:

Moses supposes his toeses are roses.

Help me out, people: is this from Singin’ In the Rain? Some other movie? What was the scene?

4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days


I still haven’t seen it, but Ms. Lauren gives it rave reviews. There’s an interview with the director, Cristian Mungiu, in the LA Weekly, and he makes a few comments I’d like to highlight. Mungiu says,

It didn’t start from the idea of making a film about abortion. I hope that it speaks about this period and how people adapted, as you say. And I also hope it speaks about something that is not just connected with that period. For me, it’s also a film about responsibilities and decision making, and I think these are things which are very universal, and I believe that is why there is this sympathy for the film in lots of places. Even in places where people don’t know much about what was going on in Romania, people still relate to this.

Read More…Read More…



This has just jumped to the top of my movies-to-see list.

In “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” a ferocious, unsentimental, often brilliantly directed film about a young woman who helps a friend secure an abortion, the camera doesn’t follow the action, it expresses consciousness itself. This consciousness — alert to the world and insistently alive — is embodied by a young university student who, one wintry day in the late 1980s, helps her roommate with an abortion in Ceausescu’s Romania when such procedures were illegal, not uncommon and too often fatal. It’s a pitiless, violent story that in its telling becomes a haunting and haunted intellectual and aesthetic achievement.

It’s getting great reviews, but interestingly, the director is saying that the film isn’t about abortion — it’s about totalitarianism. That statement particularly struck me, because women’s bodies are so often used as social and political pawns — something that occasionally gets lost in the reproductive rights debate. Abortion in Romania is one example; reproductive rights in places like China, mandatory covering in Afghanistan, and natalist policies in WWII-era Germany are also illustrative.

Hopefully I’ll see it soon, and I’ll post a review.

Teen pregnancy will also restore your virginity and pay off your credit card debt


I still haven’t seen Juno, although I really want to. A whole lot of feminist bloggers have criticized its message, but Susie Bright’s take is my favorite so far. Head over there and read it.

Anti-choice bloggers are calling these movies “gems” and saying that they reinforce a culture of life. I’m sure these films are entertaining and sweet, and I’ve heard that Juno in particular is fantastic — I’m sure I’ll like it. But while Culture of Life Warriors are applauding films which show teenage girls having babies, they’re taking all kinds of steps to insure that teenagers in real life have fewer options to prevent pregnancy, and are kept ignorant about their bodies and their health. They are making it harder for low-income women to raise children. They are making it harder for children to thrive in our society. They are willing to sacrifice women’s lives for their ideology.

Many of these movies are enjoyable for pro-choicers and pro-lifers alike. That’s great. But a truly “pro-life” culture requires more than just feel-good films — it requires an actual commitment to the lives and well-being of women, men and children. And I have yet to see anything resembling that from the “pro-life” political establishment.

Damn Funny Women! (part 2)

I’m splitting my last post up into two sections, because it was too long, and the second half isn’t about the BBC’s horrible “science reporting” anyway. It’s about the related subject of whether women are allowed to be funny.

So what is up with humor being characterized as inherently “aggressive?” Everyone seems to take this for granted, and it’s part of why the “women just aren’t funny” trope gets rehashed over and over again. (Because you know, women just aren’t aggressive either, right?) From the recent slamming of Katharine Heigl for pointing out that Knocked Up unfairly cast its women as humorless non-jokers all the way back to Christopher Hitchens’ infamous essay in in Vanity Fair about why women aren’t funny unless they’re “hefty or dykey or Jewish,” it hasn’t been a good year for women in comedy. Or at least, the idea of women in comedy. Although they’re in a minority, there are plenty of extremely funny female comedians out there doing just fine and proving all this shit wrong.

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Why strip? Because it’s good for your blog!

OK, I will probably go see Juno and I’ll probably like it. The title character is apparently one of the smartest, funniest, pluckiest female protagonists in a while: a 16-year-old who’s dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, initially goes to have an abortion, then ends up deciding to carry the pregnancy to term, with a nice couple she finds as adoptive parents. (More about that aspect of it later.) It’s been described as a whip-smart, witty indie comedy, like Little Miss Sunshine but less disturbing, like Knocked Up could have been if it weren’t so intensely dude-focused without much insight into the female characters.

The fact that Juno has a strong, nuanced female lead shouldn’t be entirely surprising, because the film was written by a womna: Diablo Cody, an up-and-coming screenwriter who’s been getting a fair amount of attention in the reviews. I feel like I ought to be excited by this. There aren’t enough women writing screenplays that get made into films, and writers don’t get enough attention as it is. Is it awful that I find Diablo Cody deeply, deeply irritating? At least in this interview?

It’s not every day that you sit down with a fiery femme filmmaker who’s got a tattoo of a pinup girl on her right shoulder, but that’s just what young Juno bad girl screenwriter brought to the interview table today.

With a crown of choppy black goth hair as the ultimate anti-‘do, and a surgical glove on her right hand that she wore for no particular reason except to snap it on her wrist every now and then for emphasis of some wacky idea or another, Diablo talked about, among other eye openers, Catholic guilt, not giving a lap dance to Steven Spielberg, her former strangely liberating gig as the worst stripper and phone sex worker, and how cyberspace made her do it, don’t ask.

Why did you get into stripping?

DIABLO CODY: Blogging led me to stripping. I was at a point where I didn’t have much to say on my blog. So I stripped for one night, and it was supposed to be a fun thing to do. But I wrote about it, and people responded right away. It got me to thinking, this could be good for the blog.

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I Leave New York and They Will Come

I’m shamelessly publicizing a really cool film festival that I cannot attend (tears…everywhere…literally) because…I live in Cairo now. But if I were in New York (man, oh man, if were in New York), and if you’re reading this and YOU are in New York you should go check out the Other Israel Film Festival playing from November 8-15.

The festival celebrates Arab-Israelis and their life in Israel.

Twenty percent of Israel’s population is Arab. Muslim, Christian, Druze, and Bedouin, from different ethnic, religious, cultural and social backgrounds are defined collectively as Arab Citizens of Israel.

Through a week-long festival of award winning films, guest filmmakers, panel discussions, special gala event & receptions, photography exhibits, musical performances and much more, Other Israel will illuminate the lives of the Arab Citizens of Israel who are rarely seen outside the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I’ve seen quite a few of the films they are playing, but the ones I haven’t seen look rad. What is profoundly moving about this is the fact that Israeli and Palestinian and Arab film makers and companies have come together to fund and support this event. Another little ray of hope, I think. And another note on the importance of media (I promise I’ll try to write about something else…)

And while I’m at it, I might as well promote a really cool event. I actually am a little misty eyed because I’ll be missing out on this:

Jackie Saloum graduated from NYU a few years ago and has since been working on a really, really badass documentary on the Arab resistance-hip-hop scene in Gaza and the West Bank (among other places). Here is the trailer, for your viewing pleasure. Also, DAM (Da Arab MCs) is finally able to come to New York and they are playing in Brooklyn on November 13. If you’re in New York and interested in going, let me know. I’ve got details and I hope other people flock to this, as I, unfortunately, cannot flock. Depressing, I know.