Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cara Delevingne takes a stand against playing demeaning female characters, is my new girl crush

I don't know what Cara Delevingne has done to become so popular, because all I know about her is that she is a model and everyone talks about her eyebrows, but I'm glad she is because she sounds smart and interesting. She's a good role model for the millions of fans she seems to have.

Although she rose to fame as a model, she's delving into acting now and has a bunch of movies coming out. She just spoke to Time Out magazine about her film The Face of an Angel. 

She dished out some quality insight on sticking to your values and how badly the film industry needs the point of view of women.

Did you ever think: I’ve done too much modelling, it will be impossible to become an actor?‘Oh yeah. The first time I did Fashion Week, I was like: Right, I might as well give up on acting because I’m screwed. And as soon as I became a model, I was being sent typecasting roles as the stupid blonde who gets killed really quickly, or the sexy girlfriend, or whatever. 
Roles I would rather die than play. I was ready to give up on it. Or not give up, but take a break. When I finally got a serious role to audition for, I cried on the phone, I was so happy. Not even a film, just an audition.’ 
So it’s difficult as a woman in your twenties to get decent roles?‘Yes. And every movie I’ve done I’ve had to fight for lines and fight for point of view. Usually it’s a male director, male producers. It’s all very much a man’s point of view. I speak up and say “Girls don’t do that.” Or “That’s not something a girl would say in that situation.” It’s about how men perceive women and it’s not accurate, and it annoys me! 
I don’t think people speak up enough. Even if I’m wrong, even if I get shut down, I know that I’ve done my part to get a woman’s voice out there. It’s important that when girls watch movies they’ve got strong female role models.’
I love it. "Even if I’m wrong, even if I get shut down, I know that I’ve done my part to get a woman’s voice out there."  So true!  She's a reminder that we need to speak up and create a more gender balance inside the industry and on screen.

I know that not all women are in a position to turn down jobs that may not reflect who they are or what they want to create, but she is in that position, and is rightly using it help create change. I once got into an argument with a guy about the need for more women behind and in front of the camera, and he was saying stuff like "it doesn't matter who makes art." That's bullshit. It totally matters. Learn more about movie stats.

The world is a more interesting place when we have art and media that reflects the diverse world we live in.  It's more honest, complex and evolved. How boring would art and film and music be if whole segments of the population were excluded from participating? Plus, the more women we have calling the shots, speaking up and taking leadership roles, the more likely we are to see pay equality. Not to mention the numerous studies that have been done that show the significance of children seeing themselves reflected in media, like films, books, etc.

Here is a reminder of the stats on gender in film:

Be sure to like and share!

"Equals Three" asks Was that sexist?

Ray William Johnson's youtube channel is not a source I would peg for feminist messages. He runs a web series called Equals Three, which basically features recent viral content where he makes funny observations about it. It's always funny and short and entertaining.

What's great about this clip is that it's not only demonstrating things men do or say that is inadvertently demeaning or disrespectful to women, but it shows the things that women say to men that are demeaning to them, like calling a guy a pussy, "It's just a spider. Grow a pair!", laughing at him for crying, or treating him like something's wrong with him if he can't get it up, "What do you mean you're not in the mood? You're a dude. You're always in the mood!"

Reinforcing stereotypes on either side of the gender coin affects everyone, which I think is part of his point. There are a couple of things I wish it had included though. The most obvious is the archaic double standard that women are sluts if they have casual sex, but if men do that's just normal, or they're studs.

Anyway, I don't agree that everything in this video is automatically sexist, but it's great to just open up a conversation about it. I love Ray, not just for this video, but also because he posts a 'pay your rent' reminder on the first of every month on Facebook.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Janessa Slater makes things awkward and funny with Sleater-Kinney

OG riot grrrl group Sleater-Kinney have re-united recently, which means I'm about to have a new album on rotation and it also means they're doing lots of promo.  They sat down with Janessa Slater, who looks suspiciously like Vanessa Bayer from SNL, for a media coach session on her youtube interview show Sound Advice. This is like Zak Galifianakis's "BetweenTtwo Ferns" but for bands instead of actors.

She first mocks them for being "old" by asking if Susan B. Anthony was one of their original members, then rambles out a maligned description of riot grrrl and also laughs at the lyrics for sounding like "the diary of an angsty pre-teen girl."

After asking them how many mysteries they've solved, "as an all girl band," a description they later take offense to, Corin reveals they did once set up a sting against a flasher at a show! I must know more details! Sounds like a modern day episode of Jem and the Holograms. Anyway, my favorite bit is when "Janessa" does a Judge Judy impersonation after they tell her it's illegal to flash your ex in public.

New career goal: to have my band on her show!! I love this girl now.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

If David Lynch directed Teen Witch


Last night I stumbled across this amazing video mash-up of scenes from the 80s film Teen Witch, cut with the soundtrack of Twin Peaks and had my mind blown. Instead of a cheesy 80s pop ballad at her prom, Teen Witch's Louise Miller struts to jazzy snapping. It's a pretty brilliant blend of two radically opposing genres, making the result a window into some alternate universe where David Lynch has a thing for teen coming-of-age stories.

If you're not familiar with the cult film Teen Witch, then you must get acquainted. It's an unintentionally campy, hilarious but beautiful 80s teen supernatural romance film about a 16 year old outcast girl who discovers she's a witch and uses her powers to become the most popular girl at school, win the heart of her crush and subsequently ditch her nerdy BFF. It's not the greatest message, but as far as feminist themes go, it depicts a world full of all kinds of women at least. Louise also has a minor feminist triumph when she gets revenge on a teacher who embarrassed her for having birth control. 

This ridiculous and lovable film has these over the top dance scenes I hope to one day know all of the moves to. Clearly I'm not the only one, because the star of the film, Robyn Lively, says there are midnight screenings where people dress up as her character and know all the lines and dance scenes. I'm already collecting my costume pieces and looking for the next screening.

The most awesomely cheesy part of this film, and probably the most infamous, is the "Top That" rap which is likely what helped push this film into cult classic status -- it's a hilarious song you should definitely know all of the words to.  To get what's so brilliant about this mash-up, you should be familiar with David Lynch and see Teen Witch. It's on netflix instant right now and there's a bunch of scenes on youtube.

"I'm hot and you're not!"

Friday, March 13, 2015

Disney Princess Rap Battle: Belle vs Cinderella

Sarah Michelle Gellar, most known for her turn as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, stars in this rap battle of epic proportions: Belle vs Cinderella. Who wins? You decide.

I love this feminist awakening that Disney princesses have been having over the last few years.  Some of these original tales have been told a million different ways -- hundreds if not thousands of Cinderella versions exist.  That one is hard fable to turn into a feminist tale.  Cinderella basically escapes servitude by marrying a rich and powerful man after some jealous girls try to bring her down.

Belle was always my favorite because she was the weirdo who loved books, cared about her father and shunned the arrogant playboy. She didn't care about finding a man.

Cinderlla's best line: 
"Let’s look at your mentality, Freud loves your abnormality
The Stockholm Syndrome Story: Beauty and the Bestiality
Of course you’re bitter, I’m the number one star
Pumpkin carriage, perfect marriage, no one cares who you are."

Belle's best line: 
"Cindy’s dreaming she’s important, well, somebody should wake her
This gold-digging trophy wife’s the royal babymaker
Fear the nerdy, wordy princess ‘cause I’m throwing more shade
Than the willow tree growing on your dead mother’s grave
Your tale as old as time sets us back fifty years
Do your chores, clean the floors ‘til a man just appears"

If I had to declare it: Belle wins! 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Supergirl debutes her new dark and modern look

Warner Brothers has released the first image of Melissa Benoist as Supergirl for the upcoming CBS show.  I don't know that much about Supergirl, but I'd say this costume is a win. She isn't hyper sexualized or in overly revealing clothes, like the mid-drift baring version I've seen so much of.

Vanity Fair referred to this look as "modest", but to me, Supergirl being more covered up isn't about "modesty," it's about practicality. I'm glad she's covered up, mostly because I'd rather see a costume that looks like it's meant for kicking ass and fighting crime, and NOT seducing every man she meets. 

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the designer, Colleen Atwood, said, "In designing Supergirl, I wanted to embrace the past but more importantly, thrust her into the street style action hero of today." 

I don't know what a street style action hero of today looks like, but this is the current comic book version of Super girl, apparently ----------------------------->

The concept of the plot revolves around Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl who escaped from the same planet as her cousin Superman. She makes her way through life on earth, learning how to use her powers for good with the help of her foster family.

I'm glad the costume designer didn't use this comic version as inspiration. WTF is that? It looks like she's wearing a long sleeved bathing suit with a cape. The comic version reminds me of this College Humor sketch about female armor in comics and movies. 

Female Armor Sucks--

It's safe to say this CBS version is several major steps up from the scantily clad costume of the comic. Not to mention it's lightyears better than the recent epic fail of the attempt of the 2011 Wonder Woman TV show. It looked like her costume came from the 99 Cent reject bin. That mess was canceled before it even aired. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Amy Poehler's 20 year old pilot is even more weirdly awesome than I would have thought

She plays a straight-laced government employee on Parks and Recreation, but in this amazing little ten minute 90s time capsule, Amy Poehler is a liberal feminist TV hacker.  Her and her comrades take over the airwaves in their makeshift office/RV, hence the title of the pilot, RVTV.  

Amy also breaks down some pretty awesome feminist raps in the clips, talking directly to the camera, breaking the forth wall, just like Parks and Rec! Maybe she was ahead of her time by utilizing this mockumentary-style filming. Or maybe just inspired by the early 90s Real World era. 

Amy Poehler is one of my favorite comedy actresses these days.  And to show you why, and get you in the Amy Poehler mood, the following is a list of 7 reasons why she is one of my favorites right now, and then you can watch the video in all its crude from.

1. Her and Tina Fey were the first women to co-news anchor on SNL. They were hilarious, smart and were unafraid to push the boundaries and take a stand.

2. I think they were the first two women to co-host the Oscars. I could be wrong, but either way they're hilarious when they do.

3. She was iconic in Mean Girls.

4. She hosts a youtube show called The Smart Girls at the Party, where she interviews girls and women who do cool shit, then hijinks ensue.

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