Does Comic-Con Condone Rape Culture?

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Sexual harassment and assault are prevalent everywhere in our culture, including at public events. In some cases, though, the atmosphere of particular events actually seems to promote, or at least tacitly condone, harassment. San Diego’s Comic-Con, the biggest convention of its kind, is one such event. In my piece, “Comic-Conned: Gender Norms in a Carnivalesque […]

Lucy Is No Louise: Skip This Action-Packed Fail and Re-watch Thelma and Louise Instead

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Sure, Scarlett Johansson is a great actor. Alas, her lead role in Lucy does not do her justice. The premise of the film—that we only use 10 percent of our brains—is a faulty one and caused quite an angry buzzing across the Internet (as here and here) even before the film’s official release. The direction […]

A Quintuple F for Obvious Child (And That’s Good, Not Bad)

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The new film Obvious Child is informed by F-words of all sorts. It’s funny and feminist. It’s about friendship and forgiveness. It contains jokes about flatulence. It’s radically important for so many reasons, not least among them that “seeing an abortion in a negative light in a movie makes viewers less likely to support abortion […]

Dragon 2: DreamWorks Could Use Some Training in Racial Stereotyping

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Diversity in animation is often evident via the fanciful creatures that populate such stories. Big green ogres, cutesy blue smurfs, jocular bright-yellow minions. In How to Train Your Dragon 2 dragons are the diverse creatures of choice, ranging from the uber-spikey untrainable babies, to the salamander-like faithful Toothless, to the menacing mastadonesque alpha-dragon. The humans that […]

The Fault in Our Stars: Our Love Affair with Romance and Feminism

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Pain demands to be felt. So goes one of the wise lines from John Green’s bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars. The line is prominently featured in the movie of the same title—and rightfully so, given that this dictum on the necessity of feeling pain is a key reason the story is so compelling. […]

Maleficent: Finally, Disney Gives us a Positive Witch/Mother

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Women’s stories have often been twisted, stolen, and locked away, often in iron-clad phallocentric cages. This has led to benevolent witches turning wicked, powerful woman being framed as bitches, midwives cast as baby-killers, queens/princesses truncated into damsels in distress and, perhaps most pervasively, the demonization/murder of mothers and motherhood. To hide this ironclad prison house […]

Why Couldn’t “Divergent” Give Peace a Chance?

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Divergent isn’t perfect. And I am not referring to the film’s dystopian world, wherein society has been split into six “factions”—the smart (erudite), the peaceful (amity), the truthful (candor), the selfless (abnegation), the brave (dauntless) and the outcasts (the factionless). I am referring to the fact that it does not, as with most mainstream dystopian […]

Thankful for Tauriel in Hobbit Tale

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SPOILERS ALERT …. Though The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is, in the main, a dwarf and orc sausagefest—with key male wizards, hobbits, elves and dragons at the center—there is, thankfully, Tauriel, a female elf. While many feminist-minded lovers of J.R.R. Tolkien have made worthy arguments regarding the importance of female characters in The Lord […]

The Book Thief: Stealing Hearts and Minds

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Though the film The Book Thief is narrated by Death (as is the book) and takes place during World War II—an era particularly riddled with death—the movie brims with life. A large part of this is due to the amazing young actress Sophie Nélisse who plays the protagonist, Liesel Meminger. It is not often that […]

“Catching Fire”: Positive Fuel for the Feminist Flame

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I think most of us would agree there is no place on this planet that is utopian in the sense of being a perfect society (utopia literally means “no place”). Dystopia, on the other hand, exists to some extent every place. The Hunger Games trilogy is very apt in this sense of the word. The […]