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 […]

The Feminist Pull of “Gravity”

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*This review contains no spoilers.* The recently released, Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, is visually stunning. Its amazing cinematography gives audience members the sense of being out there in space, detached from Earth. Detachment is a key theme of the film (“Detached” is also the title of the teaser trailer released last summer). Related to […]

Dystopian “Elysium” Offers Utopian Feminism

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Finally! There’s a big-budget, highly attended, intelligent summer movie with good acting, strong female roles, a cast comprised of many people of color, timely and astute political analysis and fully realized characters. Plus, not one gratuitous booty shot. Not one! I had to keep pinching myself to make sure I was not dreaming as I […]

Comic-Con’s Carnival Atmosphere Sadly Punctuated by “Slutty Victim” Feel

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I enjoy going to Comic-Con. The creative costumes and the variety of people in them, old and young, fat and thin, gender normative and gender queer, as well as the diversity of non-costumed attendees gleefully taking pictures with those in costumes make the event feel like a huge, four-day Halloween. I also enjoy the coverage […]

“World War Z” More Feminist-Friendly Than the Book

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Max Brook’s massively successful book World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War ultimately suggests the only way to survive the zombie apocalypse is by all-out war. His previous work, The Zombie Survival Guide, a mock-guide based on World War II survival manuals, proffers a similar message–that once zombies are in the picture, […]

Man of Steel: Wonderful Women, Super Masculinity

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Amy Adams is amazing as Lois Lane in Man of Steel. Her version of Lois is fearless, witty and wise. Diane Lane and Ayelet Zurer as the respective mothers of Superman are also amazing, as is the fact that both Superman’s Kryptonian mother, Lara Lor-Van (played by Zurer), and his human mother, Martha Kent (played […]