Iron Man 3: The Series Drones On

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In this third foray of the man in the Iron Suit with a weak heart but a strong libido, female characters fare a bit better than they did in the first two Iron Man films. Pepper Potts (played by Gwyneth Paltrow, she is Iron Man/Tony Stark’s girlfriend and the CEO of his company, Stark Industries) […]

Top of the Lake: A Non-Watered-Down Depiction of Rape Culture

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Water has a complicated history in feminist thought. Women have been sometimes positively, sometimes negatively equated with water, with fluidity, with that which is not solid or tangible or rational and thus has the ability to flow, submerge, purify, gush … but also drown, pollute or erode. TV miniseries Top of the Lake builds on […]

The Host: Less Anti-Feminist than Twilight, but Hardly a Sisterhood Manifesta

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I readily admit I did not read The Host. I couldn’t face it after immersing myself in all things Twilight while researching my book Seduced by Twilight. I started it, but less than 20 pages in I couldn’t stomach any more of Stephenie Meyer’s purple, flaccid prose. No, I agree with Nicki Gerlach—that “Meyer is […]

“Oz the Great and Powerful” Rekindles the Notion That Women Are Wicked

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Dorothy Gale—the girl who went to Oz—has been called the first true feminist hero in American children’s literature. Indeed, she was condemned by many readers, including children’s librarians, for daring to have opinions and act on them. My grandmother introduced me to the Oz books as a child, and I have always seen her as […]

Warm Bodies: Romance Is So Dead

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So, zombies are the new vampire. Now they, too, are sympathetic, romantic and stilted in their speech. They, too, have glowing eyes and lips of an unnatural hue. At least they don’t sparkle. Not yet. Alas, the male zombie heartthrob/lead from WarmBodies, named simply “R” in the novel by Isaac Marion and played by Nicholas Hoult […]

Some Musicals Are More Feminist Than Others

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While Les Misérables is not your typical musical–or, as this Guardian review puts it, “There’s no dancing, there are no jazz hands and there is next to no speech”–it is typical of the genre in that, like opera, it includes more female characters than do many plays, movies and novels. Regardless if this is due […]

The Hobbit: A Gender-Bending Journey

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is, in no way, shape, or form a film that passes the Bechdel test. Not only does it lack two female characters interacting with each other about something other than a male love interest, it pretty much lacks female characters, full stop. Of all 15 main characters, not one is […]

Breaking Dawn Part 2: And They Lived Happily Twi-After

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The Twilight Saga’s Breaking Dawn: Part 2 tries hard to be epic, and in ways it is. Not all of them good. On the plus side, it has a grander scope, better cinematography, action scenes my 13-year-old literally described as epic, and more camp. The camp part is its best feature, and this time around there […]

The Brainy Message of ParaNorman

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Got a thing for zombies? Have some tween-age children in your life? Do you like whizz-bang stop-motion animation? Or, perhaps you are one of those types who appreciates a well-developed cast of characters that kicks stereotypes to the curb, features strong women and–can it be true?!?!–has a positively depicted openly gay character. If so, get […]

Catwoman Finally Rises

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The tragedy in Aurora, Colo., is on all of our minds as our reviewer casts a feminist lens on the latest Batman film. Our hearts go out to the wounded and to the family and friends of those murdered in yet another horrifying incident of gun violence. … Most reviews of The Dark Knight Rises […]