“In Time” Wastes Time


Based on a very timely premise, the new film In Time ironically moves rather slowly over the course of its 109 minutes. Lacking a “time is running out” feel and failing to deliver an edge-of-your-seat “every moment counts” experience, the film instead plods along in its attempt to examine wealth disparity through the metaphor of […]

Rape as a Weapon of War


On October 11, PBS will kick off its new five-part series Women, War, and Peace, executive-produced by Abigail Disney, Gini Reticker and Pamela Hogan. I interviewed Peggy Kuo, a war-crimes prosecutor featured in I Came To Testify, the first segment to air, which focuses on the first-ever international criminal tribunal that addressed rape as a […]

Pan Am: Will Women Take Flight?


Though I agree with Nancy Franklin of the New Yorker that you can’t judge a show by its pilot, I would counter that, in the case of Pan Am, there is quite a bit we can glean from the season opener. Indeed, just as one can gather quite a bit from a book’s cover–is the […]

Wed, Bed and Bruised–But Certainly Not Equal


As today is the 40th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day, it’s an appropriate moment to consider the continuing inequalities women face. As a scholar of popular culture who tracks the way it grapples with changing conceptions of gender and sexuality, I am struck by the profound difference between Bella Abzug, staunch supporter of women’s rights, […]

A New “Fright Night”: What a Difference a Female Screenwriter Makes

A New Fright Night

Debates about whether women’s writing was uniquely female or if there was a “feminine voice” permeated much femininist theorizing in the ’70s and ’80s. While I tend to be wary of claims about difference grounded in biological determinism, I do think that for many female writers their experiences as women, or as what Simone de […]

Blowing the Whistle on “Peacekeeping” Sex Traffickers


The book version of The Whistleblower provided a harrowing, page-turning account of sexual trafficking in post-war Bosnia, revealing how the private military contractor DynCorp, the United Nations and the U.S. State Department were complicit in hiding, as well as perpetuating, the global sex trafficking industry. The film adaptation now out in theaters, with an original […]

The Terrible, Awful Sweetness of The Help


If Kathryn Stockett’s novel The Help was an angel food cake study of racism and segregation in the 60’s South, the new movie adaptation is even fluffier. Like a dollop of whip cream skimmed off a multi-layered cake, the film only grazes the surface of the intersecting oppressions of race, class, gender and geohistory. Let […]

White Cowboys and Alien Indians


Given that the new film Cowboys and Aliens is the structural and symbolic equivalent of “Cowboys and Indians,” I went to see it in order to discover if this newfangled Western-Alien mash-up is marred by the same racial representations as the majority of its Western film predecessors. And yes, for the most part, it is. […]

Smurf Girls Are Easy … and Love To Shop!


In her classic 1991 article, Katha Pollitt named the tendency in media where “a group of male buddies will be accented by a lone female, stereotypically defined” the “Smurfette Principle.” Twenty years later, this principle is still all too common–including in the new movie The Smurfs. In the film, Smurfette–the first and usually only female Smurf–is […]

A Feminist Visits Comic-Con


This weekend, I attended my first ever Comic-Con–the annual comic-book industry bonanza–with my 12-year-old daughter. As always, I wore my feminist lenses, and noticed many things, both good and bad, to report. As my daughter and I wended our way through the crowded exhibit hall, I was glad to find many women artists and editors […]