Forgotten Women of Film History: Alice Guy

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Spielberg. Scorsese. Tarantino. Lucas. Hitchcock. When we think of filmmakers, we often think of men. It’s not surprising, considering a recent study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found women account for only 16 percent of directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top films. But the film industry wasn’t […]

Subverting the “Girlie” Calendar: October

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Ms. October I do adore October’s blue sarong, the sliding slits along her whistling hips, and I would die to kiss her ruby lips for all the wet and rotting leaf night long. A “girlie calendar” makes one think of men’s lockers, walls of auto repair shops or a military barracks: They’re typically collections of […]

Women Who Conquered the Comic Book World

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[This article is excerpted with permission from Collectors Weekly. See the full article here.] The day after she returned from the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International, comics icon Trina Robbins sits down with me outside at a café just around the corner from her home in San Francisco’s Castro District. As both a comics creator and historian, […]

“This Is Where I Leave You” — Chutzpah v. Repression

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Jane Fonda and Tina Fey, two comic masterminds in one film? Yes, please! 9 to 5, which Ms. magazine featured on its January cover in 1981, remains one of my favorite comedies. Fonda as the naïve, buttoned-up secretary Judy, learns how to ovary-up from her feisty coworkers Violet (Lily Tomlin) and Doralee (Dolly Parton). In real […]

One Childs Born, And Laura Nyro Carries On

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It’s hard not to toy with the lyrics of Laura Nyro’s song “And When I Die” when headlining a review of jazz pianist Billy Childs‘ new tribute to the inspiring singer/songwriter/feminist. “And when I die,” sang Nyro in the 1966 recording, “and when I’m gone / there’ll be one child born / and a world […]

Lost in a Maze of Males

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The Maze Runner, the new post-apocalyptic film based on James Dashner’s 2009 book, has a strong lead female and a diverse cast in terms of race (what a nice change from the too-white Hunger Games!). But, when I mention “a strong lead female,” I literally mean “a”—yes, as in one—one female among a gaggle of adolescent […]

Joan Rivers: Certainly Unforgettable, But a Paragon of Feminism?

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Since her death a week ago, a number of tributes to Joan Rivers have called her a “feminist icon“—mainly, it seems, because she was a trailblazer and door-opener for women who wanted to make it to the major leagues of comedy and because she was so unstoppably driven in her own ambition. On the other […]

Joan Rivers, Paragon of Feminism?

Since her death a week ago, a number of tributes to Joan Rivers have called her a “feminist icon“—mainly, it seems, because she was a trailblazer and door-opener for women who wanted to make it to the major leagues of comedy and because she was so unstoppably driven in her own ambition. On the other […]

Anna Freud, Papa Sigmund and Gay Conversion Therapy

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You may know Rebecca Coffey’s science journalism from magazines like Scientific American and Discover, where she has proven herself as a teller of real-life tales that pop with quirky humor. Now she’s done herself one better in her debut novel, Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story. It’s the fact-based, fictional autobiography of Sigmund Freud’s purportedly lesbian daughter, and it’s as funny and occasionally frightening as […]

Beyonce at the VMAs: Feminist and Flawless

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  If you missed the MTV Video Music Awards last night, there was only one image you really needed to see: Beyoncé literally putting the spotlight on feminism. And seeing the word FEMINIST emblazoned on a huge screen behind the singer was a galvanizing sight to behold. The millions of people who tuned into the […]