At the Grammys, Domestic Violence is Cause Célèbre, But Black Women Rappers Are Uncelebrated

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Leading up to last night’s Grammy Awards, controversy centered on what a victory for the white, Australia-born rapper Iggy Azalea would signify, as she would have been the first solo woman artist to collect the Best Rap Album award. Assessments of Azalea’s authenticity (her “blaccent” works with an on/off switch—she speaks differently than she raps) […]

A Feminist Ode to Bobbie Gentry

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It was the 3rd of June, another sleepy dusty delta day I was out choppin’ cotton and my brother was balin’ hay … In the summer of 1967, there wasn’t anyone listening to AM radio who wasn’t familiar with these opening lines to the #1 hit record “Ode to Billie Joe.” Sung by long-dark-haired Bobbie […]

Theater Uses Feminist Quiz to Promote Play

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If you have burned up even minimal time on Facebook, you have likely taken those ubiquitous quizzes that offer a whole new level of self-knowledge than anything available to  previous generations—from which city to which superhero you resemble most. The Goodman Theater in Chicago has made the most of this innovation to test one’s feminist-history […]

The Shock of Schiaparelli

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Elsa Schiaparelli made women feel beautiful, daring and independent—by convincing them to wear insect jewelry, clown prints and shoes on their heads. Schiaparelli (pronounced “skap-a-reli”) routinely made headlines in the 1920s and ’30s, overshadowing rivals like Coco Chanel. Many Schiaparelli designs were so avant-garde that they still have the power to shock, and contemporary designers continue to riff on her […]

5 Fabulous Feminist Films from Sundance

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While feminist achievements in popular culture are not always easy to come by, the last few months have brought more than a few heartening examples. This year’s Golden Globes, for instance, had a plethora of feminist moments. Perhaps more surprisingly, even the Super Bowl featured anti-domestic-violence ads, an anti-racism ad starring Mindy Kaling and a spot […]

Subverting the “Girlie” Calendar: February

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Ms. February Make me the heart of February, please, her sweet and frilly be-mine valentine, shot through and through with love incarnadine and holy scented essence of heart’s ease. A “girlie calendar” makes one think of men’s lockers, walls of auto repair shops or a military barracks: They’re typically collections of nude or scantily dressed […]

White, Male

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The 2015 Oscar nominations, announced this morning, loudly echo Martha Lauzen’s most recent report on the “celluloid ceiling” for women in Hollywood. What Lauzen said about her findings can equally be said of today’s nominees: [They] drive home the point that men continue to construct the vast majority of the visual and aural worlds featured […]

Breaking Through Hollywood’s Celluloid Ceiling

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Amidst the pomp and circumstance of the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards Sunday night, it’s easy to get swept up in the opulence that is Hollywood and not look behind the shiny veneer of the television and film industry. While there was deserved hoopla over the feminist moments of the evening, with wins for up-and-comer […]

Selma Shows Why We Need More Black Women Filmmakers

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Last year was a stellar one for black women filmmakers. First, there was Amma Asante’s exquisitely filmed Belle (starring an impressive Gugu Mbatha-Raw), followed later by Gina Prince-Bythewood’s emotionally layered Beyond the Lights (also starring Mbatha-Raw). The year finally closed out with Ava DuVernay’s critically acclaimed historical drama, Selma. However, while Belle was summarily dismissed by movie critics as a “black Jane […]

The Many Truths of “Selma”

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Instead of getting lost in the “fact” checking about whose depiction of President Lyndon B. Johnson is correct, let us get clear about the important lessons that the film Selma can teach us all—especially white people. White racism was and is ugly and murderous. Black civil rights activists were courageous and willing to die for […]