How to Get Away with Dynamic Black Women Leads

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After the weeks of hype and speculation leading up to the premiere, How to Get Away with Murder was the show to watch Thursday night. Viola Davis stars as Annalise Keating, a law school professor and criminal defense attorney, whom you can tell from the get-go is not a person to be crossed. She expects 100 […]

Angry or Complicated?: Misrecognizing Black Women

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Anyone who may have seen interviews with Shonda Rhimes, read her forthright speech on diversity on television, or watched her hit TV show Scandal, would not recognize her in Alessandra Stanley’s description of an “angry black woman.” It would be easy, actually, to become an “angry black woman” after reading Stanley’s New York Times review, but what such descriptors […]

Women on TV Making Headway? Not So Much

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If you think that there’s a gender disparity between women and men characters on TV, you’re right—and Martha Lauzen, Ph.D., can prove it. In her 17th annual Boxed In report, Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, shows that on broadcast networks, cable […]

Dorothea Lange’s Unforgettable Social Truths

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You don’t want to miss Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning, which premieres this Friday, August 29, on PBS’s American Masters series. You probably know Lange’s work from her photograph “Migrant Mother,” taken in 1936 at a pea picker’s camp in Nipomo, CA. The photo of a migrant working mother, stranded with children in […]

Honoring History’s Forgotten Women, One-Too-Many Chardonnays At A Time

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There’s something strangely empowering about hearing that Mary Dyer, the 17th century Quaker who dared to challenge the Puritans’ religious intolerance, “freaked their dicks off.” On Comedy Central’s Drunk History, which premiered its second season this month, crass is king as comedians rely on a little liquid courage to help them retell overlooked episodes in […]

The American R/Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

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Activist Grace Lee Boggs is finally getting the national attention she has long deserved, thanks to a new documentary, American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, airing tonight on PBS’s POV series (and then streaming on POV’s website from July 1-30). At age 99— her birthday was this past Friday—Boggs is still going strong. […]

The Case Against 8: Love Conquers All

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This time last year, the nation held its breath waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on two major marriage equality cases—and on June 26, 2013, SCOTUS declared both the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. In the months since that decision came down, support for marriage rights for […]

“Silicon Valley”: Comedy That Hits Too Close to Home … Or Just Close Enough?

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Three episodes of the new HBO comedy series Silicon Valley have passed, and I admit that I’m hooked, though not always for good reasons. The show, directed by Mike Judge (known for his hit sitcom Office Space), follows a group of young programmers living in a tech incubator in Silicon Valley and attempting to get a […]

Alice Walker Documentary on PBS This Friday

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Sometimes you have to write the stories you want to read—or, in this case, see. A few years ago, filmmaker Pratibha Parmar was staying with friends and happened across PBS’ American Masters series on DVD.  She couldn’t help but notice something was missing: They were all about American men who are icons, or who have […]

Girls Will Be “Girls” — A Feminist Lens on Season 3

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The third season of HBO’s Girls premiered Sunday night with two new episodes and a whole lot of millennial self-absorption. Hannah (Lena Dunham), now back with Adam (Adam Driver), is getting her life back on track, while her best friend Marnie (Allison Williams) is single again after being ceremonially dumped by Charlie (Christopher Abbott). Shoshanna […]