Feminism and Flawed Women in Lena Dunham’s “Girls”

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As a mid-to-late-20-something woman, I have grown up with a wide range of pop-culture representations of women, from the Wakefield twins of Sweet Valley High to Cher from Clueless to any part Winona Ryder played to blandly interchangeable rom-com leading ladies to the women of Sex and the City. I have loved and hated these […]

Mad Women

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There’s a moment in an episode of Mad Men last season when Don Draper’s newest secretary, Megan Calvet, sidles up to him, bats her eyes, and admits that she’d like “to do what you do or what Miss Olson does.” For a moment, it seems like a bold move–a woman at the show’s fictional advertising […]

“Work It” and the “Man-cession”

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“Work It,” an ABC sitcom about two unemployed buddies (a car salesman and a mechanic), who dress in drag in order to land jobs as pharmaceutical sales reps, premiered on Tuesday night. According the the official ABC blurb, the main characters are victims of “the man-cession:” Lee Standish is a quick-witted and likable family man. […]

ABC’s “Work It” Only Works at Hurting Trans People

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If you’ve watched ABC lately, you have probably been bombarded with ads for its new, critically-derided comedy, Work It, in which two unemployed men cross-dress in order to obtain jobs as female sales representatives. The plot is as well-worn as it is far-fetched. Men being forced by circumstances to appear as women has long been […]

8 Obnoxious Cliches about Men, Women and Sex in Otherwise Good TV Shows

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Throughout most of its history, the general trend of television has been sexist, with lots of hysterical women driving dramas and lots of eye-rolling jokes about women being nags and prudes filling up sitcoms. The past decade, however, has seen a rise in high-quality television that strives to engage creatively with interesting, socially relevant ideas. […]

What a Difference a Strong Snow White Makes

JAMIE DORNAN, LANA PARRILLA, GINNIFER GOODWIN, JOSH DALLAS, ROBERT CARLYLE, JARED GILMORE, JENNIFER MORRISON

Two new fall TV shows, Once Upon a Time and Grimm, blend the real world with the world of fairy tales–but there the similarities stop. The two are radically different, especially in their representations of women. When Grimm remembers that women exist, they are hapless victims (think CSI: Deep Dark Woods), while Once Upon a […]

The Women of “Women, War and Peace”

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The remarkable five-part PBS series Women, War and Peace concludes on Tuesday, November 8 with War Redefined, the capstone piece that brings together the issues brought up in the previous films about conflicts in Afghanistan, Colombia, Liberia and Bosnia. Narrated by Geena Davis, the film touches on, among other things, how the proliferation of small […]

How Rachel Maddow Makes Queer History

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What’s sexier than a brilliant, Internet-savvy, queer, liberal prime-time news host with an Oxford University degree? Yeah, I can’t think of anything either. Since her show on MSNBC began in 2008 (and even before that, on Air America), Rachel Maddow has been turning heads and getting people thinking. She has been able to set herself […]

Danish Fantasy TV Becomes Reality–Can It Work Its Magic in the U.S.?

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On the heels of the U.S. success of the Danish series Forbrydelsen (remade by AMC as The Killing), Danish television hit Borgen will premiere in the U.S. this weekend. Borgen is billed as a Danish cousin to The West Wing; “borgen” is both the Danish word for “government” and a nickname for the parliament building. As […]

Rape as a Weapon of War

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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 […]