Who’s Afraid of Taylor Swift?

Taylor Swift commands a lot of attention. In mere days since its release, her 11th album The Tortured Poets Department, which is a lengthy 31 songs and runs over two hours, became the most streamed album in a single week and the first to reach over one billion streams on Spotify.

To some, such success seems … well, excessive. It’s hard not to notice such takedowns targeted at Swift amid her breakneck success might have something to do with her gender.

Barbie and My Midlife Crisis

This year has found me clinging to youth with more gusto than ever. One of my kids mused, “Why can’t you be like other middle-aged people?” I shrugged, but I guess it’s because I think you’re either young or old. And I know which one I’d choose. Then I saw Barbie.

Greta Gerwig’s film has been labeled a feminist triumph (or failure) and a manifesto against (or tool of) corporate capitalism, but for me, it’s all about my midlife crisis (or “transition” to be kind). In the film, Barbie finds herself having irrepressible thoughts of death—and before she knows it, her perfect body and her dream world start showing signs of Real World flaws. Outside of Barbieland, much of our collective panic about dwindling youth stems from a culture that glorifies being young while rendering older people—particularly women—invisible.

In Film ‘Miranda’s Victim,’ Michelle Danner Explores the Right to Speak Up and the Right to Remain Silent

True crime films about rape have been told—and retold. And yet, veteran director Michelle Danner discovered a story that had never been depicted on screen.

Her film Miranda’s Victim tells the story of Patricia Weir who, against the odds, brought Ernesto Miranda, her abductor and rapist to trial. But after his conviction in 1963, Miranda’s lawyer sought to overturn his case, stating that the evidence against him had been obtained under duress—and Miranda was uninformed about his right to remain silent. Ultimately, this case led to the “Miranda’s warning”—the legal requirement for the police to read someone their rights upon arrest. And, as the film shows, it protects the innocent—as well as the guilty.

Lucia Small’s Film ‘Girl Talk’ Explores Gender Bias Within High School Debate Teams: ‘A Powerful Team With Powerful Girls’ Voices’

Perhaps it should come as little surprise that many prominent female public figures—Sonia Sotomayor, Kamala Harris, Oprah Winfrey, the list goes on—were all high school debaters. In that arena, each of them overcame the odds stacked against them—girls are less likely to participate than boys, less likely to continue year-after-year, and even less likely to win.

Filmmaker Lucia Small’s latest film Girl Talk explores the microcosm of gender bias within high school debate competitions by following five girl debaters through their high school years. In this interview, Small talks about her inspiration for the film and how it speaks to larger issues of how girls and women articulate themselves in arenas from politics to filmmaking. She hopes the film will inspire discussions about gender bias in the debate world—and beyond.

Gender Is Still Burning: The Ms. Q&A with Jennie Livingston

When filmmaker Jennie Livingston stumbled upon drag ball culture in the late 1980s, they had no idea how much the resulting film would resonate. Released in 1990, Livingston’s first documentary Paris Is Burning showcases drag balls during the late 1980s in Harlem, New York City, and features interviews with numerous queer and trans Black and Latinx performers who comprised the various “houses” in competition at the balls. Decades later, the film continues to resonate.

Filmmaker Elizabeth Mirzaei on Telling the Stories of Afghan People and Fighting “Afghanistan Fatigue”

Elizabeth Mirzaei’s recent short film Three Songs for Benazir, has been shortlisted for an Oscar and was recently acquired by Netflix for distribution. The story about Shaista and his wife Benazir, who live in a camp for displaced persons in Kabul, presents Afghanistan in a light not commonly depicted—one that reveals stark realities through the more quiet moments of one couple.

The Crime Hidden in Plain Sight: An Interview with Amy Ziering, Director of ‘Allen v. Farrow’

We’ve grown accustomed to the premise underpinning the HBOMax series ‘Allen v. Farrow,’ directed by Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick. Yet another heralded male celebrity, this time Woody Allen, is exposed by accusations of sexual assault. Yet, what’s most disturbing about the details uncovered by the investigative work in ‘Allen v. Farrow’ is just how much hid in plain sight—for nearly 30 years.