Pop-Culture | Posted by Aph Ko on 06/29/2015
“Hot Girls Wanted”: White Respectability and the Erasure of Men
Hot Girls Wanted — a new documentary produced by actress Rashida Jones — follows five amateur porn actresses between the ages of 18 to 25 and details their experiences filming porn and living together. While the documentary’s subjects spoke freely, it seems like the filmmakers still crafted the work based on their preconceived notions about porn: Namely, they chose to portray the young actresses as innocent, exploited victims. The film fails to present the possibility that these women have any agency, erases the experiences of women of color in the industry, and arguably most problematically of all allows the men that drive the demand for this industry to remain invisible.
The character whose narrative anchors the film, Tressa, exemplifies this victimized narrative. Tressa is coded as white (although …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Holly L on 06/12/2015
Sexism At Music Festivals Needs To End
Where are the women on stage?
Music festival season is just beginning, and with it comes yet another reminder that women still have a long way to go before we achieve equality. Although there are plenty of female acts to choose from, and they clearly deliver when included — some even argued the female acts stole the show at SXSW, for example — one need only look at lineup posters to see the persistent imbalance of men to women at these festivals.
This is not a new phenomenon: Men have long outnumbered women when it comes to festival lineups and headline performers are almost always male. Among the most popular British music festivals last summer, for example, all but one festival completely excluded female acts — and that single female …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Morgan K on 05/15/2015
Margaret Keane and the Countless Invisible Female Artists
A Keane painting
Our generation may not be too familiar with the haunting “Keane Eyes” which were ubiquitous in the 1950s and 60s. Those dark, doe-eyed figures found their way into print and media, living rooms and coffee shops countrywide. But it wasn’t until Tim Burton brought light to the reality in his biographical drama Big Eyes that the truth about those paintings supposedly created by Walter Keane was made clear to young people.
Margaret Keane – Walter’s wife – spent years painting the “Big Eyed Waifs.” The artist’s husband convinced her that using his name would increase the paintings’ popularity. But as the fame of the paintings — as well as Walter himself — grew, so did Margaret’s anger and isolation. She finally reached a breaking point and came …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Bridget L on 04/29/2015
Where Are The Jewish and Queer Students at Hogwarts?
I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter. I grew up reading the books, have seen each film countless times, and dressed up as Hermione for many Halloweens. But while I’ll always love the series, I also recognize that it’s not flawless.
Last December, JK Rowling revealed that there were Jewish students at Hogwarts, and even provided readers with an example: Anthony Goldstein. This revelation prompted others to question whether or not there were LGBT students at Hogwarts as well. In a Twitter chat, Rowling addressed this by stating “But of course,” there were LGBT youth at Hogwarts.
I find these revelations problematic for a couple reasons. First is the fact Anthony Goldstein was only a background character without any distinguishing character traits for the duration of the series. …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Tara E on 03/27/2015
Meet The Comedy Duo Asking Strangers “What Do Feminists Look Like?”
What does feminism look like? If you identify as a feminist, you probably feel trained to not care about appearances and encourage others not to as well. But maybe you still wonder: What does my appearance tell the world about who I think I am?
The truth is we all judge people based on what they look like and they judge us, too. Shugs & Fats, the new comedy web series created by Nadia Manzoor and Radhika Vaz, is all about acknowledging this and dealing with it through irony and laughter. Doing so, their humor suggests, not only makes us feel better but also helps us understand why our preconceived assumptions are problematic in the first place.
Manzoor and Vaz — as South Asian, female comedians — also …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Emma M on 03/2/2015
So Many Talented Women
Last night, students shuffled in and out of the audition room for a production I’m working on, frantically asking about pronunciation and deciding whether to use or ignore the chairs we’d provided them. Between one audition and the next, after we’d seen about 15 people, my male professor turned to me and whispered “there are so many good girls.” Less than 20 minutes and 10 more auditions into the night, another man working on the show turned to me and said the same thing.
In the audition rooms I’ve been in over the last four years, the number of women auditioners is almost always double the number of men, and women are competing for far fewer roles. More often than not, the shows done on my college’s mainstage feature predominantly …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 02/20/2015
These Students Are Sending A Powerful Message to the Oscars
It may be 2015, but women’s representation in the entertainment industry is still grim. According to the Women’s Media Center, a recent San Diego State University report, for instance, found that women accounted for only 16 percent of directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors for the top 250 domestically made films in 2013. This number is depressingly low on its own and, unfortunately, is even a decline of 2% from the previous year.
Such statistics demonstrate why events like the Athena Film Festival, which addresses the lack of representation of women filmmakers by devoting an entire weekend to honoring their work, are so important. Melissa Silverstein, co-founder of the festival as well as founder of the blog Women and Hollywood, works tirelessly to raise awareness …
Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Katie J on 02/11/2015
How Popular Music Perpetuates Rape Culture
Brooke Axtell, the domestic violence survivor who spoke at the Grammys
Many people have praised the effort made to raise awareness about domestic violence at the Grammys. Yet plenty have also noted the irony of the same organization that nominated Chris Brown acknowledging this issue. The issue of the intersection of popular music and violence against women is hardly one relegated to this event, though. Popular music has been perpetuating rape culture for years.
Think of the average teen girl. Everywhere she goes, she hears Robin Thicke sing “You know you want it”, and Rick Ross say “Put molly all in her champagne/She ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that/She ain’t even know it.” Her body, the one thing she possesses in the most intimate form, …