Pop-Culture | Posted by Saskia G on 02/15/2016

Are Diverse Barbies Really Progress?

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 12.07.14 PM

Diverse Barbies

I played with Barbies a lot as a little girl. I remember looking at the nude body of one plastic, blonde doll and marveling at her wrinkle-free knees, being baffled by her hard breasts, and wishing my waist could be as narrow as hers. I was only seven years old.

In late January, Mattel released a line of new, diverse Barbie dolls. These dolls now come in three body-types — “curvy,” “tall,” and “petite,” although the original model, complete with large bust and tiny waist, is still available — seven skin tones, twenty-two eye colors, and fourteen “face-sculpts.” Altogether, there are now thirty-three versions of Barbie.

It didn’t take long for the media to react to and pose explanations for this significant change. Writer Megan Garber, for instance, …

More >

Pop-Culture | Posted by Anne Girard on 12/25/2015

These Actresses Broke Down Barriers In Hollywood

Katherine Hepburn

This past year, many female entertainers — like Amy Schumer, Jennifer Lawrence, Ashley Judd and others — received well-deserved attention for their commitment to fiercely confronting sexism in Hollywood. But most people are unaware that a collection of smart, savvy and oh-so talented women blazed the trail for them years ago.

These actresses were not content to buy into the sexist status quo set by the powerful, male-dominated studio system that required them to objectify themselves to make their mark. They insisted on doing it their way and,  in doing so, not only challenged the gendered stereotypes of the time, but also gave women new and dynamic role models for years to come.

Jean Harlow

When Harlow burst onto the scene in 1929 at the tender …

More >

Pop-Culture | Posted by Dave M on 12/16/2015

Jessica Jones’ Handling of Abuse Offers Empathy and Hope

Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica Jones

Comic books and their adaptations have rightfully been criticized for their portrayal of women for years. All too often, female characters are shallowly depicted as sexualized damsels in distress with unrealistic bodies intended for the male gaze. Jessica Jones, the protagonist of the new Netflix series based on the Marvel comic Alias, manages to not only avoid these overused tropes, but presents a complex, nuanced character who offers representation for a frequently marginalized group: survivors of trauma.

Jessica is a fiercely independent woman who rejects objectification and belittlement. Her strength catalyzes the series’ very plot: The villain, Kilgrave, witnesses Jessica stop a mugging and is immediately enamored by her strength and stamina. Kilgrave, whose superpower is his ability to make others obey …

More >

Pop-Culture | Posted by Saskia G on 12/9/2015

The Feminist Revolution Will Be Podcasted

Feminist podcasts are taking over.

The last thing one might expect young people to listen to is talk radio, yet we are doing so in force and at increasing rates. In fact, the number of shows produced increased from 69,860 in 2009 to nearly 91,800 in 2013, and the number of episodes downloaded in the U.S. jumped from 1.9 billion in 2013 to 2.6 billion in 2014. This shift is not just important from a technological perspective, however, but also a feminist one: The power to create and proliferate content is increasingly available to anyone who chooses to engage, and many of those who do so are committed to broadcasting a feminist message.

 “Stuff Mom Never Told You,” an offshoot of HowStuffWorks hosted by Cristen Conger and Caroline …

More >

Pop-Culture | Posted by Claire B on 11/30/2015

In Defense of Mellie Grant: Why Scandal’s Scorned First Lady May Be It’s Most Feminist Character

Bellamy Young, who plays Mellie Grant on ‘Scandal’

Writer-director-producer extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes’ hit show Scandal has too many feminist moments to count. Each episode of the show declared “the most feminist show on TV” by the New York Post seems to tackle an important issue, from sexual assault, to domestic violence, to women in the workforce and beyond. The most powerful message this show sends to over one million viewers per week isn’t found solely in the actions of the glass-ceiling-shattering protagonist Olivia Pope, but the ways in which the show demonstrates the glass ceiling remains for all women.

This message is most clearly revealed by the juxtaposition of Olivia —the President’s strong, independent mistress — with Mellie, the president’s “bitchy” wife. The portrayal of the equally ambitious women makes …

More >

Feminism | Posted by Amber B on 11/11/2015

What I Learned When I Refused To Shave

Miley embraced her armpit hair and so have I.

I recently decided to conduct an experiment. I decided to stop shaving my armpits to see if the seemingly insignificant factor of visible body hair would cause people to treat me differently — especially guys.

Shaving has long been part of my attempt to seek a sense of control over the way I look. Shaving was part of a routine that included plucking my eyebrows, putting on perfume, wearing a nice outfit, and maybe dabbing on some lipstick. I felt I needed to do this out of my desire to feel more socially powerful and worthy.

Additionally, before this experiment I felt I could only hook up with guys if I had shaved. There had been one exception: I once hooked …

More >

Pop-Culture | Posted by Roberta Nin Feliz on 11/9/2015

What Lena Dunham’s ‘8 Thoughts On Feminism’ Reveal About The Movement

Lena Dunham

In late October, Vanity Fair published a quirky short video featuring eight of Lena Dunham’s thoughts on feminism. These thoughts included points like why calling out a women for being “un-feminist” is itself a choice at odds with feminist principles and why she does not feel inclined to judge the Kardashian family. The video was clearly meant to be funny and playful, but many of Dunham’s thoughts point to broader truths and issues within the movement.

One of the most important points Dunham raised was the idea that allowing women to make choices you may not personally agree with is a feminist act. For example, some women are comfortable wearing clothing that reveals more of their body — like taped-over nipples or booty shorts — than others. It’s …

More >

Feminism | Posted by Saskia G on 11/6/2015

Should We ‘Drop The Plus’?

via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwxYW6mlTPk

via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwxYW6mlTPk

When I recently opened the September issue of Vogue, I was (for once) surprised by what I found. Hidden in the midst of 832 pages of fashion coverage was a 2-page ad featuring plus-size models dramatically silhouetted behind the words “It’s time for change” and “#PlusIsEqual.” They were, perhaps unsurprisingly, the only plus size models I noticed featured in the issue.

This ad is just one installment of a campaign recently launched by clothing retailer Lane Bryant. The first was the #ImNoAngel campaign, which launched in April of this year and featured models posing in Lane Bryant’s line of lingerie to prove women don’t have to look like Victoria’s Secret models to be sexy. The campaign has since grown and aims to increase visibility for …

More >