May 3, 2010

The Token Feminists are Missing

A few months ago, I saw the-little-remix-video-that-could Buffy vs. Edward , and I subsequently fell back in love with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” (No kidding – I’ve watched the first three seasons on Netflix in the last 4 weeks). I started watching Buffy when I was 13, in the prime of my uncomfortable adolescence – we’re talking the braces, puffy hair, nose is too big for my face, but I’ve only just realized that….yeeeah. But it wasn’t all bad, and I’ve certainly heard worse junior high/high school horror stories. And, of course, I had Buffy….

One of my favorite aspects of the way that Buffy was written is the fact that she was not continually made into a victim before she had to opportunity to protect/defend herself or others. And, the vast majority of female characters are given power to protect themselves (whether it was physical [e.g. Faith] or supernatural [e.g. Anya and Willow]). I’m not going to waste too much time singing the praises of how Buffy (though sadly not Gellar herself), as well as her creator Joss Whedon, are feminist. That has been written. Many, many times. There are some valid complaints, but overall Buffy was, and continues to be, a great example of what we’re capable of. However, if you’re still not convinced and want to fight about I’ll definitely take you on *note sarcasm.*

Feeling a little drunken 90’s nostalgia, I realized that it wasn’t just Buffy. Through all of my phases and changes, I had many strong female characters to model my confused, dorky, adolescent self after. In retrospect the 90’s seem to be the era of fabulous feminist characters: Roseanne, Jesse Spano (Saved by the Bell), Murphy Brown, Rory Gilmore, The Powerpuff Girls, Dana Foster (Step-by-Step), Lisa Simpson, Andrea Zuckerman (90210), A Different World (several characters over the course), Dharma (Dharma and Greg), Marcy D’Arcy (Married with Children), Dark Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, BlossomJoey and Jen (Dawson’s Creek)….ok, I think you get the point.

So, now what I do want to know if where are all of the feminist characters? Why is it that all we see are these vapid, homogeneous, BORING female characters? Given the fact that the media that young women consume (everyone really, but I’ve never been an adolescent boy) serves as such an incredibly strong influence/unavoidable force on the creation of our self-identity and personal paradigm – I’m left wondering if Bella Swan, the girls from The Hills, Sookie oh-so-annoying Stackhouse, and Tina Fey  are the only examples that this generation of young women are growing up with? For the life of me I can’t find one female character on television that I would want my young daughter looking up to (sadly, not even my beloved Mad Men is stacking up).

What’s worse is that it isn’t just the characters. The actresses that are playing these less-than-role-model-worthy characters – or themselves (e.g. The Hills) – are not quick to pick up a feminist lifeline. Kristin Stewart has said that she doesn’t understand why feminists critique The Twilight Saga, and that “Bella wears the pants in the relationship. She’s the sure-footed, confident one…It takes a lot of power and strength to subject yourself to someone completely, to give up the power.” WHAT? Are we talking about the same story? The one where her boyfriends is a sexist stalker and she is powerless to defend herself?? She has also discussed how she grew up feeling like as a woman she could do anything.

And, there – in that statement – are our answers. The media has convinced this generation of young women that feminism is obsolete, that it’s outdated and outmoded, and that to align yourself with it is to be a pariah. They truly believe that we are living in a post-feminist world. I have heard the word “humanist” being substituted where “feminist” used to live comfortably in the mouth….and heart.

Seems a dangerous world to live in where we have to convince even the young women that the gender balances are unequal….they have finally convinced them that the lies are the truth. That we are powerful as long as we are sexy…and, so, this is what they strive for…..

April 12, 2010

Tina Fey ribs "Bombshell" McGee

Ok. Yes. I’ll admit it. Tina Fey cracked me up with the whole “ran out of room on the labia” thing! But, my reaction is pretty well versed in this quote/comment from Dustin Time beneath the Huffington Post article (one of the only comments with a pro-woman stance that didn’t think bashing McGee was the appropriate avenue to traverse) :

Yeah, but on the other hand… it’s sort of perverse for women sympathetic to Bullock to direct their venom at this relatively powerless, easy-target female instead of James himself–the one who made the vows to Bullock, the one who clearly didn’t need a temptress to stray sordidly…

So much for sisterhood.

I agree, DustinTime. Fey also did a sketch that that poked fun at one of Tiger Woods’ mistresses, as well. I think that all of the laughs tie right back into Melanie’s post about female relationships. I doubt that Bullock and McGee will ever be friends, or even friendly (despite today’s apology), but to blindly laugh at Tina’s jokes and  not recognize that we’re perpetuating the cycle of false, harmful, damaging female relationships and stereotypes is basically accepting that their existence is inevitable.

Sady at Feministe.com said:

I will go a step further, and point out that a lot of the “fun” is… well, just straight-up misogynist stereotyping.

I’m with DustinTime & Sady here; let’s stop blaming McGee for “ruining” Sandra’s life and start pointing the fingers where they belong…..

November 2, 2008

Once again, hysterical.

Filed under: Media,Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — Melanie @ 12:54 pm

October 19, 2008

Thanks for the laughs, Palin. And, we ARE laughing. Daily.

Filed under: Body Image,Gender,Media,Politics,Violence — Tags: , , , , , , — Melanie @ 9:55 am

Salon writers comment on last night’s performance.  Read full article here.

Jeanne Carstensen: Poor Palin —  she looked like she had just seen a moose, but didn’t have a rifle. Part of me wanted her to field-dress Alec Baldwin — but nada. Instead, she tottered off on Baldwin’s arm for a “tour” of the “SNL” set after he trashed her to her face — well, supposedly, to “Tina’s” face. Come on, Sarah, show some of that Alaska backbone, or at least a little fire and brimstone. Something. She fell flat in a way I didn’t expect. I mean, the entire Castro is going to be doing Sarah Palin drag for Halloween this year, yet when given the opportunity to make fun of herself to a national audience, Ms. Pay for Your Own Rape Kit seemed bland and muffled. The obvious parallel here is when the other female rock star candidate of this election cycle showed up on “SNL” in a skit with her “SNL” doppelgänger — Amy Poehler. All I can say is, Sarah Palin, you’re no Hillary Clinton.

Judy Berman: I didn’t expect much from Palin, so I’m not terribly surprised that her actual participation in the show was minimal. While both Barack Obama and John McCain, at the Al Smith benefit Thursday night, showed they could deliver a zinger or two, “SNL” wisely decided it couldn’t even trust Palin to make a joke. Her biggest contribution was laughing along, good-naturedly, as the show’s cast poked fun at her. The skits were funny, but they would have been just as entertaining, with a few minor adjustments, without Palin. Tina Fey carried the opening piece, as usual, and I’d like to nominate Amy Poehler for a special Emmy — “best satirical rap performed in front of and about a V.P. candidate while in the third trimester.”

Vincent Rossmeier: What was the point of her appearance? Somehow, Tina Fey managed to seem more like Sarah Palin than Sarah Palin did. But this hardly should have been a surprise. Basically, on “SNL,” Palin performed the same role she does on the campaign: Nod, pose and stay silent when asked. My only other question is: Where was Bristol?

October 5, 2008

Tina Fey is back!

September 14, 2008

Tina Fey. Tina Fey. Palin?

Filed under: Media,Politics — Tags: , , , — Melanie @ 1:42 pm

If you missed it last night, catch Tina Fey’s brilliant parody of Sarah Palin.