Archive | February, 2013
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Red Umbrella March

25 Feb

Red Umbrella March

 

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I’ll just leave this here…

25 Feb

I'll just leave this here...

Why Seth Macfarlane Owes Women Everywhere an Apology

25 Feb seth-macfarlane-oscar-2013-opening

So the Oscars were last night, and for the first time in maybe ever I actually sat through them. It was a challenge. I am sure by now even those of you who didn’t watch the awards have heard about Seth Macfarlane’s atrocious performance. Making racist, sexist, and truly offensive jokes is never ok, ever. The thing is, his jokes weren’t even funny. They were poorly crafted, awkwardly delivered, and poorly received. Macfarlane touched on topics as far reaching as violence against women, eating disorders, and gun violence. Not to mention the fact that he sexualized a 9 year-old girl. Yes, he did that.

Let’s just start with the opening act “We saw your boobs”. Ok, yes-female actors are sometimes asked to go topless for roles. Sometimes these scenes are very powerful and really add to the movie- sometimes they do not. What Seth did was strip these women of their talent, their hard work, and turn them into objects present for male pleasure rather than professional actors. He didn’t make any jabs at the film industry for asking these women to go topless, he didn’t comment on male nudity, or lack thereof in the film industry. All of these things could have been done, and done well, and would have made his crude joke somewhat more appealing. This annoying, poorly done song essentially told these women, who by the way were named specifically, that their work was not valued in Hollywood. He was telling them that men weren’t watching them and valuing their work, but rather that their male audiences were simply giggling at their boob shots and ignoring their work as a whole.

It’s also important to point out that many of these nude scenes he describes were in fact rape scenes, Hillary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry for example. Clearly, these topless shots were only there for men to get off on… Honestly?

And this was just the opening act.

349220530_rihanna-chrisbrown-467I’m just going to run through a few of the other terrible things he said last night. Of Django Unchained, “This is a story of a man fighting to get back his woman who’s been subjected to unthinkable violence –or, as Rihanna and Chris Brown call it, a date movie!” Ok, so just for starters, joking about violence against women isn’t cool in the same way that joking about rape isn’t cool. And doing it at the Oscars just perpetuates the idea in common culture that these jokes are ok, that they don’t in any way lessen these acts of violence and therefore lead to a frame of mind which enables men to commit them because they don’t think its really all that big of a deal. Also, Django Unchained is about a black woman being subjected to violence at the hands of a white man, and then being rescued by a black man- maybe Macfarlane should have watched the movie first as well.

 

Seth went on to sexualize 9 year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, the amazing young actress in Beasts of the Southern Wild when he made a crack about the possibility of her getting with George Clooney. QWImmediately after he made the joke Macfarlane giggled nervously and threw Clooney a drink by way of apology- I think he maybe realized he had stepped over the line. But then again, maybe he was just worried Clooney beat the shit out of him later.

Oh, and who could forget Seth’s remark on eating disorders. He thanked all of the women in the audience who conveniently got “the flu” a few weeks before the awards and told them that they all looked great. So, not only did he make fun of eating disorders and the body dimorphic that rages through the country, he applauded it. I actually almost stopped watching at this point.

slide_282793_2146233_freeAt one point Macfarlane joked about Jennifer Aniston possibly being an exotic dancer. This joke honestly, just wasn’t funny. I think that Seth was trying to poke fun at Channing Tatum for being an exotic dancer, but rather than making fun of the man he chose to demean his female cohost for no real reason. It just didn’t really make sense as a joke. Jennifer Aniston is an attractive, powerful woman. I guess its easier to try to bring her down than to do the same to an attractive, powerful man

When talking about the movie Lincoln, Macfarlane really took it too far. In a year rife with gun violence, making a joke about an assassination was seriously out of line. Just so you are aware, Seth said this- “I would argue that the actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head, was John Wilkes-Booth.” Just let that sink in.

Of Zero Dark Thirty Macfarlane said that the movie was an example of “a woman’s innate ability to never let anything go.” This movie is based on actual events, and an actual woman. I’m not saying I agree with the premise, or the events that take place in the movie, but the fact that he felt the need to attribute this woman’s work to an annoying female stereotype is ridiculous. If the movie had been based on a man, there’s no way that it would have been trivialized to this degree. Seriously Seth, back the fuck off women.

He also made an of the cuff remark about the Kardashians being harry, stating that the scruffy Ben Affleck could be mistaken for one of them. I don’t know what it is about powerful, successful women that Macfarlane has a problem with, but it seemed to be the only premise for his jokes this night.

Ok, and possibly one of the most offensive comments of the night was both sexist and racist. While introducing Selma Hayek, Macfarlane said that we as an audience had no idea what she was saying but it didn’t matter because she was so attractive. Ok, so not only does this make fun of the fact that she is of Latin decent for no reason, she is a great actress who has been in countless American films- we can understand what she is saying- this joke also essentially tells us that what she has to day doesn’t matter, her only value to us as an audience lies in her appearance. slide_282793_2146875_freeWhich, might I just say also basically says that the only audience Seth cares about is his male audience. He says “we” don’t care because she is so attractive, but what he means is all the men here, who are the only ones that matter, don’t care.

Which I guess pretty much sums up Macfarlane’s attitude for the entire evening. All of his jokes were made at the expense of the amazing women in the room for the “entertainment” of the men (I am not convinced that anyone, other than the drunk frat guys watching at home were truly entertained).

 

It’s kind of a shame too; it could have been a pretty ok night for women. No, we weren’t well represented in the nominations, but many of the women who were present, who performed were truly kick ass. Quvenzhané Wallis’ character in Beasts of the Southern Wild is such a great role-model for young girls, Wallis herself is a great role-model. She’s 9 freaking-years-old! I still couldn’t make cereal at nine, let alone get nominated for an Oscar… Jennifer Lawrence is also pretty bad ass, and she won best actress for Silver Linings Playbook, which if you haven’t seen, is absolutely amazing. Her character in this film is strong, opinionated, loud, and challenges slut shaming in an in-your-face kind of way that I adored.

slide_282793_2146372_freeThe performers were also amazing; Adele, Norah Jones, Jennifer Hudson, Shirley Bassey, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Barbra Streisand- talk about some powerhouse women! Also, Michelle Obama presented the best picture award. The Oscars this year really could have been a night for powerful women (Ok, minus the fact that when the Avengers cast was on stage, Scarlett Johansson was mysteriously absent and the fact that the in memoriam segment seriously lacked female representation).

This night really needed a strong, female host. I, along with a lot of people out in the Twittersphere would have been more than happy with another hosting by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Now that would have been a good Oscars, and might have made me forget the fact that so few women were nominated this year, especially outside of performance roles.

But I digress. My point it, if you are going to hire an asshole male to host a classy event such as the Oscars, vet him a little bit. If he is going to make crude, offensive jokes, AT LEAST make them funny- but seriously, I would prefer less offensive jokes please. You really don’t need to alienate over half the country just to garner a few laughs from some drunken frat guys- who I still maintain are the only demographic who found those jokes funny.

Seth Macfarlane was a miss, in a big way.

The Plight of Mississippi’s Lone Abortion Provider

8 Feb

Since April of last year, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization has been struggling to stay open. Jackson is the last abortion provider in Mississippi, a state that leads the country in teen birth rates.

In April, Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed in anew law, which states that any doctor performing an abortion in the state is required to have hospital admitting privileges. The clinic has since applied for admitting privileges with seven local hospitals, and been rejected from each and every one. In accordance with state law, healthcare facilities are allowed to refuse medical service on religious grounds.

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http://www.salon.com/2013/02/01/mississippis_last_abortion_clinic_hangs_in_the_balance/

The hospitals reportedly rejected requests by these physicians to receive admitting privileges because their medical practice “is inconsistent with this Hospital’s policies and practices as concerns abortion and, in particular, elective abortions” and that admitting them “would lead to both an internal and external disruption of the Hospital’s function and business within this community.”

The clinic, which in 2011 served close to 2,000 patients, the majority of which being low-income and teenage women, received a notice stating that the state health department will revoke its operating license. To put that in perspective, Mississippi had a poverty rate of 22.6 in 2011, and many of these low-income women will have to go to a clinic three hours away over the state line, if the Jackson clinic is forced closed. In addition to transportation costs, childcare, and time-off work, women would have to put up money for hotels to adhere to mandatory 72-hour waiting periods in neighboring states as well as find the money for the $450 procedure itself. This would put an undue burden on these women, effectively making it impossible for them to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

According to Michelle Movahed, the staff attorney for the center, “This unconstitutional law has essentially handed over the fate of Mississippi women’s reproductive health care to hospital administrators.”

In 1981 there were 14 abortion clinics in the state of Mississippi, now the only two physicians providing abortions fly into the state to its only remaining clinic. Systematically closing down the state’s abortion care providers isn’t the only way the state has limited a woman’s ability to choose in Mississippi however.  Due to several prohibitive measures that have been passed in recent years, Mississippi now has the lowest abortion rate in the country at 5%, compared to 19% nationally. In Mississippi abortion clinics, unlike other medical offices, are required to adhere to the same building codes as hospitals. Minors in the state need the consent of both parents before receiving an abortion, and abortions are only legal in clinics up to 16 weeks. Additionally, sonograms must be performed and the patient must be given the opportunity to see the image and listen to the fetal heartbeat. Also all women seeking an abortion in the state must receive counseling from a doctor and then wait 24-hours before the procedure.

And as if all of this weren’t enough, Republican Senator Angela Burks Hill recently sponsored Senate Bill 2795, a bill which would attempt to limit the availability of medications such as mifepristone and misoprostol which induce abortions. The bill would make it illegal for a woman to take the pills seven pills after their last menstruation, despite the fact that most doctors currently prescribe it up to nine weeks. To add insult to injury, the bill will also require a woman to return to her doctor’s office to take the misoprostol instead of her previous option of taking it at home. This would result in four required visits for a woman seeking to end a pregnancy via medication, a requirement that may not be financially feasible for all of Mississippi’s women. On February 5th the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee approved the measure, which will go to the full senate for more debate. 

Mississippi’s attack on women and on reproductive rights is truly atrocious. Despite being legal in the United States, these proposed measure are essentially making abortion impossible for the low-income women that live there. These measures also unjustly affect low-income women, who will likely be unable to afford trips out of state. Essentially forcing these women to give birth to unwanted children that they may not have the means to support perpetuates a cycle of poverty that can be almost impossible to escape.

Access to birth control and abortion are two of the greatest tools that women have in their arsenal to achieve the same economic freedom as their male counterparts. When women are unable to control when and where they want to start a family, under what circumstances, they are essentially stripped of their abilities to succeed in a job market where they are in constant competition with men who do not face the same challenges. Abortion rights are a women’s issue, they are also a class issue, and a race issue. It’s about the power to choose. When Mississippi, a state with the highest teen pregnancy rate and one of the highest poverty rates, chooses to deny women this fundamental control over their future economic prospects, they are holding women back and keeping them in a state of oppression.

What happens to Mississippi’s last abortion clinic is important for us all. It is a warning, of what could happen if we don’t fight to protect the rights of women everywhere.

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Makers: Women Who Make America

6 Feb MAKERS

Makers: Women Who Make America

CANNOT WAIT

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Beasts of the Southern Wild- A Review

1 Feb

Beasts of the Southern Wild- A Review

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This is another little review I recently wrote- Enjoy!

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