Well, we were hoping to start this week’s list off by regaling readers with tales of seeing Gillian Anderson talk about her new book and listening to Sady Doyle talk about feminism in the age of Emperor Pussygrab while sipping on some vodka, but that’s not going to happen, because Stella ruined everything. And really, we don’t think this was a female storm at all, because only a male storm would swoop in during the annual Commission on the Status of Women and shut down the United Nations and a whole slate of parallel events. Also, not to sound like misandrists here, but telling everyone it’s going to be 12 to 24 inches when it’s really only 4 to 7 inches, leaving a slippery mess everywhere, and then trashing the neighbors’ yards sounds an awful lot like a guy thing. So we’re going to refer to the storm as Winter Storm Sean, in honor of another blustery white purveyor of alternative facts.
…let’s get to that which is badass.
Badass: A panel at ClexaCon last week called “Ethics in TV Storytelling” did not sugarcoat anything in discussing the fact that bad storytelling and damaging depictions of minorities have real-world consequences, while positive representation – specifically with respect to LGBTQ characters – can have a very real impact on viewer perceptions of issues like same-sex marriage. Kathryn Graham covered the panel for those of us who couldn’t attend and posted it over at tvwriter.net, and it’s worth a read both because the subject matter is important and because the panelists were not afraid to call out showrunners who they feel aren’t doing enough to subvert harmful tropes like “Bury Your Gays.” (Part 1 | Part 2)
Badass: The Mindy Project went after white male privilege in a unique and effective way, showing Mindy in a position we can all relate to – being passed over for a job she’s qualified for in favor of a white man, after experiencing the slept (is that the opposite of woke? we’re going with it) attitude of a panel of white men worried that motherhood and womanhood are incompatible with career success (where have we heard that before…hmm). She goes to bed that night wishing she were a white man, and wakes up to find her wish fulfilled. Viewers get to ride along with White Man Mindy as she realizes that, oh god, racism and sexism are even worse than we realized. (Vulture)
Badass: Ethereal creature that we simply don’t deserve Gillian Anderson released “We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere” with journalist Jennifer Nadel and they’re not bothering to pretend that politics aren’t a part of it, that they’re here to talk to men just as much as women, or that they have all the answers. Winter Storm Sean ruined our anticipated basking in their presence on Tuesday, but they’ve done quite a few discussions on it recently, including this one in partnership with black hole of books from which there is no escape The Strand. The book is available in all the usual places, but if you can, buy it at your local brick-and-mortar independent bookstore. Or at least don’t buy it at Amazon, which is still running ads on Breitbart and peddling Trump products. (Washington Post)
Badass: Reframe, a joint project from the Sundance Institute and Women in Film, is launching an action plan to address systemic gender inequity in the film and TV industry. In collaboration with fifty industry leaders, including Weeds and Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan, writer and EP of Sex and the City and Modern Family Cindy Chupack, former ER doc Maria Bello, and Ghostbusters and Spy director Paul Feig, ReFrame plans to tackle inequity with an initial three-pronged approach of culture change through education, a sponsor-protégé program to increase opportunities and endorsements for women in the industry, and a gender inclusiveness certification for media projects that proactively confront gender-based discrimination. (Women’s Media Center)
Badass: Marvel’s new comic series featuring America Chavez, a queer Latina superhero, will be written by Gabby Rivera, a queer Latina writer. Rivera has made clear that the series aims to represent of women of all shapes, sizes, and colors and will address America’s ancestry and ethnicity in a realistic way. (Washington Post)
Badass: Speaking of Marvel, Taraji P. Henson wants to be a superhero, too. A funny one. She gave an interview to The New York Times about her Empire role, the impact of Hidden Figures, and her philosophy on her craft. Then she flew into the air, did a stand-up routine, and landed on the moon. (The New York Times)
Badass: Chelsea Clinton will release a book in may called She Persisted, a story of thirteen women who changed the world despite adversity. The title comes from the words whined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after Nasty Senator Elizabeth Warren committed a violation of Senate rules by reading a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions to a federal judgeship. You know, the same Jeff Sessions who perjured himself in confirmation hearings to become the head of the Department of Justice. (Smart Girls)
Badass: The Light of the Moon, starring Brooklyn Nine-Nine actress Stephanie Beatriz, won the audience award in the narrative feature competition at SXSW. The film, directed by Jessica Thompson, follows a rape survivor as she contends with the aftermath of her attack. Beatriz says that before taking the role, she asked a friend who had survived sexual assault for her input, and the friend was adamant that Beatriz take the role. (Austin Chronicle, Deadline)
Badass: Director of 13th and Selma and holder of the title “first black woman to…” in about 43 categories Ava DuVernay announced the first three directors for season two of her series Queen Sugar – Kat Candler, Cheryl Dunye, and Aurora Guerrero. The announcement that three women will direct the first three episodes would be a big deal, but it’s par for the course when it comes to Queen Sugar, which is exclusively directed by women. (Ava DuVernay)
Beyond proud to announce the first three directors of QUEEN SUGAR Season Two: Kat Candler, Cheryl Dunye + Aurora Gu… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 17, 2017
Bad: Another white dude courageously decided to confront the Hollywood pay gap by interviewing a few women about it and then valiantly announcing his own conclusion: it’s our fault for not pushing hard enough for higher pay, not pursuing better opportunities with better compensation, and not leaving our job when a new one comes along. Oh – did we forget to mention that this guy was an EP on Gilmore Girls? Looks like we found a prime candidate for the real-life version of the gender/color switcheroo theorized by The Mindy Project. (Hollywood Reporter, The Mary Sue)
Bad: Emperor Pussygrab proposed a budget that ends all federal funding for public broadcasting, which includes PBS, NPR, and around 1,500 affiliate stations – all to reduce 0.0137% of federal spending. Women – who happen to helm PBS, the corporation for public broadcasting, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which is also on the chopping block – stand to lose a lot, given that children’s programming, like that on PBS, can be instrumental in encouraging girls to enter STEM careers. Shows like Sesame Street, which has a special focus on STEM, and SciGirls have a measurable impact on understanding of and interest in the fields.
This week’s recommended readings:
Raquel Willis: Trans Women Are Women. This Isn’t a Debate. and Aqdas Aftab: Reading Chimamanda Adichie Today- On Racism and transphobia in feminism