Pop Culture Link Roundup: Sexism Edition

You asked for it.

You demanded it.

Now you’re getting it.

TWILIGHT. IS. BACK.

I’m not a fan of Twilight.  I haven’t read the books, nor do I have any intention of doing so.  If I want to be tortured, I’ll have someone pull out my finger- and toe- nails with pliers (and no anesthetic).  No need to read Stephanie Meyer’s stalker laden, anti-abortion, pro-abusive relationship, misogynistic faux-romance (fauxmance?) by way of Mormon porn (plus I’ve seen several of the movies, which contain the same thematic elements). But if you’re one of the countless millions of people drawn to that tripe (can you tell how much disdain I hold for the Twilight?), you may like this (hat tip to The Mary Sue). Deadline has the details:

Five features wasn’t enough. Lionsgate said today that it is partnering with author Stephenie Meyer, Facebook, Women in Film and Tongal to launch a social media campaign to develop and produce short films by female filmmakers based on the characters in The Twilight Saga. The venture, called The Storytellers – New Creative Voices of The Twilight Saga, will include films based on a broad spectrum of characters from the Twilight universe, with guidance provided by Meyer’s encyclopedic The Twilight Saga: Official Illustrated Guide. Entries will be judged by Meyer, Kristen Stewart, Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Lee, Catherine Hardwicke, Julie Bowen and Women In Film President Cathy Schulman.

The five winning shorts will be financed through production advances, and fans will help select a grand prize-winning filmmaker who will receive a cash prize and career opportunities. “The female voice is something that has become more and more important to me as I’ve worked in the film industry,” said Meyer. “I’m honored to be working with Women In Film, Lionsgate, and Facebook on a project dedicated to giving more women a chance to be heard creatively.”

The only good thing about this is that it will highlight female directors, of which Hollywood doesn’t have enough (though apparently, Indie films have a better representation of female directors, which kinda puts the lie to any claims that there are fewer female directors because women don’t want to direct movies).

* * * *

The truth is out there.

And we already know what it is.  There is a gender based pay disparity in Hollywood (just like the rest of the US).  In an interview with Red magazine, Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame talks about how much less she was paid than David Duchovny (hat tip to The Mary Sue):

It seems incredible now to think Anderson was just 24 when she was offered the part of Scully on The X Files, quickly establishing herself as an international star – although Duchovny was originally paid significantly more. It was three years before Anderson made a stand and was finally awarded the same salary.

‘At the beginning, the pay disparity was massive. But that happens all the time in Hollywood. It’s, “Do this for me, I’ll get you a job.” All the stuff in the papers today about people in entertainment who have abused their position…’

Anderson is clearly not one of those women who might shy away from referring to herself as a feminist, and she’s on a roll: ‘It’s built into our society. It’s easy to miss and it’s easy to get used to it. There are things that are intolerable in today’s world, in terms of the perception of women. Whether they’re vamps or vixens… the expectation that, if a woman is wearing a short skirt, she’s “asking for it”.’

Sexism.

It’s everywhere.

* * * *

It’s even on Jeopardy!

Monday night’s Jeopardy! had a “What Women Want” category, but instead of featuring things women actually want—paid maternity leave, to finally adopt the ERA—it had herbal tea and good-fitting jeans. (It wasn’t even a celebrity edition.)

I like some of the Twitter responses to Jeopardy’s sexism.  Instead of this:

Women want this:

Rather than this:

Women want this:

For a show that is based around knowledge, they have much to learn.

Pop Culture Link Roundup: Sexism Edition
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Human plus Hamster plus Wheel

No, I’m not talking about the Richard Gere hamster story (which is actually a gerbil story, but I digress). I’m talking about a human hamster wheel.  Sort of.

Continue reading “Human plus Hamster plus Wheel”

Human plus Hamster plus Wheel

Pop Culture Tidbits 9.16.14

Loki’s going to be in King Kong!

Legendary Pictures shocked the Comic-Con crowd with a teaser for the King Kong origin film Skull Island. They’ve set Jordan Vogt-Roberts to helm, and Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston, to star in the Max Borenstein-scripted pic. Previous works have touched on the island, but staying on and exploring this mysterious and dangerous place offers Legendary the opportunity to take audiences deeper inside this rich world, which was the most electrifying parts of Peter Jackson’s King Kong done for Universal several years ago. Universal Pictures will release on November 4, 2016.

Wouldn’t it be cool if they shot the movie in stop motion animation as a tribute to the 1933 movie? Even if you say otherwise, it *would* be cool, bc stop motion animation is vewwy, vewwy cool

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 In a first for DC Comics:

DC Comics Debuts First Ever Female Creators Panel at NYCC

Get an inside look at some of the amazing work from DCE’s female creatives at the “Women Of DC Entertainment” panel which will include JOKER’S DAUGHTER writer Marguerite Bennett, new series GOTHAM ACADEMY writer Becky Cloonan, HARLEY QUINN writer/artist Amanda Conner, WONDER WOMAN writer Meredith Finch, COFFIN HILL writer Caitlin Kittredge, SECRET SIX writer Gail Simone, and new BATGIRL artist Babs Tarr. Saturday 6:15pm Room Room 1A06

Your turn Marvel!

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Portuguese artist  Bordallo II makes use of trash he finds in the streets of Lisbon to make awesome art:

(more images at the link)

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Santa Monica wants to know if it’s happy

This may feel like an Onion article, but trust us—it’s real. The city applied for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge grant last year, a program that encourages cities to generate ideas to improve city life. Santa Monica was one of five cities in the nation to win the research money. They beat out 300 other cities and snagged a whopping $1 million.

While other winners like Houston, Texas plan on studying recycling and Providence, Rhode Island on predicting academic outcomes of the youth, Santa Monica will be studying the well-being of its city folks.

You might be asking why Santa Monicans aren’t sure whether they’re happy or not. The AP reported that the real estate blog Movoto recently ranked Santa Monica second place in its top 10 list of America’s Most Stressed-Out Suburbs. Insufferable traffic and the high cost of living were the factors that carried Santa Monica into its ranking. According to Movato’s study, locals spend 39 percent of their income on rent and the city has the ninth highest population density. There are 92,000 people who live in Santa Monica.

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Christopher J. Rivera wows with worlds of fantasy captured with photography

 

Pop Culture Tidbits 9.16.14

Update on Avengers: Age of Ultron, a problem with the media, and IMAGE comics sees growth

Woo Hoo!  The first full frontal view of

the Vision in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron

 


 

 

Shaq wants to be a police officer.

Shaquille O’Neal has applied to be a reserve police officer in Doral, Florida, NBC reports.

The NBA veteran has played a police officer on Southlandand in Grown-Ups 2, as well as serving as a reserve police officer in Los Angeles, Miami Beach and Golden Beach, Florida over the years. In 2011, he was accused of abusing his contacts in Miami law enforcement to follow his wife when he suspected an affair.

I mention this story for a few reasons:

1- I find the obsession with celebrities in the United States to be utterly bizarre.  These are people that most of us will never meet, who have plied their talents to achieve varying degrees of fame, but at their core, they’re just as human as the rest of us.  Sure, in many cases, they have more money, more material things, and more publicity, but I just don’t understand the interest in following the lives of celebrities.  I am knocking it to a certain extent.  All too often, the trivialities in the lives of celebrities are deemed more important that ongoing civil rights violations, police militarization, violation of the rights of journalists, the ongoing treatment of immigrants, the use of drones to murder enemy combatants, the denial of climate change, the insidious attempts to inject creationism into the classrooms, and any number of other issues which impact the lives of millions of people.  By impact, I don’t just mean inconvenience.  For example:

  • The continued attempts to deny women the right to an abortion directly impact their ability to care for themselves and their families.  That contributes to poverty (among other things), which also negatively affects our economy.
  • The use of drones to kill enemies in other countries, with no trial being held, is a direct violation of human rights.
  • The opposition to marriage equality continues to be framed as an issue of “religious liberty”, yet at its heart, that is merely an excuse for bigotry.  Playing the “religious liberty” card doesn’t make bigotry disappear.  If anything it highlights the fact that some religious beliefs are harmful and should be discarded.  Why is it harmful? Oh, I dunno, bc people who play this card use it to deny basic rights to LGB individuals. To deny others their human rights is to not treat them as human.  Such dehumanization should not be tolerated in any society, let alone the so-called “exceptional” country known as the United States.
  • The ongoing examples-almost daily now-of police brutality in this country *ought* to horrify most people.  Yet far too many people support the actions of the police. These people don’t see that the increasing use of force by police departments across the country is not in proportion to the threat they face.  The use of extreme force has become commonplace, as has the presence of military equipment.  In fact, police departments across the country are increasingly adopting militaristic tactics.  All of this from people who are supposed to be ‘serving and protecting’ us, not treating civilians as enemy combatants.

These issues, and so many more *ought* to have the attention of the media, and the public consciousness far more often than they do.  Taking a look at news headlines, Facebook news feeds, or flipping through the channels on television, I know that human rights issues are covered.  I just don’t think they’re sufficiently covered, nor are they given the full analysis they deserve. What is given airtime, news coverage, or magazine stand attention is celebrity culture:  who’s dating whom, who broke up with whom, who is pregnant, who was sited somewhere, what someone was wearing and more.

Again, I’m not {completely} knocking that.  I certainly don’t want the news to  be filled to brimming with only issues of daily examples of gun violence, human rights travesties, or the continued struggle of black Americans to be viewed as fully human, but I do think that the media pays a disproportionate amount of attention to trivialities in the face of issues of far greater importance.  Yes, in some ways, they’re just feeding the desires of the public, but the media ought to do a better job balancing what people NEED to hear against what they WANT to hear.

2- (and this is a distant second, compared to my first point)- I found this story at Comicbook.com, yet the most significant link between Shaq and comic books is the movie Steela 1997 film based on the DC Comics character Steel.  Other than that, there is no tie between Shaq and comics. The news that Shaquille O’Neal wants to become a reserve police officer seems incredibly out of place on a comic book news site.

3- Tying back to my first point:  who cares? Obviously, I know that some people do, but this news amounts to “someone wants to become a police officer”.  Since when is that news?  Oh yeah, since many people in the US are obsessed with celebrities.   They don’t care if the average Joe or Jill becomes a police officer, but a celebrity?  That’s a different story.  That’s cause to perk up (or not, in some cases).

One thing that *does* interest me:  why does Shaq want to be a police officer?  I’ve begun wondering if law enforcement is attractive to authoritarian types:  those that love to have and wield power.  Those that are aggressive bullies who want to exert their power over others.  I don’t know that this is the case with Shaq.  In fact, I have no reason to suspect this, as I don’t know the man.  But I would like to know his reasons for wanting to be a police officer.  Given the abuses of power committed by an increasing number of officers in this country, I think the public is justified in knowing why an individual (no matter who they are) wants to enter the police force.

(incidentally, it may seem like a paradox that on the one hand, I’m complaining about trivial stories while blogging about pop culture, but the difference is I’m not part of the media.  It is not my job to report on the news that the public needs to hear.  The media is and *should* be held to a higher standard than a blogger.  Of course, one can look through my posting history and see how often I do talk about important issues, and realize that I do in fact, follow my own advice-while I’m interested in pop culture issues and I certainly do blog on them-this blog entry being a prime example-I also, and very often, discuss issues of human rights; remember, I’m not against discussing celebrities and pop culture-I’d just prefer a better balance from the media)

 


 

 

Image Comics h
as experienced continuous growth in the last 5 years.  More growth than Marvel or DC, who continue to dominate the comic book market.  Why is that?  Chase Magnett at Comicbook.com speculates:

I have some guesses, but they are speculation. The numbers are limited to telling us that Image is growing. Observation and experience will have to be our guide when discovering what the publisher is doing right. I believe the answer is two-fold: quality and diversity.

Image prides itself on the high quality of all of its publications. Semi-annual Image Expos are used to show off upcoming releases and the top tier talent associated with them. There are plenty of unknowns discovered there as well, but few receive the kind of attention that a popular writer like Jason Aaron or Matt Fraction does when announcing new titles. The consistent quality of a large array of titles has also helped to create an Image brand – one that assures readers they can expect Image comics to be consistently better than the standard fare.

That same array of titles is, in addition to being well crafted, also very diverse. What I mean by diverse is not limited to a single factor. The characters, stories, and settings all reflect a wide variety of experiences. Image publishes comics that can be classified as science fiction, fantasy, horror, slice of life, superhero, and a number of other genres, unlike Marvel and DC, which primarily focus on the superhero genre.

This second factor I believe to be every bit as important as the first, if not more so, because it opens the door to new readers. Readers have a variety of tastes; not everyone loves the same things. In every successful narrative medium a diverse number of types of stories can be found. Yet in comics, the majority of stories are about the same concept. Image may be attracting more readers simply by offering quality comics that are about something besides superheroes. In doing this, they are capable of not just shifting the market share, but growing the entire market.

It is estimated that in 2012 Americans spent about 10.9 billion dollars on movies and 15.4 billion dollars on video games. In 2012, Diamond sold 518 million dollars of comics to comic stores. Even accounting for digital sales and sales abroad, that number does not come close to 1 billion. Comic properties may be big business for Hollywood, but comics are still a small business. The name of the game isn’t control of the current market; it’s growing that market. No publisher is showing the same skill or efficiency in playing that game than Image Comics.

The story is not that Image is successful, but that it appears to be expanding its audience. That’s what I think these numbers are saying and, if I’m right, the rest of the industry needs to start paying attention to what Image is doing right. Comics are an inherently creative medium that is too powerful to be restricted to a small readership.

One of the strengths of Image is that they produce a diverse array of comic books.  I think they (along with lesser known comic book publishers, such as BOOM!, IDW, and Dark Horse) recognize that for comics to continue to be a successful entertainment market, they have to appeal to a wide variety of people.  To do that, one must open up the storytelling possibilities to genres other than superheroes.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking cape comics.  Hell, I love them.  At the same time, I recognize that not everyone does, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable to create a diverse array of titles to appeal to a diverse array of tastes.

Update on Avengers: Age of Ultron, a problem with the media, and IMAGE comics sees growth

Pop Culture News

The Curious Case of WESLEY SNIPES and a BLADE 4 Rumor

 

In what appears to be an old school tabloid gossip column on NYDailyNews.com called “[email protected],” the News reports that “sources close” to actor Wesley Snipes say it’s “looking good” that he’ll close a $3m (“plus a cut of the profits”) deal to reprise his role as Marvel’s vampiric ‘daywalker’ in a Blade sequel.  

The rumor, buried in the middle of the column and not headlined, has been picked up by a few outlets, including MSN, with little qualification. And qualification is likely wise, because there appear to be significant issues with the story. First and foremost of course, is that Marvel Studios reportedly now owns the film rights to Blade, not New Line who made the first three films.  

In May 2013, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told Entertainment Weekly about getting the rights to Ghost Rider, Blade, and Daredevil back, “Whenever a character comes back to us, it’s usually because the other studios don’t want to make the movies anymore – and that usually means the [previous] movies may not have been particularly well-received. They all have potential, but we’re not going to say ‘We got it back – make it.’”  

 

I would be quite happy to see another Blade movie, especially with Wesley Snipes back in the role.  My secret hope is that Marvel will continue the continuity of the first two movies, but ditch the third (not a fan of Trinity).  


Rila Fukushima the New KATANA in ARROW

There’s a changing of the guard going on at Arrow, as one of Oliver Queen’s possible trainers and allies, Tatsu “Katana” Yamashiro has a new actress. Devon Aoki is out due to an ambiguous “scheduling conflict,” and Rila Fukushima is in.

You may remember Fukushima from 2013’s The Wolverine, where she played another brash lone warrior’s ally. As Yukio she wielded, appropriately enough, a deadly katana, and in her first scene showed off her skills with her sword named “Separator.”

Rila Fukushima as Yukio in 2013s ‘The Wolverine’ which I just realized I haven’t seen yet. Someone take away my comic book geek card.

I applaud this move as it shows an attempt at greater diversity on the small screen.

Katana is a DC comics superheroine who is often associated with the Outsiders (a superhero group founded-depending on what continuity is under discussion-by Batman).  

 


 

How Does Your Favorite Star Trek Series Fare on the Bechdel Test?

A little over a year ago, with the help of a few other Trekkies I met through Tumblr, I took on a huge but super-fun project: running each and every live-action Star Trek episode—from The Original Series through Enterprise—through the Bechdel Test. In case you’re not quite up to speed, the Bechdel Test started as a tongue-in-cheek commentary by Alison Bechdel on the state of mainstream media in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. In order for a movie to pass:

  • There must be at least two (named) women characters;
  • Who talk to each other;
  • About something other than a man.

It’s not a test of whether or not a movie is feminist (Star Trek [2009] only passes because Uhura and her roommate Gaila talk about a science project while Kirk is hiding under their bed secretly watching Uhura change). But if a show or movie can’t even meet this extremely basic standard, it can indicate a lack of women characters and/or that the ones who are there might be tokenized, stereotyped, or one-dimensional.

I knew the Trek movies didn’t stack up very well, but no one had tested the episodes. Trek still has a huge place in our culture, impressive fan series are coming out all the time, we’re expecting another movie in 2016, and the rumors that we might one day get another series persist. So it’s important to figure out what worked and what could’ve been improved in terms of representations of women and other underrepresented groups. The future society portrayed in Star Trek was supposed to show greater equality for women (as well as people of color, although it seriously overlooked LGBT characters). But inequality behind the scenes, as well as trying to market a show based on conventional wisdom about what modern audiences want (more catsuits, maybe?), created tensions with that egalitarian vision.

 

Check out the results. They may surprise you.

 

 


 

 

Large-Scale Hack Lands Stolen Nude Photos Of Jennifer Lawrence & Other Celebrities Online

Read the whole thing.  And remember, if you come across any of those images, don’t look at them. None of the people who’s images were leaked consented and whoever leaked those photos committed a massive violation of privacy.  Please do not add to that violation by being one of those people.

 

 


 

 

Which Wonder Woman Will We See In Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice? The Comics Choices

Which one indeed?

The version I want to see is the compassionate diplomatic warrior that would prefer non-violent means of conflict resolution (while recognizing the need to engage in battle and, depending on the severity of the threat, the use of lethal force).

Here’s hoping.

Pop Culture News