Hello, peaches and pears and plums! Welcome to your weekly Pop Culture Fix! This isn’t Cannes, so feel free to wear what you want. Heels, flats, oxfords, feety pajamas. It’s totally up to you!
Gender Discrimination Redux
+ Last week, Riese talked about how shit is getting real for gender discrimination in Hollywood, and the battle rages on. Famous ladies are breaking the code of silence all over the place. This week, Selma Hayek spoke at a UN panel about her experiences with “sexist, ignorant” movie creators. Melissa McCarthy smacked down a Variety reporter for a profoundly sexist review, calling Hollywood’s attitude about women “an intense sickness.” And, at Cannes, Parker Posey said, “We’re at war. The culture is eating nature, it’s overpowering storytelling.”
+ The Feminist Majority Foundation honored Shonda Rhimes and Jenji Kohan with the Eleanor Roosevelt Global Women’s Rights Award this week, and their speeches will have you throwing up praise hands emojis.
Rhimes on her assistant telling her she wants to be a straight white man for one day to see what it’s like to “have all that”:
My assistant wants to walk through the world, just for a day, without some guy hitting on her when she runs to Starbucks to get me coffee. So as to not be called cute by the security guard. She wants to not be told that she should be a model. She wants to not take a look of surprise on someone’s face when she tells them where she went to college. She wants her boobs to no longer be a topic of conversation. She wants to not make 70 cents on the dollar. She wants to not have old men legislate her vagina’s rights. She doesn’t want to even know that a glass ceiling ever existed. She wants to not believe that having a baby will end her career. She wants everything in the world to be made for her, be about her and speak mostly to her, because that’s how it is for men.
Kohan on her daughter loving Hello Kitty:
There was one thing about Hello Kitty that drove me nuts: she has no mouth. According to the company, she speaks from the heart and is an ambassador to the world who is not bound by any language. They want people to project their feelings onto the character and be happy or sad together with Hello Kitty. My motherly response, and my deep-down feeling and my feminist response, is “That’s bullshit.” I feel it’s a statement about girls. I feel that this toy was telling my daughter that she should look adorable with her pink bow, and not express her thoughts or feelings. Let others project them onto her? That’s not okay.
But she really liked the stuff and I spent a fortune. So I grabbed a sharpie and started drawing mouths. I drew mouths on every single girl-dressed-as-cat object that she owned. Open, close, smiling, frowning, sometimes just a line — but they all had mouths. I had to face them all by giving them all full faces.
Read the whole speeches; they’re so good.
+ Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin were rightfully pissed when they found out what Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen, the guys who play their husbands on Grace and Frankie, are getting paid.
“[Tomlin] found out [Waterston and Sheen] are getting the same salary that we are,” says Fonda. “That doesn’t make us happy.”
Tomlin adds, “No. The show is not ‘Sol and Robert’ — it’s ‘Grace and Frankie.'”
+ To punctuate Hayek’s point that ignoring the economic power of women is a stupid move by Hollywood, Mad Max and Pitch Perfect 2 crushed it at the box office this weekend. That’s a female-driven action movie about a woman who rescues a group of sex slaves and destroys their captors, and a film written/directed/starred in by nearly all women. AV Club says the only real loser at the box office this weekend was misogyny.
We went through a real roller coaster of feelings last week with Cate Blanchett, huh? I’m still a little shaken, but we’ve got to get it together because we’ve got to talk about Carol, which is leading the Palme d’Or buzz at the halfway point of Cannes. Here are Blanchett, Rooney Mara and director Todd Haynes talking about the film while sitting on a yacht in the sunset. V. relatable.
+ The Hollywood Reporter thinks Mara and Blanchett are “outstanding” and that Haynes’ direction is “fastidious, intelligent, and somewhat leisurely.”
+ HitFix is sure Carol can “enlighten minds” and have a”meaningful calling beyond its artistic achievements.”
+ The Playlist warns that Carol is going to “burst the banks of your heart.”
+ Variety finds the film groundbreaking in terms of examining queer identity, and also: “Even high expectations don’t quite prepare you for the startling impact of Carol, an exquisitely drawn, deeply felt love story that teases out every shadow and nuance of its characters’ inner lives with supreme intelligence, breathtaking poise and filmmaking craft of the most sophisticated yet accessible order. ”
+ The Independent is bananas for Blanchett: “Blanchett’s performance matches that she gave in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. She is a fascinating actress because she brings such Clytemnestra-like fury to roles as fragile and vulnerable women.”
+ Vanity Fair is bananas for the whole shebang: “By the film’s extraordinary final scene—another charged, multitudes-containing look across a room—both Carol and Therese have emerged from a shared crucible more fully human, not immune to whatever pain might await them, but certainly stronger in themselves, better armed.”
So, get psyched! But keep your psyched-ness in check! I don’t want another heartbreaking debacle like last week w/r/t The Lady of the Golden Wood.
Hot Takes on TV
There are two things on the internet’s collective mind this week: Game of Thrones and Mad Men. Okay, also T-Swizzle’s “Bad Blood” video and Bey + Nicki Minaj, but we’ve already talked about those things. Here are the other two things:
+ Sansa Stark’s rape on Sunday night’s Game of Thrones has people canceling HBO and breathing fire. If, like me, you only watch Game of Thrones when your girlfriend shows you clips of dragons on YouTube because of how the show is 80 percent rapes and decapitations, you might be wondering why one more rape has set people off so much. Apparently, Sansa was not raped in the books and it had already been established on the show that: Sansa is a victim, the guy who raped her is a psychopath, and the people who were forced to watch her being raped are impotent and/or unfeeling when it comes to helping her.
The storyline has caused Senator Claire McCaskill to disavow the show, The Mary Sue to pull the plug on their coverage, and Flavorwire to declare that the Golden Age of TV has been replaced by the Age of Rape and Torture. Bitch says the guilty pleasure of watching has become too guilty. Hells bells, even Deadspin is now calling GOT “gross, exploitive and out of ideas.” And HitFix says the controversy isn’t going away.
+ Mad Men ended its six season run on Sunday and oh, I cried. I just want to point you in the direction of some of the smartest feminist things I’ve read about one of the smartest shows to ever air on TV.
“What the Fates of Mad Men’s Women Say About The Show’s Stance on Feminism” (Time)
“How Mad Men Helped Me Understand The Anger In My Mother’s Feminism” (Jezebel)
“In Mad Men’s Finale, Joan and Peggy Switched Places and Became Complete” (IndieWire)
“What Mad Men gets right about the history of feminism” (Vox)
+ According to my buddy Heather, the new Fox comedy Grandfathered is going to feature a lesbian character of color. Let’s hope she fares better than all the other lesbians on sitcoms so far this year.
+ The Bronte sisters are getting a BBC biopic. I hope they explore Charlotte’s relationship with Ellen Nussey, the one that had Nussey’s husband so upset that he was always freaking out about how they needed to burn their letters because of the passionate language they used with each other. The actual phrase Nussey’s husband used to describe their letters was “more dangerous than Lucifer’s match!”
+ Andy Cohen acted out 9 to 5 with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin the other day. (WHERE’S DOLLY, Y’ALL.)
+ Queen Latifah doesn’t care if her lesbian love scene in Bessie made you uncomfortable.
+ Leisha Hailey is going to guest star on ABC Family’s Chasing Life, maybe offer some queer advice to Brenna and Greer.
+ The official Scream Queens trailer is here. I will not because of Ryan Murphy, but you might! It’s very lady-driven!
This duck is very excited when his human gets off the bus.
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