Pop Culture Fix: Shit’s Getting Real For Gender Discrimination in Hollywood and Other Mind-Blowing Stories

Hello french toast sticks! It’s time for your weekly look at all the pop culture news I have subjectively determined to be relevant to your interests.

Hollywood’s Bias Against Women

So, the ACLU is taking on Hollywood’s Bias Against Women. This is a brilliant and important development in all of our lives. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but women are not very represented in Hollywood. Like, for example, only 4.7% of studio films produced between 2009 and 2013 were directed by women! That is a very tiny number.


Indiewire talked to a bunch of women in Hollywood to get their take on the initiative to “ask state and federal agencies to investigate Hollywood’s hiring practices and possibly bring charges against the major studios, networks and talent agencies for intentional gender discrimination in recruiting and hiring female directors.” Susanna Fogel, who directed that movie you like called “Life Partners,” had this to say:

It’s exciting to feel such institutional muscle being thrown behind a problem we’ve grumbled about for years, while we’ve subtly tried to move the needle from inside a very flawed, biased system. It feels like the alliance we’ve been waiting for. Hopefully, such a public investigation will force more transparency and open dialogue in an industry that is still very much a lawless state where the capital is personal relationships and old-boy dealmaking at boutique hotel bars. And hopefully this will encourage female directors to present ourselves as confident leaders who are ready for these higher budgets, rather than becoming intimidated and embittered by the statistics and allowing that to affect our ambitions and presentation of ourselves as deserving of the keys to the kingdom we say we want!


The Teevee

+ There were quite a few excellent shows centered on people of color that were renewed last week — unfortunately, Cristela was not one of them.

+ ABC’s Upfronts presentation was full of thrills and chills and also diversity. Would you like to watch all of ABC’s new show trailers? Good news, you can! There’s a series with a strong focus on a gay teenage boy written by Dan Savage (The Real O’Neals), a Shondaland series starring the lady from The Killing (The Real O’Neals), an FBI drama with a woman of color lead (Quantico) and several other shows that look pretty cool. For example, THE MUPPETS!


+ CBS Unveiled their 2015-2016 fall schedule this morning.

Here’s how MTV pulled off that killer promo for Scream, which included stars from all its top franchises including Karma and Amy from Faking It. Scream premieres June 30th, and as we reported last fall, Bex Taylor-Klaus will be playing the bisexual lead role, Audra Jensen, the “daughter of a Lutheran pastor” who is “described as an artsy loner who aspires to be a filmmaker.” Taylor-Klaus formerly played baby butch Bullet on The Killing and also was on Arrow and House of Lies. A brief evaluation of Bex’s Google Image Search results suggest potential family status.

Amy Poehler is profiled on Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business 2015 and it’s glorious. Among other tidbits, she speaks to sexism in Hollywood, noting, “I have these meetings with really powerful men and they ask me all the time, ‘Where are your kids? Are your kids here?’ It’s such a weird question. Never in a million years do I ask guys where their kids are. It would be comparable to me going to a guy, ‘Do you feel like you see your kids enough?’”

+ The men of Empire are on the cover of Essence magazine, and out gay actor Jussie Smollet says he reached out to Lee Daniels on social media to get the role, telling him, “I know you get this all the time but I’m a singer, actor, dancer, songwriter and musician. I am Jamal Lyon in more ways than one.” He told Essence, “if I can help someone else feel less alone, no matter what they’re going through, I’m happy to have that opportunity.”


Misandry break

+ AfterEllen talked to Janet Montgomery, who plays Mary Sibley in Salemabout her character’s sexuality:

It’s interesting—that question. What I’m trying to play on with witchcraft is that the language of witches is often sexual. It’s often based in a sexual nature. The relationship with Tituba, there’s a sisterly relationship there like family, there’s also the fact that they’ve grown up together, and so, they’re like best friends. There is a sexuality in their relationship though, and I think that comes from just the way witches would speak to one another, whether it’s physically or through language.

+ Marvel has revealed the identity of the new female Thor. This seems to be an important thing people are talking about. Right?

+ I haven’t seen Bessie yet but this writer for Variety has, so. (Variety)

Orange is the New Black writers reveal how they shot authentic sex scenes! (MTV)

Mad Men failed its black women (Salon)


This Might Be Okay

+ Taylor Swift‘s upcoming music video for “Bad Blood” has a few things going for it, I think.


I’m Afraid To Even Watch This

+ Britney Spearsthe love of my life, has made a music video with somebody I don’t really care for named Iggy Azalea. I think it’s terrible but I’m not sure.

The Movie Screen

Margarita, with a Straw gives us a rare queer heroine – “when it comes to queer disabled leads, we’re pretty much grasping at straws. That’s why Margarita, with a Straw and its leading lady Laila are so refreshing. As is Laila’s lover Khanum, an adventurous blind woman. That’s right, a movie that highlights two disabled women in an emotionally and sexually fulfilling relationship. Progressive? Yes, and we have Indian director Shonali Bose to thank for it.”

+ A Heartfelt Documentary Unpacks The Work Of a Forgotten Lesbian Artist. (Bitch)

+ Wanna see the trailer for the new Jem and the Holograms movie? You can! Just so you know, i09 hated it: “The trailer for the Jem and the Holograms movie is out and… no. Just no. We get a Jerrica who goes from shy girl to diva, no Misfits, no artificial intelligence, and NO ACTUAL HOLOGRAMS? It’s like the people who made this thing never actually watched the show.”

29 Polynesian Celebrities Who Are Taking Over Hollywood (Buzzfeed)

50 of the Wildest Post-Apocalyptic Fashions on Film (Flavorwire)

Important Human Business

+ WNBA all-star Seimone Augustus and actress Lataya Varner got married in Hawaii!


+ Entertainment Weekly‘s photo booth captured the stars at UpFronts, bless them. Look how cute Danielle Brooks and her girlfriend Nneka Onuorah are in this picture with Aja Naomi King and Kelly McCreary!


Look how hot Samira Wiley is!


Also Sarah Paulson!



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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.


  1. That picture of Danielle Brooks and her girlfriend (!!!) Nneka along with some of the black girls from Shondaland just gave me all the joy I needed to get through this afternoon :)

  2. I need HELP!!! Argh, I can’t stop reading comments…

    But these comments, posted on the article by Indiewire, help me to explain why I don’t agree with the concept that “Feminists are not responsible for educating men.” Sorry, but anybody learn something or change her/his mind without somebody teaching or showing you that another way of thinking is possible?

    • My problem with your comment is the implication that men like that are open to learning – that they, in fact, *want* to learn from women, when this has not been the case in my experience. I mean look at that guy; he’s figured it all out, hasn’t he? Everybody who disagrees with him is a no-talent, shrieking hysterical female who needs to shut the hell up. He is aggressive, domineering, offensive and arrogant. You think a man like that is just waiting for a feminist to educate him? A man like that thinks he knows it all.
      Your energy is better spent elsewhere.

  3. You did an Owens-Reid thing on Danielle Brooks’ name! Not to be rude! Just a thing that is true.

    Also that Scream promo made my DAY!

  4. Danielle Brooks AND HER GIRLFRIEND?!

    This is BRAND NEW INFORMATION! When did this happen!? Where can I learn more about this!? Why didn’t I know!? (And why do I seem to care more about Danielle Brooks being queer than about Cate Blanchett being queer, which got only a small “huh, that’s cool” from me yesterday?)

    • Upon further research, all I have been able to find is an interview she did with OUT in 2013 where she says she’s straight. Obviously, things can change a LOT in two years (just look at what OITNB did to Lauren Morelli!)but I can’t seem to find any other mention of her sexuality or a girlfriend.

    • And upon FURTHER research, it seems I need to pay closer attention to my Instagram feed! I follow Danielle Brooks on Instagram – HOW DID I MISS THIS!?

      AS, can we please have a Vapid Fluff piece all about Danielle Brooks and her girlfriend, pleeeeeeease!?


    This is too much in the best way and Pride is coming, I’m getting so full of gay feeeeeeeeeeelings.

    *explodes into glitter*

    • Simmons got swallowed by the KreeRock, and she might be dead.
      Bobbi is apparently “getting too old for this shit”.

      • She’ll be un-too-old next season. They opted not to do the spin off series with her and hunter. (Plus, taking a high cal bullet to your lung has GOT to make you feel old.)

        And upside for those who are all for Simmons or shipping FitzSimmons, she’s signed on for next season too.

  6. MUPPETS!!! MUPPETS!!!!!! A NEW MUPPET SHOW!!!! I’ve been excitedly screaming about the new show to anyone and everyone who lets me! <3 This is the most exciting tv news I've heard for a really really long time! ITS THE MUPPETS!!!

  7. DANIELLE BROOKS AND HER GIRLFRIEND!?!?!??!?! *screaming* Man, that set must’ve queerified a lot of women, am I right?

  8. I’m more excited about Hayley Williams being in that Taylor Swift video than Karlie Kloss tbh. Love me some Hayley.

    That Jem and the Holograms movie really does look truly awful though. It’s like the director and writers had no concept of the original and just said “Fuck it”. The director, by the way, is the same guy who directed the Justin Bieber movie along with a few of the Step Up movies so that should give you an idea about exactly who this movie is aimed at and why it looks the way it does.

    • Don’t forget about G.I. Joe: Retaliation, that female-oriented new classic.

  9. Samira, Taylor Schilling, and Danielle all turned out to be queer in addition to the women we knew were going in? What a delightful bounty that show has been.

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