How do we move forward? It’s not rocket science. We need to worry less about doing what is most important, and more about doing whatever we can. And remember, the end doesn’t justify the means; the means are the ends.
At my age, in this still hierarchical time, people often ask me if I’m “passing the torch.” I explain that I’m keeping my torch, thank you very much—and I’m using it to light the torches of others.
Because only if each of us has a torch will there be enough light.
Diversity was perhaps the biggest winner at the 86th annual Academy Awards.
"For the first time, a film directed by a black filmmaker — Steve McQueen of ‘12 Years a Slave’ — won best picture and a Latino — Alfonso Cuaron of ‘Gravity’ — took home best director in a ceremony presided over by a lesbian host and overseen by the academy’s first black president…Cate Blanchett, best-actress winner, used her acceptance speech to trumpet the need to make films with female leads...’To the audiences who went to see the film and perhaps those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films, with women at the center, are niche experiences, they are not,’ said Blanchett. ‘Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money.’”
Lee & Low Books continues to create infographics focusing on diversity in media representation. This one focuses on the Academy Awards from 1927 to 2012. The researchers reviewed the 85 year old history of the institution and call the results “staggeringly disappointing.”
Since the Academy Awards was founded 85-years ago:
- Only one woman of color (1%) has ever won the Academy Award for Best Actress
- Only six men of color (7%) have ever won the Academy Award for Best Actor
- Only one woman (1%) has ever won the Academy Award for Best Director
From newsrooms to films and everything in between, there’s an obvious component missing in nearly every media industry: women aren’t being equally represented in comparison to their male counterparts.
As the movement enjoys a star moment, “controversial” issues risk being left behind.
Naked women can threaten the status quo.
Like the reporter who recently asked Dunham why her ‘Girls’ character was ‘often naked at random times for no reason,’ many people seem confounded by expressions of female nudity that are not sexual – because isn’t titillation the whole point of women’s nakedness? The real question about female nudity isn’t why anyone would want to show or see women’s breasts if they’re not titillating. The real question is about who has the right to say what they’re for, where and when they can be seen and by whom. That’s about power.
I am staunchly, proudly, and unapologetically pro-choice. Abortion is a medical procedure, one of the safest in the world, that allows women the right to decide when and if to have children. It allows women to plan their families, and, as such, to secure educational opportunities, economic stability, and autonomy.
That being said, I recognize that not everyone agrees with me. The contention, hatred, and venom that exist on either side of the aisle of the abortion debate are baffling to me. Today, my friend Anthony and I linked arms, and a screaming anti-choice man attempted to physically plow through us and disrupt our counter-protest. A woman carrying an anti-choice sign began screaming, literally screaming, in the face of the counter-protesters from the National Organization for Women. We were scoffed at, yelled at, and physically intimidated – not to mention outnumbered, obviously – by our anti-choice counterparts.
These interactions are not productive. They do not create useful dialogue or a sense of understanding among the different factions. They foster hatred, violence, and demonization of the “other side” – an “other side” that is composed of people, people like you and me, who are just as convinced that what they are fighting for is as righteous as what we are fighting for.
At the end of the day, we are each fighting for what we believe is moral and just. And that’s all. This is a democracy, where we are free to voice our opinions openly, proudly, and encounter the support and opposition that subsequently follow.
I do not “hate” people who are anti-choice. I respect the staunchness with which they support their beliefs, and I respect their right to do so.
And I respect my right to do so, and will continue to fight this fight – peacefully, respectfully, and fiercely – until a woman’s right to choose, and ability to choose, is secure nationwide.
And now, for those of you who may be fiercely pro-choice, moderately pro-choice, or undecided - the most important part:
61% of Millennials (aka, our generation) are pro-choice. But only 21% think the issue is important. Meanwhile, 44% of anti-choice Millennials believe the issue is important.
That means that the modern pro-choice voice is being stifled by the voice of the anti-choice movement. We, the pro-choice folks, are the majority — but not enough of us are willing to take a stand, vocally express our support, and take ACTION to secure women’s right to choose.
Today, the Marchers kept chanting: “We. Are. The Pro-Life Generation!”
If we as pro-choice Millennials do not raise our voices, mobilize, and stand in support of a woman’s right to choose, our generation WILL become the pro-life generation. Within the past two years, states have passed more anti-choice measures than they ever have before.
We can secure Roe, and secure women’s right to reproductive health. But we have to make a dedicated effort, and we have to spread our energy to our friends, our families, and everyone who is willing to listen.
Some people won’t fight because they don’t believe abortion affects them. To those people, I offer this:
Stop and think, just for a minute. Think of every female-bodied person you know. Every individual that may, at some point, experience an unplanned pregnancy – whether it’s you, your mother, your friends, or your role models. About 1 in 3 women will get an abortion by the time she turns 45.
Odds are, you know more than one person who has had an abortion. Odds are, a third of the women at the March for Life today had gotten abortions. We cannot forget the regularity with which abortion occurs, nor can we forget that women will continue to get abortions even if the procedure is legally outlawed. We cannot forget the alarming number of women who have died, or become seriously ill, from botched abortions performed in back-alleys because the procedure was not legal.
And, most importantly, we cannot forget the power of a story. These issues seem vague and distant until we realize that we know someone who has experienced them first-hand. The best way – the very best way – we can shift public opinion to become more pro-choice is to share our stories. To say, “I had an abortion.” Whether you had one and regretted it, or had one and never looked back, or had two, or more: at the end of the day, you had the choice to choose your future.
Be brave, take a stand, and share your story. You will be shocked by how many people have been waiting for the right moment to share theirs. You will be shocked by the support and understanding you receive as a result.
I am pro-choice. I am proud. And I am dedicated to making sure that 2014 is a year in which the pro-choice voice becomes louder and stronger than ever before.
In celebration of the 41st anniversary of Roe v Wade, here is an article by Kathy Ko Chin where she discusses healthcare, abortion, and poverty
The fact that it’s taken four decades for a film driven solely by a female character to be the most popular movie of the year in the U.S. is yet another damning indictment of both American moviegoing taste and where Hollywood chooses to invest the bulk of its filmmaking capital. It should also perhaps indicate once more to studio chiefs that modern-day audiences are not allergic to female-driven movies — if they didn’t have enough hints already.
For a long time the Bechdel test has seemingly been the only tool we have to examine sexist trends in Hollywood. Now, thanks to Pacific Rim, the Mako Mori test is here to help.
In 1992, Hillary Clinton addressed some of the “rules” women are expected to abide by during a commencement address to Wellesley College’s graduating class. At the time, Bill Clinton was seeking the Democratic nomination for president.
In 1969, then Hillary Rodham, Clinton graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley and delivered its commencement address.
Lizzie Velasquez is one of only three people on Earth born with an unusual genetic ailment that prevents her from gaining any weight. She has never weighed over 62 pounds in her life, and in addition, Velasquez was also born sightless in her right eye. She discovered a video of herself on YouTube labeled “The World’s Ugliest Woman” prior to her junior year of high school. nstead of suffering from anger, hopelessness and depression, Velasquez took a different approach to her attitude. After educating some high school freshmen about her rare disorder, she challenged the issue of bullying face-to-face and generated a schedule of dialogue arrangements. As a result, Velasquez appeared on multiple television programs which allowed her to produce three books, including “Be Beautiful, Be You.”
A recent analysis of the year’s 50 most successful blockbusters revealed that movies featuring women in more substantial roles by-and-large made more money than their more masculine counterparts. The analysis involved running the included films through the Bechdel Test. For those not in the know, the Bechdel Test simply asks whether a movie has two or more women in it who talk to each other about something other than a man…It should be noted that the test isn’t perfect, of course. For instance, while Pacific Rim technically failed, you could make a good case for it possessing one of the coolest female leads for an action film in ages…Nonetheless, the results are certainly interesting and we’ll be eager to see how 2014 stacks up comparatively.