Welcome to another weekly roundup! First up this week: the Half in Ten campaign’s new video connecting the hugely popular book/movie series The Hunger Games with cuts to SNAP (food stamp) benefits. It’s well worth the watch – check out the video below. (Need a quick recap on exactly what The Hunger Games is all about? Click here.)
I think the contrast here between a fictional dystopian society that controls its subjects through – among other things – hunger and fear and the mentality to slash a number of programs women and families depend on is striking. While reading The Hunger Games, sometimes that type of future society doesn’t seem possible… but with the dots connected like this, it really strikes home what real Americans, right now, are going through.
On a happier note, are you still looking for the perfect card to send to mom? Strong Families can probably help you out – this week they released a series of e-cards that break past the norm of “flowers and pancakes.” That’s what’s so great about these cards: they intentionally celebrate the many types of mothers and families nationwide. When’s the last time you saw a greeting card celebrating both of a child’s mamas at once?
If you’re interested in perusing these e-cards or sending on to your mom, head to mamasday.org.
On Tuesday Rolling Stone broke the news that in their next issue, out today, they’d be featuring an interview with Tom Gabel of the punk band Against Me!, in which the singer revealed an ongoing struggle with gender dysphoria and plans to begin living as a woman. Gabel will start the transition process soon and will take on the name Laura Jane Grace. She and her wife Heather intend to stay married.
I want to applaud both Rolling Stone for their positive coverage of this story (and their consistent use of “she” and “her” to refer to Grace, which shows their respect and understanding for her choice) and Grace for her bravery and willingness to talk about her transition openly, which I think helps raise the profile and acceptance the LGBT community and especially the transgender community. And in an odd way, I feel relieved that much of the band’s fan base and the punk community are supportive of Grace’s decision. In an especially honest moment during her interview with Rolling Stone Grace remarked, “I’m going to have embarrassing moments, and that won't be fun. But that's part of what talking to you is about – is hoping people will understand, and hoping they'll be fairly kind.”
Now, I realize that many readers of this blog are probably not familiar with this band. Against Me! is often cited for their aggressive musical styling and gruff vocals – you can give their 2007 song, “The Ocean,” a listen at left, which foreshadows her transition within this song’s lyrics, which include “And if I could have chosen I would have been born a woman/My mother once told me she would have named me Laura/I'd grow up to be strong and beautiful like her/One day, I'd find an honest man to make my husband.”
Next up, last Friday the highly anticipated superhero movie The Avengers was released. And while personally I’m saving my enthusiasm for the next Batman movie, a lot of my friends were excited to see The Avengers over the weekend. The headlining cast in this movie is extensive, and seeing as it’s a superhero film (a male-heavy genre, spandex and all) I don’t think it should come as a surprise that only one woman – Scarlett Johansson – is given top billing.
|The Avengers © Marvel/Marvel Studios. Artwork © Kevin Bolk. Image via Feministing. Click image for full size.
According to some who have seen the film, Johansson’s character – the Black Widow – is treated pretty well for a female in a superhero film. That’s partially thanks to the film’s co-writer and director, Joss Whedon, who also created the Buffy universe. (In contrast, Christopher Nolan, a co-writer and the director of the most recent Batman trilogy, is considered by some to have a problem with female characters… but that’s a blog post for later this summer.) Female-friendly director aside, some people in the blogosphere are critiquing the film’s advertising: mainly, that it portrays the leading male superheroes in this film as tough, strong and athletic. Johansson as the Black Widow is shown… not like that.
Take a look: here are the promotional posters for four of the male leads, and here’s Johansson’s. Fed up with this kind of portrayal of female characters, artist Kevin Bolk decided to parody some of the promo for The Avengers and pose the male leads as is they were women. In the graphic shown here, the top image is an actual promotional photo for the movie, and the bottom image is Bolk’s parody. Hats off to Bolk for this – his parody has taken off across Twitter and blogs this week.
Also of interest this week:
FDA Review Favors First Drug for HIV Prevention
Late Maurice Sendak's Focus On Child Poverty Inspired Advocates
How Feminism Begat Intensive Mothering
Attachment Parenting: Freakish or Feminist?
Obama gay marriage support seen as world precedent
That’s all for this week! What have you been reading? Let us know by sharing a link in the comments or emailing it to me at djackson(at)nwlc(dot)org.
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