This year’s Oscar nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 15th. Like many feminist movie fans, I’ll be waiting to learn which movies that I loved — those featuring strong and interesting women — have garnered a nomination. Obvious Child, the romantic comedy in which Jenny Slate’s character has an abortion, was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards this year and although a very long-shot for the Oscars, made several “Best of 2014” lists.
While we are waiting to learn which movies have a chance for the golden statuette, here is a quiz about some movies that include women having abortions that have either been nominated for or won Oscars in the past: Read more »
CBS and other news outlets have reported on the fact that many Americans are signing up for Medicaid coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Some of these reports suggest that this is somehow a crisis or a major problem with the law, but in fact, this is how Congress designed the ACA. The ACA extends health coverage to up to 30 million currently uninsured Americans through tax credits to purchase private insurance on the newly launched Health Insurance Marketplaces and through a major expansion of Medicaid eligibility. The Medicaid eligibility expansion is a crucial part of the health care law—and is a main component of the ACA’s strategy for achieving near-universal health coverage. States may accept federal funding to expand coverage through Medicaid to all qualified individuals under age 65 who have incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty line (FPL), or about $32,500 for a family of four. Approximately 15 million uninsured Americans, including 7 million women, will be newly eligible for health coverage through Medicaid.
Here are a few facts that put these reports into context:
This is how the ACA is supposed to work. According to estimates by the Urban Institute and the Kaiser Family Foundation almost half (47%) of the uninsured population could be eligible for coverage through the ACA’s opportunity to expand Medicaid eligibility. This Medicaid eligibility expansion was always going to be a big part of the ACA’s coverage goals.
Marvel Comics and Natalie Portman have teamed up with the National Academy of Sciences, Underwriters Laboratories and Dolby Laboratories to give girls some direction into science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. They’re calling it the Ultimate Mentor Adventure. That just sounds hardcore.
The Ultimate Mentor Adventure will allow girls in high school to find a mentor - a woman in their area already working in a STEM field. They get tips for contacting and interviewing these awesome women to get the most out of their mentor-mentee experience.
But wait, it gets even more brilliant. They’ve (not so) secretly disguised learning and the empowerment of young girls as a contest. You might say they created a secret identity. Those who partake in the adventure can upload a video of themselves talking about their experience and their love of science. Winners get a trip to LA to attend a screening of Thor: The Dark World and the premiere screening of Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World Ultimate Mentor Adventure documentary short. Read more »
You may know Mariska Hargitay best for her portrayal of Detective Olivia Benson in the hit TV series Law and Order: SVU. But soon, you may also know her for her upcoming documentary.
On SVU, Hargitay’s character is a determined, empathetic detective known for standing up for the victims in her cases. In one episode, Benson counsels a woman who has been stalked and raped for years by the same attacker. Part of the reason this victim’s attacker was still on the streets? The massive rape kit backlog. Read more »
This week I attended the American Film Institute’s screening of The Punk Singer, a documentary about Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of the Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. An outspoken advocate for women, Hanna made pro-women, pro-choice music during the 1990s and she witnessed sexual assault and violence against women at punk shows and experienced extreme sexism in the media.
Hanna was one of the frontrunners of the Riot Grrrl movement, which originated in Washington, D.C., and the Pacific Northwest. The movement stemmed from the sexism within the punk rock community, where women and girls were often physically injured and sexually assaulted at concerts, and many female fans didn’t feel safe participating in the things they loved. Read more »
I have so many current ladies on TV who I look up to professionally, but with women earning an average of only 77 cents to every dollar men earn, I had to wonder: what’s Liz Lemon’s wage gap? Once I answered that question for myself, it then lead me to wonder: Holy crap. Are ALL of my favorite working women on TV underpaid? The answer: yes. Here are my top five. Who are your TV working heroines? Who did I leave off the list? Let me know!
1. Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
The very first person I thought of when I thought about hard-working women in TV was OBVIOUSLY Liz Lemon. Girlfriend works HARD. She works extremely late, keeps crazy hours, and throws her life, heart, and soul into her work – and enjoys every single second of it. Plus, female producers/directors have median weekly earnings of $1,070; while men have median weekly earnings of $1,131. Hers wasn’t the biggest or most shocking gap on my list, but $61 per week translates to $3,172 per year – that’s an awful lot of Cheesy Blasters!
Jon Hamm’s … ahem… manhood has been all over all my RSS feeds as of late. Apparently, the wardrobe people on the set of Mad Men needed to ask Hamm to wear underwear so he isn’t exposed by tight-fitting suits, and he’s been caught at unflattering angles that accentuate certain body parts, shall we say, over others.
As a result, of course, the Internet has gone crazy – multiple Tumblrs have been created in honor of his privates, and article upon article has been written poking fun at the whole situation. Hamm is pretty upset. He told Rolling Stone:
“They're called privates for a reason. I'm wearing pants, for [expletive’s] sake. When people feel the freedom to create Tumblr accounts about my [penis], I feel like that wasn't part of the deal."
On Wednesday night, the President’s new Early Learning Initiative got a moment in the spotlight on the Daily Show. Host Jon Stewart, in that way only he knows how, highlighted the importance of investing in children’s early years. My trying to recap the clip will certainly erase all the humor, so I’ll let you watch it for yourself.
Think of life like a marathon (just go with me on this metaphor). Many of America’s most vulnerable children are starting five miles behind everyone else - yet we expect them to finish on par with their peers. Expanding the access these children have to high quality early learning opportunities will be revolutionary. Read more »
My favorite part of last weekend’s Oscar ceremonies – aside from the self-confidence exuded by Quvanzhané Wallis – was Anne Hathaway’s short commentary at the end of her speech. She noted, “Here’s hoping that someday in the not-too-distant future, the misfortunes of Fantine [her character] will only be found in stories and nevermore in real life.” She was referring to Fantine’s life in poverty, where she is forced to sell her hair, and then her body, to support herself and her daughter. Fantine learns that while society values her beauty, it will also exploit her for it.
While I share Anne’s hope that cultural change is not too far off, documentaries like PBS’s Girl Model highlight how much work lies ahead. The film follows Nadya, a 13-year-old Russian modeling hopeful, and Ashley, a recruiter and former model, as Nadya is brought from her small town in Russia to Tokyo with promises of money and modeling opportunities. Nadya faces pressures to be thin and to lie about her age; although she is valued for her youthful looks, she is told to say she is 15 rather than 13. She eventually leaves Tokyo, in debt, her hopes of building a better life for herself and her family shattered.