Monday, October 5, 2015

Amber Rose's SlutWalk: a Celebration of Respect for Female Sexuality

I know a lot of feminists don't like SlutWalk because of the title, but I find it provocative, funny and impactful. There is a reason why not many people have heard of Take Back the Night. I have been to both. Although I appreciate what they do, TBTN felt a bit depressing and victim-y to me. I left feeling dark and sad. At SlutWalk, I felt alive and empowered.  SlutWalk is a title that may confuse some but will cause even more to take notice and ask questions, and hopefully to find out what it's about and take a stand.

I first went to a SlutWalk three years ago in Hollywood, which consisted of about 100 people, a march around a few blocks and then a final gathering in a rec center with bands, information and a self-defense class for women. Fast forward to 2015 and a celebrity is hosting the event and bringing in hundreds of supporters, not to mention bringing a great deal of attention to a woman's right to dress sexy without being assaulted, harassed or disrespected. Amber says she was inspired to create this event after her ex-boyfriend, rapper Kanye West, publicly said his wife Kim Kardashian wanted him to take 30 showers after dating her. Amber pointed out that her and Kim are both victims of slut-shaming and come from similar backgrounds and are judged for similar reasons.

The day before the event AmberRose had an intimate press conference that I was able to attend. This was my first press conference, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought it would be a big room where journalists struggle to get their question in. Instead, three of us were seating in a small circle right with her. Cameras and event organizers were all surrounding us. At the time I had no idea what the cameras were for, but I now know that it's part of a TV show that Amber is creating which is based around SlutWalk.

I took my place in a chair right next to her and then the first journalist came right out with his question asking when the first time she remembered being slut-shamed was. It was a brutal story that made me gasp when I realized where it was going. She recounts the event:
"I was fourteen. I was still a virgin. I had just started making out with boys at that age. [My friends and I were playing] Seven Minutes in Heaven, where you have a group of friends and two people go in the closet and make out.  
So I was kissing this boy, and he was like “can you just get down on your knees.” I was like “why?” He was like “just get down, I wanna show you something.” So I was like “Okay, so I get down on my knees and he opens the door. It’s pitch black in the closet, so I don’t really know what’s going on. He opens the door and all his friends and all my friends are there, and he has his penis out.  
And I’m looking at them and I swear I remember it like it was yesterday. I had no idea what was going on until I really went to school. I kinda looked at him and saw his penis was out. I looked at my friends and they were like “Oh my god.” and i was like “What’s going on? I was so oblivious. I didn’t even understand what was going.  
Then I went to school and I was the school slut -- completely. I remember going home and crying and going, “this is so unfair. I didn’t even do anything wrong. And that was extremely devastating. I wanted to switch schools. It was just a horrible moment for me."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers drag sexist Sports Illustrated writer Andy Benoit by resurrecting their SNL "Really?" sketch

Last night, my imaginary best friend Amy Poehler made an appearance on Seth Meyers show to resurrect their "Really?" sketch on his talk show. Amy and Seth take aim at a sexist a Sports Illustrated writer who claimed that women's sports aren't worth watching. 
"The Women's World Cup is headed into the quarterfinal round and yesterday, an editor for Sports Illustrated's website tweeted a Vine of England's go-ahead goal against Norway with the words, 'And here some people (ahem, @Andy_Benoit) argue that women's soccer isn't worth watching,' to which Sports Illustrated contributor Andy Benoit responded, 'Not women's soccer... women's sports in general not worth watching,'" Meyers explained. 

My favorite line is when Amy says, "I guess i'm not surprised you work for sports illustrated. You guys put out a swimsuit issue every year dedicated entirely to women who aren't in sports. Unless you think it's a sport to cover both boobs with one arm."

I tried to find the Vine but could not. Anyone have a link? The offending tweet that has since been deleted:

I get that men are typically stronger and therefore can achieve a lot with that, but if being a fan of sports was really about watching "the best" or the strongest then people wouldn't root for specific teams. They would all be paying attention to the "best" team that exists for every sport. But there are plenty of Cubs sorry.

Really, the issue is just that some men and probably some women don't want to see women in sports, or they just don't care because they can't see past their own limited paradigm of gender.  Imagine if sports bars played women's sports just as often. I get excited when I see women's sports on TVs in public places and would be totally down to have a Sunday sports night with the girls watching women's Soccer or Basketball or something. 

Speaking of, there is a Feminist Basketball League here in Los Angeles that I've been meaning to go to. Now might be the time.

And just to give more visibility to women in sports, here is a picture of me back when I faced the elements of male domination in the skateboarding world:

source and other source

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Praise Norma! The quiet one from Orange is the New Black fronted a 70s punk band

Norma on Orange is the New Black is notorious for never speaking, yet in real life she was shouting ranting chants over punk rock melodies back in '79. The actress who portrays Norma is Annie Golden, and she sang for The Shirts back in her 20s after graduating from college.  According to, The Shirts were a staple of the CBGB scene in New York in the late 70s.

Apparently, the band had some minor success with a single called Tell me your plans, which sounds sound not at all punk.  Still catchy in a psychedelic-pop kind of way.  I'm really more into this Teenage Crutch song (below) by The Shirts. They were the real deal. With a name like Annie Golden, she was kind of destined to be a punk singer. Their sound is some blend of a kind of new wave/punk/psychedelic mix from what I've heard so far.

The Shirts, Teenage Crutch:

Who knew Norma was such a badass in real life?

Speaking of Orange...I've been obsessed with the show ever since it came out.


spoiler ahead

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Amy Schumer demonstrates the rationale of Bill Cosby defenders in the "Court of Public Opinion"

I do not claim to understand Bill Cosby defenders. Dozens of women come out with the same story and people want to believe it's some wild conspiracy.

Do they think they're are part of a coven that meets in the woods to randomly pick a man to accuse of rape?  There are levels of delusion that cannot be reasoned with.

But Amy said something in her mock defense in "the Court of Public Opinion" that put those defenders into perspective for me:  "This is about not punishing ourselves for loving great comedy."  These deniers can't separate their love of, both Bill Cosby's public personality and the character he plays, from the reality of who he really is. Then again, is it that they "can't" or they don't want to?

This little rant to the "jury" sums it up even more:

Amy Schumer defends Bill Cosby
"Let's remind ourselves what' at stake here: If convicted, the next time you put on a rerun of The Cosby Show, you may wince a little. You may feel a little pang. And none of us deserve that. We don't deserve to feel that pang."

They're afraid they won't be able to enjoy something they always have before if they also acknowledge he is a serial rapist.  She sums it up perfectly in this sketch.

Amy is on fire lately!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sony Leaks: Potential Night Witches bio on WW2 all-female bomber squad

In good guy Sony Leak news Drew Goddard, writer/producer/director, is pitching something any feminist warrior might get excited about -- a film about an all female bomber squad from WWII. They were called the Night Witches, which sounds more like a gang of badass Wiccan Super Heroines.  

According to my extensive research skimming wikipedia, their regiment was the "most highly decorated female unit in the Soviet Air Force, each pilot having flown over 800 missions by the end of the war and twenty-three having been awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title. Thirty of its members died in combat."  

I'm not a big fan of war movies, but I would count down the days to the release of this. With the success of Mad Max, I could see it happening. 

According to, Drew sent an email in March of 2014 to Amy Pascal saying,

I’m stuck in Marvel/Daredevil chaos.  Will call you first thing tomorrow.  But I’m obsessed with this idea!  Do you know the Night Witches?  Real-life female bomber squadron of WW2.  I’ve long wanted to make a movie about them.  Could be a good model for our all-female superhero team:
Sounds like an amazing and original untold story, waiting to get out. The story of women working together as a team in an era of war is an even more compelling story. 

The description from wiki...
The regiment was formed by Colonel Marina Raskova and led by Major Yevdokia Bershanskaya[It] flew harassment bombing and precision bombing missions against the German military from 1942 to the end of the war. At its largest size, it had 40 two-person crews. It flew over 23,000 sorties and is said to have dropped [2]3,000 tons of bombs.  
It was the most highly decorated female unit in the Soviet Air Force, each pilot having flown over 800 missions by the end of the war and twenty-three having been awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title. Thirty of its members died in combat.[3]
According to wiki there are some films about them, but nothing that got major attention. When was the last time there was a cinematic true story about women in war? I'm sure some exist. Any suggestions??

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cara Delevingne takes a stand against playing demeaning female characters, is my new girl crush

I don't know what Cara Delevingne has done to become so popular, because all I know about her is that she is a model and everyone talks about her eyebrows, but I'm glad she is because she sounds smart and interesting. She's a good role model for the millions of fans she seems to have.

Although she rose to fame as a model, she's delving into acting now and has a bunch of movies coming out. She just spoke to Time Out magazine about her film The Face of an Angel. 

She dished out some quality insight on sticking to your values and how badly the film industry needs the point of view of women.

Did you ever think: I’ve done too much modelling, it will be impossible to become an actor?‘Oh yeah. The first time I did Fashion Week, I was like: Right, I might as well give up on acting because I’m screwed. And as soon as I became a model, I was being sent typecasting roles as the stupid blonde who gets killed really quickly, or the sexy girlfriend, or whatever. 
Roles I would rather die than play. I was ready to give up on it. Or not give up, but take a break. When I finally got a serious role to audition for, I cried on the phone, I was so happy. Not even a film, just an audition.’ 
So it’s difficult as a woman in your twenties to get decent roles?‘Yes. And every movie I’ve done I’ve had to fight for lines and fight for point of view. Usually it’s a male director, male producers. It’s all very much a man’s point of view. I speak up and say “Girls don’t do that.” Or “That’s not something a girl would say in that situation.” It’s about how men perceive women and it’s not accurate, and it annoys me! 
I don’t think people speak up enough. Even if I’m wrong, even if I get shut down, I know that I’ve done my part to get a woman’s voice out there. It’s important that when girls watch movies they’ve got strong female role models.’
I love it. "Even if I’m wrong, even if I get shut down, I know that I’ve done my part to get a woman’s voice out there."  So true!  She's a reminder that we need to speak up and create a more gender balance inside the industry and on screen.

I know that not all women are in a position to turn down jobs that may not reflect who they are or what they want to create, but she is in that position, and is rightly using it help create change. I once got into an argument with a guy about the need for more women behind and in front of the camera, and he was saying stuff like "it doesn't matter who makes art." That's bullshit. It totally matters. Learn more about movie stats.

The world is a more interesting place when we have art and media that reflects the diverse world we live in.  It's more honest, complex and evolved. How boring would art and film and music be if whole segments of the population were excluded from participating? Plus, the more women we have calling the shots, speaking up and taking leadership roles, the more likely we are to see pay equality. Not to mention the numerous studies that have been done that show the significance of children seeing themselves reflected in media, like films, books, etc.

Here is a reminder of the stats on gender in film:

Be sure to like and share!

"Equals Three" asks Was that sexist?

Ray William Johnson's youtube channel is not a source I would peg for feminist messages. He runs a web series called Equals Three, which basically features recent viral content where he makes funny observations about it. It's always funny and short and entertaining.

What's great about this clip is that it's not only demonstrating things men do or say that is inadvertently demeaning or disrespectful to women, but it shows the things that women say to men that are demeaning to them, like calling a guy a pussy, "It's just a spider. Grow a pair!", laughing at him for crying, or treating him like something's wrong with him if he can't get it up, "What do you mean you're not in the mood? You're a dude. You're always in the mood!"

Reinforcing stereotypes on either side of the gender coin affects everyone, which I think is part of his point. There are a couple of things I wish it had included though. The most obvious is the archaic double standard that women are sluts if they have casual sex, but if men do that's just normal, or they're studs.

Anyway, I don't agree that everything in this video is automatically sexist, but it's great to just open up a conversation about it. I love Ray, not just for this video, but also because he posts a 'pay your rent' reminder on the first of every month on Facebook.
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