The Wicked Behind-the-Scenes Drama of the Original Charmed: The Feuds, Firings and Feminist Fury

Charmed FeatureLife on the set of the original Charmed? Anything but charming a lot of the time.
On Sunday, The CW is set to introduce the story of three witchy sisters to a whole new generation,…

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Books News: How Feminist Dystopian Fiction Is Channeling Women’s Anger and Anxiety

A growing canon of female-centered science fiction looks at questions of gender inequality, misogyny and institutionalized sexism.
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How Southern Charm Unlikely Became One of the Most Feminist Shows on TV

Southern Charm Feature The revolution will be televised, y’all.
Ever since Oct. 5, when the New York Times published the first report detailing decades’ worth of sexual misconduct allegations against…

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Before Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was A Meme, She Was A Feminist With A ‘Radical Vision’

“RBG” tells the story of Ginsburg’s legacy and influence beyond the internet.
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Vicky Krieps on why Phantom Thread is a feminist movie

The film has been criticised for its apparent “toxic masculinity”.
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The Culture Is Changing, With Feminist Cheese

All across America, cheese making is a great way to trot away from the male herd.
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Before Boobs Were A Design Trend, Nicola L. Made Quite The Feminist Body Of Art

At 80 years old, the artist is being honored with her first museum retrospective.
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Dior Makes Another Feminist Fashion Statement On The Runway

Prepare to see this everywhere.
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How The Heroine Of ‘Ella Enchanted’ (Accidentally) Became A Feminist Icon

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Gal Gadot: Either You’re a Feminist or You’re a Sexist

Wonder Woman herself would know.

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Helen Mirren Doesn’t Believe Ivanka’s ‘Feminist’ Bullshit Either

The Dame opens up about sexiness, feminism, and the Trumps.

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Ivanka Trump Is a Fake Feminist, Which Makes Her Father Proud

The Daily Show’s Michelle Wolf calls bullshit.

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How The Heroine Of ‘Ella Enchanted’ (Accidentally) Became A Feminist Icon

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This Summer, NYC’s Billboards Will Show Feminist Art Instead Of Ads

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Amelia Earhart’s Prenup Is Proof That She Was The Ultimate Feminist

There were no decorations or flowers and the two didn’t even exchange wedding rings.
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Joseph Fiennes Says ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Made Him An Even Bigger Feminist

It’s hard to work on a TV show like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and not be “jolted” into a “state of consciousness,” according to Joseph Fiennes. 

Fiennes plays Commander Fred Waterford, the leader of the oppressive dystopian republic called Gilead in Hulu’s hit series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on the book of the same name by Margaret Atwood. The book has been heralded as a feminist classic and (after some initial back and forth) the show seems to be following suit. So it comes as no surprise that Fiennes says he’s become an even bigger feminist after playing the Commander on a set full of iconic women like Elisabeth Moss (the show’s protagonist Offred) and Yvonne Strahovski (Serena Joy, the Commander’s brilliantly sadistic wife).

In a June 15 interview with Marie Claire, Fiennes said the series has really awoken him to women’s issues ― especially since the “most important people” in his life are his wife and two daughters. 

“Certainly the show has jolted me into a much more alert state of the inequality amongst the sexes,” he said. “By virtue of that, I feel much more switched on to feminism, and what it means and stands for. I want my daughters to live in a world where there is equality and parity of pay. We’ve got a long way to go. I read a statistic that if you’re a Hispanic woman it’ll be over 200 years until you achieve parity of pay. So yes, the show has jolted me into a state of consciousness.” 

The show has jolted me into a much more alert state of the inequality amongst the sexes. By virtue of that, I feel much more switched on to feminism, and what it means and stands for.
Joseph Fiennes

Fiennes also spoke about the eery way the dystopian future depicted in “The Handmaid’s Tale” has begun to feel closer to real life over the last year. From the U.S. pulling out of the Paris climate deal to the constant war over women’s bodies and reproductive autonomy, Fiennes pointed to the parallels between fictional Gilead and the United States in 2017.

“When you wake up and you see that America has pulled out of the climate deal in Paris, that sends huge messages about putting coal before the planet. Gilead has suffered from a fragile ecology that is now toxic and affecting fertility rates,” Fiennes told Marie Claire. “There is truth to it ― there is connection, themes, and parallels, sadly. It’s getting sharper and sharper, especially for women ― the autonomy of their bodies, and pro-choice vs. pro-life. Look at the administration, the imbalance of the female presence ― there’s a lot to draw on.”

One silver lining? The protests and resistance the U.S. has seen since President Donald Trump took office. 

“It was wonderful seeing the woman’s marches, and seeing numbers bigger than the president’s inauguration,” Fiennes said. “It gives one great heart that there are people present, alert, and awake, and voicing their frustrations. We need more of that.”

Head over to Marie Claire to read the rest of Fiennes’ interview. 

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Wonder Woman: The feminist hero we hoped for?

The first reviews for DC’s Wonder Woman are out, and not everyone thinks the Amazonian princess fares well in “the world of men”.
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Miss USA Says She Actually Does Consider Herself A Feminist

Miss USA is a feminist. 

On Sunday night, Miss District of Columbia Kára McCullough was crowned Miss USA 2017. The 25-year-old government scientist ― dubbed by pageant officials as “one of the most intelligent contestants in recent memory” ― came under fire for some of her comments about health care and feminism during the Q&A portion of the program. 

McCullough referred to health care as a “privilege” not a right in response to one question and, later, told the audience she doesn’t consider herself a feminist when asked if she considered herself one.

“I don’t really want to consider myself ― try not to consider myself like this diehard, you know, like, ‘Oh, I don’t really care about men,’” McCullough said. “But one thing I’m gonna say, though, is women, we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace.”

Watch her full response below.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan published Tuesday, McCullough clarified her comments on both feminism and health care. She said that it can be very difficult to get your full opinion across when you only have 30 seconds to answer such in-depth questions.

“If it were up to me that would have been a four-hour long discussion [about healthcare]… If I have the opportunity just to clarify, I would definitely love to let people know that, yes I am privileged to have health insurance — it’s a privilege for me, and I’m thankful for that,” she said. “But I also do believe health insurance is a right for everyone.”

McCullough also added that she’s “all about women’s rights.”

“Yes, I would have to say I am a feminist,” she said. “… And you know, the word [feminism] can carry different connotations [depending on what] generation you come from, or what background, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m not an active [supporter of] women’s rights. If anyone wants to challenge me on that, please call me.”

Back to back, queen to queen. DC is your #MissUSA 2017.

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McCullough told Cosmo that she hopes to promote science and education with her new platform. The newly crowned Miss USA holds a degree in chemistry with a concentration in radiochemistry from South Carolina State University.

“I run after-school programs, and tutoring sessions and symposiums. It’s about any or all of the sciences, although I am biased; I love to see people major in chemistry ― because the numbers [in that field] are so low,” she said. “I was actually the only person in my class to graduate with a degree in radiochemistry, and so every summer I had a phenomenal internship and I got paid! That’s why I always try to encourage students to find joy in science, because the opportunities are endless.”

Head over to Cosmopolitan to read the full interview. 

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28 Things Anyone With A Feminist Mother Knows To Be True

Anyone with a feminist for a mom knows she’s given you some of the best life advice you’ll ever get. 

She’s a strong woman who makes her opinion known and doesn’t take shit from anyone. Whether she’s been working a 9 to 5 her entire life or has stayed at home to raise you ― she’s a role model in every way. 

To celebrate Mother’s Day, HuffPost Women asked our readers to share one lesson they’ve learned from their feminist mothers growing up. The responses, paraphrased below, were heart-wrenching, honest and full of love. 

So, for my feminist mom — and every other mother — this is for you. Here are 28 things anyone with a feminist mother knows to be true. Happy Mother’s Day! 

1. Always trust your intuition. You did get it from your mama. 

2. Get a good education so you can support yourself if need be.  

3. Don’t ever accept anything less than equal treatment. 

4. Exercise your hard-won right to vote.

5. Actions really do speak louder than words.

6. You can be delicate and strong at the same damn time.  

7. Self-care is everything. 

8. Being a strong woman means lifting up other women around you. 

9. Relationships shouldn’t complete your life, they should complement it. 

10. You don’t need to smile for anyone.

11. Don’t water yourself down to be “likable,” especially for a partner. 

12. Gender roles are bullshit. 

13. Value your intelligence, even when those around you don’t. 

14. Life is about balance; don’t ever lose sight of your needs and wants. 

15. Value diversity and acceptance. 

16. A sense of humor goes a long way when you’re in a society built by and for men.   

17. Respect and learn from the women who came before you. 

18. Always maintain an avenue for financial independence. 

19. Housework is a shared chore. 

20. You can be a strong independent woman and still live happily ever after. 

21. Speak your mind. 

22. No one can validate your self worth except you. 

23. Compassion is key. 

24. Do what makes you happy. 

25. Being a woman does not dictate what you can and cannot do. 

26. Always negotiate your salary. 

27. Don’t let anyone view you as a body instead of a mind. 

28. You are always enough.

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Is Happiness A Feminist Issue?

In the American Declaration of Independence some of the most historic and lasting words are “all men are created equal” and that those are endowed the unalienable rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

But what about those two tiny, seemingly unassuming words? All men.

If all men have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it begs the question: What about a woman’s right to pursue all three, specifically happiness? Feminist writer and author Jill Filipovic explores just that in her new book The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit Of Happiness.

“What I was interested in exploring in the book is not just how do we make women equal to men in a system that men have built for themselves, but what does the female pursuit of happiness look like?” Filipovic told HuffPost. “If women were writing that founding document, what kind of system and institutions would we build around it to make that promise possible for women as well?” 

What I was interested in exploring in the book is not just how do we make women equal to men in a system that men have built for themselves, but what does the female pursuit of happiness look like?
Jill Filipovic

In the book, Filipovic explores the intersections of feminism and women’s happiness over the course of American history: Why were women, quite literally, written out of the history of happiness? How does the notion of “having it all” effect women’s happiness? Has feminism doomed us to be unhappy in our pursuit of equality? Is happiness, in fact, a feminist issue?

For that last one, Filipovic responded that happiness is “absolutely” a feminist issue. “What we’re trying to do is create a universe in which women can at least have the ability to pursue happiness,” she said, “if not the ability to actually be happy every day.”

Filipovic spoke with HuffPost to expand on that response and answer more questions about the intersections of happiness and feminism. What she learned about women, happiness and feminism while writing The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit Of Happiness might surprise you.   

What prompted you to write a book about the intersections of feminism and women’s happiness?

The more that I reported on feminist issues, it became clear that a lot of what I was writing about underlined the bad experiences women have; so many of the ways in which our lives are made to be less good than they could be. It made me wonder: what does real hostility to female happiness and female pleasure look like? Everything from access to birth control and abortion rights, which seems really vested in this cultural disdain for the idea of women having sex for pleasure, to a lot of the advice that young women get about how to avoid rape, which is essentially saying don’t go out and have fun. There seems to be a real value in this hostility to women having good lives. So when I put those pieces of it together, it seemed like a ripe argument to make. And not just to say here’s the problem, but to at least attempt to make a real moral case for the good of female happiness.

In your chapter “Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions” you talk about how the concept of happiness, as written into the Declaration of Independence, wasn’t made for women. Can you talk to me a little bit about the history of happiness and how women were ― for lack of a better term ― written out of it?

When the founders were writing that all were entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the only people that were actually entitled to those things at the time were land-owning white men. So it wasn’t even just men, it was a small subsection of the American male population at the time. The reality is that while men may not have been able to achieve happiness, they’ve had the ability to pursue it on the backs of free and invisible labor of women and people of color. The way that this system has been constructed, with this subgroup at the top of it, couldn’t exist unless you had the rest of us doing the legwork to make it happen.

What I was interested in exploring in the book is not just how do we make women equal to men in a system that men have built for themselves, but what does the female pursuit of happiness look like? If women were writing that founding document, what kind of system and institutions would we build around it to make that promise possible for women as well? 

In your introduction you write: “Women today live in a world of unfinished feminism, where we’re told we’re equal but see our basic rights up for grabs, where we’re told to push harder at work, or recognize we can’t have it all, or marry Mr. Good Enough.” Can you expand on this notion of “unfinished feminism” and how it impacts women’s happiness?

Obviously, the feminist movement has done incredible things for American women and women around the world, and it’s had massive victories. It’s obviously valuable to show how far we’ve come in such a short period of time, especially in the grand scheme of human history. But, it’s not complete yet. We’re living at this intersection of old cultural values that are really butting up against a more feminist world.

Most women do work outside of the home, most of us work for pay, we go to college and graduate college in greater numbers than young men. But our laws and policies ― not only have they not caught up ― but we have lawmakers who have intentionally blocked them from catching up as a way to essentially make it almost impossible for women to succeed in the modern world. And a lot of this becomes very individualized: If I feel overwhelmed by trying to raise children and have a job that must be my problem and my problem to solve. Rather than making it a collective, societal problem and creating collective mechanisms to actually make a more feminist life livable.

Women today live in a world of unfinished feminism, where we’re told we’re equal but see our basic rights up for grabs, where we’re told to push harder at work, or recognize we can’t have it all.
Jill Filipovic

You discuss the cultural definition of being a woman as always defining yourself in relation to others ― “she’s someone’s mother, sister, wife.” You coined this the “cult of female sacrifice,” which I really love. What are the consequences of this sacrifice?

I think what you see is that women are pushed into putting others before themselves, in terms of their sex lives, in terms of their relationships ― whether that’s a romantic relationship or a parental relationship or even a friendship ― I think it’s just ingrained in us. It’s almost an inability to get up in the morning and think ‘OK what is it that I want?’ It’s not just internal either, there’s this cultural expectation that women will do this. When women break that mold it can have really negative consequences. There’s been a lot of great studies that say that women don’t negotiate for more money and therefore they get paid less. But one of the reasons women don’t negotiate for more money is because when they do they’re perceived as pushy and aggressive and unlikable and they’re penalized for it. That to me is a pretty good encapsulation of a woman putting herself and her own needs and desires for fair compensation ahead of somebody else’s comfort. And we see women face financial consequences for doing that.

Another example is the advice young college women get about how to avoid sexual assault. Usually they’re told to not drink, to not go out ― basically, don’t do the normal things that everyone in your peer group is doing and that young men always do. If you don’t forgo this kind of pleasure, you may be punished for it. The punishment may be you get raped and the further cultural punishment is that everybody looks at you and says “What did she think was going to happen?” The consequences of this idea that women should always sacrifice their own pleasure or their own needs are pretty far-reaching and pervasive.

In your chapter about female pleasure and happiness you discuss sacrifice as a “central part of womanhood” that leads to a missing “road map for basic female demands.” How do you think this lack of guidance to demanding self-pleasure coupled with the “cult of female sacrifice” informs women’s happiness?

Obviously, one of the ways to be happy and to feel happy is through basic hedonistic pleasure ― stimulated in the five senses. Whether that’s eating a great meal or having a good sexual experience, all of these things are the kind of small things that add up to a life that feels good and happy and pleasurable.

Of course this does not apply to every single person, but for most people sex is one of the most pleasurable things that we do. For many women, sex is also a locus of fear and sometimes a locus of violence, and that obviously undercuts our ability to have happy and healthy sex lives. So does this idea of performative female sexuality and the idea that we’re sexual objects to be enjoyed by someone else. Women are told we’re not sexual actors to figure out what our enjoyment even looks and feels like.

You discuss how traditional “women’s work” remains undervalued and underpaid. How do you think this gap affects women’s happiness and pleasure?

One thing we know is that although money doesn’t buy happiness, economic instability does decrease people’s happiness. It’s only true that money doesn’t make you happy above a certain level. So when the work that women have traditionally done is both underpaid and undervalued the following happens: A) It makes someone economically insecure, which is a very quick route to unhappiness; and B) It means that women are less likely to derive the kind of identity and sense of purpose from their work that men long have. Certainly, for a lot of people care work can feel quite meaningful, but it becomes an issue when we send the message that that kind of work is not particularly valuable and is not valuable in part because women do it. We really undercut not only women’s paychecks but also our psychological and emotional health as it relates to our jobs.

Women are funneled towards certain options because our choices are constrained and then we’re told that we’re the ones doing the choosing and so it’s our responsibility. That’s the path that needs to be upended.
Jill Filipovic

In your chapter “Summer Sisters: Women And The Power Of Female Friendships” you write about the effects platonic female friendship have on women’s happiness and how, often times, they’re more integral to personal growth than romantic relationships.

Female friendships have always factored into the lives of women, but especially now when women are getting married later than ever before; when we live so much more of our lives outside of the nuclear family structure. Many of us leave our homes at 17 or 18 to go off to college or to go into the workforce and the average age of marriage for women now is 27. The average woman has a decade in there where she’s living at least semi-independently and where a romantic partner is not her primary outlet into the rest of the world. Even after we marry, women are much more likely to work outside of the home now than we used to. We have far more connection and especially in those formative years when we’re becoming full human beings in our 20s ― for a lot of women that happens surrounded by other women. 

And while female friendships are not new, the length of time that women spend single, living with other women and having them be our primary outlets is new. And that’s something we haven’t really caught up with policy-wise: how to recognize that often the chief person in your life is not a romantic partner.

It’s raised the bar for romantic relationships, as well. Most of my adult life I’ve lived with other women, so I know it’s perfectly possible to split doing the dishes and both take out the garbage. To be able to share space with somebody and have an equal division of labor, to love somebody and not only love them because you’re romantically attached to them, because you do have this enduring connection to both share the chores and share the emotional labor of the relationship: I think all of that leads to better romantic relationships later in life if that’s the path that you go down. It’s frankly one of the reasons you see women who marry after the age of 25 having longer-lasting, happier, more stable marriages. We learn a lot of these really valuable relationship skills from our female friends.

So, what does the female pursuit of happiness look like?

It looks like a policy landscape that opens up opportunity for women and doesn’t constrain our options and then tell us everything is about individual choice. I think by now our politics rely quite a bit on “choice” language ― it’s a choice to work or stay home, it’s a choice to have kids or not have kids, it’s a choice to eat what you want. This is all very individualistic. But because of certain policy decisions we’ve made, many parts of women’s lives don’t feel like much of a choice.

Women are funneled towards certain options because our choices are constrained and then we’re told that we’re the ones doing the choosing and so it’s our responsibility. That’s the path that needs to be upended. We need a policy landscape that makes real choices available for women. It has to be a collective, social and political effort to say that female happiness matters ― and male happiness matters, too ― and that one of the roles of government is to make people’s lives better. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Friendly Reminder From Lauren Jauregui That You Can Be Sexual AND A Feminist

Lauren Jauregui is arguably Fifth Harmony’s most outspoken, politically “woke” member. Since penning an open letter to Donald Trump supporters, and chatting with HuffPost back in March about immigration and feminism, Jauregui has made it clear she is not afraid to fight for what she believes in.

In an interview with Vulkan Magazine, Jauregui shared her thoughts on feminism, the meaning of modern-day girl power, and the role Fifth Harmony plays in conveying a positive and inspirational message for other women.

The interviewer asks Jauregui if she feels her passion for feminism is somewhat hypocritical, given the “sexualized image” that she and the other members of Fifth Harmony embody. Her response to that criticism could not have been better. 

I would say that regardless of how the brand has been created, we are four hard working women who have succeeded in making our dream to become artists a more possible reality through this. We’ve reached millions of people all over the world who watch our interviews and listen to the message beyond the sexualization, which is to love yourself first and to understand your worth.

Jauregui openly acknowledged that some of her song’s lyrics have flirtatious, sometimes even provocative, undertones, but she was quick to point out that embracing one’s sexuality should not take away from any feminist convictions. She explained that “women embracing their sexuality should never be a reason to disregard their intellect or ability to speak on topics beyond that.”

Jauregui also noted that numerous fans have turned to the group’s songs for comfort and emotional support.

“We had so many of our fans tell us how worthless they felt before they found out about us and watched our interviews and listened to our music,” she said.

Now if that isn’t female empowerment, we don’t know what is.

Catch the full interview with Vulkan Magazine here.

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These 17 Feminist Prints Will Remind You To Keep Persisting

Calling all nasty women! 

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’ve rounded up 17 inspiring feminist prints that belong in your home.

From artwork featuring some of our favorite feminists (calling Gloria, Hillary, Frieda, Angela, Audre and the Notorious RBG) or quotes that remind us to smash the patriarchy any chance we get, we’ve got a print for you. 

Take a look: 

This Women’s History Month, remember that we have the power to make history every day. Follow along with HuffPost on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in March using #WeMakeHerstory.

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‘SNL’ Just Identified The Worst Kind Of Male Feminist

Saturday Night Live” just exposed the worst kind of liberal: dudes who use activism to pick up chicks.

In a digital short titled “Girl at a Bar,” Cecily Strong gets hit on by a series of men who are eager to talk about feminism. All seems to go well until Strong’s character, who’s wearing a shirt that says “The future is female,” turns each guy down.

Beck Bennett points out that he and Strong are wearing matching shirts, but turns on her when she rejects his offer for a date. “OK, bitch,” Bennett screams. “I wore this shirt and you won’t even let me nut? I followed all the rules!”

Things seem to get better when Kyle Mooney pulls the screaming man away and tells Strong he was just in D.C. for the Women’s March, saying “it was honestly one of the best days of my life.”

But when Strong turns him down too, Mooney unleashes his wrath.

“I freaking marched for you. You won’t get down on this?” he yells while grabbing his crotch.

Even Alex Moffat in a pink pussy hat can’t seem to get it right. He name-drops Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), then presents Strong with a very disgusting offer. 

After “SNL” scored its highest ratings in years by picking apart President Donald Trump’s administration, it seems like the show decided it was time to make fun of the left too.

And creepy, fake feminist men are a hilarious start.

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Books of The Times: A Warm Biography of the Fantastical, Feminist Angela Carter

Carter wrote some of the 20th century’s unforgettable first sentences, and her novel “Nights at the Circus” was named the best of James Tait Black Prize winners.
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A Guide To Feminist Swag That Gives Back To Planned Parenthood

Republicans have confirmed that they are once again coming after Planned Parenthood, pledging to strip federal funding for the health care institution as part of their effort to repeal Obamacare. It’s a move that would disproportionately affect low-income women, as the organization receives most of its federal funding through Medicaid ― and it could go into effect as early as next month

There are a lot of ways to push back, like donating, calling your elected officials or volunteering. There’s also the option of buying swag that gives back.

Will it end the crusade against Planned Parenthood and ensure more than 2 million people a year don’t lose access to essential services? Nope. Is it just one more small way to push back against a GOP that is hellbent on stripping away women’s access to affordable healthcare? Why, yes it is! So get shopping.

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18 Feminist Bright Spots In The Hellscape Of 2016

Let us begin with the obvious. For many women, 2016 was a deflating nightmare of epic proportions.

It was singular in terms of shittiness, really. One of the top news stories was the unearthing of decade-old footage of Donald Trump boasting that he likes to grab women by the pussy ― and he went on to be elected as America’s 45th president. The glass ceiling stands. Reproductive rights are under attack. It’s… not great.

But! Last year was also filled with some pretty solid moments for women in the worlds of sports, entertainment and yes, politics and reproductive rights. We swear.

In the spirit of kicking off 2017 on a more positive note, we rounded up 18 of the brightest spots for women from the last year. Onwards and (hopefully?!) upwards.

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Kendall Jenner Models Feminist Lingerie for La Perla

Kendal Jenner, La PerlaKendall Jenner is embracing her feminine side in La Perla’s latest campaign.
Wearing looks from the Spring 2017 collection, Jenner–plus fellow supermodels Isabeli Fontana and Liu…

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Carol Burnett Is A Feminist Hero Whether She Knows It Or Not

Carol Burnett is a bonafide feminist hero. She rose up at the helm of her own variety show decades before the question of whether women are funny was somehow a thing. While her brand of humor never contained explicitly activist messages, the very fact of her presence during the women’s lib movement, of performing each night as the first female host of a comedy variety show, was a feminist act — whether she realizes it or not.

“You know, Carol, variety is a man’s game,” CBS told her at the time, trying to talk her out of creating what would become “The Carol Burnett Show.” She didn’t listen to them, of course; she just did what she wanted to do.

As Burnett tells it, her contract stipulating guest appearances on “The Garry Moore Show” contained a clause that allowed her to pursue a variety show within five years of her 10-year contract with the network. On the last day of that fifth year, she decided to push the button.

 ”They had forgotten about it,” she said, laughing at the implausibility of her rise to prominence on a technicality.

CBS initially asked Burnett to consider a sitcom instead, but she balked at the idea of doing the same thing each week. She wanted to play different characters. She wanted to have musical numbers. She was a Broadway baby, after all.

“The Carol Burnett Show” debuted in 1967 and ran for over 10 years. It was a ratings gem for the network, heralded as a good enough excuse to stay in on Saturday nights. Burnett made waves bringing in huge names for her musical acts and convincing them to participate in sketches, with the likes of Bing Crosby entangled in her physical comedy. She parodied entire movies, using the typically uneven genre of the variety show to deliver lengthy one-acts based on cultural staples. (See: That “Gone With The Wind” skit, in which Burnett emerges in the dress made of curtains, curtain rod and all.)

In 1978, Burnett ceased production on her own, having tired of the format in the shifting landscape of TV. “I’m sorry to see attention spans so short,” she said, when asked if the show could exist today. “You know, because we did longform. Sometimes, we had sketches that were 12 or 15 minutes. We took the time to build.”

Now, nearly 50 years after the premiere, Burnett is just as affable and giggly in interviews as during her famous question-and-answer sessions. On the phone with The Huffington Post, and in conversation with Ellie Kemper at the Paley Center, she talks about her impressive legacy with a sense of bemused incredulity. Her mode of looking back at “The Carol Burnett” show is perhaps best summed up by the shruggie emoji with a speech bubble reading, “I know, right?!” 

While speaking with Burnett about the release of her “Lost Episodes” DVD collection, she tap danced around the question of taking up space in a man’s world. I attended her event at the Paley Center, hoping she’d saved her discussion of women in comedy for Kemper.

The event was punctuated with clips from the show, most of which Burnett would chuckle at as though they had happened mere days before. She discussed her early years, of having first moved to Manhattan and working on “Once Upon A Mattress.” She remembered her time on “The Garry Moore Show” as the inspiration for her titular variety hour. She was as charming and wonderful as you would hope, but when Kemper asked about the current moment for women in comedy, Burnett giggled something like, “Oh, it’s all so great!” and waved her off.

Each question about the “current state of comedy” aimed at Burnett is a request for a mission statement, a call to action with hope that Burnett will urge the current generation to continue on the path she forged in Lucille Ball’s footsteps. But Burnett is elusive. She doesn’t overanalyze her impact or think about her career in such theoretical terms as “what she means” to the industry.

“My feeling is that if I had never been born, those women like Tina and Amy would still be doing what they’re doing today,” she said during our call.

Pushed to elaborate, Burnett shrugged again. “I never thought, ‘Oh gosh, I’m doing something only the guys could do or should do.’ I never felt that. Once we started the show I was the person who wanted to be funny and sing a song or two. I never analyzed it.”

At first glance, it might seem disappointing that Burnett doesn’t own — or maybe isn’t surprised by — her impact. But, on some level, her irreverent stance is even more defining than a fiercely defensive one might be. 

Whether the result of her whimsy or intention, there is power in refusing fearfulness, in combatting the obstacles by pretending they simply don’t exist.

When Burnett first started on the “The Garry Moore Show,” she leapt out a window during one scene and screamed with relief when she hit the mattress below. She had no experience with stunts and no idea it would be there.

“I was so naive!” she gasped. “I just thought, ‘Well, I’m just going to jump and land on the floor!’ I was never taught how to do it.”

Five decades ago, she broke down barriers with the same free-wheeling bravery she used to hurl herself off Moore’s set. In that skit and across her career, Burnett has never been totally sure that anything would be there to catch her when she fell. And it never totally mattered. She became a goddess of comedy by some mythical combination of transcending the sexist nonsense and not really worrying about it in the first place.

“You just have to go out there and do it,” she said, when asked what advice she’d give young comedians before hopping off the call. “I just went out there and did it. The more experience you get, the better you’re gonna be.”

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Fat Is a Feminist Issue

Fat Is a Feminist Issue


The classic book that changed the way women look at themselves. The author encourages women to change their negative relationship with food into a positive one and consequently lose weight. Throw away your diet books.-The New York Daily News.
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Powerful Women And Female Pleasure: Exploring The Feminist Themes Of ‘Magic Mike XXL’

Female viewers flocked to the theaters to watch “Magic Mike XXL” when the flick hit the big screen last week. And many of its fans have praised the film for its feminism.

The sequel, which follows Channing Tatum and his band of male entertainers as they make their way to their final performance at a stripper convention, has been applauded for its progressive depiction of women of various ages, body types and races, its  powerful female characters and its positive embrace of female sexuality. As the Washington Post’s Soraya Nadia McDonald noted, “Magic Mike XXL” even passed the Bechdel test.

As entertainment writer for Cosmopolitan.com Patti Greco told HuffPost Live, the film’s writers may have intended to make buddy comedy, but the end result was completely different.

“Ultimately, what came out of it was a movie that centered on the idea that women’s pleasure really mattered very much,” Greco told host Caroline Modaressy-Tehrani. “[There were] a bunch of great female characters who actually helped write their parts. Jada Pinkett-Smith, [who was] a revelation in this and arguably was the most empowering and feminist part of the movie, really brought that role to the table, same with Andie MacDowell.”

Greco also applauded the character development of the film’s male stars and responded to the critique that “Magic Mike XXL” objectifies men and promotes unrealistic body standards.

“If these guys were just chiseled lunks, nobody would be that attracted to them. They actually have personality,” she said. “They actually have sensitivity and so they are feminine in some ways and it plays with the idea that you can’t just be a hunk of meat. You also have to be sensitive to satisfy a woman.”

Still the movie had its flaws, Deadspin senior culture editor Puja Patel noted.

“There are times where the film is clearly pandering a little bit,” she said. “These women kind of become a prop to tell the males character development or the story that these men are healers in some way.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about the feminist themes in “Magic Mike XXL” here.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before.

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Powerful Women And Female Pleasure: Exploring The Feminist Themes Of ‘Magic Mike XXL’

Female viewers flocked to the theaters to watch “Magic Mike XXL” when the flick hit the big screen last week. And many of its fans have praised the film for its feminism.

The sequel, which follows Channing Tatum and his band of male entertainers as they make their way to their final performance at a stripper convention, has been applauded for its progressive depiction of women of various ages, body types and races, its  powerful female characters and its positive embrace of female sexuality. As the Washington Post’s Soraya Nadia McDonald noted, “Magic Mike XXL” even passed the Bechdel test.

As entertainment writer for Cosmopolitan.com Patti Greco told HuffPost Live, the film’s writers may have intended to make buddy comedy, but the end result was completely different.

“Ultimately, what came out of it was a movie that centered on the idea that women’s pleasure really mattered very much,” Greco told host Caroline Modaressy-Tehrani. “[There were] a bunch of great female characters who actually helped write their parts. Jada Pinkett-Smith, [who was] a revelation in this and arguably was the most empowering and feminist part of the movie, really brought that role to the table, same with Andie MacDowell.”

Greco also applauded the character development of the film’s male stars and responded to the critique that “Magic Mike XXL” objectifies men and promotes unrealistic body standards.

“If these guys were just chiseled lunks, nobody would be that attracted to them. They actually have personality,” she said. “They actually have sensitivity and so they are feminine in some ways and it plays with the idea that you can’t just be a hunk of meat. You also have to be sensitive to satisfy a woman.”

Still the movie had its flaws, Deadspin senior culture editor Puja Patel noted.

“There are times where the film is clearly pandering a little bit,” she said. “These women kind of become a prop to tell the males character development or the story that these men are healers in some way.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about the feminist themes in “Magic Mike XXL” here.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before.

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Powerful Women And Female Pleasure: Exploring The Feminist Themes Of ‘Magic Mike XXL’

Female viewers flocked to the theaters to watch “Magic Mike XXL” when the flick hit the big screen last week. And many of its fans have praised the film for its feminism.

The sequel, which follows Channing Tatum and his band of male entertainers as they make their way to their final performance at a stripper convention, has been applauded for its progressive depiction of women of various ages, body types and races, its  powerful female characters and its positive embrace of female sexuality. As the Washington Post’s Soraya Nadia McDonald noted, “Magic Mike XXL” even passed the Bechdel test.

As entertainment writer for Cosmopolitan.com Patti Greco told HuffPost Live, the film’s writers may have intended to make buddy comedy, but the end result was completely different.

“Ultimately, what came out of it was a movie that centered on the idea that women’s pleasure really mattered very much,” Greco told host Caroline Modaressy-Tehrani. “[There were] a bunch of great female characters who actually helped write their parts. Jada Pinkett-Smith, [who was] a revelation in this and arguably was the most empowering and feminist part of the movie, really brought that role to the table, same with Andie MacDowell.”

Greco also applauded the character development of the film’s male stars and responded to the critique that “Magic Mike XXL” objectifies men and promotes unrealistic body standards.

“If these guys were just chiseled lunks, nobody would be that attracted to them. They actually have personality,” she said. “They actually have sensitivity and so they are feminine in some ways and it plays with the idea that you can’t just be a hunk of meat. You also have to be sensitive to satisfy a woman.”

Still the movie had its flaws, Deadspin senior culture editor Puja Patel noted.

“There are times where the film is clearly pandering a little bit,” she said. “These women kind of become a prop to tell the males character development or the story that these men are healers in some way.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about the feminist themes in “Magic Mike XXL” here.

Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before.

Also On The Huffington Post:

 

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How Magic Mike XXL Became the Most Shockingly Feminist Movie of the Summer

If you haven’t seen Magic Mike XXL yet, close your browser, hydrate, and go directly to your local movie theater. This piece contains spoilers. No, seriously, I am going to ruin everything. When I sat…


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Why Posing Nude For Lui Falls In Line With Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Feminist Beliefs

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has proved once again that she is not shy about showing off her figure. She’s wearing next to nothing on the cover and accompanying spread of French men’s magazine Lui.

Huntington-Whiteley, who looks absolutely stunning in the shots she posted to Instagram on Wednesday, oozes confidence as much as she does sex appeal, something she says stems from her sheltered, rural upbringing.

While a model posing nude for a magazine spread is hardly a new concept, it’s a decision that seems in line with the can-do spirit in which Huntington-Whiteley says she was raised. In an interview with HuffPost Live that touched on her feminist beliefs, she explains:

“I’ve been lucky in my career. Modeling is kind of a female’s world, and I feel very lucky for that. I never felt too many limitations in that industry, but it’s certainly something you think about more and more and it’s certainly something we’re seeing more and more in the media. For me, I would totally, comfortably call myself a feminist. I believe in equal rights and for women to do what they want to do,” she said.

Clearly, doing whatever they want to do includes nude photoshoots. More power to you, Rosie.

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A photo posted by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (@rosiehw) on

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Catalyst Wedding Magazine Is The Answer To Our Feminist Prayers

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Credit: Betty Clicker Photography

Liz Susong and Carly Romeo, founders of the new Catalyst Wedding Magazine, felt it was time the bridal industry had a “feminist disruption.” Their magazine, which launches later this month, aims to do just that.

Instead of just featuring the white, wealthy heterosexual couples that usually grace the pages of popular bridal publications, Catalyst celebrates the underrepresented: people of color, diverse bodies, same-sex couples and the many, many people who can’t spend anywhere close to $ 40,000 on a wedding.

“Carly and I see a need for a magazine that publishes real, authentic love celebrations and diverse love stories that doesn’t allow advertising revenue to drive its content,” Susong told The Huffington Post.

In March, Susong, a “progressive” wedding planner, and Romeo, a feminist wedding photographer, set up a Kickstarter page to raise funding for the project. They surpassed their original goal of $ 8,500, ultimately raising $ 13,490.

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Credit: Cassie Rosch

Susong explained to HuffPost that Catalyst considers itself feminist on three counts: representation, roles and rights.

“Part of our mission is to increase diverse representation in wedding media,” she said. “We want to see all sorts of couples and bodies being presented in full-color, beautiful print! The editorial content engages in critical dialogue around wedding traditions and the industry at large, especially around gendered roles in the wedding planning process.”

And while Susong says the publication is a “strong voice in favor of marriage equality,” she explained that Catalyst is not a gay wedding magazine.

“We’re not just looking for a new niche market to sell glitter to!” she said. “We’re celebrating authentic love and community — no strings attached.”

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Credit: Pop! Wed Co.

Some of the features in the first issue include “Let’s Ditch The Diet,” “What Makes A Rebellious Bride” and a personal essay titled “Here In Your Love” about planning a wedding while writing a Ph.D. dissertation. And then, of course, there are the beautiful real wedding photo spreads featuring couples not traditionally pictured in mainstream bridal print publications.

“It’s important to us that the magazine is in print because while some offbeat wedding resources exist online, we rarely get to see diverse bodies in beautiful, full-color print spreads,” Susong said. “Magazines provide a tactile experience, and all of the couples together in the magazine tell one story. We think that’s really special!”

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Susong and Romeo say they are aiming to produce two volumes a year, with the second issue coming out in January 2016. So far, they have sold around 600 copies of the first issue — and counting.

You can order your copy of Catalyst here. Orders will begin shipping Memorial Day weekend.

H/T Mic

Watch an interview with Liz Susong below:

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Charlize Theron: ‘Girls Need To Know That Being A Feminist Is A Good Thing’

Every time Charlize Theron opens her mouth we fall in love with her more and more.

In a recent interview for ELLE UK’s June 2015 issue, the Oscar-winning actress discussed her experiences with the wage gap in Hollywood and how she refuses to be objectified by filmmakers.

She stressed that women need to stand up for themselves when it comes to being paid fairly — starting with simply asking to be. “I have to give them credit because once I asked, they said yes. They did not fight it,” she said. “And maybe that’s the message: That we just need to put our foot down.”

She went on to define feminism and explain why it’s so integral to achieving pay equality. “This is a good time for us to bring this to a place of fairness, and girls need to know that being a feminist is a good thing,” Theron said. “It doesn’t mean that you hate men. It means equal rights. If you’re doing the same job, you should be compensated and treated in the same way.”

charlize theron

Theron has repeatedly stood up against the wage gap. After the massive Sony Pictures hack that revealed many actresses were paid much less than their male co-stars in recent films, Theron used the leaked information to ensure pay equality with her male co-star in her film “The Huntsman.”

“When I thought about the temperature out there — with finding out what Jennifer and Amy were being paid on a set with guy actors who are their counterparts… They’re just as good as any of the guys on there. Yeah, that p*ssed me off!” Theron told ELLE.

The 39-year-old actress also discussed what it’s like being objectified as a woman in Hollywood. “Someone thought it was a good idea to market almost the entire movie on me; objectifying me a little bit,” she said. “I got a lot of attention from it, but the problem was that, afterwards, it was like, ‘We want you to do that again. Can you just do that?’ And so I didn’t work for almost two years.”

You do you, Charlize.

Head over to ELLE UK to read more from Theron.

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Why Tim Burton Made A Film About The ‘Most Quiet, Under-The-Radar Feminist You’ve Ever Met’

Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes” tells the story of an epic art fraud centered on “the most quiet, under-the radar feminist you’ve ever met.” In many ways, Margaret Keane’s story embodies the early women’s movement. That, along with the rise of the kitsch — and another “worst” artist to add to the list with “Ed Wood” — is what Burton has set out to explore here. HuffPost Entertainment interviewed the director to talk about creating his lowest budget film in years (and whether he would ever re-consider making “Superman Lives”).

big eyes

You commissioned Margaret Keane’s work before this film was even pitched to you. What drew you to “Big Eyes” and telling her story?
I felt like it was suburban art. There weren’t Matisses or Picassos hanging on people’s walls. There were Keanes. You would see them in people’s living rooms, dentists’ offices and doctors’ offices. It was very present, and very much a time of that when I was growing up. I think they stayed with me, because they were all over the place, but also because I found them quite disturbing. I liked that kind of juxtaposition of things. I found it fascinating that so many people had them up in their houses.

That rise of the kitsch and suburbia have always been prevalent themes in your work. Is that something you wanted to explore here?
Even for people who hated it, you had to acknowledge it had a power to connect with people. There were a lot of artists who tried to rip it off. A lot of people who bought it. It became like a movement. Look at artists who were trying to copy it … This sort of came to me growing up in suburbia: this idea of the American dream, and then you have this couple — this sort of horrific couple — creating these strange mutant children. That seemed slightly representative of the end of that American dream era. This is sort of a twisted version of that idea of the nuclear family.

The true story of the Keanes is actually much more insidious than what we see on screen. What made you leave things out like Walter abusing Margaret’s dog or keeping her locked in the attic?
You know, truth is stranger than fiction. For instance, in the courtroom scene [in which the Keanes have a paint-off for ownership of Margaret’s body of work], we had to tone it down, because it was even worse than that. In fact, people have trouble believing that even now. So, it was fine line between trying to create the extremity of it and do it in a way where you’re still semi-believable. With Margaret mentioning how she is in the attic, you get the idea of it.

big eyes

In a way, Margaret Keane embodies the early women’s movement — surviving her husband’s psychological abuse and striving for her independence in spite of it.
She’s one of the most quiet, under-the-radar feminists you’ve ever met. She doesn’t have a big voice. She’s not out there on the streets, saying, you know, “Vote for women’s rights!” She did it in her own private, personal way, which I found amazing given the type of person she is.

Toning down this story is certainly another way “Big Eyes” is a departure for your work. There are not a lot of visual effects, it’s much smaller. How was the process different?
Well, it was low-budget. For me, after doing a lot of big-budget movies, it was kind of reconnecting me to having to move quickly and be resourceful. I mean, you have to do that on any film. But this you’re moving locations four or five times a day, you know, trying to make Vancouver look like San Francisco is not easy.

What was the biggest challenge with the low budget?
I think Vancouver to San Francisco, because the actors were all great. I was lucky to deal with solid people who were willing to go into the same thing of moving quickly, being there, not having to wait for people to move out of the trailer. Everyone got into the same spirit, which helped make it.

You’ve made films for two distinct generations. Do you think of this one differently?
You pick projects based on feelings. That’s why you can’t pick projects too far in advance. You don’t know how you’re going to feel. I think I felt that this one, basically because of “Ed Wood,” I like these characters that are sort of marginalized and the connection between what’s good and bad. Those are the themes that I relate to. Also, just wanting to do a low budget film after doing so many big budget films.

big eyes3

What do you think about the rise of the superhero franchise. How would your “Batman” do today?
It is amazing. I feel lucky to have been around in the time before franchise was created. I was lucky on “Batman” to never hear the word “franchise,” that was a real pleasure. Now, that’s all it’s become. The amazing thing is that trends come and go. That’s a trend that obviously not only stuck, but continues to keep going. How many tortured, you know, people that become superheroes are there going to be? It’s the same story.

Okay, half joking here, but how about “Superman Lives”? Would you ever reconsider making that one? Superman films are in, meta commentary is in … the Internet would explode.
Oh, good. I’d love to make the Internet explode! That’s a good idea. I’d love to see that happen.

“Big Eyes” is out in wide release Dec. 25.
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By The Light of the Feminist Moon

In 1968, Virginia Slims cigarettes introduced a new marketing slogan (“You’ve come a long way, baby!”) in its effort to increase its appeal to female smokers. In truth, much of the world has come a long way from the crude Freudian symbolism which insists that anything long and straight represents a male and anything resembling a circle represents a female. When the Women’s Liberation Movement began to gain momentum in the 1960s, it generated a wealth of literature that would previously have been unimaginable.

  • Betty Friedan’s 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique, is often hailed as the catalyst for a new wave of sociopolitical activism.
  • Ms. magazine (which began as an insert in New York Magazine in 1971) helped Gloria Steinem become a major voice in the feminist movement.
  • And who can forget Tee Corinne’s 1973 sex education manual entitled The Cunt Coloring Book.

  • Ntozake Shange rocked the theatre community with the brashness of her 1975 play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.
  • In 1996, Eve Ensler shocked audiences with The Vagina Monologues (her recent play, entitled Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, is equally provocative).
  • In 2012, Stanford-educated engineer Debbie Sterling launched a Kickstarter campaign for scientific toys designed for young girls. Goldie Blox reached its crowdfunding goal in four days

When AECOM Technology Corporation (the architectural firm designing Qatar’s 45,000-seat Al Wakrah Stadium — a $ 120 billion project planned to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup) unveiled a concept video, it was met with stunning derision from self-appointed critics on the Internet. Originally designed by Zaha Hadid to represent the traditional dhow which Qataris use when pearl diving, the architectural renderings were instead mocked as looking a whole lot more like a vulva. In a recent (unrelated) interview, comedian Sarah Silverman stated “I think vaginas really, really scare a lot of people.”

If the thought of a powerful woman unnerves insecure men, the thought of a female goddess, wizard, or magician is enough to make their dicks shrivel up and disappear. From Druid Priestesses like Bellini’s Norma to Greek goddesses like Athena, Aphrodite, Artemis and Hera; from Gilbert and Sullivan’s lustful Queen of the Fairies in Iolanthe to modern Democratic icons like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren, more and more extremely intelligent and articulate women are dealing from positions of power.

In her 2010 screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, director Julie Taymor changed the character of Prospero from a male to a female (Prospera).


Taymor is not the only female director to think of changing Prospero’s gender. In Cirque du Soleil’s new show, Amaluna, Diane Paulus has taken a similar approach. The difference is that whereas Taymor is a creative force with strong artistic visions, Paulus is not. Whereas Taymor can create a thrilling opening number for the stage version of The Lion King (“Circle of Life”), Paulus’s attempt to build a show around the theme of “women” barely managed to reach for “Circle of Wife.”

This became most apparent in the stage play between Amaluna’s clowns (Jeeves and Deeda), which easily ranks as the least entertaining and “unfunniest” act I think I’ve ever seen in a Cirque show. Indeed, after building a whole number around the breeding and hatching of little chicks, the most inspired part of this act came during the curtain call when a member of the cast dragged this “family” behind him.

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A great deal of Amaluna’s strength comes from the nearly 130 costumes designed by Mérédith Caron. I was much less impressed with the musical score by Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard (aka Bob & Bill), which was performed by an all-women band.

Because much of Paulus’s work on this show involves creating transitions between the more acrobatically inclined Cirque acts — and seeing how well she can use Cirque’s formidable stagecraft to showcase these acts — one often gets the feeling that her contribution to Amaluna falls into the category of stage direction often described as the work of a traffic cop.

Anyone who has staged a production of Aida, Turandot, or Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg knows that being called an effective traffic cop is not necessarily an insult. When large numbers of people have to move on and off stage without hurting themselves, the precision of one’s stage direction can be of paramount importance. What’s particularly interesting about Amaluna’s concept is the heavy emphasis on circles and curves in Scott Pask’s designs for Amaluna’s scenery and props.

  • The six chandeliers spread over the audience (which each has a span of over 14 feet) are made of aluminum tubes that have been bent and positioned to create the effect of a mobile.
  • The remote scenic elements (which often resemble a phosphorescent sea of reeds made with curved glow sticks) help to soften the environment, making it possible to imagine that one is in either a tropical forest or an underwater jungle of kelp and brightly colored coral.

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  • The stage floor contains a rotating turntable which allows a layered circular effect during some of the acrobatic acts that involve poles. During these moments, sections of the stage revolve in order to ensure that everyone in the audience can see each act from every angle (even though they are in plain view of the audience, the set’s automated mechanical elements have been designed to be nearly invisible).
  • The Water-Bowl which becomes a centerpiece for key contortionist/balancing acts (as well as a “womb with a view” love scene) stands 5’5″ tall, is 7’3″ in diameter, and weighs 5,500 lbs when filled with water.
  • The most fascinating scenic element is the 6,000-pound, 25-foot diameter Carousel (a custom-made ring containing downward- facing lighting clusters as well as anchor points for flying acrobatic performers). Not only does this unit allow multiple aerial performers to fly out over the heads of the audience, it can revolve in sync with the stage (or counter-rotate in the opposite direction) to give the artists and the lighting designer maximum flexibility and range of vertical and horizontal motion. The Carousel’s central acrobatic winch can lift up to 1,000 pounds at 10 feet per second; the production’s accompanying 8,600-pound grid includes three acrobatic winches which are each able to lift loads up to 400 pounds at 10 feet per second.

What surprised me was that, in a production meant to showcase female empowerment, so much of Paulus’s attempt to draw inspiration from The Tempest seemed to be lost on the audience. There was very little sense that Prospera and her daughter, Miranda, were onstage for any reason other than to mark time between circus acts. Nor did one get any sense that the Valkyries performing on aerial straps had anything to do with Miranda and Romeo.

Although Lara Jacobs Rigolo (whose frond balancing act has gone viral on YouTube) was an obvious hit, the two solo performers who scored most strongly with the audience were Evgeny Kurkin who, as Romeo, took some amazing head-first dives as part of a Chinese pole act, and Viktor Kee (who nearly walked off with the entire show). Throughout the performance, Kee stalked the stage and audience as a lizard-like Caliban figure with a reptilian tail. When he finally got to perform his juggling act atop the Water Bowl it brought the kind of electricity to the evening that had been missing from a great deal of Amaluna.

Part of Kee’s success was that he was allowed to make the kind of emotional connection to the audience that had been denied to most of the other acrobats (who had either been forced into posed attitudes or been kept in motion by the show’s revolving stage). The following video shows Kee performing at the 27th Monte Carlo Festival.

To read more of George Heymont go to My Cultural Landscape
Arts – The Huffington Post
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