And the Winner is… Taste!

I know I said I was out of town. And I am. I am posting this FROM THE BEYOND…

(Well, just beyond Santa Barbara.)

In today’s Vagina News, the 2013 Oscars will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.

This makes me happy in part because I quite disliked last year’s frat boy angle, and largely because it’s the third indication in a short time that the Motion Picture Academy is learning what the Republican party is not… How to stop being perceived as a bunch of old, rich, straight, white men.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with being an old, rich, straight, white man. There IS something wrong with being an organization made up of nothing BUT old, rich, straight, white men. As of 2012,¬†Oscar voters were 94% white and 77% male, with a median age of 62. So if your movie doesn’t appeal to that demographic, the odds of you getting Oscar attention are pretty tiny.

(The first indication is the newest ‘class’ of invited members, which has a younger median age and more gender and ethnic diversity than ever before; The second, the recent election of Cheryl Boone Isaacs as President. Boone is the first African-American and third woman in the role, and has been working in high level positions at the Academy for decades.)

For stat nerds, there have been 13 female co-hosts and 2 female solo hosts in Oscar history (Whoopi Goldberg, who hosted 3 times, and DeGeneres, who hosted once.) The remaining 67 Oscar ceremonies have been hosted by men.

Vagina News Movie Review!

I saw The Heat last night… The Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy cop buddy movie. 

I wasn’t expecting much, the previews make it look pretty dumb.

You guys, it’s GOOD. 

Nevermind the subtle feminist tweaks to the usual formula; a misogynist bad guy whose misogyny is repeatedly identified and shamed… lots of women with non-Hollywood-standard faces and bodies cast in non-gender specific ensemble roles, playing not just moms and girlfriends but also cops and scientists… it passes the Bechdel test every 5 minutes… and critically, includes several uses of the word “vagina.”

Most importantly, it’s $%#@& hilarious – and not at all in a ladies-only way (which surprised several of the guys sitting around us.)

There was constant laughter and several bursts of applause (and if you’ve never seen a movie in LA, we’re a tough room, because it’s an industry crowd. We stay for the credits and clap for our friends, and when the jokes suck, we hiss and groan and leave. Room-sized laughs and applause in this town are hard-won.)

The point is, if we want more mainstream movies by and about women, we have to support them when they show up. Sometimes, that’s a drag. This time, it’s a pleasure.

It’s a vagina must.


At the Movies, the Women are Gone

Also… GREAT piece about the total absence of women’s voices in the current slate of mainstream movies. 

It’s easy to feel powerless to change something like this, but here are a few things every one of us can do:

– Start applying The Bechdel Test to all of the entertainment you consume; Movies, television, books, video games, etc. Make it a regular part of how you think about entertainment.

– When you talk to friends and family about the latest movie/tv show you’ve seen, book you’ve read, game you’ve played, etc., include your observations of how women were represented and portrayed.

– When you hear about a movie/tv show/book/video game/etc. that was created/led by a woman, tells women’s stories, etc., support it.

(Right now, check and see if The East is playing anywhere near you. The writer/creator is a woman named Brit Marling, it features excellent female actors like Ellen Page and patricia Clarkson in leading roles, and gets a gold Bechdel star.)