Vagina News Link Roundup #3 – Entertainment

As you may know, in addition to being your Vagina News host, I’m an actor. Since high school, my life choices have been dictated by my determination to do what I love for a living. I’ve been very fortunate and worked my proverbial ass off to get as far as I have. For many, television, film, and professional theater (if they’ve ever seen it) are frivolous distractions from real life. For me and millions of my colleagues, they’re our jobs, careers, and passions all in one. So for me, these pieces are about more than abstract cultural context, they’re about my daily life.

– I’ve been a fan of comedian Patton Oswalt for a long time. Last week, he posted this piece about how his views on rape jokes have changed. I like him even more now. (He talks about rape jokes in Part 3, but Parts 1 & 2 are very much worth reading.) 

– The matter of gender in advertising is more media than entertainment, but the two are so inextricably intertwined, it makes sense to include it here. Long story short, American Apparel billboards are all over LA, and they make it really difficult to resist slipping into road rage. Their exploitative crap doesn’t touch my body.

 – Last week, Laura Linney received an award from Women in Film. In her acceptance speech, she talked about her experience with gender inequality in the film industry, and gave voice to the experiences of millions of women in entertainment, myself included. 

– Finally, I want to plug the fantastic Geena Davis Institute in Gender in Media. She and they are a leading voice in research, education, and advocacy around identifying and changing the conditions of institutional sexism in media and entertainment, specifically content aimed at children. Check them out. 

 

This ad is making Republicans Ca-RAYZEE.

A successful young woman made an ad for Obama that contains sexual double entendre.

 

Some people are very, very upset about it.

Which makes me like it even more.

They seem to fall into two basic categories:

1 – It’s inappropriate.

There are various flavors of this; Analogies between sex and politics are inappropriate, the Obama campaign should be ashamed to be associated with such an ad, it’s in poor taste, etc.

The sex & politics analogy objection is a pretty weak argument, given how much actual campaigning has been done around the various issues surrounding reproduction – and Republicans have only themselves to blame for that. You want to separate sex and politics? Stop trying to legislate reproductive issues, and for the love of all you think is holy, BACK AWAY FROM THE RAPE BABIES.

The shame and bad taste objections just boil down to people’s discomfort with a young woman talking about sex in a way that doesn’t objectify or shame her. Lena Dunham has had sex. She’s not ashamed of it, she doesn’t regret it, she’s not embarrassed if other people know it. That just squicks some people out, and to them I say TOUGH SHIT, GET USED TO IT.

2 – It panders to women.

Yes, it does. It’s a political ad. Every political ad there’s ever been has pandered to someone. So why are some people particularly bothered by an ad that panders to young women? First, it challenges what the culture tells us about young women. They might bear no resemblance to cheerleaders or sexy co-eds or uptight virgins or teen moms or the other representations of young women we usually see. They might have tattoos, they might embrace their sexuality, they might be smart at the same time, and they might have political opinions and priorities that differ from our own. There’s a generation of female voters out there who are far more progressive on “social issues” than the generation before them, they care about these issues a lot, and they don’t care whether the rest of us like it. That scares the crap out of some people. And I love it.

“Free to Be You and Me’ Turns 40

It’s hard to overstate the influence this album had on who I am, and I am endlessly grateful for it.

The first script I ever memorized came from it. My belief
that I can be anything I want to be came from it. It is one of my favorite
gifts to give expecting parents.

And it is still progressive and necessary.

This article is long, I haven’t read all of it yet – but I’m
thrilled to have the chance to learn more about the grown-up side of something
that did so much to shape me as a child.

Preach, vagina doctors, preach.

You may have heard that Illinois representative Joe Walsh said yesterday that there’s no need to allow for abortion when a woman’s life is at risk, because it never happens. “With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance,” he said during his debate against Tammie Duckworth.

(This is one of those things that falls under commonplace
jackassery in my opinion, so I didn’t post about it. Feel free to Google Joe
Walsh abortion if you want more info.)

What IS news is that the American Congress of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists just issued a statement correcting Walsh, saying, “These
inaccurate comments are yet another reason why The American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ message to politicians is unequivocal: Get out
of our exam rooms.”

(There’s also a link at the end to an excellent article in
the New England Journal of Medicine to the same effect. There may be a post
just about that one soon.)

http://www.acog.org/About_ACOG/News_Room/News_Releases/2012/Response_to_Politicians_Inaccurate_