Today’s Vagina News is actually a post on my acting blog about getting fat-shamed by Cloris Leachman, which is a real thing that happened to me this week. Enjoy!
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.)
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.