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August 27, 2010

Fbomb, Smart Girls, and Ruby the Feminist

Gosh, I can't even remember what it was like before Fbomb waltzed into my life. If you've been living under a rock (kidding, of course), Fbomb is one of the most well-known (and kick-ass) sites for young feminist writers to vent their frustrations, debate, and ultimately validate each other's women-can-do-anything attitudes. Heck, it feels pretty good to know teen feminists aren't a dying breed!

Anyway, I was making my daily rounds when I came across a link posted for a site called Smart Girls at the Party; I had to check it out.

Lo and behold, Smart Girls at the Party is great! Sure, it feels like it's aimed more at the 6-to-12 demographic than at disgruntled teens surfing the Web at 2:00 in the morning, but thumbing through the videos - all about young girls and their endeavors as engineers, gardeners, something called a "yogini" - I just felt good. The site is all about recognizing girls who "change the world by being themselves," and come on, how could that not make you feel warm and fuzzy inside?

But what really touched me - more than the cutesy site design or learning that Amy Poehler is a feminist(!) - was this video about a seven-and-three-quarters-year-old girl named Ruby.

Not only is Ruby a singer, dancer, actress, skateboarder (and future president, I'm assuming), she is a serious advocate for women's rights and self-proclaimed feminist, wrote a book in kindergarten that asserts if boys can do it, so can I, and has even met the legendary Gloria Steinem.

It sounds kind of stupid, but I envy Ruby - not only for her unfailing optimism and the fact she found convictions at such a young age - but for her innocence. Ruby thinks feminism is the greatest thing in the world, she has the fundamental belief that girls and boys are equal, she's armored against all the idiotic feminist stereotypes out there - and if she's not, she doesn't seem to care about them. I'll admit, sometimes I wonder "what will so-and-so think of me now that they know I'm a feminist?" But seeing this video, I want to be more like Ruby and stop freaking doubting myself.
Watch the video, 'kay? It'll make you feel good.
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If you decide to join Smart Girls at the Party, look me up! Here's the link to my profile!

August 26, 2010

Want a better chance of getting married, ladies?

Part of our summer homework for AP Language and Composition was to find ten op-ed (opinion-editorial) articles and respond to them. I wasn't looking forward to it until I realized The New York Times website has a nifty feature where you can "search" for any topic that happens to suit your fancy. I looked up "feminism" and that was it. My next three hours were pretty much set, reading up on tons of issues that I actually care about (sorry politics, I'm just not that into you). One of the best writers I've come across is Maureen Dowd, who infuses humor and a down-to-earth personality into whatever she's writing. Here's my response to her article Men Just Want Mommy:

Maureen Dowd certainly didn’t unearth the alarming trend of men preferring secretaries, assistants, and nannies (among other subservient roles) over successful, career-minded women, but she describes the plight with enough statistics and wit to leave me sufficiently scared for the future. According to countless studies all over the world, men prefer “young women whose job it was to tend to them and care for them in some way.” Dowd muses: “it’s all about orbiting, serving, and salaaming their Sun Gods.”

The sad thing is, women who strive for top corporate positions and six-figure salaries are often stereotyped as manly, aggressive, vain, insensitive, and neglectful of their familial duties. As Dowd observes, “art is imitating life, turning women who seek equality into selfish narcissists and objects of rejection, rather than affection.”

These feelings are never more apparent than in Hollywood, where the “soothing aura of romances between unequals” brings in the big bucks. How many movies can you think of have a leading man falling for his nanny, secretary, maid? Now how many can you think of where said man falls for his (female) boss?* Men are intimidated, it seems, by women who are competitive and self-sufficient, as if they’re incapable of also being friendly, nurturing, and compassionate. This certainly isn’t what feminists have in mind for “equality;” is it fair that women are penalized for being smart, independent, and pro-active, when men are respected for it?

Like always, Dowd uses hardcore facts to put things in perspective. For example, it would probably scare (scar?) a lot of single ladies to know that, according to a study conducted at four British universities, “the prospect for marriage [increases] by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise.”

Well that’s... ridiculous, sexist, and little disheartening.

Our conclusion, however, shouldn’t be to dumb ourselves down (possibly by listening to Pat Robertson for five seconds?) until we’re “desirable enough” for a man. We should strive to be all that we can, and if a guy comes along who just happens to love and appreciate our hard work and incandescent personalities . . . great.
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*I'd like to point out that the only movie I know featuring a man falling for his boss is Bob the Butler, which I'm pretty sure was pulled from the Disney Channel for a scene involving Tom Green's nipples.

August 19, 2010

The Soundtrack of My (Feminist) Life

Though I'm horrified to admit that Britney's first album was also my first album, I'm a classic and progressive rock lover at heart, and it's been that way ever since my older brother had the good sense to take me under his wing. My brother (his name is Derrick, but I like to call him Darnaldo) is like this insane musical genius (here's the link to his band, The Glass Eyes). He can play the drums, guitar, keyboard . . . and I'm pretty sure if we had a didgeridoo lying around he could play that, too. Though there are times I'm upset he hogged all the music genes (like when I'm trying to play Greensleeves and my fingers literally hiss and tell me "no!"), I guess I can forgive him. After he all, he did turn me on to some of the greatest bands of all-time.

Seriously, if you haven't heard Dream Theater's 42-minute epic Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, you haven't lived.

Anyway, it just sucks that the "rock universe" is completely dominated by men. I don't mean that as an insult, but sometimes you need a rush of fierce, raw feminine power. So I've compiled a list of some of the artists I turn to when I need a - for lack of a better term - girl power fix.

She's Not Just A Pretty Face - Shania Twain
Don't laugh, you know you loved Shania at one time or another. Some of my best memories are listening to Come On Over in my grandma's car on the way to kindergarten; in fact, we listened to that tape so many times I think the car stereo started to say "ugh, not this again." Though she's like most of the campy, country-slash-pop stars out there who sing about love, loss, and love again, I can appreciate the lyrics to many of Shania's songs. With the iconic lyrics "I'd rather die standing than live on my knees" Black Eyes, Blue Tears is about courage and refusing to put up with abuse; She's Not Just A Pretty Face (see below) dictates that women can be anything from rodeo stars, to surgeons, to parking valets; What a Way to Wanna Be! comments on the ridiculousness of trying to be "perfect"; and Man! I Feel Like a Woman . . . well, that's just plain fun to sing in the car!



Strong Enough - Cher

Ah, Cher. Another fun memory from my past. When I wasn't annoying my grandma with listening to Come On Over for the thousandth time, we'd pop in Cher's greatest hits and belt out Strong Enough: "Cause I'm strong enough to live without you / strong enough and I quit crying / long enough, now I'm strong enough / to know you gotta go." It sounds lame, but there's something really powerful about Cher's songs. The way she sings, the way you sing along - it makes you feel strong, like you can do anything!



Bad Body Double - Imogen Heap
Even though I can't understand a thing she says 90% of the time, I love Imogen Heap. I love her techno-heavy songs, I love her breathy, surreal voice, and I absolutely adore her image. Like I said, her songs are kind of random - I'd say borderline acid trip - but they never make you feel like you’re listening to the stereotypical “woman pining after lost love.” I like her song Bad Body Double because it’s complete satire. She talks about an “imposter” that, coincidentally, “has a little extra weight on the side,” gray hairs, and always seems to interrupt at the most inopportune moments. Translation? We’ve all got “bad body doubles” that make us feel self-conscious, but we can’t let them ruin our fun!



Everybody’s Fool - Evanescence

I like to call Evanescence my “guilty pleasure” band. I’m not a fan of the whole gothic rock image, but Amy Lee’s voice is really rich and pretty. Everybody’s Fool is my favorite of their songs because it parodies the fact that people actually worship celebrities. They’re “perfect by nature” and we should “bow down to them”. . . ugh! Especially with the whole celebrities-pressure-girls-to-look-a-certain-way issue, this song gets a feminist thumbs up!



If Looks Could Kill - Heart

Okay, Ann Wilson has the greatest female rock vocal ever, bar-none. I actually got to see Heart live about a year ago and they completely outshined the other bands. Ann and Nancy Wilson - the band’s two frontwomen - are beautiful, extremely talented, and just exude ferocious female power. Basically, they completely shatter the stereotype that women need to be shoved into skimpy outfits and doused with fire hoses to be successful. God, I love them. And if you're ever coming out of a bad break-up or just need to get pumped up, listen to If Looks Could Kill:



SHERO - S.H.E
And finally, the biggest shocker of the night: I am a total geek for Asian pop! (All things Asian, actually. I’m learning Chinese, I’ve read manga since I was in elementary school, and my mom and I watch Taiwanese dramas religiously.) Even though most of the songs are sappy and about love - we’d never know it without a translation! To us they’re just extremely catchy and addicting. Anyway, one of my favorite Taiwanese bands is S.H.E, a three-girl group consisting of Selina Jen, Hebe Tien, and Ella Chen, and their latest album SHERO is amazing. The title-track is the essence of awesomeness. Check out the English lyrics, trust me:

August 17, 2010

Fighting Feelings of Guilt While Showing Compassion for Our Global Sisters

A few weeks ago a woman approached me with an MSN article that literally sent chills down my spine. It's called 10 Worst Places in the World to Live if You're a Woman, and it's absolutely heartbreaking. It begins: "Violence, rape and little or no education is a fact of life for many women all over the globe. While the feminist movement took off in parts of the Western world, many women are still treated as second class citizens . . ." And that's not even the half of it. In a list containing hot-spots like Haiti, Darfur, and Iraq, it chronicles the types of horrors that many women have to go through on a daily basis.

Like so many young people out there, I'm stuck in a relatively quiet suburban town (it's not quite the cliche, white-picket-fence deal you see on TV, but you get what I mean) so I haven't seen or experienced very much in my lifetime. Heck, I'm a child of the 90's, I grew up on a steady diet of Nicktoons and Otter Pops, I have a comfortable bed, nice clothes, and more comic books than anyone really needs. My version of a bad day is getting a "B" on a Chemistry test, but besides that? I've got it pretty good.

As this article makes us painfully aware, millions of women are suffering grave injustices and fighting each and every day just to survive.

I don't quite know how to put my feelings into words, but when you hear about this kind of stuff, it's like . . . a horrified soberness.

I mean, do you ever feel guilty? Guilty for having nice things, for eating a good meal - for even laughing? I felt that way after my grandpa died. I can remember wanting to go out with my friends, watch a funny movie, read a good book, eat a piece of that oh-so-delicious-looking pie . . . but a little voice in my head would always jump in and torture me: "how can you even think about enjoying yourself at a time like this?"

By the same token, sometimes it's torturous just to enjoy life when you know people around the world are suffering. Is there any way to deal with this? I have a theory:

As feminists, humanists, and activists, I think it's important to express constant empathy for those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We should take every opportunity to volunteer, donate, and serve our Global Sisters (and Brothers!) - and never, ever forget to be thankful for the things (and people) we do have. I guess what I'm learning is, it's unhealthy to let guilty feelings consume you; after all, it's a fine line between "concern" and "obsession." If we can get into that healthy mind-state - that balance between being overly sensitive and not sensitive enough - I think we can do a heckuvalot more to help those in need.


So. Thinking beyond our own selfish existence here (and yes, I stole that line from Jeepers Creepers, one of the best horror movies of all time), what can we do to make a difference here and now? I've been told "not to expect to change the world," but all things considered, I think that's a pretty admirable goal.
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If you want to get your philanthropic juices flowing, I'd suggest "You're the Voice" by one of my favorite bands EVER, the oh-so-lovely and fierce Heart:

August 11, 2010

Purity Balls: Why is our virginity anybody's business but our own?

When I was a kid (read: younger than I am now), I was deathly afraid of Chucky from the Child’s Play series. You know him, right? He’s got cute little overalls, tousled red hair . . . and a knack for killing people in a variety of strange and gruesome ways. Well, when I was fairly young I made the mistake of watching the first Child’s Play movie with my parents, and up until the age of thirteen or so I was convinced he used to hobble down our hallway in the dead of night. I can even remember being shaken from a deep sleep on more than one occasion, body drenched with sweat, fearing that you-know-who was in the next room over - or worse, my closet - planning the best way to finish me off.

Thankfully, I’ve since gotten over my fear of croaky-voiced, homicidal dolls, but that doesn’t mean I’m fearless. There are still tons of things that make my blood pressure spike - spiders, clowns, and playing Silent Hill alone in the dark, for instance - but there’s one real-world issue that really makes me want to squirm: Purity Balls.

I’d be surprised if this is your first time hearing about Purity Balls. The issue has been beaten to death - both by Christian conservatives who think they’re the keenest thing since toilet paper, and liberals (like myself) who think they’re a huge infringement on the rights of young girls - but if this truly is your first time hearing the (slightly suggestive) term, let me explain:

Purity Balls are pretty much like weddings. They’re held in big, fancy hotels with elegant finger foods, butlers with bad comb-overs, and the occasional stereotypical violinist in the corner; there’s also dancing, performances, pretty gowns, and a whole lot of pleasantries. But instead of a bride and groom coming together to pronounce their love to the world, the fathers and daughters attending these things make vows of their own. In well-rehearsed, cult-like chanting, the daughters promise to stay “pure” (i.e. abstinent) until marriage, and their fathers promise to help protect said purity, while staying pure themselves (i.e. by refraining from looking at pornography). As an added bonus, sometimes the fathers give their daughters purity rings, or more disturbingly, keys (to their virginity) that can be stashed away until their future husbands come along.
You can’t see me, but I’m really biting my lip on this one. I have a lot of amazing Christian friends who’ve made vows to “stay pure,” and I want them to know that I really, really respect their decisions. In fact, I think wanting to save yourself for marriage is extremely commendable - and smart on some levels - but I just can’t get past how Purity Balls take notions of celibacy to the extreme. Here’s my beef:

1) I don’t like that in the Christian view “sex” is seen as the antithesis of “purity” and "righteousness." That makes it sound like all girls (yes, only girls ) who have pre-marital relations are dirty, unwholesome, and unjust - sinful people who should be punished. Whether parents like to admit it or not, this is a new era and kids are "gettin' jiggy with it" much earlier in life. Do I think that's okay? No. But having a hateful you're-going-to-Hell-if-you-do-this attitude isn't going to help anything. We should teach kids the truth about sex and its consequences, not automatically slap "I'm Abstinent" stickers on their foreheads.

2) It kind of freaks me out that girls as young as ten (and in some cases, way younger) are attending these things. Girls that young haven’t even experienced puberty - or any of the sexual urges that go along with it - so how could they fully understand the concept of abstinence (or sex, for that matter)? Their parents are making decisions for them before they’ve lived long enough to understand their situation.

3) These dads aren't giving their "little darlings" enough credit. If you watch a lot of the videos and documentaries on this subject, you'll see that most of the fathers have very skewed ideas of what it means to be a "little girl." They basically think that all young women are self-conscious until their fathers step in and tell them how beautiful they are - one man was even quoted saying “females were created to feel accepted by men,” and “even though we want to think we’re the same, we are different . . . A woman needs to feel loved and accepted by her father. She was created by God to feel that.” Heck, fathers should compliment their daughters (and sons). But not because we're delicate little things that need constant reassurance, but because that's what family does. (And another thing, what's with all the emphasis on "beauty"? I don't know about you, but I'd rather be praised for my smarts or kick-butt nunchuck skills . . . )

4) Last time I checked, I’m not carrying a club or wearing a leopard-skin loin cloth. So that must mean we’re past the age where “fathers own their daughters until they can be passed onto a husband.” But that’s exactly what’s going on here! These fathers are assuming that their daughters are too "emotional" and "irrational" to make their own decisions, so they have to "take control" until another man comes along to take care of them. Is that a huge insult or what?

6)
Purity Balls exclusively promote "heteronormativity." I can't imagine a bi- or homosexual girl walking in with confidence to one of those things, and that is discrimination.

7) Purity Balls are sexist and promote a ridiculous double-standard. They’re meant for fathers and their daughters - because it’s crucial that we protect girls’ virginities at all costs. But what about young boys? Why aren’t people spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure their sons stay pure until marriage? Well, this is going to blow your mind, but there are balls for sons and their mothers. But instead of promoting purity for themselves, the boys are told to “refrain from soiling girls' virginities."

Here's a barf-bag. You might need it.

I guess I just don’t understand why our virginity has to be anybody’s business but our own, or why (as women) it’s completely tied to our worth as people. It’s a horrible double-standard that’s almost completely irrelevant in this day and age. On a side note, I don’t think I give my own dad enough credit because, now that I think about it, he would never even consider taking me to one of those horrid Purity Balls. He doesn't own a tux.

Hah, but seriously, he knows that I’m smart enough to make my own decisions about what’s right for me and my life, and he trusts me - no questions asked. If you've got a dad (or a mom, or a step-parent, or a crazy Uncle Jimmy) in your life that trusts you like that, run out and give them a hug right now!
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The United States is obsessed with virginity -- from the media to schools to government agencies. In The Purity Myth Jessica Valenti argues that the country's intense focus on chastity is damaging to young women. Through in-depth cultural and social analysis, Valenti reveals that powerful messaging on both extremes -- ranging from abstinence curriculum to "Girls Gone Wild" infomercials -- place a young woman's worth entirely on her sexuality. Morals are therefore linked purely to sexual behavior, rather than values like honesty, kindness, and altruism. Valenti sheds light on the value -- and hypocrisy -- around the notion that girls remain virgin until they're married by putting into context the historical question of purity, modern abstinence-only education, pornography, and public punishments for those who dare to have sex. The Purity Myth presents a revolutionary argument that girls and women are overly valued for their sexuality, as well as solutions for a future without a damaging emphasis on virginity.

I also like Purity Balls: Protecting Girls From Making Choices, an article by Tracie Egan Morrissey featured on Jezebel:
"...But ultimately, what's most troubling about purity balls and such pledges is that the parents are always talking about how there are "terrible consequences" to making "certain" (read: sexy choices. And while that can be true, why is the solution then to discourage their daughters from making any choices at all? I admit that I'm approaching the topic with my own biases — about sex and religion and people who parent their children with a "do what I say, not what I've done" philosophy — but it's clear from this clip that this 11-year-old girl has no idea about what dating in the 21st century is like, and it's scary to think that there's a chance she never will."

August 9, 2010

The (Big-Breasted) Curse of Women in Video Games

Video games. Sweet, succulent video games. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day . . .?

Um, sorry about that.

Though my gaming experience hardly compares to my brother’s (who I swear was playing Zelda: A Link to the Past in the womb), I still consider myself a full-fledged gamer, and a darn good one at that.

But what does it mean to be a gamer and a girl? "Teenage boy" and "video game fanatic" are often synonymous, but the same can't be said for someone like myself. In fact, in her article What Women Want, Aleah Tierney suggests that to be a girl and a gamer is to be "a stranger in a strange land . . . a male-created virtual space."

Unfortunately, I don’t think Tierney is that far off. According to We need more women in games, an article by blogger Jacob Aron, women represent nearly 38% of all gamers, but only 11% of game developers. But when you think about it, is it really shocking that more women aren’t lining up to work at places like Nintendo, Capcom, and Konami (just to name a few)? Childhood I-want-to-be-a-ballerina fantasies aside (hey, don’t look at me!), women are taught to be practical. *Puts on sarcastic tone* Why risk doing something so math- and science-oriented like developing video games when we should be flexing our natural abilities as helpers and nurturers?

Video game developing just doesn’t appeal to most women (sadly enough), and that’s probably why a majority of the game universe has been molded around puke-inducing male fantasies of macho, gun-totting heroes and exotic, large-breasted women.

Though they make up only 49% of the US population, research shows that 85% of all video game characters are male - and that figure rises to 90% for characters that players can actually control. Excluding race as a factor (which is another issue entirely), male characters in video games are as diverse as ever. They can be bulky-as-heck, gaunt, or average-looking. They can be triumphant heroes, shady villains, or your Average Joe off the street. They can be hunky, intelligent, sleazy, or badass - it doesn’t really matter. There’s no end to the possibilities of what male characters can be.

Expectations for female video game characters, however, are much more constricted. They're often forced to play the “helpless princess” role, giving a male lead the chance to flex his muscles and "save the day." Female characters are also constantly portrayed as meek, shy, submissive, innocent, na├»ve - the list goes on and on. I’ve even noticed that 4 times out of 5, fantasy-game-women are given roles as healers or sorceresses rather than sword-wielding warriors. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with having supernatural abilities (heck, I wouldn't mind having a few myself), but it makes me think back to the whole "women are supposed to be helpers" theory.

Helpers. Sidekicks. Servants?

Now, for those of you who don’t play video games, I hope you don’t think they’re all sexist piles of crap! On the contrary, there are plenty of awesome, strong women who hold their own against male counterparts (Samus Aran from Metroid and Jill Valentine from Resident Evil both come to mind). But I do have one gripe . . .

Women in video games are always, always, always inhumanly “beautiful.”

Whereas male characters can place anywhere on the scale of attractiveness from “purposefully repulsive” to “god-like," video game women always have to fall under the latter category. With physiques that make Barbie look average, these characters have impossibly long and slender legs; skinny waists (but wide hips); and breasts that mimic medium-sized watermelons. Just type in “women in video games” to Google Images and you’ll see what I mean!

What the heck? Do you think the people who created these - um - overly-endowed characters just sat down one day and said “so, how big do you think we can get these puppies"?
Because it seems pretty frivolous to me.

I’d say the body proportions of 90% of female video game characters are a huge insult to women in real-life. What is it, video-game-developer-who-lives-with-his-parents, we're not good enough for you?

Aleah Tierney wrote about her own frustrations when playing Tomb Raider for the first time. The game’s lead (Lara Croft) is often seen as a beacon of female empowerment, but Tierney didn’t exactly see things that way:
I couldn't wait to load and play Tomb Raider when it first came out, but when I saw Lara, I just couldn't take the game seriously. The giant twin pyramids mounted onto her chest look like something she could use to impale her enemies. In many ways her kick-butt presence is a triumph, but the designers' decision to sexualize her to the point of deformity angered me. I couldn't get past her proportions, so I put the game away. I'm waiting to see if Lara (or her designers) will evolve in future versions of the game.
I don’t think Lara’s changing anytime soon, pal. In fact, video games are becoming more and more sexualized as time goes on - and as kids (people in general, actually) are becoming de-sensitized to staggering levels of violence and sexualization in all areas of the media, I don’t see conditions improving for video game gals anytime soon.

It’s kind of funny, actually. I can play the bloodiest, goriest games ever - the kind with chainsaws, zombies, and flesh-eating dogs - and they don’t bother me a bit. Why? Because killing zombies is hardly something I’m going to pick up as an actual hobby (and I don’t foresee a People for Zombie Rights group anywhere in the near future, so I'm not offending anybody by takin' them out). But the gender stereotypes and hypersexualization in games? That affects us. And it sucks. It really, really sucks. Because no matter how kickass a female character is - like I said before - as soon as you type her name into Google Images you’re going to be bombarded with twenty pages of fan art of the woman flashing her (mutant) breasts. It's degrading.

So I’ll be sticking to my survival horror games, thank you very much, because zombies don’t care if you’re male or female - or whether or not you have gargantuan jugs - they’ll try to eat your brains either way :)

Are you a female gamer too, just looking for a little support? Check out this site!

August 8, 2010

Feminist Perspectives on Popular Movies: Heroine Content

Despite jokes like The Action Heroine’s Handbook, a guide that ridiculously suggests being able to “choke a man with your bare thighs” is the staple of any successful heroine, strong, kick-ass women are something to be celebrated in popular culture. But I’ll admit, it’d be a lot easier if they weren’t always overshadowed by their male counterparts. Seriously, we’re so used to brawny, fearless, save-the-day heroes - that female characters are often shoved on a back burner, occupying a variety of stereotypical roles that range from nagging mothers, to helpless victims, to my personal favorite (i.e. the bane of my existence) prostitutes. Now I’m not saying that women are always typecast this way, but you have to admit there seem to be a lot more Supermen on TV and in the movies than Superwomen. And even when fictional female characters do exhibit qualities that make us glow with pride - bravery, for example - they’re not always given the credit, or even the attention, they deserve.

Well, a friend of mine turned me on to a site earlier today that I simply have to share, and with the awesome tagline “feminist and anti-racist thoughts on women kicking ass,” how can you go wrong?

Heroine Content is a site by women, for women. Basically, it’s a creative center where insightful authoresses analyze movies (and, to a lesser extent, books and TV shows) through feminist and humanist perspectives. And in case you’re one of those people who think activists stick to watching old, stuffy nature documentaries - think again! This site is for the modern woman, and even if we like our rom-coms and tear-jerkers from time to time, we also like sci-fi, horror, and heart-pounding action.

Not only are the women who contribute to this site witty, they’re just plain thoughtful. They seem like the type of gals you’d want to have coffee with (or in my case, hot chocolate), and don’t try to over-complicate things or use flamboyant language just to seem legit. They’re down-to-earth and honest, but at the same time have no problem calling out sexist crap when they see it.

It’s just fascinating to read what these women have to say because they actually give women in movies - the ones who are usually overlooked or written off as “lesser characters” - the attention they deserve. The review that really spoke to me (oddly enough) was for The Book of Eli, a movie I saw about a month ago with my parents. Skye (the reviewer) mentioned how Peter Howell of Toronto’s thestar.com called the two female leads “hot hookers”; if you’ve seen the movie you’ll understand why that is complete and utter bull . . . dog. These women live in a post-apocalyptic world and are constantly threatened with sexual violence. “So,” Skye writes, “Peter Howell calls them ‘hot hookers.’ Gee, I wonder what he thinks of non-fictional women who are in abusive relationships, or who are forced into prostitution by threat of violence?”

Ssssss . . . burn.

Heroine Content is a cool site (cool enough to earn a spot on my Favorites taskbar!) and definitely worth a look-see or two. Heck, it might even save you a disappointing trip to the movie theater!