Death, sex crime threats going viral are never a ‘hoax’

The internet is full of news ‘breaking’ today that the threats to Emma Watson were a ‘hoax.’ What is the news here? The Mary Sue, one of the first sites to write about the threats to Watson reported at the time:

EmmaYouAreNext is undoubtedly a hoax, but regardless, the b board members behind the site say they aren’t planning to release pictures taken consensually—4chan wants to share upskirt photos they claim were taken of Watson without her permission. Again, that’s probably all a lie created by a lonely lizard-brain asshat taking advantage of the Internet’s anonymity to run his mouth, but b board’s professed desire to allegedly spread illegally taken pictures is a perfect example of harassment begetting harassment; a trend that, as HeForShe reminds us, all genders must unite against.

So “the new news” today is that those inflicting the hoax wanted to draw as many eyeballs as possible to the site, having the ultimate intention of shutting down 4Chan for publishing stolen nude photos in the first place. At the end of the countdown, instead of nude Watson photos, a message came up. The Verge reports:

“None of these women deserve this,” the page states. “Join us as we shutdown 4chan and prevent more pictures from being leaked.” Alongside its call to keep private pictures private, the site boasts about its social success. The organizer says emmayouarenext.com reached 48 million visitors, 7 million Facebook shares and likes, and 3 million Twitter mentions. It’s a striking set of numbers that puts a solid figure on how many people are desperate to disrobe young women for their own gratification.

What is the revelation here supposed to be? That people will flock to see nude photos of celebrities? Did we not know that already? All these ‘hoaxers’ did was steal attention from Watson’s speech by making death/ sex crimes threats against her to get eyeballs to their site. Death/ sex crime threats going viral are never ‘a hoax’ unless the barrage of misogynist harassment women get on the internet is ‘a hoax.’ The fact that these hoaxers had the intention of taking down 4Chan by getting their threats to as many eyeballs as possible doesn’t make them any better. 4Chan is exactly where they belong.

Once again, I ask men and boys to stand with Emma Watson. Join HeForShe here.

 

 

Phil Plait of Slate: ‘I stand with Emma Watson’

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer. He is a public speaker, science evangelizer, author of Death From the Skies, and he is a feminist.

Today, on Slate he writes:

I signed up to back HeForShe with my voice and with my words… Some will go to any lengths to oppress women; loathsome knuckle-dragging Men’s Rights Advocates and their ilk have already shown what they will do in order to shut women up. I’ve seen many, many media outlets make that the story, but I refuse to do so; they crave the attention, and I will not feed it to them. I know how to stand up for my friends. I know how to write, and how to make myself heard. And I can hope that other men will do this as well, because while I don’t know the whole solution, I know a part of it, a significant part of it, is just showing that we are listening, that we care, and we want to help. And that’s why I stand with Emma Watson.

 

Thank you to Plait for joining HeForShe. Who’s next?

Hey guys, time to man up and speak out for Emma Watson

After Emma Watson AKA Hermione introduced the HeForShe campaign, making a brilliant and impassioned speech to the U.N. about feminism and asking men to join the movement, she received death and sex crime threats publicly posted on 4Chan. As punishment for being a feminist, Watson was publicly warned, The Mary Sue reports:

In addition to threatening to commit a sex crime against the actress and activist, users also spread a #RIPEmma hashtag on Twitter along with pictures of a fake report on the actress’ “death.”

 

I’m only  including one comment from 4 chan’s b board here; if you can stomach it, Death and Taxes has several classically vitriolic threats in their coverage on the harassment. But here’s a statement that perfectly demonstrates the boo-hoo babyman knee-jerk rhetoric behind the abuse:

 

she makes stupid feminist speeches at UN, and now her nudes will be online, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

It is amazing to me that this website is up and ticking while Tumblr took less than 24 hours to remove a list of rapists put up by University of Chicago students who were frustrated by the systemic lack of protection for students at the school. On the internet, threatening to rape is allowed but protecting students from rapists is banned.

The victim of 4Chan’s harassment isn’t only Watson, of course, but all women and girls. We are all being warned that if we dare to speak out, to tell the truth, to demand equality, or call ourselves feminists, we will be ridiculed, targeted, shamed and humiliated if not raped and murdered. This is happening legally in the USA.

In response to the threats, Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals writes a blog titled “Speak All the Louder”

The reaction of these men who use fear to promote their power is a measure meant to terrorize us to ‘stay in our place’.  To shame empathetic men and to overpower outspoken women. To stunt our thinking and growth as a society. To silence our voices.

 

I think this kind of man is an excellent reminder of why we must speak all the louder.

 

Peggy Orenstein, best-selling author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter makes another point, urging men to speak up for Watson and against violence towards women. On her Facebook page, Orenstein writes:

Women can (and should) express outrage about the death threats against our beloved Emma W, but I think that given her message about the value of feminism to both men and women, and how increasingly important we know it is that boys, especially, learn to stand up and speak out around violence against women this would be a good time for guys to step up!!

 

I could not agree more. All males including fathers, teachers, doctors, athletes, musicians, writers, artists, students, boys everywhere, now is the time to speak publicly for Watson, for feminism, and to take action to stop violence against women. If you are silent, you are part of the problem.

Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline, posted his picture on Tumblr with #HeForShe written on his palm, and captioned: “Supporting it as a feminist and as a human being…” If males worldwide publicly say yes to feminism, violence against women will stop.

Sign up for #HeForShe here. Speak out for feminism whenever and wherever you can. Join the movement. Change the world. The time is now.

Michonne of ‘Walking Dead’ joins our female action figure collection!

I made a few attempts to watch ‘Walking Dead’ with my husband but I couldn’t take the violence. (I had the same reaction to ‘Game of Thrones’ along with the rape scenes. ‘Mad Men,’ I had to give up as well,  because while I understand the show is about sexism, not sexist, I couldn’t handle Don Draper’s serial cheating. All those shows, I liked– the acting and the storylines– they’re just not for me at this time in my life.) But my husband held strong with ‘Walking Dead’ and became a true fan. He loves that show. So today, while picking up a prescription at Walgreens when I spotted Michonne grimacing at me from the toy aisle, I couldn’t resist buying her as a present.

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You probably know how rare it is to find a female action figure, not to mention a non-white female action figure, without her breasts popping out of her shirt, wearing pants even, just sitting there on a shelf in a store and not hiding out on some obscure internet site. Let’s just say she’s far rarer than the unicorn in fantasy figure world.

Here are some figures I’ve found for my kids to play with. This is my youngest daughter with Catwoman, Serafina Pekkala, Buffy, and Coraline. Coraline is my absolute favorite. I love her blue hair and droll expression. My kids are all fans of the book and movie, though I know some kids get scared of the movie.

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Here are Batgirl, Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman in her invisible plane, another Catwoman on a motorcycle, and team of soccer players.

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Here’s Katniss, Merida, Rue, and Coraline again.

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Though, in theory, I’d rather my kids play with Michonne than Barbie, I wasn’t sure if I planned on letting them near her, when she comes with exotic weapons and also a couple severed heads. But when my daughter heard my husband’s joyful cry after he saw the package, I thought all was lost.

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My concern turned out to be unfounded. Not only did he tell her he’s not sharing, but he’s not even taking her out of the package. He’s worse than the evil dad in “The Lego Movie,” pre-epiphany.

(If you’re looking for any of these toys, I found quite a few on the website Toward the Stars.)

Show your kids Emma Watson’s speech on feminism

Please show your children this video of Emma Watson’s excellent speech to the U.N. about feminism. Launching the “HeForShe” campaign, Watson is changing the public face of feminism and urging men to join the movement.

While watching the video, ask yourself: Why is Emma Watson one of the few actresses who dares to be a spokesperson for feminism? If Watson had not grown up playing the brave and brilliant Hermione, do you think she would have bloomed into the courageous, public feminist that she is, calling for the social, political, and economic equality of women and men? And most importantly, what would happen if more girls and women played heroes in movies and books? What would happen if more children grew up experiencing  narratives where females are celebrated for their skills instead of for their appearance? Then, how many of the next generation, girls and boys, do you think would proudly call themselves feminists?

In her speech, Emma Watson says: “No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality.” But why have so few fantasy worlds achieved gender equality as well, worlds created for children, places where anything should be possible?

Even Hermione, of course, is not the star of the Harry Potter series. She, like so many other Minority Feisty, plays the essential sidekick. She is there to help the male star of his 8 eponymous movies complete his quest to vanquish the villain and save the world. J. K. Rowling was told by her publisher to conceal her gender with her initials in order to sell her book, and that incredible act of sexism happened our modern, ‘post-feminist’ world.

Here are some statistics from the Geena Davis institute on Gender and Media:

  • Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films. In contrast, females comprise just over 50% of the population in the United States. Even more staggering is the fact that this ratio, as seen in family films, is the same as it was in 1946.
  • Only 16% of protagonists in film are female
  • Females are almost four times as likely as males to be shown in sexy attire. Further, females are nearly twice as likely as males to be shown with a diminutive waistline. Generally unrealistic figures are more likely to be seen on females than males.
  • Females are also underrepresented behind the camera. Across 1,565 content creators, only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. This translates to 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes to every one female.
  • From 2006 to 2009, not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in law, or politics. In these films, 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real world statistics, where women comprise 50% of the workforce.

Please also look at Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies documenting the years from 2011 – 2014.

If we can’t even imagine gender equality, how can we create it in the “real” world?  Fantasy meets reality meets fantasy meets reality.

Once again, I ask you to show Hermione’s speech to your children.The video and transcript are below.

Today we are launching a campaign called “HeForShe.”

I am reaching out to you because I need your help. We want to end gender inequality—and to do that we need everyone to be involved.

This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN: we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible.

I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.

For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not.

When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press.

When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear “muscly.”

When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings.

I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.

Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.

Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?

I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights.

No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality.

These rights I consider to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones. My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influencers were the gender equality ambassadors that made who I am today. They may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists who are. And we need more of those.  And if you still hate the word—it is not the word that is important but the idea and the ambition behind it. Because not all women have been afforded the same rights that I have. In fact, statistically, very few have been.

In 1997, Hilary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights. Sadly many of the things she wanted to change are still a reality today.

But what stood out for me the most was that only 30 per cent of her audience were male. How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?

Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.

Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.

I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.

If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.

If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.

I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.

You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter girl? And what is she doing up on stage at the UN. It’s a good question and trust me I have been asking myself the same thing. I don’t know if I am qualified to be here. All I know is that I care about this problem. And I want to make it better.

And having seen what I’ve seen—and given the chance—I feel it is my duty to say something. English statesman Edmund Burke said: “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to do nothing.”

In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt I’ve told myself firmly—if not me, who, if not now, when. If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you I hope those words might be helpful.

Because the reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children. And at current rates it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls will be able to receive a secondary education.

If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists I spoke of earlier.

And for this I applaud you.

We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, To be the he for she. And to ask yourself if not me, who, if not now when.

Thank you.

 

AP Tweets NFL had tape, time to fire Roger Goodell

The AP Tweets that the NFL is lying about viewing the video.NFL-Union-Leader-Says-Players-Don’t-Trust-Roger-Goodell

According to the AP, a law enforcement official has proof that not only did he send the tape to NFL execs, he has a voicemail from the NFL offices confirming that the tape was “terrible.”

How much evidence is needed to show that the Commissioner of the NFL needs to go?

Before this breaking news, NOW began circulating a petition under the hashtag #ResignGoodell:

With the release of the second video in the Ray Rice domestic violence case, it has become clear that you are only concerned with the NFL’s image – not the League’s violence against women problem. The following are just few examples that exemplify your failed leadership:

*According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the relative arrest rate of NFL players is fifty-five percent for domestic violence, and thirty-eight percent for sex offenses.
*Since you started as commissioner, there have been fifty-six instances of domestic violence, but players were suspended for a combined total of 13 games and only 10 players were released from their team.
*Days after announcing the NFL’s new domestic violence policy, you said that Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers, who is facing a felony domestic violence charge, could play in the team’s season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
*Greg Hardy is still playing for the Carolina Panthers, even after being convicted in July of choking his former girlfriend and threatening to kill her.
*You have been silent in the face of accusations that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sexually assaulted a woman.
The NFL sets the example for college, high school, middle school and even elementary school football programs – the example currently being set by the NFL is simply unacceptable.

We the undersigned demand that you resign from you position as commissioner of the NFL and that your successor appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms.

New leadership must come in with a specific charge to transform the culture of violence against women that pervades the NFL. That’s the only way to restore honor and integrity to the country’s most lucrative and popular pastime.

Another note on Goodell’s priorities? Last May, when Brown’s receiver Josh Gordon failed a marijuana test, Goodell suspended the player for a full year, but after watching Ray Rice drag his unconscious wife out of an elevator, the commissioner opted for a 2 game suspension.

I signed NOW’s petition and I hope you do to, but I’m also sick of signing petitions. I don’t know we’re sitting around waiting for him to choose to resign. Enough already. Do something right, NFL owners. It’s time to fire Roger Goodell.

Sorry, Janay Rice, but domestic violence isn’t a private matter

After the public’s outraged response to violent video of football player Ray Rice punching his wife, Janay, in an elevator, today she defends him on Instagram:

I woke up this morning feeling like had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend…no one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family.

Janay’s words echo a public domestic violence case in San Francisco where I live, when in 2012, video evidence surfaced that city’s new sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi, had abused his wife, Eliana Lopez. At a news conference after his swearing in, Mirkarimi called the situation “a private matter. A family matter.” A few months later, upset that the Bay Area public didn’t want an abuser as the sheriff, Lopez defended her husband in an op-ed for the local paper:

From the beginning, my public voice has been ignored and treated as irrelevant. Many in the media keep saying that I just don’t get it. But I do get it: I get that I am being used to bring my husband down…Ross has paid an unfair price for his side of our family disputes. I have paid a terrible price, too. So has our son, Theo. The man I married is a wonderful man, a considerate father, and a loyal public servant who is demonstrating his ability to become better in all ways.

Violence is not a private matter. Abusers tend to offend repeatedly, often ending with the death of the woman. When Janay Rice or Eliana Lopez defend the violence, it’s much more than “not getting it” but helps to put all women at risk. Until we all take a stand and recognize that violence against women is not a private matter, it will continue to be epidemic in the USA and around the world. Here are some stats:

 One in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime.

 

Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.

 

Domestic violence is one of the most chronically under reported crimes.

 

Only approximately one-quarter of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and one-half of all stalkings perpetuated against females by intimate partners are reported to the police.

 

On average, more than three women are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.

While some argue to look away, that watching the video of Rice abusing his wife is voyeurism, Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter has another opinion, writing on her Facebook page:

So, I’ve decided one should watch the video and discuss it with kids who are of an age where they will likely see it, ESPECIALLY boys. Because it is adult men who decided Rice only warranted a 2-game suspension when they saw him dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator. And because when they handed down that suspsension they made this comment, which shows that they really can’t conceptualize what domestic violence really is or what it means to hit a person so hard she goes unconscious: “We respect the efforts Ray has made to become the best partner and father he can be. That night was not typical of the Ray Rice we know and respect. We believe that he will not let that one night define who he is, and he is determined to make sure something like this never happens again.”

 

I agree with her. We need educate the next generation much better than we have in the past about violence against women. If we can’t recognize it, we can’t stop it. Goodell didn’t see the video, do we want to look away too? The Washington Post reports on Goodell’s reaons for ignoring the footage:

The NFL claims in a statement that no one in the league office had previously seen the tape. That is almost surely not the truth, unless the NFL wanted it that way. This is a league that works with Homeland Security, confers with the Drug Enforcement Agency, collaborates with law enforcement and has its own highly equipped and secretive private security arm. You’re telling me it couldn’t get a hold of a grainy tape from an Atlantic City casino elevator? But TMZ could?

 

Of course, as someone comments on Reel Girl’s Facebook page, when Goodell saw the first video, what did he think happened inside that elevator, that Rice kissed his wife on the ear? Last May, when Brown’s receiver Josh Gordon failed a marijuana test, Goodell suspended the player for a full year, but after watching Ray Rice drag his unconscious wife out of an elevator, the commissioner opted for a 2 game suspension.

I’m deeply sorry for Janay and the horrible time that she’s going through, but this isn’t only her problem. As long as Americans look the other way when domestic violence happens, it will never stop being a national epidemic. A crucial next step? Fire Roger Goodell. He doesn’t deserve to be the Commissioner of the NFL.

Update: Janay Rice makes another public statement: I want people to respect our privacy in this family matter.”

Jeffrey Toobin makes a similar point as I did here, writing for CNN: “It’s not up to victims to decide whether their husbands should be prosecuted. Abusers damage the community, not just the women they assault.”

I am not blaming Janay Rice. There are complicated reasons why women stay, and I have no idea what she has to say right now in order to be safe, but again, her abuse is not a private matter. To support that myth of privacy, of abuse being “a family matter” is to support a culture of violence towards women.

‘Letter to Momo’ is a girl-centered masterpiece

Yesterday, two of my kids, ages 11 and 8, and I saw the new animated movie by Hiroyuki Okiura, “Letter to Momo.” From the first scene to the last, we were riveted by the gorgeous animation and the fantastical story about how a young girl finds her courage.

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When the movie opens, Momo’s father has just died in a boating accident, and she moves with her mother from Tokyo to a small village. Lonely, frightened, and displaced, Momo tries to cope with solitude while her mother spends her days in seminars training to be a caretaker so that she can be the breadwinner for the family. It is during these long days alone that Momo encounters three creepy, terrifying, and constantly starving goblins. These three creatures who only Momo can see play a key role in the story, and what I loved about them is that they are not cute, but grotesque. As Momo comes to love them, so do we. It is a rare and special narrative– and the polar opposite of Disney, not to mention Roald Dahl– where “ugly” beings are not only good, but also become beautiful to the viewer. This alone, is a crucial lesson for kids, and I was so happy my kids experienced it. My only complaint about them is that all three goblins are male.

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The last few scenes of the movie are so stunning, I got chills. At one part, thousands of creatures create a tunnel out of their bodies to protect Momo. In another scene, the villagers set straw boats with lanterns out onto the sea. There are several thunderstorm scenes where the animation of the rain and lightning is mesmerizing. I read that “Momo” took seven years to make and that does not surprise me at all. I love Momo’s look too, her expressive eyes and messy hair, though she’s almost always in pink which I found kind of annoying.

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Still, Momo is not a Minority Feisty. There are female characters throughout the story. Momo’s mother and great grandmother are main characters, and so is another young girl, Umi who  is the only other character also able to see the goblins. Umi’s older brother, Yota, hangs out with a gang of kids that includes a girl and Momo becomes good friends with him, no romance.

I almost didn’t see this movie. It was not on my radar at all, and not only am I obsessed with children’s media, I am a huge fan of Hiyao Miyazaki to the point that I actually cried when I heard he was retiring. Yet, “Letter to Momo” did not make it on Reel Girl’s annual list of children’s movies coming out in 2014. The only reason I heard of “Momo” is because when I picked my daughter up at school on Friday, we went to get her a bagel, and while she was gobbling it up, I perused the left over free local newspaper. There, I saw the picture of a girl–a girl!– and then read the review. The next day I packed two kids in the car, planning to have my husband drop off the third. That was when I discovered the movie had subtitles. Never have my kids sat through or even attempted to sit through subtitles. I was also nervous because once I learned about the movie, I read a few reviews that it is bloated, should have been 20 minutes, and needs an editor. Though I sent the 5 year old home with her dad because she can’t read, the two older ones and I proceeded to the theater, an art house with a screen not much bigger than a TV. But my American kids who get way too bored way too easily IMO, could not disagree more with those reviewers. They did not even finish their popcorn. I can’t imagine one scene being cut. There is a dubbed version out too, and I’m going to take my 5 year old back to see that one.

Reel Girl rates “Letter to Momo” ***HHH***

 

 

Criminal cyber-stalkers upload stolen photos as profile pics, send mass Tweets

Last night, like many of you, I Tweeted that to look at stolen pictures of Jennifer Lawrence is to participate in her assault. Today, I woke up to multiple Tweets on my account where the sender used a naked picture of Jennifer Lawrence as a profile pic. I’m assuming the picture is one of the stolen ones, though I’m not doing the research to find out. I Tweeted  that I would be forwarding these Tweets to the FBI, to which I got this response: “Stop harassing me you fucking cunt.”

Last night, I posted on Facebook and Twitter that, contrary to reports on the internet from People Magazine and CNN, the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities is not a “scandal” but a sex crime.

I was relieved I didn’t have to argue language when I saw the LA Times report:

The FBI is aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals, and is addressing the matter,” an FBI spokesperson told the LA Times.

 

In spite of getting called a cunt (yet again) it is good to be able to forward info to the FBI’s ongoing investigation. It’s crucial that the U.S. Government take crimes against women seriously, and it’s a relief to see a fast and public step in that direction by the FBI. It would be nice if the media followed suit, not only using the word “crime” instead of “scandal” but by allotting crimes against women the news status they deserve.

Last week, the writer, filmmaker, and activist Anita Sarkeesian was forced to leave her house because of threats of violence against her. Sarkeesian’s work is about violence against women in video games. Those who attack Sarkeesian claim that violence against women does not exist. I suppose the irony here is lost on them. Why isn’t more mainstream media covering the Sarkeesian story? Sarkeesian is a hero-freedom-fighter-cyber-warrior whose actions are dedicated helping a new generation of children to grow up in a safer world. So why don’t parents know her name? When are we all going to start taking crimes against women seriously and stop ignoring or trivializing the safety and privacy of half of our population in the USA?

 

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and the Minority Feisty

Today, I saw ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ with my daughter and niece. I enjoyed the movie (especially the 80s music and the jokes) as did they (mostly Groot, the resilient, dancing tree,) Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana, is a kick-ass smart assassin who saves the universe with a team of misfits, but I had a minor (hint, hint) issue with her role. Tell me, what do you notice about the gender ratio in this poster for the “GOTG?”

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Notice anything in common with the gender ratio of “The Avengers”?

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What about this recent Justice League comic cover?

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Lest you think this 1:4/5/6 female/ male gender ratio is exclusive to superheroes, here’s my post on the Minority Feisty:

The curse of the Minority Feisty in kids’ movies

If you see an animated film today, it’s likely to include a token strong female character or two who reviewers will call “feisty.” In “How to Train Your Dragon” Astrid; in “Toy Story,” Jessie; in “Ratatouille,” Colette. She’s supposed to make us feel like the movie is contemporary and feminist, unlike those sexist films of yesteryear.

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Just one recent example: People Magazine describes Anne Hathaway’s role as Jewel in “Rio 2:”

There have been other big changes as well for the actress who reprises her role as the feisty macaw Jewel in the new animated film ‘Rio 2.’

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The problem is that because Pixar or Disney or Marvel has so magnanimously thrown in this “feisty” female (who may even have some commentary about sexism or male domination) we’re no longer supposed to care that almost all of the other characters in the film are male, including the star who the movie is often titled for and usually his best buddy as well. The crowd scenes in the film are also made up of mostly males.

“Feisty” isn’t a word that describes someone with real power, but someone who plays at being powerful. Would you ever call Superman “feisty?”  How would he feel if you did?

The Smurfette Principle has evolved into the Minority Feisty. Now instead of a “token” female in a children’s movie, we may see a few females sprinkled around, a “minority” of them. Parents, the next time you watch a children’s movie, try not to let the Minority Feisty population distract you from the limitations female characters are almost always forced into. Ask yourself: Is the female the protagonist in this film? Does the narrative revolve around her quest? Or is she there to (play a crucial role in) helping the male star achieve his goal/ dream?

Imagine if the gender ratio presented in movies for kids was reflected in their world. Girls would be a minority instead of one half of the kid population. When females go missing from children’s media, another generation gets trained to expect and accept a world where girls go missing. It seems normal to them that there has never been a female president of their country, that there is just one great female chef among males, or perhaps, none at all as shown in this Time Magazine article on the greatest chefs, titled “Gods of Food.”

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In the imaginary world, a world created for kids, anything is possible, so why is it so consistently sexist?

See Peggy Orenstein’s post: “Pixar’s female problem: Please stop asking ‘What about Jessie?,” on the Minority Feisty issue

See Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2014 http://reelgirl.com/2014/01/reel-girls-gallery-of-girls-gone-missing-from-childrens-movies-in-2014/

2013 http://reelgirl.com/2013/01/reel-girls-gallery-of-girls-gone-missing-from-childrens-movies-in-2013/

2012 http://reelgirl.com/2012/12/reel-girls-gallery-of-girls-gone-missing-from-childrens-movies-in-2012/

2011 http://reelgirl.com/2011/07/heres-a-visual/

Reel Girl rates ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ ***H***