Reel Girl’s Top 10 List Of ‘Progressive’ People, Places and Things That Are Sexist

Because I’m so sick of the public referring to sexist people, places, and things as progressive or liberal, because sexism is everywhere and women are trapped in double-bind that is hardly acknowledged, getting little or no support from our “allies,” staying stuck in a matrix that doesn’t allow us to achieve real power, I came up with this list.

Reel Girl’s Top 10 List Of “Progressive” People, Places and Things That Are Sexist:

  1. Hollywood Hopefully, the stories of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assaults will be a turning point for Hollywood and the beginning of the end of the misogyny that runs rampant in the movie industry. My blog, started in 2009, is dedicated to reporting on sexism in Hollywood with a focus on children’s media and the toys and products that come from that media. Actress Emma Thomson just did a great job summarizing the systemic misogyny in ‘liberal’ Lala Land in reference to Weinstein’s behavior.
  2. The New York Times When this publication broke the story about Harvery Weinstein’s chronic sexual harassment and assault of women, the report was illustrated with a photo of Hillary Clinton with Weinstein. That’s right, Weinstein’s behavior is Hillary’s fault. The NYT is also the publication that kept stories going about Hillary’s emails and the “corruption” of the Clinton foundation throughout Hillary’s campaign. Aside from Hillary, I’ve blogged extensively about the many instances of sexism in the stories of the NYT, from what they choose to cover to the sources they use to cover it. My complaints have been posted in Letters to the Times. Just do a search on Reel Girl to see my posts on sexism at the Times.
  3. PBS I’ve blogged on Reel Girl about the lack of female protagonists on PBS shows  for kids including the dominance of male characters on well-loved programs like “Sesame Street,” and how the “educational station” can be more sexist than the Disney channel.
  4. Gandhi Twisted views about sexuality, bodies, and menstruation led Gandhi to treat women as lower than men, including his own wife, and to put the blame on women when they were raped or assaulted. I include Gandhi in my list to emphasize how crucial it is for women (and men) to have women leaders who fight for women’s rights around the world if we want to achieve equality.
  5. Martin Luther King Jr Like Gandhi, MLK focused on the misdeeds of women when it came to men’s sexual behavior. He didn’t allow women to be real leaders in his organization.
  6. Dr. Seuss With all of Dr. Seuss’s amazing creativity, the crazy-beautiful characters he drew, the names and the entire language he came up with, his spectacular imagination failed to stretch to include gender equality. Seuss’s characters are mostly male with even his crowd illustrations rarely featuring female characters. I’ve blogged a great deal on Reel Girl about Seuss’s sexism and though my blogs have been picked up and quoted by Jezebel  (a “women’s news” site) Seuss’s sexism is rarely acknowledged. Seuss is a huge influence on childhood and it’s tragic that along with learning to read, kids are learning sexism, that it’s normal for girls to go missing. Recently children’s author Mo Willems signed a letter condemning Seuss’s racism but sexism isn’t mentioned in the letter.
  7. Rock and roll and the music industry Men dominate the songs on Billboard’s Hot 100, get paid more, get covered seriously by more media, headline more concerts, objectify and degrade women in their lyrics, get called poets instead of boy-obsessed, don’t have to appear naked to sell music, and aren’t frequently sexually assaulted. Like Hollywood, the music industry is systemically sexist and misogynistic, exposed publicly most recently when singer Kesha fought in court to break her contract with producer Dr. Luke. Kesha’s story is only the beginning of tackling the unfair treatment of women performers.
  8. College campuses Right wings think tanks were started as an alternative to “liberal” and “progressive” college campuses, but these places are dangerous for women: 1 out of 5 female students is sexually assaulted at college.
  9. Museums Art is progressive, right? Once again, creativity is limited by sexism. Male artists earn more money, have more shows in galleries, and totally dominate museum shows and the permanent collections in the “great” museums around the world. And I thought girl children were supposed to be the artsy ones!
  10. My “progressive” male friends on social media: The men of Hollywood aren’t coming out to condemn Harvey Weinstein in the numbers that they should be, but what about my own male friends? While men I know and love regularly post about racism, police violence and other issues dear to their hearts, they rarely post about sexism and misogyny. My own posts about sexism rarely receive likes or shares or retweets from my male friends. Until our male friends join the fight for gender equality, prioritize it, consider it important, take action to support it, and stop being passive bystanders, women won’t get as far as we need to go.

My list is just a beginning, hopefully to publicize the wide reach of sexism and misogyny into almost every aspect of our lives. Feel free to add in my comment section your items of “progressive” people, places and things that are actually sexist.


#11 Joe Biden

Read today’s post on Biden’s hypocrisy.

Will Reel Girl’s official list grow to Top 20? Top 30? Top 100? Ugh.



Gabourey Sidibe isn’t too fat for Hollywood, she’s too black

In the wake of actress Gabourey Sidibe’s Academy Award nomination for her incredible performance in “Precious,” many are saying she’ll never get another part in a Hollywood movie because she’s too fat. But they’re wrong: even if the talented actress lost weight, she’d still be too black for Hollywood.
Gabourey SidibeGabourey Sidibe 

Sidibe doesn’t conform to Hollywood’s narrow beauty requirements for romantic leads and stars: actresses should be white women, preferably blonde.

Until Hollywood’s executives start looking more like Sidibe and less like Harvey Weinstein, the fat, white guy who founded Miramax, Sidibe’s going to have trouble getting roles.

Because Hollywood is run by white men, their counterparts will star in films regardless of their weight (see Jack Black or any Judd Apatow movie) or age (Daniel Day Lewis, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, Denzel washington, Pierce Brosnan, the list goes on and on) or acting ability (Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise). In producing films, white men get to play God just like they do on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, creating their fantasies and selling them to the public. There’s nothing wrong with putting your imaginative stories out into the world, but there needs to be some diversity in the power structure so that other people get opportunities to make their dreams come true too.

There is some evidence Hollywood is slowly changing. The reason “Precious” got made at all is because African Americans busted through the racial/ class barrier. Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry got successful and got rich, so they were able to make and promote a movie. Successful black women in Hollywood include Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cicely Tyson, Traji Henson, Viola Davis, and Zoe Saldana.

Harvey Weinstein and Gwyneth PaltrowHarvey Weinstein and Gwyneth Paltrow 

There are more to be added to the list, but they remain a tiny minority. A woman couldn’t be much skinner or “conventionally beautiful,” than Saldana, the light skinned, African-American star of “Avatar” and “Star Trek.” Saldana says in Us Weekly: “In Hollywood, you hear things like ‘Oh, they loved you but they want to go more traditional.’ That’s the new n-word.”

But when it comes to race in Hollywood, even shock jock Howard Stern skates the issue, sticking with the socially acceptable bias, making fun of fat people. On his Sirius talk radio show, Stern said of Sidibe, “There’s the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen. She is enormous. Everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie. She should have gotten the Best Actress award because she’s never going to have another shot. What movie is she gonna be in?” Stern says of Oprah’s speech to Sidibe: “Oprah’s another liar…telling an enormous woman the size of a planet that she’s going to have a career.””

Zoe SaldanaZoe Saldana 

Actress/ signer, Jessica Simpson, no stranger to viscious criticism about her weight, defends Sidibe, but also avoids the race issue, saying of Stern’s comments: “It’s unfortunate because she walked the red carpet at the Oscars and she owned it. She was beautiful. There was no denying that she did not think she was the most beautiful person on that red carpet. She was just owning that moment for herself. She had such confidence and I absolutely 100 percent think she could get anything in the world that she wanted.”

Confidence can only get you so far when white guys run Hollywood. Simpson knows that. Supposedly, in her new show, “The Price of Beauty,” Simpson researched this. I wish Simpson had said something like: “I’ve just done a program abut exploring different standards of beauty around the globe, and here in Southern California, Gabourey has three strikes against her as far as getting part she wants in movies: she’s fat, she’s black, and she’s a woman.”

Here are the Hollywood stats from Martha M. Lauzen’s annual study “The Celluloid Ceiling.” I don’t know what the breakdown is on race.

In Hollywood, women make up:

7% of directors

8% of writers

17% of executive producers

23% of producers

18% of editors

2% of cinematographers

Sidibe does have parts lined up for herself: an upcoming feature film co-starring Zoe Kravitz called “Yelling to the Sky,” and a recurring part in Showtime’s new dark comedy series, “The Big C,” which also stars Laura Linney and Oliver Platt. She also has some powerful people backing her like Winfrey and Perry. But until there are some major changes in the Hollywood power structure, Sidibe will need a back up career