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Posts Tagged ‘Women in the media’

Dame Helen Mirren has chosen to portray some strong female characters,  among some of the real-life ones:

In the run-up to the glitz and glamor of Sunday’s Oscars, Dame Helen hosted the annual Women in Film reception celebrating women nominees and made her voice heard on the issue of the gender gap in the film industry.   This year, as far as we know, she dodged the red carpet and was all business.

If the montage shown at the Oscars to illustrate  this year’s theme of “Everyday Heroes” was any indication of the current representation of women in film,  Dame Helen’s focus on inequity is right on target.  Of the 21 clips shown (that I counted), only three were of real-life women heroes:  Norma Rae, Erin Brockovich, and “Maya,” the CIA operative in Zero Dark Thirty.   That is fewer than 15% and deplorable!  Karen Silkwood, Anne Frank, Joan of ArcVeronica Guerin, the Mirabal sisters the machinists of Dagenham, and Barbara Castle were nowhere to be seen in that montage.  The Academy and the industry can and must do much better.

That this comes as we begin Women’s History Month is both appropriate and ironic.

Thank you, Dame Helen!

Helen Mirren Takes on the Gender Gap

Lupita Nyong'o and Helen Mirren at the Women in Film event.Getty Images Lupita Nyong’o and Helen Mirren at the Women in Film event.

WEST HOLLYWOOD –

“Shut up,” said Helen Mirren, “’cause Mama’s in the house.”

“That includes all you guys over there near the bar,” she added, as she waited for the crowd to quiet down at the Women in Film reception on Friday evening. The boys did as the Dame commanded.

Ms. Mirren was out and about on the party circuit on Friday – she’d also made a brief appearance at the British film reception beforehand – and was this year’s co-host of the annual event, held at Fig & Olive restaurant. It spotlights female Oscar nominees – each wears a fragrant white gardenia corsage – and also serves as a booster moment to reverse the continued gender disparity in the industry.

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Fans of the lovely and lively Ms. Finney were overjoyed to  see her finally have a go at guest-hosting on Thursday and Friday of  last week when she filled in for Martin Bashir.  We hoped she would make a big splash and capture the attention of execs at MSNBC who might consider giving her a show of her own.  I doubt that any of us ever dreamed that we would see her attacked unfairly, misquoted, and abused the way we have for the past few days on Twitter.

Like some warped version of The Telephone Game,  Hate-Tweeters have twisted her words and worse claimed she said things that she did not. People whose attention spans do not exceed 140 characters retweet without checking to see what she really said.  The videos and transcripts are all available at  the Bashir Live homepage, but let us not waste valuable retweeting time looking for the truth!

Ms. Finney organized and presented some compelling programming.  Of  course she covered the story of the week, the Trayvon Martin case.  The language used by the accused perpetrator, George Zimmerman on 911 record,  not Ms. Finney, is what brought race into the discussion.   She along with her panel presented the facts as they found them.  So what did Karen do to precipitate this hailstorm of hate on Twitter?

There is a “B” word that I have yet to hear in connection with the Trayvon Martin case.  With all of the attention being paid in this country to bullying, I have not heard the suggestion that as a self-identified authority figure, George Zimmerman may have bullied Trayvon Martin.  We do not like thinking about that kind of bullying.  We do not want kids bullying other kids, but I notice a resistance to suggestions that authority figures also bully.  Some teachers do, coaches do, and yes, security and police personnel also do.   Karen did not raise this issue, but if the latest Zimmerman information, that he is injured, is true, it could be consistent with Trayvon fighting back – against a bully.

Having raised that “B” word, I find what is happening to Karen on the Twitter feed also a form of bullying.  The attacks are merciless,and the “quotes”  have no basis in fact.  It is hate talk and very dangerous.  I still cannot fathom why it is Karen who receives this treatment.  I hope it is not rooted  in sexism, racism or both,  and I certainly hope it is not because she is beautiful and brilliant.  We have seen enough of that!  Thanks to Ryan Olsen for the picture.

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This week many were outraged by the unfair, mean-spirited attacks by Rush Limbaugh on law student Sandra Fluke, whose testimony Darrell Issa refused to hear among his committee of men regarding the importance of women’s access to insurance coverage for contraceptives.  Limbaugh’s tirades and inappropriate characterization of Ms. Fluke’s testimony made clear the fact that he had not bothered to listen to the story she had to tell.  It was also obvious that Mr. Limbaugh has no idea how contraceptives work or what purposes beyond contraception “the pill” serves. Here is Sandra Fluke on The Ed Show telling her story.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Sandra Fluke, posted with vodpod
Last night Rush offered, online at his blog, his version of an apology for the language he chose to use in attacking Ms. Fluke. The fact is that a boycott of his sponsors, begun by Krystal Ball of MSNBC probably had a great deal to do with his sudden “change of heart.”  Krystal along with Karen Finney, both commented on The Ed Show  Friday night.  No fewer than three times, (I think it might have been four)  Ms. Finney called the Republican candidates for President cowards for not condemning Limbaugh’s attack in the strongest possible terms.  If you agree that these candidates, indeed all Republican candidates for office,  should denounce Limbaugh and his outrageous statements, please sign the petition below.

Many thanks to MSNBC and The Ed Show  for addressing this in prime time and for employing strong, fearless women leaders to comment.  The misogyny and sexism that we saw and heard against Hillary Clinton and other female candidates for public office continues in the MSM.  While The Ed Show was in progress, Bill O’Reilly came out in support of Limbaugh and his statements. Krystal Ball and Karen Finney stood firm and did a tremendous job Friday night.  As far as I am concerned, they knocked it out of the park!  Thank you Ed, Karen and Krystal!

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