The Bechdel Test

Last week we posted about the lack of female nominees for the Oscars this year. On a similar note, this short video discusses women’s presence on the other side of the camera: as characters in the film.
You’ll be surprised to find how few movies today feature female leads that don’t revolve around a romantic storyline.
Can you think of a movie from this past year that would pass the Bechdel test?

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Anti-Rape Campaign Geared Toward Men, part 2

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Yet another example of an excellent anti-rape campaign targeting the audience that needs to hear it: men. Scholarly estimates say that 99% of rapists are men, which means to say that anti-rape initiatives directing toward women (i.e., don’t walk home alone) aren’t adequately attacking the problem. 

The “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign, sponsored by the Vancouver Police Department of Vancouver, Canada, has quickly inspired results. Sexual assault in Vancouver is down 10% in 2011. How much more it will decrease in 2012?

Stacey Campfield, Anti-Gay Tennessee Senator Kicked Out of Knoxville Restaurant

Restaurant owner Martha Biggs asked Senator Stacey Campfield to leave her restaurant in response to his support of anti-gay policies in Tennessee. “I didn’t want his hate in my restaurant,” she said. “I told him he wasn’t welcome here.” 

Campfield, the man behind Tennessee’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, recently made a number of highly offensive remarks in regard to homosexuals and HIV/AIDS:

“Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community — it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men… My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex…” – Sen. Campfield.

Biggs says she acted in response this this recent interview.

Support for Biggs is torn, however. While many commend her for making Sen. Campfield “feel” discrimination, others don’t differentiate her discrimination from his– two wrongs don’t make a right, do they?

What’s your stance? Should Biggs have kicked Campfield out of her restaurant?

Honor Killing in Canada

Liza Bean, of the blog Matrifocal Point just posted a superb piece questioning the ideas behind the term “honor killing.” She asks the question:

“When is a death an “honor killing” and when is it not?” Read the whole blog post here

Her blog post comes in response to the recent guilty verdict in a Canadian court case over honor killing. Read the news article here

What do you think of Liza’s post? About the case?

The Invisible War: Soldier Rape in the U.S. Military

“Military women are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than to killed by enemy fire.”

Why does the U.S. military cover up this horrific problem instead of combat it? This documentary attempts to expose the problem and answer the question. Released just last week at the Sundance Film Festival, it currently is not slated for a national release. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.

Strong Female Presence Still Lacking at the Oscars

It’s Oscars season again and everyone’s buzzing over the recent release of the nominations! Unfortunately, it’s not all good news here in the WRC. We’re sad to find that no women have been nominated for Best Director this year.

According to NY Mag, only 5% of the highest-grossing movies released in 2011 were directed by women. This could explain the absence of women from the ballot this year, but what explains the absence of women in the top of the box office? Many attribute the gender discrepancy in the job field to historical norms– in other words, a lot of women interested in film don’t go into directing because they don’t see a lot of other female directors (see this Hollywood Reporter article for more).

How do you think we could inspire more women to direct in the future?

The Suprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality

You might be surprised to know that “heterosexuality” has only existed for about 150 years. The same goes for its counterpart, “homosexuality.” Researchers in 19th century Germany coined the terms– and established hetero as the norm– in an effort to criminalize same-sex sexual relationships.

In light that most people accept the terms as “natural,” historian Hanne Blank explores the invention of hetero- and homosexuality in her new book Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality (click the link to learn more about the book).

Whether you identify as heterosexual, homosexual or neither, this book promises to be an interesting and informative look at the modern history of defining sexual identities. We hope to get our hands on a copy soon!