black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.

             

"Of the 500 top-grossing films between 2007 and 2012, only 33 were directed by black men and only two by black women. In front of the camera black men and women fared better, securing 10.8 percent of speaking roles in the 100 top-grossing films of 2012. Hispanic actors, however, filled just 4.2 percent of that year’s speaking roles.

Some 1,228 directors, writers and producers worked on the 100 top films of 2012. Only 16.7 percent of them were women. More specifically, women accounted for 4.1 percent of directors, 12.2 percent of writers and 20 percent of producers. That means men outnumbered women 5-to-1 in the most significant behind-the-camera roles.

The Academy Awards may split its acting prizes evenly between men and women, but the movie industry certainly does not apportion roles that way. Women obtained a mere 28.4 percent of speaking parts in the 100 top films of 2012. And only six percent of those films cast men and women in roughly equal numbers (defined as between 45 percent and 54.9 percent of speaking parts).”

Post-Oscars Diversity Downer

“Let me state the obvious: I have never lived on the brink. I’ve never been in foreclosure, never applied for food stamps, never had to choose between feeding my children or paying the rent, and never feared I’d lose my paycheck when I had to take time off to care for a sick child or parent. I’m not thrown into crisis mode if I have to pay a parking ticket, or if the rent goes up. If my car breaks down, my life doesn’t descend into chaos.
But the fact is, one in three people in the U.S. do live with this kind of stress, struggle, and anxiety every day. More than 100 million Americans either live near the brink of poverty or churn in and out of it, and nearly 70 percent of them are women and children.
Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson envisioned the Great Society and called for a War on Poverty, naming my father, Sargent Shriver, the architect of that endeavor. The program worked: Over the next decade, the poverty rate fell by 43 percent.
In those days, the phrase “poverty in America” came with images of poor children in Appalachian shacks and inner-city alleys. Fifty years later, the lines separating the middle class from the working poor and the working poor from those in absolute poverty have blurred. The new iconic image of the economically insecure American is a working mother dashing around getting ready in the morning, brushing her kid’s hair with one hand and doling out medication to her own aging mother with the other.
For the millions of American women who live this way, the dream of “having it all” has morphed into “just hanging on.” Everywhere they look, every magazine cover and talk show and website tells them women are supposed to be feeling more “empowered” than ever, but they don’t feel empowered. They feel exhausted.
Many of these women feel they are just a single incident—one broken bone, one broken-down car, one missed paycheck—away from the brink. And they’re not crazy to feel that way:
Women are nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in the country.
More than 70 percent of low-wage workers get no paid sick days at all.
40 percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income.
The median earnings of full-time female workers are still just 77 percent of the median earnings of their male counterparts.
This is the first post-recession recovery since 1970 in which women have continued to lose jobs while men have gained more than 1.1 million jobs.”
Powerful and Powerless by Maria Shriver 
The 400-page, comprehensive Shriver Report, which includes essays from Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Sheryl Sandberg, is available for a free download until January 15th. 

Let me state the obvious: I have never lived on the brink. I’ve never been in foreclosure, never applied for food stamps, never had to choose between feeding my children or paying the rent, and never feared I’d lose my paycheck when I had to take time off to care for a sick child or parent. I’m not thrown into crisis mode if I have to pay a parking ticket, or if the rent goes up. If my car breaks down, my life doesn’t descend into chaos.

But the fact is, one in three people in the U.S. do live with this kind of stress, struggle, and anxiety every day. More than 100 million Americans either live near the brink of poverty or churn in and out of it, and nearly 70 percent of them are women and children.

Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson envisioned the Great Society and called for a War on Poverty, naming my father, Sargent Shriver, the architect of that endeavor. The program worked: Over the next decade, the poverty rate fell by 43 percent.

In those days, the phrase “poverty in America” came with images of poor children in Appalachian shacks and inner-city alleys. Fifty years later, the lines separating the middle class from the working poor and the working poor from those in absolute poverty have blurred. The new iconic image of the economically insecure American is a working mother dashing around getting ready in the morning, brushing her kid’s hair with one hand and doling out medication to her own aging mother with the other.

For the millions of American women who live this way, the dream of “having it all” has morphed into “just hanging on.” Everywhere they look, every magazine cover and talk show and website tells them women are supposed to be feeling more “empowered” than ever, but they don’t feel empowered. They feel exhausted.

Many of these women feel they are just a single incident—one broken bone, one broken-down car, one missed paycheck—away from the brink. And they’re not crazy to feel that way:

  • Women are nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in the country.
  • More than 70 percent of low-wage workers get no paid sick days at all.
  • 40 percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income.
  • The median earnings of full-time female workers are still just 77 percent of the median earnings of their male counterparts.

This is the first post-recession recovery since 1970 in which women have continued to lose jobs while men have gained more than 1.1 million jobs.

Powerful and Powerless by Maria Shriver 

The 400-page, comprehensive Shriver Report, which includes essays from Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Kirsten GillibrandBeyoncé Knowles-Carter, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Sheryl Sandberg, is available for a free download until January 15th. 

Joss Whedon: “I hate feminist. Is this a good time to bring that up?”

"I hope I’m being clear, I didn’t say I hate feminists; I said I hate feminist. I’m talking about the word. 

[T]he word feminist, it doesn’t sit with me, it doesn’t add up. I want to talk about my problem that I have with it. First of all, on a very base level, just to listen to it. We start with fem. That’s good, that’s promising, you know, fem, it’s nice but it’s strong, f is a very porous letter, very inclusive. You’re ready to grow there. It’s not too whimpy. It’s not like some girl from Lord of the Rings whose name is like Akhelkthkle. There’s some meat there. We can work with this.

We go to ‘in’. Fem-in. Okay, not as impressive, but they can’t all be roses terms sometimes you gotta get from A to B.

'Ist'. I hate it. I hate it. Fail on 'ist'. It's just this little dark, black, it must be hissed. Ist! It's Germanic but not in the romantic way. It's just this terrible ending with this wonderful beginning. This word for me is so unbalanced. It's like just tonally, it's like watching a time-lapse video of fresh bread that you put in the oven and burnt. And I think that's universal. We were all having the video bread thing right?

And it bugs me that I don’t love the word more, because there are other words that sound so welcoming and lovely. Taliban. Ahh. That’s so good! That sounds like we’re going to Bora Bora and then we’re off to the Taliban Islands with white sands….It’s jolly and fun and it shouldn’t be and it’s not fair. We’ve got feminist and our ist.

Let’s go back to this ist, okay. Let’s rise up a little bit from my obsession with sound to the meaning. Ist in it’s meaning is also a problem for me. Because you can’t be born an ist. It’s not natural. You can’t be born a baptist; you have to be baptized. You can’t be born an atheist or a communist or a horticulturalist. You have to have these things brought to you. So feminist includes the idea that believing men and women to be equal, believing all people to be people, is not a natural state. That we don’t emerge assuming that everybody in the human race is a human, that the idea of equality is just an idea that’s imposed on us. That we are indoctrinated with it, that it’s an agenda.

And that’s when I realize what my problem is (well, one of my problems). My problem with feminist is not the word. It’s the question. It’s the question. “Are you now, or have you ever been, a feminist?” The great Katy Perry once said – I’m paraphrasing – “I’m not a feminist but I like it when women are strong.” That’s lovely Katy. Don’t know why she feels the need to say the first part, but listening to the word and thinking about it, I realize I do understand. This question that lies before us is one that should lie behind us. The word is problematic for me because there’s another word that we’re missing. That words have failed us. And I’d like to use as an example race.

In the public discourse, there’s one word to deal with race. Racism. That is the word. And it implies something very important. It implies something that we are past. When you say racist, you are saying that is a negative thing. That is a line that we have crossed. Anything on the side of that line is shameful. Is on the wrong side of history. And that is a line that we have crossed in terms of gender but we don’t have the word for it. People are confronted with the word feminism and it stops them; they think they have to deal with that. But I think we’re done with that as intelligent human beings. Being on the wrong side of history in terms of the oppression of women is being on the whole of history, all of recorded history, you’re on the wrong side. …

If you’re someone who genuinely believes that women don’t deserve or aren’t as much as men, you’re like the plague. On the big history chart, you’re the plague….It’s just pointless and deadly.

I start thinking about the fact that we have this word when we’re thinking about race that says we have evolved beyond something and we don’t really have this word for gender. Now you could argue sexism, but I’d say that’s a little specific. People feel removed from sexism. “I’m not a sexist, but I’m not a feminist.” They think there’s this fuzzy middle ground. There’s no fuzzy middle ground. You either believe that women are people or you don’t. It’s that simple. …

Misogynist. Misogynist – some people might not know where the y goes in that word sometimes. We should reach out to those people. Education. But more importantly, misogynist implies very directly hate and aggressive action against. And most people will think of a misogynist as a sociopath, as an anomaly. Nobody is going to say “I hate them.” And quite frankly, many people – most people –don’t. As we all know, you don’t have to hate someone to destroy them. You just don’t have to not get it.

So clearly I gotta come up with this word. We need this word so that we can change the public discourse a little bit. And I came up with a lot of good ideas. I’m not going to lie. Good stuff, good stuff.

Obviously number one, I like the rhythm and intent of “pathetic prehistoric rage-filled inbred assclown,” but that’s a lot to ask of a hashtag.

Second in line: genderist. I’m alone in my room and I come up with genderist and I think “Oh! I’ve cracked it. This is amazing.” This is it…It really resonates with me, and I live with it, and I don’t go anywhere near the internet because I’m sure somebody’s already thought of it….

Of course other people had thought of it, many people had thought of it, but I had never heard it. And I still haven’t heard it. And so unless somebody comes up with a better one – and please do – my pitch is this word. Genderist. I would like this word to become the new racist. I would like a word that says there was a shameful past before we realized that all people were created equal. And we are past that. And every evolved human being who is intelligent and educated and compassionate and to say I don’t believe that is unacceptable. And Katy Perry won’t say, “I’m not a feminist but I like strong women,” she’ll say, “I’m not a genderist but sometimes I like to dress up pretty.” And that’ll be fine. …

This is how we understand society. The word racism didn’t end racism. it contextualized it in a way that we still haven’t done with this issue.

All of recorded history versus one benefit dinner? No context.

I say with gratitude but enormous sadness, we will never not be fighting. And I say to everybody on the other side of that line who believe that women are to be bought and trafficked or ignored…we will never not be fighting. We will go on, we will always work this issue until it doesn’t need to be worked anymore. …

Is this idea of genderist going to do something? I don’t know. I don’t think that I can change the world. I just want to punch it up a little.”

Joss Whedon at the Equality Now dinner on Monday

©2011 Kateoplis