Tag: women

The Academy’s Little problem with Women

Greta Gerwig’s adaption of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women hit screens everywhere in December of last year. Three weeks on, it seems the film is headed for total success. With wide acclaim and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 95%, it’s unsurprising that The Academy has been paying attention, and it’s clear they LOVE it, nominating Little Women for six Oscars, including best picture and best actress. This comes as a welcome result considering the movie’s lack of appearance in the Golden Globe‘s best picture category.

 

image via refinery29

Sadly, unlike 2018, Greta Gerwig was not among the list of best directors, a list that was problematically entirely male. This highlights a bigger problem in Hollywood’s reportedly sexist culture. Greta Gerwig scripted an incredible adaption of a classic book, pulled together her powerhouse of a cast and kept Alcott’s core messages throughout. Some would argue that she deserves an award for bringing Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet together on screen again alone – but that might just be me. Despite all of this, she was snubbed when the nominations were released earlier this week. If Greta Gerwig couldn’t make the cut, it begs the question of what criteria is being considered.

 

image via statista

When Louisa May Alcott penned Little Women, the rebellious and enduring nature of the March sisters is part of what made the novel so brilliant and Greta Gerwig is no stranger to rebellion nor endurance, creating and existing as she does in a male-dominated film environment. It’s not all doom and patriarchal gloom, though. In speaking to Vanity Fair, the producer of the film, Amy Pascal, pointed out that Little Women was the “third movie in the history of the Academy that has been nominated [for best picture] that has been written, directed, and produced by women.” That, in and of itself, is proof that Hollywood’s problems (much like our own) may lessen with age. 

 

 

One of the core messages in Little Women, particularly in the movie, is the importance of writing, reading, and learning (oh my!). Spoilers are incoming for those of you fortunate enough not to know this!! When Beth gets sick, her illness is something that Jo hopes to aid with fresh sea air and a good story. Tragically, the plot alone is not enough to save Beth but the stories Jo writes for her are a comfort in her time of need. I think we can all agree that the comfort of a favorite story is no small thing and with Little Women being that favorite for so many people, the novel and film are self-fulfilling. Gerwig credits Little Women for giving her the inspiration to write and create, the film a passion project that no Oscar could ever overshadow.

 

moe’s book club via tumblr

Despite the gender politics, the movie looks set to surpass box office records and hopefully take home some, if not all, its prospective awards at the Oscars. Gerwig may not have a directorial nomination to celebrate, but the film has the best picture prospects alongside potential accolades for Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh.

As Jo put it herself: “Women, they have minds, and they have souls as well as just hearts, and they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty”. Academy, make a note.

 

 

Featured Image Via Britannica


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Warrior Girls Take the Boston Book Festival

On October 19th, the Boston Book Festival commenced in Copley Square. Rows of tents housing local authors, publishers, and bookstores lined the square, bringing book lovers together on the beautiful Saturday afternoon. Right next door, at the Boston Public Library, several panels from authors and publishers were held all day. In one panel in particular, which they called Warrior Girls, held in the Teen Central section of the library, several authors tackled topics such as what makes their characters warriors, and the challenges they faced in regard to diversity in their books and making sure those stories are told. The panelists were Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy, authors of Once and Future; Charlotte Nicole Davis, author of Good Luck Girls; Rory Power, author of Wilder Girls; and Brittney Morris, author of Slay. The moderator was Monique Harris, a local special education teacher.

 

             

 

The main aspect of the characters that the authors gave to describe them as warriors was the fact that they are, indeed, fighting for something. Whether it be for survival, or to overcome racism in their respective worlds, there is something at stake for all the characters that they have to fight for. In Davis’ debut novel Good Luck Girls, which is inspired by the old west, her two main characters are on the run after one of them accidentally kills a man.

 

Image Via Amazon

“I guess they’re warrior girls in that this is a world that doesn’t really want them to be free but they’re fighting for that freedom anyway,” Davis said.

 

The concept of “warrior girls” is one that has grown in popularity in young adult fiction over recent years, seen in titles such as Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi and Sarah J. Maas’ two series A Court of Thorns and Roses and Throne of Glass. However, the inspiration for these authors began way before these titles were even a thought.

 

“I feel like when I was growing up when YA was blowing up for the first time Harry Potter was just coming to a close, Twilight was right at its peak, and The Hunger Games had just come out, and it’s very interesting to me how those are three very different female protagonists,” Davis said. “Katniss really is a strong, female protagonist in the very literal sense in that she’s a fighter, and you’ve got Hermione who’s really brainy and clever.”

 

Ella Enchanted was the very first time I read a book in which the protagonist saves herself and that wasn’t even a concept until I read that,” Morris said. “It was really empowering and I was wanting that in whatever else I read.”

 

Image Via Amazon

 

With the concept of “warrior girls” and feminism in these authors’ books comes diversity, not only in terms of race but of sexuality as well. Even though diverse representation is getting better in the publishing world, authors are still faced with some challenges, even within themselves.

 

“When I was trying to find a book about people who looked like me they were always very heavy suffering books, and those are important, I kind of describe it as eating your vegetables, but it didn’t feel fair that I never had any cake,” Davis said. “So, in writing [Good Luck Girls], I want the characters who don’t usually get to have fun, I want them to have the most fun possible.”

 

“When I was seventeen, my feeling was ‘I don’t know, not straight, though.’ So, I put that in the book and I realized as I was writing it that queer readers knew exactly what I was talking about, but straight readers did not,” Power said. “I had to learn how to put in these big, neon arrows for the straight reader who was like ‘help me understand’ without feeling like I was pausing the book to give a PowerPoint presentation.”  

 

Image Via Amazon

 

At the end of the day, young adult fiction is a genre that has a lot of impact on the minds of the readers, especially since they are young and malleable. In addition to writing entertaining, diverse books about warrior girls, these authors also wanted to leave their readers with a newfound message at the end of it all.

 

Slay is actually dedicated to everyone who has ever had to minimize who you are to be acknowledgeable to those who aren’t like you. And I chose that dedication very deliberately,” Morris said. “I hope that by the time you get to the end of the book you are sure of who you are, or at least confident in taking the time to decide what that is.”

 

Image Via Amazon

 

“If a book is a story about a character it’s for everybody. A book about queer people is for every reader, a book about girls is for every reader,” Capetta said. “I think there’s still that message that is not spoken out loud anymore but is reinforced in a lot of subtle ways that a book about a girl or about a marginalized person is only for that reader, and that’s the person that needs that book.”

 

In writing these books about warrior girls, it seems that these authors are embodying warriors themselves, combatting racism and genderism through their characters. They have hope for these types of books in the coming years and will continue to write their own stories in order to contribute to the changing dynamics of the young adult genre. 

11 Empowering Quotes by Female Writers

There’s no doubt that the representation of women in literature is changing, and we owe most of that to female writers who have created female characters that us readers can use as role models. From Jane Austen to J.K. Rowling, these female authors know just what it’s like to be a woman in a man’s world, and they won’t let the female struggle go unnoticed in books. Here are eleven powerful quotes by female writers to repeat to yourself throughout the day whenever you need a reminder of just what it means to be a woman.

 

Image result for jane austen

image via biography.com

1. “I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”

– Jane Austen, Persuasion

 

 

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image via poetry foundation

2. “I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”

– Audre Lorde

 

 

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image via literary hub

3. “Just like any woman… we weave our stories out of our bodies. Some of us through our children, or our art; some do it just by living. It’s all the same.”

– Francesca Lia Block, Necklace of Kisses

 

 

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image via thought co

4. “I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”

– Maya Angelou

 

 

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image via the telegraph

5. “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. we have the power to imagine better.”

– J.K. Rowling

 

 

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image via the guardian

6. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

– Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

 

 

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image via mental floss

7. “Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”

– Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

 

 

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image via culture trip

8. “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”

– Virginia Woolf, A Room Of One’s Own

 

 

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image via los angeles times – quote via quote fancy

9. “Does ‘feminist’ mean a large unpleasant person who’ll shout at you or someone who believes women are human beings? To me, it’s the latter, so i sign up.”

– Margaret Atwood

 

 

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image via south china morning post – quote via alive media

 

10. “Every girl, no matter where she lives, deserves the opportunity to develop the promise inside of her.”

– Michelle Obama

 

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image via hollywood reporter

11. “Extremists have shown what frightens them most: a girl with a book.”

– Malala Yousafzai

 

Feature image via Pinterest and History.com

Women in Literature Who Deserved Better Fates

Literature is full of countless incredible female characters, and many of them are able to make a mark on the worlds they inhabit. Some, though, aren’t so lucky. Some don’t get the happy endings they deserve. Let’s take a look at some wronged women from classic literature.

 

Lydia Bennet – Pride & Prejudice

 

Image via PandPvsLBD

 

Okay, so things work out a LITTLE less tragic for this version of Lydia, but overall she should’ve had more help. All those sisters, and no one to protect her from Wickham. She carries on a whole secret affair and actually runs away with him, and no one’s any the wiser. Lydia is only fifteen, and even though Wickham is eventually forced to marry her, basically satisfying everyone, she deserved so much better than that user. It’s honestly hard to watch. Know your value, girl!

 

 

Morgan Le Fay – Arthurian Legend

 

Image via Twitter

 

Morgan Le Fay has been reimagined countless times since her legendary origins, and it seems like every time she gets a little more evil. Sure, from the beginning she was ambiguous, and who could blame her? Of course, she was always ambiguous, but so were her motives. The supposed half sister of King Arthur, and possible lover of Merlin, it’s not clear how Morgan gained her powers. She’s married off almost as soon as Arthur is born. Nevertheless, she’s a powerful character, and doesn’t need to be vilified.

 

 

Ophelia – Hamlet

 

Image via Vulture

 

Ophelia is maybe the classic example. What did she ever do to anybody? Okay, so she isn’t perfect, but being constantly yelled at and gaslit by the rest of the cast would make anyone a little jittery. Sometimes Hamlet acts like he cares about her, sometimes he doesn’t. On several occasions he’s extremely, senselessly cruel. Her father is a little better. Ophelia just gets tossed around by the rest of the plot, trying to live her life when no one has the least interest in her. She deserved a lot better.

 

 

Image via Kickstarter

This Book Provides a Crucial Perspective on Women’s Role in the Egyptian Revolution

Imagine waking up in Cairo on January 25th of 2011. Trying to call your loved ones, but to no avail. Trying to turn on your lights, but to no avail. Turning on your television, and witnessing the people of your country violently turning on the government in the historical site Tahrir Square. In light of the low wages, corruption, lack of freedom of speech, and police brutality that plagued the nation, millions of protesters from various social, economic, and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Violent interactions between the police and the protesters resulted in almost 1,000 people killed, and over 6,000 left injured.

 

Image Via The New Yorker

 

The role of women in the revolution needs to be discussed more. Prior to the revolution in 2011, women only accounted for 10% of protestors in uprisings. However, in 2011 in Tahrir Square, they accounted for about half of the protestors. Together with men, women risked their lives to defend their fellow Egyptians and defend the square. The reason why there was a huge increase of female presence in the protests is attributed to the improvement of education, especially throughout younger women. Quite an empowering moment not just for Middle Eastern women, but women around the world.

 

Image Via Al Jazeera

Women and the Egyptian Revolution: Engagement and Activism during the 2011 Arab Uprisings chronicles the 2011 revolution in Egypt through the viewpoint of women, with various first hand interviews with female activists. It looks at the history of gender throughout Egypt and discusses the possible outcomes for the future possibilities of women’s rights within the country. The author, Nermin Allam, blends social movement theories and the lived experiences of women during the uprisings, leading up to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. Female engagement in political confrontation throughout the Middle East is a highly under researched topic, and this book is a crucial contribution to the field. 

 

 

Featured Image Via Eyes Opened