It’s only through sheer fortuitous timing that the week I read a book on feminism, Seth MacFarlane goes on national television to offend a zillion people with uninspired jokes about actresses’ boobs. And since I’ve been presented with such a timely opportunity to discuss gender as it’s portrayed in modern society, let’s conduct a bit of a thought exercise—looking at Seth MacFarlane’s Oscar performance through the lens of Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman.
Throughout her book’s 300-odd pages, Moran eschews characterizations of feminism that rely on lofty terminology or soul-searching investigations of social mores. Her own definition on the subject essentially boils down to two key tenets: 1) An environment of equality is one in which, quite simply, “everyone is being polite to each other” and 2) When one is unsure whether or not they’ve been presented with a bit of sexism—or, as Moran sometimes puts it, a bit of “total fucking bullshit”—one must simply ask oneself: “Are the men doing it?”
Continue reading “Men are from Earth, women are from Earth”
Now that we’ve all recovered from Sunday’s Academy Awards, replete with boring acceptance speeches and Seth MacFarlane’s [honestly guys, not that earth-shattering] sexism, we can all settle comfortably into that post-Oscars glow of temporarily highbrow taste, i.e. “Maybe I will rent Argo instead of marathon-watching old episodes of Wife Swap…” It’s a lovely thing, how a few pretty gowns and well-edited clips can rouse one’s interest in subjects as varied as the emancipation of slaves and, well, the emancipation of slaves. (Big movie year for slavery, no?)
But while last night’s winners paid a lot of lip service to their agents, managers, producers and spouses, not quite as many shout-outs were given to the brains behind the concepts behind the screenplays behind the movies, i.e. the authors whose books, plays or essays were ultimately adopted for the silver screen. (Except Ang Lee, who constantly thanks Life of Pi author Yann Martel. Kudos Ang; you win this round).
So just in case you don’t feel like Googling them (fair enough; it takes some dedication), here are the titles behind this year’s Oscar nominees.
Continue reading “The Books Behind the Oscars”