The Hunger Games Novel & Katniss Everdeen

April 10, 2012

The Hunger Games is one of the most popular young adult novel series rivaling Harry Potter and Twilight.  As the first of its film adaptations was just released in March 2012, readers and audiences have been pleasantly surprised at this fresh, dynamic, young female protagonist.  In this video I’ll explore Katniss’ character in the first novel as it relates to gender and portrayals of violence.  Be sure to check out Part 2 where I compare the book to the movie.

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** This video is available to be translated into other languages by volunteers like you. Please visit the subtitling page on Universal Subtitles and click TRANSLATE to get started.

Full transcript below the cut

Fanpires: Audience Consumption of the Modern Vampire

February 28, 2012

I contributed a chapter to the anthology FANPIRES: Audience Consumption of the Modern Vampire edited by Gareth Schott and Kirstine Moffat. The chapter that I co-wrote with Jennifer Jenson entitled “Buffy vs. Bella: The Re-Emergence of the Archetypal Feminine in Vampire Stories” explores the differences between Buffy Summers from the popular TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bella Swan from the Twilight saga.  This chapter further explores how the narratives of each fictional universe can limit or expand the way fans interact with each character.

 

This collection of essays addresses the renewed interest in the cultural resurgence of the vampire, evident across a broad range of literature, film, television, graphic novels, and games. The appeal of vampire mythology and its associated folklore for modern audiences is examined in an age characterized by the transformative possibilities of the internet with both its low barriers to artistic expression and the erosion of the boundaries between author and audience in terms of the construction of narrative, character and fictional universes. This collection examines how audiences respond to and “use” the vampire in their own practices. From evil villains to tragic heroes, modern appropriations of the vampire, evident in popular manifestations such as the Twilight saga and the televisual adaptation of The Southern Vampire Mysteries (True Blood) are noted for their focus on the everyday. These vampires are found nested within communities, seeking to temper their urges and coexist with humans.

The book can be purchased on Amazon.com, Powell’s Books, or Barnes and Noble.

You can download “Buffy vs. Bella: The Re-Emergence of the Archetypal Feminine in Vampire Stories” [PDF]

 

The Oscars and the Bechdel Test

February 15, 2012

It’s been a few years since I’ve checked in with The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies so I thought it would be a good time to look in on Hollywood and see if there’s been any substantial improvement in women’s representations on the big screen.  In this updated video, I go through the 2011 films nominated for Best Picture at the 84th annual Academy Awards and see how they measure up to the Bechdel Test. Keep watching because I also propose a small addendum to help clarify the spirit of the test and provide a solution on how Hollywood can fix the glaring problem that the Bechdel Test exposes. I’ll also address the question, “What about the reverse test?” and I’ll show an alternative test that has been adapted by critics to identify the presence of people of colour in films.  Sprinkled throughout this video I offer a few movie recommendations.

Watch my original Bechdel Test for Women in Movies video.

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** This video is available to be translated into other languages by volunteers like you. Please visit the subtitling page on Universal Subtitles and click TRANSLATE to get started.

Full transcript below the cut

LEGO & Gender Part 2: The Boys Club

February 6, 2012

Watch Part 1: LEGO Friends

In part 1 of my two part LEGO and Gender series, I explored how LEGO went terribly wrong with LEGO Friends and provided a brief history of LEGO’s ridiculous and slightly hilarious attempts to market to girls since the late 70′s.

In part 2, I delve into how LEGO shifted their products from their initial relatively, gender neutral building experience to a more male dominated and male identified one.  The LEGO group intentionally did this in three ways: 1. Marketing exclusively to boys, 2. Producing male identified and centered themes and sets and 3. Focusing on stereotypical boys play scenarios with an emphasis on combat.  The strong focus on boys has effectively kicked girls out of the LEGO club house. Keep watching until the end where I provide a few suggestions to LEGO on how to fix their gender segregation problem.

Watch the LEGO Violence Ads Montage on YouTube

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** This video is available to be translated into other languages by volunteers like you. Please visit the subtitling page on Universal Subtitles and click TRANSLATE to get started.

Full transcript below the cut

LEGO & Gender Part 1: Lego Friends

January 30, 2012

Watch Part 2: The LEGO Boys’ Club

LEGO announced that after 4 years of intensive research, they have finally come up with a LEGO product that fulfills the desires of “how girls naturally build and play.” This new theme is called LEGO Friends and it’s a pink and purple, gender segregated, suburban wasteland populated by Barbie/Bratz style dolls.  Many parents, educators, feminists, and media critics have spoken out against LEGOs attempts to separate girls into their own stereotypical isolated enclave within the LEGO universe.

In part 1 of my two part LEGO and Gender series, I’ll explore how LEGO went terribly wrong with LEGO Friends and provide a brief history of LEGO’s ridiculous and slightly hilarious attempts to market to girls since the late 70’s.  In part 2 I’ll delve into LEGO’s intentional strategy to market almost exclusively to boys since the mid 80’s by developing and marketing sets that are male identified and male centered.  In conclusion, I’ll offer LEGO a couple of suggestions that they can consider when creating and marketing new products.

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** This video is available to be translated into other languages by volunteers like you. Please visit the subtitling page on Universal Subtitles and click TRANSLATE to get started.

Full transcript below the cut

Five Creepy and/or Sexist Christmas Songs

December 21, 2011

You’ve heard them about a bagillion times before, and every December they are played over and over again, yup, it’s the same old Christmas and Holiday songs. But have you ever noticed that some of the lyrics can be just down right creepy? Check out this video for my Top 5 Creepy and/or Sexist Christmas Songs.

NOTE: I include Mariah Carey’s song “All I want for Christmas Is You” only to illustrate the larger overall pattern in mass media where women are constantly presented as “only wanting a man”. Carey’s song itself is not really a huge issue but the larger media pattern is definitely problematic.

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* My earrings were made by Abiquite, go visit her etsy shop.

** This video is available to be translated into other languages by volunteers like you. Please visit the subtitling page on Universal Subtitles and click TRANSLATE to get started.

Full transcript below the cut

Top 10 Best Non-Violent iPhone Games

December 14, 2011

Here is my Top 10 List of favourite non violent video games for the iPhone.  I compiled this list because, while there is a huge variety of different types of video games, the testosterone driven, shoot em up style tends to dominate discussions about “serious gaming” and can feel exclusionary and alienating to a lot of other people who may be interested in exploring alternative forms of gaming. Plus these games are loads of fun to play!

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** This video is available to be translated into other languages by volunteers like you. Please visit the subtitling page on Universal Subtitles and click TRANSLATE to get started.

Full transcript below the cut

Women’s Media Center Social Media Award

October 28, 2011

I’m honored to be nominated for the Women’s Media Center Social Media Award

“As part of this year’s Women’s Media Awards, the Women’s Media Center is opening voting to the public. Cast your vote for one of 27 incredible women bloggers, social media gurus, activists, and new media creators from across the country today! The winner will be honored at the Women’s Media Awards on November 30, 2011 in New York City.”

The list of nominees includes some amazing women who do work to support women’s rights in many different ways.  Women such as Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown, Shelby Knox, Latoya Peterson of Racialicious, Sofia Quintero, Melissa Silverstein of Women in Hollywood, Deanna Zandt as well as many others!

If you’d like to participate in voting, you can read about all the women nominated and cast your ballot by November 15, 2011.

Create Your Own Web Show with Reel Grrls

October 19, 2011

I spent the past weekend at the Reel Grrls office leading a workshop to an all ages group of women and girls.  The intensive two day workshop covered everything from how to research and write a script, shooting video and composition, how to edit with Final Cut Pro, how to do a media literacy analysis and even how to navigate the harassment women face being on the Internet.

The participants created AMAZING videos on a range of media topics from Feminism to wearing makeup.  Even with such a short period of time the Grrls created engaging, smart, funny and socially relevant videos.  I’m so proud of everyone who participated and look forward to many more videos in the future!  You can watch all four videos below:

 

The Meaning of Feminism

Make Up

Media: How Far Have We Come

How Far is Too Far

Geek Girl VLogging Workshop at Geek Girl Con

October 6, 2011

I’m thrilled to be apart of the first Geek Girl Con coming up this weekend in Seattle.  On Sunday, I have two sessions I’m participating in:

Geek Girl Vlogging
Vlog your way to a better tomorrow! Feminist Frequency and Reel Grrls team up to host a Geek Girl video blogging workshop. This introductory workshop covers the basic how to of video blogging from shooting to publishing. See examples of some of the most interesting vlogs on the net with panelists’ critique on the do’s and don’ts of creating compelling online videos.
Panelists: Maile Martinez and Anita Sarkeesian.

Media Literacy, Criticism, and Production
Geek Girls are fluent in popular culture, yet sometimes miss the subtext imbedded in the words and images put out by the media. Panelists will open your eyes to the good, the bad, and the ugly of media and help you to start asking questions of media creators, distributors, and consumers.
Panelists: Maile Martinez (moderator), Anita Sarkeesian, Leah Wilson, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Kelsey Wallace, Kjerstin Johnson

 Resources and Recommended Videos below (more…)