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Movies: Miss Representation

December 6, 2010 | Movies

I’m looking forward to seeing this. It’s scheduled to premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in January. Find out more at Miss REPRESENTATION.

The site has a list of “suggested reading” books, to which I add:

  • Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Joanne Bamberger: PunditMom’s Mothers of Intention: How Women & Social Media Are Revolutionizing Politics in America
  • Ann Crittenden: The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued and If You’ve Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything
  • Susan J. Douglas (and Meredith W. Michaels): Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message that Feminism’s Work Is Done, The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women and Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media
  • Barbara Ehrenreich: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America and Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream
  • Gloria Feldt: No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power
  • Sharon Lerner: The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation
  • Carolyn B. Maloney: Rumors of our Progress have been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women’s Lives Aren’t Getting any Easier and How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters
  • Devra Renner and Aviva Pflock: Mommy Guilt: Learn to Worry Less, Focus on What Matters Most, and Raise Happier Kids
  • Joan C. Williams: Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter and Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It
  • Posted by Becky @ 6:00 am | 1 Comment  

    Movies: Fantastic Mr. Fox

    July 15, 2010 | Movies

    We watched Fantastic Mr. Fox after reading the book this summer. Well, sort of. We tried to watch it on the portable DVD player we brought, but things kept going wrong. So we’ll have to have a proper viewing when we get back home.

    Posted by Becky @ 6:00 am | Comments  

    Movies: The Girl Who Played with Fire

    July 11, 2010 | Movies

    I finished watching my mother-in-law’s copy of The Girl Who Played with Fire (Flickan som lekte med elden), the Swedish movie that goes with Stieg Larsson‘s second book of the Millenium trilogy. I also got the third movie here in Norway. I’ll watch it when we get home.

    Posted by Becky @ 6:00 am | Comments  

    Movies: Elling

    March 7, 2010 | Movies

    We watched Elling last night. I’m trying to remember who recommended it, but it was someone on Twitter. Anyway. Great recommendation. It’s a Norwegian film directed by Petter Næss and based on Ingvar Ambjørnsen’s novel from 1996, Brødre i blodet (Blood Brothers). We enjoyed the movie. It was very funny at times, a bit sad at times but sweet and touching the whole time.

    Posted by Becky @ 12:09 pm | Comments  

    Movie: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    February 2, 2010 | Books,Movies,Stieg Larsson

    I got Män som hatar kvinnor from Norway for Christmas. It’s a movie based on Stieg Larsson‘s book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Wow. It was in Swedish. I watched it with Norwegian subtitles. It stuck really close to the book, so that helped. But, wow. Great movie.

    Posted by Becky @ 6:00 am | 1 Comment  

    Dude, where’s my $700 billion?

    December 17, 2008 | Banks,Economics,Ethics,Leslie Bennetts,Movies,No clothes!,Politics,SLBTM,U.S. government

    Headline of the day. But, then, I’m partial to the whole Dude headline theme. Maybe I should see the movie, eh?

    Posted by Becky @ 9:12 am | Comments  

    Books: Rumors of our Progress have been Greatly Exaggerated by Carolyn B. Maloney

    August 7, 2008 | Advertising,Books,Breast cancer,Colbert Report,Colin Powell,Economics,Ethics,Family,Health,Media,Movies,MSM,Music,Parenting,Pink,Politics,PR,Race,Research,SLBTM,Statistics,Television,U.S. government,Verizon,Work,Working Mother

    I just finished reading Rumors of our Progress have been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women’s Lives Aren’t Getting any Easier and How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. I received a review copy from the publisher, Modern Times, an imprint of Rodale, Inc.

    As I was getting ready to write something about the book, I ran across Maloney’s July 29, 2008, appearance on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. At first, I thought I would just include it with other links, but the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me.

    The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
    Better Know a District – New York’s 14th – Carolyn Maloney
    www.colbertnation.com
    Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

    Is it really funny that women get fired for lactating?

    Here’s a quote from Maloney’s book.

    I also heard numerous stories about difficulties in the workplace, including one woman whose male colleagues mooed outside the door as she expressed milk to take home and another woman being banished to do so in her car across the street from her office.

    I didn’t laugh once while reading her book, but maybe I missed something. Exactly which issue that she wrote about was funny? Rape? Domestic violence? Burkas? Breast cancer? Or maybe prostitution? That link goes to a 2007 feature in Prism magazine, which Maloney reprinted on page 246 of her book and said it made the strongest case against sex trafficking she had ever seen.

    Depictions of prostitution in the media and popular culture (including the movie Pretty Woman) can be grossly misleading, even glamorous. In fact, street prostitutes are typically trafficked, exploited, battered, and often force-fed drugs by slavemaster pimps. This series of mugshots of street prostitutes, which documents their first arrest to their eighth, illustrates the reality of life on the street, which more closely resembles a descent into hell than a Hollywood movie.

    Is that funny? If not, I’m confused about why one of the first places she went to discuss her book was Comedy Central.

    The blurbs on the back of her book are written by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Pat Schroeder, Ellie Smeal and Arianna Huffington. (Geraldine Ferraro was also included in the online “praise” section for the book.) Were they slapping their knees and giggling at the sight of Colbert using a breast pump while Maloney smiled and kept her cool? If not, does that mean they just can’t take a joke?

    I’ve written about the blurred lines between celebrity and politics. It’s as if something has shifted. Instead of looking back as former government officials (elected or not), they now have to prove they don’t take themselves too seriously while they’re in office, no matter how “serious” the positions they hold. They have to prove that they get the joke. Hey, they’re even in on the joke because so many things that happen in Washington are, well, a joke. Is that it?

    Maybe I just don’t get the whole Inside the Beltway atmosphere. Is it really just a non-stop college kegger where everyone has to hit the beer bong and slam shots until they puke their guts out to prove they can keep up?

    Sigh.

    Maloney’s book is a fairly comprehensive list of women’s issues — what’s been done, what’s been undone and what still needs to be done. For those who regularly keep up on these issues, not much of the information is new, but it’s interesting to read about the issues from Maloney’s perspective as a policymaker.

    She put a “take-action guide” at the end of each chapter, providing contact information for some of the groups and organizations working on specific issues. Her goal is to convince readers to do something, anything: “I hope to persuade you that any action in support of your beliefs matters, whether it is large or small, brief or time-consuming, successful or unsuccessful.”

    She included women’s personal stories as well as her own story and a wealth of information from other sources.

    She draws upon the work of Martha Burk (Cult of Power: Sex Discrimination in Corporate America and What Can Be Done About It), Ann Crittenden (The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued), Jody Heymann (The Work, Family, and Equity Index: Where Does the United States Stand Globally?), MomsRising (The Motherhood Manifesto: What America’s Moms Want – and What To Do About It), Evelyn Murphy and E.J. Graff (Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men–And What to Do About It), Joan Williams (Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It), Marie Wilson (Closing the Leadership Gap: Add Women, Change Everything), among many others.

    She also included some of her own research and highlighted inconsistencies between cultural myth and everyday reality.

    Maloney mentioned Morgan Stanley, which settled a class-action sex-discrimination case for $54 million and then another one for $46 million, yet it consistently appears on Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers list, a topic I have written about many times.

    You might think that Morgan Stanley would work especially hard to eradicate sex discrimination after so costly [$54 million] an episode. But the firm settled another class action sex discrimination suit in 2007 for $46 million — bringing its overall sex discrimination price tag to an even $100 million. That sounds like a lot, but it only amounts to a few good days of trading.

    Despite these incidents, Morgan Stanley has been cited numerous times by Working Mother magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. That makes me wonder how bad things are at other companies.

    While she pointed out the inconsistency of the companies that appear in Working Mother with their employment track record, she listed in the take-action guide the National Association for Female Executives, which might be a perfectly fine organization. But it falls under the umbrella of Working Mother Media, which publishes Working Mother magazine, whose 100 Best list is — well, let’s just say I’m highly skeptical of the whole thing.

    She also gave this example.

    If you drive your Mitsubishi to the airport after filling its tank at Sunoco, board a Boeing-built plane for a United Airlines flight, use your Verizon cell phone service to call your spouse before you take off, and then bite into a Krispy Kreme doughnut, you’ve just enriched six household-name companies that have settled or lost sex discrimination cases and lawsuits in recent years.

    Right. At least one of those companies — Verizon — makes Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers list year after year.

    In the take-action guide at the end of the “Health Care That’s Always There” chapter, she recommended (among others) Dove’s Campain for Real Beauty as a way to “start health education early by teaching our young and teenaged girls about issues that affect them.” If you scratch the surface of Dove, you’ll find a wee bit of image manipulation of its own.

    Unilever is the maker of Dove products (and major “research” funder), which are the basis for the Campaign for Real Beauty and its self-esteem education for young girls. Unilever also makes and markets Axe products, which exist in a parallel universe where the V.I.X.E.N.S. (Very Interactive Xtremely Entertaining Naughty Supermodels) and Bom Chicka Wah Wahs don’t have “real beauty” or self-esteem issues.

    In “The Pretty Woman Myth” chapter, Maloney wrote about misleading portrayals of prostitution in popular culture and mentioned that the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006 went to ‘It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,'” whose lyrics include:

    Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too
    You pay the right price and they’ll both do you
    That’s the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin
    Gotta have my hustle tight, makin change off these women, yeah

    I remember when that happened, thinking, what?!? There was George Clooney, smugly patting himself on the back for Hollywood being “out of touch” for “giving Hattie McDaniel an Oscar when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters.” That was in 1939. Just how long was it, dear George, until the next black person was so honored? That would be 1948, then 1964, then 1982, then 2002. And just how far has Hollywood come, George, by glorifying “the black man” … as a pimp, not to mention portraying women of all colors as simply a venue for making money? Hollywood’s out of touch, George. Ya think?

    Which brings me back around to the Comedy Central appearance.

    If it’s a matter of reaching a younger audience? C’mon, they deserve more credit than that. It’s not only “the kids” watching Comedy Central, and “the younger audience” is watching much more than just Comedy Central. And there are tons of young, vibrant, intelligent voices on the Internet. Dust off the mouse and start clicking.

    Besides, there’s not a damn thing that’s funny about this book. Just like the issues Maloney discusses in the book — the media and popular-culture myths that harm the efforts to improve the lives of real people — Maloney’s Comedy Central appearance did nothing but belittle and mock some very serious societal issues. The people behind the stories about sex discrimination, prostitution and unacceptably high infant-mortality rates (to name just a few) deserve much more than to become the butt of a comedian’s joke.

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    Posted by Becky @ 4:10 pm | 18 Comments  

    Oy To The World, the Chinese Is Come, Let Jews Receive Their Food!

    December 25, 2007 | Books,Family,Friends,Guest blogger,Guest post,Middle East,Movies,My neighborhood,Opinion,Research,Stuff,Weird things,Working Mother

    Aviva and Devra are in da house!  Merry Christmas Ya’ll!   Maybe you aren’t expecting a holiday greeting from the Two Jew Crew, but when Becky asked if we would guest blog, we requested Christmas. Why? Because we know You People our Christian mishpuka should be able to spend time with their families, so we shall work today so you don’t have to!  (So when Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur roll around return the fave. K?)

    Jews and Chinese Food.  Add Christmas to the mix and you get a Holy Trinity  representing a Trifecta of Treyf. Why is this night different from any other night? Why on this night do Jews eat at Shun Lee instead of at home?  From Christmas Eve to Christmas Day Jews are making their Kung Pao pilgrimages.  Even Working Mother Magazine  Jews can’t tell you where this longstanding holiday observance originated, we only know it’s tradition. It’s how we roll.   Everyone should  know more about Jewish holiday observances beyond, “They tried to annihilate us. We survived. Let’s Eat!”  If Becky where here, she would no doubt be calling out the people striving to be our nation’s leader to tell us why Jews eat Chinese food On Christmas. 

     Hillary should know.  Fred Thompson may have the secret.  Is Barack is just one consonant away from unlocking the mystery?  Oh hell. Move over politics! Let’s dish…

    Believe it or not, the combination of Jews and Chinese food is an ancient custom – OK, not biblical ancient nor is it an Ancient Chinese Secret, but it does appear to go back to the late 1800’s – no putzing around!

    In lower Manhattan, immigrant Jews opened delicatessens for other Jews,Italians ran restaurants for other Italians, and Germans had many places serving primarily Germans. But Chinese restaurants welcomed everyone. As a result, even in the 1890s both Jews and Italians usually felt more at home in Chinese restaurants than they did in each other’s eateries.” (Originally published; “New York Jews and Chinese Food: The Social Construction of an Ethnic Pattern” by Gaye Tuchman and Harry G. Levine) 

    Fast forward a few hundred years and it is still generally true.  Chinese food does not include dairy products. The fear of mixing a little dairy with your meat isn’t an issue. (You say, “Pork!” We say, “Kosher house, not Kosher stomach.”)  Look, Chinese food  became a status symbol for our people during The Depression – immigrant Jews who ate out at Chinese restaurants identified themselves and others as being chic and sophisticated-why should we want to change that practice?  Is it so terrible? Who does it hurt? Don’t you want your mother to be happy? 

    Nowadays, you can find many eateries willing to open their doors to make a buck on Christmas, and you can find quite a few folks  who would rather buy a meal instead of cook one.  However, it wasn’t so long ago, Chinese restaurants were about the only option for eating out on Christmas day.  Another bonus to Chinese food on Christmas is the holiday repast is available before or after the matinee. Just because Christmas is not a Jewish holiday, does this mean no Jewish observance? Feh. Whatever your observance, we wish you Good Fortune and a very Merry Christmas!

    Posted by Devra and Aviva @ 8:43 pm | 1 Comment  

    ‘Barnyard’ bovines udderly bullish for boobs

    July 18, 2007 | Hormones in milk?,Movies,Transgendered bovines

    I took the kids to see Barnyard today. All I could think was, “Have these people never been on a farm?” The male cows — you know, bulls — all had udders.

    Those Wikipedia folks are on top of it, explaining that the director did it all for fun. OK. I guess I wasn’t the only person perplexed by the sight of misplaced mammaries.

    Yeah, yeah, I know. I’ve seen lots of inexplicable things with kid stuff and lived to tell about it.

    Many cartoon figures have only three fingers and/or three toes.

    And poor Ken, well … poor Ken.

    But Otis and his udder?

    That just ain’t right.

    Posted by Becky @ 10:47 pm | Comments  


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