Monthly Archives: August 2009

Woman of the Week: Imogen Heap

Welcome to our latest challenge: a weekly post, Woman of the Week (WOW)!  Each week, we will spotlight a woman who’s been in the news, published a book, found the cure for cancer…  Or, if we’re feeling bookish, you’ll get a WOW that reads more like “This Day in History.”  So without further ado, here’s your WOW.

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WOW: Imogen Heap

Why Now?: Heap’s much-anticipated (by myself at least) third album, Ellipse, was released on Tuesday, August 25.

Why Should You Care?: Continue reading

Flashback to Feisty Females in Film

(This is the beginning of a new weekly feature in the blog, Flashback to Feisty Females in Film. I think the title gives away what it’s all about–feel free to reminisce with us!)

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Feisty Female:
Danielle de Barbarac
Year we got to know her:
1998
Best known for:
showing up her witchy step-sister Marguerite with her mind and her sass, eventually saving herself from emprisonment and bagging the Prince of France in Ever After
Why she deserves a second look:
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Remember to Read!

So pretty soon we’ll put up a post on Band of Sisters so we can discuss what we thought of the book (my opinion of the book in one word: meh) but I just wanted to remind you all that the August read is The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade. I’m over halfway through the book and already I love it. I think I’d even venture to say it’s a must-read for every person in America. Yes, bold statement. But seriously, ever chapter, every page, every story breaks my heart and makes me shocked that I’ve been ignorant about the way in which teenage mothers were treated in the 1950s and 1960s and how they were forced by their parents and society to give up their children. It’s definitely a must-read. Here’s just a snippet to entice you to go check it out:
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Sexist Pig Competes on Top Chef!

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Mike Isabella.  Current Executive Chef at Zaytinya restaurant in DC has revealed to the world that he is a backward, sexist pig on the season premiere of Top Chef: Las Vegas (season 6).

Here’s the story:
The first quickfire challenge this season was a relay race using typical Las Vegas ingredients: clams, lobster, prawns, and ribs. (For you non-watchers of Top Chef, a quickfire challenge is the first challenge in each episode. It’s usually done in under 30 minutes and with impossibly ridiculous ingredients.) Mike was in charge of shucking the clams for his team, and was extremely confident and motivated to win (read: cocky and arrogant). He worked very quickly but became extremely distressed when he found that Jennifer Carroll, self-proclaimed “Bitch of the Kitchen”– of the blue team, was going just as quickly as he was. And then, the sexist pig reared its head: “There’s no way, no offense– but a girl shouldn’t be at the same level as I am.”
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500 Days of Summer, or, Why I Hate the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

500 Days of Summer, or, Why I Hate the Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed this movie. We all enjoy these movies; they’re designed to make you feel good, make you believe (however fleetingly) in “love.” I’d watch it again, hell, I might even buy it when it comes out on DVD. But this was the movie that pushed me over the edge in my frustration with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG). As coined by Nathan Rabin when reviewing Kirsten Dunst’s character in Elizabethtown, the MPDG is “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” Think Natalie Portman in Garden State, Kate Hudson in Almost Famous, Rachel Bilson in The Last Kiss. These women are always happy and quirky, have no real lives of their own, and exist solely to push depressed men to do things and save them. Call me unsympathetic, but save your own f***ing life, I’d rather have agency.

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16 and Pregnant

So I know I’m late to jumping on this bandwagon but I don’t own a television so I can be quite slow at these things sometimes. I had read article after article about MTVs new documentary series “16 and Pregnant” and curiosity got the better of me as I reluctantly navigated over to mtv.com to stream the episodes. Taking a cue from their own “True Life” series, each episode deals with (spoiler!) a 16-ish year old pregnant girl. With cartoon intros taking a page from Juno and musical transitions like Flight of the Conchords, the show begs to make documentary-style hip! But as an avid “True Life” junkie already, I didn’t need any gimmicks for me to realize that this show, with its stark honesty and refusal to proselytize or preach on the hot-button “issue” of teen pregnancy, is not only refreshing but a must-watch for all young people in America.

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Hell Hath No Fury Indeed

Well, readers- this would be the part where the judge says: “Time for closing arguments” and I scramble to include most of the other random thoughts I’ve had rolling around in my grey matter the last few days regarding our most recent book, Hell Hath No Fury.

As Pamela Moran would say, “Have at it!”

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Original Spin Doctors?:  To influence troops and/or public opinion Zenobia, Isabella I of Spain, and Elizabeth I all appeared on horseback and in armor before their troops to both inspire and rally their spirits. (See an excerpt from Elizabeth’s speech included in Wednesday’s post for more on exciting the troops.)

Similarly, Catherine the Great, Matilda, Isabella I, Jinga Mbandi, and Elizabeth I dressed in male attire in battle or for ritual ceremonies. The authors suggest that these women used male attire in order to visually excite their soldiers and comrades, and also to look the part of powerful war leader– and male attire, whether in armor or uniform, was shorthand for that kind of authority.
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