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Review: The People vs. OJ Simpson

I was only a few months old when the ‘Trial of the Century’ was taking place. Despite this fact, I grew up knowing the name OJ Simpson. I first heard it when my dad tried to hide the fact that he shrunk my mom’s wool sweater in the wash, who then playfully reminded him that he’s not OJ Simpson. He cannot get away with things. I didn’t know exactly what Simpson did or didn’t do at this point, but I did know that it was a name I should be aware of.  I knew ‘The Juice’ for what everyone perceived him as; a joke.

american-crime-story_1However, with the airing of the new American Crime Story mini series, The People vs. OJ Simpson, it’s becoming more apparent that although the OJ Simpson trial was, in fact, a joke– it wasn’t a very funny one. The words that do come to mind are more along the lines of, ‘what the actual… you know’.

I’m currently watching the series from the perspective of a millennial. Lost, confused, and downright mad. The experience is a first for me, which makes me feel rather apologetic for the audience that has to live through the proceedings of this bizarre trial once again. Although most people know what happens next, for me to realize that spoilers are available on the internet involving the real people — YouTube videos included, is reassuring. (Because I can’t sleep for a week not knowing if the gloves fit or not!)

My friends, who were also too young to have followed the case back in 1994, look at me in disbelief when I summarize what’s currently happening on the show they have yet to tune into. (Come on, ladies!) I myself catch myself pausing during pivotal scenes during the hour to refer to Google in order to confirm whether or not there really was a car chase and why no one said anything when ‘the Dream Team’ redecorated Simpson’s home. WHY? And yes youngsters, those things really did happen.

THE PEOPLE v. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY "From the Ashes of Tragedy" Episode 101 (Airs Tuesday, February 2, 10:00 pm/ep) -- - Pictured: (l-r) David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, John Travolta as Robert Shapiro. CR: Ray Mickshaw/FXWhat makes this series so appealing, besides the plot, is largely based on the actors and actresses that are depicting each of the persons involved in the trial. Although Cuba Gooding Jr doesn’t really fit the build of Simpson himself, his performance is doing justice to his lack of ‘juice.’ Also, can we talk about David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian? His portrayal of OJ’s bestie and the father of the four obnoxious children in America is rather likeable.

And yes, actual person Marcia Clark probably does not enjoy watching award-winning actress, Sarah Paulson, replay her worst ever hair day — but it’s insightful to see this series make a case for her as the real hero in this tragedy. The fact that they dedicated an entire episode of a 10-part series to the trials and tribulations of a female prosecutor and her personal life demonstrates the challenges that we as women have to face– even in the midst of a case involving two brutal homicides. Because priorities.

THE PEOPLE v. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY "The Dream Team" Episode 103 (Airs Tuesday, February 16, 10:00 pm/ep) -- Pictured: (l-r) Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson, Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran. CR: Byron Cohen/FX

Race is also an important element of the show. With the #BlackLivesMatter movement gaining more recognition in lieu of recent police brutality cases, The People vs. OJ Simpson has only fueled the fire behind the controversy of the trial and the overall treatment of black people in society. The show is doing a phenomenal job in bringing forth the different perspectives of the people involved in the trial while still making Simpson look guilty. (Because he is.) Questions have also been raised as to why this series is tackling the trial after so long in the first place, but the discussions on race and gender equality along with the emergence of new evidence have made Simpson’s case more relevant than ever.

It doesn’t take effort to make the OJ Simpson more ‘TV friendly.’ With car chases, conspiracy theories, and plot twists, the trial not only divided the nation between #Guilty and #NotGuilty, it probably had producers and directors running for their phones to get started on their next crime story project. Despite the distractions that come with Paulson’s hair and John Travolta’s face (yikes!), American Crime Story: The People Vs. OJ Simpson is the only series involving a Kardashian that you’ll want to keep up with.

Are you watching The People Vs. OJ Simpson? Let us know what you think about it in the comments below! 

 

An exploration into the world of Pansexuality

“Gender identity is diverse and there are no binaries. Look into the etymology of “gender” and the word itself means nothing more than genre or kind,” says pansexual and transgender advocate, Sabbina Gibson. “This kind of binary perspective on it has been opposed and imposed on us. As a pansexual, all genders are embraced, not both. It is not one or the other.”

Gibson is a transgender woman living in Toronto. Taking a break to talk to me from personal training at Pursuit OCR, an adult obstacle course located at a converted industrial building in Parkdale, I begin to understand the hurdles Gibson and other pansexuals have to climb to help others understand their sexuality.

“Pansexuality is something that people are becoming more aware of, that more people will be able to identify with, and as a result they will not keep it in the closet. Then it will be able to be discussed openly,” says Gibson.

The first step to discussing pansexuality openly is understanding exactly what it means to each individual person within the context of their lives, and what the word means as a sexual label.

“I think sexual labels need to be defined by the communities and people who use them. We can’t define other people’s identities. In my health research I use a definition of pansexuality that draws on the etymology of the word (“pan” means “all” in Greek),” says PhD researcher for indigenous health and sexuality, Margaret Robinson.

Pansexuality is defined as a sexual attraction, romantic love, or emotional attraction toward people of any sex or gender. The term is becoming increasingly recognized in modern society, but still confuses many people. Understanding the label is a primary step to embracing this type of sexual marker and allows people to further identity with it.

Gibson says that heterosexuals look for a person with particular character traits, similar to a pansexual, but the physical aspects that a person looks for can be very superficial.

Gibson adds, “Someone who is pansexual may have an attraction to physical traits, but an attraction in someone’s personality becomes much more overarching than just a person’s appearance or a specific focus on someone’s genitals.”

Gibson also notes that her experience as a transgender woman has played a part in her identity as a pansexual because it can be difficult to find a partner.“Being pansexual, I don’t have gender preference as a way to increase my odds of finding somebody,” she says. “At this point, I don’t care who it is in terms of their gender as long as I mesh with them on an emotional and personal level.”

Logan Facette, a practicing pansexual from Calgary, AB. agrees with Gibson’s definition of pansexuality. He places emphasis on a person’s personality rather than their gender.

“My sexuality happens with the changing of the seasons. I never know who I’m going to be attracted to at any specific moment,” says Facette.

Facette is an open and outgoing person and is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities, having suffered from epilepsy himself. His favourite saying is “the only disability is a bad attitude,” and he is confident in his identity as a pansexual, demonstrating how irrelevant the need to justify sexuality really can be.

“I really don’t know why I’m pansexual.  I don’t need to justify it. I need to be confident in what my mind is telling me,” he says. “This person is hugely attractive and I don’t need to know what their gender is.”

Facette is also married and monogomous. “My partner is female. She has the same attractions as I do. I am very free-flowing with my sexuality and is something I really wanted in my partner,” he explains. “There needs to be total honesty and communication in the relationship. I quickly learned I wasn’t comfortable with being “bi”. I kept looking and I came upon pansexuality.”

University of Toronto professor of philosophy of sexuality, Ronald De Sousa, emphasizes the importance of drawing the distinction between bisexuality and pansexuality to further understand the meaning of “all” in the Pan identifier. “Pan requires thinking of people without bringing in their gender. Bisexuals may be distinguished because they may not be open to people that are in-between genders,” says De Souza.

Bisexuality is defined as an attraction to the same and different, but is often termed as an attraction to two specific genders rather than all genders. That being said, Robinson notes the difference between the two types of sexual labels leads some people to frame pansexuality as trans-friendly and bisexuality as transphobic, which is not the case.

“There’s been a tendency in some circles to frame pansexuality as trans-friendly and bisexuality as transphobic, but that ignores the reality of bi communities, our trans-inclusive history, and it ignores the trans people who identify as bi. I’m bisexual because I have attraction to people with the same gender as me and also to people with genders different from my own,” says Robinson. “Identity is contextual. Identifying as bisexual connects me with specific communities, particular histories, and particular values. I fit the definition of pansexual, but I don’t use that label.”

Pansexuality also attempts to overcome the common correlation of gender and sexuality, rather than specifying sexual orientation towards genders in any way.

Gender is defined as “the state of being female or male, with reference to cultural differences rather than biological ones.” Sexuality is defined as “a person’s sexual orientation or preference”. Too often, gender and sexuality are blended into the same meaning.

“How absurd is it to filter all of your sexual partners within the criteria of gender,” says De Souza. “Freud said, ‘Heterosexuality is much in need of questioning.’ I agree because people’s sexuality should be free. It shouldn’t be bound by heterosexual monogamous relationships. Gender and sexuality have nothing to do with humans in any way except by these ideas about what you are supposed to do as a woman and a man.”

Gibson agrees. “Gender and sexuality is too intertwined for people to distinguish what the difference is. Even in the LGBTQ culture,” she says. “There is not just one gender or the other, and there is no distinct boundary. Gender becomes a grey area and an expression of a much more complex human nature.”

Over the last century, the discursive space to discuss different types of sexualities and labels across the spectrum has increased substantially. With the wake of feminism in the 1970s, sexuality became a prevalent topic and though homophobia still persists, heterosexuality is no longer seen as the only mode of sexuality in western society.

Robison further explains there are a few generations of women and men interested in enforcing gender binaries, which opens up the space to more gender fluid expressions of sexuality. Potentially, the next possible wave of change in the world of sexuality of understanding is the eradication of the need to label sexuality into a category at all.

“The point here is not about whether you are hetereosexual, bisexual, homosexual or pansexual. The reality is that if you are human, you are just simply sexual,” says Gibson. “How you categorize it and contextualize it is your individual decision.”

‘You are bold, you are brilliant, and you are beautiful!’

Ashley Graham is a goddess.

Seriously, she is drop-dead gorgeous — anyone who says otherwise is blind.

Graham recently graced the cover of the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. Sporting a purple bikini with yellow-stringed ties, she sits on the beach, allowing the water to gently splash over her skin. You may ask, what’s controversial about that? It seems standard for any swimsuit edition.

The difference is that Graham is a plus-size model, the first of her kind to grace the pages of Sports Illustrated.

Screenshot 2016-02-29 11.04.45Graham has been featured on the covers of Elle Quebec, London Times, Cover Magazine, Style Magazine, The Edit, and the Shape Issues of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Elle UK. She is also quite the entrepreneur, having collaborated with Canadian brand Additionelle on her own line of lingerie. She even appears in her own television advertisements, dressed in her sexy apparel — confident and absolutely seductive.

Despite all of these accomplishments, Graham was still on the receiving end of many body-shaming comments.

My favourite was made by a Facebook group I followed (used to follow I should say) called Bright Side, that said “you decide to get healthy and then see this.”

Former Sports Illustrated model Cheryl Tiegs said that Graham’s face was beautiful, but the magazine shouldn’t be glamorizing full-figured women because her waist was too large. YouTuber Nicole Arbour, whose “Dear Fat People” videos are too shameful to link to in this article, slammed Graham, saying that if she simply worked out she could lose weight. “I want to eat cookies and still be a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model; what’s next, you can be a midget and a Rockette? What’s wrong with having a physical standard for something?” Arbour said in her video.

It boggled my mind that people didn’t see what I did — a beautiful NORMAL sized woman.

Just because a woman is larger, doesn’t mean that she is unhealthy or inactive. I would be considered a plus-size woman, despite the fact that today I ate a salad for lunch, did some yoga, and walked to work instead of taking the bus. I know a lot of beautiful women that are on the larger side. They go to the gym on a regular basis, eat healthily, and live a full life.

During her Tedx Talk in May 2015, Graham starts by saying: “You are bold, you are brilliant, and you are beautiful! There is no other woman like you. You are capable. Back fat, I see you popping up over my bra strap, but I’m going to choose to love you.”

In the U.S., plus-size is defined as size eight to 16. “Most of the people in this room would be defined as plus-size,” she said. “How does that make you feel – to be labelled?”

Graham has worked hard to rid these labels from the fashion industry (which, admittedly, I have used numerous times in this article). She is also the co-founder of ALDA, a modelling agency that “represents beauty beyond size”. This group of five women have made strides to break down size stereotypes within the fashion industry and prove that beauty is not just skin deep.

I commend Sports Illustrated for having the courage to stand up and tell the truth: activity does not necessarily equate size, and size does not necessarily equate health. There is no need to pressure regularly sized women to lose weight through extreme dieting. There is no need to encourage women to drink juice for eight weeks or take pills from unqualified doctors on television. Sports Illustrated has come forward as a magazine for active individuals — regardless of whether you are a size zero or a size 16 — and that means that people like me may actually read the magazine.

One final thought: take a look at how gorgeous Graham looked at the Oscars. Does that look like an unhealthy person to you? As she said in her Tedx Talk, “the fashion industry may want to label me as plus-size, but I like to think of me as my-size.”

All women should be that confident — and it’s time we stopped shaming them for it.

 

 

What did you think of Sports Illustrated’s decision? Let us know in the comments below.

The Kinkiest Boots around

“And remember. You are not making footwear. You are not making boots. You are making two and a half feet of irresistible, tubular sex!”

Shoes. I love them. It doesn’t matter how much weight you gain or what mood you are in, shoes will always fit and will ALWAYS look good. A pair of red heels will make your legs look awesome and your bottom…well, I’ll leave the words to describe your own derrière up to you. So, imagine my excitement when my sister approached my family over the holidays with tickets to Kinky Boots, a Tony Award-winning broadway musical entirely about heeled shoes? I was over the moon!

The Toronto Mirvish production of Kinky Boots opened in June 2015, and since then it has been extended three times. The show is inspired by true events and tells the story of a shoemaker’s son, Charlie, who takes over the business and decides to tap into a niche market — making sturdy stilettos for crossdressers. An incredible partnership between Grammy/Tony award-winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper and broadway legend Harvey Fierstein ensured the music was sublime and the characters were loveable.

As we settled into our cramped seats — the Royal Alexander Theatre really packs a crowd and doesn’t provide a lot of leg room — I was a bit worried. Our show featured a lot of understudies and the singing during the opening segment was a bit rough and pitchy. I remember thinking that I had hyped up this production so much that it was going to be a disappointment in the end.

Enter Lola (a.k.a. Simon), played by the absolutely incredible Alan Mingo Jr., a show-stopping drag artist that captivated the audience with her confidence and comedy. Seriously, Mingo Jr. could teach me a few things about high kicks and dancing in 8-inch stilettos. Not only does Mingo Jr. have the moves, but he also has the pipes to play this layered character. With energetic toe-tappers like “Sex is in the Heel” to emotionally-draining ballads like “Not My Father’s Son,” his portrayal of Lola was flawless. Any pitch problems from the rest of the cast was made up by his incredible performance.

It was the women who really made Kinky Boots shine. Lola and her band of Angels had the audience hooting and whistling the whole show with their outrageous outfits and ridiculous dance moves, while Lauren (who is Charlie’s love interest and unexpected business partner) left us in awe with her hilarious numbers. What’s even better is that behind all of the hilarity and production, there were some fantastic voices with unbelievable ranges.

Underneath the fancy shoes and the sparkling outfits, Kinky Boots makes us rethink what the word “acceptance” really means. The show reflects the complex nature of gender and the stigma associated not only with drag, but with what it means to be a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’.  It’s about coming into your own and learning to accept the people around us for who they truly are — a lesson that seems even more important to reiterate in the 21st century. Or as Lola liked to say at the beginning of one of her shows, “Welcome ladies, gentlemen and those who are yet to make up your mind.”

I would highly suggest seeing this musical production before it leaves Toronto in March, but who knows? I’m hoping for a fourth extension!

Female hip hop producers battle for their place

Battle of the Beatmakers is an annual competition in Toronto that showcases up-and-coming hip hop producers. Winners receive cash and prizes, as well as an opportunity to work with big names in the industry.

Thirty-two producers competed this year, including two women: LittleSister and EveKey.  This was the same number, and the same producers, who competed in last year’s Battle of the Beatmakers. After the show, Women’s Post caught up with the two producers to see how they felt about being the only women in the competition, and to talk about the gender disparity that continues to persist in the hip hop industry.

Both women emphasized the need to support each other in competition because of their status as female producers. “She is a very genuine soul and a good person,” LittleSister said of EveKey. “I want to give her support and show her I’ve got her back. There aren’t too many of us [females] in the industry. When it comes to relating to each other, it is more comfortable for girls to talk to each other so it’s nice.”

LittleSister did very well in the competition, making it to the semifinals before being eliminated by fellow contestant, C-Sharp. The judges were very supportive of both female producers and the crowd was immensely excited to see the women on stage.

By Kaeleigh Phillips
LittleSister Competing By Kaeleigh Phillips

At the same time, women are often marginalized in hip hop and it is challenging to climb the ladder to a position of power, such as the role of producer.

Despite the number of women within the music industry — artists, producers, engineers, songwriters, beat makers, managers, ect. — women are often still thought of as lesser than their male counterparts. “I think that across the board there are gender disparities in terms of the perception that the music industry and the hip hop industry is a ‘man’s world’ so women often have to work twice as hard to prove themselves,” says Priya Ramanujam, editor in chief of Urbanology, one of the lead sponsors of Battle of the Beatmakers.

Interestingly, both LittleSister and EveKey emphasized the positive support they receive in the industry as producers. “Working with male artists, they were more open to receiving female opinions,” EveKey said. “It seems they enjoy working with a female producer. It is a fresh perspective.” Oftentimes, being a producer puts a person in a position of power in hip hop and this dynamic helps to endow the two women with a sense of equality.

“Hip hop does marginalize, but it is changing,” LittleSister reiterated. “Women have power positions now. Women are on the forefront but behind the scenes as well. Other women like Wondergurl, Kid Sister, and Missy Elliot are helping to open up power positions. The business side is very different from the music side of the industry. If you want to make money, gender doesn’t matter.” She also noted there was one case where a male client made sexist remarks towards her, and let his pride get in the way or business.  She chose not to work with him again.

By Kaeleigh Phillips
EveKey at the Opera House By Kaeleigh Phillips

A study by Rana Emerson, a professor at the University of Texas, called “Where My Girls At?’ Negotiating Black Womanhood in Music Videos”* suggests that it is much easier for a woman to enter the industry into hip hop music when sponsored or associated with a man who is already established within it. Often, women have to choose whether to take the necessary partnership or to embark solo.

This was the choice that both EveKey and LittleSister faced—and they both decided to take their chances alone in the industry. “In general, it is difficult for a producer to come out on their own. It has to be built from the bottom up. Having male mentorship is a part of the way it is. It is about whether you want to choose to be on your own or not,” said LittleSister.

LittleSister in First Round By Kaeleigh Phillips
LittleSister in First Round By Kaeleigh Phillips

The choice to be an independent female producer in hip hop is a daunting one, but women like LittleSister and EveKey pave the way for others.

For young women trying to get into the industry, Ramanujam encourages them not to be afraid of the work. The more women who take the leap into hip hop and music production, the more others will be inspired to do so.

“Be prepared to be doubted and second guessed, to always have to prove yourself,” she says. “Again, this is not necessarily unique to hip-hop. But also remember that by taking the leap of faith and doing it, whether you know it or not, another young woman on the come up is watching, and may decide to follow in your footsteps because she sees another woman doing it. For me, that alone is worth what I go through.”

*With Files from hip hop enthusiast, Holly Jane

 

 

 

#MoreWomen: Elle UK’s new feminism campaign

There has been a lot of discussion about the number of women elected into the House of Commons on Monday night. It was all over the news—Canadians were excited that the number of women elected was so high, while others were astonished that 26 per cent of elected seats was being considered “high.”

It all reminded me of a video I saw on my Twitter feed last week. The video was posted on Youtube by Elle UK as part of their November feminism issue.

This editorial film—which was created by Alex Holder and Alyssa Boni in partnership with RSA, Electric Theatre Collective/The Line and Wave—takes photographs of powers of authority such as the British Parliament and uses photoshop to remove all the men. What’s left is a powerful image of how few women are really in positions of power within these international governing bodies.

The campaign is incredibly powerful in its simplicity, which is why its astounding that its viewership is under 850,000 (or at least at the time of this post). You can see the video below:

The goal of this campaign is to create positive dialogue about gender equality.

“Our new initiative #morewomen, will celebrate the global power of women’s collectives in a playful, engaging way. Smart, successful women are too often portrayed as one-offs: fierce individualists concerned with their own success,” Elle UK wrote about their campaign. “There are too many instances in business, music, art and media, where women are represented by a single female.”

I hope everyone takes a look at the video above and continues to share it on social media, even when the campaign comes to an end. It’s important to remember that even though more women are being hired in positions of authority, it is still not representative of the billions of women living on this planet.

We really do need #MoreWomen. What do you think?

Muffin Top: A Love Story (2014)

What problems can a rich, blonde university professor residing in Malibu possibly have in her life? A lot, as Suzanne Nicholson depicted in this romantic comedy, directed by and starring; Cathryn Michon. She plays a Women’s Studies Pop Culture professor whose marriage falls apart after she fails to conceive a child. With hormone pills adding to her insecurities and body image issues, Suzanne embarks on a journey to find herself again, through thick and thin. (Literally)

The purpose behind the film was clear. A female empowering story with a reminder of ”loving yourself.” Every feminists dream, isn’t it? As Suzanne demonstrated the stress of having a muffin top, a failed marriage, and a renewed sex life, many emotions come to mind. First of all, there’s nothing like the unstable feeling of your guts overflowing out of your jeans. Wearing spanx and temporary breasts implants may seem sexy on the outside, but can cause for some embarrassing moments during late night romancing. The story will hit close to home for most women, however, it does prove to be lengthy. From a complicated love triangle to not-so-subtle messages about feminism, its a lot of information to take in under 2 hours.

The characters lacked depth. It was difficult to feel anything, despite the Michon’s attempt of getting us to ”love ourselves.” Suzanne’s husband, who so wrongly left her for a thinner, conceivable woman, was in the film for a total of 10 minutes, leaving no chance for audiences to gather the same hatred and loathing that was seen by Suzanne herself. Her various flings that took place after her split were awkward and lacked the chemistry required to effectively demonstrate her ‘sexual re-awakening.’

As for Suzzanne herself? Ugh. Girl, can she whine! Whether she’s digging in her bags for M&M’s, telling her BFF about her latest life problems, or sulking about a husband who isn’t worth the time, Suzanne was the stereotypical female that all feminists are striving to break away from. And for a female empowering film, having a more likable protagonist would have definitely sent a more transparent message. She went on to solve her problems with the help of liposuction and botox, which to the average audience – just makes her more unlikable.

Yes, it did create an interesting twist as to what feminism means to each and every individual. But it also glorified the concept of white feminism. You will notice, there are no significant characters involving women of colour in this film. It’s about problems white, rich people face and the solutions they bring from a white, rich people perspective. And with the scrutiny that white feminism is currently facing in society – this is definitely not a film that will advance the feminist movement.

Verdict: Catch Muffin Top: A Love Story on Netflix to educate yourself on the controversial subject of white feminism- just don’t expect to be moved. Great flick to have on while you’re completing that knitting project for fall, though.

4/10

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Orange is the New Black: Empowering & Revolutionary

A woman with blonde hair, blue eyes and money is the epitome of attraction.  But that doesn’t matter. When Piper Chapman went to prison, the world she knew in midst of high rise buildings and the latest technologies, disappeared before her eyes. Suddenly, open bathrooms, and private toilet paper with a side of public sex was the norm.

Created by Jenji Kohan and adapted from the memoir by Piper Kerman, “Orange Is The New Black” is available for streaming and has already toppled all notions of what a television series about women looks and sounds like. While network shows have slowly added minority characters, the cast of this series has dozens. Laverne Cox, the actress playing the transgender beautician, Sophia, is transgender herself.

That’s not the only exception. All the women are of all different shapes and sizes. Many of the characters are over 40. There are short women, straight, gay, old; everyone is represented here. Audiences have fallen in love with these women in one way or another. It’s easy to identify with certain characters because women get to see themselves. It’s a complete mythbuster.

One of the myths busted by OITNB is that female characters have to be a little likable. They are criminals. Drug mules. Murderers. Thieves. But what should repel us about them is ultimately what draws us to them. Full fledged criminals became women we know, women we care about, women we root for. “Sometimes unpleasant, but always human.”

Their humanity would not come through without the cast Kohan has assembled. “I think ‘Orange’ is phenomenal,” says Alexa Fogel, casting director of “The Wire,” which pioneered roles for minority men in the same way “Orange” has for women. “They’re writing about a unique environment that we haven’t seen before and I think that’s part of the reason people are so taken with the show.”

Both HBO and Showtime turned down “Orange Is the New Black” when she pitched the series to them. Now Netflix, which has renewed “Orange” for a fourth season (obviously), has the most buzz worthy female-centric show on all of television, with its network confirming that its popularity has surpassed hit show “House of Cards.”

 

Check out “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder” for more female-centric goodness! Tell us what your favourite show is in the comments below!

7 Reasons Mindy Lahiri is Our Feminist Role-Model

Feminism and women in the media have become a hot topic. However, in midst of the Lena Dunhams and Amy Poehlors of the world, a large quantity of feminists are often left out of the picture. Ever heard of Mindy Kahling, for example?

She has a little show called The Mindy Project which she produces, writes, stars in, and occasionally directs. The Mindy Project is a combination of both humor and romance. It’s like a chick flick, compacted into half an hour of low-key fun. It celebrates an unexpected wave of feminism, which you’ve probably never noticed. Here are 10 ways Mindy Lahiri should be your next feminist icon:

 

1. She’s underrated. At first glance, The Mindy Project might not seem so feminist. And that’s the key. With a style/celebrity/pop culture-obsessed main character who’s seemingly fixated on finding the perfect mate, the show’s premise seems slightly antithetical to the stereotyped bra-burning, hairy perception of the “feminist.”

But that’s what makes Mindy Lahiri such a phenomenal representative in midst of all the ”man-haters”. She’s not a militant, but a real, voluptuous woman with faults and a weird but relatable obsession with Hollywood gossip.

 

2. She’s girly. Mindy doesn’t mock the ”girly-girl” image. Despite women who choose to wear frilly dresses and watch The Notebook every Friday night being seen as bimbos with an arts degrees,  she embraces her ”girly” persona and pushes boundaries and breaks stereotypes associated with it. After all, it is her intellect, ambition, and professional success that come alongside her sense of style. And we commend her for that.

 

3. She’s subtle. Mindy doesn’t fall into the trap that many female comedians do, thinking it’s necessary to be overly raunchy to prove you can be “one of the boys.” We’re looking at you, Chelsea Handler. Instead, Kahling creates a unique blend — combining the musings of Nora Ephron, the quirky femininity and physical comedy of Lucille Ball, and the no-nonsense feminism of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to mold a truly distinctive female voice on television.

4. She wears pink. Sure, Mindy rocks sequins and hot-pink three-piece suits. And while her sense of fashion may not be a ”feminist” approach, she wears them anyways. Why? Well, she looks hot in sequins. And she’s a doctor. She may not have the love life her favourite movies tell her she’s supposed to have, but she has brains, beauty, and respect. Because not all medical school students come out of their studies with a good fashion sense.

 

5. She’s a role model. Whatever failures or embarrassments she may endure in her own romantic life, Mindy’s committed to being an effective role model for her young patients. Mindy is often seen tackling the issue of teen birth control — writing prescriptions for her young patients, but not without teaching them about the realistic pitfalls of sexual activity and the accountability of being a responsible adult. She supports her patients’ decision to make their own choices and be smart, prepared, and protected while still being in favor of female sexual empowerment.

 

6. She’s headstrong. Not only is Mindy Lahiri capable and ambitious at work, but she also brings these essential qualities to her relationship. When Danny wants to keep their relationship a secret, she incredulously rattles off the reasons he should be proud to go public with her, citing her smarts and thriving career above all else.

She stands up for herself when Danny thinks he’ll be the “breadwinner” of the family and asserts that she will not be quitting their job when they have kids. Think about it, it’s a feminist moment! Mindy asserts her desire to maintain her professional success in the midst of her happily-ever-after. Mindy can rewatch those Meg Ryan rom-coms as she fulfills her love for romance and stylish ensembles, while still standing up for gender equality in the workplace.

7. She promotes positive body image. Mindy Kaling has also become a champion of women who struggle with body image (so like, all of us). Offscreen, she’s called out those who give her “back-handed compliments” by calling her courageous for style choices or marginalize her by making comments about how amazing it is that “someone like her” could be successful.

There’s no question about the fact that Mindy Kaling is a beautiful woman with a killer sense of style (I want like 90 percent of her outfits), but in the midst of her character’s comments about “having an ass that won’t quit,” she’s also not afraid to call attention to the unrealistic and sometimes crushing beauty expectations women face.

Mindy shows us all something we need to see — it’s possible to be feminine, to share Mindy Lahiri’s passions for romance, sparkles, hot pink, Bridget Jones, and colorful bedspreads – and still be a feminist. Real women, real people for that matter, may struggle with fixing their car and can’t stop (won’t stop!) obsessing over relationships while still being a strong, empowered person. A woman can be completely capable and ambitious, while still wanting a fairy-tale ending and refusing to sacrifice one for the other. Thanks for showing us how its done, Mindy!

#ILookLikeAnEngineer Breaks Stereotypes of Women in Tech

It all started with an ad campaign. The ambiguous message behind it left platform engineer, Isis Wenger, confused on whether or not she was being used to attract women or men to become engineers. Her “sexy smirk” was rather seen as a marketing tactic to lure guys into the tech industry. The response to the seemingly innocent advertisement turned into a discussion of the sexism that is still alive and well in the industry.

Wenger explains it perfectly in her post on Medium, saying, “At the end of the day, this is just an ad campaign and it is targeted at engineers. This is not intended to be marketed towards any specific gender — segregated thoughts like that continue to perpetuate sexist thought-patterns in this industry.”

It’s no secret that sexism in these types of industries still exist. Engineers, computer scientists, web designers, and others have been subjected towards gender discrimination at one point or another in their careers. However, as women should, Wenger decided to do something about it. Thus, She started the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer to raise awareness towards the gender divide that continues to exist in the technical industry.

Many took to Twitter to support Isis.

The hashtag, as Wenger explained, is not gender specific. “External appearances and the number of X chromosomes a person has is hardly a measure of engineering ability. My goal is to help redefine “what an engineer should look like” because I think that is a step towards eliminating sub-conscious bias towards diversity in tech.”

This invited men to take part to support the initiative as well:

The hashtag is quickly breaking stereotypes about women in the tech industry. Many are often perceived as ”tomboys” or ”nerdy.” Brains and beauty may be the more appropriate terms to use in this case:

What’s more impressive? Her pink hair or the fact that she’s a badass engineer who can still find the time to model:

And they make it look so. easy.

OneLogin may have missed the spot on their efforts to recruit more engineers with their ad campaign, but these ladies will have both men and women wanting to pursue careers in tech in no time. Where do I sign up?

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