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Paul Hjellming
Ok I’ll just admit it. I didn’t plan on binge-watching an entire season of the new comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in a single evening but last Friday, having no other activities planned, I sat down to just watch a few episodes. And anyone who’s watched any TV on Netflix knows how easy it is to watch “just one more.” Unbreakable is Netflix’s latest original comedy from Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, two of the major forces behind 30 Rock (one of my favorite shows.) The show portrays Kimmy Schmidt, a woman who was recently rescued from a doomsday cult and is adjusting to normal life for the first time. I’m a huge fan of 30 Rock (like seen-every-episode-at-least-three-times huge) so I expected some solid comedy out of the show and it certainly deliver... Read more
tim+anne evans
We recently saw the movie Selma. In the comfort of our theater seats we observed what we can only imagine African Americans endured—and in many ways continue to endure. As followers of Christ who believe in the egalitarian[i] principle of full functional equality for men and women, we watched Selma and noticed similarities between many churches view of functional equality for women, and the treatment of African Americans before they were considered equals. Review history, for centuries church leaders interpreted literally and absolutized a handful of Bible passages they believed fully supported slavery. For example; “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything…”[ii] “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear…just as you would obey... Read more
Paul Hjellming
You would think after all that was made (most of it justified) of the inequities of this year’s Oscar nominations that last night would have been more of the same. And to a certain extent it was. A lot of white men got up to accept awards, reflecting the Academy’s key demographic. But more than who was or was not nominated, the night was marked by people speaking out for what the causes they believe in. From Graham Moore encouraging us all to “stay weird, stay different” to Julianne Moore highlighting Alzheimer’s disease in her acceptance speech for Still Alice, from Alejandro González Iñárritu becoming the second ever Hispanic person to win the Oscar for Best Director to John Legend and Common’s stirring performance and win for... Read more
Elizabeth Staszak
Female characters on television run the gamut from catty to cardiothoracic surgeon. It is no surprise that audiences influenced by outside agendas and personal value systems long for well-rounded characters that reflect their own constantly evolving society. In tandem and since before World War II, popular media have adored churning out stories of heroes and heroines that fit the gender modus operandi of the time, in literature and on-screen. The collision of literature and screen allows people to mentally and physically live out these fantasy stories, cementing their thematic impact in the hearts and minds of readers, listeners, and viewers. Last month, ABC premiered a television series entitled Agent Carter, about a woman who fought alongside Captain America during World War II and... Read more
Paul Hjellming
It’s obvious to many that patriarchy has deep roots in many aspects of our society but we often don’t realize how deep those roots go. Communication theorist and professor Cheris Kramarae touches on this in her muted group theory. Her work, based partly on the work of social anthropologist Edwin Ardener, asserts that because men hold more power in society, they are the ones who create the structures of language that are used (including, as we’ll see, film language.) Because of this, women are forced to use the language of men to express themselves instead of doing so naturally. The theory as it applies to media is relevant because in a significant majority of films and other media, the representations of women are created by men. Because of this men primarily portray w... Read more
Paul Hjellming
It’s that time of year again. Oscar season. Well, technically it’s been that time of year for a while but the beginning of February seems to be the time when awards season reaches a fever pitch. The Golden Globes, the Producers and Screen Actors Guild awards have been handed out and now it’s on to the Oscars (if you don’t count the Directors Guild Awards.) 2014 was a mixed bag (as so many recent years have been) for women in film. On one hand you have very strong performances from women in female-centric films like Julianne Moore in Still Alice and Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Patricia Arquette played a strong single parent in Boyhood, at times overshadowing the titular plot about a boy growing up. The president of the Academy since 2013, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, is a wom... Read more