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by Leighann Lord

Originally posted to Leighann Lord’s Comic Perspective on December 13th.

Ok, the Lexus “Christmas to Remember” commercials are getting to me. Who wouldn’t want to have a new car for Christmas? But you have to live in the right neighborhood for that. If you don’t, that shiny new car under the big, beautiful red bow might become the sad, dirty bow laying car-less in the street.

A brand-new car is always more exciting than the day-to-day banality of car ownership: gas, tolls, insurance, maintenance. This was on my mind as I took my 2005 Honda Civic in for an overdue inspection and tune up. There’s nothing like sitting in a chilly garage waiting room to make you think seriously about getting a new car, if not a Lexus then maybe a BMW or a Mercedes. I’m intrigued by the cars that can park themselves. I’ll be really excited when they start paying for themselves. When it can hide itself from the Repo Man, call me.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Blog

by Lisa Hix, Woodhull Alumna

Originally posted to Yahoo! 2010 Year In Review Blog on December 17th.

In 2010, the Cold War returned.

Suddenly, spies were all around us, in film, on television, and — notably — in the news. In November, WikiLeaks created a political firestorm, releasing 250,000 classified documents that indicate U.S. diplomats performed low-level spying. Earlier that month, director Doug Liman’s “Fair Game,” a fictionalized take on the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, hit the theaters, prompting a heated political debate. In December, alleged sleeper agent Katia Zatuliveter, who worked as an aide for a member of the British parliament, faced deportation to Russia — the latest in a line of so-called “sexy Russian spies” to raise the pulse of reporters and readers in 2010.

The news stories contain a certain amount of schadenfreude. After all, what could be more humiliating for a spy than having her cover blown? But the flurry of TV and film counterparts, possessing both sexual and martial powers, has glamorized real-life failed spies — even when they’re spying for the other side. Here’s a look at the ladies who led us astray this year.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | News | Women | Blog

by Donna Decker, Woodhull Alumna

Originally posted to Ms. Magazine Blog on December 6th.

Many writers talk about the story that claws its way out from your core. I have such a story. It haunts me as it haunts women all over the world.

On December 6, 1989, 21 years ago today, 25-year-old Marc Lépine entered the University of Montreal engineering school, École Polytechnique, with a Sturm and Ruger mini 14 concealed in a plastic garbage bag. Days earlier, he had visited his mother and given her a birthday gift: Joyful, an album of piano music by two Christian brothers, the Bowkers. He knew he would never see her again.

Lépine had applied to École Polytechnique twice, been rejected both times, and had visited the campus on at least seven prior occasions. But this time was no rehearsal. Lépine unveiled the semi-automatic and headed toward classroom C-230, where graduate-level mechanical engineering courses were taught.

In classroom C-230, students and the professor turned to stare at Lépine when he entered. Listen up, he told them. Women to one side of the room, men get out. No one moved until Lépine fired into the ceiling. Then the men left the room. Alone with nine women, Lépine said, “I am here to fight against feminism. That is why I am here.”


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | Women | Blog

by Leighann Lord, Woodhull Alumna

Originally posted to Leighann Lord’s Comic Perspective on November 14th.

Air travel is convenient but not always enjoyable. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, flying used to be fun. It was like going out on a date. You got dinner and movie. Now it’s like a one night stand. You slink away from airport security with your clothes in one hand, your dignity in the other thinking, “I have got to stop doing this.”

I guess I’m what you call an expert frequent flier. I know how to play the Airport Security Theatre Game. Post 9/11 my liquids are less than three ounces and placed inside the requisite one quart plastic baggie. For this I’m sure the folks at Ziploc® couldn’t be happier. Just when the Green Movement was about to put a real dent into their business, National Security stepped in and boosted their bottom line.

My lap top is out and placed in a separate bin. Legacy of the Shoe Bomber, my shoes are off and placed on the conveyer belt, though this seems to be a strictly North American measure. Other countries not only do not ask you to take your shoes off, but they have big signs asking you, in fact, to please keep them on. Trained and confused American travelers ignore this and persist in shambling through security in their stocking feet. And I’m sorry, but not removing my belt gives me a deep feeling of satisfaction ever since I bought a plastic buckle just for the occasion.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Blog

(This post first appeared on my blog ReelGirl which rates kids’ media and products on girl empowerment)

Disney bigwigs Ed Catmull and John Lasseter

Disney bigwigs Ed Catmull and John Lasseter

At first it seems like possible good news. Disney/ Pixar announces: no more fairy tales, code for princess movies. Great! No more damsels in distress who end the movie by landing a man. Now we’re going to have a slew of new movies with cool girl heroes who bravely rescue boys from peril, exuding power and beauty by performing all kinds of risk-taking tasks and challenges.

But, no.

First of all, the reason the fairy tale movies are stopping is because Disney/ Pixar executives have decided that little girls aren’t worth making movies for at all.

The LA Times reports the fairy tale movies “appealed to too narrow an audience: little girls. This prompted the studio to change the name of its Rapunzel movie to the gender-neutral ‘Tangled’ and shift the lens of its marketing to the film’s swashbuckling male costar, Flynn Rider.”


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | Women | Blog

by Tara Sophia Mohr, Woodhull Alumna

Why are more than 100 bloggers all writing about the same topic this week? Because the topic is that important.

I’m a Woodhull woman organizing a blogging campaign to support The Girl Effect.

“The Girl Effect” is a powerful idea: by investing in girls in the developing world, we make an incredibly effective investment in eradicating poverty, creating thriving communities, and slowing the spread of AIDS.

To date, 120 bloggers have joined the campaign. If you blog, I hope you will too. It’s a way to spread a life-saving, world-transforming idea. It’s a way to meet other, like-minded bloggers, and to expose new audiences to your work. Details are here!

I look forward to reading your post!

Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | Blog

One night this past summer, my friend Elisa saw something that shocked her. She told me she was at a bar when two women got into an argument and began yelling at each other as if they were children. The way the conflict ended? One woman threw her drink at the other woman.

“Can you believe that?” Elisa exclaimed. “I don’t think those women would have acted like that if it weren’t for reality TV. People are seeing this stuff on TV and thinking that’s an appropriate way to act!”

Over the last few years, I’ve had several conversations with friends about how damaging reality TV can be, but I lacked the information to make a strong case against it. That’s why I’m so excited about Jennifer L. Pozner’s new book Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV. Pozner spent hours upon hours watching and transcribing shows like The Bachelor, America’s Next Top Model, Flavor of Love, and Wife Swap to identify the media messages found in these popular, widely-watched programs.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | Women | Blog

Woodhull Board Member Erica Jong wonders about motherhood as a prison for modern women in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal:

“Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you know that we have endured an orgy of motherphilia for at least the last two decades. Movie stars proudly display their baby bumps, and the shiny magazines at the checkout counter never tire of describing the joys of celebrity parenthood. Bearing and rearing children has come to be seen as life’s greatest good. Never mind that there are now enough abandoned children on the planet to make breeding unnecessary. Professional narcissists like Angelina Jolie and Madonna want their own little replicas in addition to the African and Asian children that they collect to advertise their open-mindedness. Nannies are seldom photographed in these carefully arranged family scenes. We are to assume that all this baby-minding is painless, easy and cheap.”

Read Full Article Here

(Article is available online without a subscription to the WSJ until November 13th, 2010)

Category : Careers | Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | Women | Blog

Originally posted to my blog ReelGirl on Oct 31

'Healthy model'? from www.marieclaire.com Two women’s magazine’s recently issued profuse apologies for offending their readers, totally missing the point with their mea culpas.

Maura Kelly, a blogger for Marie Claire, wrote about the TV show “Mike and Molly,” which features a couple who met at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Kelly didn’t like having to look at fat people; she doesn’t think they should be on television. She wrote:

I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room – just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | Women | Blog

Tara Bracco, Woodhull Fellow,  co-founded a new non-profit called The Project Solution. The organization recently released this promo video about the organization and the work they are doing. In this video, Tara is joined by co-founder Joe Gonzalez, LOST actor Michael Emerson, and Broadway actor Terrence Mann. Check it out and learn how you can make a difference! More information at www.theprojectsolution.org.

Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Blog
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