Monday, July 21, 2014

The Girls of Summer: Gidget

Surf’s up, kids!  This month’s theme is the girls of summer – a gaggle of surf or party movies with a lady-centric bent.  And we’re starting off with the original surfer girl, Francine “Gidget” Lawrence.

Monday, July 7, 2014


The 90’s: what a time to be alive.

I know 90’s-stolgia has painted the world in rose colors ever since the dawn of the Tumblr age, but as a decade it ushered in wide-ranging heroines of all sorts.  While you can say a lot about the representation the 10’s have happily ushered into the landscape, the 90’s were the only decade where you could worship at the altars of heroines as diverse as Khadijah James and Dixie Cousins.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

80's Month: Overboard and Feminist Backlash

The 80’s were an interesting time for women in the media.  Riding the burgeoning cusp of the second wave of popular feminism that would crash when the ERA failed and then reform  in the confused backlash  of the Anita Hill hearings of the 90s, media in general tended to be friendly to its newfound consumer base.  It was a giddy and confusing time, and it tended to wind up providing its audience with a mixed bag of independent, smart female characters…being told that the only way to be happy and have it all was to pipe down and raise up some kids. 

Television was lightyears ahead of the media in this regard; having worked out the kinks with That Girl and witnessed the adventures of Rhoda Morgenstern, Maud Finley, Hot Lips Houlihan, the Bunker girls and Mary Richards, the 80’s treated us to the Julia Sugarbakers, Murphy Browns and Golden Girls of the world. 

Movies were, however, still an uneven medium. In the 70s, for every Norma Rae there was a Sandy Olsen; and it’s just as true that for every Judy Benjamin in the 80’s, there was an Emmy from Mannequin.  In fact, Judy Benjamin herself appeared in one of the more popular of the feminist backlash films, a 1989 take on the Taming of the Shrew directed by Garry Marshall, Overboard.