What We Missed

Zahra Rahnavard, wife of Iranian presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, impresses female voters.
A new survey shows that women aren’t represented fairly in research published in the “best” medical journals.
Naomi Wolf says Angelina Jolie is a feminist icon. (I say meh.)
Jezebel has a great reason to stay off Twitter.

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26 Comments

  1. MiriamCT1
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    my sister told me that all the cool kids are “so over” Twitter now anyway…

  2. B. Atoureta
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Angelina Jolie a feminist icon? No thank you.
    She may be a good humanitarian, but it ends there.

  3. Hara
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Jolie is a feminist. I don’t know what anyone means by “icon” but, she mos def a feminist.
    If the bar is raised higher than being an obvious humanitarian, choosing films to work on that represent women from the female perspective or at least interesting female roles, giving 1/3 of her income to charities, being honest about her many idiosyncrasies, choosing to birth and adopt children but not feeling bound to marriage, etc.
    then woah
    what does it take to get more than a “meh” outta you?
    You must be amazing!

  4. Heina
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Re Angelina: Am I the only ragingly nonmonosexual chick out there who wouldn’t hit it? I am so sick of straight women saying that they’d “turn” for her, or articles like that one claiming that she is every woman’s female sex object. She’s “hot,” we get it, move on.
    Re Twitter: I use it to update my Facebook status via phone (FB Mobile is incompatible with T-Mobile) and for lighthearted banter. Besides, all this stuff about how Twitter is so passe is passe in and of itself, as any Internet trend is dead and/or fabricated as soon as it shows up on well-known and popularly-read/watched national newsmedia.

  5. borrow_tunnel
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I do believe and have believed before the article came out that Angelina Jolie is a feminist icon. She may well even be one of those celebrities who say “Me? A feminist? No way!!” But nearly everything points to feminist. If you don’t think she has a lot of feminist attributes, you’re ignoring a lot. Throughout history, women have been able to choose between good girl and bad girl, and that’s it. She has been part of both extremes. I’m going to make a confession here: My admiration for her is a part of what lead me to feminism. In fact, the first time I was called a feminist was in one of my papers I wrote about how when I was little, I loved “Tomb Raider” because it was something I could relate to more, as opposed to Marilyn Monroe, soft, blonde types. And naturally my love for that vid. game turned to admiration for the actress who played Lara Croft in the movie. The teacher wrote “Nice feminist analysis.”
    –Since I was very young I never liked the idea of getting married. She didn’t influence that thinking, but she did make it more socially acceptable to say F.U. to the marital institution.
    –She influenced my decision to stop shaving my arms. I saw her unshaved arms and thought, hey if she still looks good like that, why not?
    –No one can deny her occasional tom boy outfit. Her gender bending has helped make it more popular and acceptable.
    –She has said that every woman has her own definition of sexuality. Again, an F.U. to the status quo.
    –When she was offered the Tomb Raider part, she said she saw the character as offensive (with the massive boobs and short-shorts).
    –She obviously has a strong persona: flying planes, shooting guns, wearing boots, etc.
    I could go on. You may disagree with me. I know there were other women before her who were strong, but it’s just that her popularity made the image more accessible. So what if she’s beautiful? Just as we feminists are very open to say the butch women who has hairy legs, wears traditionally boyish clothes, etc. we must be open to women who are traditionally beautiful and sought after. She may not be well versed or even aware of feminists theories, but she has very consciously contradicted what is to be expected of her as a beautiful women. In conclusion: Angelina Jolie is a feminist whether she wants to be or not. (If that’s even possible).

  6. katemoore
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really see it as a reason to stay off Twitter, and I’m the one who posted about the last dumb hashtag.
    It’s fascinating, though. If you need proof that gender stereotypes still exist, you’ve got it, in real time and with critical mass.

  7. Qi
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 9:27 pm | Permalink
  8. Nurse_PhD
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I think “Changeling” is a prime example of the type of characters she chooses to portray. Smart, independent and persistent in the face of opposition. LOVED that film. So did my husband.

  9. Jovan1984
    Posted June 10, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    I’d say that Ms. Jolie is a bigger feminist poser than Tyra Banks. And yet she was noticeably absent from a list that Courtney did six months ago.

  10. Roja
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Rahnavard is a great public figure and I’m very happy that she has been able to have a public presence in this campaign. However, it is all because of the activism of Iranian feminists that women’s demands came to public discourse, that candidates had to come up with specific platforms for women’s rights, and that Rahnavard was able to shine and inspire voters.
    I am happy to see an article in LA times about Iranian elections that FINALLY mentions Iranian women but I’m sick and tired of how late they are, and how shallow their report is. I have one thing to say to LA times: If MSNBC can do it, you should be able to write an intelligent report about Iran too.
    http://community.feministing.com/2009/06/msnbc-on-irans-elections.html
    When you write about women’s rights, why can’t you interview at least one women’s rights activist!!?
    This report tries to tell a story of how Ms. Rahnavard (indeed an inspiring woman) is the one who is mobilizing the whole discourse of women’s rights, and that’s simply not true.
    They also say “The president’s wife is the closest a woman can get to real power.” Again NOT true; the president’s wife has NO power. You can become a cabinet member and that would be much more powerful.
    It is aggravating to see the women’s movement erased and replaced by a political figure’s wife. Probably because it’s more fun to read (rather than read about a whole movement working day and night, slowly and with lots of sweat and little glorious moments in the spotlight)
    So in the spirit of not ignoring Iranian feminists, I recommend watching this youtube video (although it’s in persian) where filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-etemad is making presidential candidates sit in a theater and watch a film of demands of the coalition of women’s rights activists. This was a crash-course in women’s demands for all these candidates (and their wives). This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen and I wish it had happened in the US presidential elections too.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_BinbdFndI
    at one point one of the activists looks right at the camera (and at the candidates) and says: “Listen to me! We women know how to make decisions, we know how to run our lives, we know how to dress,…”
    and here are some pictures of a few of them in the streets holding signs that read “Women’s Demands get our votes”
    http://femschool.info/english/spip.php?article301

  11. GiaCor
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure what else jolie has done for women except make them go out an buy lip plumpers. My 70 year old grandmother went out and got lip injections with my 40 something aunt for her birthday (when she turned 68). Because it’s ‘in.’ I don’t think she’s much of a feminist icon.. there are women doing a lot more out there than playing independent sex symbols.. characters in movies that come out of the same studios that sell us bullshit lies…
    If women wish to ‘be’ her, then her feminist fight must be fucking roses..

  12. Heleno
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    I agree that Jolie’s a feminist worthy of icon status, although maybe not for the same reasons.
    Weirdly, while I’ve liked her work and admired her personality for ages, it was that stupid action movie Wanted that swung it for me. Watch that: she plays the role that women NEVER get, the intensely cool person that the hero wishes he was, the person who barely ever has to speak because they’re so completely self-assured. She’s Humphrey Bogart in that film, Clint Eastwood. I don’t think there’s another woman in Hollywood who could have played that or who would have been given the chance – and she’s a far cry from the same character in the comics.
    Seems to me that anyone who doubts her feminist credentials is doing feminism a disservice and being swayed more by her looks than her actions. She is entirely herself, and I admire her immensely for that.

  13. Jane_Awl
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Re: Jolie-
    While I have no idea if Jolie identifies herself as a feminist, she certainly has willfully ignored some major “feminine conventions”, as commentors up thread have pointed out. If she is a feminist icon is a matter of personal taste in icons, but I personally don’t think the reasons Wolf gave were very good, and I hate the way she framed them. Her argument seemed to be that she is a feminist icon because she “gets away with” being all of the female “stereotypes” simultaneously, making her some sort of all-goddess, which I think is sort of shoddy reasoning. On the other hand, it is ‘Harpers Bazaar’, which I don’t read but it isn’t exactly ‘Bitch’.

  14. RedHeadJenn
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    As someone with a health care background, it blows my mind every time a “new” study comes out about the under-representation of women in clinical trials. This is not “new.” The author does discuss the initiative put in place by the NIH under Bush 41 to examine this and also to include women in trials and mentions how this has improved the numbers a bit, but that there is still a lot to be done.
    Sadly, the medical community is extremely patriarchal in it’s structure and functioning, which is one of the major contributing factors to this lack of equity in medical research. As long as “modern” medicine has been around, women have taken a backseat as both patients and practitioners- just look at death rates from childbirth at the time when midwives began to be demonized by the newly forming Western medical community.

  15. FrumiousB
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    –She has said that every woman has her own definition of sexuality. Again, an F.U. to the status quo.
    Interesting that she would say that and also allow every representation of her own sexuality to meet the status quo.
    –When she was offered the Tomb Raider part, she said she saw the character as offensive (with the massive boobs and short-shorts).
    I am really interested in hearing her expand on this subject. She has massive boobs, and I am sure her body type played a large role in the choice to offer her the part. Is she offended by the massive boobs or offended that that is the only representation of women available in video games or offended that she only got offered the part b/c she won the genetic lottery?
    The short shorts comment is pretty interesting since her costume matched the video game costume pretty well in that department. Did she cave or what?

  16. saintcatherine
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I agree with you: I did not like the way that the article frames her feminism. It might have something to do with the fact that she is a feminist with “mainstream appeal,” meaning that she is inspiring to women ** because she is beautiful and successful ** along with being strong and defying conventions…which makes her a safe choice for the people who would be put off by butchy/nonconventional/non-parenting, etc. feminists. She is safe. And so is the article.
    On a similar note, I found it really annoying that her sdopted children were mentioned as proof of “feminist cred” but her children that she birthed were not. WTF?

  17. gudbuytjane
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Re: Twitter, perhaps we need #liessexiststell to challenge the signal-to-noise of the sexist set?

  18. fatima
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure what else jolie has done for women except make them go out an buy lip plumpers
    im not sure where i stand on the “is angelina jolie a feminist” debate. but i do know that its not legit to blame her for people wanting to look like her. she absolutely embodies the cultural standards of beauty in the united states. but she should not be demonized for that. and just because someone fits those standards does not mean that they cant be a feminist.
    i had to point this out because it made me really uncomfortable.

  19. jellyleelips
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Naomi Wolf makes me want to punch something. And she seemed so astute way back when I was in Women’s Studies 100! She managed to ruin this article for me in the very first freakin sentence:
    “Who are our female film legends these days? Rare are the sultry, dangerous, and highly individualistic Hollywood goddesses who were so prevalent in the 1930s and 1940s.”
    What the fuck is she talking about? Ummm… Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, just to name a few. I’m nitpicking here with regard to the rest of the article, but I fucking hate it when people complain about how much better old Hollywood was, or lament the loss of the screen goddess. If anything, the kinds of media that exist today have made it easier for megastars to flourish.

  20. borrow_tunnel
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes. If you notice, she doesn’t really “dress sexy”. It’s simply her face and body that is sexual, something she can’t do ONE THING ABOUT. Have you noticed she rarely wears short skirts or dresses and never wears shorts? That’s because she has said she doesn’t feel comfortable showing off her legs. (Boobs, that’s a different story). But can you blame her? It makes complete sense. Feminists are the ones always complaining (for good reason) that breasts shouldn’t be as sexualized. And there you have it — she has said nipples are lovely. Yet she doesn’t show her legs, which although rare in our society, actually makes the most sense. Legs are closer to the vagina, after all.

  21. Interior_League
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Sexiness equals
    vaginal proximity?
    Good news for assholes.

  22. ghostorchid
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    *while female film legends

  23. Mrs.s
    Posted June 12, 2009 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I agree. I wouldn’t call her an icon either, but she’s definitely great role model. She is a great example of a feminist.

  24. Hara
    Posted June 12, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    How sad that the only thing you can comment on is her looks and sexuality or “hotness”
    sad considering how much of an active activist she is.
    WTF? what site am I on?

  25. Hara
    Posted June 12, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Bull shit.
    She has said time and again that she had a relationship with a woman and that she has had sexual relations with both male and female.
    Her breasts and her lips are natural. Are you really on a feminist site dissing a woman for what she has naturally?
    I have read the interview where she did expound on the subject. She did her research, weighed the pros and cons and made a good choice. The character kicks ass and has fun doing it.
    to the commenter who blames Jolie for stupid lip implants-
    again, not her fault. She was born with them and as a woman who has full lips and grew up in the era when it was something to be teased for (I was called “nigger lips” a lot)
    I’m thrilled that full lips are finally considered attractive by most of the population.
    I’m glad my son, whose lips are even fuller than mine, was not negatively teased as I was.
    I’m glad we don’t line our lips on the INSIDE anymore and fill them with a certain color that minimizes- so, if we’re blaming her for that-=
    I say thank you AJ
    I have large breasts too, does that make me less feminist to you?
    c’mon now.
    be effin real.
    just cause you’re not a fan doesn’t make her less feminist.

  26. Shaunee
    Posted June 13, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m so embarrassed for feminism as a movement when people supposedly in the mix look to a hollywood movie star, who’s claim to fame is picking up the colonialist banner to save the poor, starving Africans from themselves, as an icon. I can see why so many women have claimed this site only supports a white, heterosexual version of feminism and have left for more inclusive communities.
    http://myecdysis.blogspot.com/2009/06/great-wall-of-mainstream-feminism.html

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