This week’s Wednesday 5  offers a list of  women changing the business of media; deplores the fact that technology supports ageism; allows us to see the humanity in Marie-Antoinette through her last letter; hypothesizes how great Hollywood would be if women ran it; and ponders why more and more women in their 40s are having affairs—and it’s not Fifty Shades of Grey’s fault.

The Divine Sisterhood

The July/August issue of the Columbia Journalism Review lists 4o phenomenal women who have “changed the media business in the past 4o years.” They’re deeming the cadre of women The Divine Sisterhood. Expect the usual suspects: Christiane Amanpour, Tina Brown, Katie Couric, Nora Ephron, and Oprah Winfrey, etc. An impressive club. But what we find more interesting is who is absent from the list. Where is Ann Curry? Thank goodness for the site’s readers and commenters. Be sure to scroll through their comments; they are minding the gaps and singing the praises of many unsung and under-the-radar media women who aren’t part of the sisterhood, but are just as phenomenal.

Why Does Technology Support Ageism?

“I got to really thinking about how we in technology celebrate the young while dismissing the work of the old(er),” writes Brad McCarty of The Next Web on “Why Does Technology Celebrate Ageism?” He takes to task the proliferation of these 30-under-30 and 40-under-40 lists in the media that glorify young professionals, place undue pressure on others who have walked different paths in their careers that didn’t involve, say, being a 21-year-old CEO, and  dismiss the value of older, highly experienced professionals. McCarty says we should focus on the quality of the work, not age:

The under-30 crowd is now the status quo. That’s not to say that their work isn’t important and that they shouldn’t be proud. Quite the opposite in fact. Be extraordinarily proud of what you’ve done, and be thankful for having so many years left to continue your work. But to promote or discount the work or ability of another based solely upon their age is foolish. It doesn’t matter if you’re 15 or 50, if you do something amazing then you deserve that credit, but don’t you dare tell me that the 50 year old can’t do it. There are far too many examples that are already proving you wrong.

Sounds a lot like our mission at “Women’s Voices.”

Marie-Antoinette’s Last Letter

Our recent review of Farewell, My Queen asked us to ponder why we are still so fascinated with Marie-Antoinette. And while the film will offer up a Marie-Antoinette that is vile, cunning, and manipulative, Letters of Note has dug up a tear-stained and poignant letter from the Queen of France to her sister-in-law Elisabeth. Dated October 16, 1793, eight hours before she was beheaded, Marie- Antoinette’s letter reflects on the love she has for her children, her resolve to stick by her faith even in death, and her undying gratitude to Elisabeth for her friendship and care for her children. She ends the letter fondly with “Think always of me.”

Image: Marie Antoinette, via.

If Women Ran Hollywood

With Nora Ephron’s recent passing, we were again reminded of the scarcity of women in Hollywood and the significant impact made by the few who do occupy its realms. According to the latest study of the top-grossing 250 domestic  films in 2011, only 5 percent of the directors were women. In a bit of wishful thinking, Martha Lauzen of the Women’s Media Center offers several possibilities of what a gender-balanced Hollywood would look like in her article If Women Ran Hollywood. Among our favorites:

  • Films made by and for a male audience would be considered a “niche” and frequently referred as “small films.”
  • Chelsea Handler, Wanda Sykes, and Ellen DeGeneres would reign as long-term hosts of late-night network television.
  • The Real Husbands of (fill-in-the-blank) would be a successful reality show franchise for Bravo, featuring males in manufactured situations highlighting and reinforcing the worst possible stereotypes about men.

Women in Their 40s Are Having Great Sex . . . Just Not with Their Husbands

Women are cheating just as much as men. So says a recent Indiana University study cited by Samantha Walravens for The Huffington Post. In the article, she questions why more and more women are unfaithful in their marriage at the prime age of their mid-4os.

“Is it a midlife crisis? A feminist assertion of independence and power? Or perhaps a ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ phenomenon where women are craving steamy ‘chocolate hot-fudge brownie’ sex over the ‘vanilla’ flavor they’ve had for years with their husbands?”

Turns out it might be a mélange of all of the above, and then some. Check out Walravens’s  top ten factors of why women in their 40s are seeking relationships outside of their marriages.