This week, bloggers wrapped up Fashion Week coverage, welcomed a new strong woman to cable news, and reflected on how just seven words can change your life if they come from a famous poet.
Remember that special teacher who gave you courage to go on in later years? Most of us do, but Katha Pollitt has a memory that may beat all of ours, and she shares it at Poetry magazine: what it was like to study with the iconic Elizabeth Bishop. “She was a wonderful teacher, the perfect blend of formal and free, just like her poems,” Pollitt writes. “She seemed to enjoy teaching, and was clearly amused by her students, a typical Harvard combination of the bow-tied and the tie-dyed—young fogies and hippies—but I don’t think it was a calling, part of her identity. . . . Toward the end of the semester, in office hours, she said to me, ‘You should take your poetry very seriously.'” Pollitt did, publishing poems (some collected in this book) while building an impressive career as a journalist. We’re guessing that those seven words from Bishop have kept her warm in many cold times.
Is New York Fashion Week over already? That’s what we hear from fashion bloggers, some of whom shared funny stories of the week past and present with Cheryl Wischhover’s Fashionista.com. It’s a slide-show, so click over and enjoy the pictures and the stories, like this one from a model, about her first Fashion Week: “It was very busy. I lost I think, 20 pounds of hair!” But we checked in with WVFC’s own fashionistas—including DivaDebbi, who gifted us with our latest Fashion Friday. She and our Stacey Bewkes went to Fashion Week together, and Debbi’s post on the Diane von Furstenberg show makes us feel like an insider. “We were able to enjoy the hospitality of the IMG VIP suite, aptly decorated like a cozy chalet.” For her perch, here’s who she spotted in the front row: Anderson Cooper, Oscar de la Renta, Barbara Walters, Ann Duong, Anna Wintour, and Carine Roitfeld; Brad Goreski and Rachel Zoe; Tatiana von Furstenberg, Hamish Bowles, and Diane Sawyer. Click over for more, with images and sharp commentary on the collection.
“Romance novels are feminist documents.” That sentence, from Maria Bustillos at The Awl, was pointed out to us by Feministing, and we’re not sorry we followed the link, which centers on the original Harlequin series. “They’re written almost exclusively by women, for women, and are concerned with women: their relations in family, love and marriage, their place in society and the world, and their dreams for the future. Romances of the Golden Age are rife with the sociopolitical limitations of their period, [but] they can be strangely sublime.” We wanted to send Bustillos WVFC’s “What’s Wrong with a Little Romance?” by the inimitable Tamar Bihari, which approaches the question from the point of view of a novelist, not a scholar. What do you think?
“What might it look like if . . . a cable news discussion about religion and birth control was led by a feminist political scientist, with an honorary doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School?” asks Jennifer Pozner at Women in Media and News. “We may soon find out.” Not hard to guess who she means: Melissa Harris-Perry has been on our radar awhile (see Diane Vacca’s coverage here of a November forum). In the post, Pozner hails the debut of Harris-Perry’s MSNBC talk show, which featured as its very first guest attorney Edward Cox (son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon). “This couldn’t be more welcome—or more unusual,” continues Pozner, adding that “men outnumbered women by a nearly 2-to-1 margin last week in all debates about contraception on MSNBC, CNN, Fox and Fox Business. [Many] seemed shocked to learn that female experts were sought out as commentators only 38 percent of the time on a story about women’s health.” With Christiane Amanpour out of the mix (sob!) we’re hoping Harris-Perry’s admittedly wonky show can find enough Saturday and Sunday morning viewers to stay on the air.
We’re looking forward to liveblogging this Sunday’s Oscars, and if previous years’ experience holds, there’ll be plenty to see and say. And we’ll likely have a more diverse crew than the pool of Oscar voters, which turns out yet again (by the numbers) to be almost exclusively composed of older white men. We’re also grateful to pop-culture philosopher Anita Sarkeesian for putting together the video below, at her site FeministFrequency.com, applying the Bechdel Test to the current Best Picture nominees. (The criteria, as a reminder: Two women have to talk to each other, and NOT about men. Unsurprisingly, all but one movie fails.) Noting the single qualifying scene in Hugo, Sarkeesian shakes her head: “If while at the theater you drop your box of junior mints, and by the time you pick em up you’ve missed the one scene in the whole film where women actually talk to each other, there’s something clearly wrong.” Watch it before joining us on Sunday, whether or not you’ve seen those movies.
You’ll leave a screening of "Plastic Planet" with a new understanding of the dilemma we face: plastic, the very substance that over the 20th century, significantly changed how we live, has taken us over.
The nation's top directing school boasts exactly as many women enrolled as men. Perhaps someone should let these aspiring female filmmakers know that they are trying to get into a very exclusive – and exclusionary – club.