The Wednesday Five

In this week’s Wednesday Five, we feature a roster of “fearless, fierce and funny” women in the news.



Melissa McCarthy — “Fearless, Fierce and Funny”

Such was the gist of most of the headlines after Melissa McCarthy’s performance on last week’s Saturday Night Live where the actress embodied White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. The sketch has now been viewed more than seventeen million times on YouTube. Politics and political impersonations aside, there was something incredibly interesting bubbling up throughout McCarthy’s SNL reviews: that women can take on men’s roles, brilliantly. Anna North of The New York Times writes:

“Ms. McCarthy isn’t funny as Mr. Spicer because she’s a woman, she’s funny as Mr. Spicer because she’s made a career of playing aggressive characters who are often angry for no reason. . . While her gender isn’t the center of her performance, it matters. . . [Her] turn as Sean Spicer is a reminder that cross-gender casting can be a lot more interesting than just putting a man in a dress. . .”

And over at The New Yorker, Alexandra Schwartz opined:

“The irony is that McCarthy’s performance didn’t highlight anything weak—that is to say . . . “feminine”— about Spicer. She didn’t mince around or giggle or bat her eyes. Those are things that men often do when they play women. Rather, she played Spicer as a bruised, bloviating alpha male, pitifully, programmatically on the attack . . . From the start of the sketch, her gender was beside the point, neither provocation nor distraction. It didn’t seem that McCarthy was cast because she was a woman. She was cast because she was the best person for the job.”



13 Documentaries On Netflix All Women Should See

Two weeks ago our Alice Pettway basked in the glow and importance of the Women’s March on Washington, writing:

“I stood in the midst of hundreds of thousands of women and allies who, like me, came to Washington to say that women’s rights are human rights. We will not ignore the reality that some people have never had these rights. We will not stand idly by while the rights that have been won are threatened.”

Two weeks later, we are still glowing from a momentous and record-breaking gathering (It made U.S. history as the most attended march in the country.) Olivia Truffaut-Wong of Bustle writes that while we enjoy the moment, it is important that we also educate ourselves about the “issues facing women worldwide.” To this end, she curated a list of thirteen documentaries streaming on Netflix she recommends as must-watch TV. Some of her highlights include documentaries that Women’s Voices has written about:

  • The Hunting Ground exposes the epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses.
  • Miss Representation on challenging the sexist portrayals of women in the media. 
  • 13th focuses on the prison industrial complex.



MAKERS Conference Charge to #BEBOLD

Gloria Steinem and Octavia Spencer open up the 2017 MAKERS Conference. (Photo: MAKERS)

The MAKERS Conference kicked off this Monday with actress Octavia Spencer and feminist writer, activist and organizer Gloria Steinem. Watch the conversation between these two trailblazers here. Spencer talks about her journey as an actress, and what moved her about playing the role of a key African-American woman to NASA’s space program in “Hidden Figures.”

MAKERS brings together hundreds of trailblazing leaders, inviting everyone to #BEBOLD, elevate the conversation and raise challenges and solutions through action-oriented sessions. The conference shines a light on issues ranging from violence against women to inclusion of men — ultimately creating a bold agenda that flips the script and creates lasting impact.

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