In this week’s Wednesday 5: The Good Wife is finally getting the critical attention it deserves; Longreads offers  a reading list for women who travel alone; another growing list of products and companies built by women; the ABC network has an initiative to increase diversity on television; and the MAKERS documentary on Women in Space is here!

 

1.

Shedding Her Skin:  The Thrilling Transformation of “The Good Wife.”

The Good Wife

Finally, a television critic is giving CBS’s “The Good Wife,” now in its sixth season, the critical attention and recognition it  deserves. That critic is Emily Nussbaum, TV critic for The New Yorker. In her article this week, “Shedding Her Skin: “The Good Wife”’s thrilling transformation,” Nussbaum deems the show “the smartest drama currently on the air,” though it has also largely been marginalized because the viewing public sees it as a show “for women.” (That’s always a diss, not a compliment.)  Nussbaum is thorough in unpacking why the show makes great television—namely, its innovative producers, Robert and Michelle King, and its trademark deeply complicated and flawed characters, including the not-so-good wife herself, Alicia Florrick, played brilliantly by Julianna Marguiles. (Brilliantly indeed: she just won an Emmy for the role.) To sum up what you are missing out on, here’s Nussbaum’s take:

“. . .the series is a model of how strict boundaries—the sort that govern sonnets—can inspire greater brilliance than absolute freedom can. In 2009, the show might have looked much like an empowerment procedural for the ladies, a “Lean In” fairy tale about a strong woman who would find her way. Instead, it’s revealed itself to be a sneaky condemnation of pretty much every institution under capitalism. Marriage is one of those institutions, of course. And so is television.

 

2.

Longreads Reading List: Women Who Travel Alone

LongreadsIf you haven’t discovered Longreads yet—the online platform helping people find and share the best storytelling in the world (nonfiction and fiction more than 1,500 words long)—get on board. The site is a tribute to the good ole days of longform journalism and a departure from the current sound-bite/140-character era. Now that you’ve been informed, we wanted to share with you this goodie we found:”Women Who Travel Alone: A Reading List.” It’s an ode to women who travel alone, featuring six remarkable stories (long reads) of grit, triumph, stupidity, laughter, and resilience. And while you’re in the traveling mode, check out the stories of odyssey and adventure by members of our Women’s Voices writing family.

 

3.

These Women Built It

Speaking of lists: Product Hunt, which features great new products every day, has published a fabulous list, “Made by Women Founders,” a collection of fabulous things invented and created by women.  There are more well-known mentions like LearnVest, the financial empowerment site for women, and Dwell, the magazine dedicated to all things interior and beautiful. We were also thrilled to see the number of tech products and companies founded by women. Wish these companies would make the headlines more often, instead of those frequent stories reminding us of the gender-pay gap.

 

4.

Toward a More Diverse Cast on Television

Viola-Davis-and-the-cast-of-How-To-Get-Away-With-Murder_article_story_largeViola Davis with the cast of ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder”

Who is Keli Lee? She’s the casting director at ABC who, in 2001, launched “a showcase for undiscovered actors of all colors to perform for the network’s producers and casting directors—thus changing the system. Before long, the network had a diverse roster of stars” (Fast Company).  Lee, whose family immigrated to the U.S. when she was two years old, refused to believe that the problem with diversity on network television shows was a result of the limited nature of the talent pool. Years after that showcase, the result of Lee’s and ABC’s initiatives has yielded a lineup of shows in 2014 containing the most diverse cast the network has seen.

 

5.

Tonight: WOMEN IN SPACE

Tonight at 8 p.m. on MAKERS.com, tune for a special screening of Women in Space, hosted by Mae Jemison, the first astronaut who is a woman of color. The film traces the history of women pioneers in the U.S. space program. These innovating women include Wally Funk and Jerrie Cobb—who passed the same grueling tests as did the male astronauts, only to be dismissed by NASA, the military, and even Lyndon Johnson as a distraction—and Eileen Collin,s who became the first woman to pilot a spacecraft. The film also includes “the next generation of women engineers, mathematicians, and astronauts—the new group of pioneers, among them Marleen Martinez, who continue to make small but significant steps forward.” Narrated by Jodie Foster.

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