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Wednesday 5: Tina Fey, Aretha Franklin, Helen Mirren

In this week’s Wednesday 5: Ford wants us to “Leave Our Worries Behind” in (another) sexist ad; Tina Fey responds to her Internet critics with a hilarious comeback; the women who have been “leaning in” for centuries before Sheryl Sandberg; Aretha Franklin turns 71; and Helen Mirren champions women in film, behind the camera.



Ford wants us to “Leave our Worries [bound, gagged, distressed, and scantily clad women] Behind”


Utterly ridiculous ads seem to be catching on like wildfire. Last week we reported on Samsung’s sexist launch of its new phone and the unveiling of the “E-Pad Femme.” This week we’re throwing Ford into the mix. The Ford Motor Company and its advertising agency JWT wants you to “Leave Your Worries Behind.” Those worries: bound, gagged, distressed, and scantily clad women. The above ad (there’s a second one showing caricatures of the Kardashian sisters bound, gagged, and showing lots of cleavage in the car trunk) were leaked on the Internet. Ford, of course, has come out apologizing profusely, stating, “These were never intended for paid publication and should never have been created, let alone uploaded to the Internet.”  But they were created. And someone greenlighted that. Katie McDonough, assistant editor for Salon, isn’t buying the “apology.”  She goes in hard, comparing Ford’s statement to the Steubenville convicted rapists’ statement that “No pictures should have been taken, let alone sent around.” That might be a little too harsh—or is it? What we want to know is: Where are the women executives at Ford, and what is their role in getting these ads created in the first place? Where is their sense of responsibility to women and to their women customers?



Don’t Mess with “The Fey”

In this week’s dose of fun (and sweet, sweet revenge), the folks at “Anyone Can Be Cool, but Awesome Takes Practice” dug up a 2009 response Tina Fey wrote to an Internet commenter,“Centaurious,” in which he/she called Fey  “an ugly, pear-shaped, bitchy, overrated troll.” Fey’s response:

Tina Fey internet responseDear Centaurious,
First let me say how inspiring it is that you have learned to use a computer. I hate for our correspondence to be confrontational, but you have offended me deeply. To say I’m an overrated troll, when you have never even seen me guard a bridge, is patently unfair. I’ll leave it for others to say if I’m the best, but I am certainly one of the most dedicated trolls guarding bridges today. I always ask three questions, at least two of which are riddles.
As for “ugly, pear-shaped and bitchy”? I prefer the terms “offbeat, business class–assed and exhausted,”  but I’ll take what I can get. There’s no such thing as bad press! Now go to bed, you crazy night owl! You have to be at Nasa early in the morning. So they can look for your penis with the Hubble telescope.



Women Have Been “Leaning In” for Centuries

You’ve no doubt read about the headlines (good, bad and ugly) that Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, has been getting. Our position, as we stated here, is that we welcome her “to the conversation we’ve been sparking since 2006, featuring women from Phillis Wheatley, America’s first black poet, to Rosie the Riveter to umpire Perry Barber.” Indeed, we love that Ellen Gruber Garvey, author of “Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance,” reminds  us (and also gives us a history lesson) that women have been “leaning in” for centuries:

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says women “hold ourselves back” when we should be advocating for ourselves and “leaning in.” If only she had known Caroline Healey Dall! With other feminists one hundred fifty years ago, Dall spoke up for herself. Early feminists advocated for each other too. Their tools and methods for smashing through and stepping over barriers may still be sharp and effective.

Read more about Caroline Healey Dall and Ellen Gruber Garvey’s historical perspective on “leaning in” at the History New Network.



Happy Birthday, Aretha Franklin

On March 25, Aretha Franklin turned 71 years old. The phenom has racked up 18 Grammys in her career, making her one of the most honored artists in Grammy history. For  this week’s dose of inspiration, we share with you a universal anthem for men, women, and children that continues to pass the test of time: Aretha’s 1967 original rendition of “Respect,” from her album I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You [1967].

Aretha Franklin, “Respect,” Live in Stockholm, 1968


Helen Mirren: Women Create Movies Too!

Bless that Helen Mirren. She gives us new reasons to love her over and over again. This weekend, she was honored with the “Legend” award at the Empire Awards. In her acceptance speech, she responded to remarks made by Sam Mendes (director of Skyfall), just prior, in which he thanked people who have inspired him in movie business—none of whom were women. Well, here’s what Helen had to say:

When I first came into the film industry, it was a really blokey world . . . a film set was a very masculine environment. Nowadays, that’s really changed. And it’s fantastic to see women and girls in the lighting department, in cinematography, in the sound department, and obviously in producing, in writing . . . I hope that [when] the next Sam gets up and makes his, or hopefully, her, speech, there will be two or three or four or five women’s names there.

Helen Mirren Champions Women in Film, Jameson Empire Awards, 2013


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