In this week’s Wednesday 5, we highlight women working to make the invisible more visible. Ruby Wax uses comedy to illuminate the stigma of depression; Sandra Cisneros writes her novels to tell the stories of Latina women; Ava DuVernay makes the women and families who support incarcerated men central to her film; Malala Yousafzai brings the struggle for girls’ education to the international stage; and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler reshape the landscape for women in comedy.


TED Talks | Ruby Wax: What’s so Funny about Mental Illness?

“One in four people suffer from some sort of mental illness,” opens comedian Ruby Wax in her TED Talk. She then asks us to ponder, “How come every other organ in your body can get sick (and you’ll get sympathy), except the brain?” While depression remains a largely silent illness, Ruby Wax is hoping humor can help us open up more about mental illness. She has an intimate knowledge of depression—she battled the illness even while her career flourished throughout the ’80s and ’90s.

“Ruby Wax: What’s so funny about mental illness?” at TED Talks | Sandra Cisneros on Writing about Latina Women

Sandra Cisneros, a novelist, poet, and short story writer, is the first Mexican-American writer to have her work published by a mainstream publisher. Her award-winning book  The House on Mango Street has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than 20 languages. In her feature on, she is candid, witty, and dynamic. When asked what she thinks are the most pressing issues for Latinos now, she responds that Latina women are largely still invisible, and that her work is to confront that invisibility.

Sandra Cisneros at

‘Middle of Nowhere,’ by Ava DuVernay

An amazing thing happened in the movie business this past weekend. And a 40-year old African-American filmmaker is at the helm of it all. Ava DuVernay‘s poignant film Middle of Nowhere (official trailer) debuted at No. 1  this weekend for indie films—and, more important, had the biggest per-screen total for any film currently in theaters. In the film, DuVernay, who won the directing award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, softly, quietly focuses on a young nurse who is essentially serving time, in her own way, as she remains devoted to her husband as he serves his prison sentence. 

In her blog The, Nicole Moore lauded the film for its secondary consciousness. She writes:

Instead of taking viewers inside cell blocks, [DuVernay] lets us linger in the prison waiting rooms and at bus stops and in parole hearings with the families of those who are incarcerated. She serves up a mighty bleak, yet complicated, passionate version of prison life for many women who aren’t physically behind bars, but whose lives are bound in emotional prisons because they love men who are in jail.

Ava DuVernay speaks about “Middle of Nowhere” at Sundance Film Festival 2012

Malala Yousafzai, A Life Dedicated to Educating Girls

Before we run the risk of condensing Malala Yousafzai’s identity as the girl shot by the Taliban, before we politicize her tragic assault, before we remember her only via the day she met a gunman, let’s refocus on what this young woman stood for, fought for, and dedicated her young life toward. In 2009, years before she became international news, Adam B. Ellick profiled Malala in a documentary, Class Dismissed, where she talked about her school closing and her dreams to become a doctor. See a clip of the documentary below, or click here to see the full version at The New York Times.

Malala Yousafzai in Class Dismissed

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Revolutionizing the Comedy Landscape

News broke this week that First Ladies of Comedy Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards on NBC in January, 2013. Well, it’s about time. If you’ve seen this duo on Saturday Night Live, onscreen co-starring in several films, or in the mini-coups they often orchestrate at award shows, most notably the beauty pageant lineup at the 2011 Emmy Awards, you know that they are doing more than making us laugh. Fey and Poehler are revolutionizing the way we view and appreciate female comedians. Below, we share one of their more notable duo-moments as they take on Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton. And click here for some of their funniest moments via The Daily Beast.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler take on Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton on Saturday Night Live in 2008.

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  • Salina Bujosa November 21, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Love it!