In this week’s Wednesday 5: a recap of the sexist moments in this campaign season, a look at the challenges faced by funny women in the past 50 years, new hopes for women and girls as Disney takes over Star Wars, the dawning of a new era for the Bond Girl/Bond Woman, and four African girls create a urine-powered machine that would bring electricity to communities without it.


The 5 Most Sexist Moments of the Campaign

A lot has happened since our last week’s Wednesday 5, most notably a presidential election, an unprecedented number of women elected as U.S senators, and the installation of women into the five top offices in New Hampshire. While women are celebrating, with good cause, Sarah Seltzer of AlterNet is reminding us how gritty, dirty, and downright sexist this 2012 campaign season was. She cites five of some of the more compelling instances of campaign sexism compiled by the “Name It. Change It” project. And some of the offenders are women. Making the list: Moderator Liz Benjamin, who questions New York Senator Kirsten  Gillibrand and her challenger Wendy Long (she asks if they had read Fifty Shades of Grey), and female political commentators from The Huffington Post whose policy was to report on the fashion choices of female candidates, including Michele Bachmann and Hillary Clinton.

Read the full list at AlterNet.


Culture Kvetch: Women Aren’t Funny? Really?

Women like Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin, and their contemporary female comedians were and are part of an “industry [that] is still shaking off the sexism that was nothing if not institutionalized and that discouraged women from entering the profession at all,” writes Jacob Silverman in “Culture Kvetch: Women Aren’t Funny? Really?” at In his interview with author Yael Kohen of We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy, Silverman expands on the challenges, past and present, women continue to face as comedians.  As they honed their craft, these women were often told they were too abrasive, too aggressive, too pretty, too much like a guy, and downright “not funny.” Regardless, Kohen “indicated that the current sense among many women is one of possibility, as well as gratitude towards their comedienne forbears.”



Disney Buys ‘Star Wars’: A New Hope for Women and Girls

We’re sure that when you heard the news of Disney’s buying George Lucas’s Star Wars, your immediate thought was, “What does this mean for women?” Well, luckily, Robin Hitchcock at Bitch Flicks had the same question, and offers some answers:

(1) A woman, film producer Kathleen Kennedy, is president of Lucasfilm. Robin predicts that “the door is now open for new writers, directors, and other producers to step into the Star Wars franchise, and a lot more diversity in the creative team continuing the franchise is now a possibility.”

(2) Disney’s Princess Leia. Robin predicts, “Given their history of creating female-centric  entertainment.  . . Disney may be the best production company to . . . bring a dynamic female character. . . . We might even see a woman as the central figure in the next trilogy.”

Read more at Bitch Flicks.
Related: Paige Morrow Kimball: Making Films About Women in the Middle


The End of the Bond Girl and the Rise of the Bond Woman

We just love this headline: “The End of the Bond Girl and the Rise of the Bond Woman” by Alyssa Rosenberg at Slate. The Bond woman is no longer the trophy, the sidekick, the prop. Rosenberg argues that “with the arrival of Skyfall, [Daniel] Craig’s third outing in the tuxedo, it may be time to herald the end of the Bond Girl and the rise of the Bond Woman. Craig’s Bond Girls are more Bond’s equals than they’ve ever been.” How so? The new Bond Women exhibit greater emotional nuances in their character,  they reject Bond’s sexual advances, and are worthy of their own thriller trilogy. About this new shift in the James Bond repertoire, Rosenberg sums it up best:

“The Bond franchise has modernized tremendously in the last six years, grounding its villains in new geopolitical realities, updating its fight choreography, and creating strong new roles for African-American characters. But there’s no clearer sign that we’re in a great new Bond era than that it’s now just as much fun to watch Bond talk to a woman as it is to see him take one to bed.”



Girls Rising

Our Girls continue to inspire us. While Malala Yousafzai recovers and comes back stronger to advocate for girls’ education in Pakistan, four teenage girls in Nigeria have invented a urine-powered generator. Many places in Nigeria continue to go without electricity. These girls—the oldest is 15—are using math, science, engineering, and common sense to create “initiatives that solve immediate challenges and problems.” It’s a huge undertaking to try to come up with an invention that would supply electricity to communities and rural areas where power lines don’t exist, and to do so by recycling urine! We salute these girls for being voices and creators of change!

Read more at The Next Web.



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