The Feminist Progress Report: The News While You Wait on Syria
Lauren Slavin | On 31, Aug 2013
Welcome to this week’s Feminist Progress Report, where Feminspire brings you the disappointments and delights from this week’s news! Here’s what we have for you today:
✓ - You may have heard of the Bechdel Test, an effective way to determine if a film (but it also works for TV) has at least some semblance of feminism: For a movie to pass, it needs to have two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man. It’s a pretty depressing statistic of how misogynist Hollywood has remained since films were silent and in black and white.
Now there’s a new test for judging how films employ another marginalized group: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans* characters. It’s call the Russo Test, after Vito Russo, the film historian who co-founded GLAAD, an LGBT “organization that works directly with news media, entertainment media, cultural institutions and social media,” according to their website.
The Russo Test evaluates movies on three grounds:
1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender.
2. That character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity. I.E. they are made up of the same sort of unique character traits commonly used to differentiate straight characters from one another.
3. The LGBT character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect. Meaning they are not there to simply provide colorful commentary, paint urban authenticity, or (perhaps most commonly) set up a punchline. The character should matter.
GLADD is working on a larger project to analyze the inclusivity of LGBT characters on TV versus the silver screen, which is sadly, but unsurprisingly, totally lacking. While it’s incredibly upsetting how little Hollywood cares about stereotyping LGBT characters, this study could catapult change in how the roles of LGBT characters and LGBT actors make media more inclusive.
X – Slut-shaming is deadly. Women who saw no way out but suicide after bullying from their classmates, news anchors sympathizing with attackers. And now, 16-year-old Cherice Morales, who took her own life in 2010 after being told at age 14 that she was in “control of the situation” when her high school teacher, raped her at least three times. The age of consent in Montana, where Cherice attended school, is 16, but a judge called Cherice “older than her chronological age,” which was enough to sentence her rapist to a grand total of 30 days prison time.
At least District Judge G. Todd Baugh feels bad about the sentence that can’t be appealed. “I don’t know what I was thinking or trying to say,” Baugh told The Billings Gazette. “It was just stupid and wrong.”
Every feminist ever responded with a collective, “NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.”
A petition for Jydge Baugh’s resignation has more than 39,000 signatures on Care2 Petition Site.
✓ - I was surprised when I saw feminist after feminist I follow on tumblr reblog a link titled “15 Hottest Sideboobs at the VMA’s.”
I’ve voiced my frustration with sideboob on Feminspire before. The paparazzi’s obsession with dresses that show the curve of the breast is beyond baffling, and totally sexist. So why were my favorite Facebook and Twitter feminists linking to this College Humor article.
The post starts in bold, all capital letters: “SHAME. ON. YOU.”
“BY ACTIVELY ELECTING TO LOOK AT PICTURES OF SIDEBOOBS — MANY BELONGING TO TEENAGERS — FROM THE RED CARPET OF MTV’S VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS, YOU JUST MADE A VERY POOR DECISION.”
No matter if you fell for the trolling link, or a feminist buddy sent it your way with cackles of laughter, it’s finally great to see a satirical site acknowledge how twisted it is that people give that much of a damn about a body part that was invented solely to shame actresses. Bravo, College Humor.
✓ - It’s been a little over four months since Savita Halappanavar died in an Irish hospital after requesting an abortion that could have prevented the sepsis that killed her after suffering a miscarriage.
Ireland’s first legal abortion took place this week on a woman who had an unviable 18-week pregnancy and whose life was risk. The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, which allow for abortions only when woman’s life is under threat or if she is suicidal, is a great first step, and could have saved the life of Savita and countless others. But abortion isn’t something that should have to come with an asterisk. I once read a great tumblr response from a feminist who was asked the question “Do you believe in abortion.” She replied, “Only in extreme circumstances. Like, if a woman in pregnant, and doesn’t want to be.”
It’s far past time for women to have safe, cost-effective, unburdened access to abortion and birth control.
? - At time of publication, President Obama has yet to make a decision about the United States launching an overseas assault on Syria. Parliament struck down British Prime Minister David Cameron’s permission to intervene, and the United Nations has just finished a four-day collection of materials that will be analyzed to determine if chemical agents were used to kill hundreds of Syrian civilians. Hopefully the U.S. will wait for these results before taking military action. If you are in Syria and want to share your story with Feminspire, please email [email protected]
The score: 3/5.5. Have any recent stories that made you cringe in disgust or punch the air in triumph? Share with us in the comments below!
Written by Lauren Slavin
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