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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics


    Feminism in the Future: How Films Portray Women in the Future

    There are definitely a lot of films whose plot takes place in the future, but because of the fact that the films are created in present time, we don’t often see a future that has become truly equal for males and females. One could use an example of Star Trek Into Darkness, or Jurassic World–most of the "powerful" roles still belong to men, and, even if a woman does save the day, she still doesn’t get as much credit as she deserves, or, she needs some kind of male assistance. I figure, with the way things are now, shouldn’t the future be a much better place in terms of equality? Is it so terrible to portray the future with female soldiers, guards, heroes–women who have their own destiny, their own purpose, and are surrounded by other women? Everything from camera angle, to clothes sometimes dismisses the authenticity of the futuristic female lead who’s trying to do what she needs to do. Also, does there always have to be a love interest, or a man helping out? Sure, there are films like V For Vendetta that feature a strong female lead, but, if we really get down to it, Natalie Portman’s character was still taught by a man.

    If anything, the writer might want to look into the past or present, as well. Maybe explore characters like Captain Phasma and/or Wonder Woman and their strengths. The writer might also want to discuss gender-bending roles and how they may contribute to the topic (think Ghostbusters). The writer might want to include that video games, like Halo, are already making totally equal men and women.

    So, either way, do these films accurately gauge future feminism? Or, because these films are still made now, the same societal biases come through? Feel free to analyze and explore!

    • Mad Max: Fury Road is a great example of female-dominant characters in a science fiction setting, and there was a lot of public outcry from the "Men's Rights Activists" about it, saying the titular character wasn't important enough to the story. – Tarben 8 years ago
    • There has always been an issue with female representation in film. Females are rarely the lead in films and if they are they usually have a male counter-part. The representation is important. The first barrier was getting more women in the show and then giving them lines. Now we have to move on from them being love-obsessed puppies hoping from boyfriend to boyfriend. Progress is slow. I don't think there are many movies that show equality at all. I think the next best step is to have more feminist and women WRITE and DIRECT movies. Men can portray women, but not as justly as another woman. They have not had the same experiences. – emaliej 8 years ago
    • On the note of how these women are typically written, especially in sci-fi, is dominantly masculine. There is nothing wring with masculine women; however, these women are rarely written as feminine at all. This might have a lot to so with how men feel they can portray women. These are women of the future, so perhaps part of the article could reflect on how they could be portrayed as a different kind of women if women wrote them. What do these women look like now being written largely by men, and how they could look if more women were part of creating these women. – C N Williamson 8 years ago

    Leia and Rey: Star Wars and The Anti Damsel in Distress

    Historically, people thought Star Wars was geared more towards men than women. Nevertheless, that idea has been put to rest and more and more fans are discussing gender roles in Star Wars. As such, Leia and Rey have had moments where they were trapped and seemingly needed to be rescued, but for the most part it was usually their own attitudes, strength, and intelligence that got them out of trouble. How is the female character designed in the Star Wars franchise? What makes her different? What makes her the same? How can we explore Leia and Rey and get an in-depth look at the anti damsel in distress?

    • Great topic. Would love to see an article on this. – Munjeera 8 years ago
    • Might as well throw Padme in, too. – JLaurenceCohen 8 years ago
    • Good topic, I would make the argument that Han and Luke had to "save the princess" in the first installment of the original trilogy. But I would agree that for the most part yes they are very strong, autonomous, independent women! – Jason052714 8 years ago
    • would be interesting to chart Leia and Padme's growth through their respective trilogies; as Jason052714 points out Leia does initially require some help but moves on to become a general while Padme seems to move in the opposite direction, becoming less of a leader/action oriented character. – tlbdb 8 years ago

    Pretty Girls: Body Image on Television vs. Reality

    In an article by Into The Gloss, Lucy Hale, who plays Aria Montgomery on Pretty Little Liars said, "It’s important for young girls to realize things like we have fake eyelashes on, some of us have extensions, we have good lighting. It’s the same thing as Photoshop!" People who enjoy watching shows like Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Once Upon A Time, The Vampire Diaries, etc. can’t help but think about the fact that the actors’ makeup, hair, and clothes all look great. But where is the line drawn between what is natural and what isn’t? Is there a way to teach people about behind-the-scenes tricks? Is there a message that can be sent out to the public that says a lot has to be done so that the camera catches it? (Even in a film like The Hobbit, Martin Freeman’s robe was extremely bright and colorful because they needed to make sure the camera and filters could "pick it up.") Should audiences be made aware about the tricks to the trade via a disclaimer? On the flip side, is the emulation of their favorite actors/characters a positive thing? Isn’t wearing makeup and getting "fixed up" fun? I’d love for someone to explore the pros and cons and what should or shouldn’t be done about television’s impact on body image.

    • I highly approve of this topic, because it comes at female body image and the perception of feminine beauty from the angle where it is causing the most confusion and lasting impression: make-up and costuming in film and television. There are some television shows and ongoing projects which explore makeup and costuming from a creative angle, but don't quite explore how it is used to fully transform a typical actress into what we see in the final product, and how huge the difference can often be. I also think that doing a one-time expose' on this sort of thing wouldn't really do the trick, because it would be here and gone within a few months. So there ought to be some sort of continuous thing, like maybe a type of promotional featurette that different TV shows can produce, which show how make-up, hair, costumes, and lighting are done, and show how "the magic" happens: maybe like a PSA series. And the message would always be to explain to those younger audience members watching, that what they see the characters wearing and looking like isn't something truly attainable in every day life, nor should it be everyone's goal. – Jonathan Leiter 8 years ago
    • Also, from the perspective of a filmmaker, knowing how the magic is done never ruins a film experience for me, or a television experience either. Seeing how every last detail was conceived and executed never breaks the veil because when it's done right, it still suspends my disbelief. I think it has to do with the editing and the sound design. If neither of those two things were effective, then I probably would notice all of the gears and wires and the illusion would die instantly. But otherwise, there's no harm in letting everyone in on the make-up techniques or the cinematography. It's deeply fascinating. – Jonathan Leiter 8 years ago
    • Agreed to the above - if filmmakers guarded their "tricks" of the trade as jealously as professional illusionists, there would be no behind-the-scenes special features or director's commentary added to DVDs (which I love). Another interesting take on this would be film vs. television and their differing attitude between revealing their magic; I wonder if there is data anywhere that gives an idea whether young girls' body image is affected more negatively by TV than by film. I'd venture a guess and say that it is. (As an aside, I've been thinking for a while that it's very interesting fake lashes have made a serious comeback from the '60s. They've been used in TV and film since then, but not since the '60s has the general public worn them regularly.) – Katheryn 8 years ago

    Color Grading in Film

    Aside from all of the work that gets put into a film, there is a specific look in terms of color grading that higher grossing/higher budget films seem to have. The change from black and white films to color was an exciting moment in film history, so why does it seem as though the latest trend in Hollywood is to make the images darker, specifically more blue and more green than realistic life? What do those colors exhibit to viewers, similarly, what makes them and that kind of grading the latest artistic choice in blockbusters?

    • Perhaps one angle that could tie in well is the nostalgia angle today. – JDJankowski 8 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    What a great read. This is such an important topic to discuss. Lucille Ball was a renegade and pioneer. Kudos, indeed, to Ms. Ball.

    Why Wouldn't Everyone Love Lucy?

    Loved this. Really well done. The Neil Gaiman video at the end was a very great touch. Make good art, indeed.

    A Writer's Essential Steps to Staying Motivated

    Well done! I’m glad you wrote about a film/book that so many people find to be simply a fantastical children’s film/book–there is so much to discover and so much depth to Dahl’s work!

    Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory: Lessons for Parents and Children

    Don’t even get me started, either! Ugh. The wonderful things that can be done to spark students’ interests in English courses.

    Another problem is that a lot of people don’t read the queues while reading the rest of the play. Every side note or action should be read if one is to be able to imagine the whole picture. A lot of people don’t realize the importance of those details and think only the speech is important. It’s everything from the lighting to the music to the costumes and blocking and so on and so forth, that make a play truly special. When those notes are skipped, the reader misses a lot. Even if it boils down to something as simple as, say, Character (condescendingly): You’re so smart. If the reader skips the notes, he/she might think a completely different thing about the character and find themselves getting confused in the long run.

    Shakespeare's Richard III: The Power of Speech

    I feel the same way about horror. Most of the time for zombies it’s been me watching I Am Legend or part of The Walking Dead or Night of the Living Dead, but after watching I feel so bummed out haha! I’ll definitely check those out! Thanks! [:

    The Zombie Invasion of Pop Culture: They Want Your Brains

    So, so helpful. I love this!

    A Guide to Reading Comics: Where to Start?

    Really, really loved this article. Thank you for writing it! I had long been apart from Pottermore, but I think, it may be time to check it out again.

    The Lost Civilization of Pottermore

    Really cool article! I’m not a big zombie person (lol), but I love the way you delve into the history, the psyche, the different kinds–it actually makes me want to watch a few things to see if there is hope for me to like zombies, yet!

    The Zombie Invasion of Pop Culture: They Want Your Brains