Ali Van Houten

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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Latest Articles

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Female Films and Third-Wave Feminism

In response to the lack of women helming projects in the film industry, the last few years have seen a proliferation of popular female-fueled movies. Many of these films, such as Kirsten Wiig’s Bridesmaids and Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, are raunchy comedies bent on proving that women can do the same thing as men. Feminist films like Mad Max and the upcoming female-cast Ghost Busters might mark a change in the tide, but we still aren’t seeing nearly as many women making movies and taking home awards as there are men. Are contemporary female films sacrificing seriousness to make a point about feminism?

  • Don't just single it out to comedy genres. There are other serious roles that woman have come to play in the industry. Interesting question at the end to ponder, but don't make the question so broad "contemporary female films" is alright but what about adding a genre so people can view your insight more profoundly. Again concept is very interesting and Mad Max is a great movie! – scattaharris 3 years ago
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  • I would agree with the above comment, and reiterate the need to narrow down the topic. This is HUGE at the moment and very important, but if you don't define your scope you may get lost in it. At the minute, I'm not exactly sure what your thesis is, so I would work to solidify it into one-two sentences. If I'm right in guessing that you're interested in why there seems to be a gap in "serious" leading roles for women, I think you also really need to define what you mean by "seriousness." Satire, for example, as a comedic form has some weighty aims. – mlpereira 3 years ago
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Latest Comments

This is fantastic; it’s informative and concise, and very well written. I hadn’t heard of those authors before but I will definitely be checking them out. From the snippets you included, I’m already in love. Thank you for putting this together, Donna!

Four Techniques of Effective Flash Nonfiction Writers

I like how you touched on the idea of discipline, as that’s what immediately came to my mind as soon I started reading. Real “text” (in the more classic sense) still exists, on the internet and elsewhere. Technology has simply made it easier to put all kinds of communication into text, including the “more sloppy and purely transactional” stuff. The internet has become an amalgamation of every form of communication, from the most mundane to the most artful. It is up to us to sift through the banal rubble that litters the internet and seek out the worthwhile text that was once reserved for more revered mediums.

From Noun to Verb: The Consequences of our New Idea of “Text”

I think Twitter is an especially interesting platform to examine in relation to this article. The very premise of Twitter means that communication on the site is stunted to 140 characters or less. And yet, Twitter is the tool of choice for writers—who should be some of the most eloquent and communicative people among us—to share their work. Twitter can open up conversations with colleagues and the online community that might otherwise never have been possible. Although it is ironic that wordsmiths are turning to a notoriously language-limiting platform to communicate, it seems to be a natural result of humans’ desire to communicate with a broader swathe of people while preserving a sense of artistry.

The Modern Translation of Writing