SF Talking Points: Why Did Nothing Happen When Charlie Sheen Declared His Own War On Women?, Crisis Pregnancy Centers — Celebrated Here, Regulated There

It’s Charlie Sheen’s World, Women Just Barely Live In It: Sheen was able to terrorize women (though terrorize isn’t nearly a strong enough word) and continue his career unscathed, making heaps of money on Two and a Half Men. But when he punctured the ego of his big TV exec boss? Now that was the final straw. David Carr writes about Sheen’s horrendous behavior toward women in a recent NYTimes article, and how, because his actions didn’t result in any real consequences, this surely says something about the still-unjust attitude toward women in our country. Let’s go through all of the already well-known atrocities Sheen inflicted upon women in his life, as recounted by Carr, shall we?

“In 2006, his wife at the time, Denise Richards, filed a restraining order, charging that Mr. Sheen had pushed her down, thrown chairs at her and threatened to kill her in person and on the phone.”

“Mr. Sheen was charged with a felony for an incident on Christmas Day in 2009 in which he threatened to kill his wife, Brooke Mueller, while holding a knife to her throat. According to the police report, Mr. Sheen ‘started to strangle Mueller then he pulled out a knife he always carries on his person and held the knife to Mueller’s neck and threatened, ‘You better be in fear. If you tell anybody I’ll kill you.’’” [Read more...]

Feminist or Not?: ‘Black Swan’

I love a good head-trip drama and am an unabashed fan of Darren Aronofsky’s weird sensibilities. So I can easily list Black Swan as one of my favorite movies of the year. First off, I adore Natalie Portman, whose acting evolution has been so effortless, she’s bound to take home an Oscar before her 35th birthday. She’s also a damn sexy feminist. Sexy just because—well, look at her!—but also for never playing the slutty role for the sake of a magazine cover. Even her stripper in Closer was toned down, and she refused to compromise herself and appear naked—a decision for which much of the industry and world berated her.

In Black Swan, Portman plays a woman we all know (and can perhaps identify with, even if just a little): a perfectionist introvert who’s still a bit immature and will stop at nothing to be the best and reach her dreams. She’s faced with a startling degree of sexism and chauvinism—who knew ballet was so penis-driven?!—which she eventually smacks down to rise to the top. Despite how far her obsessions plunge her deep into the crazy, that’s a feminist message I can get behind.

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SF Talking Points: Lesbian Wages, Mistresses and Food vs. Sex

What’s With the Lesbian Wage Premium?: According to research in a recent post by Marina Adshade of BigThink, lesbians get paid 6% more than straight women, even when you control for differences in education, race, profession, number of children, and location.  Could it be because straight women have the eventual expectation of a male partner? Is it because gay women already have experience resisting gender stereotypes — and therefore don’t feel the need to play roles in the workplace? Do lesbian ladies tend to negotiate for raises more than their heterosexual counterparts? Apparently nobody knows for sure, but I might have to follow the plan that Adshade came up with for a Hollywood screenplay:

“An ambitious, young, heterosexual woman disguises herself as a lesbian in order to land herself the job of her dreams. Her handsome colleague takes her into his confidence and, of course, she falls in love with him. After a series of comedic events, she eventually gets her man and reconciles herself to mediocre wages, along with all the other heterosexual women.  It could be a modern day Twelfth Night.”

Minus the part where she reconciles herself to mediocre wages.

In “Black Swan,” Natalie Portman incarnates “both an ideal of inviolate femininity and its dark mirror image”: “Black Swan” tackles themes like misogyny, oppression, femininity, liberation, and madness in the wake of perfection — and if its lead actress, Natalie Portman, hadn’t gone through an internal struggle much like that of the character she plays, the movie mightn’t have been as powerful as it was (or as flawed). AO Scott writes in a recent New York Times article, “…she is both the black swan and the white, both the perfectly controlled performer and the pure creature of instinct,” and that, although we know that Nina does not really turn into a bird, and that Portman is not really Nina, “we also know, on the irrefutable evidence of our own eyes, and the prickly sensation of our skin, that she is.”

On that note, the 2010 Women Film Critics Circle Awards were announced, and Black Swan won Worst Female Images In A Movie. This seems…off. The movie is a strange hybrid of docufiction, drama, and horror and it uses its strangeness and outrageousness to provoke — not to make its audience comfortable. So it seems, to me, that by simply deeming the physical manifestation of the attainment of art at the cost of sanity (that was a mouthful) “the worst female images in a movie,” they are kind of missing the point.

2010 Was Apparently “The Year Of The Mistress“: According to a cnn.com article, that is. But, as Sadie Stein of Jezebel writes, “when half of said mistresses are Tiger Woods’, does this even constitute a trend?” So why isn’t it The Year Of The Sleazy Oversexed Man (Most Notably Tiger Woods)? It takes two to tango, CNN.

So Women Think About Food More Than Sex: I would be interested to find out what men think more about. If 25% of women think about food every half an hour, and 10% think about sex…I’m going to bet that whatever the percentage, it would be 50-50 for men, even though I’m sure everyone ASSUMES intercourse would be higher. My position is that food is just so damn good.

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