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Goodbye Blockbuster Season, Hello Films With Females

BY ANNIE BOGGS

If you’re like me, you distrust the summer blockbuster season for its general obsession with superheroes, mindless violence and sequels. With the exception of “Bridesmaids” and the somewhat controversial “The Help”, this year was no different. The end of the summer brings some optimism, however, with several upcoming movies covering uncharted territory (read: women’s and LGBT issues, here and abroad). At a screening of “Another Earth”- a wonderful film I would definitely recommend- I saw the three following film previews that peeked my interest and reinstated my faith (a bit) in the movie industry:

  • “The Whistleblower”, released in the beginning of August, is about a UN peacekeeper who uncovers human trafficking involving the UN in post-war Bosnia.
  • “Pariah” tells the story of Alike, a 17-year-old girl who is embracing her lesbian identity amidst conflict from her family. No release date announced yet.
  • “Circumstance” is about two girls in Iran dealing with their emerging adolescence and the boundaries set upon them by their birthplace. The release date is August 26.

And finally, this trailer was released a few days ago and takes a look at the, ahem, accidental history of the vibrator during the Victorian era, titled “Hysteria” for the illness doctors were attempting to cure. No release date set for the U.S. yet.

Awesome, am I right? Films that actually reflect lives of those who are not white, male and wearing superhero suits are a plus in my book. Support films like these and maybe, someday, blockbuster season will be filled with diverse stories of women (a girl can dream!).

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demonstration, Story

Jacqueline’s Story: “He kept staring at me”

Walking toward my house, I made eye contact with a guy walking the opposite way on the other side of the street. I looked away. He did not. He kept staring at me, slowly turning his head a full 180 to keep staring at me as I walked up my driveway. It was completely silent, less than 30 seconds, and he was pretty far away from me, but I still felt shaken and threatened, and at the same time silly for feeling so threatened when nothing “really” happened, and angry that something so small means so much.

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demonstration, Story

Jessica’s story: “I felt so powerless and so small”

I had never lived in a city before this summer, and it took a while for me to get used to the unending comments I heard on the street. They always made me feel uncomfortable, and I found listening to music protected me the most on my walk to work.

My last week of summer work, I had run out of power to listen to my music so I was walking around without my usual guard up. I started to notice someone yelling, “Bitch!” at me as I was walking. At first I ignored it, but the yelling got worse when I turned around.

When I got to the cross walk and it looked like me and the man who was yelling at me would be standing together, I decided to walk off to the side and stand by a populated bus stop until he passed. As he walked across the street, he hatefully spewed, “bitch,” and “white cunt” with “privileged pussy” my way.

I didn’t know what to do; I just wanted to go home. After I crossed the street, he turned around to see me again. He stopped dead in his tracks and threatened me until I crossed the street again to walk on the other side.

I was wearing sunglasses, so no one could see me cry on my way home. I don’t let anyone talk to me like that, but he was so much bigger and filled with so much anger. I felt so powerless and so small.

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demonstration, Story

Taylor’s story: Stop following me

Saturday night at about 8pm I parked on Little Raven street, at the far end of the mall from the Denver Library, where I was heading to drop off some books in the drop box. I made it to the library and successfully dropped off my books in about fifteen minutes. Walking back from the library to the mall (which involves walking down the street between a city park and the Denver capital lawn), a man started following me. I sped up, he did too. First, he just tried talking to me, to get me to stop. I responded, but kept walking. Then he asked me if I could sell him a bowl. I said no and kept walking. After crossing Colfax, I was passing the bus station when he angled his walking and tried to cut me off against the wall.
I ran into the bus station and went straight to the security guard. He followed me into the bus station, and the security guard made him go away for me. After I watched him go out of view, I walked out of the bus station to catch the Free Mall Ride down 16th street mall. A stop later, he got on the mall ride and started staring at me. I work on the mall at a place in which my coworkers are predominantly males, so I got off the ride and went to my work with the hope of losing him based on the intimidation factor of other males.
I waited 15 minutes, then tried to leave. I was partway down the block when he walked up next to me and said “hi”. I turned around and went back to work and waited for them to finish closing so I wouldn’t be walking alone. I didn’t get to my car till past 11pm.

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Lauren’s Story: Stop staring

My three friends and I took a weekend vacation up to the Adirondacks in Upstate New York this past month. We are all 20 years old. One afternoon, the 4 of us took a canoe out to a popular canoe/kayak/swimming spot. It was extremely hot out, so all of us were in our bathing suits. On our way back to the shore, we noticed a strange man, alone, standing in the water watching us. Staring. He stared at us the entire time it took us to pass by him in the canoe. At first we thought nothing of it, but about 2 minutes later, I looked behind us and realized that he had followed us. Still, staring at us silently standing waist deep in the water. I yelled “Can I help you?”. No response. We were all extremely creeped out. This continued for about ten minutes, as the man followed us to the shore. He proceeded to follow us all to our car in the parking lot, and stand with his hands on his hips staring at us while we struggled to put the canoe on top of the car. It was at this point that my one friend, Paige, had enough. As we were driving out of the parking lot, she rolled down the window, the man still watching us, and flipped him off. He stared back, and she yelled” YEAH, THAT’S FOR YOU CREEP!”. If I had known about this site at the time, I would have easily been able to snap a picture of this guy. Sexual harassment doesn’t always have to be verbal!

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demonstration

Maria’s Story: “The kind of look that makes you feel you’d rather be somewhere else”

I was 17 and had traveled to Boston from South America with a couple of friends to learn English. My language school was near Cambridge square, and we had class until 1pm, and then we had an hour or so to have lunch before classes resumed.

One day I decided to go to some random restaurant because I wanted to eat something different, my friends didn’t want to come with me so I went there by myself.

I sat at a table, and after I ordered. A guy sitting at a different table started to talk to me. He said “how come such a lovely lady is eating all by herself?” I was very naive then and didn’t expect sexual harassment to take place in the U.S. (little did I know), so I just answered his question and explained that my friends didn’t want to come with me. I still answered with a particular tone to show that I was uncomfortable and would rather not talk.

The guy later asked me if I liked my food, I said it was alright and then I took some random thing from my bag to pretend I was reading so he wouldn’t talk to me. He had a strange look, the kind of look that makes you feel you’d rather be somewhere else.

He kept talking to me, and I told him that I was sorry, that I couldn’t understand what he was saying because I was still learning English. I thought that would be a good thing to say to end the conversation.

I asked the waitress to bring the bill, and she said the guy had paid for what I had ordered. I wasn’t sure I had understood what had happened, I was nervous and wanted to leave, so I asked again, and she said the guy had payed my bill. Confused, I asked her why??? She said she didn’t know why but he had indeed payed my bill. She gave me a piece of paper that the guy had sent to me, which said something like I was beautiful or something. Then she said, “apparently he likes you”.

I asked the waitress if I could leave, she said yes. The guy was staring at me. I (sigh…) said “Thank you”, then left the restaurant and staring running towards the language school. My heart was pounding, I was terrified and wondered if the guy would be following me. I thought that was unlikely because I was running really fast.

I was very annoyed and confused. One thing that bothered me was the lack of female solidarity, if I had been the waitress, I wouldn’t have let a random guy in his fifties pay the bill of a 17 year old without asking her first.

I never ate alone again during the rest of my stay.

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Anonymous’s Story: Not walking in silence

I was walking home with a friend after a fun evening out, chatting about her upcoming vacation plans. About 100 yards away, three guys were walking toward us on the same sidewalk. Once I noticed them, chatting loudly amongst themselves, I was no longer even really focused on the conversation with my friend. I was tense, holding my breath, and waiting for our paths to cross, hoping it would be uneventful.  One glanced at us and kept walking, another guy’s look lingered. It was the third who slowed and stopped altogether, sort of blocking my path, lifted his hands, looked down to my ankles and back up to my face and said, “Damn girl, you’re gorgeous.” He kept talking, but I kept walking. And, the conversation I had with my friend picked up where it left off.

I didn’t Hollaback at him, I didn’t want to encourage any form of further communication, I didn’t want to reward his behavior or make him to think I somehow enjoyed any of what he had just done. But, the fact that she and I kept walking as if nothing had happened – that was a common response I thought was worth correcting. So I interrupted the conversation with, “I hate how, no matter which neighborhood we’re in, we can’t feel safe and secure on our own sidewalks.” We only talked about it for a few seconds longer before resuming our original conversation before parting ways. But at least we didn’t keep walking in complicit silence, allowing that to be an unnoticed, unquestioned end to our evening.

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Chelsea’s Story: They laughed at my discomfort

I am 22 years old and have, like most women, been verbally harassed since I hit puberty. When I hear a “God damn you’re hot,” or a whistle, or even a simple “Hey” from men, I sometimes smile, always feel awkward, and continue on like it didn’t happen. But today, I was walking the block from the lot I park in to where I work in Detroit and had to pass by a construction crew. I couldn’t see the men. Perhaps they were behind a large green plastic sheet that blocked my view or standing within the building on which they worked. But I heard them. They whistled, and yelled. I felt uncomfortable, they could see it in my movements, my lowered head, and quickened pace, and then they laughed. It was the laughing at my obvious discomfort that I find the most disturbing and that I can’t stop thinking about.

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Anonymous’s Story: I can take pictures, too

This creep was taking photos of employees who were on smoke breaks across the street (e 60th between 3rd ave and lexington). The women were holding their hands in front of their faces and saying “seriously??” When I yelled at this guy he said he was just taking a photo of the building (the junky delivery side??) and that he had a right to take photos of whatever he wanted.  I said “me too!!” and took this photo of him.

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Article, Uncategorized

My Short Skirt – by Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues

cross-posted from Lipstick Feminists

It is not an invitation
a provocation
an indication
that I want it
or give it
or that I hook.

My short skirt
is not begging for it
it does not want you
to rip it off me
or pull it down.

My short skirt
is not a legal reason
for raping me
although it has been before
it will not hold up
in the new court.

My short skirt, believe it or not
has nothing to do with you.

My short skirt
is about discovering
the power of my lower calves
about cool autumn air traveling
up my inner thighs
about allowing everything I see
or pass or feel to live inside.

My short skirt is not proof
that I am stupid
or undecided
or a malleable little girl.

My short skirt is my defiance
I will not let you make me afraid
My short skirt is not showing off
this is who I am
before you made me cover it
or tone it down.
Get used to it.

My short skirt is happiness
I can feel myself on the ground.
I am here. I am hot.

My short skirt is a liberation
flag in the women’s army
I declare these streets, any streets
my vagina’s country.

My short skirt
is turquoise water
with swimming colored fish
a summer festival
in the starry dark
a bird calling
a train arriving in a foreign town
my short skirt is a wild spin
a full breath
a tango dip
my short skirt is
initiation
appreciation
excitation.

But mainly my short skirt
and everything under it
is Mine.
Mine.
Mine.

 

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