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True Detective’s problem with true women in the spotlight

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Inevitably showered with praise and awards, the show had many things going for it, but also an undeniable liability – it had a woman problem. In the first True Detective universe, women were mostly showcased via the male gaze, used for run-of-the-mill titillation, or as obvious architectural fodder for “more important” male narratives. Some viewers and critics grew tired of the boring sexposition onslaught that has become status quo on cable television, staying with True Detective solely for Rust’s whacked-out musings on life. Frankly, it was a show worth making excuses for.

Read the review here.

Magic Mike XXL at Globe Arts

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What if bros were safe? What if they weren’t dangerous, sexist homophobes, but instead tender and kind – both to each other and to the women in their midst? What if packs of jovial, tank-topped “manly men” weren’t something to steer clear of after dark? What if they were polite, considerate and believed God to be a woman? Would they be bros at all?

Read the full review here.

Orange Is the New Black at Globe Arts

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It’s absurd that it took a show about prison to get us this much closer to an accurate mainstream depiction of women’s inner lives, but OITNB is cultishly popular precisely because of how relatable its smallest moments are to viewers. Although the major dramas are compelling – clandestine contraband runs and brawls, badass betrayals and alliances – they’re all secondary to those quieter conversations in prison corners, where characters articulate feelings so rarely showcased on the small screen. 

Read the full review here.

Hannibal at The Globe and Mail

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“Created by showrunner Bryan Fuller and shot in Toronto, Hannibal is arguably the most violent show ever broadcast on prime time. Where it departs from run-of-the-mill gratuitous slaughter is in its artifice, tolerable to the squeamish because its lusciousness is so far removed from our collective experience of violence. The grotesque becomes dreamlike and treads into the sublime, with imagery so far beyond the pale that it’s no longer possible to disturb. A dead woman is stitched inside a horse carcass with a bird fluttering in her chest. A man’s lobotomized skull becomes an active beehive. Corpses are piled into totems and spirals. It’s hard not to wonder why the main characters don’t just go on psychiatric leave after all the bizarre tableaus they’ve seen.”

Read the essay here.

Baseball Life Advice

blackcatsanto_display_image.jpgYou can sign up for my brand new Baseball Feelings Tiny Letter and get Baseball, Books, Feminism and Feelings delivered right to your inbox about once a week (no spamming, promise.)

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What The ‘93 World Series Taught Me About Sexism In Baseball

tumblr_mva8dya6rz1qin7uco1_500.jpgWhen you’re a woman who loves a sport, and make the decision not to accept the status quo, you set yourself for attack—all for what is literally “just a game.” I’ll admit that lately I’ve grown weary of the fight, fielding the stream of “well what do you expect us to do about it, huh?” and “it’s not our fault that there are no qualified women in sports.” My anger about the lack of diverse media representation, the endless stream of white male faces on panels and mastheads, the undercurrent of misogyny in so many conversations—all of it has evolved into a dull, crippling sadness that has tainted this game I so desperately adore. It has made me think a great deal about that fourteen year old girl who craved baseball, only to be met with the aggressive, demoralizing sexism of a fellow fan.

Read the essay here.

Lost Boi in The Globe and Mail

index.jpgThis subversive and cheeky take on the classic children’s story arrives more than 100 years after Barrie first envisioned Peter Pan in his 1902 adult novel, The Little White Bird. Pan has seen many incarnations since – from an elfish boy clad in green in Disney’s 1953 animated film to Robin Williams’s bumbling grown-up version in Steven Spielberg’s epic 1991 adaptation, Hook. Lowrey’s rewrite is certainly among the more inventive, narrated by Pan’s best boi, Tootles, a street kid plucked from a diner and destitution and brought into the kinky, queer, gender-fluid world of a delightfully reimagined Neverland. Pan’s pack of bois have “fallen out of their prams” – orphans, runaways and ne’er-do-wells, rejected by their families and loyal only to Pan, each pledging to never join the world outside that has excluded them. Their unwavering devotion to Pan and his make-believe way of life is signalled by the locked leather cuffs they wear, an obvious nod to the consensual servitude of BDSM culture.

Read the full review here.

A new bill would make the Canadian national anthem as feminist as it was in 1908

For Quartz:

I will admit, even I sometimes have to remind myself why the throwback needs an overhaul. But even if we don’t always notice or care, O Canada is a relic of inequality similar to all the other small examples of sexism that continue to permeate our culture—Hooters waitresses, swimsuit editions, “ice girls,” gendered toys, cleaning product commercials, bic pens “for her,” and pretty much every family sitcom ever. These are the things that while arguably inconsequential on their own, combine to become a juggernaut of harmful expectations and exclusion.

Read the piece here.

Infidelity Film Deal

infidelity_medium.jpgPitched in the vein of Unfaithful and the acclaimed series The Affair, Stacey May Fowles’ novel Infidelity thrillingly unravels a profound story of desire and obsession as it entwines us in the unfolding of a potent affair.

The film rights have been optioned by Allison Black of Euclid 431 Pictures Inc. and Karen Shaw of Quarterlife Crisis Productions Inc. by Samantha Haywood of the Transatlantic Agency

The Devil You Know captures the anxiety of Bernardo-era Southern Ontario

devilyouknow.jpgIt’s delicate work, writing about dead girls. It’s far too easy to stumble into tasteless appropriation, to use the suffering of young women as an intellectual exercise, or for the purpose of lazy provocation. The dead girl is fodder for so many familiar pop-culture narratives, showing up in pulpy genre tales, on crime shows and films. Her body is stuffed into suitcases and refrigerators, her remains stumbled upon by dog walkers and joggers, her community holding hands and mourning her by candlelight. She’s often merely a prop, an easy symbol of destroyed innocence that exists to drive the actions of others, and the kind of lurid titillation that readers lap up. It takes both skill and empathy to write absorbing fiction about dead girls that doesn’t dangerously veer into exploitation, and with The Devil You Know, Elisabeth de Mariaffi has beyond succeeded.

Read the review here.