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Shows up in a major HBO show as an unknown teenager.

Becomes the most hated character on TV.

Steals every scene he’s in.

Then announces he’s quitting acting.

Like a boss.

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Earlier this week, an article I wrote on the representation of women in True Detective went live on The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2014/mar/31/true-detective-turnoff-for-women-viewers). The comments (239 and counting) are predictably disheartening. And maybe that’s my fault for not getting my point across well enough in the blog itself.

But a lot of the comments seemed to be the same things that I see on all articles about disappointing (or entirely absent) female characters. They expose some basic misunderstandings (or miscommunications) about what these writers mean when they talk about female characters.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, of course, but these are the answers I want to give to the comments that regularly lurk at the bottom of any article that bemoans the state of women in a TV show/film.

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lizlizlovely:

kleat:

izzebeth:

this is so so so important !!

important

that last statistic 

(via carlosadama)

Source: thea21campaign.org
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Body: I’m stressed. I know, I’ll faint.
Me: How is that helping?

Body: I’m stressed. How about I just start turning your hair grey?
Me: Great, well now I’m stressing about grey hair.

Body: I’m stressed. I’ll just get ill, that’ll force you to chill out, right?
Me: Except that I can’t sleep for coughing and feel like shit, sure.

Body: I’m stressed. Guess it’s time for your teeth to start hurting.
Me: I don’t even know how that works.

Body: I’m stressed. I’ll speed my metabolism right up so you lose loads of weight!
Me: I appreciate the thought, but I am just cold and tired all the time now.

Body: I’m stressed. You should probably just go to sleep now.
Me: TELL THAT TO MY BRAIN!

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I went to a talk at The Royal Court Theatre last night on that very topic, and had some very interesting chat on Twitter about what constitutes a feminist play.

At the same time I was having a discussion on Facebook about how the word ‘bossy’ is applied to young girls, and predictably the Neanderthals emerged calling the men and women who were having intelligent debate on the topic ‘feminazis’ and accusing it all of being politically correct nonsense.

So, as well as being thrilled and inspired to be in a room full of passionate writers who hold the shocking belief that men and women are equal last night, I was also dispirited. Those lovely, smart people in that theatre will go to see feminist plays. But they’re not the target audience. The Neanderthals are.

Surely, the goal of a play that supports feminist ideologies is to open the eyes of men and women who have never thought to question the way the world is. Preaching to the converted is fun, but it’s not going to change anything,

Yesterday, @my_grayne and I were discussing stealth feminism vs overt feminism on Twitter. And I realised that so many people get incredibly defensive when the word ‘feminism’ is used. They’re poised to hate whatever follows, because they have certain preconceptions about feminism.

And I guess I can’t blame them. Would I go to see a play that was billed as an exploration of masculinity, or would I assume that there would be nothing for me in that play? Probably the latter.

So what’s the answer? We just give up hope? I guess stealth feminism is the way to go. Write plays that have a mix of genders, and display the female characters as equal. Show the male characters respecting the women. Show the women in jobs that are traditionally depicted as male. Writing a police officer or a CEO? Why not make them a woman? Give the genders equal agency. If you have nudity, make sure both genders get their kit off. Avoid gendered insults, unless you’re depicting a sexist character.

How many men sat down to watch Game of Thrones expecting some sword fighting and some boobs? When do you think they realised that they were rooting for the Mother of Dragons, a murderous little girl and a female knight? Or Battlestar Galactica, sneakily depicting a society of complete gender equality without ever drawing attention to it? That’s stealth feminism right there.

Political debate in theatre is always vital, and there should always be plays that consciously highlight inequality. But if you want to reach out to that resistant, defensive audience, the people who would rather not look their own privilege in the eye, I think the only way to do so is by creating fictional worlds of equality, and acting as if that’s how the real world is. When people start getting used to seeing those fictional worlds, maybe they’ll start questioning why the real world looks different.

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johnthelutheran:

Tony Benn: “I have put up several plaques - quite illegally, without permission; I screwed them up myself. One was in the broom cupboard to commemorate Emily Wilding Davison, and another celebrated the people who fought for democracy and those who run the House. If one walks around this place, one sees statues of people, not one of whom believed in democracy, votes for women or anything else. We have to be sure that we are a workshop and not a museum.”

(src)

(via kierongillen)

Source: johnthelutheran
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I know it’s intimidating. Women are complicated, with all that biology shit going on up in there. We can straight-up digest food, breathe, pump blood, walk, talk and grow a baby all at once. Bitches be crazy, amiright?

But stay calm. You can imagine alien invasions and vampire kings and serial killers and what-not and you’ve never even seen those things, whereas you’ve actually conversed with women. That’s some solid research right there, my friend. You’re already one step ahead.

Now, here are some step-by-step instructions to ease your way into writing good female characters.

Step 1: Write a character. It’s a dude, isn’t it?

Step 2: Give him boobs.

Step 3: Congratulations! You have written a female character! They’re not all that different to guys in the end, are they? Give yourself a pat on the back.

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natashavc:

JUST A COUPLE OF FUCKING DOPE BROS WHO EVERYONE THOUGHT PEAKED IN THE 90’S AND SLOGGED THROUGH THE AUGHTS NOW TO SHOW UP ON THE OTHER SIDE SUNKISSED AND THIN SERVING FUCKING VARSITY LEVEL THESPIAN SHIT ON PREMIUM CABLE AND IN THE MOVIES. HEAR THE WOLF CRY THROUGH THEIR EYES

These guys… (True Detective is a freakin’ acting masterclass, by the way.)

(via mattfractionblog)

Source: natashavc
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I’m a script writer. That is my ‘craft’, if you’re going to be fancy about it. Screenwriter, predominantly, although I’m a playwright too. I’ve gotten quite good at script writing. I was starting to feel like I had this writing shit down.

Then I was asked to write a short story for an upcoming anthology. Sure, I thought. Nice to shake things up from time to time. I used to write short stories. I used to be quite good at them. This’ll be fun.

Except prose is bloody hard.

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Mary Morstan: Making Sherlock less sexist