There is nothing wrong with a good ole’ fashion teen feminism story. It seems the appropriate time to show off the power of angry women at a time when men, who behave badly, still seem to get away with it, especially one targeted towards teenagers. Directed by Amy Poehler, who is known for her funny, tough characters, Moxie is a cute story about girl power that’s been done before but, this time, written to fit this generation’s wokeness.
Based on the 2015 YA book of the same name by Jennifer Mathieu, Moxie follows a shy and very sheltered high school junior named Vivian (Hadley Robinson) who lays low to avoid any attention. She has lived in the shadows of high school with her childhood best friend Claudia (Lauren Tsai of Terrace House fame). It’s not until the arrival of a new student, Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) who quickly becomes a target for speaking up against popular jock, Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger), that Vivian realizes how sexist her school is. Inspired by her mother’s (Poehler) teenage rebellion stage and a Bikini Kill song her mother used to play for her, Vivian creates her own anonymous feminist zine — ‘Moxie’ — calling out the toxic behavior from classmates and the school, led by Principal Shelly (Marcia Gay Harden). The zine is a hit among the girls in school sparking a Moxie Club created to topple the patriarchy — or at least in the school.
Sorry to burst your bubble, haters, but Captain Marvel is really good.
With all the controversy surrounding Captain Marvel, created by internet trolls, it was refreshing to watch the film and see how wrong they were about it. Captain Marvel has been labeled a feminist film, and it is, but it does so without dragging men down. Instead, the film focuses on women empowerment, sisterhood, and friendships.
A restless crowd found itself eagerly awaiting the commencement of an important event on Friday afternoon in the gorgeous ballroom of a luxurious Los Angeles hotel. High spirits were palpable all around, as everyone had come from seeing one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year a few days before the event: Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel. The film, a turning point for the ever-expanding success that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, represented something more than just a typical superhero FX-driven origin story — it was to become Marvel Studios’ first female-led superhero movie. And as such, the crowd was anxious for the announcement that they would soon be joined by the captain, herself, Brie Larson, as well as co-stars Jude Law, Lashana Lynch, Samuel L. Jackson, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg, directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, and producer-extraordinaire Kevin Feige to discuss candidly what indeed makes her a hero.
For those living in the Los Angeles area, the Hollywood Fringe Festival is upon you. Perhaps you might have seen their flags flown throughout the city or perhaps you might have heard whispers of it from your actor friends yapping away about which fringe play to watch. And you go, “What the heck IS the Hollywood Fringe Festival?”
Hulu’s reboot of The Handmaid’s Tale opens with a car chase: the protagonist (Elisabeth Moss), who will later be called “Offred,” is racing with her husband Luke (O-T Fagbenle) and daughter Hannah (Jordana Blake) in their faded, old model Volvo through a frozen landscape, sirens of their invisible pursuers wailing.
The decision to introduce us to Offred as a member of an interracial family revealed an obvious break from the overwhelmingly white world of the novel and 1990 movie. Many reviewers construed that fact — and the powerful presence of Samira Wiley in the role of Offred’s badass lesbian friend, Moira — as undeniable evidence that the series would be more intersectional in its approach to feminist themes than the novel had been. (“There’s intersectionality, too, with Moira, a lesbian, played by a black actress, Ms. Wiley,” was the breezy quip of the New York Times’ Katrina Onstad.) But sadly, bodies of color alone do not a liberatory racial narrative make. Indeed, a deeper look at the series shows the uncomplicated, and therefore, problematic effects of this “colorblind” casting.
What makes a hero? Is it the super powers? The skill sets? The gadgets? Our intentions? Our actions?
I’m a comic book guy through and through so these are the questions that haunt me. There are moments in our lives that define us. That we allow to define us through our choices, our mistakes and how we respond to them. Sometimes those moments are big, sometimes they are minute. But in those moments we definitely learn the content of our character.
In a scene in Hidden Figures that is all too familiar for Black women viewers, or really anyone from a historically marginalized group, Taraji P. Henson’s character Katherine Johnson rushes to enter the NASA control room where she has just handed off crucial calculations for astronaut John Glenn’s safe return from orbit, and has the door summarily slammed in her face. The camera lingers on Henson’s profile, as she grapples yet again with the devastating knowledge that although she may be a useful “computer” for spitting out numbers that may make missions successful and even save lives, she is still not seen as fully human in the eyes of her peers and superiors. Indeed, in Henson’s capable hands, viewers ourselves experience the physical and emotional pain of being barred from entering the halls of power for absurd reasons beyond one’s control — in this case, race and gender.
If you’re in the Bay Area this week, you should attend this conversation. It is one of our events leading up to 2017’s Black Comix Arts Festival, a Co-Presentation of MoAD, Cartoon Art Museum, and Black Comix Art Festival.
Join the Cartoon Art Museum and Black Comix Art Festival at the Museum of the African Diaspora for, “Ajuan Mance in Conversation with Shawn Taylor,” an evening celebration of current Bay Area cartooning sensation Ajuan Mance as part of the SF Comics Fest. Writer Shawn Taylor from The Nerds of Color will chat with Ajuan about her latest projects in illustration, cartooning and writing, her creative process, her recent rise in popularity, and what she plans to achieve next.
Spoiler warning: spoilers throughout. Best to read this after watching the whole season! Which I recommend!
It was during a small, nearly throwaway scene deep in episode 10 that it hit me like Jessica Jones’ fist: Luke Cage is the most feminist show I’ve ever seen.
The scene, captured in the screen grab above, features four women characters — four black women, not a one of them under the age of 30 (and none of the actresses under 35) — each of whom is in fundamental conflict with the others, but who come together in two temporary alliances to fight a multi-level battle. Yes, it’s complicated.
At 8 years old, I would wake up early every Saturday morning to tune in and watch Superboy. Over the years, I’ve been a faithful viewer of the original George Reeves Superman series, Lois & Clark, the Bruce Timm animated series, the live action films, and of course the comics. I’m a comic book guy through and through. For me, Superman isn’t just a superhero. He is THE superhero. I’m very protective of the Man of Steel’s mythos and legacy. Suffice it to say, I had my concerns when the CBS series Supergirl was announced.
Somehow when I wasn’t paying attention, my reaction evolved from, “The pilot was cute, I guess I’ll tune in,” to “Jesus Christ is it Monday night yet? I need my Maiden of Might!!!!”
In the tradition of today’s superhero, each new season brings new stories and of course new characters. New characters help to expand the lore of our superhero, and in the case of Supergirl, I thought what if these new characters happened to be women of color? After all, Supergirl managed to reach out with a message of equality and feminism. Now, let’s go a step further and showcase intersectionality. Feminism is for everyone and not just for our Caucasian female lead.
I wasn’t gonna do this, but in a conversation on twitter, @BlackGirlNerds asked me to expand on what I recently called “Daredevil‘s White Virgin/Whore of Color Complex” and I would hate to disappoint. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not just trying to dump on Daredevs. I still love the first season, and the second season, despite serious problems, is still great television in a lot of ways.
But I hope — on this site especially — I don’t need to go over again why/how problematic representations of POC and women spread like mayonnaise over a beloved television property can be like an all-day, all-you-can-take, face-slapping machine. And Arthur Chu has already shown you the wasabi-infused mayo currently salmonellizing on Daredevil‘s bread.
Last year was the year of the most iconic feminist leading lady in action/sci-fi, arguably the most in cinematic history: the one and only Imperator Furiosa played be Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road. Thanks to a fellow NOC, I have finally finished the way too short first season of Into The Badlands. Following Furiosa and a long history of leading women in Hong Kong action cinema with better acting chops and doing more roundhouse damage than their male co-stars (Michelle Yeoh will be back soon as Yu Shu Lien people!), Into the Badlands also introduced us to strong heroines whose stories I hope to better understand in more detail in a second season. More than Wu’s Sunny, more than the avatars, even more than my man Cung Le, it was Emily Beecham’s show-stopping performance as The Widow that locked me in.
Because this recap is a week late (sorry, got distracted writing on twitter about a different rich, blonde, white guy who learns the ways of the Orient and returns a superhero) and because I’m just filling in, my recap of the Arrow winter finale, titled “Dark Waters,” will follow a different format. Rather than just giving a play-by-play of what happened in the ep, I wanna spend extra time on two aspects of the show and its fandom that needs to be discussed. And of course we will talk about that ending.
Welp. We’re down seven episodes on CBS’ new Supergirl series, and I can now definitively say that not only does it suck, but it’s also a drag.
Let me clarify: TV shows can suck and still be worth watching. They can feature horrible dialogue, break characterization for cheap plotlines, deploy so many reversals that situations and relationships become meaningless, flub the acting, swell the dime-store music, and commit any number of fundamental visual storytelling sins… while still being hella fun to watch.