TIME celebrities

Taylor Swift Finally Explains Why She’s a Feminist and How Lena Dunham Helped

The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Backstage
Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 10, 2013 in Los Angeles. Kevin Mazur—WireImage/Getty Images

"Becoming friends with Lena... has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so."

Taylor Swift’s stance on feminism has been hotly discussed since early in her career: her lyrics and persona have been scrupulously analyzed for evidence (or lack thereof) of an incipient feminist vein. When asked in a 2012 interview with the Daily Beast whether she was a feminist, Swift answered, somewhat evasively, “I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.”

Well, the debate over whether one of our era’s most renowned pop stars identifies as a feminist appears to have finally been put to rest.

“As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities,” Swift said in an interview with the Guardian. “What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all.”

In fact, it’s Swift’s friendship with the indefatigable Lena Dunham that appears to have swayed her view. According to the Guardian, Dunham and Swift became friends when the creator of Girls sent the pop singer a direct message over Twitter that said “Can we be friends please?” Things pretty much went naturally from then on.

“Becoming friends with Lena – without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for – has made me realize that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so,” Swift said.

[Guardian]

TIME Music

Pound the Alarm! Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ Video Breaks Record

It came in like a "wrecking ball" (and demolished "Wrecking Ball")

It’s quite an ass-essment: the music video website Vevo has announced that Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” got 19.6 million views in a day, setting a new record for the most views in 24 hours. The previous record, 12.3 million, was held by Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball.”

As The Wrap points out, this isn’t Minaj’s first Vevo record: “The rapper previously set Vevo’s most-watched record, twice — her collaboration with Justin Bieber for “Beauty and a Beat” received 10.6 million views in October 2012, and “Stupid Hoe” got 4.8 million viewers in January 2012.”

Minaj will be performing “Anaconda” at MTV’s Video Music Awards on Sunday, August 24 — and if the reports are true, Minaj and Cyrus could be sitting next to each other at the event, so now they’ll have something to talk about. That said, it could get real awkward real quick — especially in light of Cyrus’s spoof of the “Anaconda” cover art.

TIME Television

See What’s Next For Jennifer Lopez’s Love Life

The 45-year-old actress told Chelsea Handler, "I need to plan better"

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Jennifer Lopez opened up about her relationship life on Chelsea Lately Thursday. Lopez told outgoing E! host Chelsea Handler, “I don’t really plan things out” when referring to her love life. Lopez also confirmed her status as being single, despite the rumors that she may be back together with her actor ex-boyfriend Casper Smart.

Prior to her relationship with Smart, Lopez was married to musical artist and television producer Marc Anthony. Lopez told People in May in an article about her divorce that she “went through a tremendous low, but I wouldn’t change anything [about my past] because it made me who I am.”

TIME celebrities

In Cold Play, Gwyneth Paltrow Nominates Ex Chris Martin in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Paltrow consciously coupled with some icy water

Gwyneth Paltrow became the latest celebrity to take on the ALS ice bucket challenge on Wednesday, a social media phenomenon that aims to raise money and awareness for Lou Gehrig’s disease. But what made the Oscar winner’s Instagram video a little more interesting than those of other famous actors is that she nominated her estranged husband, Coldplay singer Chris Marin, to take on the challenge next.

Martin and Paltrow announced their split via her website, GOOP, in March saying they were “consciously uncoupling.” Since, the couple has said they’ve stayed “very close,” and have even vacationed in the Bahamas with their two children together.

They may both get dumped, but it’s for a good cause.

 

TIME celebrities

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon Are on a Break

20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals
Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon arrive at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Dan MacMedan—WireImage

Mimi is emancipated once again

After months of rumors that Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon were getting divorced, Cannon finally confirmed to Yahoo News that the two are on the rocks.

“There is trouble in paradise,” he said. “We have been living in separate houses for a few months.” Cannon, 33, said that the marital issues were not due to infidelity.

In May, the America’s Got Talent host denied to Parade that the two were splitting up. “You kind of have to ignore it because every week it’s something different, and if you paid attention to it, it actually probably would start really affecting you,” he said. “There’s no merit or truth to it. It’s kind of humorous, really. It couldn’t be further off from the truth, and it really affects the credibility of the so-called newspapers.”

Carey, 44, posted a photo of the two together on Father’s Day in June.

The couple wed in 2008 at Carey’s house in the Bahamas after dating for just six weeks. They have two kids together, 3-year-old fraternal twins named Monroe and Moroccan.

[Yahoo News]

TIME celebrities

Robin Williams’ Ashes Scattered Over San Francisco Bay

Robin Williams at "The Crazy Ones" Press Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on October 8, 2013 in Beverly Hills.
Robin Williams at "The Crazy Ones" Press Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on October 8, 2013 in Beverly Hills. Vera Anderson—WireImage/Getty Images

The day after comedy legend Robin Williams was found dead in his Tiburon, California, home, he was cremated and his ashes were scattered “in San Francisco Bay off the coast of Marin County,” according to his death certificate obtained by NBC News on Thursday…

Read the rest of the story at NBC News

TIME Opinion

Matthew Weiner Is Wrong. The Gender Wage Gap Is Real, Even In Hollywood

Matthew Weiner
Matthew Weiner Mike Pont—FilmMagic/Getty Images

In some ways, we're still living in a Mad Men world

In a recent interview, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner delved into a sensitive subject about the way women are treated on the job. No, he wasn’t talking about the women who work at Sterling Cooper circa 1969. He was talking about his fellow showrunners circa 2014, who don’t earn the same amount of money that he does.

“I don’t think that’s a gender issue,” Weiner said in a recent interview with HuffPost Live. “Jenji’s entitled to every dollar but you have to fight for it, male or female. No one gives you anything.”

The Jenji he was referring to is Jenji Kohan, the showrunner of Orange is the New Black, who recently spoke out about the gender wage gap in television to The Hollywood Reporter. From the THR‘s story:

“I don’t think I’m getting paid as much as the men in my position, still,” [Kohan] says, “and it’s extremely frustrating.”

Gender inequality has been a thorn in Kohan’s side since she was a young girl and her novelist mother told her that men were “funnier” and “better at this.” That Kohan’s own studio, Lionsgate, is paying Weiner a reported $30 million for Mad Men‘s final three seasons adds another layer of complexity. “It’s hard when one of your best friends is Matt,” she says, then carefully adds: “I don’t begrudge him for one second; it’s more of just, ‘Why am I not making that?'” (Lionsgate declined comment.)

It’s apparent from her comments that Kohan isn’t pulling in the same amount of money as Weiner, but is the Mad Men producer correct in his belief that gender had nothing to do with it? Considering that across the board full-time working women earn 77 percent of what their male counterparts make, is it really possible that this trend isn’t the case in showbiz? Sadly, no. While there aren’t hard, public figures for many of the people who work in the film and television industries, there is enough information out there that gives a strong indication that a discrepancy does, in fact, exist.

Weiner suggests in the HuffPo interview that if only Kohan was fighting for a higher salary — like he has throughout his career — than she’d be getting a bigger pay-check. But that logic falls flat when you consider the fact that Kohan likely has fought throughout her career, in ways that Weiner might not be able to imagine, to just get her foot in the door at all.

Kohan is repeatedly ranked among the best showrunners working right now, but she’s also one of a handful of women working in the field. Take a look at THR‘s list of the top 50 TV writer/producers of 2013: it features a total of 14 women on it, and many of them work as part of a team with a man. (Weiner and Kohan were both named.) If you’re part of a vast minority working in a hugely competitive industry, it’s likely that you already had to work pretty damn hard to be there. To suggest otherwise smacks of unacknowledged male privilege. What’s more, women who work in other male-dominated fields don’t make as much as the men they work with; to assume it’s different in the television and film industry seems absurd.

Just look to other areas of show business for a clearer idea. Women behind the camera in the film industry are also a tiny minority. According to San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film’s annual Celluloid Ceiling survey, women accounted for only 16 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors working on the 250 top-grossing films last year. That 16 percent is part of a pretty consistent trend in Hollywood. (The Celluloid Ceiling survey has been conducted every year since 1997.)

While many of the women in that tiny minority have worked on some pretty impressive films, it still hasn’t landed them in the realm of top-salaries. A Vanity Fair breakdown of Hollywood’s top-earners in 2011 looked at the incomes of actors, directors, producers and writers to see who landed in the top 50. Only six women in total made the list, and they were all actresses. The group didn’t include a single woman director or producer or writer.

Yet even where women do seem to be pulling in top, competitive salaries — namely, in front of the camera — they still aren’t earning as much as their male co-stars. Take this year’s Forbes list for the top 10 highest-earning actors and actresses. Collectively, the top 10 highest paid men made a whopping $419 million last year. Meanwhile, the top 10 highest paid women earned $226 million — just 54 percent of what Hollywood’s actors were pulling in. For as much buzz as Jennifer Lawrence gets — with an Oscar win, a devoted fan-base and a beloved franchise under her belt — she still made $12 million less in 2013 than her American Hustle co-star, Bradley Cooper. True, these women aren’t facing any financial hardships despite the gap, but what about the women in the lesser-paid areas of the industry?

When you have a minority of women working in the industry’s top positions — and they are saying and sometimes proving that they’re earning less — than, yes, it is a gender issue. Of course, as Weiner himself points out in his interview, showrunners’ salaries aren’t typically made public. Which is too bad. If the hard numbers were out there for everyone to see, perhaps the gender wage gap — and Jenji Kohan — wouldn’t be so easy to dismiss.

TIME celebrities

George Takei: ‘Being Optimistic Is Ensuring Your Success’

The star is the subject of a new documentary

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There’s a Japanese word that shows up repeatedly in the new documentary, To Be Takei (Aug. 22) about the life of George Takei: “gaman.”

“Gaman translates into English as ‘to endure with dignity, or fortitude,’” the Star Trek actor tells TIME. Gaman was, he says, a source of strength for Japanese-Americans sent to internment camps during World War II — and he would know. Takei spent his childhood, up until almost his 9th birthday, in such a place. Even after the internment ended, the young Takei found himself in a hostile world, where housing and employment for Japanese-Americans were scarce, and his family, penniless after the war, lived on Skid Row in Los Angeles.

And gaman continued to prove necessary as Takei got older. When he became an actor, his first roles were ones he regretted even before filming them, stereotypical Asian caricatures he says his agent convinced him were worth it for the visibility. And, even after his acting career was established, he faced different struggles as a gay man — first with concealing his sexuality, later with getting the right to marry.

But he endured. As he tells TIME, he did so with a smile.

“I think being optimistic is ensuring your success. If you start out saying ‘I’ve got this problem or I’m angry at that,’ you will not succeed,” he says. “My father said, ‘Be confident of who you are, but also work hard to be the best that you can be.’”

It’s clear by now that his optimism is well-founded. The science-fiction devices he used on Star Trek have become reality (except, he notes, for the transporter), he’s married, he’s enjoying a major wave of popularity — and, of course, he’s the star of a movie about himself.

“The future,” he says, “is today.”

Read more about George Takei in this week’s TIME.

TIME Pop Culture

See How ‘Oh My’ Became George Takei’s Catchphrase

Say it with us now...

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Take a quick peek at the Twitter feed from George Takei — the actor famous for his Star Trek and advocacy roles, and the star of the new documentary To Be Takei — and it’s immediately clear that he has a catchphrase.

He uses it in a sentence:

He uses it as a hashtag:

He even has his own link shortener, which churns out catchphrase-inspired short URLs for him to tweet:

But how did “Oh my!” come to be his catchphrase? Here, Takei tells TIME.

TIME celebrities

Jackie Chan’s Son Has Been Turned Into Viral Online Game After His Arrest

FILE - Jackie Chan's Son Detained In Beijing On Drugs Charges
Jackie Chan and his son Jaycee Chan attend a press conference on April 1, 2009 in Beijing, China. ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

The game got 60 million hits in a day

Forget Where’s Waldo. Have you played Where’s Jaycee Chan?

The South China Morning Post reports that game developers have capitalized on the recent arrest in Beijing, on alleged drug-related offenses, of Jaycee Chan — son of actor Jackie Chan — by creating an online game. All the People Search for Jaycee Chan, as the game is called, has quickly gone viral, the Post says.

It’s simple enough, consisting of a mass of tiles — most of them belonging to the face of fellow-actor and friend Ko Chen-tung, who was detained alongside Chan, also on alleged drug violations. Amid identical headshots of Ko, players must find the lone tile of the younger Chan’s face. The goal is to get through as many levels as possible within a minute.

The game premiered on Tuesday in mainland China and received 60 million visits by Wednesday, according to China Youth Daily.

Chinese microbloggers joked about “turning blind” after playing the game for so long, reports the Post.

Jaycee Chan and Ko, who is also known as Kai Ko, were detained on Aug. 14. Chan is in criminal detention for “providing shelter for others to abuse drugs” and Ko is in “administrative detention” for 14 days.

[SCMP]

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