TIME movies

Mad Max Gets His Own Feminist Tumblr

Hey girl

Mad Max, meet Ryan Gosling. George Miller’s action hero, as played by Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road, now has his own series of “hey girl” images, thanks to the Feminist Mad Max Tumblr.

“Hey girl,” one post reads. “I don’t need to see the pain and humiliation you suffered as a sex slave. I believe you.” Another references a moment in the film in which Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa uses Max to take an excellent shot.

It only makes sense that this Tumblr would come along, given how much of the discussion around the film has focused on its feminism. Miller brought in Vagina Monologues writer Eve Ensler to consult on the movie, which focuses on Furiosa’s mission to save women kept as wives for the villainous Immortan Joe. Ensler told TIME: “I think George Miller is a feminist, and he made a feminist action film.”

Now, the movie has elicited a feminist Tumblr.

[h/t]

TIME

Maggie Gyllenhaal Told 37 Is Too Old To Play the Lover of a 55-Year-Old Man

Maggie Gyllenhaal celebrates her win at the 2015 Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globes After Party on Jan. 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Michael Tullberg—Getty Images Maggie Gyllenhaal celebrates her win at the 2015 Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globes After Party on Jan. 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

"It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh"

Maggie Gyllenhaal recently revealed that she was turned down for a role in a movie because she, 37, was too old to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man.

“There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time,” she told The Wrap. “I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

Gyllenhaal wouldn’t say what the movie was, but she did acknowledge that despite the setback and sexism in the industry, she’s still optimistic about female roles in Hollywood. “A lot of actresses are doing incredible work right now, playing real women, complicated women. I don’t feel despairing at all. And I’m more looking with hope for something fascinating.”

Gyllenhaal won a Golden Globe in January for her part in The Honourable Woman.

[The Wrap]

TIME

Cannes Film Festival Steps Into Controversy Over High Heels-Only Policy

Women are reportedly being turned away from screenings for wearing flat shoes

The Cannes Film Festival is facing backlash after several women reported that they were stopped from entering screenings for wearing the wrong shoes.

Screen Daily reports the women were turned away from a screening of Carol in their rhinestone flat shoes, even though some of the women reportedly suffered from unspecified medical conditions and couldn’t wear heels. According to the Guardian, festival-goers are to be “smartly dressed” at Cannes screenings—men are required to wear black tie and shoes, but the guidelines for women are murkier.

Amy director Asif Kapadia said his wife was even initially turned away from a screening for wearing flat shoes, though she was eventually let in.

Many are calling the alleged rule sexist. Actress Emily Blunt said in a press conference on Tuesday that all women should wear flats, adding that a heels-only dress code for women would be “very disappointing, just when you kind of think there are these new waves of equality.” Benico del Toro and Josh Brolin also joked that they should wear heels in protest.

Cannes director Thierry Fremaux tweeted, however, that the heels-only rule was “unfounded,” despite the women’s reports.

TIME Television

What the Fates of Mad Men’s Women Say About The Show’s Stance on Feminism

How the outcomes for Peggy, Joan and Betty correspond to their relationships with feminism

Despite its name, Mad Men was as much about Madison Avenue’s women as it was about its men. Its name reinforces what these women—women like Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) and Joan Harris (Christina Hendricks)—were up against: a sexist, exclusive boys’ club that forced them to work harder for less pay and a near-daily dose of sexual harassment. Peggy and Joan are well-rounded characters, but they are also case studies in 1960s-era feminism, though they might not have defined their struggles in those terms.

In Sunday night’s season finale, Peggy and Joan both ended up as successful women forging ahead in their industry. But a look at how they got there is an exercise in opposites: Joan strikes out on her own while Peggy works her way up in the corporate machine. Joan chose work over romance whereas Peggy found romance at work. Joan raises her son without a partner, and Peggy gave her baby up for adoption. And Joan has succeeded despite a physical appearance that drew constant unwanted attention, whereas Peggy had to compensate for her plainness in an environment that values beauty.

Serving as a counterpoint to Peggy and Joan, throughout the series, was Betty Draper (January Jones), who, though she was certainly more than a symbol, served as a stand-in for the miserable housewife described in Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique. Showrunner Matthew Weiner read works by Friedan and other feminists while researching the script, and Betty embodied much of the dissatisfaction and entrapment so many housewives felt at the time.

In 1970, when the show ends, women weren’t necessarily discussing work-life balance in the sense of “having it all,” as the conversation sometimes goes today. But applying that framework, anachronistically, to the lives of Mad Men’s leading ladies yields some noteworthy insights. If “having it all” can be defined as balancing a fulfilling career and personal life, then Peggy, Joan and Betty draw sticks of varying lengths.

Betty, of course, draws the shortest by far—terminal lung cancer—and just as she was finding her calling. Joan draws longer, but not as long as she would have hoped. She gets the fulfilling career but at the price of losing a would-be fiancé, and she’s stuck in a role—motherhood—which she struggles to fully embrace. Peggy, however, seems to get as close to “it all” as any woman on the show, finding both love, in the form of Stan Rizzo (which some would argue was a rom-com cop-out), and a promising career at McCann Erickson.

Is it a coincidence that Betty, of the shortest stick, holds the most regressive ideas about women? That Joan, who’s relied, at least in part, on the advice she gave Peggy on the latter’s first day—go home, put a bag over your head and be honest with yourself about what needs improvement (to paraphrase)—gets only a portion of “it all”? And that Peggy, who has always relied on her intellect above her appearance, gets the most robust version of a happy ending? On a show on which even the apples and bananas in the Drapers’ kitchen are deliberately small—because these were the pre-GMO days—it would seem that nothing is a coincidence.

Of course, Mad Men‘s writers are presumably more sophisticated than doling out fate based on characters’ adherence to modern-day feminist values. It’s an unfair measuring stick with which to play God. But if they were, beneath the narrative, hoping to send a subtextual message to viewers about how women today should be valued and appreciated, this would be one way to do it.

The feminist struggle on Mad Men was often an implicit one, explored less in terms of outspoken ideology than in terms of the daily struggle to move forward in the workplace while possessing lady parts. Though Joan and Peggy proved that this struggle could be expressed in wildly different ways—and finally put their differences behind them in a satisfying win for female solidarity—the juxtaposition of their characters was also limited in an important way: They are both white women.

Second-wave feminism, a movement which Peggy and Joan never explicitly claimed but which rose to prominence during the era of Mad Men, was widely criticized for its exclusion of non-white women. The characters of Dawn (Teyonah Parris) and Shirley (Sola Bamis), two black secretaries with more minor roles on the show, offered an opportunity to explore the richer territory of the racial divisions within feminism during the 1960s.

Dawn and Shirley face racism in the office, both overt and subtle, in addition the sexism Peggy and Joan face. But the decision not to feature their stories more prominently—or, more likely, the lack of a proactive decision to feature them—was a missed opportunity for a fuller examination of women at work in the ‘60s.

Though Weiner has said there will be no spin-offs, many seem to be holding out hope that we have not seen the last of Dawn and Shirley. And in the absence of a spin-off, we can only hope that the fictional Dawn and Shirley found the same satisfaction that Joan and Peggy did. Shirley, we know, bid adieu to advertising for good. As she told Roger on her way out of the office, “Advertising is not a very comfortable place for everyone.” Joan and Peggy would certainly have agreed, though they would not have fully understood.

TIME feminism

‘Congrats! You Have an All-Male Panel!’ Is a Hilarious Takedown of Everyday Sexism

Endless images of all-male academic and business panels highlight the problem of men dominating the conversation

Most of us have attended a talk or panel where every single speaker was male. Now, the Congrats! You Have an All-Male Panel Tumblr is brilliantly shaming that kind of all-too-common sexism by posting images of, well, all-male panels.

The Tumblr was started in February 2015 by Finnish feminist researcher and artist Dr. Saara Särmä, 40, who conducted her dissertation on Internet parody images and memes. The title of her dissertation was “Junk Feminism and Nuclear Wannabes – Collaging Parodies of Iran and North Korea.” (Yes, you read that correctly.)

“As a feminist, I’ve been noticing these issues for a very long time, but having worked with visual material and humorous images in my dissertation, I thought I could do something visual as well,” Särmä tells TIME. In particular, Särmä witnessed what she says is the marginalization of women in academia, claiming that some of her colleagues were passed over or outright dismissed as serious thinkers because of their gender.

The question all fans of her Tumblr are asking, though: Why the David Hasselhoff stamp on every image?

“The Hoff is just simply Hoffsome,” Särmä says. “As a kid who grew up in the 80s watching the Knight Rider, I have a fondness for the Hoff, also he’s the epitome of a white masculinity, isn’t he?”

On a serious note, Särmä hopes that her collection of images will help highlight the prevailing problem of men dominating the conversation.

“I think women’s expertise is often not simply recognized. It is somehow easier to see a white middle-aged (or older) man in your mind when you think of an expert,” Särmä added. “Academia has been white men’s world long enough, it’s time for a change.”

For her part, Sarma recommends checking out initiatives to amplify female experts in public forums like Foreign Policy Interrupted or watchdog groups like EUPanelWatch.

TIME women

I Don’t Want to Have Children and That’s OK

rearview-woman-standing
Getty Images

There are as many reasons to not have children as there are to have children

I have known that I didn’t want to have kids for a long time. Like, a long time. My determination to eternally keep my womb as empty and barren as the surface of the moon predates the birth of both of Britney’s babies, the premiere of Gilmore Girls, and the entire existence of nearly-adult human being Elle Fanning.

But I never felt like not wanting kids made up the core of my identity or anything — it was just a thing, like enjoying The X-Files or having an strong aversion to mayonnaise; a small aspect of my overall self. I never felt the need to consult with other women who didn’t want kids because, well, who needs a support group for not liking mayo?

That was, until I hit my 30s — a time when many of my peers were, if not already actively reproducing, at least engaging in some extremely focused pre-planning regarding the wee people who would eventually come sliding out of their lady parts. What had been a small element of my personality was suddenly in the foreground, simply because it was different than most other people’s choices. I was suddenly, shockingly, in need of a support group.

And so, I just as suddenly became obsessed with reading anything written by women who had also made the choice to skip having kids. Sure, we’re an increasingly common species — 19 percent of American women are childless by the end of their reproductive years, a massive jump from decades past — but women in their 30s without kids still get such a hard side-eye from the culture at large, that I felt desperate to learn how other women had dealt with it.

I loved the variety of voices in these pieces, the rainbow of reasons given for deciding one’s own reproductive fate. But even in the essays that I’ve loved, I noticed that many of the authors made a point of specifically noting that they’re not skipping out on having children because they themselves had a bad childhood.

In comedian Jen Kirkman’s amazing book about being childfree, I Can Barely Take Care of Myself, she notes that her decision has nothing to do with her childhood, which featured loving, supportive parents. A 2009 Maclean’s piece on the growing phenomenon of childfree women noted that assuming a “bad childhood” was to blame for a woman’s decision to not bear children is an old-fashioned explanation, one that barely plays a role today compared to factors like increased educational opportunities for women. Lilit Marcus, a fantastic writer who frequently comments on issues relevant to child-free women, even wrote an entire essay about her own ”idyllic childhood,” in response to those who assumed her reluctance to breed must have had to do with some deep-seated childhood trauma.

On one hand, I am thrilled that so many writers are challenging the assumption that the only women who chose to take a pass on motherhood are “damaged.” Many people instantly make a lifetime’s worth of assumptions about you the second that you mention that you aren’t having kids, and the biggest of those is often that you have “problems” — problems that keep you from functioning like a normal (that is, child-bearing) member of society. I understand, and support, the fight to normalize a childfree life as something that any person, with any kind of background, might choose for herself for any reason.

And yet, as a woman who chose not to have kids for those very “old-fashioned” reasons —I had a bad childhood, and boy howdy, do I have problems because of it! — I sometimes feel like I, and women like me, are being written out of the new narrative of healthy, happy childfree womanhood.

I want to make clear that I’m not blaming any of these writers, or any other woman, for being honest about her happy childhood, or any other aspect of her life. I am, however, blaming a society that is still so absolutely suspect of childfree women, that we often feel that we need to develop airtight, logical, precise arguments for why we don’t want to have kids — arguments which we can efficiently whip off at a moment’s notice to parents or friends or some busybody who sits next to us on the train.

The typical airtight narrative goes a little something like this: I never liked dolls; I adore children but don’t have the temperament to be around them all the time; I have never felt the tug of my biological clock; I’m not having children because I like my life as is, not because I’m afraid of them or avoiding something larger.

This script is similar in my mind to how, if you have an abortion, convention dictates that you’re supposed to express some half-hearted regret about how it wasn’t “the right time,” but then confirm that you have never faltered from believing that it was the right decision in the end. It places your experience firmly inside the walls of “normal,” and proves that nothing extraordinary or weird led you to your decision — that it’s a decision anyone could make.

I understand the need for these scripts. A woman’s right to bodily autonomy is still under constant fire — legally and socially — and there is a feeling among childfree women like we need to circle the wagons, to protect ourselves by agreeing to tell a story about our choices that doesn’t make us seem like damaged wrecks making the only choice we could handle, but rather cool, smart, dispassionate thinkers making an informed decision.

I wish I was a cool, smart, dispassionate thinker in any aspect of my life — but I’m not. I do love my life the way it is, but that isn’t why I decided not to have kids. I didn’t look at life’s bountiful options — all the possibilities that are supposedly open to me as an educated, middle-class woman — and choose the one that was most sensible and seemed like it would benefit me the most. Figuring out my life choices has not been like purchasing a pair of hiking boots. I am definitely not having kids because I am avoiding something. I am a wreck, making the only choice that I can handle.

On my mother’s side, I’m the end product of at least three generations of child abuse (that I know of) — abuse that tapered down from booze-fueled violence a hundred years ago, to just the intense verbal abuse, mood swings, and gaslighting that I grew up with as my mentally ill, untreated single mom’s only child.

I did not articulate my decision to not have kids until my late teens, but long before then — before I realized that you were allowed to go through life without procreating — I knew that any talk I engaged in about my future offspring was just going through the motions, trying to keep people from thinking I was even weirder than they already did. When people asked what I would name my kids, I always made something up on the spot, because I had spent zero moments daydreaming about being a mother, and thousands of moments gritting my teeth at the idea of eventually having to become one. The day that I realized that women were allowed to choose to not have babies, I literally wept with joy.

My mother’s mothering was like a hurricane, knocking me every which way during the years we lived together, and once I left her, I knew I was going to have to devote the rest of my life to trying to feel like I was standing on solid ground. Raising kids didn’t mesh with the idea of trying to give myself a sense of constancy — hell, when I first moved to New York, I didn’t leave the city proper for two years straight, just because I needed that feeling of consistency, that feeling that I wouldn’t wake up to a new world with new rules that I could barely understand and had already somehow broken, as I had so often in my mother’s house.

I didn’t want to be a mother because I had seen motherhood in one of its darker iterations, yes, but that wasn’t the only reason. I knew that, should I be so lucky to rebuild my life into something that eventually felt stable under my hand, there would never be any room in it for midnight feedings and tantrums and a person who couldn’t always explain themselves and their actions to me in clear, well-reasoned English.

It was as surely as if my womb had been taken out of my body and placed on a shelf. I had never even bothered to spend a moment contemplating whether I felt that maternal tug these writers were always talking about, or if I liked kids but didn’t have the temperament to be around them all day. My childhood had already made the decision for me. I would never have children. And I felt fine about it. It was a fact, just as true as the color of the sky or the temperature outside.

The urge to distance childfree narratives from the “bad childhood” explanation isn’t just because it’s “old-fashioned” and invokes a lot of ugly, publicity-unfriendly emotions — it’s also because it’s the one reason for not having kids that even people who believe that all women should bear children understand. Those who spend their free time obsessed with the contents of strangers’ wombs give women who grew up with maternal abuse something of a pass — often a pass with a comment like “But you could learn from her mistakes!” but a pass nonetheless.

They are the same kind of people who believe in anti-abortion rules with clauses for rape victims only. They want women who don’t have children to have really suffered for it, to be so potentially deformed by trauma that they are bad risks for motherhood. Older women who would otherwise talk my ear off about how I should freeze my eggs shut down when I casually mention having spent my own childhood alone with a mother who picked fights with strangers, who suspected that she was under secret surveillance, who believed that if I was not in the room and listening to her I did not love her. It gets me off the hook.

I do not want their pass. I want all reasons for being childfree to be respected, not constantly interrogated and undermined. I want to make sure that, as the public conversation about childfree women rolls on, we who have chosen the childfree life because of abuse and trauma don’t get left behind, as “old-fashioned” examples, people who have nothing to in common with the cool, independent, modern role model women who are choosing to not have kids.

Not only because child abuse will always exist, even among elite Millennials (and to pretend that it’s an outdated as a history textbook is insulting) — but because we need to show how many reasons there are for women to pursue childfree lives. It was never exclusively about bad childhoods in the past, and it isn’t just about being happy with your life and loving your disposable income now. It’s always been both, plus a million more narratives. There are as many reasons to not have children as there are to have children — and just like the decision to have children, sometimes the decision to not have children comes from a place of joy, and sometimes it comes from a place of trying to correct trauma. And we need to open our arms up to all of them.

This article originally appeared on Bustle.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME feminism

Austin Held Sexist Training on How to Deal with Women, Outraged Leaders Say

Members of the Austin city council listen to city manager Marc Ott during a news conference at City Hall, on May 13, 2015, in Austin, Texas.
Eric Gay—AP Members of the Austin city council listen to city manager Marc Ott during a news conference at City Hall, on May 13, 2015, in Austin, Texas.

"I heard about it last night and was speechless"

Women aren’t interested in math, ask a lot of questions and process ideas differently from men.

That’s what members of the Austin city council staff heard during a recent training session on how to work with female leaders, which the city manager organized in March after Austin elected a majority female city council (seven women out of 10 members) for the first time in the city’s history.

The training, billed as a diversity meeting entitled “The Changing Dynamics of Governance: Women Leading in Government,” sparked widespread outrage in the city’s government and beyond after it was recently reported in the Austin-American Statesman, shocking the female members of the city council, who had not been invited to attend a meeting that was designed for staff. The training was so offensive that the city removed the video of it from its website, saying in a press release: “the training was not consistent with the City’s culture, philosophy, and management approach.”

Fox’s local station in Tampa Bay has a link a snippet of the video, depicting one speaker, Jonathan K. Allen, the city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., who has since been fired, saying: “If you use or attempt to use the same communication or management techniques that you used or attempted to use in a predominantly male-dominated environment, you will be making a serious error in your professional development because they don’t process things the same way.”

Allen also said women ask a lot of questions, citing conversations with his 11-year-old daughter, according to the Austin-American Statesman, which broke the story on Tuesday night. “My daughter taught me the importance of being patient,” he said, and added that women weren’t much interested in financials, paraphrasing female leaders he worked with: “Mr. Manager, I don’t want to hear about the financial argument, I want to hear about how this impacts the whole community.”

“I heard about it last night and was speechless,” Leslie Pool, an Austin city councilwoman, told Fox, adding: “Oh math is hard, right. Well I took Qualitative Analysis in my master’s degree class at the LBJ School a decade or more ago, and I actually did pretty darn well.”

Several female council members addressed the controversy in a press conference held Wednesday.

In a joint response to the controversy over the training session, speakers Jonathan K. Allen and Dr. Miya Burt-Stewart issued a statement published by the Austin-American Statesman: “Any interpretation that we do not support and appreciate the growing number of women executives and elected officials in both the public and private sector is absolutely not true.”

Austin City Manager Marc Ott indicated that the training had been a mistake. “I take responsibility for this,” he told Fox. “The buck stops at the city manager so I take responsibility, it should not have happened, it should have been vetted.”

TIME Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton Shows Her Support for Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill

Tubman beat out Eleanor Roosevelt in an online poll

Hillary Clinton just threw her support behind putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

Tubman recently won an online poll about which woman should replace former President Andrew Jackson on the bill, edging out Eleanor Roosevelt for the win.

A petition was delivered to the White House this week by the Women on 20s campaign to push President Barack Obama to support the movement, and a bill was also introduced in Congress recently to try to get a woman on the 20.

According to Clinton, Tubman’s face on the bill would be “awesome, well deserved — and about time.”

Read Next: Exclusive: Read a 9-Year-Old’s Letter to Obama About Putting a Woman on U.S. Currency – And His Response

TIME Internet

New Google Doodle Honors Pioneering Seismologist Inge Lehmann

“You should know how many incompetent men I had to compete with — in vain"

Inge Lehmann, who discovered that earth has both an inner and outer core, should be inspiration for any young woman with dreams of becoming a scientist, and on Wednesday Google honored the pioneering seismologist’s 127th birthday with a new animated Doodle.

Lehmann, born on May 13, 1888, made her discovery by analyzing P-waves (primary waves), a high velocity seismic wave that is the first to be recorded by seismographs because it travels through the earth’s core more quickly.

In 1929 Lehmann was studying a large earthquake near New Zealand and observed that some P-waves seemed to bounce off a boundary. This caused a higher frequency of seismic activity within a “shadow zone.” She attributed the phenomenon to an inner core made of different materials. Proven correct, the shadow zone today called the “Lehmann Discontinuity.”

Lehmann was educated at a progressive school that valued equal treatment between genders. But when her professional career took off she often faced discrimination for being a woman, once being quoted as saying, “You should know how many incompetent men I had to compete with — in vain.”

Be that as it may, the pioneering scientist left her mark by making one of the most important seismological discoveries of all time.

She died on Feb. 21, 1993, at the age of 105.

TIME feminism

Harriet Tubman Wins Poll for Woman on $20 Bill

A portrait of Harriet Tubman (ca. 1820-1913). Tubman, herself an escaped slave, helped hundreds of slaves escape the South by means of the Underground Railroad.
Corbis A portrait of Harriet Tubman (ca. 1820-1913). Tubman, herself an escaped slave, helped hundreds of slaves escape the South by means of the Underground Railroad.

Petitions to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman were delivered to the White House

Harriet Tubman won an online poll asking which woman should be featured on the $20 bill, as part of a movement to push President Obama to support the idea.

More than 600,000 people voted in the online poll, and Tubman won with over 33% of the vote, beating runner-up Eleanor Roosevelt by 7,000 votes. Tubman was an escaped slave and abolitionist who devoted her life to working as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, helping other slaves get to safety. She also served as a spy and scout for the Union Army during the Civil War.

The $20 bill currently features former President Andrew Jackson.

“Our paper bills are like pocket monuments to great figures in our history,” Women On 20s Executive Director Susan Ades Stone said in a statement. “Our work won’t be done until we’re holding a Harriet $20 bill in our hands in time for the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020.”

Petitions to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill were delivered Tuesday to the White House Council on Women and Girls (addressed to Chair Valerie Jarrett and Executive Director Tina Tchen) and to the office of U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios. Their representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Women on 20s campaign got a boost last month when Representative Luis Gutiérrez, a Democrat from Illinois, introduced legislation calling for a woman to be featured on the $20 bill.

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