TIME movies

There’s Already a Campaign to Boycott Fifty Shades of Grey

Universal Pictures

Some say the movie glorifies violence against women

Not everyone is eagerly anticipating the release of Fifty Shades of Grey.

While some fans of E.L. James’ steamy novels are looking forward to seeing the graphic S&M scenes on the big screen, others are pre-emptively objecting to the glamorization of violence, especially violent sex. They’re trying to start a social-media movement to boycott the much anticipated movie, encouraging would-be moviegoers to donate money to domestic-violence victims instead.

MORE Here’s How The Shot the Sex Scenes in 50 Shades of Grey

Using the hashtags #50DollarsNot50Shades and #50ShadesIsAbuse, some protesters are calling for viewers to boycott the movie and donate the 50 bucks they would spend at the movie theater (on tickets, babysitter, drinks and popcorn, etc.) to help domestic-violence victims instead. Run by www.stoppornculture.org, the campaign’s Facebook page suggests making donations to domestic-violence shelters instead of going to see the movie, because “Hollywood doesn’t need your money; abused women do.”

“We realize it’s a movie, and we also realize it’s supported by many women,” says Ruth Glenn, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“The thing that concerns us about Fifty Shades of Grey is that anytime people are operating in that lifestyle, it should be a choice,” she says.

MORE These Were the Hardest Scenes to Shoot for the Stars of 50 Shades of Grey

Is this the beginning of the backlash to the movie? The book had its own well-documented backlash when it came out in 2012, but that was before all the headlines about domestic violence and sexual assault that have come to the forefront since then, as has the debate over the definition of “consent” when it comes to sexual behavior.

Boycotts not withstanding, the film is expected to be a hit. So for those who do see it, Glenn has this advice: “Violence against women is one thing, choosing to operate in an alternative lifestyle where there are parameters and choice is another. For any young person who is seeing this movie, I hope someone is having a discussion with them about choice vs. coercion.”

TIME Television

Transparent Creator Jill Soloway Developing Feminism-Themed MTV Comedy

The IMDb & Amazon Instant Video Studio At The Village At The Lift - Day 4 - 2015 Park City
Jerod Harris—Getty Images Jill Soloway attends the IMDb & Amazon Instant Video Studio on Jan. 26, 2015 in Park City, Utah.

In collaboration with the creators of the web series #hotmessmoves

The creator of Amazon’s original series Transparent is developing a female-driven, feminism-focused comedy for MTV.

Jill Soloway has received plenty of praise—and a Golden Globe—for Transparent, but at MTV she’ll be shining the spotlight on writers Lyle Friedman and Ashley Skidmore, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show will follow two grown women trying to save womankind 10 years after meeting at camp, where they bonded over second-wave feminism and were struck by lightning.

Upright Citizens Brigade alumni Friedman and Skidmore, who will executive produce, are staff writers on the TV Land comedy Younger, and the creators of the web series #hotmessmoves. Though Soloway is also an executive producer, she described her role as a “godmother” in a statement.

“Lyle and Ashley have a magical ability to tap into the female psyche, and through their own special brand of truth and humor they absolve us of our most humiliating moments,” she said.

[THR]

TIME

Watch Fox’s Megyn Kelly School Mike Huckabee Over ‘Trashy Women’ Comments

"We're not only swearing, we're drinking, we're smoking, we're having premarital sex"

videoid=4020206922001]

After Mike Huckabee said that New York women were “trashy” for cursing in a professional setting, Megyn Kelly set him straight.

Huckabee said in a Jan. 23rd radio interview that he was shocked at the way professional New York women threw around f-bombs. “This would be considered totally inappropriate to say these things in front of a woman, and for a woman to say them in a professional setting, we would only assume that this is a very, as we would say in the South, that’s just trashy.”

The presidential hopeful said that there’s a “cultural divide” between people who live in the “bubbles” on the coast and the people who live in “the land of what I call god, guns, grits, and gravy,” which, incidentally, is also the title of his book. He goes off on a diatribe about the “culture of crude.”

Kelly listened politely to the former Arkansas governor before telling him what she really thought of his “culture of crude.”

“I do have news for you before I let you go,” Kelly said. “We are not only swearing, we’re drinking, we’re smoking, we’re having premarital sex with birth control before we go to work, and sometimes boss around a bunch of men.”

“Aw, I just don’t want to hear that!” Huckabee responded.

 

TIME feminism

How 7 Disney Princesses Could Change the World

Without a magic wand

After a U.S. official suggested this week that Anna and Elsa from Frozen could be good ambassadors for fighting climate change, we got to thinking about how some other Disney Princesses could wield their mighty influence on young American minds.

Princess Diana raised awareness about AIDS and land mines after her fairy-tale wedding glow faded, so why shouldn’t Disney Princesses be do-gooders, too? Here are some ways these fictional characters could change the world.

Read next: Alan Menken Tells the Stories Behind Your Favorite Disney Classics

  • Mulan (from Mulan)

    Disney

    She could fight for increased protections for women in the military, especially when it comes to being sexually assaulted or filmed in the shower. She could also fight to reform the hairstyle rules for military women, so that no female soldier ever has to give herself a terrible haircut with her dad’s sword ever again.

  • Belle (from Beauty and the Beast)

    Disney "Beauty & the Beast 3D" Belle. ©2011 Disney. All Rights Reserved.
    Disney

    She could campaign for child literacy programs and for more online education options for people who live in boring towns. She could also be a vocal advocate for increased social security and adult-home-care programs to reduce wolf attacks among the elderly.

  • Ariel (from The Little Mermaid)

    Disney

    She could be an spokesperson to clean up the oceans and save the diversity of species under the sea. She could also fight for immigration reform, so that evil witches stop taking advantage of anyone who wants to cross a border. And she could do it all in mime.

  • Pocahontas (from Pocahontas)

    Disney

    Her conflict resolution skills could make her an excellent candidate to be a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, especially in areas with indigenous tensions. She could also fight to eliminate corporal punishment and serve on the board of Save America’s Forests.

  • Cinderella (from Cinderella)

    Disney

    She could fight for a higher minimum wage in the service industry and advocate for increased protections against child labor. She could also secretly fight to lower estate taxes so that other children of rich parents don’t end up poor like her.

  • Tiana (from The Princess and the Frog)

    Disney

    The star of the New Orleans fairy tale could demand a larger investment in small businesses and an increased environmental commitment to global warming to reduce the rising waters that threaten her hometown.

  • Jasmine (from Aladdin)

    Disney

    She could be a vocal advocate for the rights of women in the Middle East, and could fight for an expansion of girls’ education in that region. She could also oppose any laws that forbid women to drive cars or operate magic carpets.

TIME Media

Meet the First Ever Female Editor of the Economist

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle speaks during a forum session at the World Economic Forum, with Moderator Zanny Minton Beddoes and Luis de Guindos Jurado, Spanish Minister for Economy, on Jan. 25, 2013 in Davos.
Raphael Huenerfauth—Photothek/Getty Images Zanny Minton Beddoes moderates a conversation between German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Luis de Guindos Jurado, Spanish Minister for Economy, on Jan. 25, 2013 in Davos.

Zanny Minton Beddoes is the first woman to helm the news magazine in its 172-year history

The Economist magazine has promoted its business affairs editor Zanny Minton Beddoes to the publication’s top spot, marking the first time a woman has been in the role.

Beddoes joined the Economist in 1994 after working as an economist at the International Monetary Fund, and was based in Washington, D.C., for much of her time with the magazine. She moved to London last year. The promotion will see her taking over for John Micklethwait, who was the editor of the magazine for nine years and who is leaving at the end of January to become editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News.

The Financial Times reports that 13 candidates applied for the position, including two outsiders. Rupert Pennant-Rea, chairman of the Economist Group, told the Guardian, “[Beddoes] will be a true advocate for the Economist and its values.”

[FT]

TIME Opinion

How Caitlin Stasey’s NSFW Website Is Moving Feminism Forward

Actress Caitlin Stasey attends the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on April 12, 2014.
Jason Merritt—Getty Images Actress Caitlin Stasey attends the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on April 12, 2014.

"Our feminism is nothing less than freedom," the 24-year-old CW actress says

Australian actress and CW star Caitlin Stasey recently launched a website, Herself.com (NSFW), featuring interviews with ordinary women (aka non-celebs) about topics like masturbation, pornography, reproductive rights, sexual identity and the female body. The site is the latest addition to the ongoing conversation about women and the media, which in recent years has stretched from the #freethenipple campaign (which advocates women’s right to go topless in public) to Dove’s “Real Beauty” advertisements to Beyonce’s 2014 VMA performance.

Herself is a much-needed feminist tribute to both the minds and bodies of women, and there’s an abundance of nudity featured on the site — hardly a surprise given Stasey’s outspoken stance on female sexuality. In fact, naked women are the first things visitors of Herself.com see. Sure, the site’s thought-provoking interviews may get glossed over by viewers focusing on the subject’s naked bodies, but their overt nakedness is giving a different attitude about the female body the push forward it needs in mainstream media.

“A woman rarely gets the opportunity to just live in herself, as herself, a fully autonomous, self-determining human being. I wanted to give women the chance to reclaim that for themselves,” Stasey said in a recent interview. “The fact that it is a matter of controversy that a woman should choose to be nude without it being an act of sex just shows how backward and oppressive our society is. It shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t warrant questioning.”

By overtly displaying the female form, Herself has the potential to expose its subjects to objectification, and the site’s garnered a mild amount of criticism on social media. But major publications such as Glamour and People are eager to praise Stasey’s uncensored tribute to women of all kinds.

Stasey encourages readers to “witness the female form in all its honesty without the burden of the male gaze.” The initial buzz surrounding Herself lead to the site trending on Facebook with the description “actress launches website for women featuring personal interviews and nude photos,” basically guaranteeing men will visit. Yet even allowing for the fact that she’s exposing herself to the male gaze, Stasey remains unfazed.

“I sincerely hope men come to the site and learn to see how women present themselves, how women look when they are not merely objects, but the living, breathing subjects of their own stories,” she says. “This is a site made by a woman for women about women,” Stasey adds.

Going full-frontal in the name of feminism isn’t without its controversies, but the women in Herself are showcasing their own bodies on their own terms. Not only that, but they’re reaching a new generation of teen readers thanks to the 24-year-old actress’ star role on the CW’s Reign. Ultimately Herself gives women the opportunity to decide whether they want their bodies showcased online — and no one should judge them for that.

“If [feminism] is anything less than a woman getting to live her life proudly and freely, then I probably wouldn’t march for it,” says Stasey. “If you think feminism is telling other women how to live, then we’ll never agree, and I’m fine with that. Our feminism is nothing less than freedom.”

Herself is about as safe as it gets for like-minded feminists wanting to share their beliefs, fears and hopes, as well as for Stasey’s teen fans who are just becoming aware of their bodies, sexuality and sexual identity. And for someone visiting the site for the nude pics? They’ll definitely learn something while they’re at it.

TIME feminism

This Is What Happens When You Show Off Your ‘Meninist’ T-Shirt

#MENINIST

Some Twitter users got creative with Photoshop

The hashtags #Meninist and #Meninism have been around Twitter for more than a year, and the people who use them generally fall in two camps: people who use the term to call out ways they believe they’ve been victimized by feminism, and people who make fun of the first group for not understanding what feminism means in the first place.

The terms may have started out as a joke, but when the first group starting making T-shirts celebrating their controversial cause, the latter group got clever with their responses, as BuzzFeed points out. Not that many T-shirts have been sold — according to TeeSpring, two designs have moved only 10 and almost 500 shirts, respectively — but the guys who proudly showed them off online didn’t go unnoticed. In fact, they’re on their way to become totally meme-ified. Below, take a look who got creative with Photoshop:

TIME feminism

I’ve Never Found the V-Day Conversation to Be Dependent on Genitalia

Kellena Shumate Julie Goldstein, second from the left in the second row, is seen amongst the 2011 V-Day LA cast

Julie Rei Goldstein is an actress, voice over artist and an ardent trans feminist.

The Vagina Monologues and V-Day have provided me with an avenue to promote trans visibility

My introduction to The Vagina Monologues and V-Day was over a decade ago. My girlfriend at the time worked at the Women’s Resource Center for San Jose State University and was in charge of organizing our school’s V-Day event. Being a theater major, she thought my participation would be a perfect fit. I did not know what to expect or how I would be received given that I am a transgender woman. What I found was the most diverse and accepting group of women I had ever had a chance to work with. I enjoyed my time so much that even to this day I jump at the opportunity to participate in local productions. Most recently I had the pleasure of participating in the 2011 Los Angeles V-Day event at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater.

Even though, at its core, V-Day encourages women to speak openly about vaginas, I have never found the conversation it encourages to be dependent on genitalia. What we have always sought to facilitate is highlighting the oppression women across the board have experienced through violence — trans misogyny included. The negative connotations our society has placed on the word vagina are a clear symbol of that oppression. As much as we would like to think that we have overcome those views, we are consistently reminded that we have not. For example, just two years ago, Rep. Lisa Brown was banned from the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives simply for saying vagina.

V-Day events are not just about speaking out, they are also about raising money for organizations working to prevent violence against women and to support those who have faced it. Many recipients of the funds raised have been transgender organizations. This should not come as a surprise to anyone given the alarming rates of violence trans women face, which disproportionately target trans women of color. The year I was fortunate enough to co-direct our school’s production, our team made the decision to donate what we had raised to a local housing organization for battered women. Furthermore we specified the organization we chose had to be trans inclusive.

The responsibility of trans inclusivity is not on V-Day as an organization or the material Eve Ensler has written. They have already provided all the tools you need to make it inclusive. It is on each individual production to use those tools to ensure all voices and experiences are heard. Even the monologue that highlights transgender women, They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy, includes varied perspectives from within the trans community across both gender expression and sexual orientation.

Just as I have been able to learn extensively from the diverse women I have worked with, I have also had the chance to teach others about my own persona. The experience has inspired them to highlight stories of trans women in their own work. V-Day has provided me with an avenue to provide trans visibility not just to them, but also to the audiences for which we have performed. When only 8% of people say they know someone who is transgender, lack of visibility can often be the most common barrier to acceptance.

Celebrating women through The Vagina Monologues doesn’t mean the experience is exclusive to having a vagina. I point to my own personal favorite monologue as one that does not even include the word vagina. Yet it still retains what I have always felt Eve Ensler sought to create: a vehicle for finding strength and beauty in what society considers to be your weakness.

Julie Rei Goldstein is an actress, voice over artist and an ardent trans feminist.

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

Eve Ensler: I Never Defined a Woman as a Person With a Vagina

Brigitte Lacombe Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler is a Tony-winning playwright activist and author of The Vagina Monologues. She founded both V-Day, a global movement dedicated to ending violence against women, and the One Billion Rising campaign.

Why I'm surprised students at Mount Holyoke College think The Vagina Monologues is not inclusive to transgender students

Twenty years ago, when I wrote The Vagina Monologues, it was very difficult to say the word vagina anywhere. The public utterance of the word alone was explosive as so much of the truth about what happened to vaginas was repressed, denied, kept secret, and coated in shame and self-hatred.

Sadly, I would argue, The Vagina Monologues is still relevant here in the U.S. and around the world. Over 51% of the population has vaginas, clitorises, vulvas, and many to this day do not feel comfortable, familiar, free, or endowed with agency over them. One out of three women will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime.

Ten years ago, I was thrilled when a group of transgender women decided to do an all-trans production of my play. In preparation for the show, we gathered for days of dialogue and sharing of stories that, at the request of the group, I turned into a theatrical monologue called They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy. Since that first performance in 2004, the monologue has been available for inclusion in the play through V-Day, the global activist movement that grew out of The Vagina Monologues. Offering the monologue to our activists around the world was a deliberate decision on my part to encourage communities to address the needs and realities of the transgender community. Trans women and trans men have been welcome to perform in The Vagina Monologues throughout its history.

So I was surprised to find that students at Mount Holyoke College have decided to retire The Vagina Monologues because they believe it is not inclusive to transgender students. Their statement reads, “At its core, the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman … Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions.”

The Vagina Monologues never intended to be a play about what it means to be a woman. It is and always has been a play about what it means to have a vagina. In the play, I never defined a woman as a person with a vagina.

Inclusion doesn’t come from refusing to acknowledge our distinctive experiences, and trying to erase them, in an attempt to pretend they do not exist. Inclusion comes from listening to our differences, and honoring the right of everyone to talk about their reality, free from oppression and bigotry and silencing. That’s real inclusion — to listen to different stories, with curiosity, and love, and respect, in all their particular and distinctive human individuality.

We need to create a loving space for people with vaginas, and women without them, to address our oppressions, desires, and secrets and to simultaneously honor the fact that gender is not based on anatomy or genitalia.

This journey with The Vagina Monologues has been a huge privilege and honor. The play is my offering. Only that. I celebrate and support more and more voices and plays defying, wrestling with, and illuminating the dimensions and definitions of sexuality and gender.

I stand in solidarity with students at Mount Holyoke in their fight against transphobia. I believe this is a beautiful opportunity for us to hear each other’s stories in this ever-evolving journey toward liberation.

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 women

What I Experienced From Online Dating as a Black Woman

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xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

The majority of the messages I received, mostly from white men, fetishized my appearance and sexualized me based solely on my race

xojane

I try to remind myself that no one ever said online dating would be a wholly pleasant experience. There is an inherent awkwardness that comes with entering the world of swipes and algorithms, and it’s simply unavoidable.

I grew up and into an era during which the Internet has basically informed much of my identity and sparked many of my most important relationships — I’ve met some of my closest friends via sites like LiveJournal and Tumblr. And today, there’s no twentysomething I know who hasn’t met a bae or a jump off via some app or online service. So there’s no real sense of the taboo when it comes to dating online.

I created my first online profile in 2013 on OkCupid, a tiny baby step into unfamiliar territory with no real set goal in mind. All I knew was that as someone painfully shy around men, dating in the real world, in New York City, felt downright impossible. If anything, this was a way for me to gauge my own interest, and to date in a way that felt a bit more intentional, a bit more on my own terms.

And because I had girlfriends who told me about their escapades on the site, the good and the bad, the inevitable creeps and trolls, I felt relatively prepared for an imperfect if interesting experience.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the horror story that is online dating as a black woman.

Recently, OkCupid released data on race and attraction amongst its users, which revealed messed up but unsurprising realities about how people navigated the site.

Compiled by the site’s cofounder Christian Rudder, the data showed that black people and Asian men were least likely to get a date on the site. Black women specifically, the research showed, were at the very bottom of the barrel, receiving the fewest messages and likes from all races of men, and the least amount of responses to outgoing messages. Latina and Asian women, overwhelmingly, got the most likes and responses.

Rudder’s take on the data was pretty vague. “Beauty is a cultural idea as much as a physical one, and the standard is of course set by the dominant culture,” he said. “I believe that’s what you see in the data here.”

The narrative about black women and dating, about our lack of desirability and dateability, has been one I’ve actively tried to unlearn, despite a constant, nagging feeling that the reason I couldn’t get a date was because of the so-called stigma. But in my first major foray into the world of online dating, what struck me wasn’t so much this idea of not being wanted, but the kind of men who apparently wanted me.

A few creeps and trolls I could handle just fine. But from day one, I got tons of messages, many of them one or two word lines like, “Hey sexy,” and a larger majority of them reading, “Hey chocolate.” These weren’t worth the energy it took to respond.

The chocolate thing, though, kept coming up. Gradually, I began to notice a theme — the majority of the messages I received, mostly from white men, fetishized my appearance and sexualized me based solely on my race.

There have been so many ridiculous and offensive messages, too many to count or read. Many I’m not even comfortable sharing in this essay.

“Do you taste like chocolate?”

“Is it true what they say about black girls?”

“I’d love to slap dat big juicy booty.”

Once a guy was good enough to message me just to tell me that I look like “something you find in the zoo.” Another man, after luring me into a false sense of security by opening with a pleasant enough conversation about one of my favorite TV shows abruptly changed the subject to pose the question: “Do you act black?”

I asked him what exactly he meant by that.

He replied, “I like black women minus the attitude. Why is that wrong to ask? Haha.”

Haha, indeed.

In the three years I’ve been on OkCupid, I’ve only met up with a handful of people, mostly because it’s been impossible to meet anyone who doesn’t open or end conversations with offensive, racist, sexually aggressive language. A brief sojourn into Tinder world marked the worst of it — someone called me the n-word when I said I didn’t want to meet with him. I automatically deleted the app and haven’t been there since.

I know that I don’t represent every black girl’s time spent in the online dating world. I have black girlfriends who’ve had relatively decent, pleasant interactions, which is wonderful. But I also know my experiences aren’t unique. I do still wonder who else out there has put up with this kind of unwanted attention. The OkCupid data suggested Latinas and Asian women get the most attention on the site, but I can only imagine what kind of attention they’re getting — creepy fetishizing, no doubt.

It hasn’t all been bad, of course. In the past year I’ve met a few guys online who have been fun to hang out with, and a couple whom I’ve actually really liked. But I’m taking an indefinite break from the online dating world. Partly because I want to experience different forms of dating, but mostly because the energy of weeding through hundreds of gross and racist messages from strangers is, to me, the very opposite of self-care.

Last year, some important conversations were sparked surrounding the kind of street harassment women face on a daily basis. There needs to be, I think, a similar conversation about online harassment. Because it’s not just the dating sites where women are subjected to this kind of behavior.

On my Tumblr blog I’ve gotten creepy messages, and had my personal photos posted on ebony fetish blogs. Some might say that the solution to avoiding this kind behavior is to delete my blog or my profile, to block the guys I don’t like and focus on the ones I do.

I say that I shouldn’t have to do that to begin with.

Zeba Blay is a writer in New York. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

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.

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