Gender Equality is a Myth

For today’s Feminist Friday post, here’s an expert from The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink. This was written by Beyoncé and published on January 12th, 2014.

We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.

Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.

We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities.

(Originally posted here.)

Because you can never watch too much TV

Maybe this will be my last day of bringing up “end of the year/beginning of the year” kind of stuff. I’m aware that it’s already the 3rd, but I subsequently make no promises.

I’ve spent the last day and a half binge watching 2 full seasons of Girls, finishing off a season of Louie, and almost catching up (not really, I’m still way behind) on SNL. That’s right, while all of you have been keeping the gyms in business with your new years resolution-keeping, I’ve been lying in bed, borderline motionless, watching obscene amounts of old television. Is winning still a thing(?) because #WINNING feels appropriate.

My thoughts include: Lena Dunham’s a goddess, Louis CK is mastermind and Seth Meyers will later in life be my husband, but I don’t think any of that’s new information. It’s no secret I love TV comedies, and every time I watch something that’s new to me and awesome, I want to shout it from the rooftops. This is why I envy Emily Nussbaum so much — because that’s literally her job. She lives in Brooklyn and watches/critiques television for a living. AKA Merriam-Webster’s definition of “livin’ the dream.” I had the privilege of meeting her at a talk show of sorts in the fall of last year immediately fell into hardcore girl-crush mode.

She wrote this article about the best television of 2013 and because I think we have similar tastes in television and I follow her twitter-feed like a blind puppy, I’ll likely be giving Scandal, Always Sunny, and I suppose (finally) Mad Men a chance this year.

Not that I don’t watch enough TV to begin with, but are there any shows you’re rooting for in ’14 and/or love from ’13? Since my sickness is holding me back, I need to at least make sure my Netflix account is getting a proper workout this year.

~*SiNgLe && LoViN iT*!

As much as I am looking forward to being home for the holidays, there’s one thing I’m dreading. The questions from family/friends always begin with “What’s it like living in New York City?” or “Do you think you’ll stay?” …  then slowly turn into “How is your job going?” and “That real estate market in New York is crazy, huh?” … and always funnel down to the real point of conversation “So, are you seeing anybody?” or “Anyone special in your life?”

“Are you in a relationship?” It’s a yes or no question, but it never seems like one word will suffice. I’ve been single (or a least, not in a serious relationship) for the good majority of my life, and people have opinions about it. People will always have opinions. I didn’t meet my soul mate in high school. I didn’t meet my soul mate in college. The industries I’ve worked in since graduation are predominantly saturated with gay men. Also, I hate dating. These aren’t excuses, they’re facts. I’ve had boyfriends. I’ve gone on dates. I’ve had casual flings. Do you see me bringing someone home for the holidays? Do you see a ring on it? Nothing’s worked out. It’s Christmas day and the great woes and tragedies of my love life aren’t necessarily the things I feel like talking about right now, that cool?

I think one of the main reasons the question frustrates me so much, is because I will never be a person who is defined by my romantic relationship. I don’t fault you if you are, but that just isn’t me. I am defined by my beliefs and my morals and my successes. I moved to New York City when I was 21 — jobless, homeless, near penniless and by myself — to begin my career. Two and a half years later, I have so much more than I would have ever imagined — I have a life here — and I’m still nowhere near finished. I have a wonderful full-time job, I write this blog, I am member of an amazing women’s volunteer organization, I take writing and comedy classes, I’m working on a script, I work out, I sleep, I socialize with friends, I sometimes force myself to date. I’m nowhere near ready to settle down and have kids. I may never be ready to settle down and have kids. I’ve always been restless, driven and independent. When you add in a backdrop of the concrete jungle that never sleeps filled with the most ambitious people in the world, I thrive. And if you’ve known me for twenty-four years, you should know this too.

I guess what I’m trying to say is no, I don’t have a boyfriend. No, I don’t have a girlfriend, either. I’m single, but I have a fulfilling life. Ask me about my improv classes. Ask me about getting to see Joy Behar or Lena Dunham or Seth Meyers. Ask me about what it’s like to be one of the top Consultants in my industry. These are all questions I would welcome and love to answer. *End rant*

Iconic Feminist Moments of 2013

As the year is coming to a close, everyone brace yourself for the “most whatever of the year” and the “best *insert word here* of 2013” posts that will continue to take over the internet for the next few weeks.  But let’s be real, I’m a sucker for them too. I found “The Most Iconic Feminist Moments of 2013” while I was lurking around the interwebs this week, and not only do I really think it’s a fantastic read, but it obviously fell nicely in line with my Feminist Friday series. Check it out & and enjoy your weekend!

NYJL Golden Tree

Even though my schedules still all crazy and doesn’t look like it will regulate until the new year) IT’S FRIDAY and man does that feel good.

So yesterday, I spent my morning volunteering at a NYJL event called Golden Tree:  a premiere holiday shopping event hosted at the League’s headquarters on the UES. It’s three floors of boutique vendors, most of whom typically exclusively sell merchandise online. If you have shopping left to do, and are looking for a unique gift for someone special, this may be your place! If you haven’t already ordered your ticket, you can still buy it at the door. The shopping continues all day (and night!) today until 10pm and tomorrow (Saturday 12/7) until 5pm. Proceeds from the event support the League’s charitable activities. Further info here. Shopping AND supporting a great cause – could there BE anything more festive?!

Feminist Friday: That Girl

For this week’s Feminist Friday post, I’m shining the spotlight on one of my favorite advocates for women: Marlo Thomas.

Marlo Thomas Collage

I first knew of Marlo from her portrayal of Rachel Green’s hilarious mom on Friends, but she had been playing the television circuit long before that. She’s comedian Danny Thomas’ daughter, and like her 20010 memoir suggests, she was familiar with Growing Up Laughing. After some earlier work in film, she really got on the map on 1969 when the pilot of That Girl got picked up. For those of you who don’t know, That Girl was the first television show that focused on a single, career-driven woman who didn’t live her parents. The show was Marlo’s baby, and at 25, she was the only girl besides Lucille Ball who successfully produced her own situation comedy.

In 1972, Marlo released Free to Be…You and Me, a project promoting individuality and acceptance. This inspired a children’s book, an Emmy-award winning TV special, an album and a stage show. From that point on, she continued to work in television, Broadway and film, but was definitely focused on her love of activism.

She currently serves as the National Outreach for St. Jude’s Hospital and runs her website: MarloThomas.com (now via Huffington Post), where she actively promotes women’s rights, healthy-living and equality for all. I haven’t met Ms. Thomas in person, but our aligned interests combined with her contributions to television and activism prove that she’s a fantastic role model. Thank you for being a continued source of inspiration, Marlo!

GoldieBlox

I saw this post on HuffPo earlier in the week and thought it would make an excellent Feminist Friday edition!

Basically, GoldieBlox is a new start-up company that has created blocks and construction toys specifically for girls. The video explains how few women engineers there are, and correlates it back to childhood. Boys mostly play with blocks and legos while girls are primarily interested in princesses and dolls. The company’s CEO, Debra Sterling, thinks if more girls began understanding math, science and spatial skills from an early age, more would be interested in pursuing a path in engineering when they’re older. The video makes a better pitch :)

What’s really cool is that software company Intuit is holding a small business competition where the winner gets a Super Bowl commercial. GoldieBlox is nominated, and I can’t think of a better way for this innovative company to propose their take on tackling a pretty big gender issue. Here’s where you can vote for GoldieBlox up until December 1st.

My Thoughts on the SNL Diversity Debacle

By now you’ve probably heard a little something about the heat Lorne Michaels has been receiving since (and really, before) Kerry Washington hosted the sketch comedy show last Saturday. The cold open poked fun at the recent press about the lack of black women who’ve been cast on the show. Saturday Night Live’s current male black cast members, Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson, have both famously refusing to dress in drag, stating that it’s time a black female is cast. While the show’s opening sketch was written in a light-hearted fashion, it seems to have spun further investigative efforts and even more articles about the show’s “lack of a diversified cast.”

I understand the benefits and importance of diversity. I chose to move to New York City from a small suburb in the midwest, after-all. I think a group of very diverse people, with different backgrounds of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, political preference and social class can bring a lot of opinions and creative ideas to a collaborative art-form, like the show. I, however, do not think affirmative action is a necessary practice in the casting of SNL.

Hiring someone “because she’s black, first of all” as Jay Pharaoh suggests is not really the answer to solving “the show’s diversity problem.” First of all, I think it should be noted that out of Season 39’s sixteen cast members, there are: six women, one gay woman, one Iranian-America, a few Jews and two black men. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. But diversity is not just a black and white issue. What about Asian-Americans? Hispanics? Gay men? Buddhists? AND out of all the shows on network television (i.e. How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, CSI) does SNL really deserve all of this negative press? IMO, it seems that the casting has always been based largely on talent. I choose to stay under the impression Lorne actively searches for the funniest sketch writers/performers that exist, and remains impartial to any of the aforementioned factors that could be an outlet of discrimination.

At the end of the day, people watch SNL to be entertained. Hiring funny people is priority. This season, it happened to be 83% white dudes. Oh well. They’ve had cast members and hosts of all kinds in the past, and that will continue. I’m sure most of us agree that it would be nice for ALL network shows to be a little more representative of what this fabulous melting pot actually looks like. We’ll get there, some day. But in the intermediate period, I think we should all have a little more faith in Lorne. He did just air a huge parody of his critiqued casting last Saturday. Call me crazy, but I think he knows what he’s doing.

“Shrinking Women”

THIS. It was posted in April, but just recently went viral and is causing quite a stir of opinions over in the YouTube world. I almost envy the people who have nothing better to do with their lives than post harshly worded, spiteful comments about others’ content they put on the internet. I digress.

Regardless of your views on gender roles in todays’ society, Lily Myers presents an eye-opening insight on how differently men and women often view and portray themselves.

Ahhh, and Feminist Friday lives on! Have a great weekend, guys and dolls. Mine’s looking chilly and filled with work. Try not to be too jealous. ;)

The Queens of Comedy

Amy + TinaI’m not going to beat a dead horse with this one. We all know that Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are NOT ONLY two amazingly talented pioneers in the comedy biz BUT ALSO very progressive trailblazers for feminism, the entertainment world aside.

Like Amy, Tina’s roots are with Second City in Chicago. She began writing for SNL in 1997 and became the show’s head writer (first ever female) two years later. She didn’t begin acting on the show until 2000, and departed just six years after to create her own little show you may or may not have heard of, 30 Rock. In 2011, she released Bossypants, her award-winning autobiographical book that details how to get the job done while leaving ’em in stitches.

After moving to New York in 1996, Amy cofounded the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in 1999. She joined the cast of SNL in 2001, and began co-hosting Weekend Update alongside Tina in 2004, as the first (and to date, only) time a duo of women served as news-anchors. In 2008, she started producing and starring in the best show in the world Parks and Recreation, which is [obviously] still on NBC. In her spare time, she motivates girls (and let’s be real, also grown-ass women/gays) in her YouTube Series, Smart Girls. Also, she’s a recently separated mom of two, and my envy of her children knows no bounds.

Tina and Amy are great on their own, but there’s truly nothing like it when they’re working/performing together. From the Palin/Clinton sketches of 2008, to hosting the Golden Globes earlier this year, these two are at their best when they’re playing off of each other. And these ladies are not just frontrunners in the category of funny females, they are groundbreakers in the vast realm of comedy as a whole.

We all have a lot of reasons to like these two women – they’re both hilarious, witty, type-A, do-it-yourself, fearless leaders in all projects they take on. But personally, I think my very favorite reason that makes me so impassioned to root for their success is that they are (and always have been) both so supportive of each other in a world that can be so cut-throat. If you know anything about breaking into the comedy industry as a female, it’s VERY competitive and not-so-friendly. The fact that Amy and Tina were each other’s cheerleaders from the forefront makes me feel like I can truly support and relate to these iconic women. One day, it’s my hope and dream to be able to tell that to them in person. For now, I’m waiting with everyone else to watch them co-present Carol Burnett with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and whatever else they have up their sleeves.