Best Reads of June: Pop Feminist Edition

Award June

Internet trolls, “queerbaiting,” women antiheros — last month, these were just a few topics covered in a range of intriguing critiques on pop culture and gender.

Here are some notable quotes from the 10 best articles of June!

10.) Study: Female Politicians Are Stereotyped, But Not as Women
by Brian Resnick, National Journal (June 10)

Notable quote: “The data suggests our stereotypes of female politicians are based on what they lack in comparison to women as a whole, not what they ave in addition. “The stereotypes are extremely nebulous and lack clarity,” the authors conclude.”

9.) How Do We Solve A Problem Like “Queerbaiting”?: On TV’s Not-So-Subtle Gay Subtext
by Rose Bridges, Autostraddle (June 26)

What in the world is “queerbaiting” you may ask?:
“Some interpret “queerbaiting” as just about any subtext; others say that it has to include some sort of “no homo” joke, a clear acknowledgement that, despite the obvious chemistry, it’s never going to happen and the characters are straight.”

How is “queerbaiting” used with women characters?
As for examples with women, “queerbaiting” for lesbians tends to run in different directions – mostly, in terms of actually giving the characters some physical girl-on-girl action, but making sure it never turns into anything long-term or meaningful or contradicts the characters’ previous heterosexuality.”

8.) I’m So Tired Of Hearing About “Good Feminists” And “Bad Feminists”
by Marianne, xoJane (June 20)

Notable quote: “There’s another version of the straw feminist, though — one that women present to themselves as a yardstick or purity test. This straw feminist appears as a model feminist — one who is not impacted by cultural construction, one who is never vulnerable or mistaken or petty or any other human quality. This straw feminist is the Good Feminist against which too many women compare themselves, against which too many women decide they must be the Bad Feminist.”

7.) Here’s Why Women’s Magazines Don’t Produce “Serious” Journalism
by Amanda Hess, Slate (June 20)

Notable quote: “The writers and editors defending women’s magazines this week argue that it’s male bias in the magazine industry that fails to view more traditionally feminine forms of writing as “serious.” I hope we can also take this opportunity to question why women’s writing is aligned so heavily with personal essays and service journalism—the forms that are the cheapest and ad-friendliest to produce. This is a different form of male bias, one that can’t easily be answered by ladymag self-promotion.”

6.) Opinion: The problem with “Devious Maids” goes far beyond Hollywood
by Alisa Valdes, NBCLatino (June 7)

Notable quote: “It is not wrong to be a maid, or even a Latina maid, but there is something very wrong with an American entertainment industry that continually tells Latinas that this is all they are or can ever be.”

5.) Why Are There So Few Female Antiheroes on Film?
by Jason Bailey, Flavorwire (June 21)

On how female antiheroes are perceived: “This is well-entrenched gender stereotyping, and the results are fascinating; compare, for example, the hysterical way people respond to Hannah on Girls to the affectionate “boys will be boys” head-shaking that seems to accompany every fresh Don Draper betrayal, or the vociferousness with which viewers (and some critics) condemned Young Adult’s Mavis in comparison to, say, Joaquin Phoenix’s Freddie Quell in The Master. When confronted with female characters who force us to consider them in different, difficult terms, we tend to condemn, shut down, and walk away.”

4.) Feminist Taylor Swift, and the only thing more incoherent than Miss Utah
by Alexandra Petri, The Washington Post (June 17)

Notable quote:“Besides, only at the Miss USA pageant would you ask a woman, teetering in heels and an evening gown, who had just strutted her stuff in a swim suit on national television in a competition redolent of the Atlantic City beach in the 1920s, to explain the question of pay inequality coherently in a minute or less. That’s the bizarre double standard, in a nutshell. It’s a microcosm of what women have to deal with, in various less ludicrous forms, everywhere they go. Some people are capable of doing it. But not everyone. And they should not have to be.

‘Please, look as beautiful in this swimsuit as you possibly can while telling me why gender should not determine your level of compensation.’

Don’t we notice how ridiculous this is?”

3.) Does Sofia Coppola Have a Problem With Privilege, or Do Her Critics?
by Sam Adams, Indiewire (June 13)

Notable quote:“But even after five features, she’s still treated in some corners like an upstart, a spoiled little girl who owes her career to her famous father (Jason Reitman, by contrast, has earned everything he’s ever had).”

And: “There are plenty of legitimate reasons to take issue with Coppola’s work, or [Lena] Dunham’s, but there’s also an insidious bias at work, a tacit assumption that women’s art is always about themselves while men can stand outside and objectively comment: Women feel; men think.”

2.) Fuck the High Road: The Upside of Sinking to Their Level
by Jessica Valenti, The Nation (June 3)

Notable quote: “The downside of engaging with sexists is that in an online culture where common knowledge says ignore trolls, speaking out becomes “asking for it.” You don’t get a ton of sympathy for egging on assholes. While ignoring haters can sometimes be the best move, putting the onus on women to stay silent is not. So though I still believe in picking your battles, I’ll continue to get down in the muck with misogynists from time to time—because the low road needs feminism too.”

1.) A Closed Letter To Myself About Thievery, Heckling And Rape Jokes
by Patton Oswalt (June 14)

Notable quote: “Why, after all of my years of striving to write original material (and, at times, becoming annoyingly self-righteous about it) and struggling find new viewpoints or untried approaches to any subject, did I suddenly balk and protest when an articulate, intelligent and, at times, angry contingent of people were asking my to apply the same principles to the subject of rape?  Any edgy or taboo subject can become just as hackneyed as an acceptable or non-controversial one if the exact same approach is made every time.  But I wasn’t willing to hear that.”

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