Let’s talk about how women are portrayed in Hollywood

Also, we have to kill the new racist voting law in Georgia

“I’m not crazy, M’Lynn, I’ve just been in a very bad mood for 40 years!”
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Oh for pete’s sake could we please please please get some movies and TV shows that are not about how men view women but are just about women and our stories? This can be done. It has been done. So why would anyone make a show where it’s not like that?

(I know I know I know. But still. Women do have purchasing power. If nothing else, Hollywood, do it for the money. Even my very School That Is Old uncles knew how to sell cars. “Women make 80% of the purchasing decisions for the family,” my uncles, who owned a small car dealership, told me 20 years ago, after I complained about my car-buying experience. “We ALWAYS talk to the woman when a couple comes in.”

The bar is so low. They talked to the women! But it was and is the smart thing to do.)

I have been watching a bunch of old shows – 9 to 5, which sadly, ages very well. Steel Magnolias also ages well, although I identify more with Ouiser than with Shelby these days. Shirley MacLaine is brilliant. I think I will have to watch Terms of Endearment again, too.

Mr T and I watched The Big Chill and man. It hits home now in a way it didn’t when it first came out and we were just college students.

There are TV series I love – series that center women and are about women, not about women who are about men. Rizzoli and Isles is great. I am sad it’s over.

Scott and Bailey. Vera. Veronica Mars. No Offence. Agatha Raisin.

Watch these shows. They are about women doing cool things. They are not about women worrying about men or about men who need a female character to round them out.

And then there are the crap shows.

I AM LOOKING AT YOU, STEPMOM.

Good grief. I had watched Steel Magnolias and thought, Yeah even though Shelby made Very Bad Decisions (and it turns out, sadly, that Steel Magnolias is based on a true story), Julia Roberts is a pretty good actress.

So I watched My Best Friend’s Wedding.

Whoa. Did I hate that movie that much the first time I saw it?

Her character was despicable. I kept watching only to see if there was any redemption and there really wasn’t. The character was awful in the beginning and continues to be awful. Do not watch this movie unless you want a good Hate Watch.

(You know – like in book club in the Before Times when we had more fun talking about the books we hated than the ones we liked.)

(Also, it was made in Chicago and I wanted to see Chicago because I miss traveling so much.)

I had already picked up Stepmom from the library and it was that or PBS’ The March and I wasn’t in the mood to be completely depressed about how our country is going completely backwards on civil rights – YES I MEAN YOU GEORGIA, so I watched it.

A few minutes in, I opened the imdb page and started reading the reviews.

I was looking for other people who might have noticed that Julia Roberts’ character is doing all the work that her boyfriend, Ed Harris, should be doing.

Ed Harris and Susan Sarandon are divorced. Harris has since met Julia and she has moved into his place.

The opening scene is of Julia trying to get Ed’s kids ready for school.

Ed is not in the picture.

He is not in the scene.

This scenario plays out repeatedly in the story. Julia – who is not married to Ed – she is his live-in girlfriend – is doing all the work of caring for his children on the days they stay with him.

She cares for his children to the extent that her own career is put at risk. Her boss threatens to fire her because she keeps leaving early to pick up the kids.

Why is Julia taking care of Ed’s children? Why is she in charge of doing the laundry and making their breakfast and picking them up from school?

I kept watching, just in case the writer was playing a trick and Julia would realize she was being used as an unpaid nanny.

Nope.

That did not happen.

Reader, do not watch this movie, despite its cast.

(If you want to see Ed Harris and you do, watch Tender Mercies. He’s not in it, but his wife is. It’s a wonderful movie. Ed is in The Right Stuff. Watch that. Don’t watch The Hours. I hated that movie and I don’t even remember why. I think it was super pretentious. Plus, it’s impossible to make Nicole Kidman not beautiful.)

Do not watch this movie.

Actually, don’t watch anything but The March. Because after I watched Stepmom, I was already cranky, so I thought watching a documentary about the march on Washington in 1963 couldn’t make me any angrier than I already was but guess what?

It could and it did.

We are going backwards in this country and we need to do something about it. Write and call your legislators. Boycott products from Georgia (easy for me to say – I kicked the diet Coke habit years ago). Participate in BLM marches in your area. Send money to the people who are doing the work on the ground. We cannot let our country become a haven for white supremacists.

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