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Keira Knightley Asks For More Female Stories And Creators In Movies

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Keira Knightley throws her hat into the “actresses who speak out about feminism” ring – but actually makes us really, really proud in the process. You can exhale in relief now.

In next week’s issue of Violet magazine, Knightley discusses her thoughts on being a woman in the film industry, and the challenges faced by women both in front of and behind the camera. “Where are the female stories?” asks Knightley. “Where are they? Where are the directors, where are the writers? It’s imbalanced, so given that we are half the cinema-going public, we are half the people [who] watch drama or watch anything else, where is that?”

Like Emma Watson, Knightley also advocates for the use of the word “feminist,” and laments those who think that it connotes something negative:

I don’t know what happened through the ’80s,’90s, and ’00s that took feminism off the table, that made it something that women weren’t supposed to identify with and were supposed to be ashamed of. Feminism is about the fight for equality between the sexes, with equal respect, equal pay, and equal opportunity. At the moment we are still a long way off that.

Taking pride in her choice to play empowered female characters in film, Knightley says that The Imitation Game’s Joan Clarke is of particular importance to her, facing many of the same problems women still face today. “I think it is interesting that for women in film the problems they face are generally put into the sphere of home and family and not into the workplace. Joan’s real struggles were to get her rightful ‘place at the table,’ and then once she was there, equal pay, which she never came close to.”

You can read the full interview in Violet magazine next week.

(via Indiewire)

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Anthony Mackie Talks Marvel’s Diversity: “I Think it’s Very Important That Little Girls Have Representation” - Seconded.

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Anthony Mackie broken our hearts earlier this year when he said on the Wendy Williams Show that women should “make daddy a sandwich” (cue incoherent rage yelling), but during an ECCC panel over the weekend, the actor’s remarks were way more positive.

When asked by an audience member what kind of an impact he thinks Falcon has on young viewers, Mackie replied:

It’s a huge responsibility. I do events like this because so many people become superheroes and celebrities, and they detach themselves from reality. That scares me. When I meet people, when I meet kids, that informs characters I play down the line. I tell kids, when you think something can’t happen, you think you can’t read that well, when certain people didn’t expect anything of you — I was that kid. I was the kid they wanted to put on Ritalin and kick out of school because they thought I was a bad kid.

I think it’s very important that little girls have representation. That’s why I love Scarlett Johansson so much. That’s why I’m so excited they’re introducing all these female characters into the universe. That’s important. It’s to give everybody a little bit. The funny thing about movies is, growing up, I said, ‘Man, I wanted to be Superman.’ But this past Halloween, my son said he wanted to be Captain America.

The actor when on to describe a situation where another parent told him her child wanted to be Falcon for Halloween but couldn’t “‘because, y’know.’” “I’m like, ‘No, I don’t know. What, you couldn’t find a costume?’ ‘No, you’re Black.’” That is the problem. We always talk about representation, but I never understood representation until that conversation. It is important to look at the screen and see you.”

Mackie also spoke about his own road to joining the Marvel Universe, saying that he originally wrote Marvel Studios asking to be in the franchise: “I was initially writing them because I wanted to be Black Panther.” He’s come a long way since that first letter: to quote Mackie, “Marvel literally owns the hair on my face.”

(via Comic Book Resources)

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With Great Privilege Comes Great Responsibility: Being A Good Feminist Ally

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FeministSeveral years ago, I made the conscious decision to be more outspoken when it comes to being a feminist (or feminist ally, if you prefer). My wife and I were teaching at a small Baptist college in the south, and some of my students (and, honestly, colleagues) regarded our marriage with suspicion. Why did we have different last names, one male student wanted to know? When I replied that it was because my wife liked her last name and I had no strong feelings on the subject, he grinned and replied, “Yeah, just as long as dinner is on the table every night, right?” The idea that a man might be considerate of and respectful towards his wife’s opinions and desires was completely foreign to him, I came to believe, because it was never modeled for him by the other men in his life. So, I reasoned, maybe I should try to do that.

I will say, though, that even as I endeavored to live my feminist convictions, I was awfully self-conscious about it. It’s probably not hard to understand why—a lot of men claiming to be feminist come across as, well, total assholes. Not all of them, of course, but how many times have we read articles with headlines like, “Now That I’m a Dad to a Little Girl, I Kinda Regret My Decades of Misogyny?” The guy who writes such an article tends to be simultaneously smug and clueless. What’s more, as Kat Stoeffel wrote, “Many men seem to reach for the ‘feminist’ label first to shore up their sensitive-dude bona fides and, second, to get a little female validation.” Even men who think they’re well-intentioned can bungle things (think of Mike Daisey’s appropriation of the #yesallwomen hashtag for his monologue about misogyny and patriarchy), and the fact that “Macktivism” is now a thing reminds us that we can often be suspicious of dudes who proclaim that they’re down with the struggle.

Perhaps most important is my awareness that every word I write or speak aloud is amplified by a privilege I didn’t ask for and don’t deserve. I am a white heterosexual man, and in my culture that’s an identity that comes with a whole lot of power. We tend to write the laws. We’re found lecturing in classrooms and calling the shots in boardrooms. And when we speak, people tend to listen—whether what we’re saying is worth listening to or not. I would like to live in a world where this is not the case, but I don’t, and using my voice to talk about sexism and feminism is still an exercise of privilege that I didn’t actually earn through any work or talent on my part. I shouldn’t have this privilege—what right do I have to use it when there are so many women, smarter than me and with more first-hand experience with misogyny, who are left unheard?

Still, I don’t think silence is really an option. The fact that some men will listen to me and not Jessica Valenti or Roxane Gay is terrible, but I don’t see this reality changing until these men get the message from other men. It’s frustrating, but that is the conclusion I have come to. So I will talk to my students about rape culture. I will recommend that they read Amanda Marcotte and Janelle Asselin. I will talk to them about Anita Sarkeesian and “gamergate” and how toxic masculinity is bad for women and men alike.

Most importantly, I will make it clear to my students that privilege is a real thing. There are voices in our culture that try to deny this reality—Bill O’Reilly argues that white privilege is a myth; George Will likes to claim that rape survivors receive a “coveted status” on college campuses. In the world that they describe, our society’s true victims are the persecuted white heterosexual men no one seems to trust anymore. That worldview appeals to a certain type of white heterosexual man, I think, because he knows that his life has had plenty of trauma and tragedy (indeed, whose life doesn’t?) and who bristles at the suggestion that he has enjoyed privilege that others have not (even though that is certainly the case). I tend to think that young guys like Tal Fortgang—the Princeton student who wrote the essay about refusing to “check his privilege” that went viral in the conservative blogosphere—are not really malicious. They’re solipsistic. And their solipsism is being manipulated by cultural forces that feel threatened by the idea of people who have been marginalized achieving power.

I can’t deny my own privilege, and I can’t just decline to have it, either. It’s something that was given to me at birth, and it falls to me to use it carefully. Stan Lee wrote that “in this world, with great power there must also come—great responsibility!” Of course, I’m not Spider-Man, and there is nothing particularly heroic about being in favor of equal rights for everybody—it’s just the sensible and unselfish position to take. But my hope is that by recognizing and discussing privilege, genuinely listening to women as they talk about their experiences and opinions, and encouraging students to pay attention to this world’s injustices, I might play a small role in helping to fix some of these systemic problems. At the very least, maybe some of these men who might otherwise have avoided feminism entirely might listen attentively the next time a female classmate speaks about her own experiences. Who knows? He might even read some Gloria Steinem or bell hooks.

(images via Elle UK)

William Bradley‘s work has appeared in The Utne Reader, The Normal School, Brevity, The Missouri Review, Truth-Out and other websites and magazines. His book Fractals—a collection of linked essays about love, illness, and a lifetime of dorky pop culture obsessions—is forthcoming from Lavender Ink.

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FURIOUSLY HAPPY. And scared. And back to happy again.


If you’ve been here long enough you know I’ve been working on my second book for the last three years.  I’ve carried it with me every day, adding a paragraph here, deleting another there, reworking a sentence for the eleventieth time because I want it to be perfect, always feeling like a loser because Stephen King and cocaine set unrealistic expectations about how easy it should be to write a book.  If you know me in real life you’ve seen me lugging around a giant manuscript and scribbling furiously in it when inspiration strikes.  You may have asked me why I don’t just use a laptop and then nodded in what you hoped passed for understanding when I explained that I was afraid I’d lose everything I’ve written when the robot revolution happens and computers become computers become self-aware and refuse to humor me anymore because I wasted their potential watching videos of baby hedgehogs in bathtubs.

When I was deciding what to write about for book two my first thought was “SPARKLY MALE VAMPIRES WHO ARE PRETTIER THAN YOU versus ZOMBIE FAINTING GOATS, IN THE BATTLE FOR BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH’S HEART”.  Then Victor was like, “What are you,crazy?” and I thought, Well, sort of. And that’d probably be easier to write about since I have slightly more experience dealing with mental illness than I have dealing with goats.

And so began a terrifying and incredibly daunting task of writing a very funny book about a very terrible thing.

This book was hard. I wanted to be honest about my struggles — and that means opening up about things I’ve never really discussed before. And it was hard. But luckily, I had help. From you.

When I came out so many years ago about my depression and anxiety disorder I was afraid you’d all run away screaming. But you didn’t. Instead, thousands of you said “Me too,” and “I thought I was the only one,” and “It’s not just me?” You gave me the strength to be honest about my flaws and the support to realize that I was more than the broken parts that make up me. And you did something else you might not even realize…

In the years since I started writing about mental illness I’ve received so many letters from people who were affected by this community, but there were special ones I kept in a folder that I named “The Folder of 24.” – It was called that because it contained 24 letters from people who were actively planning their suicide, but decided to get help instead. And not because of what I said…they did it because of you. Almost every single one explained that what convinced them that depression was lying to them was the amazing response to my posts. They could look at a single person like me and think it was still a rare illness or something to be ashamed about…but when thousands of strangers shout out into the darkness that they are there too, it makes ripples. And those anonymous strangers saved lives without even knowing it. If you ever left a comment or a kind word you may have been the cause of someone’s mother or daughter or son being alive. Being thankful to be alive.

When I was on tour with my last book I’d sometimes talk about the Folder of 24 and how that folder is the best reason I’ll ever have for writing. And then something strange happened.  After a reading people would lean in close and whisper “I was 25.”

There were so many 25’s.

This was what I went back to whenever writing this new book got too hard. Because I knew that to truly write about what it’s like to struggle with mental illness I’d have to go deeper and talk about things I haven’t written about, for fear that everyone would back away if I talked about self-harm, or mania, or the personality disorder that pushes me from “normal” crazy to something a bit scarier.

I wrote and deleted and rewrote passages, and I’m still afraid of how people will react. I’m in the exact same place I was seven years ago…afraid to share but unable to tell my story without laying it all out. And so I’ll do the same thing I did before. Because I don’t have any other choice but to be myself, and hopefully you’ll still be here in the same wonderful way you have been.

I hope you’ll come with me on the next step of the journey. I hope you’ll see yourself, or someone you love, in these pages and learn to love them better. I hope it shows people that laughter and joy can come from chaotic bizarreness. I hope you know how much you’ve helped me to become my own 25.

This is a humor book and I’ve been told that it’s funnier than my last. Most of the people who’ve read it don’t have mental illness. Certainly none of them have my specific diagnosis, but they still loved it because I think everyone can relate to the ridiculousness we bring on ourselves, to the fact that laughing at a dangerous, terrifying monster is the only way to make it small and easier to hide in your pocket.

I think everyone can relate to the fact that a ton of bullshit happens every single day and the only way we can battle that bullshit is choose to be furiously happy whenever we have the opportunity. That means different things to different people, but to me it’s about making clothes out of live ferrets, making the best of it when you get kidnapped by an actual funeral, and occasionally balancing your taxidermy raccoon on the back of your cats to create a Midnight Raccoon Rodeo in your kitchen when you’re having one of those weeks where you’re afraid to leave your house.

It also means celebrating the fact that I HAVE FINISHED THE BOOK.   AAAAAAHHHHHH!  Sorry.  Just happy.

Step two was choosing a book cover, but my last book cover had a dead mouse on it and that level of sophistication is pretty hard to top. How do you get a book cover that captures the celebration of being broken in just the right way? My suggestion was to use a model who literally went from being road kill to being the star rodeo rider during my recurring bouts of insomnia.

Any you know what? I think we nailed it.

furiously happy

(That’s Rory, by the way. He’s in the book.)

I hope to God you love it.

Rory and I love you.

PS. Want details on when it comes out and where to order it right now? CLICK HERE.

PPS.Thank you. Again.   Seriously. You made this happen. (Which I guess sort of means it’s your fault if you hate it. Just saying.)

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Pizza Hut Menu Additions Failing To Generate Additional Sales

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One of the 21 Pizza Hut menu options we sampled back in late 2014.

One of the 21 Pizza Hut menu options we sampled back in late 2014.

A few months back, Pizza Hut announced a complete menu revamp, adding a bunch of new crusts, drizzles, toppings and whatnot to their regular slate of pizzas. We sampled 21 of these additions ahead of their release, though we weren’t exactly blown away, and it looks like we weren’t the only ones unmoved by the changes.

Earlier this week, the nation’s largest Pizza Hut franchisee, which operates 1,277 Pizza Hut along with more than one hundred Wendy’s, announced its quarterly earnings and said that the “new ‘Flavors of Now’ positioning did not deliver the sales momentum that we had anticipated.”

In fact, sales for the quarter were down 3.5%. That said, the franchisee’s CEO says the company still believes in the new flavors; it’s just a matter of getting the world to actually try them.

He contends that these “Flavor of Now” menu options offer a “diverse flavor platform that better connects with millennials and provides the brand a leveragable point of differentiation,” but admits “there is much work to be done to bring more awareness” of the revamp.

“In fact, consumers who have tried our new flavors have a higher propensity to return to Pizza Hut when compared to those who have not tried the new flavor options,” he explained, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. “However… it is clear we need to increase the awareness of the positioning and the related consumer benefits in the marketplace, especially with our core user, in order to achieve the desired result of increased market share and organic sales growth.”

The franchisee’s statements echo those made last month by curiously Australian Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed, who said that “the initial relaunch of the Pizza Hut brand in the U.S. did not deliver the sales lift we expected.”

Pizza Hut franchisee: ‘Flavors of Now’ relaunch yet to gain traction [NRN.com]

Pizza Hut’s Largest Franchisee Says Menu Revamp Hasn’t Helped Sales [Entrepreneur.com]

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17 hours ago
Problem with the new flavors: I order from Pizza Hut when I have a very specific craving. If I want fun new flavors, I'll go somewhere else. I'd order Pizza Hut more often if they weren't so expensive for mediocre pizza.
Overland Park, KS
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Every Day Carry

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Ads by Project Wonderful! Your ad could be here, right now.

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17 hours ago
just. in. case.
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
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