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Now in our eighth calendar year!
PCR #405 (Vol. 8, No. 52) This edition is for the week of December 24--31, 2007.

The Keys To A Great Vacation, Part One  by Will Moriaty
"Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story"  by Mike Smith
Soggy Noodle Awards - First Annual  by Andy Lalino
We've Come A Long Way, Baby -- Or Have We? From 1972 To 2007  by Lisa Ciurro
Time Warp Toy Box: Week 4  by ED Tucker
Hitler Is Good?... NFL Gets It Right .... Story Of The Year  by Matt Drinnenberg
The Year That Was .... Thanks For Everything .... Finally! .... Fanboy Calendar .... They Said It .... Passing On .... Sorry I Missed You, Part 2 .... h  by Mike Smith
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FANGRRL by Lisa Ciurro

We've Come A Long Way, Baby -- Or Have We? From 1972 To 2007

I picked up the latest issue of Ms. magazine a few days ago.

(Yep, that’s what I said. Yep, the Gloria Steinem, feminist, “women’s lib stuff” Ms. magazine. Just take a deep breath and keep reading. It will be ok, I promise. If it makes you feel any better – the three of you still reading this – I bought the latest issue of Rue Morgue at the same time.)

In celebration of the magazine’s 35th anniversary, this issue had several “then and now” comparisons to show how certain things have changed (and how other things have not) since 1972. Of course, I started thinking about books, TV and movies created by and centered upon women. What’s changed during the last 35 years?

Quite a lot, actually. Not enough, of course, but a lot. Take a look:

1972: The first U.S. feminist film festival was held (the U.K. had one too).
2007: There are 38 film festivals around the world dedicated to showing films directed by women. There are scores of websites and organizations for female filmmakers that provide information, support and networking opportunities. Of course, the mere existence of all of this sucks, because it means that women aren’t fully represented and/or included in the “mainstream” sites and festivals.

1972: The lead character on the TV sitcom Maude (played by Bea Arthur) decided to get an abortion, a controversial decision that was dissected by the media.
2007: The lead characters of the films Juno (played by Ellen Page) and Knocked Up (Katherine Heigl) decided NOT to get abortions, which were controversial decisions dissected by the media and the blogosphere.

1972: In New York City, there was only one female president of a large publishing firm. In the U.S., women made up 35% of newspaper editorial personnel and 45% of magazine “professional employees,” but within both groups they were largely confined to food, fashion and lighter feature sections. The Pulitzer Prize journalism jurors included women for the first time. The Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press was formed.
2007: Cathleen Black, president of Hearst Magazines and a constant presence on the annual Forbes list of most powerful people, received the 2007 Prism Award from NYU. Former congresswoman Pat Schroeder is CEO of the Association of American Publishers. The current president of the Horror Writers Association is a woman – the author Deborah LeBlanc. Ann VanderMeer is the new fiction editor of the revamped Weird Tales magazine and Jovanka Vuckovic is the Editor-in-Chief of the horror magazine Rue Morgue. On the other hand, popular bloggers Kim “BB” and Kathy Sierra took down their sites after receiving threatening emails and blog comments.

1972: TIME devoted an entire issue to “The New Woman” and asked whether women can move beyond the either/or stereotypes of dutiful housewife/single career woman.
2007: There are some “new women” out there, refusing to fit neatly into a pre-assigned category. Freethinking, film-loving women, feminist comic book artists and others proudly refer to themselves as chicks, grrrls or fangirls. The website Pretty-Scary.net is a site “for women in horror by women in horror” where fangirls (and fanboys) can enjoy gory, scary films AND discuss the films’ sexist stereotypes.

1972: Revenge film The Last House on the Left became a cult classic.
2007: Revenge films are still in: The Brave One.

1972: The inaugural issue of Ms. magazine featured Wonder Woman on the cover. Gloria Steinem published a book about Wonder Woman. The feminist comic-book series Wimmen’s Comix was launched.
2007: Wonder Woman makes the cover of the 35th anniversary issue of Ms. magazine. There are dozens of websites, blogs and zines about comics written by or for women, but the majority of women haven’t read a comic book since the great Betty versus Veronica debate of 6th grade.

1972: Women Make Movies – the national non-profit media arts organization dedicated to the promotion of film and video by and about women – was formed. Screenwriter/director Carol Eastman told TIME that she was annoyed about being asked what she was going to wear. Female film critics were few and far between.
2007: There are more female film critics (I came up with four and found several more easily enough), but they are still in the minority. Scores of websites, festivals, grants, programs and organizations support female filmmakers, which is both wonderful and disappointing. (I’m looking forward to there no longer being a need for them.) Less than 20% of directors are women. And of course we all know that “Who are you wearing?” is still a popular question.

1972: Diane Keaton was beginning her career with movies like The Godfather.
2007: Diane Keaton is embarrassing us all by starring in stupid, chick flick-lite movies like Because I Said So (which was written by two women, I’m sad to say).

1972: I was two years old, cute and adorable, and blissfully unaware of how obsessed I’d be with movies and books 35 years later.
2007: I managed to crank out enough PCR columns to avoid the dreaded tombstone. (Whew!)

There are many things not included here, I know, but all this research is really cutting into my couch-potato TV time. This wraps up 2007 for me. Happy New Year!

Coming next week: My 2008 preview.

Coming in 2042: Another 35-year status report. Hopefully a woman will win a Best Director Academy Award by then. (Or maybe I’ll be the Editor-in-Chief at Rue Morgue, in which case I'll have one of the writers do this article for me, so it will be much more interesting than my usual stuff.)

"FANGRRL" is ©2007 by Lisa Ciurro.   All graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.