Latest Articles

Senex and Sensibility: Boys to men in Wes Anderson's film oeuvre

From the machismo of Arnold Schwarz­enegger and Sylvester Stal­lone to Woody Allen’s nebbishes and the teenage fantasies of the Porky’s and American Pie franchises, manhood in all its flavors is a staple of the silver screen. Writer-director Wes Anderson is clearly fascinated by the subject too, yet over the course of his four films he has turned his lens on one specific aspect of...

Love Guns, Tight Pants, and Big Sticks: Who Put the Cock in Rock?

cock rock: To some, the term conjures up images of rock gods in white jumpsuits, long hair haloed by a rainbow of lights, fans waving their Bics in unison as an immaculate guitar solo screams out from a tower of amps. To others, it evokes backstage legends of drugs and debauchery, the triumph of malecentric hedonism over social conscience, the unapologetic celebration of sleaze. To still...

Five Conversations About One Thing - Jim McKay

Amy Richards met Jim McKay as he was getting ready to release his first film, Girls Town, in 1995. McKay was kind (and political) enough to offer his film to the Third Wave Foundation, which Richards cofounded, for a benefit screening. Though Third Wave has had dozens of events since then, none has come close to matching its success, in terms of sheer dollars raised in one sitting (over $20,...

Five Conversations About One Thing - Joe Kelly

Years ago, Joe Kelly noticed a Maidenform ad reading “Inner beauty only goes so far” on the side of a city bus, and was hor­­ri­fied to imagine one of his young daughters as the subject of it. As one of the founders, with wife Nancy Gruver, of New Moon: The Maga­zine for Girls and Their Dreams, an award-winning, youth-edited publication, Kelly was well aware that the relationships between...

Dumb & Getting Dumber: Sideways, Spongebob, and the New Masculinity

In 2004, every corner of popular culture was populated by men in crisis, and I don't just mean George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney. We had men in trouble, men in triumph, men in uniform, men on the cross, men in square­pants; men being men with other men, talking about masculinity—what it is, how to have it, keep it, get it, make it last. We might even call it the Year of the Man,...

Period Pieces: The Last Taboo of Reality TV

Detailed discussions of diarrhea (Survivor). On-camera vomiting (The Bachelor, The Biggest Loser). Extensive cosmetic surgery (The Swan). Endless hot-tub makeout sessions (take your pick). On reality tv, no subject is too personal to reveal, no biological function too intimate to discuss—except for one final taboo too terrible to mention: menstruation.

Haven't you wondered...

Jail Bait: Rethinking Images of Incarcerated Women

It is not my pleasure to remind anyone of the 2001 teen flick Sugar & Spice. Teetering between the black humor of Heathers and the girly glitz of Clueless, it achieves the success of neither, and I bring it up now only because of a single scene.

The movie follows a group of cheerleaders who decide to rob a bank in order to finance their ­captain's unexpected pregnancy. But...

Full Frontal Offense: Taking Abortion Rights to the Tees

There's a new front in the battle for abortion rights—the literal front, that is, of a t-shirt designed by writer and feminist activist Jennifer Baumgardner that proclaims "I had an abortion." The shirt, initially for sale on Planned Parenthood's national website and now available on Clamor magazine's website, has generated controversy among not only the antiabortion community but also pro-...

Suburban Blight: The Battle of <em>The Stepford Wives</em>

A film studies professor once told me that everything you need to know about a movie is revealed in the first five minutes. This is particularly true of The Stepford Wives. 


In the opening scene of Bryan Forbes's 1975 original, Joanna Eber­hart (Katharine Ross) takes a long, scrutinizing look at herself in the bathroom mirror. Her reaction is one of mild surprise, then...

Kiss Me, I'm a Fashionable Bigot: Cashing In on Misguided Irony

Two years ago, the preppy mall staple Abercrombie & Fitch released a line of t-shirts that paired early 1900s–style caricatures of Chinese men (complete with coolie hats, big grins, and slanted eyes) with slogans like “Wong Brothers Laundry Service—Two Wongs Can Make It White” and “Wok-N-Bowl—Let the Good Times Roll—Chinese Food & Bowling.” The clothing chain...

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