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Hillary, Trump, & the Politics of Frank Capra

As election season crescendos to its appointed climax, many Americans are anxiously preparing for apocalypse. With passports in hand and “Oh Canada!” on their lips, both liberals and conservatives have suggested that a mass exodus is imminent. Idol threats, perhaps. But the underlying sentiment is very real: we’re disillusioned, disgusted, and hopelessly divided.

We have imbued our elected officials with so much power that I believe that many of us (including myself) have forgotten our own agency. We have forgotten, for instance, that the impetus for hope and change does not lie exclusively with our president. We have forgotten that making America great is not contingent upon the primacy of a particular political party. We have forgotten, in effect, the politics of Frank Capra.

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Cowboys Don’t Cry: Westerns & the Ideal Man

“He ain’t much of a man, is he?”

I remember well the words of Buck Hannassey in Big County. His guttural insults were just one among many to blare through my grandparent’s walnut encased TV. Sitting there, on that avocado armchair, I first learned to distinguish between “real” men and their inferiors–those city slickers who couldn’t handle a gun or their liquor.

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Top 10 Feminist Films of the Midcentury

Classic Hollywood cinema is rarely cited for its equitable portrayal of women; nevertheless, a smattering of films from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s contain feminist themes and feature strong female leads. Actresses like Katherine Hepburn and Joan Crawford, celebrated for their wit, professional ambition, and intrepid sexuality, challenged many of the sexist expectations of their time. Thus, while gendered roles may have afflicted much of midcentury America, hints of feminism’s second wave managed to seep into its films–an advisory for the political storm to come.¬†It would not be the first time, however, that feminist themes made a splash on the big screen.

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On June Cleaver & Surviving Domestic Depression

I’m no marriage expert, but I can offer this one observation: if your spouse instructs you to “act more like June Cleaver,” your relationship is probably doomed.

At least, that was my experience.

Eight years ago, and looking more like a frightened schoolgirl than a midcentury housewife, I watched as my husband slipped through a pair of sliding glass doors and into a poorly lit parking lot.

I never saw him again.

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Wearing Cultures: A Four Step Guide to Avoiding (In)appropriation

You shouldn’t wear that.

Whether it’s a magazine article admonishing women over thirty to remove crop tops from their closet, or a school dress code demanding that girls keep their kneecaps under wraps; we women are often confronted with arbitrary rules on what not to wear. And for the most part, they’re¬†bullshit.

I am generally of the opinion that women should dress however they want, except when it involves the inappropriate “borrowing” from marginalized cultures. It is perhaps the only time when I think it may be necessary for women, in the spirit of respect and camaraderie, to follow a set of clothing guidelines. It may also be the only time when the words of the Apostle Paul can be successfully used as a feminist slogan: “I have the freedom to do anything, but not everything is helpful.” (CEB)