Feminist Movie Captain Marvel Flawless Success Despite Sabotage Attempts, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Monica Lewinsky in The News

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Captain Marvel

The trolls came for Captain Marvel, but Disney was ready for them. Since Ghostbusters, Hollywood has gotten savvy to the chauvinist and anti-feminist strategic campaigns. This time, the anti-feminist trolls took issue with Brie Larson—the film’s star—for not smiling enough (no such criticism was made of The Hulk). As of writing this weekly update, Captain Marvel's box office was $760 million. The opening weekend alone brought in $455 million worldwide, which makes it a bona fide box office success, despite the efforts of the trolls. Out of the twenty one Marvel superhero films, Captain Marvel is the first one solely about a woman, and already the thirteenth most successful film in the franchise.

Movie review aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb were besieged by trolls trying to sabotage its success. The film actually spurred several review platforms to alter their rules. YouTube even changed its search algorithms. “Despite the trolls’ concerted efforts, ‘Captain Marvel’ slayed during its opening weekend, but not before Rotten Tomatoes, an influential site where a bad audience score can damage a film’s prospects, made major changes to its rules,” wrote Cara Buckley in the Times. “Most critically, it eliminated prerelease audience reviews. It also stopped displaying the percentage of moviegoers who say they ‘want to see’ a film in favor of using the raw number of people. And it removed the ‘not interested’ button.” If the trolls writing fake reviews had actually watched the movie, they might have even learned something.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Are women who enjoy elegant jewelry and fashion somehow antithetical to feminism? Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Nigerian author who came to global attention with the viral 2012 TEDx Talk “We Should All Be Feminists,” took on the subject in an interview with Vanity Fair. Adichie has found a way to combine her personal aesthetic—she inspired the ubiquitous “We Should All Be Feminist” Dior shirts—and her political values to create a Freedom of Expression medallion with the luxury jewelry brand Foundrae. Proceeds from the medallion will go to PEN America, the literary nonprofit that promotes human rights across the globe. “In some ways, I just feel that finally, I can exhale fully,” Adichie says of her discovery that elegant jewelry and high politics can find a meeting point. “And I think part of it is getting older. When I was 27, I was very much invested in performing and doing what the world wanted me to do. I’m 41. My bag of fucks to give is empty. I like fashion. I like history and politics and ideas. Those things are not mutually exclusive.”

If you have not yet watched the viral TEDx talk— over 2 million views – check it out here.

Monica Lewinsky

HBO’s John Oliver interviewed Monica Lewinsky on the subject of public shaming this week. The interview was unusual in that it took up a large portion of the script with a single host and 30-minute show. Lewinsky spoke out about her affair with Bill Clinton. "It was an avalanche of pain and humiliation," she told Oliver, and how hard it was to get work after the public shaming at the turn of the millennium. “When I couldn’t find a job, either someone offered me a job for the wrong reasons like, 'Oh, you'll be coming to our events. That's your job and there's media there.' Or it's people saying to me the opposite. 'Could you get a letter of indemnification from the Clintons,'" she said. "There was this wide range of not being able to support myself and also have a purpose, which is equally important." Finally, Lewinsky spoke about being the butt of the late night talk shows, from 1998 well into the millennium. "I think at 24 years old, it was really hard to hold onto a shred of dignity or self-esteem when you're just the butt of so many jokes."

Stacey Abrams

Former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams lost in her bid for Governor of Georgia by just 55,000 votes (the closest race for governor in Georgia since 1966). The governor’s race was marred by charges of voter suppression by her opponent, Republican Brian Kemp, who as Secretary of State managed the election in which he was a candidate!

That was then, this is now. Since then, Abrams has delivered a highly regarded response to the President’s State of the Union earlier this year, and has been whispered to be a possible candidate for everything from President to the US Senate in Georgia. Rebecca Traister, author of the acclaimed Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger, interviewed the former Speaker for New York magazine. Traister notes that Abrams is an uncompromising candidate—against LGBTQ discrimination, pro-ObamaCare plans covering abortions, pro-unions, against mandatory drug testing for food stamp recipients—but still, surprisingly, successful in a deep red state. “And some of Abrams’s traits — her occasional social stiltedness, her insistence on keeping her natural hair, her self-described ‘sturdy’ body type—make her simultaneously stand out and blend in, at least among those Americans who aren’t used to seeing anyone who looks and sounds like them up on the podium,” Traister observes. “’I’m not normative,’ Abrams likes to say about herself, citing her ‘race and gender and physical structure, the way I approach things.’” The full story is here.

Cover photo via Vox