Monday, February 29, 2016

Meg Socks It to 'Em

Thank you, Meg Whitman, for speaking truth on the brink of Super Tuesday:

“Chris Christie’s endorsement of Donald Trump is an astonishing display of political opportunism,” Ms. Whitman, who was a national finance co-chair of the Christie campaign, said in the statement.
“Donald Trump is unfit to be president,” Ms. Whitman said. “He is a dishonest demagogue who plays to our worst fears. Trump would take America on a dangerous journey. Christie knows all that and indicated as much many times publicly. The governor is mistaken if he believes he can now count on my support, and I call on Christie’s donors and supporters to reject the governor and Donald Trump outright. I believe they will. For some of us, principle and country still matter.”

Winners to Love

Besides the victory of sexual abuse survivors and investigative reporters with the Oscar for Best Picture going to Spotlight, the 2016 Academy awards gave hope to other survivors.

  • The award of Best Actress to Brie Larson for Room gave hope to those who have been kidnapped and held or who have missing relatives.  I knew she would win the minute I stumbled out of the theater; that film had my teeth chattering as she and her son tried to escape the clutches of her 7-year kidnapper.  
  • All the nominees for Best Documentary Short highlighted survivors, but the winner A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness gives hope to women who have been attacked with acid or other forms of so-called honor violence and killings.
  • Best documentary went to Amy, the story of non-survivor, Amy Winehouse, but this scrutiny of her battle with drugs may help others to win.
  • Best Foreign-Language Feature went to Son of Saul, the quintessential Holocaust story, another film about those who did not survive but struggled to preserve their own humanity in inhuman circumstances. The award is well-deserved though I also liked Mustang, about young girls in Turkey being sold into marriage--a fun film with a great plot, even 90% cheerful in spite of a situation of abuse.  
  • Best Animated Feature went to Inside Out, the story of an average girl's feelings of fear, anger, disgust, and joy in junior high and high school.  All of us who have survived those years have to applaud.
  • Even Stutterer, which won Best Live-Action Short, is a heart-warming survivor story.

Film critic Mary McNamara described last night as "the first Oscars in memory that, nakedly and unapologetically, attempted to do something other than hand out a bunch of gold statues.  Which is revolutionary in and of itself."

It included Vice President Joe Biden "calling on the audience to help end rape and sexual assault on campuses before introducing Lady Gaga and her nominated song 'Til It Happens to You.'"

McNamara ended with the overall goal of film, to be "a medium of truth-telling and a catalyst for change"--which these winners surely are.  

Our job now is to find these films online or in theaters and be changed by them.

High-Five for Survivors

When a film on investigative journalism wins the Oscars, you know truth and justice have prevailed for once.

Spotlight actually won Best Picture, instead of a film about a guy getting attacked by a bear or a funny retelling of the 2008 economic crash.

Having lived with an editor launching investigative and other stories for 43 years, I had to applaud this victory.  "I guess wrinkled khakis a size too big are in now," tweeted one of his friends.

I watched the LA Times dig up the dirt on then-Archbishop Roger Mahony for moving sexually abusive priests around like checkers.  Over 500 victims are on record.

I followed the Boston Globe's reports starting in 2001; the hero, Marty Baron, had been a friend of my husband at the LA Times before he moved to  the New York Times and then the Globe.  He currently edits the Washington Post.

As a feminist and friend of sexual abuse survivors, I care deeply about these issues.  My pro-choice book on abortion included stories of Christian women abused by men connected to Protestant churches.

See also Our Stories Untold, a website with stories of sexualized violence within spiritual communities.  My friend Barbra Graber is one of the three founders of this website.

Producer Michael Sugar's words while holding the gold statue were spot on:

 “This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican,” producer Michael Sugar said in his acceptance speech. “Pope Francis, it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith.”

Backstage he continued:

That’s what this is really about — for all of us is to talk about this film and what happened and because these things are still happening. The story of Spotlight has really just begun.”

We can each do our part to end sexual abuse of those in authority over others, especially those with religious authority.

We can tell our story.  We can investigate and print the story.  We can make a film about it.  We can support others--such as by making a donation to SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Another thing we can do is boycott the Roman Catholic church or any local church that condones a predator in its midst.  Don't go to a Catholic hospital, school, or college until abusers and their handlers are in jail.

I quit a tenured teaching position in a Catholic women's college over issues with the Catholic church, so go for it, my friends.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Obama Evades Scalia Funeral

When Jesus said to love your enemy, did that include a requirement to attend your enemy's funeral?

No--and thus President Obama did not attend the funeral of Antonin Scalia.

The President and Michelle Obama did pay their respects at the casket on display in the Supreme Court building, but they did not attend the funeral.

Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker's Talk of the Town outlines some wrong and backward-looking statements by Scalia:

  • Homosexual "life style" is "immoral and destructive."
  • Individuals have the right to own handguns... not just "well-regulated" state militias.
  • He helped gut the Voting Rights Act.
  • He helped to overturn McCain-Feingold and other campaign finance rules.
  • He helped to block climate-change regulations.
  • Not listed, but just one vote kept Al Gore from becoming president in the 2000 election year decided by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. Scalia was among those denying a recount.

Toobin writes:
"He and his allies succeeded in transforming American politics into a cash bazaar, with seats all but put up for bidding."

He concludes:
 "The public wants diversity, not intolerance; more marriages and fewer executions; less money in politics, not more. Justice Scalia's views... now seem like so many boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Would you want to sit through a service eulogizing a man who blocked justice in these ways?

Thank you, President Obama. for not attending.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Book Proposals 101

Betsy Amster & Leigh Ann Hirschman

"I'm your agent for today," said Betsy Amster.

"And Leigh Ann is your editor/coach for today."

Amazing, I have an agent--for today.  And a coach.

With this generous statement Betsy Amster and LeighAnn Hirschman began their workshop on How to Write and Sell a Nonfiction Book Proposal, offered through the Writers' Program of the UCLA Extension.  

Both have worked for major publishers in New York City, including Random House.  Betsy now lives in Oregon and Leigh Ann in Indiana.

They led twenty or so students of all ages through the nine components of a successful book proposal:
  • Concept--in one or two sentences
  • Overview--in about five pages
  • Format--number of chapters, length, any other design elements
  • Audience--to help the publisher visualize your reader
  • Marketing plan--2-5 pages showing how you will publicize your book.  Do you have a blog and a website or a following on Twitter or Facebook, YouTube, etc.?  Can you do workshops, lecture, get on tv or radio shows?  What networks or affinity groups are you part of?
  • Competition--list of books on your subject in the last five years and demonstration of how your book is different
  • Author description--showing why you are the best person to write this book
  • Table of contents--including your chapter titles
  • Chapter summaries--at least 1/2 page per chapter, showing how they fit together and make a narrative arc (in the case of memoir)
  • Your previous publications--links to newspaper or magazine clips, video clips, speaking schedule, blog or website address.
Sounds a bit daunting, no?  And they warned against writing up a book proposal in a week or two--it will take several months to design, write and rewrite a good book proposal, they said.

"A book proposal is a plot to seduce an editor or agent," Betsy said.  "When it works, it grabs a publisher.  Your goal is to create a Pavlovian response in an editor: 'I must have this.'"

Once you have this book proposal together, you find an agent.  That agent then whips your proposal into good enough shape to submit to publishers.  

Betsy's two suggestions for finding an agent:
1) Studying Publishers Marketplace online  (possibly joining it for $25/mo)

2) Getting a copy of Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents.

Betsy and Leigh Ann provided us with two sample successful book proposals, one for Tom Fields-Meyer's Following Ezra and one for The Spirit of Kaizen by Bob Maurer. Their presentation was sprinkled with examples and references to the hundred plus books for which Betsy has served as the agent. See her website:

Betsy Amster and Leigh Ann Hirschman at their workshop on nonfiction book proposals

Question & answer session at end of workshop
They outlined how long it usually takes to shepherd a completed manuscript to publication:
  • A year to write the proposal and send it out to agents
  • A year to work with an agent to get your book and your proposal into shape to send to a publisher (This is where Leigh Ann or another editor comes in--she helps you edit your book into publishable shape, if you have not already worked with an editor to do your book proposal.)
  • Six months or more to print and bind it once an editor takes your book
  • A year to promote the book
All of the above applies to getting your book published by a major publisher.  You could also consider trying for a small publisher.  They didn't discuss the writer's last resort, self-publishing.  

Among footnotes to their talk: Don't expect to make a living as an author--that's super difficult.

Important advice: Go to a bookstore, find the section where you'd like your book to be, and study all the books similar to yours on the shelves.  Study their front and back covers and chapter titles.  Look for features (descriptions of what the book is about) and benefits (how this book is going to change the reader's life).

"The Greedy Reader doesn't care about you," warned Betsy.  "They only care about what's in it for them."

In 2009 I went to a similar (but not half as good) workshop and took to heart the admonition to "build a platform."  

I asked a friend to make me a website, and I started on Facebook (much to my daughters' dismay and disdain: "I will not be your friend on FB"). 

I had already been blogging about Doing Dementia--accompanying my mother on her journey through Alzheimer's.  In 2008 I had started this blog Martha y Maria: Women's Lives, Women's Rights.

In addition to all this great information, Betsy and Leigh Ann offered kindness and humor.

Nevertheless, I found their dose of reality overwhelming.  As I got in my car to drive home, I had my own private to do list:
1) First I will cry.
2) Then go to the beach and jog.
3) Then roll out, sprinkle, and bake the cinnamon rolls I started this morning.

Friday, February 26, 2016

What's your BFF?

Which film will win Best Foreign Language Feature tomorrow?

I loved Mustang, about 5 sisters in Turkey suddenly imprisoned and sold off one by one to suitors.  It's colorful and heart-warming with a great plot.  

Just watching the long-legged, long-haired five teenage sisters was a lot of fun.

Son of Saul, on the other hand, was grey and dismal but very important to see, a tribute to those who did not survive the Holocaust.  

So many books and films are about Holocaust survivors, so few about those who died.   If you ever wondered about the mechanics of killing and disposing of 6 million people, this film shows how it was done.

Which film would you vote for?

If I were voting, it would be a hard decision.  I care about the rights of women being compromised by fundamentalist Muslims, but I applaud the effort to inform us all about the nasty details of the worst mass murders in world history. 

One problem with Son of Saul is that women appear on screen in only about 3 minutes out of 107 total.  Like the numbingly grey palette, this imbalance is done on purpose to reflect reality, but it doesn't make good watching for half of the viewers.

My decision: to vote for Son of Saul because of its great importance, both historically and currently in further documenting a reality that recedes from us and is denied by too many.

Mistreatment of women in some parts of the Muslim world is a problem growing in the 21st century, a problem of the present and future.  Let's wrap up the past and give the Oscar to Son of Saul, then turn to our present and future problems.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Son of Saul--

The few, the proud, the brave--yes, I am one of the few who have actually viewed Son of Saul, the film that will probably win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Feature.

This film has a thin plot stretched to cover endless footage of naked dead bodies and piles of cremated dust and bone.

In many scenes we see two people in conversation in the foreground, while the background shows "Stucken" ("pieces"--actually naked corpses) lying on the floor or being moved into the incinerator.

The characters are members of the Sonderkommando--Special Forces--of Jewish prisoners forced to handle the herding of newly arrived Jewish people into gas chambers, then to clean out the dead bodies, burn them, and transport the ashes as well as the clothing and suitcases left behind by those killed.

1) My first reaction to the film was revulsion and a question: why didn't these Sonderkommando just walk into the death chambers themselves rather than participate in the killing of fellow Jews?

I learned the answer: these men had hope that they might escape, that they might be part of an uprising to free all, that they might be able to document the killing with photos and smuggle them out to the wider world, that the Soviets might arrive in Poland in time to free them...  

Even in the most dire of circumstances, there is hope.

2) My second reaction was repugnance for the German language, one I learned in college and have loved for its beauty and for its history as the source of English.

After watching twenty minutes or more of this film, however, understanding everything said in German, I wished that I hadn't learned this language.  It was dirtied by use in these killing camps; I didn't think about that before. 

Words like "Javohl" ("Yes"--answered in roll call), "Meine Herren" ("Gentlemen"), "Herr Oberfuhrer" (Sir Over-Leader") just seemed permanently stained--not to mention "Die Heimat" ("the homeland"). 

Could we please stop talking about Homeland Security in the US?  This filthy term comes straight out of Nazi Germany and should not be used in the US, especially not as an excuse for discrimination against people whose nationality may make us think they are possible terrorists.  

3) When the color green first appeared in the film--while the characters are riding a truck to shovel ashes into a river--it had a deep effect on me.  The only colors so far had been grey, black, dark green, brown, etc.  Filmgoers are deprived of most of the color palette, as were the prisoners in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

4) I got through the film okay but later woke up at 3 am and couldn't go back to sleep for two hours.  Scenes and questions from the film filled my mind.  

5) My Hebrew teacher at the American Jewish University on Mulholland, whose parents are both survivors of concentration camps, had a much worse reaction to the film than I did.  For her the subject was very close to home.  

She said it was different from every other Holocaust film she had seen.  Now I know how it was different: it showed people being told to undress, hang up their clothes, and take a shower "before hot soup" or "hot tea"--the lies varied.  

Then the audience hears pounding on doors of the gas chambers as the victims of all ages realized they were being killed.  Then naked dead bodies are shown as the background in scene after scene.

The horror is inescapable.

6)  The plot is whether the central group (whom we have come to know) will escape before they are slaughtered; the Sonderkommando were killed and replaced every few months.  

7)  The other plot concerns whether the central character, Saul Auslander (Saul Foreigner or Saul Alien) will be able to provide decent last rites (the saying of the Kaddish) for one boy of maybe twelve years who was still alive and gasping for breath when removed from the gas chamber.

Saul spends most of the film searching for a rabbi who will do this.  Early on he speaks the first few words of the Kaddish to a rabbi while asking "Will you say the Kaddish?  The Baruch atah Adonai..." but the rabbi hushes him with a hand over his mouth before he can complete the word Adonai.  

The message: it is sacrilegious even to speak the name of the Blessed Creator in this setting.

Juxtaposition of the Kaddish prayer and the horror of the gas chambers is a powerful tool in the film.

Yes, Son of Saul deserves to win the Oscar.

Here's the most interesting quote in the film.  Someone criticizes Saul for endangering other lives in search of a rabbi to say the Kaddish over one dead boy: "You fail the living to serve the dead."

Burial rites are one of the earliest signs distinguishing the genus Homo from previous primates.  By insisting on a decent burial for at least one victim of the Nazi murders, Saul is demonstrating his own humanity and that of the boy and of all those forced into camps.

I liked Ixcanul Volcano (about a forced marriage in Guatemala), but it was not even nominated for best foreign film.  I liked Mustang, the Turkish film about five young women trapped as fundamentalism and an oppressive uncle takes over their home.

But I believe the Oscar should go to Son of Saul.

See this review in The Independent, a London-based newspaper:

On Ixcanul, see:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mustang--best foreign film?

This film is easy to love.  

Any film about five sisters, three or four sisters, is a winner with me.  These long-legged, long-haired girls are fun to watch.

As a former professor of women & religion, I like films about women's rights and abuses as they intersect with religion.

This film reflects Turkey's current dilemma as a modern, westernized nation under pressure from right-wing Islamists to curtail the rights of women.

The plot is excellent, the characters 100% believable.  

It was also fun to hear an entire film in Turkish, a language very different from others I've heard.  It's in the Ural-Altaic language family, as are Finnish and Hungarian.  These languages are not Indo-European.

I did notice a few cognates with Hebrew, such as "emet" to mean "right, correct, yes." My Hebrew teacher told me that Turkish has many borrowed words from Hebrew and other nearby languages.

One question: how did it get the name Mustang, which evokes wild horses in the southwest US?

I suppose the young girls are supposed to be wild and free, like the horses called mustangs, but this is a stretch of a name for this film.

See the review in Variety:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Long May She Live

Here's to longevity!

Ruth Bader Ginsburg at age 82 has now outlived Antonin Scalia, who died on Saturday at 79 years.


Now that we have women on the Supreme Court, each one may have a longer term than men on the court because of women's longer life expectancy.

Long prevented from having access to high places, such as the Supreme Court, women may outlast men once they get there.

Now that's justice!

Note: Justice Elena Kagel is 55, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor is 61.

Nobody's Baby

Nice write-up about Cassandra Violet in KCET's arts magazine. 
I watched her grow up with my daughter Ellen in classes, in the Brownie troop led by Alicia Corley, etc, 
Her songs are indeed empowering, such as "Lady": "You're nobody's baby, you are a lady."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Prayer for the Bereaved

O merciful Creator, you have taught us in your Word that it is not your will that a parent should lose a child.  
You sent us Jesus, who wept when Lazarus died, 
who brought the widow's son back to life, 
who said "Talitha, cum" to the daughter of Jairus.
Look with pity on the sorrows of your servants for whom this prayer is offered.
Remember them, O loving God, in mercy.
Nourish their souls with patience.  
Comfort them with a sense of your goodness.
Lift up your face toward them that they may feel your presence,
and give them peace, through Jesus of Nazareth, 
the one you sent and anointed to be our Saviour.

Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer using John 11:35, Luke 7:11-15, and  Mark 5:22-24, 35-43.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Young Percival and the Six Tests

The young man who would become a knight is usually sent off on a quest to prove his worthiness: kill a dragon, rescue a princess, or some such business.  

The person who would write a memoir also has to pass several tests: attend workshops or courses, pitch an agent, write a dazzling book proposal. 

I enrolled in a “memoir boot camp” as a step in my quest to become a published memoirist.

This boot camp presented six tests to the aspiring writer: 

  • Pay $410,
  • Park on a sketchy street in downtown LA, first emptying one’s car of all bags and supplies that might entice anyone to break in, and also obeying various no-parking signs,
  • Figure out the buzz-in intercom system and persist until someone answers,
  • Climb a three-story outdoor steel staircase with breezes wafting between each step and with all steps and landings made of an open lattice like a chain link fence,
  • Take your shoes off at the door, with folded chairs leaning against the wall as your only aid to balance; then walk across the wide hardwood floor (tricky for those who wear arch supports or slippery socks),
  • Agree to be one of the “guys” assembled.

I passed the first five tests but failed the last one.

Happy at having overcome so many challenges, I took my place in the circle of chairs, munching the snacks provided and thinking I had made it.

Then the teacher spoke to the seven women present.  “Welcome!  I want you guys to feel comfortable—”

I sat there feeling uncomfortable, considering whether to speak or to let it pass, once again.

 Unaware that this greeting was a test of worthiness, I decided to speak up.  “I’m not a guy,” I said firmly.

BZZZZT.  I could almost hear the wrong-answer buzzer zap my ears.  The instructor looked at me intently, said the you-guysing would continue, and warned  “We need to have an atmosphere of acceptance and trust in this class.”

“Well, I don’t feel comfortable being addressed that way,” I said. 

That answer earned me a quick dismissal from the group.  Back across the hardwood floor in my slippery nylons, back down the scary metal stairway, out the gate, and safely to my unticketed car. 

Consolation prize: my money was refunded.

Having been booted out of memoir boot camp, my quest to become a successful memoirist has taken a setback.

But I am undaunted.  Like Sir Percival, I will journey on through perils and darkening woods in hope of someday kneeling before a publishing king.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

Booted Out of Bootcamp

When they call this class "Memorable Memoir Bootcamp," they aren't kidding.

My experience last night was memorable.  I got booted out.

Things started nicely: 8-9 women sitting on sofas and chairs around Monica Holloway, whose memoir Driving with Dead People was critically acclaimed.  I was hoping to learn a lot from the five-week course and perhaps make friends with whom I could meet weekly or monthly as a writers' group.

During the friendly introduction, however, Monica said something about "you guys" should feel comfortable and enjoy the nice table of snacks near our circle of chairs.  

When I hear those words, I pause.  90% of the time I decide to let it pass--to sit in polite silence as I am pelted with this folksy, funsy phrase that decrees we are all alike, equals, and guys.

But occasionally I try to reason with friends or speakers or waitresses or hotel clerks.  

If I feel sorry for the person, I stay silent.  If I'm part of a large group--20-30--I don't speak out.

Last night I felt myself to be part of an intimate group where we were going to share our life stories.  I felt safe enough to voice what I was feeling.

"I am not a guy," I said firmly.

Monica was startled and explained that she likes a casual style and would not be modifying her form of address.

"Well, I don't feel comfortable being addressed as 'you guys,'" I admitted, figuring I'd just have to suck it up as usual.

I didn't smile or gush or say "I'm sorry, sweetheart, you go right ahead and call us anything you like.  I can take it.  I'm tough, and it won't be the first time."

Monica stood and left the room just as a male friend of hers walked in and joined the class.

Five minutes later, Monica returned and asked me to come outside and speak with her.

"Your money will be refunded" was all she said.

I gathered my bag and laptop and left, explaining to the class that I had been asked to leave.

As I left, my friend Kelly Giles arrived a few minutes late.  We've been in memoir classes together through the UCLA Extension, and he had told me about this memoir bootcamp four days earlier.

"You're leaving?" he asked.

"She asked me to leave," I explained, "when I told her I didn't like being called 'you guys.'"

So you guys, I'm just sayin', it was indeed a memorable memoir bootcamp.

Family of Feminists

Many of my friends are sane enough to resist the temptations of plastering their lives onto Facebook, but you do occasionally miss some gems.

Here's today's post from my daughter Marie--more of an essay than a status update:

Here's the latest feminist news article my dad emailed me that I was abbbbouuut to archive, but didn't. Because living up to my own expectations of what being a fierce young feminist looks like, means i just don't have time to read all these damn articles outing everyone and their mother for fulfilling their civic patriarchal duty. 
Luckily, I was able to go against my wiser intuition of going to bed–to be well rested for week two of my new badass, challenging, rewarding, tech job mitigating risk & fraud in the finance world–and started reading the article only to find that is was (as expected) super interesting, super relevant, thoughtful, well written, AND based on research from Pitzer linguist professor, Carmen Fought! Yay Pitzer College!

Thanks dad (John Arthur), for bringing this article to my attention.
I also want to give a shout out to my badass, feminist, hilarious, righteously-uncontrollable mother, Anne Eggebroten, for getting 'kicked out' of the first night of her writing class tonight, i.e. asked to leave by the "teacher" as they handed her her payment back, lolol. Apparently this 40-yr-old-ish female teacher addressed the mixed-gendered group of students (6 women, 2 men) as "you guys." (If you now my mom at all, you already know where this is going... lol...) 
To which my mother politely replied that she was not a guy and that it made her uncomfortable to be addressed that way (AKA story of fucking my life, or at least the first 18 yrs of my life, when I had to listen to her say this shit to everyone, everywhere😂😂😂
as i cowered in the closest corner I could find in Shakey's Pizza, or whatever public establishment we were attempting to patron, drenched in embarrassment, trying to pretend that I had absolutely no relation to "that crazy lady over there"). 
But of course, all laughs aside, I am OBVIOUSLY my mother's daughter as I WOULD NEVER address a mixed gendered, or heaven forbid, group of only women or girls, as "you guys." And if you know me well, you already knew that too.
Oh yeah, and here's the link to that article from pops,…/researchers-have-discove…/…

And if you got this far, it's worth the time. Enjoy y'all wink emoticon ‪#‎seewhatididthere‬‪#‎winkyemojifacetimesthree‬ ‪#‎nowseriouslythoigottagotobed‬

Speaking Out for Princesses

Disney princesses don't get to speak as much as male characters, even in animated films named for the female lead.

Thank you to Carmen Fought, linguist at Pitzer College, for analyzing speaking times of male/female characters in Disney princess films.  Thanks also to John Arthur for sending this link and to Jeff Guo for this report in the Washington Post.  

Fought and Karen Eisenhauer make the following observations:

1) "In the classic three Disney princess films, women speak as much as, or more than the men. “Snow White” is about 50-50. “Cinderella” is 60-40. And in “Sleeping Beauty,” women deliver a whopping 71 percent of the dialogue. Though these were films created over 50 years ago, they give ample opportunity for women to have their voices heard."
"By contrast, all of the princess movies from 1989-1999 — Disney’s “Renaissance” era — are startlingly male-dominated. Men speak 68 percent of the time in “The Little Mermaid”; 71 percent of the time in “Beauty and the Beast”; 90 percent of the time in “Aladdin”; 76 percent of the time in “Pocahontas”; and 77 percent of the time in “Mulan” (Mulan herself was counted as a woman, even when she was impersonating a man)."

2)  Little girls are "not born liking a pink dress. At some point we teach them. So a big question is where girls get their ideas about being girls.”

3) In terms of plots: “There's one isolated princess trying to get someone to marry her, but there are no women doing any other things,” Fought says. “There are no women leading the townspeople to go against the Beast, no women bonding in the tavern together singing drinking songs, women giving each other directions, or women inventing things. Everybody who’s doing anything else, other than finding a husband in the movie, pretty much, is a male.”