I Hate Zoe Barnes

How amazing in House of Cards on Netflix? It so good that it makes me forget that I know creepy things about Kevin Spacey—that’s how good it is! It’s near perfection. Robin Wright? Stop it. Just stop being so perfect! She’s brilliant in this! She looks amazing, she’s made Claire completely three-dimensional, I want to be Claire Underwood. Kevin Spacey, you cheeky bugger! Spacey has always been a brilliant actor and there’s no part he’s played that he hasn’t killed. This is just another example of his talent.
For those of you who haven’t watched it yet, go do it. It’s all on Netflix and you will not be sorry. It’s a political thriller that revolves around Claire and Frank Underwood. It’s political chess, it’s drama, it’s intense, and it’s gorgeous. I just love everything about it. Well, almost everything. I hate Zoe Barnes.
Zoe Barnes is a young up and coming writer trying to make a name for herself. She starts a working relationship with Congressman Frank Underwood. He’s her source, she’s his puppet. I loved that angle. Then of course, they start having an affair. Whatever, that’s fine, these shows always do something like that. But I hoped that when they moved in that direction that it wouldn’t be so high school. Truth be told I hoped it wouldn’t happen at all. Sex complicates things and I needed this relationship to be uncomplicated!
See, Zoe fancies herself and independent woman. She lives in a crap apartment because she refuses to ask her parents for money. She’s going to make it on her own! She even talks Frank into becoming her source. She’s a clever girl. Then she starts turning into a needy girl. Asking for Frank’s advice on everything from what meetings she should take to calling her Father on Father’s Day.
Claire, Frank’s wife, is aware of the affair and seemingly doesn’t care. This is just moving a pawn in their game. However, Zoe showing up to an event and shaking Claire’s hand—ugh you suck Zoe Barnes. She stands there in her too-tight-white dress and acts like she belongs there and isn’t there on the good graces of the Underwood’s. All I’m saying is a little self-awareness goes a long way.
I don’t want to ruin the series for anyone so I’ll cut it short here. Basically, I feel like if you’re going to write a character like Zoe Barnes you either have to make her likeable (like she started out) or completely detestable (like she’s becoming). I know some people would argue that’s the Walter White effect. But, the thing is Walter White is the guy you’re rooting for and he slowly turns into the bad guy. But he’s the lead guy—you always root for the lead guy. Zoe is a secondary character and the Underwood’s are the bad guys you root for.
In short, Zoe Barnes is the weak link in House of Cards mainly because she’s a cliché. This was the first season of the show and the first foray into scripted “television” for Netflix. Maybe next season they’ll get it right. There better be a next season. Man, how good is House of Cards?!?



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Gender Role Guess Who

photo of guess who gender inequality picutures
 

Dear Hasbro,

My name is R______. I am six years old. I think it’s not fair to only have 5 girls in Guess Who and 19 boys. It is not only boys who are important, girls are important too. If grown ups get into thinking that girls are not important they won’t give little girls much care.

Also if girls want to be a girl in Guess Who they’ll always lose against a boy, and it will be harder for them to win. I am cross about that and if you don’t fix it soon, my mum could throw Guess Who out.

My mum typed this message but I told her what to say. 

Dear R___,

Thank you for your email. Please find below an explanation which I hope your mummy will be able to explain to you.

 Guess Who? is a guessing game based on a numerical equation.  If you take a look at the characters in the game, you will notice that there are five of any given characteristics.  The idea of the game is, that by process of elimination, you narrow down who it isn’t, thus determining who it is.  The game is not weighted in favour of any particular character, male or female.  Another aspect of the game is to draw attention away from using gender or ethnicity as the focal point, and to concentrate on those things that we all have in common, rather than focus on our differences.

 We hope this information is of help to you.

 May we thank you for contacting Hasbro and if we can be of any further assistance, either now or in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

 Kind Regards,

 ASK HASBRO

Hasbro UK Ltd

00800 22427276

www.hasbro.co.uk

www.facebook.com/hasbrouk

http://twitter.com/hasbrouk

www.mymonopoly.com

These are two letters from an exchange between a six-year-old girl and a multi-million dollar corporation. The next set of letters consists of the six-year-old’s mother explaining to a corporation that this is not how you talk to a child. The corporation responds with a more suitable letter, but still doesn’t really answer the question at hand.

The question at hand is why, in the game of Guess Who, are there only five female characters and nineteen male characters? The mother, in her response to Hasbro, points out that being female is not a “characteristic” to be used as part of a “numerical equation”. Hasbro responded by simplifying their language and saying she could go online and print new characters to play with. If you can print more female characters … doesn’t that mean adding more female characters wouldn’t throw off the numeral equation?  Since you are condoning this behavior?

The bottom line is Guess Who is kind of sexist and a six-year-old pointed it out. Hasbro, a company that makes its living on educated and entertaining children, did a really terrible job explaining themselves to their target audience. I mean, “numerical equation”? I call bullshit. It’s a guessing game. There’s no numerical equation; it’s Guess Who! GUESS!

This has always been a problem and kids have always noticed it, and now, in the world of social media, it’s just heard more. Remember the little girl that freaked out in the toy aisle about all the blue toys vs. pink toys? Gender equality in kids’ toys has never existed and kids find ways around it. I played with G.I. Joes and my father’s collectible army models and an Elvis doll. My nephew? He likes to play with barbies.

The short answer to all of this is “You can’t put kid in a box or mold them to what you want them to be; they are smart and they will figure it out, and because they don’t have a filter they will call you on your shit.” Next time you play a game of Guess Who, stick it to the man and play around with gender roles. Take a shot choosing a male if you’re a girl and vice versa. Take that Hasbro! You can’t tell us who we can be!



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Female Action Heroes

photo of megan fox pictures photos pics
Lisbeth Salander, Columbiana, Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider, The Tourist, and Salt, and Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games … girls are kicking butt lately! Some say it’s the fourth wave of feminism coming; people are rushing to see girls kick butt and they’re becoming inspired by it, too.

Women are the new action heroes, assassins, spies, hired guns, and even defenders against the occult in today’s films. And unless you’ve been under a rock, this is a pretty big cultural shift in the way we view gender roles. Some may say is a marketing shift – “girls are hot when they’re tough” – but even so: that’s another point for feminism. The days of “speak when spoken to” and “your opinion doesn’t matter because you’re not as good as a man” are gone. These girls can take most men out with a single punch.

And there’s more to it than just being tough – these girls are also extremely smart. In most action movies, the guys fight their way out of a problem, or they call the smart guy sitting at a laptop to navigate them out. These girls don’t need the guy at the laptop: they’ll figure it out themselves and if it comes down to it they’re not afraid to get their hands dirty.

It’s a really awesome step forward for feminism and for Hollywood because let’s be honest, as bad as Jonah Hex was, it’s still better to see Megan Fox kicking butt than it was to see Josh Brolin.



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Madonna Reinvents Herself Yet Again

Photo of Madonna's "Hard Candy"

I truly think that Madonna is either a chameleon or a cat with nine lives. The woman is a master at reinventing herself, and doing so completely and without looking back. Oh yeah, and she always seems to succeed at what she does.

Her latest venture is a chain of fitness clubs, which will probably be as big as anything else she’s done in her remarkable career … because whether you love Madonna or hate her, you’ve got to give her credit for everything she’s been able to accomplish—channeling Marilyn Monroe in the early days of MTV, pop star, author, activist, and movie actress, to name a few.

It should come as no surprise that her latest act, similar to Susan Sarandon’s, is something that caters to the masses. Well, the rich masses.

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