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13 April 2014

How Katharine Hepburn Defied Sexist Ageism in Hollywood

Harrison Ford
It is a widely acknowledged fact in Hollywood today that leading men are permitted to age on screen while their female colleagues are required to keep at least one toe dipped in the fountain of youth. The charts in this Vulture article compare the ages of leading men and their love interests film by film. Though actors like Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, George Clooney, and Richard Gere age into their 50s and 60s, only seldom are their leading ladies as old as 40.

This problem isn't unique to the film world. A recent British study shows that older female television presenters are pushed off screen.
"...out of 481 presenters at all the networks only 26 women over 50 are regularly on screen. Of presenters over 50, just 18% are women. This group makes up just 5% of presenters of all ages and sexes and 7% of the total workforce both on and off screen. While there are regularly 188 women on screen, making up 39% of that workforce, the majority of them are under 50." (Women and Hollywood)

10 April 2014

Why Girls Today Need A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992)

no crying in baseballI am going to give you all, beloved readers, a slice of the life of a starving writer. I was lying in bed last night thinking of all the ways I had failed in life - failed at relationships, jobs, writing, you name it. I was racking my brain for a single thing in my life I had ever done well. Do you know what came to mind? A catch. A really sweet catch.

In the words of Sophia Petrillo, "Picture it. Northern Virginia, mid-1990s." An eight-year-old Margaret Perry was playing first base in a Chantilly Youth Association softball game. I couldn't tell you the score if I wanted to, but at some point the batter hit a solid line drive my way. Without batting an eye I reached across and caught the ball with a backhand. Out! It was an awesome catch and everybody on that field knew it.

So, here I am - a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in a world that does not celebrate history/English lit. liberal arts graduates. And the one moment of personal glory I can claim without hesitation is an epic catch I made on the softball field over a decade ago. As I write this, I am remembering a dozen or so other examples of great plays I made on that field. Like that sweet grounder I hit into left field, right past the short stop. Or that time I got a huge strawberry sliding into third. Or the time I lobbed it from third to first, making an amazing double play.

12 March 2014

Announcing The Great Katharine Hepburn Blogathon!

KH banner vi

The time has come! After three years participating in the classic film blogging community with, Margaret Perry is finally ready to host her very own blogathon. What will the topic of this blogathon be, you ask? Who else but my most favorite classic movie star ever, the great Katharine Hepburn herself!

The Great Katharine Hepburn Blogathon will take place over Miss Hepburn's birthday weekend, May 10-12. Hepburn would have been 107 years old May 12, 2014, which sounds pretty old, but she was all of 96 when she passed away in 2003. Quite a dame.

Find out about rules, prizes, and participants at!

08 March 2014

Here's to International Women's Day and to the Biopics that Never Were

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights" (Gloria Steinem)
International Women's Day has been observed since the turn of the 20th century, back when the early feminist movement was working tirelessly for women's suffrage. Now, 100-and-something years later, women are still fighting to be recognized on equal grounds as men in all fields of endeavor. The film industry has some of the worst statistics concerning gender inequality. Not only are films not being made by women, but comparatively few movies tell women's stories.
women in film
When considering film roles Katharine Hepburn never played for the Imaginary Film Blogathon, I got to thinking about how few biopics there are about female historic figures. Not only do movies about the lives of our significant citizens teach us about the great men of history, they also give us role models and teach us how much a human being can do with a single lifetime. We've seen dozens of pictures about the world's famous statesmen, sportsmen, and military men, but as Abigail Adams once entreated to her husband:
"remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to then than your ancestors... If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice or Representation."
I have put together a list of notable women whose stories should be told on film. Some of these women do make cursory appearances in our history textbooks, but it is very difficult to grasp the enormity and significance of their contributions without the full narrative arch of their stories. A lot of these women can be found in the National Women's Hall of Fame. If you would like to submit names to this list, let me know in the comments section below and I will add your contributions as they come in. READ MORE

02 March 2014

Why LITTLE WOMEN (1933) is a very big deal

“There’s one thing George and I agree on. Actually, we agree on almost everything. I don’t know anything we don’t agree on. One thing we really agree on is, we love LITTLE WOMEN. We loved doing it. And we love the film we made.” (Katharine Hepburn in Chandler, 83)
LITTLE WOMEN (1933) was nominated for three categories in the 6th annual Academy Awards (1932/33): George Cukor for directing, RKO studios for best production, and Sarah Y. Mason and Victor Heerman for writing (adaptation). Though the film came in third for direction and best production, husband and wife writing team Mason and Heerman walked away with the Oscar. Funnily enough, Katharine Hepburn was nominated, not for her performance as Jo, but for her role as Eva Lovelace in MORNING GLORY (1933), her first of four Oscar wins. Hepburn always insisted she was nominated for the wrong film.