So what to make of this gradual vanishing act? Is Johansson simply challenging herself with roles that compartmentalize her talents? Possibly. But there is also a strongly feminist streak running through each of these films. Considering her on-the-record statements about Hollywood’s objectification of women, we might be meant to read her recent work as a unique and powerful statement about an industry and society that make its women disappear.

This is exactly what happens to most of Johansson’s recent characters: they get compartmentalized. In each of the films listed above, she plays a woman who society has assigned a singular goal of serving men. Their journey is to transcend that purpose, and the process is often painful.

By discarding her physical form in Her and her magnetic charisma in Under the Skin and Lucy, Johansson is confronting audiences with the ways that our society refuses to embrace women in their entireties.

If you have been noticing a vaguely feminist undertone to Scarlett Johansson’s recent films, you’re not alone - I have too, and so has Noah Gittell at the Atlantic

Here’s an article about it that discusses their interesting link: in them, some aspect of her person is erased, negated or disregarded before she eventually morphs beyond it to surpass the men who would limit her. Cooooooool.

Because who could blame you if you were? It’s got to be frustrating for you that one of the hottest, most influential rappers in the game right now is a woman. Nicki Minaj is talented, focused, and has turned herself into a global brand since you were nice enough to let her into a party about a decade ago. She’s not just an artist anymore, she’s a fragrance, she’s a lipstick, she’s a nail polish, she’s a daytime talk show meme—she’s built herself an empire of glamor and female empowerment. And in doing so, she’s in full control of her image and public perception. Truth be told, she doesn’t really need you or AllHipHop anymore, not when she’s got Instagram. That’s got to sting.


Here’s the thing, though. When my imaginary daughter became a teenager, I’d stick her in a room and let her listen to nothing BUT Nicki Minaj. I would make her listen to Nicki Minaj growling, over and over, “I’m a motherfucking monster,” until she gets that it is perfectly okay, and in fact celebrated, to grow up as a woman who understands she owes nothing to any man. 

You don’t want your daughter to see that album art? Man, I don’t want my daughter to grow up in a world with dudes who aren’t comfortable looking at a woman’s ass in public and understanding that it might not be there for them.

People often lament, and Chuck what’s-his-name is no exception, that Nicki Minaj has not been the second coming of Lauryn Hill. Because like, a woman can only have a brain in one way. Nicki Minaj has never been aiming at any kind of Lauryn Hill throne. She can cover herself head-to-toe in exclusively Nicki Minaj-branded items before she leaves the house to go throw down a show-stopping verse. I’m not pitting her against Lauryn Hill in any way, because it’s not a competition to see which kind of women have the right to succeed. I’m saying that from the beginning, Nicki Minaj was trying to be a whole different thing. She has built an empire specifically so that she can be completely in control of her own image, in charge of her own brand. Because as a woman in the entertainment industry, that is more than self-preservation. That is a requirement. What could possibly be worse than letting my daughter look up to a young woman, sitting at the top of a billion dollar empire, completely in control of her own image and her expressions of her sexuality? Letting her listen to her daddy tell her that she might not become the kind of woman he wants her to be if she looks up to a woman like that - a self-possessed, smart business women like Nick Minaj.

The great part about this response is that it responds to the best part of that letter. There’s something hilarious about the way that letter starts out. "I’m Chuck. I’m the owner of" Like, fool, you’re already admitting that Nicki Minaj gives no shits about you. Nicki Minaj gives no shits if you’re the owner of She no longer needs She no longer needs them for publicity and she no longer has to listen to them tell her how or how not to be a rapper. 

When he’s asking her to somehow transcend what people expect of her, this hits back to what society, and those writing the checks (“I own”), have been always been asking women to do - what they want them to do. Strong displays of female sexuality are only okay when they are under the control of the man getting the cut. Sell yourself as a sex object, but only the way we tell you to. Be smart, but not smarter than we are. Be pretty, but don’t threaten us.

Man, we all need Nicki Minaj because Nicki Minaj laughs in their faces and says FUCK NO. I’m a motherfucking monster.

Andi can be considered the first female Bachelor of The Bachelorette. It’s an argument worth considering. She didn’t really have to worry about being proposed to, the way the promos tried to pretend she did. She got told “I love you” by (as Harrison noted last week) more guys than anyone else in the show’s history. She shut people down. She cried and got overwhelmed, but not too much. She ended up with Josh, a guy who came on television and endlessly kissed her after she had just been made to look (for a moment) like she was the love-him-and-leave-him type. Then, they sealed it with a joke about how Andi’s face looks like Grumpy Cat’s when she’s “serious,” complete with a live appearance by Grumpy Cat.

In the meantime, Nick is tweeting out his congratulations to the happy couple and other sad sack things about the meaning of love etc etc.

Cry all you want Nick. Andi won this round. While it might be going too far to say she’s paved the road to a new future for Bachelorettes to come, she might have won the whole show, every single season of it, even as the façade of what you are and are not supposed to say on The Bachelor crumbled around her. Y’all are just pawns in her game.

Katie Dries on the Bachelorette

I have a lot of feelings about how Andi broke down the Bachelorette format, starting with calling out Juan Pablo and ending with her refusal to tolerate Nick’s overzealous attempts to force love on a reality television show, but I don’t have time to write about them, so here is this quote, which is great.

There’s a refreshing pop-culture counterpoint, though. If anyone is willing to admit she definitely did not wake up like this, it’s Kim Kardashian. She’s so unashamed, in fact, that she’s created an entire iPad game based on her efforts. Kardashian is not just here to “inspire.” The goal of the game is to learn how to make it to the A-list by getting the superficial stuff right — wearing the right dress and making the right small talk. “Kim K skills,” as Kanye calls them, are all about being ruthlessly strategic and working hard to achieve the life you want. And not being afraid to admit that’s what you’re doing.

Kardashian is peddling a path to happiness and success that is no less materialistic than the one promoted by Paltrow or Lively; she’s just up-front about it.

Why Not Admit We Didn’t Wake Up Like This? - Ann Friedman

I worship at the church of Beyonce but I fucking love Kimmy K and I’ll never stop because I like when I can see you work it. Beyonce is the American Dream; the Kardashians are the dismantling of it. And she can move more money through an iPad avatar than Blake Lively will on her carefully curated lifestyle site.

Here’s a truth about myself I’m embarrassed to admit: When working late (as a result of a bad meeting) means surprise free beer, I will magically start feeling less bad about myself.
Bonus secret confession time: I’m really feeling these ladies. I’m here for a simplistically palatable feminist message in my pop music, no matter what genre it’s hiding in. 
So if you’re still stuck in your office, too, here’s to you.

Here’s a truth about myself I’m embarrassed to admit: When working late (as a result of a bad meeting) means surprise free beer, I will magically start feeling less bad about myself.

Bonus secret confession time: I’m really feeling these ladies. I’m here for a simplistically palatable feminist message in my pop music, no matter what genre it’s hiding in. 

So if you’re still stuck in your office, too, here’s to you.

Of course I prefer this list to this one, although I can recommend How To Be Good,” A Loaded Gun,” Iphegenia in Forest Hills,” and Trial By Fire,” which is one of my favorite New Yorker true crime pieces, ever. If you aren’t in love with the crime reporting in the New Yorker I can’t imagine what else we’d have in common.

Also great:

"Take it or Leave it" - Zadie Smith on Britain’s service culture

For many of these women, the reading experience begins from a place of seething rage. Take Sara Marcus’ initial impression of Jack Kerouac: “I remember putting On the Road down the first time a woman was mentioned. I was just like: ‘Fuck. You.’ I was probably 15 or 16. And over the coming years I realized that it was this canonical work, so I tried to return to it, but every time I was just like, ‘Fuck you.’” Tortorici had a similarly visceral reaction to Charles Bukowski: “I will never forget reading Bukowski’s Post Office and feeling so horrible, the way that the narrator describes the thickness of ugly women’s legs. I think it was the first time I felt like a book that I was trying to identify with rejected me. Though I did absorb it, and of course it made me hate my body or whatever.” Emily Witt turned to masculine texts to access a sexual language that was absent from books about women, but found herself turned off by their take: “many of the great classic coming-of-age novels about the female experience don’t openly discuss sex,” she says in No Regrets. “I read the ones by men instead, until I was like, ‘I cannot read another passage about masturbation. I can’t. It was like a pile of Kleenex.”

This isn’t just about the books. When young women read the hyper-masculine literary canon—what Emily Gould calls the “midcentury misogynists,” staffed with the likes of Roth, Mailer, and Miller—their discomfort is punctuated by the knowledge that their male peers are reading these books, identifying with them, and acting out their perspectives and narratives. These writers are celebrated by the society that we live in, even the one who stabbed his wife. In No Regrets, Elif Bautman talks about reading Henry Miller for the first time because she had a “serious crush” on a guy who said his were “the best books ever,” and that guy’s real-life recommendation exacerbated her distaste for the fictional. When she read Miller, “I felt so alienated by the books, and then thinking about this guy, and it was so hot and summertime … I just wanted to kill myself. … He compared women to soup.”

In No Regrets, women writers talk about what it was like to read literature’s “midcentury misogynists.” (via becauseiamawoman)

Here’s a fun thing you learn when you study literature: the western canon is not universally beloved. Those books are not the Truth any more than the New York Post is skilled journalism. The main reason they’re held in such high esteem is because they were written by boring white dudes with rage fantasies and boring white dudes with rage fantasies also happen to be largely in charge of deciding which books are deemed classics and taught forever in the American school system.
So if your boyfriend tells you he loves Kerouac then you tell your boyfriend Kerouac was a fucking second rate hack who wrote Beat style because he didn’t have the skill or talent to write any other way, which is probably also why he just copied every adolescent male wanderlust story since the beginning of time. That shit’s derivative and boring.

(via saintthecla)

Everyone go read this immediately. As I decided last week, my life motto has been expanded from “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it” to include “If all your favorite books are by white men, I probably don’t think you’re a very interesting person.”

(via velocipedestrienne)