Melissa McCarthy's new screwball action comedy "Spy" is successful for a reason: it's well-made and brilliantly acted. It even feels vaguely empowering, given that female leads (who don't look like Angelina Jolie) are near-absent from the action film landscape. However, underneath progressive trappings lurk various forms of sexism that should temper our applause.
Everywhere you turn, someone is worrying about or debating the perceived epidemic levels of vanity and narcissism thought to motivate selfies and other forms of self-oriented social media behavior. However, framing the issue as one of superficial self-aggrandizement may be neither accurate nor useful. Here are at least three reasons why...
Just when it seems that everything interesting and relevant about Disney's Frozen has been said, there is a bit more to say about Elsa's record-breaking, break-out song. Although we would hope young children could embrace the spirit of autonomy and leave the Barbie/Bratz imagery behind, research suggests beauty norms may be hard to disentangle from other inspiring ideals.
Last year about 40 million people tuned in to watch the Academy Awards. Why do we care? What is it about celebrities and their performances that are so darn riveting? Research at the intersection of psychology and communication offers an answer: parasocial interaction, a seeming, powerful intimacy that develops between media figures and audiences.
In the latest episode of Scandal, Lisa Kudrow's defiant speech as Congresswoman and presidential hopeful, Josie Marcus, exposes a subtle form of "benevolent sexism," and shows that it is okay, and actually important, to be furious about it. She is taken seriously as a political contender after she passionately accuses the press of undermining women's political ambitions.
Miley Cyrus continues to be a pop cultural lightning rod, eliciting heated criticism, admiration, and parody. I offer some thoughts on Sinead O'Connor's (first) open letter to Miley, why Miley continues to matter, and how we can keep her role, and our own, in perspective.