Entertainment Weekly Remains ‘Woke’ on Feminism During Sleepy Summer

July 15th, 2017 2:13 PM

Entertainment Weekly magazine, once known for its pop culture reviews, but now more for its feminist grandstanding, stuffed its summer double issue of July 21/28 with bits and bobs of chic liberal activism, particularly of the feminist variety.

The News & Notes section was particularly political: “Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is the hero we deserve and the hero we need -- a fearless female walking tall through a literal No Man’s Land, a symbol of resilience in an era of so many sexist talking heads and internet trolls.”

Another brief on Quavo the rapper took pains to mention that he had “faced a backlash for insensitive comments about the LGBTQ community and later apologized.” Other items on the list were reliably in line with feminist sensibilities -- the autobiography of “the beloved writer and culture critic” feminist Roxane Gay, and “the wrestling dramedy GLOW” on Netflix.

there was more hyper-enthusiasm on display for a reboot of a show about lesbians in Los Angeles that ran on Showtime some ten years ago: “The L Word Returns”: “Break out your bell sleeves and lesbian relationship charts: The L Word is getting the reboot treatment!”

In “Degrassi Done It Again,” Nivea Serrao gushed, “The long-running teen drama continues its legacy of breaking down barriers by introducing its first gender nonbinary character.”

The preview of the movie project A Wrinkle in Time directed by the race activist Ava DuVernay, shows it is no longer enough to fall in love with a classic story in itself, but also for its hidden liberal politics. “Director Ava DuVernay, fresh off heavy projects like the civil rights drama Selma and the criminal-justice expose 13th, was drawn to this sci-fi tale, in part, by the progressive ideas that author Madeleine L’Engle buried in her 1962 novel.”

A review of the British drama Lady Macbeth by Chris Nashawaty found the movie good while it remained more predictably feminist: “...this is an emotionally schizophrenic Victorian tragedy that starts out as a welcome feminist cri de coeur, only to spiral into violent nihilism....”

“Disney’s Next Teen Queen” by Marc Snetiker profiled actress Dove Cameron, and indirectly perhaps unwittingly highlighted the shallow nature of much celebrity left-wing activism: “Part of that comes from the modern duties of Cameron’s gig, which have evolved to include heightened expectations in social media and woke activism -- but Cameron was savvy long before her career demanded it...”

Another left-wing angle in a brief review of The Last Tycoon series on Amazon, based on an unfinished F. Scott Fitzgerald novel about Hollywood: “The text is about the movies, but the subtext is about TV and the issues -- of opportunity and representation, quality and equality -- troubling it.”

Tina Jordan's lead story in the Books section featured Emma Watson talking to Margaret Atwood about The Handmaid’s Tale.

Many celebrities have book clubs, but none share the clout of Emma Watson’s “Our Shared Shelf,” which has picked up nearly 200,000 members since it launched on Goodreads in 2016. As Watson wrote when she made The Handmaid’s Tale her May/June selection, “It is a book that has never stopped fascinating readers because it articulates so vividly what it feels like for a woman to lose power over her own body.” Thanks to the recent Hulu series, Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel has again soared to the top of the best-seller lists. Watson called up Atwood to discuss.

They briefly discussed Atwood’s visits behind the Iron Curtain when she lived in West Germany, with Atwood emphasizing “it was very interesting to be there, but it wasn’t the primary inspiration.” That was, of course, the success of the American right wing in 1980 (the year Reagan was elected in a landslide).

There were three inspirations. First, what right wing people were already saying in 1980. They were saying the kinds of things they’re now doing, but at that time they didn’t have the power to do them. I believe that people who say those kinds of things will do those things if and when they get power: They’re not just funning around. So that was one of the inspirations. If you’re going to make women go back into the home, how are you going to do that? If America were to become a totalitarian state, what would that state look like? What would its aims be? What sort of excuse would it use for its atrocities?....

Trump came up in the conversation, albeit indirectly, and it wasn’t long before a Hitler reference followed.

Watson: Yes, yes. So having written this book when you did and having realised that this might happen one day, did the election results and the new health bill in the US hit you hard? Was it a very depressing moment for you?

Atwood: I’m not easily depressed by these sorts of things. It’s happened before. If you were born in the ’90s, you were born into a world where quite a few rights for various groups had been established, at least in the West, and you thought that was normal. But if you’re older than that and you were born into a world in which this was not the case, you saw the fights that went into those rights being established, and you also saw how quickly -- in the case, for instance, of Hitler -- that you could take a democratically minded fairly open society and turn it on its head. So, it has happened before, but it’s also un-happened before, if you see what I mean. History is not a straight line. Also, America is not Germany; America is very diverse; it has a number of different states in it. I don’t think America is rolling over in acquiesce to all of this, as you’ve probably seen from reading the news. You’ve probably seen that women dressed as Handmaids have been turning up in state legislatures and just sitting there. You can’t kick them out because they’re not making a disturbance, but everybody knows what they mean.

The online version featured a photo from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio from a Handmaids-themed silent protest on abortion.

The website also reprinted a hostile People magazine article on actor James Woods for his “insensitivity” in his Twitter comments on the parents of a 10-year-old “gender creative” boy who wears dresses and make-up.