Women On Film Welcomes “The Week In Women” – MaryAnn Johanson’s New Weekly Column

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AWFJ proudly announces “The Week In Women,” MaryAnn Johanson’s new weekly feature in Women On Film

As 2009 begins, we’re still confronting an entertainment industry in the US — and, indeed, worldwide — that’s dominated by men. Men make most films, write most films, produce most films. As a result, most movies are about men: their wants, needs, dreams and behavior.

Even when female characters appear on screen, the stories in which they participate are rarely about those female characters: their wants, needs, dreams and behavior.

That female characters are almost always seen from a male perspective dictates that women who play those characters be subjects of male desires, too–or at least to male desires as perceived by that cadre of men who make and market movies, men who apparently don’t know that surveys have found the primary complaint of American men about American women to be that they’re too thin. Hollywood honchos still insist on foisting stick-thin women on audiences–male and female.

Because many people don’t take much notice of the extraordinary influences that reel life has on real life–and particularly on the underlying assumptions and attitudes moviegoers have towards women–MaryAnn Johanson’s “The Week In Women,” published here every Friday, will highlight the good and the bad, the positive and the negative, the factual and false impressions served up the world of entertainment for public consumption. Welcome to “The Week in Women.”

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).