AWFJ Women On Film – The Week in Women, July 17, 2009 – MaryAnn Johanson

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There’s gonna be girls at Comic Con, women critics are obviously stupid bitches, female media power comes from TV palhood, and more.

EWW, THERE’S GIRLS! Annalee Newitz at io9 smacks down the He-Man Woman Haters Club that some corners of geek fandom can be:

It seems now that the biggest threat to Comic-Con are all the women who will be coming.

The opening salvo in this latest round of complaints came from Film’s Peter Sciretta, who grumbled about how the Twilight panel will be right after the Avatar panel. Apparently all the excited female fans will push out the “normal people”…

He worries that these Twilight girls will take ALL THE SEATS that should be saved for “movie fanatics” – because, apparently, people who like the Twilight movie don’t count as movie fans. Nobody who likes that silly vampire movie New Moon, full of sparkly otherworldly creatures, would ever be sophisticated enough to like the silly space movie Avatar, full of sparkly otherworldly creatures.

Imagine if this New Moon panel were replaced by a panel devoted to a new Star Wars movie. Would people be screaming about all those “fanatical” Star Wars fans who would undoubtedly line up all night long just to get a glimpse of George Lucas and pals? Would there be complaining that Star Wars fans were taking up space and driving out all the “normal people” who came to see Alice and A Christmas Carol? Would people be suggesting that the Star Wars panel should be moved to another place, or another day? No. Because Star Wars fans, even though they are more fanatical than Twilight fans, are mostly boys. And therefore they are tolerated as “normal people” at Comic-Con while hordes of girl fans are not.

Maybe if the girls all dressed in their Princess Leia metal bikins, the boys would like them better…

IT’S JUST OBVIOUS, OKAY? One commenter’s reaction to a review I posted this week at

stupid article by a stupid bitch. For obvious reasons

Stupid comment by a stupid jerk. For obvious reasons.

HOW TO BE A POWERFUL WOMAN IN HOLLYWOOD. Make people afraid, very afraid:

Right now, there’s a good chance a Hollywood executive is leaning into a colleague’s office and quietly asking, “Did you see what Nikki just wrote?”

That would be Nikki Finke, a well-traveled newspaper reporter who has found her moment as a digital-age Walter Winchell.

In the three years since she started Deadline Hollywood Daily, a daily blog about the entertainment business, her combination of old-school skills — she is a relentless reporter — and new-media immediacy has made her a must-click look into the ragingly insecure id of Hollywood.

Among movie executives, the stories of Ms. Finke’s aggressiveness are legion, but they remain mostly unspoken because people fear being the target of one of her withering takedowns.

AWFJ congratulates Finke, an Alliance of Women Film Journalists member, on the New York Times front page acknowledgement of her position of power, and hopes she’s enjoying it.

OTHER WAYS TO BE POWERFUL. is out with yet another list:

the most influential women in media… that is, television, print, and online:

Oprah Winfrey may have been bumped to No. 2 on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list, but in media, she reigns supreme. Thanks to her loyal talk show audience, social media followers and, most of all, her remarkable earning power, Winfrey tops ForbesWoman’s first Most Influential Women in Media list.

While ratings have slipped over the years, Winfrey’s syndicated chat fest is still considered the most important show to promote a person, book, product or idea.

After Winfrey, the top five is rounded out by Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Ellen DeGeneres and Tyra Banks.

Sawyer, after almost four decades in front of the camera, is more influential than ever. Sawyer reaches a daily audience with her gig as co-host of Good Morning, America, but her prime-time specials are what routinely attract over 10 million viewers and keep her in the seat of power: On ABC’s Primetime she interviewed President Obama extensively on his health care plan, from the White House.

Here’s the real secret to power for women: Get on TV, and speak to your audience like you’re their pal.

MR. SPOCK, SEX SYMBOL. Ask any female Star Trek fan who the most attractive man on the show was, and chances are excellent that she’ll tell you that the pointy-eared Vulcan was the big draw for her, not the swaggering jerk in the captain’s chair. Now, an old letter written by series creator Gene Roddenberry suggests that this was the plan all along, and that Roddenberry designed the character with a:

slight look of the devil. I thought that might be particularly provocative to women.

The article, from the Telegraph, goes on to quote Richard Davie, of the auction company that is handling the sale of the letter:

I’m not quite sure it worked, but you can tell that Spock does have devil-like features.

He’s not sure if it worked? Whether it had anything to do with Roddenberry’s, er, intriguing assumptions about what women find attractive, it’s perfectly plain — and was only made more so by the new Star Trek film — that Spock is the big draw for female Trek fans (apart from the action, the adventure, the optimism, the science fiction, and all the other things that drew men to the show, too). And yet so many people seem to persist in the delusion that the situation is otherwise. I wonder why…

OPENING THIS WEEK. There are plenty of strong female characters to be found in the Harry Potter saga, but some of them get pushed aside in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in favor of a quest by Harry himself, along with Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, for the last keys to defeating the evil wizard terrorist Voldemort. (He’s a guy, too, but that’s fine with us.) But since the series was created by a woman, J.K. Rowling, we figure the tally’s pretty even, as these things go.

Romantic comedy gets a refreshing smack upside the head in 500 Days of Summer, which starts off appearing to indulge certain male prejudices about romance — like, if he wants her, he deserves her, regardless of what she wants — and ends up doling out a lesson about how no one has any real power in a relationship… and that that’s the way it should be.

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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 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).