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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

enattendantlesoleil:

saying “that’s how things are” is incredibly useless when talking about social issues because yes, we are aware that that’s how things are, and we don’t like it, that’s the whole point

congratulations on providing no useful input to the conversation

SORKIN AND FEMALE CHARACTERS

rhaaegartargaryen:

rhaaegartargaryen:

mcmacthenewsroom:

namastetoyoutoo:

onamissiontocivilize:

mcmacthenewsroom:

femalerogerebert:

"I’ve always thought that there is a great female James Bond movie to be done. I’m not literally calling her Jane Bond, I mean, but a female secret agent."

Dear Aaron Sorkin,
Maybe you should work on improving the female characters on your own show before asking why there hasn’t been a female James Bond movie yet. The Newsroom, while of course well written, is blatantly sexist and has extremely weak female characters. Every woman on the show obsesses over their male counterpart or lack thereof. Sorkin gives the illusion of strong women by putting them in positions of power, like MacKenzie McHale (played by Emily Mortimer), who is the executive producer of Newsnight. While she is technically in charge, she almost always does what anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) says, and when she doesn’t it’s usually shown to be the wrong decision. She completely falls apart over Will and very rarely has a conversation that’s not about him in some way. This is the same with most if not all of the other female characters in The Newsroom

Aaron Sorkin is very good at looking like he has created and cares about strong female roles in television and film, but I’ll just leave you with this:

When asked about the lack of female protagonists in Hollywood:
“I promise you nothing but capitalism drives decision-making in Hollywood.”
“…these decisions aren’t made entirely by men. There are roughly as many women who can greenlight a film in Hollywood as there are men.”

I disagree. I don’t see Sorkin as having a sexist view of women just as he doesn’t have a sexist view of men. After all Don is obsessed with Sloan, and Jim is hung up on Maggie. It’s about men and women having something called emotions. it’s just reality. Do you know a reporter named Lara Logan, at one time chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS? At one time she was married, having an affair with another journalist and having his baby. She is currently on leave due to having Ok’d a report that turned out to be false. Egads! a woman making a mistake? not being thorough in her investigation? just like a man might do? I guess that’s called being human, not sexist. It sounds like you really didn’t watch the entire series, because you’re mistaken about her decisions being wrong most of the time. She is wrong one major time—she OK’d the Genoa report. Otherwise she is the stronger of the two, the woman usually telling Will what to do, usually telling him to stop being a weenie. At one point when he refuses to question a guest on the show she pushes him into a wall after he’s off the air. Early in the series he;s the one calling her to se what needs to be done, being nervous about making his own decisions. At the beginning of the series she handles the reporting of the oil rig explosion correctly, and on another she refuses to report a congresswoman is dead until she has good reports she is.   And have you seen Sloan in action? How about Leona Lansing? Hallie? Yes, Mac loves Will but that emotion does not cause her to not do her job the way it should be done.  I think sexism is in the eye of the beholder. Just because the basis of this show is that it has the qualities of a romantic comedy it does not mean it is sexist.  If you want to find it because you’re inclined to do so, you’ll find it. I did not find it in this show.

let’s take these one at a time:

Every woman on the show obsesses over their male counterpart or lack thereof.

  • Don asks a bunch of questions about Sloan’s dates and is apparently so distracted by her that he can’t even put his chair back together and falls backwards out of it twice.
  • Will screams at Mac in front of the whole newsroom over the email fiasco “THAT DOESN’T FUCKING HAPPEN TO ME”
  • Will stays up all night reading dating advice websites
  • Will interrupts his therapist’s appointment with another patient just so he can talk to him about MacKenzie
  • Will is so worked up over the combination of the article written by her ex boyfriend and the fact that she never returned his 5/1 call that he ends up in the ER with bleeding ulcers
  • Will buys a half-million-dollar engagement ring just to make MacKenzie feel bad
  • Jim is so upset by the whole Maggie thing that he takes off on an assignment he is clearly overqualified for just to get away from her/the situation

Sorkin gives the illusion of strong women by putting them in positions of power, like MacKenzie McHale (played by Emily Mortimer), who is the executive producer of Newsnight. While she is technically in charge, she almost always does what anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) says, and when she doesn’t it’s usually shown to be the wrong decision.

  • Will goes behind her back to put in some stuff about Sarah Palin and then it bombs and he looks like a spectacular ass
  • He wants to do more about the oil spill and MacKenzie says no and he does what she says
  • She doesn’t want to do the Casey Anthony coverage but does it anyway to save Will’s job (from Leona, who CAN fire his ass) and get the debate; the coverage is stupid and vulturistic and everyone would rather be doing things her way (not covering Casey Anthony)—and then after they don’t get the debate they go back to doing things her way
  • Whenever Will lets a guest get away with crap on the air (I’m thinking in particular of Cyrus West but that isn’t the only example) she lets him know that is unacceptable and he can’t argue with her because he knows she’s right

She completely falls apart over Will and very rarely has a conversation that’s not about him in some way.

  • She cries about Will, ONCE, in a personal conversation with Sloan, when it’s implied that it’s late and that she and Sloan have both been drinking
  • She tells Charlie she’s worried about Will, ONCE, when he’s in the hospital with bleeding ulcers
  • She yells at Will, ONCE, for not taking better care of himself (he could have bled to death if she and Lonny hadn’t found him) because, you know, he could have DIED
  • She mentions to Don, ONCE, that Will is on a date with Nina, pouts slightly, and then the conversation moves on
  • She has many, MANY conversations over the course of S2 about Genoa (you know, a huge work related thing) that don’t reference Will or involve him in any way except to mention  that “Will is not aware of Genoa,” and then only when someone else brings him up

also

  • The main person responsible for fucking up Genoa was a man
  • MacKenzie was the one to figure out what he did, after a large team of lawyers already went through everything one time and never caught it
  • A woman owns the entire company
  • The head of the legal team in S2 is a woman

AMEN CALLIE A-FUCKING-MEN!

Excellent response from two who really have watched the show and who actually paid attention to the dialogue and action. In true critical analysis of literature or the visual media, the writer must rely on evidence from the text to prove his/her thesis. Femalerogerevert must not have learned that to be a “female roger ebert” you can’t just throw out ideas, assumptions, or gossip heard from other sources. Instead, use an intelligent and thoughtful read or viewing of the material and then make your own deductions. Three of us (all of us female, by the way) did do just that.  

Okay first off:

Your response to “Every woman on the show obsesses over their male counterpart or lack thereof.”

  • The guys who are having these little fuckups are mostly doing it by themselves or in the company of another male or one other person. 
  • Most of Maggie and Mac’s fuckups are done in the presence of MANY people, if not the whole newsroom.
  • This is important because the men are only looking “bad” in front of a small amount of people and the women just look like bumbling idiots.
  • Also the fact that Will bought an engagement ring to make Mac feel bad should tell you what Aaron Sorkin thinks of female characters.

Sorkin gives the illusion of strong women by putting them in positions of power…

  • Just because he listens to her and does what she says does not make her a strong female character. Whether or not people respect her for her position is not the issue here. It’s the fact that these women in power/ these really intelligent women are made to look like they can’t function without a man. 

She completely falls apart over Will…

  • How many conversations does Mac have with Maggie? Or with Sloan? Or with literally anyone else you failed to mention? Just because she doesn’t have a lot of conversations with the people you chose to mention doesn’t mean that she rarely talks about Will. Same with Maggie. Nice try though.

All of your extra points

  • A woman owning the entire company doesn’t make up for shit
  • She’s also the common portrayal of the bitchy boss with a stick up her ass and all of the other characters including the rest of the females support this idea throughout the series.
  • Again with the head of a legal team.
  • I’ve already talked about women in power on this show, but the fact of the matter is that just because a women is in a position of power does not mean that she is powerful. There’s a huge difference.

And just to give you evidence that I’m not alone in this issue here’s some articles for your reading pleasure (the first two address his recent apology and the fact that he needs to apologize for his bad writing of female characters.) If you can find good articles by people who know what the hell they are talking about and not just some opinion piece on some blog I’d love to see it, but here’s articles by people in the business.

http://flavorwire.com/453161/women-should-be-next-on-aaron-sorkins-apology-list/

  • " But in many cases they’re flat characters, defined by their sharpness and little else, oftentimes not very likable. Sorkin writes female characters the same way as the press portrays Hillary Clinton. And it’s a disservice to smart women, who are more well-rounded than Sorkin makes them out to be"

http://www.bustle.com/articles/21967-aaron-sorkin-apologizes-for-the-newsroom-but-forgets-to-say-sorry-for-his-terrible-female-characters

  • "MacKenzie, Will’s ex and his executive producer, has power and agency and yet, still, her position at ACN is put second to the fact that she and Will once had A Thing. Their romantic storyline takes precedence and she is constantly at the mercy of the gruff McAvoy. The rest of the ladies aren’t much better—Maggie is a tearful mess, and Sloan is constantly being undermined by how attractive she is. Will is painted as a troubled, complex anti-hero whose mistakes can be explained by his inner demons, but what are these capable female journalists doing flailing around? There’s no explanation for their missteps, except for, “Haha, they’re just stupid girls.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/02/hbo-s-the-newsroom-aaron-sorkin-s-women-problem.html

  • "One of the bigger problems with The Newsroom is that so many scenes involve men setting women straight, men supervising women, a man teaching a woman how to use email (and the woman getting it spectacularly wrong regardless), a hapless woman seesawing between two different men, etc. "

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-ryan/the-newsroom-women-aaron-sorkin-hbo_b_1641982.html

http://theweek.com/article/index/229707/6-reasons-why-the-newsroom-is-aaron-sorkins-worst-show-yet

http://www.indiewire.com/article/television/aaron-sorkins-female-trouble-the-women-of-the-newsroom

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/07/03/why_aaron_sorkin_s_woman_problem_makes_the_newsroom_so_boring_.html

Finally, I just want to make it clear that I like this show. I enjoy watching it - to a degree. I would not be trying to make it better and pointing out its flaws in this way if I didn’t care about this show. If this show had better female characters (and maybe the journalists making some mistakes because let’s be honest, its ridiculous how often they don’t screw up) it would be in my favorite shows.

A few things I didn’t mention before that I just thought of:

  • There are almost no POC women on this show and the few that they have aren’t given hardly any screen time. 
  • Also “sexism is in the eye of the beholder. Just because the basis of this show is that it has the qualities of a romantic comedy it does not mean it is sexist” —— Sexism is not on an individual level. Sexism is oppression/discrimination against a group of people. The fact that three women in this post have said that they don’t find it sexist does not make it true. The fact that there are dozens (probably more) of people - people who are educated and are in this industry - who agree with myself and the original poster is hard to prove false. Also a show that is meant to be a drama on HBO probably shouldn’t have the characteristics of a romantic comedy - a genre that is notorious for painting terrible pictures of women.
  • Taking cheap shots at the original poster’s url is dumb and immature

Aaron Sorkin On Why He Could Never Write An Episode of 'Breaking Bad' and 6 More Highlights from His Tribeca Film Festival Talk | Filmmakers, Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews | Indiewire

onamissiontocivilize:

a-hypothetical-abstract-concept:

femalerogerebert:

a-hypothetical-abstract-concept:

femalerogerebert:

femalerogerebert:

"I’ve always thought that there is a great female James Bond movie to be done. I’m not literally calling her Jane Bond, I mean, but a female secret agent."

Dear Aaron Sorkin,
Maybe you should work on improving the female characters on your own show before asking why there hasn’t been a female James Bond movie yet. The Newsroom, while of course well written, is blatantly sexist and has extremely weak female characters. Every woman on the show obsesses over their male counterpart or lack thereof. Sorkin gives the illusion of strong women by putting them in positions of power, like MacKenzie McHale (played by Emily Mortimer), who is the executive producer of Newsnight. While she is technically in charge, she almost always does what anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) says, and when she doesn’t it’s usually shown to be the wrong decision. She completely falls apart over Will and very rarely has a conversation that’s not about him in some way. This is the same with most if not all of the other female characters in The Newsroom

Aaron Sorkin is very good at looking like he has created and cares about strong female roles in television and film, but I’ll just leave you with this:

When asked about the lack of female protagonists in Hollywood:
“I promise you nothing but capitalism drives decision-making in Hollywood.”
“…these decisions aren’t made entirely by men. There are roughly as many women who can greenlight a film in Hollywood as there are men.”

Because we can’t trust just my opinion, let’s look at some opinions from those more qualified than myself:

http://www.salon.com/2013/09/09/aaron_sorkin_gets_more_sexist_every_year/

An article from salon.com by Daniel D’addario.

http://www.indiewire.com/article/television/aaron-sorkins-female-trouble-the-women-of-the-newsroom

By Allison Willmore from Indiewire

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/how-to-get-under-aaron-sorkins-skin-and-also-how-to-high-five-properly/article4363455/

The interview mentioned in the above article where Sorkin takes it upon himself to be a condescending ass to his female interviewer, calling her an “internet girl” and asking her when she mentions watching the pilot twice, “Because you liked it so much the first time, or because you didn’t understand it the first time?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-ryan/the-newsroom-women-aaron-sorkin-hbo_b_1641982.html

A discussion between The Huffington Post’s Maureen Ryan and The Daily Beast’s Jace Lacob

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/07/03/why_aaron_sorkin_s_woman_problem_makes_the_newsroom_so_boring_.html

By Alyssa Rosenberg from slate.com

http://www.vulture.com/2012/07/newsroom-aaron-sorkin-women-hostile-misogyny.html

By Margaret Lyons from vulture.com

I would also like to point out that very few, if any, episodes of The Newsroom pass the Bechdel Test which requires the presence of two or more named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.

3/8 of the main characters are female. The number of female characters is greater than the number of male characters. Out of all the anchors we see 1/2 are female. 46% of the journalists on the show are female compared to 36% in real life. By the way, have you even seen Sloan Sabbith? I haven’t read all of those sources, so yeah, Sorkin may have said some things which are sexist and I am not defending that, but The Newsroom as a show is not sexist.

Sloan is the closest the show comes to a strong female character. She is very knowledgeable when it comes to the stock market and economics…and that’s it. Everything else about her character is about one of two things 1) her extremely socially awkward tendencies (and how they effect her relationships with men) or 2) her sexual appeal. MacKenzie flat out tells Sloan that the main reason she hired her because of her “shapely legs”.

Read this: http://madlori.tumblr.com/post/51723411550/rebloggable-by-request-well-first-of-all

Ok, wow so he’s only aloud to do strong female characters? Sloan isn’t a good female character because she’s socially awkward? Do you know what? That makes her an interesting character.

She has her strong points, like the two PhDs. But she also has weaknesses, such as the social awkwardness. But you know why that makes her not only a good character, but a good role model? Because she’s constantly striving to “do better.” She picks herself up after News Night with Will McAvoy, she turns down the 4 million dollar job to be a journalist because she wants to educate the world and she takes it into her own hands to start a relationship with Don. Do you think that as a character she would be able to do all that if she was like how she was in season one?

Do you know how bad it would be if women only saw other women in the media who were flawless? It would be awful.

"Screw writing strong female characters. Write interesting ones." And Sloan is definitely interesting.

You know what? i think the idea that Sloan is the only strong female character is bullshit. I think MacKenzie is fantastically strong. It takes a hell of a lot of guts to go into a job where you know at least one person, the person you will be working the most closely with, hates you for something you did and does not want to work with you. She could have turned around and walked away when Will made it clear he didn’t want to work with her, but she didn’t. She stood her ground and reminded Will that he could do the news better than he was doing and that there is “nothing more important than a well-informed electorate”. She kept the team sticking to the plan even when the ratings dropped and the critics were harping on them. That takes a lot of guts. MacKenzie also works her ass off. Have you ever noticed the clock in her office? It often shows seven, eight am and she’s already there in the middle of work that she clearly didn’t just start, she’s there all day through an eight o clock show and often after. But a hardworking, dedicated character who stands up for what she believes in is weak? I don’t agree. Oh no, she talks about her personal life sometimes, how dare she.

Leona may be the “bad guy” in a lot of ways, but let’s estimate that she’s about the same age as Jane Fonda and let’s think about just how many women would have been in any positions of leadership at the beginning of her career. Few to none. She would have had to work her ass off to get where she is. And in the beginning of season 2, we get some hints of why she behaves the way she does, in her discussion of the SOPA problem. It’s not about being a bitch or an evil corporate thug, she’s clearly thought in great detail about how this legislation affects her company from multiple angles. She doesn’t just sit back and let shit happen, she is extremely proactive in dealing with these problems as they arise. Do I always like her methods? No. Does that mean she’s a terrible character? No. And Rebecca? Of course she seems aggressive or antagonistic through most of season two because it’s her job to poke all the holes in her clients’ stories she can before some other lawyer can do it. How in the world does that make her a bad or weak or poorly written character? She’s doing a job that she is clearly very good at.

Also, MacKenzie didn’t flat out tell Sloan “she hired her for her legs”. One, she didn’t hire her; Sloan was already working on her own show at ACN when MacKenzie got there. She asked her to come on to do five minutes a night on Will’s show because she’s intelligent AND attractive. MacKenzie knows very well that she has to “sell” economic news. It’s shitty to have to do that, but it’s the world they live in and she’s going to play the game to get what she wants. She knows that what she has to get across to the viewers is so important that she will do whatever is necessary to make them listen, and if that means getting someone hot to explain economics to the masses, then she’ll do it. It’s not like she’s asking Sloan to come on tv and read news that someone else wrote, which would indeed be solely bringing her on for her looks.

None of these female characters are interesting in their own right. When do they ever talk about something not involving one of the male characters on the show? I’ve already talked about how being in a position of power has nothing to do with strength. Leona is shown to be morally weak and easily influenced. When she does eventually do the “right” thing, it’s because Charlie and Will have shown her why she was wrong. She doesn’t come to the ethically/morally right conclusion on her own. MacKenzie “playing the game” because “it’s the world they live in” is exactly the problem. Instead of standing up to a system that says women have to be attractive in order to be taken seriously, MacKenzie conforms to it. She does nothing to challenge the male dominated world Sorkin put her in.

SORKIN AND FEMALE CHARACTERS

mcmacthenewsroom:

Aaron Sorkin On Why He Could Never Write An Episode of 'Breaking Bad' and 6 More Highlights from His Tribeca Film Festival Talk | Filmmakers, Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews | Indiewire

a-hypothetical-abstract-concept:

femalerogerebert:

femalerogerebert:

"I’ve always thought that there is a great female James Bond movie to be done. I’m not literally calling her Jane Bond, I mean, but a female secret agent."

Dear Aaron Sorkin,
Maybe you should work on improving the female characters on your own show before asking why there hasn’t been a female James Bond movie yet. The Newsroom, while of course well written, is blatantly sexist and has extremely weak female characters. Every woman on the show obsesses over their male counterpart or lack thereof. Sorkin gives the illusion of strong women by putting them in positions of power, like MacKenzie McHale (played by Emily Mortimer), who is the executive producer of Newsnight. While she is technically in charge, she almost always does what anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) says, and when she doesn’t it’s usually shown to be the wrong decision. She completely falls apart over Will and very rarely has a conversation that’s not about him in some way. This is the same with most if not all of the other female characters in The Newsroom

Aaron Sorkin is very good at looking like he has created and cares about strong female roles in television and film, but I’ll just leave you with this:

When asked about the lack of female protagonists in Hollywood:
“I promise you nothing but capitalism drives decision-making in Hollywood.”
“…these decisions aren’t made entirely by men. There are roughly as many women who can greenlight a film in Hollywood as there are men.”

Because we can’t trust just my opinion, let’s look at some opinions from those more qualified than myself:

http://www.salon.com/2013/09/09/aaron_sorkin_gets_more_sexist_every_year/

An article from salon.com by Daniel D’addario.

http://www.indiewire.com/article/television/aaron-sorkins-female-trouble-the-women-of-the-newsroom

By Allison Willmore from Indiewire

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/how-to-get-under-aaron-sorkins-skin-and-also-how-to-high-five-properly/article4363455/

The interview mentioned in the above article where Sorkin takes it upon himself to be a condescending ass to his female interviewer, calling her an “internet girl” and asking her when she mentions watching the pilot twice, “Because you liked it so much the first time, or because you didn’t understand it the first time?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-ryan/the-newsroom-women-aaron-sorkin-hbo_b_1641982.html

A discussion between The Huffington Post’s Maureen Ryan and The Daily Beast’s Jace Lacob

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/07/03/why_aaron_sorkin_s_woman_problem_makes_the_newsroom_so_boring_.html

By Alyssa Rosenberg from slate.com

http://www.vulture.com/2012/07/newsroom-aaron-sorkin-women-hostile-misogyny.html

By Margaret Lyons from vulture.com

I would also like to point out that very few, if any, episodes of The Newsroom pass the Bechdel Test which requires the presence of two or more named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.

3/8 of the main characters are female. The number of female characters is greater than the number of male characters. Out of all the anchors we see 1/2 are female. 46% of the journalists on the show are female compared to 36% in real life. By the way, have you even seen Sloan Sabbith? I haven’t read all of those sources, so yeah, Sorkin may have said some things which are sexist and I am not defending that, but The Newsroom as a show is not sexist.

Sloan is the closest the show comes to a strong female character. She is very knowledgeable when it comes to the stock market and economics…and that’s it. Everything else about her character is about one of two things 1) her extremely socially awkward tendencies (and how they effect her relationships with men) or 2) her sexual appeal. MacKenzie flat out tells Sloan that the main reason she hired her because of her “shapely legs”.

 
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