Press Pop Culture

Best of The Tempest 2018: 9 Stories from Pop Culture

It’s been a peculiar year in the realm of entertainment. We’ve had such big, progressive victories and such big setbacks and anachronisms in terms of representation, transparency, and inclusivity. Many LGBTQ+ artists thrived, and 2018 was dubbed 20GAYTEEN by singer Hayley Kiyoko. It was the year of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, and yet big name studios are still out there producing films that are imbued with racism, sexism, homophobia, and fatphobia as well as often promoting rape and hate.

We’re still light years away from consuming the egalitarian entertainment we deserve. I knew that very well when I became Pop Culture Editor at The Tempest. I understood that I would have to look closely at many media products that would make me mad, which I would rather ignore and avoid at all costs, but I gladly accepted the challenge. I believe our mission is to shed light on everything that is going on, and that includes denouncing the many injustices that occur in the entertainment industry. We can’t possibly stay silent about the things we deem wrong, because silence is complicity.

But we also don’t like to only see the glass half empty, and we love to admit that there are many things to praise and to celebrate. Without further ado, I present to you 9 of my favorite Pop Culture stories we published in 2018, a mix of the good and the bad.

1. Why are blockbuster films pretending that lesbians and bisexuals don’t exist?

Why are blockbuster films pretending that lesbians and bisexuals don’t exist?

Despite the good representation that television and the music industry gifted us with this year, blockbusters are still actively promoting the erasure of female queerness as well as employing queer bait. This is a trend that needs to stay in 2018.

2. What time is it, Hollywood?

What time is it, Hollywood?

What about what happens behind the camera? This article explores some trends of the entertainment industry from the inside out, because actresses are not the only people we need to protect. Let’s say #TimesUp to all kinds of discrimination.

3. Dislikeable female characters aren’t inherently feminist – but that’s okay

Dislikeable female characters aren’t inherently feminist – but that’s okay

There is a big misconception in fiction and in critique: that a female character who dares be different and dislikable is automatically a great feminist heroine. She’s not, and that’s okay.

4. Why I’m boycotting J.K. Rowling and her “Fantastic Beasts”

Why I’m boycotting J.K. Rowling and her “Fantastic Beasts”

We are tired of people giving J.K. Rowling a free pass for everything just because she wrote a beautiful book series 20 years ago. For a while now, she has been twisting things to appear “woke” instead of honestly admitting that as the times progressed, she also wants to be more inclusive. There is no need to say that she was planning plot twists all along when in reality the implications of that make her way more problematic. Read why in this piece!

5. Bollywood item numbers are more dangerous than we think

Bollywood item numbers are more dangerous than we think

If you don’t know what an item number is, you need to read this piece. If you do know, you need to read this piece. It’s eye-opening and I will never look at a Bollywood film the same way again.

6. This director’s approach to diverse female characters completely changed my movie-watching experience

This director’s approach to diverse female characters completely changed my movie-watching experience

Contrary to what some haters will have you believe about feminists, we do celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of men, when they deserve it. This article is a clap on the back of an Oscar-winning director for an amazing film that contributed to making 2018 better.

7. Yes, The Bold Type is unrealistic… just not for the reasons you think

Yes, The Bold Type is unrealistic… just not for the reasons you think 

You may or may not know this show, which was a true revelation for its honest representation of working (and woke!) millennial women. However, the show has been accused of portraying a utopistic world of equality (but it really doesn’t, the protagonists deal with misogyny, racism and homophobia every day). This article cleverly responds to that claim, contextualizing it particularly within the journalism world (where the main characters spend most of their time) that we know too well.

8. Karma has finally come for Chris Brown, and we can thank women for that

Karma has finally come for Chris Brown, and we can thank women for that

Abusers deserve to be held accountable for their actions. After the tidal wave that was the #MeToo movement, it’s good to see that celebrities are still being taken down after abusive behavior.

9. My mind tells me to read, but my body is overwhelmed and overworked

My mind tells me to read, but my body is overwhelmed and overworked

A constant struggle in the transition to adulthood is that we are burdened with too many responsibilities and we have too little time to do the things we actually want to do out of sheer pleasure, like reading. It does not help that books have gained a very strong competitor for our time and attention, the “monster” that are streaming services.

We’re ready to kiss 2018 goodbye. In the hope that 2019 will be a more satisfying year for women, people of color, and all oppressed minorities, happy new year from the staff of The Tempest!

Love Humor Life

Meet Sofie Hagen, the Danish comedian spreading feminism through jokes

Earlier this year I was searching for new podcasts to binge and I found “The Guilty Feminist,” featuring Deborah Frances-White and Sofie Hagen. I started listening on my commute and literally LOL’d in my car the whole way to work. I immediately connected with Sofie’s humor about being a millennial who’s just trying to figure out how the world works while standing up for and living by her values. Her routines are smart, authentic, and of course, hilarious.

[bctt tweet=”I started listening to @GuiltFemPod and literally LOL’d for my whole commute.” username=”wearethetempest”]

As I listened to all the back episodes, I learned more about the kickass things Sofie does with her life and her comedy. She’s an outspoken feminist in her home country of Denmark, which she describes as vehemently anti-feminist. Sofie champions body positivity and challenges ideas about what it means to be a woman in a larger body. She creates safe spaces for people with mental illness and anxiety issues at her shows by encouraging those attending to reach out to her and let her know what accommodations they would like to see. Sofie is also a proud bisexual and speaks openly about her sexuality in interviews and her comedy routines.

I recently had the opportunity to connect with Sofie via email and got to ask her about her life, her experiences in comedy, and how she lives her values every day.

The Tempest: How has being an unapologetic feminist effected your career, especially in your home country of Denmark, which you’ve described as vehemently anti-feminist?

I have received actual warnings. I have been told that it’s holding me back – I have had possible roles in sitcoms be held as bait. “You could get this part if you apologize,” – sort of thing. So in terms of a certain part of the industry, it certainly hasn’t helped. Then, on the other hand, I have attracted a large audience of other kickass feminists. I’m on the right side of history so I am not at all concerned. Eventually, they’ll turn around.

[bctt tweet=”I’m on the right side of history so I am not at all concerned.” username=”wearethetempest”]

You’ve done a lot to make your shows a safe space for those with anxiety issues, especially those who have trouble being in crowds. What prompted this decision and how has it impacted your audiences?

My show “Shimmer Shatter,” which I was touring, was about introversion and anxiety, so it just made logical sense that those suffering from those things should be able to attend the shows. Which then of course meant that they did. It was wonderful having so many anxious or awkward people in my audience because I could relate so hard to them. Afterwards we would all be in the lobby, all weird and not knowing what to say to each other. It was magical.

You’re very vocal about the struggles of living in this world with a larger body and you’re a body positive crusader. Recently, you began sharing pictures of your stomach on social media to promote body acceptance. Being a fat woman on the Internet myself, I have dealt with a lot of negative feedback when I proudly post images of my body. How have you dealt with the trolls?

For every troll, I do twice as much. If one person (I say person, let’s be honest and just call it ‘man’) trolls me over a stomach photo, I post two more. If I get trolls because of a feminist tweet, I make five feminist tweets. They do not make me sad any more. They barely irritate me. Instead it becomes very important that they know that they do not silence us. They do not get to silence us. I will scream twice as loud as them till they understand that it is them who needs to shut the fuck up.

[bctt tweet=”If one man trolls me over a stomach-photo, I post two more.” username=”wearethetempest”]

You’ve talked about identifying as a bisexual even though you haven’t slept with any women. How have you experienced bi-erasure in your life and how have you dealt with it?

The bi-erasure comes from within. I have had a few comments from old school friends and such when it comes to my bisexuality, but the worst is the voice in my head, telling me that I’m cheating. Pick a team, already. Stop trying to be special. And then there is the other voice saying, “You are attracted to everyone. It is not dependent on gender. You have been in love with all people. That is the very definition of bisexual.” and I know that’s the clever voice, the voice that’s right. But the other voice is so strong, “Who are you kidding? Just marry a man and stop pretending.”

[bctt tweet=”Bi-erasure comes from within. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Check out Sofie’s writing at her blog, find her latest podcast episodes, tour dates, and more at her website, and definitely check out “The Guilty Feminist” podcast. She’ll have you LOL’ing wherever you go.