Leaping from Our Spheres

The Blog of UUWF's Affiliated Minister

A Mixed Oscar Moment


Patricia Arquette

For me, the high point of the overall tedious Academy Awards show this year was Lady Gaga channeling Julie Andrews in her 50th anniversary tribute to the release of The Sound of Music. She was nothing short of amazing, demonstrating her classical voice training and her love of American musical theater. It was pure entertainment, soaring and joyous.

Using this hugely viewed ceremony as a platform to draw attention to issues, Oscar winners talked about ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, and government invasion into the private lives of citizens and the status of Mexicans in their own country and as immigrants in the United States.

And there was Best Supporting Actress recipient Patricia Arquette, who read from prepared thank you remarks, which in addition to the usual shout outs to family and fellow cast members, included a plea for “wage equality once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America.” At the moment she finished this sentence, the cameras panned on actresses Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, who nearly leapt from their seats in support of her statement. Continue reading

Oscars and Monochrome

I spent the first half of my adult vocational life as a professional arts and culture reporter and columnist. As such, I got much of my understanding of our American society and the world at large from live actors on stages and from movie screens in darkened theaters.

Director Ava DuVernay

Director Ava DuVernay

My academic preparation and experience spending so much of my time in these places made for an almost entirely white male underpinning, from Shakespeare and O’Neil to Orson Welles and Francis Ford Coppola. As a thirtysomething, I organized one Sunday afternoon gathering for women in local theater at my home overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Over chardonnay and pepper jack cheese, we plotted not so much a complete overthrow but at least a modest incursion into this one gender club: a revolution that lasted as long as the wine and crackers. We all went back into the tedium of just trying to keep our toehold as female actors, not directors; critics for small weeklies, not the union dailies.

That was more than three decades ago.

Sunday night is the Academy Awards: the last in this season of trophy nights for movie makers. One of my Facebook — and actual — colleagues wrote a post the other day asking what her online friends were going to do in lieu of watching this “boring” three hour red carpet extravaganza and celeb fest. Continue reading

Standing Our Ground: Reproductive Justice for Marissa Alexander

Guest Blog by Monica Simpson, executive director of SisterSong.

“The over-policing and over-criminalization of pregnant women and mothers is becoming a major issue in this country, and the safety of mothers is at stake.” Read Monica’s Message…

This week’s UUWF justice and equity blog, usually written by affiliated minister Rev. Marti Keller, was written last April by Monica Simpson, the executive director of our partner organization, SisterSong. Continue reading

False Victory

Keep_Abortion_LegalAs a former daily reporter and columnist, I was quite used to having to pull and rewrite stories on tight deadlines because the situation had changed. An arrest had been made, a source had been located, new facts had appeared. I am old enough to have been a journalist, albeit a young college student, when newspapers were still put together in linotype: copy written on half sheets of cheap brown paper and metal characters used to prepare the final edition for print. It was a cumbersome process, and when changes were made in the hours before deadline, our cranky machine operators were known to swear mightily at whatever editor let them know to hold the presses.

These days of course, and for many years, we have composed on computers and it has been much easier to recompose our work and rework a piece that would be wrong if published the way it was originally submitted. Continue reading

The Good and Bad News about Female Employment

Where-Women-Are-WorkingThe end of the year 2014 federal numbers showed unemployment being 5.3 percent, which normalizes this figure after years of recovery from the most recent Great Recession. Which is a good thing.

Further analysis of the non-employed, compiled by David Leonhardt in the January 6 “Upshot,” a New York Times special feature, reveals real variances between men and women in the nature of their responses to the loss of work, and the distinct geography of female employment. Some of the differences are good, some disturbing, some inexplicable. Continue reading

1 2 3 8