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Heroine Worship

9 Dec


This past year in movies has arguably been a great one for women. From Snow White and the Huntsman, Brave, and the Hunger Games, movies introduced young brave women who aren’t afraid to kick some ass.

Not everyone’s happy about it though. Movie critic, Frank Parlato, recently quit his job because he disapproves of the roles these women are given in movies. “I don’t want to publish reviews of films where women are alpha and men are beta,” he wrote. “Where women are heroes and villains and men are just lesser versions or shadows of females.”

One movie he used as an example was Snow White and the Huntsman, which showed Snow White overcoming vulnerability, donning armor, and charging into war against the evil queen. This, Parlato claims, is “a Hollywood agenda of glorifying degenerate power women and promoting as natural the weakling, hyena-like men, cum eunuchs.”

Why does his opinion matter? According to an article from the New York Times, it matters because Hollywood is known for over-sexualizing and degrading women, and it’s surprising that in this day and age some positive portrayal of strong women in movies can be so threatening.

Hollywood is arguably one of the most sexist industies, argues the article. Smart well-rounded characters, like Hermione Granger, are only the sidekicks. Women aren’t heroes unless it’s in a ‘chick-flick’ which, of course, men would not want to see anyway. Who want’s to see a woman be the hero?

Even in comedies women aren’t funny, men are. Katherine Hiegl made Hollywood universally angry when she called Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, sexist. She argued that the movie is “a little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. … I had a hard time with it, on some days. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy?”

Hiegl was right, frankly, it doen’t matter how deeply immature a guy is, hot girls are gonna sleep with them anyway. And those girls are gonna be bitches and the guys are gonna be goofy and adorable. If the girl is funny, it’s because she’s dumb. That’s how comedy’s framed.

Any female heroes stereotypically are obsessed with their love lives. The chick-flick is basically a love lusting woman looking for a perfect man. Movies featuring heroines like Katniss Everdeen should be a breath of fresh air, proving that a female hero can focus on other things beyond her love life.

Hollywood, luckily, is beginning to move past gender roles for heroines. Supporting movies like the Hunger Games can make this progress more permanent. I hope we see a lot more Katniss Everdeen types of heroines in the future!!!

All I Want For Christmas Is You..

9 Dec

In time for Christmas. I wanted to share my all time favorite Christmas song, written by my idol Mariah Carey!!! All I want for Christmas is my song. I swear retailers that play this song get every dime possible from me. If you play this song I am willing to by the whole store!. This is a pass to stop what you’re doing and break out in song and dance (which I do often). This song is beyond classic. Christmas spirit indeed. This song just makes me soo happy and im glad to share it with you. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do.

Royal Baby: Forever Tied to Tragedy

9 Dec

The unfortunate events of the suicide of Kate Middleton’s nurse, has left the two radio show host to be reevaluated themselves for psychological reasons. Both host have gone incognito and have isolated themselves from work, the media, and even family. According to Mel Greig’s family and friends, they have no clue as to where she is. It’s sad that Kate and her family, especially her unborn child now will be forever tied to such craziness. It is too early in the investigation to show whether or not the radio station host are solely to blame for this tragedy but according to Time in Scrutiny Builds at Radio Station that Prank Called London Hospital, the overwhelming national publicity has shown their dislike for the two hosts. Like mentioned before it is a little to early to place blame. We don’t really know this woman’s state of mind prior and after the incident. To solely blame these too are just absurd. The media overall needs to take responsiblity of how they go about to acquire information. The lengths some will take to get the scoop is frightening. This unfortunate event, I hate to say, is an eye opener, example and a warning to all. We should be cautious in the way we report, investigate etc to get the top news. We never know people’s mental state.

Drama is So Overated

9 Dec

The story over LeAnn Rimes is getting old. I’m ranting because the more I hear about this woman and her infidelity story that was how many years ago? the more I’m like can we just squash it already! Yes, we are sadden by the actions that had taken place, yet so tired of hearing about it. I totally understand Eddie’s ex wife’s reason to get back at LeAnn but I feel she should have done that years ago when the door was wide open for some sort of retaliation. Now its like your just hungry for attention. Yeah your man cheated, okay say something about it then be done with it. Move on. Life is too short to be hampering about it. Leave the trashy talk and pointless accusations at home. Stop flooding tabloids and the media about this other woman and get a NEW life.  Then you have LeAnn, who in some ways is feeling the effects of her decisions. Though you can only play the damsel in distress for soo long. Its kind of along the lines of you reap what you sow. I do feel on the other hand the way she has dealt with the situation has been too publicized. Stop talking about it. If you need some type of psychological help seek it out. But retaliating against the ex is just plain messy. You clearly don’t want to be in the midst of the media like that so don’t cater to the ex’s attention, it’s clearly what she wants. I do understand the need to defend yourself, but nobody clearly cares anymore which is why she’s taking her frustrations out on you again. She shes you moving on and rebuilding your life. She needs to take a tip or two. Okay im done now. I hope im not the only one who feels this way. I dont just feel this way about this particular story, I do with all cheating scandals and their fall outs. Drama is overrated now. I credit my rant to TMZ and their recent story on LeAnn not being addicted to laxatives and not being anorexic.



Ke$ha Concert More Important Than Jail

8 Dec

In a recent episode of “Teen Mom 2” teen mom Jenelle Evans is told that she will face jail time because of a violation of her probation. Evans had failed a drug test. Her probation officer wanted her to enter jail the same day as a concert that she had planned on going to. Jenelle tried to convince her lawyer to request another time for her to go to jail so she could attend the concert. Her lawyer told her that a concert was not a priority and that she should take the fact that she was facing jail time more seriously. Evans continued to argue that singer Ke$ha was her idol and that she could not miss the concert. Later in the next episode Evans failed another drug test and was immediately arrested. A friend posted bail for her. The next day she was urged by her lawyer to come see him immediately to go over her options. However, she did not and instead went to the Ke$ha concert.

I thought this topic was interesting considering the presentation that a class member gave over shows such as Teen Mom. I think this is a clear example of how these girls can be bad role models for young people. There are more important things in life that a concert. Especially something like jail! In my opinion, her first priority should have been to figure out a way to avoid jail time so that she would not have to leave her child. What do you all think about this? Watch this video and let me know what you think!

Girl on Fire

3 Dec

Alicia Keys sure knows how to make a song so memorable and empowering. She is definately are girl (woman) on fire and she doesn’t look like shes about to slow down anytime soon. Enjoy

Do women want to be objectified?

20 Nov


While I was taking a homework break, I stumbled on an interview with Cameron Diaz. She was saying how she believes stripping down is empowering, and how all women secretly want to be objectified.

“I think every woman does want to be objectified,” the 40-year-old Diaz said. “There’s a little part of you at all times that hopes to be somewhat objectified, and I think it’s healthy.”

Diaz related it to being comfortable stripping down for the camera.  “I’m not some young girl with the photographer going, ‘Will you take your clothes off?’ I’m like [mimes stripping], ‘How does this look?’ They’re like, ‘Today we’re not going to put anything other than bras and heels on you,’ and I’m like, ‘These heels are not high enough.'”

She argued that as long as she’s in control of it, she’s happy being objectified because its apart of her femininity.

Do women want to be desired? Of course, men do too. It’s a natural human longing to be wanted based on your sexual appeal. But objectified?… Being stripped of your human traits to some sex object in the eyes of a man is exactly why sexual assault and rape happens… Denying seeing a sexy woman as a human being is what leads to the pervasiveness of sexism in society.

Women shouldn’t like being objectified, they should like being seen as a woman: sexy, smart, strong, someone with a personality…not an object. So when Cameron Diaz says all women want to be objects, she’s not talking about me.

What do you guys think?

Judged on Character

14 Nov

In the 21st century, your life is under a microscope. Your deepest thoughts are posted on Twitter. An iPhone can pin point your direct location. Your face is splashed on the largest social network, Facebook, for the world to see. So I was not surprised that a political figure’s scandal was exposed this weekend.

David H. Petraeus is a well-respected military figure and never fell short when it came to his job, yet his marriage was another story. Petraeus was a four-star general and a heavily involved leader in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also appointed by President Obama to be the director of Central Intelligence Agency. Regardless of his career once his affair was revealed he resigned.

There has been a stir of conversation to whether a public figure’s personal life should affect their job. Personally, if you become a public figure whether you are a general or a talk show host, you are a role model. Your actions regardless if they are in front of a camera or in a closed off room should be ethical. I think resigning was the best action because your character should be reflected in both your public and personal life.

Introducing Melissa Thodos

11 Nov

Artistic Director and Founder of Thodos Dance Chicago.


“I am a choreographer teacher and director. I am a first generation Greek American and grew up eating the best Greek cuisine in Chicago…. the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was just like my wedding video. I am passionate about dance and have loved dance all my life.”

About Thodos Dance Chicago

“Breathtakingly athletic,” “powerfully beautiful,” performing “vibrant choreography”are what some critics have said about Thodos Dance Chicago. Thodos Dance Chicago’s mission is to, ” inspire expression through dance, education, dance creation, and dance performance.” The ensemble is made up of artists who choreograph and teach a wide variety of dance forms with innovative choices. This type of innovative dance has lead Thodos Dance Chicago to be a strong presence in American Contemporary Dance. Melissa Thodos is the founder and  Artistic Director for Thodos Dance Chicago. Melissa founded the Dance company after being both a successful performer and choreographer with The Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble, on the local, national, and international contemporary dance circuits. Melissa has won many awards and grants for her work; State of Illinois as a Greek American, Ruth page Award nominations, a Chicago Dance Achievement Award nomination, and Illinois Arts Council Fellowships. She currently serves on the Illinois Arts Council Dance Advisory Panel. One of her most comprised works, “Reaching There”, won an international acclaimed award in Paris in 1988 at the Internationale Dance de Paris. Melissa Thodos was featured as one of Chicago’s 100 Women Making a Difference and voted as one of the “top ten hidden talents” by the Chicago Tribune. Melissa also was one of the final selected participants for the national “Women of Worth” award in New York City. There is no doubt that Melissa Thodos is one of the leading women in the dance circuit of today.

Samantha Ellison: What first got you into dance and was there a moment when you knew that you wanted to be involved with dance for the rest of your life?

Melissa Thodos: I was a really big tomboy growing up and hung out with my older brother a lot. Being raised in a traditional Greek family…my mother took note of this and thought it a good idea to switch out my sport shorts and jerseys for pink tights and a bow, and put me in ballet class at the age of six. I did not like the pink tights, but fell in love with dance and ended up training extensively at The Evanston School of Ballet.

I also studied dance in my after school public high school dance club. It was there that I was given the opportunities to begin to choreograph dance. The program was run by a professional dancer and she ran the club like a professional dance company and I loved discovering the creativity of dance making. I then attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs New York and landed my first professional dance contract in Chicago in 1984. I founded Thodos Dance Chicago in 1992 and the Company is turning 21 this year, something that we are all very excited about.

SE: Who were some of your role models growing up?

MT: My dance teachers were my role models. They were professional dancers and it was so special to get to know them as people and see them every day for class, and then watch them weave magic as they breathtakingly performed on stage.

SE:How did Thodos Dance Chicago start and why did you want to start your own dance company?

MT: I founded Thodos Dance Chicago in 1992 and I founded the company because I wanted a platform for my work/choreography. In the early years the Company performed only my work and later when we acquired more financial resources I was able to grow the company in ways that I was hoping to by inviting guest choreographers, developing a platform for my dancers to have their work professionally produced in Chicago , our “New Dances” choreography performance series now in it’s 12th year, and was also able to start a school in which our professional dancers are the teachers.

SE: What was the first piece you ever choreographed and directed?

MT: My first professional piece was presented in Chicago in 1986 and was a solo that I created for myself along with a prop. The prop is a big 5 foot wheel that was designed and constructed by my father who was an engineer. I also worked with a composer and had an original electronic /synthesized score created for the work.

SE: Who are some of the best choreographers you have worked with over the years?

MT: As a dancer: Lar Lubovich, Paul Taylor, Z’eva Cohen, That have guested with my Company: Tony-Award winning Ann Reinking ( we will be performing a special piece by the iconic Bob Fosse and Ann Reinking helped to stage the piece) Shapiro & Smith, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Amy Ernst among many other American choreographers.

SE: Looking back on your career so far, what is one of your favorite memories or moments?

MT: I have too many to name. Every year, experience that I have and piece that I create is different and new, as if a new page is turned and more of the story is written and comes to life.

SE: What is “The White City”, about? What do you hope audience members take away from this piece?

MT: Our one act contemporary story ballet “The White City: Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893” is a dance that tells an amazing true story, one that has the brilliance and dark tragedy. “The White City” is true story that changed the history and face of Chicago forever. Chicago was the city selected to host the world’s fair in 1893, immediately following the World’s Fair in Paris where the Eiffel Tower was built. Chicago was under an immense amount pressure to surpass what Paris did it is at the Chicago world’s fair that the Ferris wheel was first invented and unveiled. Over half of the country attended Chicago’s fair and the most amazing inventions were revealed from electricity to the zipper to hot air balloons. The fair was a time of utter brilliance coupled by a time of tragedy as it also carried with it a dark side that had murder in many forms, mystery and intrigue. Our story ballet has a music score by Bruce Wolosoff, film projections by award winning film maker Chris Olsen, where he uses are the original images of the fair ( The Chicago History museum gave us the use of all of their original images for this ballet) costumes of the Victorian era, and lots of great dance that tells a great story. There is also a half hour documentary featured on WTTW/PBS about the making of our dance “the White City titled” Beneath The White City Lights” this will be airing in your community soon and has been nominated for an Emmy Award in cultural documentary division.

SE: How can people join the Thodos Dance Chicago and what does that process look like? How can people find out more information about Thodos Dance Chicago?

MT: Thodos Dance Chicago hosts annual auditions in March and in May. Our audition process is extensive and involves analysis of the technical abilities of the dancer, in addition to teaching the repertory to the attendees and we end with the dancer performing a self choreographed solo to get a sense of the dancer’s choreograph aesthetic. Following that we interview the dancer to learn more about their goals and to see how their goals fit with our mission.

Another great way for a dancer to get to know more about Thodos Dance Chicago is to participate in one of our two annual summer intensive workshops.

Finally, people can learn a lot about Thodos Dance Chicago by visiting us on our website at and also by following us on facebook.

Playing Unfair

31 Oct

      I watched the film “Playing Unfair – The Media Image of the Female Athlete” reflects on how the media portrays female athletes as weak, subordinate and sex symbols. Women athletes were not given the opportunity to be equals until the passing of Title IX. The law would not allow anyone to be rejected in participating in sports based off gender. Although the passing of Title IX legally granted equality to female athletes, there are still social boundaries to climb over.

The coverage women received differed from men. When sports announcers would say the name of athletes they address women by their first name and men by their last name. Once the video made this claim I realized I had noticed this detail before. When watching the Olympics this summer, my favorite sport to watch was tennis. I noticed when the announcer was covering Andy Roddick’s game he or she would refer to him as Roddick. However, when Serena Williams was playing her opponent they would refer to her as Serena.

“Playing Unfair” opened my eyes to how the media molds female athletes into sex symbols. The film would compare images of swimsuit models to well-known women athletes. The women had similar poses as well as wearing little clothing. The athletes would claim they wanted to show off their body because they were proud of how fit they were or it made them feel empowered. But the experts in the film made an excellent point; these women are role models to girls and young athletes should not think the only way to feel empowered is to pose half naked.