March 2019

March 26

Gloria_Steinem_byGETTY _MikeCoppola_Cind

We Love Gloria: 85 of Gloria Steinem’s Friends Celebrated Her 85th Birthday 

Getty / Mike Coppola

By Lori Perkins

The Women’s Media Center, co-founded by Gloria Steinem with Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan in 2005, commemorated on her 85th birthday by posting short birthday greetings from over 85 artists, journalists, activists, and many life-long friends from around the globe expressing what the women’s rights pioneer has meant to them and to the feminist movement. According to WMC, “many of these stories share an experience or memory that exemplifies Steinem, or a personal insight about the impact she has had.”

Those greetings are posted on the WMC website and on social media. Readers are encouraged to visit Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to add their own tributes and birthday greetings with #Happy85Gloria. Many of these stories share an experience or memory that exemplifies Steinem, or a personal insight about the impact she has had.

Steinem was also presented with a beautiful private birthday gift book — including the text and scores of photographic memories.

Below is a sampling of the tributes to Steinem on the WMC website.

 “I will never forget standing together on the stage of Constitution Hall for our very first Voters For Choice concert. And the night we cheered the election of our first fully pro-choice U.S. president. And the day I joined the Women’s Media Center. For all these years you have always been where you are most needed — at the podium, on TV, on the plane, on the phone, at the computer — to build the movement for equality and social justice.”

Julie Burton, Women’s Media Center president

  “The first thing I feel whenever I'm in Gloria Steinem’s presence is safe. She makes me feel safe. That’s because she is deeply kind. Her slender body seems to curve towards you like a parenthesis, leaning in, protecting. Though she is barraged by demands on her time, she is always willing to stop and listen, wanting to help, to understand. I know there are literally millions of women (I have personally spoken to hundreds of them) whose lives have been changed by Gloria’s words.”

Jane Fonda, Women’s Media Center co-founder, Actor, Activist, Author

Georges Biard

  “Happy Birthday, Gloria, and may the torch you lit and continue to carry burn brightly forever!”

Pat Mitchell, media executive, producer, curator of TEDWomen, Women’s Media Center co-chair

  “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite anxiety: that she has not yet saved the world enough, lobbied picketed protested rallied organized put off her writing deadlines and fundraised fundraised fundraised enough.”

Robin Morgan, WMC co-founder, nationally syndicated host, Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan, best-selling author 

RMBMPhotos

 “Gloria famously said, “This is what 40 looks like.” That simple response is so much more than an anthem of strength for 40-year-olds, but an empowering declaration for every woman, at every age to unapologetically be themselves. Gloria has always unapologetically been herself. She has inspired countless women, including me, to challenge the status quo and fight for political, social, and economic power to women. She’s the woman we want our daughters to grow up to be. Hell, she’s the woman I want to grow up to be. To my friend Gloria, Happy Birthday!”

Joy Behar, co-host, The View

  “In 1980 I was raising money for my lesbian love story Desert Hearts, asking everyone if they knew Gloria. I wondered, would she understand my passion to tell this story? We met. I gave her my script. What would she say? She simply asked: “How can I help?” Wow! I knew Gloria meant it, I registered how I felt. The memory of Gloria's question became my inspiration to ask that question myself.”

Donna Deitch, producer, director

  “Dear Gloria: I know you are a big deal and everything, but I just want, on this big birthday, to make sure you know that it is in all the ways you are a small deal that you the most amazing.”

Abigail E. Disney, filmmaker, philanthropist, activist

 “I love that in your private life you walk the walk, advocating for women globally and also close to home. I love that you write like you talk and talk like you write.”

Lena Dunham, actor, writer, producer

  “Gloria is more than a feminist. More than an activist, a writer, an entrepreneur. Much more than an icon or a hero. She is indelible and irreplaceable.”

Sally Field, actor, director

  “Thank you for being the superhero. We are all forever grateful.”

Mariska Hargitay, actor

  “Gloria has mentored my growth and development with keen intelligence and brilliant perspective forged by her decades of lived experience. For someone so fierce, she’s is so gentle. That’s perhaps what I love best about her. She wears her inimitable experience loosely.”

Ashley Judd, actor, activist, chair Women’s Media Center Speech Project

 “Playing her in Gloria: A Life, I came to understand that maybe because she grew up thinking her mother did not matter; that indeed her own needs didn't really matter, she became determined to make sure all women on the planet mattered.”

Christine Lahti, actor, filmmaker

  “At 15, I was first introduced to the woman’s movement and Gloria Steinem. I saw her on the local news speaking out on issues I had personally witnessed, in my home and my neighborhood. She spoke calmly and clearly about fairness and equality in Women’s Rights. Her words resonated and inspired me. And she was funny, too. Fifteen years later, involved in the women’s movement myself, I was given a song to sing called “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” I saw the possibility that it could be an anthem to empower ALL women of ALL ages. But without Gloria’s advocacy, I’m not sure I would have been inspired the same way.”

Cyndi Lauper, singer, songwriter, actor

 “We can’t think of anyone in our lifetime who has been more responsible for important, justified, and welcome change.”

Lyn and Norman Lear, writer, producer

 “When you came to work on The Good Wife, I wanted to make a good impression, but found that I barely had the courage to speak, I was so star struck. You were kind, gracious, and so generous with your time.”

Julianna Margulies, actor

 “Gloria, I remember the first time I saw you when I was a kid, on the Phil Donahue Show. The things you said I had never heard before. I asked my mother about what you said.  She said, “Women can do anything men can do, and often do it better.” I wish you could’ve seen the look on my face! Boom! Sometimes change occurs in a nanosecond! Thank you for all you’ve done to make this world a better place. I remain with you in this fight.” 

Michael Moore, filmmaker, author

  “We spent her 80th birthday in Africa. In fact, on the day of her birthday, rode elephants in a humane sanctuary. The sight of her, little pony tail swinging in the wind, the view landscape of possibilities in front of her — who she is, where she’s come, and what’s still awaiting her.”

Kathy Najimy, actor, activist

  “I learned you can run up to her with compliments but she would rather sit with a cup of tea and talk about what's happening and what we are going to do about it. I was honored to speak at her 80th birthday. To stand in front of hundreds of people and speak confidently in a way she didn't even realize she taught me how. But I don't think she really cares how it happened just as long as we are talking.”

Amy Schumer, comedian, actor

Mario Santor

  “Gloria, thank you for whatever made you give your life to us, for us, make it about all of our well-being — and by Us I mean ALL of us, men, boys, women, girls, all PEOPLE. You clarify the continuing inequities in our society in a calm but passionate, direct but compassionate way.”

Meryl Streep, actor

Dick Thomas Johnson 

  “Happy birthday Ms. GLORIOUS! It has been an honor spending the last three years invested in bringing the inspiring moments of your life to the screen. We are currently in India for the last days of our shoot and all of us here working on the film never cease being moved by your journey. Many more to come!”

 “Gloria Steinem, you are absolutely the most significant leader who set the Women’s Movement on the right course in this country.”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters; Women’s Media Center board member

Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

  “You teach us that we must always learn, convene, create circles in which we can be seen and heard.”

Alicia Garza, activist, founder, Black Lives Matter

“I have seen you on the world stages and in the quiet rooms with people seeking solace. You never disappoint. You never reject. And your words, whether on the page, or in that inimitable voice, you embrace.”

Carol Jenkins, president, ERA Coalition; former and founding president, Women’s Media Center

  “One of the first memories I have with Gloria is when domestic workers held a 24-hour vigil in front of the governor’s office to demand movement on the passage of the New York State Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. I sent her a quick note letting her know we were there. She showed up, brought friends, and stood with domestic workers for hours, sharing stories about past campaigns that she had been a part of to recognize women’s work in the home, to help keep our energy up. She deeply inspired every last one of our members and energized us all for the work ahead.”

 Christiane Amanpour, CNN chief international correspondent; host, Amanpour & Co. on PBS

 

“A few years ago I filed a sexual harassment grievance against my supervisor. It took four years for it to finally settle, and it protected many women from going through what I went through. Without the groundbreaking work that Gloria did for women, I would not have been empowered to file a grievance.”

 Katie Couric, founder, Katie Couric Media; journalist, author, producer, filmmaker

  “As Gloria wrote me after my mother’s death, ‘ “It was a time when we were young and the nation was being re-born — before the murders of Jack Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and Malcolm X. That seemed to us to be the death of our future — though of course, we survived and kept on.” '

But Gloria hasn’t just “survived and kept on” — she has persevered for decades, with verve and heart, fighting for our rights, using her talents, humor, and passion as a writer/journalist to explain why we struggle for equality and for the full humanity of men and women.” 

Nicholas D. Kristof, op-ed columnist, The New York Times, author, commentator

 “While some people become less extraordinary when you get to know them, others gain stature and turn out to be larger not only than life but also larger than legends.”

 Letty Cottin Pogrebin, founding editor, Ms. magazine, journalist, author

 Jewish Women's Archive's 

 “I met Gloria 48 years ago at the founding conference of the National Women's Political Caucus. For 17 years, my desk was ten feet from hers at Ms. magazine, but our friendship long ago outgrew our professional relationship. Knowing this, people often ask me, “What's Gloria reallylike? She can't be as kind/wise/funny/caring/patient/loving/warm as she appears.” The answer is, Yes she can. And she is. Unlike most cultural icons, what you see is who she is — genuinely.”               

 

  Other notables sending greetings to Steinem include Farai Chideya, program officer, Ford Foundation, journalist, educator; Diane Lane, actor; Michelle Kydd Lee, chief innovative officer, CAA; Suzanne Braun Levine, journalist and author; Mary Kathryn Nagle, playwright, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center; Jennifer Siebel Newsom, filmmaker and activist; Bonnie Raitt, artist and activist; Cecile Richards, author and former president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Daryl Roth, producer; Linda Sarsour, activist, co-chair, Women’s March; Ellie Smeal, president, Feminist Majority Foundation and publisher of Ms. magazine; Esta Soler, president, Futures Without Violence; Marisa Tomei, actor, activist; Kathleen Turner, actor, activist; Jessica Valenti, columnist, The Guardian; and Helen Zia, writer, journalist, Women’s Media Center co-chair emerita.

March 25

Twitter Gives Us the Hilarious Some Movies Just Aren’t Great Date Material

By Lori Perkins

Sometimes Twitter just brings me joy!

 

This hilarious Twitter “moment” about bad movies to take a date just made me laugh, which was something I truly needed yesterday.

 

One twitter user remarked that she had gone to Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, which, if you’ve seen the movie you know it’s not a rom com. More of a rom trag.  And, if you haven’t seen the movie, you should, but not with your significant other or even a date.

 

Another user told of her first date to see Schindler’s List, and how they both decided to skip the ice cream they had planned on getting after.

And one guy took his date to Twilight, and made fun of “sparkly vampires” throughout the movie, only to find that his date was an avid fan of the books. 

 

Another  Tweeter mentioned that a friend had gone to The Passion of the Christ on a first date.  No comment there.

Me?  I went to an IMAX showing of Watchmen, where there’s a long lurid sex scene between two characters, which is even longer on a giant screen, especially with someone you know you are never going to have sex with .

 

Enjoy the thread!

 

https://twitter.com/i/moments/1109616506571243520

March 24

Interview with a Romance Anthology Editor

By Lori Perkins

March 23

Obamas Congratulate  J-Rod on Their Engagement

Alex Rodriguez / Instagram

By Lori Perkins

March 21

Whiting Awards Celebrate New Voices at NYC Awards Ceremony

Whiting Foundation

By Lori Perkins

I attended the 34th annual Whiting awards ceremony at New York City’s Historical Society where a full-house of literary movers and shakers applauded the ten authors who each received a $50,000 grant to continue their work in poetry, theater, fiction or nonfiction.

 

I have been attending these awards events on and off since 1990, when  one of my agency clients, a young Lawrence Naumoff, received the award after publishing The Night of Weeping Women (although I don’t remember the award being quite so generous then, but I could be wrong). That was a different world, when there were 27 different publishing houses to submit work to, and most of the award recipients were white, cis men.

 

We’ve come such a long way since then.

 

I was kind of blown away by how diverse the winners of this year’s Whiting Awards were: poets Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Tyree Daye and Vanessa Angelica Villarreal; fiction writers Hernan Diaz, Nifissa Thompson-Spires and Merritt Tierce; nonfiction writers Terese Marie Maihot and Nadia Owusu, and playwrights Michael R. Jackson and Lauren Yee. All of these wonderful writers have come in from all over the country and will be reading at The Strand bookstore in Manhattan tomorrow night at 7:00.

In all the years I’ve been attending the Whiting Awards I was never told much about the woman who created the foundation, Flora Ettlinger Whiting, but this year’s keynote address by Pulitzer Prize-winner Adam Johnson gave all of us the background we should have had going in. Whiting made her money from collecting and investing and one of her best investments was in the Watson Company that made cash register machines and eventually became IBM.  Whiting was known as a collector with a good eye (her furniture is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The New York Historical Society Museum, which is why the awards ceremony is held there). The Whiting Foundation carries on her legacy of finding the best new things in literature.  I love that!

March 20

Hallmark Fires Loughlin Amid Cheating Scandal;  Puts Series on Pause

Crown Media

By Lori Perkins

Crown Media

The Hallmark Channel fired brand ambassador Lori Loughlin after she was indicted for her role in a scheme to buy her daughters entry into USC for $500,000.

 

After Loughlin was released on a $1 million bond returning from shooting in Canada for The Hallmark Chanel, the Crown-owned media company announced that they were cancelling her Garage Sales Mysteries and putting the actor’s other series, When Calls the Heart, on hiatus. Loughlin had stared in the western drama created by Michael Landon for six seasons as Abigail Stanton.

The episode of When Calls the Heart that was supposed to air on March 17 was taken off the schedule by Hallmark as producers work to figuring out what to do with Loughlin’s character and explore how to take the already-filmed episodes of the series forward without Loughlin.  However, it is believed that Hallmark will not cancel the series itself because the recent Season 6 premiere received the highest-rated opening episode in the series’ history.

According to USA Today, Crown Media addressed the situation, saying, “We are saddened by the recent news surrounding the college admissions allegations. We are no longer working with Lori Loughlin and have stopped development of all productions that air on the Crown Media Family Network channels involving Lori Loughlin including Garage Sale Mysteries, an independent third party production.”

 

The series Executive Producer Brian Bird took to Instagram to reassure fans of the show that the series will not be canceled. "With the full support of the network, we have gone on a creative hiatus to do some retooling on the remaining Season 6 episodes," Bird said. "That process has already begun. Hope Valley will return to your TV screens as soon as we can bring the episodes to you."

Meanwhile, Loughlin’s image has been scrubbed from promotional photos affiliated with The Hallmark Channel and the series, including the show’s Facebook page.

 

In addition, Netflix just announced that they were dropping Loughlin from Fuller House, the reboot of Full House that is in its fifth and last season, where she played the role of Aunt Becky.

March 19

Tweet about a Little Boy Realizing Two Princesses Can Marry Goes Viral

KIRSTY MCLACHLAN

By Lori Perkins

KIRSTY MCLACHLAN

KIRSTY MCLACHLAN

KIRSTY MCLACHLAN

KIRSTY MCLACHLAN

Two new brides, Emma and Bea Webster-Mockett, were celebrating their November wedding in Glasgow Botanical Gardens, and were both wearing elegant white wedding dresses, when they were spotted by a little boy who shouted, “Look, two princesses.”

 “My wife and I decided we had to speak to him,” Emma Webster-Mockett told The Huffington Post.

“Did one of you get married?” the boy asked.

Emma replied: “We married each other!”

“Two princesses then?” the little boy asked. 

His mom explained, “Yes, two princesses can marry each other!”

According to the couple, the boy was delighted by their response. 

“I nearly cried!” Emma said. “My wife was just over the moon. And we were both delighted that the boy’s mother didn’t hesitate and just stepped right in and normalized same-sex marriage.”

“It was something we will never forget,” she added. “And it made our day a bit more magical.”

Bea posted the story on Twitter as a way to commemorate the couple’s second anniversary of dating (their first date was on Valentine’s Day 2017) but they never thought the tweet would go viral. Now that their story has gone world-wide, Emma said she hopes “their story will inspire others to be as loving and open-minded as the little boy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

She added, “I hope that people see that if a child could understand two women marrying each other, then why can’t lawmakers and people who have the power to make a difference see that too?” she said. “And give the LGBTQIA+ community the same rights and treatment as heterosexual people.”

March 18

Gloria Steinem and Hilary Clinton Attend

Gloria: A Life Off-Broadway Play!

By Lori Perkins

Imagine how hard it must be to be an actress playing the role of Gloria Steinem in a basically one-woman play about the living legend’s life? And then imagine having the subject of the play show up in the audience with her besties, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Diane Von Furstenberg!  

 

Last week, Gloria, Hilary, Diane and Jill Iscol, a friend and activist, sat in the audience as actress Patricia Kalember wove her spell-binding performance of the life and times of Steinem to a sold-out crowd. She received two standing ovations and reported on Twitter “I just pretended to be Gloria Steinem in front of Gloria, Hilary Clinton and Dion Von Furstenberg. I’ll never recover #gloriatheplay #feministicons.” 

 

Romance Daily News was fortunate enough to see the play earlier and can tell you that the 90-minute telling of Steinem’s life from her impoverished lonely childhood to her life as a journalist and the road to women’s rights activist and eventually self-empowerment is a powerful theatrical experience.  For me, the story of Steinem’s own abortion in 1960’s London was quite compelling, as well as the story of her brief but freeing late-life “surprise” marriage to the late David Bale (Christian Bale’s dad). All the threads of a life you-think-you know were expertly woven together for a wonderful performance.

 

When the play is over, there’s a 20-minute “circle” that is certainly designed to remind you (if you were there) of the consciousness raising gatherings of the early women’s movement, where members of the audience are encouraged to speak their truth. That night, Diane von Furstenberg got up and said, “You say you don’t have daughters, but we are all your daughters and sisters, granddaughters, and soon-to-be great-granddaughters.” 

 

The play is set to close on March 31st, but perhaps with the attention Hilary et al just brought it, they’ll extend it long enough for  some of you to catch it when you come to New York City for the annual Romance Writers of America conference in July.  If not, maybe the soon-to-open Hilary and Clinton will still be running then?

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez were surprised and thrilled to receive a hand-written note of congratulations on their engagement on personalized stationery by none-other than the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle.

 

The note read: “Jennifer & Alex — Michelle and I just wanted to congratulate you on your engagement. After 26 years together, we can say that whatever challenges life may bring, sharing them with someone you love makes it all better.” 

 

A-Rod shared the photo of  the note from the Obamas on Instagram, with his own note captioned, “This means the world to us. #44”

 

I guess this means that the Obamas are going to be invited to the wedding.

Rachel Kenley is editing three new anthologies for Riverdale Avenue Books, Villains Win, Sexy Superheroes and Dangerous Curves. She has edited five for Ravenous Romance, as well as written a number of novels that reinterpret fairy tales and myths.  We sat down with Rachel to talk about how she creates an anthology and what she thinks readers want in a story.

How do you come up with these ideas? 

In addition to current trends and interests, I think about what I'd like to see more of. I'm not a size 2--I'd like to read about more heroines who look like me. Superheroes are everywhere these days, but not the challenges that might occur when you're in a romance with one. And as for stories where the fairy tale villains get their happy ending --it's such fun to play with the "bad guy," don't you think?

 

What do you want in stories? 

Same as in a novel --two (okay it can be more) imperfect characters who are struggling with a situation and get tangled up in a really good romance all at the same time. I want to read as complete a story arc as you can get in a shorter word count.

 

Can you give authors some pointers on getting into anthologies?

Get to the action and the meet between the main characters as quickly as possible. Give them a good situation to keep them together... and then give them  chemistry that they just can't resist! Don't worry too much about backstory. You don't have enough time for that. Characters who knew each other before the story started can help things move quicker (co-workers to lovers, enemies to lovers, etc.)

 

Do you ever match a story up to an author if you think they might be good for an idea?

I've been asked for suggestions and I have a few favorite fairy tales that I love seeing redone, but mostly I'd tell an author to think about what they most love in the stories they read or write and then get into the core of the story as quickly as possible. It's also a fun time to try something new.  I'm doing my first F/F for the Villains Win anthology.

Has a story ever developed in something more? 

Oh definitely, I had a friend wanted to submit for an anthology but the story took on a life of it's own and became a novel. For a while stories with step-siblings were popular and I couldn't resist trying this trope on fairy tales. I ended up writing four novellas!

 

What’s on the horizon? 

Personally I'm working on the second book in a small town contemporary series which has the potential to be very long. This is one of the reasons I'm so thrilled to be writing a few short stories and editing these anthologies. It's nice for my muse to have something a little different to do--and where the words "The End" come a little faster.  I'm also working on a new kinky series set during the Jewish Holidays.  

 

Here are the links to Rachel’s calls for stories for here: http://rachelkenley.net/submissions/

The Glass Stiletto-large.jpg

March 17

Netflix Announces a Royal Baby in

3rd Christmas Prince Movie

Now that I know that Netflix is giving us a third installment in the awesome, romantic Christmas Prince saga (that kind of parallels Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s love story), I wish they believed in Christmas in July, but the release date for A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby is November 30th.  I guess I’ll just have to binge A Christmas Prince and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding in July.

 

In case you’ve been on excruciating deadline for the past two years, A Christmas Prince was released in 2017 and features a plot where an American vlogger/journalist is assigned to cover the coronation of the Prince of Aldovia (a small made-up country where they all have British accents) and pretends to be the American tutor for his disabled sister, finds out that he’s adopted, finds documentation from the dead king authorizing his ascent to the thrown anyway, saves the day, and gets a proposal.

 

Here’s the recap video, which should bring tears to your eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was such a success, that the following year Netflix released A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, which follows the basic plot you’d expect, except that the mother-in-law/queen is absolutely awesome (as opposed to wicked).  Our heroine has to come to terms with the changes her new royal life will bring, and so does the new royal family, much like what we’ve seen happening with real-life royals Meghan and Harry.

 

Here’s the trailer for that film.

 

So, the basic plot of 2019’s  installment, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby No prizes should be no surprise, although, according to DigitalSpy.com, the B plot involves a "faraway kingdom," a missing 600-year-old treaty and an ancient curse.  I can’t wait!

Netflix

By Lori Perkins

March 16

Gone with the Wind to be Shown Nationally to Celebrate 80th Anniversary of the Classic Film

By Lori Perkins

Fathom Events

On March 17th and 18th, the beloved classic Gone with the Wind will return to movie theaters through Fathom Events screening throughout the country.  On Sunday, March 17, the showing will be at 1:00 p.m. and on Monday, March 18th the showing will be at 6:00 p.m. (all local times) with a four minute intermission in the four-hour long film.

When it was released in 1939, Gone With the Wind was a national sensation since the 1937 novel by Margaret Mitchell had won the Pulitzer Prize and sold more than two million copies by the time of the movie’s release. The Governor of Georgia declared its opening day a state holiday. It was the most expensive film ever made at that time and it was rumored that producer David O. Selznick feared he would never see a profit. Instead, despite a nearly four-hour running time, the movie grossed 25 times its cost on its initial run, and went on to win a then-record eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Adjusted for inflation, this romantic tale of a certain idea of the “Old South” remains the biggest box office hit in American film history. An early example of large-scale narrative filmmaking, it is also considered one of the classic American movies, named the fourth best American film in a highly publicized 1998 list by the American Film Institute.

But in recent years, its portrayal of the “genteel south” and slavery has come under fire for presenting a fantasy that never existed and literally white-washing painful American history. As recently as two years ago, movie theater showings of the film were cancelled in Tennessee and Georgia as being too controversial.

 

So the question we have to ask ourselves is where does Gone with the Wind fit in today?

The film, as film, is a masterpiece of cinematic story-telling and one of the greatest Technicolor accomplishments of its time. Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Cable as Rhett Butler were perfectly cast, acted perfectly and many of the scenes are so indelibly burned into our cultural retinas that they are part of who we are (the burning of Atlanta and that “as God is my witness” scene). Hattie McDaniel was the only black actress I knew by name growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, even though I never saw her in anything else. It wasn’t until the TV show Julia starring Diahann Carroll in the late 60’s that I can remember another black actress receiving that kind of national attention (and, of course, things were changing then).  

 

In addition to the tacit racism and southern Civil War worship that can be subtlety assumed from the film, there is also the horrific sexism. When my mother took me to see the movie in a theater when I was 12 in the 70’s, she had the forethought to tell me ahead of time that there was a marital rape scene in the movie that I should not think was normal or the way men should ever treat women. Having her point that out to me ahead of time ensured that I got the message.

 

I think that’s how we have to watch the film today.

 

We need to glory in its amazing accomplishments, acknowledge its limitations, and if we are introducing a new generation to it, call out its flaws before we get there.

 

And then, order some popcorn.

Go to Fathomevents.com to find the local theater near you showing the film.

March 15

Honeymoon Couple Misses

Their Cruise Ship in Bahamas

By Lilli McHale

Maria González Roesch

This March a video clip went viral of a couple who watched as their cruise ship sailed away while they’re clearly on the dock in the Bahamas. The young couple is seen waving their arms and screaming in attempts to get the crew’s attention as they floated away.

 

The woman turned out to be Maria Gonzalez Roesch, who is ironically already well-known across Costa Rican TV and Instagram. Insider talked to Maria about her experience and found out that her ship, the Royal Caribbean's goliath Symphony of the Seas, had left the docks two hours earlier then at all other destinations, resulting in the couple missing the boat. In turn, the pair took a flight to Miami in their swimsuits. The boat was headed there from the Bahamas as its last stop. 

 

The pair was celebrating their honeymoon as they had married about a month earlier. Maria had been on cruises before so was apparently surprised when she missed the boat as they had been quite attentive all the other days. On the last day, the pair were simply enjoying themselves and having a good time relaxing. "When we arrived at the pier, it was frustrating because the cruise was right there," but the boat was already leaving without them. Crew members did communicate with them from the back of the ship, only to tell them that they wouldn’t have any luck with getting on. The problem was, all of their stuff was on there. "We just had a little cash for the island for some food and drinks but we left everything else on the boat," González Roesch stated. 

Funny enough, the couple was not the only couple to miss the boat. There were four more people who were late. So many people miss their boats that the Bahamas has a small boat that goes out to cruise ships to pick up belongings of those left behind. This reunited the couples with their passports. "In 40 minutes, we had all our stuff again and we were relieved because the next step was to get a taxi to the airport and take a flight to Miami," Maria said. Yet, the little boat didn’t bring any clothing, leaving the pair in their swimsuits. 

 

Even with the mishaps, the couple still enjoyed their honeymoon saying, "Now it's such a funny experience [to look back on] and we have a good story to tell our future kids, if we have any."

 

https://www.thisisinsider.com/maria-gonzlez-roesch-instagram-star-who-missed-cruise-ship-on-honeymoon-took-flight-in-bikini-2019-3

March 14

What Does it Mean when Hallmark Channel’s Brand Ambassador Lori Loughlin

Gets Caught Cheating?

By Lori Perkins

Crown Media

I was trying to tie this disgusting college admissions scandal into relevant news for RomanceDailyNews, when Jezebel.com so kindly reminded me that actress Lori Loughlin is basically the Hallmark Channel’s brand ambassador. She stars in a the Hallmark series When the Heart Calls, as well as a series of Garage Sale Mysteries on their Movies and Mystery channel, and at least one annual Christmas movie (which she may have even been filming when she was indicted). She is usually featured in a channel trailer introducing the forthcoming Christmas movies for the holiday season.  In addition, she was set to play the role of the mom of Brenda and Brandon Walsh in the CW reboot of Beverly Hills 90210, and now I seriously doubt that is going to happen.  Now we know she’s not exactly a mom role model.

 

She posted a $1 million bond to get out of jail (I guess Hallmark and CW pay pretty well, but her husband is also the designer Mossimo, and the “mailbox money” from her role as Aunt Becky on Full House is probably nothing to sneeze at) and $500,000 to get her two unqualified (and, it seems from social media, unappreciative) daughters into USC.

 

I watch this unfold as the romance industry is being shaken by the revelation that there are “authors” out there plagiarizing beloved books by hiring “ghost writers” to basically rewrite someone else’s novel for a few hundred dollars and throwing these titles up on KU to grab a piece of the mufti-million dollar Amazon algorithm pie that has absolutely nothing to do with quality. (Here’s an article on this scandal, if you are unfamiliar with it https://bookriot.com/2019/02/19/round-up-of-copypastecris/)

And, this goes on, as the country sees indictment after indictment of President Trumps’ fixers and “good guys” getting caught wheeling and dealing and perjuring themselves as they proudly “game the system.”

 

That is really what this is all about. Somehow our national character has shifted from one of pride in being the best we can be to being the best at getting over and getting away with it.

 

I emailed The Hallmark Channel and asked them for a comment on Loughlin, but as of midnight on March 13, they have not gotten back to me. I know her cheating isn’t their fault, but I hope they do the right thing and remove all her movies from circulation, and cancel her upcoming Christmas movie.  And if they don’t, I will not be able to watch the Hallmark Channel.

March 13

RDN Interviews Rebel Love Dating Author
Dr. Chris Donaghue

By Lori Perkins

Dr. Chris Donaghue, PhD, is an international lecturer, therapist, educator, and host of the Amber Rose Show with Dr. Chris, the #1 podcast in the sex and dating category. Prior to this, Dr. Chris hosted Logo's Bad Sex and has appeared everywhere from the New York Times to Nightline, Vice, The Today Show, Newsweek, CNN, OWN, Refinery29, and Access Hollywood. He is also a frequent guest on The Doctors as well as high-profile podcasts like Sex with Emily, Guys We've Fucked, and Sex Nerd Sandra. Dr. Chris lives in LA.

 

How did the idea for the book come up?


My decades-long career as a sex therapist, TV and radio host, and podcaster, showed me that people are still struggling to find acceptance in their diverse and creative bodies and sexualities. Woman-identified people especially, are still shamed for sexual empowerment and expected to center their lives around looking attractive based on the male gaze (what is assumed men will find attractive). Most of the dating and self-help advice tells people to change who they are—lose weight, act like a “lady” and dress “respectable”—which really just instills insecurity and ignores actual compatibility and authenticity. My book challenges all this, and works to help people feel secure exactly as they are.

 

What do you want readers to know about the book?


Rebel Love will help you learn to love yourself exactly as you are now. It’s sex positive, body positive and rooted deeply in feminist values. It seeks to dismantle all the problematic dating and sex advice that keeps people feeling disempowered and relationally unhappy. Rebel Love will teach you to live authentically and acknowledges the diverse needs and impacts that race, body size, gender expression, ability and sexual orientation have upon ones sexual and relational life.   ​

 

Tell us about yourself?


Growing up on what felt like the margins of the entire world, prepped me to find confidence in living differently. School allows for me to practice as a licensed therapist, but it is all of my life’s challenges, moments of opposition and defiance, and alternative experiences of education that have given me something meaningful to say. That’s how I got on TV. That’s why I got published. I never follow the rules, and I still don’t. Because the rules are built for conformity, and health always lives outside the lines. I use my power and privilege to make others feel OK just as they are. I use my authority to tell those that aren’t skinny or gym-bodied, that are not hetero or cis, that love kinky sex or are asexual, that they are healthy, lovable and have worth. Our culture isn’t one that affirms differences and creative ways of being, but instead prioritizes assimilation and conformity. Being a feminist taught me that to be a sex and relationship therapist meant being political, because everything is political, especially the mental health world. Being an intersectional queer theorist taught me that health lives on the margins, and that all minority identities matter and that privilege was to be used to lift others as I climb. I love my career, not only because of the perks, but also because I get to be part of changing the world. I know that I’m leaving the world a better place, for everyone, but especially for those disenfranchised. 

What did you learn during the writing/research of this book?


Writing and researching I learned how trapped therapists, self-help gurus and dating experts are in sexism and gender roles. It’s so disappointing that most still write as though there are only two genders, that everyone is heterosexual, and as though other intersecting identities like race don’t impact ones sexual empowerment and sense of desirability. It’s 2019—we can no longer just discuss “women” and “women’s sexuality” as though all women are the same and have the same desires. One’s race, sexual identity, gender expression and body size. etc. all creates different women. It’s time to stop being so lazy and tone deaf, but more importantly less oppressive to minority identities.  

 

What are you working on next?


Aside from my clinical practice in L.A. and my nightly radio show Loveline, I’m writing my next book about body positivity and psychology. It examines how gym and fitness culture have trained us to dislike our bodies, and to see our worth tied to how we look. We have forgotten that our body is a vehicle, and not an achievement. The oppressive ideologies of diet culture and body hatred are ubiquitous.

9780762465330_Cover_Retail.jpeg

March 11

There’s No Romance in Captain Marvel

But It’s One Big HEA

By Lori Perkins

Just in case you haven’t seen the blockbuster film Captain Marvel (that’s an inside joke for those of you who have seen it), I’m not going to give a lengthy plot synopsis here.  What I am going to do is point out how this film is a perfect reflection how we see women at this moment in time.

 

I think a lot of people expect female reviewers to look for and applaud the female empowerment angle of Captain Marvel, the first female-lead superhero movie in the 21-films-so-far Marvel universe (and for the record, that honor should have gone to Black Widow), but the things that I found so exhilarating with this film was the relationships.  And the fact that the relationships in this female-driven film were not romantic, and yet, there was a real happy for now at the end of the film, with the promise of HEA for all involved.

 

The two female-lead relationships in this film are the buddy friendship between a CGI-altered Samuel L. Jackson playing a young Nick Fury and Brie Larsen’s Captain Marvel, and the solid female friendship between Maria Rambeau and Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. Fury and Marvel are so delightfully mismatched – they come from different times and universes, not to mention abilities – and yet he learns to trust her and even let her lead.  You just didn’t see a lot of that in male dominated superhero films.

We also learn that the thing that Carol Danvers truly cherishes, and what makes her remember who she is, and gives her the strength to be who she needs to be, is the powerful friendship between herself and fellow Air Force pilot Maria Rambeau, who is an unabashedly single mother (and there’s no excuse given for her status). There’s no old boyfriend, dying male lover that needs to be saved, the one who got away, or possible hot stud looming in the background or foreground of this movie. The message is that this is a movie about a woman saving the world for herself, and those she loves, and she is happy in her achievement of setting things right...or now. 

 

Needless to say I am eager to see how Captain Marvel fits into the Marvel Universe in the Avengers 4: Endgame that comes out in just seven weeks on April 26.

March 10

J-Rod Engaged!

Alex Rodriguez Gave J-Lo the Ring

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JENNIFER LOPEZ/INSTAGRAM

By Lori Perkins

When I saw them at the Oscars this past February, I asked myself, “when are they going to get engaged?” Then I read that J Lo was putting her Manhattan apartment up for sale and the two of them were looking for a place together, so it’s no surprise that Alex bought her a gigantic emerald cut diamond ring, or that she said yes while they were on vacation in the Bahamas. Both of them posted photos of her hand with her new rock on their Instagram accounts.

 

And it’s kind of nice.

 

They’ve dated so publicly in New York –they made their first public appearance at the Met Gala in 2017, and all through the baseball season we see J Lo at Yankee Stadium while Alex announces for ESPN. Now that they’re engaged, they get to be New York’s official first couple.

 

It’s the second marriage for A Rod, 43, and the fourth for Jenny from the Block, 49, but they seem to be genuinely happy together and focused on their kids (three tweens and a teen between the two of them). Their P.R. departments keep telling us that the kids all get along.

So, I’m just hoping for a big Latin wedding in New York City, maybe at Yankee Stadium or the Met?

Splash News

March 8

Is that Movie Feminist Enough?

New App One Ups the Bechdel Test

By Lori Perkins

How about you if could grade movies on how feminist or racist or classist they are? Or if they are intersectional or diverse? Well, there just might be an app for that now!

According to the Google Play, the Mango Meter app was created by a group of six angry, sexy, crazy and cool feminists from all across Asia: Chen Yi-Chien (Taiwan), Devi Asmarani (Indonesia), Medhavine Namjoshi (India), Meggan Evangelista (the Philippines). Sahar Gul (Pakistan) and Sharmee Hosain (Bangladesh), with the support of political foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. It allows users to rate films based on feminist criteria.

With data collected from user responses, a film will be rated on a scale of one to five mangoes. One mango signifies a film’s misogyny, while five denotes that it’s a feminist gem.

 “Film is such a powerful and influential medium, yet it is very problematic in its portrayal of women, and in perpetuating stereotypes,” explained Asmarani, in the World Economic Forum. “So we decided to create a movie rating app — like Rotten Tomatoes, but with a feminist lens — so we can spark a bigger conversation about sexism and misogyny in the movies.”

According to Asmarani, Mango Meter’s criteria “go a little deeper” than the Bechdel Test, a way of determining whether a film or TV show is sexist or not developed by Allison Bechtel in her 1985 comic strip The Rule. In order to pass that test, a film or novel must 1) feature at least two women who 2) talk to each other about 3) about something other than a guy. In contrast, Mango Meter asks questions about whether the film subscribes to “a western notion of beauty,” its representation of marginalized communities and sexuality, its socioeconomic discussions, character agency, and more.

“By rating films on Mango Meter we can challenge the status quo and let the film industry know that we want better,” the app’s official description declares.

Mango Meter is available on Google Play, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.mangometer.app&hl=en_US

March 7

The 2018 Ripped Bodice Diversity in Publishing Report is Out And The News Isn’t Good

By Lori Perkins

The Ripped Bodice, the country’s only all-romance bookstore (located in Los Angeles) has published its third annual diversity in romance report, and the news is not good. Sisters Bea and Leah Koch surveyed 20 publishers of romance and only one had improved the number of books written by Authors of Color this past year. According to the survey 18 of the 20 publishers surveyed, had more than 90% of the books they published written by white authors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bookstore owners explained that they had started the survey in 2016 “because the romance genre prides itself on being a feminist haven where women writers have finally found a place to express positive stories that center female experiences.” However as the third year of the survey has found little or no improvement in these figures (results of the first two surveys can be found on the page with the latest survey results), the Koch sisters has this to say, “We continue to be stunned by the blatant hypocrisy of a community that insists upon uplifting only a certain kind of woman, both between the pages and in real life. When beginning this project three years ago, we believed that as soon as the numbers were collected and publicly released, publishers would immediately make strides toward correcting this imbalance. We hoped that providing clear data would contribute to the work that authors of color had been doing for decades to prove that there is widespread systemic racism within romance publishing. Clearly, the publishers were not moved by this data given that there has been zero progress in the last 3 years.”

 

The survey also point out that 80% of their 10 best-selling titles this past year were written by women of color.

 

Ripped Bodice Bestsellers 2018

A Princess in Theory byAlyssaCole

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Heroine's Journey by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton

 

The Ripped Bodice owners explained that “The most common refrain from publishers remains: These books don't sell. Yet they seem to fly off our shelves...” 

 

Let’s all make a concerted effort to improve these numbers substantially next year.

 

Click here for the survey, https://www.therippedbodicela.com/sites/therippedbodicela.d7.indiebound.com/files/2018%20diversity%20study.pdf

The Ripped Bodice / Yelp

The Ripped Bodice / Yelp