BUST: For Women With Something To Get Off Their Chests - BUST http://bust.com Mon, 05 Dec 2016 03:36:41 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb debbie@bust.com (BUST ) 11 Stocking-Fillers For Your Feminist Bestie This Holiday Season http://bust.com/style/18687-11-feminist-accessories.html http://bust.com/style/18687-11-feminist-accessories.html Feminist accessories are a must-have gift this holiday season, and you can find a huge range at our BUST Craftacular in Brooklyn on December 10th and 11th. Check out 11 of our favorites from an amazing Craftacular vendor, Modern Girl Blitz.

1. My Cup of Tea Feminist Brooch / Pin

.Cup of tea

2. Bad B Award Earrings

Bad B earrings

3. Red Middle Finger Button

Middle Finger

4. Feminism Is Cool Necklace

Feminism Is Cool

5. Nasty Woman Award Button

Nasty Woman

6. Devil Grrrl Pocket Mirror

DEvil girl

7. Grrrl Gang Iron-on Embroidered Patch

Iron On

8. My Choice Cat Button

Choice cat

9. Dear Patriarchy Print

Dear Patriarchy

10. Feminist Killjoy Sweater Brooch Set With Chain

Fem Killjoy

11. Slimy Venus Symbol Collar Clip Set


Check out Modern Girl Blitz and more at BUST's 11th Annual Craftacular, at The Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble Street, Greenpoint Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th December, 11am-7pm.

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aoiferbkelly@gmail.com (Aoife Kelly) ROOT Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:35:20 -0500
James Deen Racks Up 20 Adult-Film Award Nominations Despite Sexual Assault Allegations and We’re Outraged http://bust.com/feminism/18688-james-deen-racks-up-20-adult-film-award-nominations-despite-sexual-assault-allegations-and-we-re-outraged.html http://bust.com/feminism/18688-james-deen-racks-up-20-adult-film-award-nominations-despite-sexual-assault-allegations-and-we-re-outraged.html James Deen Cover

Right around this time last year, porn star James Deen was accused of multiple reports of sexual assault, rape, and physical abuse by several well-known actors in the industry, including his former girlfriend Stoya and Teen Mom reality star, Farrah Abraham. While many brands, including Kink.com and The Frisky, made the decisions to cut ties with Deen at the end of 2015, his spokesperson Howard Bragman comments that “very little in James’ life has changed over the past year,” in an interview with the Daily Beast. And considering Deen has produced 29 adult films in 2016 and is up for 20 nominations for the AVN and XBIZ award shows, including Male Performer of the Year— it has become abundantly clear that these accusations did little to no harm to his professional reputation.

James Deen Photo 1

Once dubbed a “feminist” porn star because of his standpoint on consent and support of women’s rights, Deen lost the title when he was first accused of sexual assault by his former girlfriend and fellow performer Stoya on Twitter. Shortly after Stoya came forward with her story, other porn actors including Tori Lux, Ashley Fires, Joanna Angel, Lily LaBeau, Amber Rayne, and reality star Farrah Abraham admitted that Deen had assaulted them as well. Deen has denounced all accusations, telling the Daily Beast that he was “completely baffled” by these allegations. Later in an interview with the Washington Post, Deen denied labeling himself as a feminist, however, he said that in pornography, “Our sex is still sex. The consent is still the same. There is just a different level of understanding,” which raises many red flags as far as his understanding of consent itself.

James Deen Photo 2

Lack of consent or a lack of understanding of consent is an issue within the pornography industry that extends beyond Deen and it highlights one of the reasons why Deen may continue to be able to produce films and received award nominations after his assaults were made public. In addition to being one of the most recognizable male porn actors in history, Deen’s defense brings to light the unspoken truth of sexual abuse of pornography actors. Regardless of working in the sex industry, porn actors still deserve full and complete consent to all of the sex acts that they participate in—onscreen or off. Being in a sexual relationship with someone, regardless of whether it is personal or just professional, does not write off consent as being mandatory for sexual activity. It can be difficult for women in the pornography industry to voice their opinions or to deny consent to certain activities because at the end of the day it could put their reputations in harm's way. Many of the women who accused Deen of sexual assault after Stoya broke the ice said that they chose to come forward later, in some cases years after the incidents took place because they worried about losing their jobs or missing out on high-paying opportunities in the future.

James Deen Photo 3

Moving forward, it’s really important for us to be allies to sex workers and for these women to continue coming forward with their stories. Every woman, regardless of her profession, deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and decency and the reality of the situation is that millions of women from around the world are affected by sexual assault. It’s time to stand up for justice, stand up for our fellow sisters, and keep men who do not respect consent out of what should be a safe industry for women.

Photos via @therealjamesdeen

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devon.preston@bust.com (Devon Preston) ROOT Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:58:56 -0500
'The Handmaid's Tale' Is More Relevant Than Ever And These New Photos Prove It http://bust.com/tv/18684-the-handmaid-s-tale-first-photos.html http://bust.com/tv/18684-the-handmaid-s-tale-first-photos.html FL2 thumb 633x356 535048

Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, is scarily relevant these days. The novel follows Offred, a handmaid in a world in which women have no rights and are used solely for breeding, or in other words, Mike Pence’s vision for America. Even before the election, Atwood admitted in a Guardian interview that the world we are living in now is "close" to the fictional Republic of Gilead, comparing Trump’s campaign to the 17th-century witch hunts. It’s well-timed then, that Hulu’s adaptation of the novel is in production now and will be released in early 2017, and we can’t wait!

The series stars Elisabeth Moss as Offred, and Orange is the New Black fave Samira Wiley as Moira, who, in the book, is Offred’s close friend from college. Moss, who you probably know best as Peggy Olson from Mad Men, was a huge fan of the novel, and has signed on as a producer as well as playing the lead. With Joseph Fiennes as the Commander, the man that Offred is assigned to in her role of repopulating the male-dominated society, the cast is shaping up to pretty star-studded.

The first-look pictures from the show have just been released and they are powerful. Along with some shots of Moss in her handmaid uniform, there’s a particularly creepy picture of a gathering of handmaids, all clad in the red habits and white wings described in the book. Check them out below and get excited!


Handmaids Tale 2 thumb 633x356 535061

Handmaids Tale 1 thumb 633x356 535056

Moss recognizes the importance of making the show at a time when women’s rights in America, especially surrounding reproduction, are so precarious. "We never wanted the show to be this relevant," she told Entertainment Weekly, and describes it as “one of the hardest jobs I've ever had."

Well from the looks of these pictures, her hard work is paying off, and we can’t wait to see the results!

Photo Credit: Hulu

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aoiferbkelly@gmail.com (Aoife Kelly) ROOT Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:14:34 -0500
What It’s Really Like Having Trump Supporters for Parents http://bust.com/feminism/18685-trump-supporters-parents.html http://bust.com/feminism/18685-trump-supporters-parents.html 14900418 10158002994100725 2816949304732952573 n

I didn’t live in a bubble. I’ve never really lived in a bubble. One of the things that constantly irks me, post-election, when I speak with friends (aka my white friends) is how they always seem to excuse themselves, as if living in their bubble has somehow excused their shock that Trump (aka Less Smart Voldemort) won, as if choosing love is what’s important (which is easy when all of your friends and family believe what you do).

My parents — and most of my extended family — are conservative. They have historically voted for every Republican candidate long before I was even born, which is almost 30 years ago now. This is totally fine — we’re all allowed to have our beliefs and opinions, even if I don’t agree with them, even if their beliefs intrinsically contradict my own lifestyle and identity. This is what freedom is. This is what freedom looks like.

I’m a native New Yorker, so it’s not that my parents live in the middle of nowhere and have never spoken to other people who aren’t like them — which seems to be the portrait most of my liberal friends paint when they talk about Trump supports. Yes, there are many people in this country like that, but it’s time we broadened that picture, because Trump supporters can be surprising — and it’s important that we understand why people voted for Trump, if we ever want to make progress.

My parents were born and raised in the Bronx — my dad even went to Woodstock and wrote poetry and had a car with flower stickers. But, my dad changed — as most people do in some way. I never met the man who went to Woodstock. He, like many Americans, became disillusioned with the American dream, became bitter as he became stuck in the middle working class in New York, and also became more religious as he grew older. Of course, these are also generalizations, but they are familiar generalizations. Trump supporters aren’t just people who “don’t know any better,” they are people who are routinely not spoken to by Democrats. They feel left out, lost, angry. Just like liberals do.

That being said, I’m also not making excuses. My parents also have beliefs that I believe are wrong — and often say things that coil under my skin, and cause my spine to shiver. They have said homophobic, sexist, and racist things that baffle me — especially for people who grew up in the sexual revolution and during the Civil Rights Movement — people who protested Vietnam. Sometimes, I don’t know how to rationalize the beliefs, except that they are afraid. Like I am, but for different reasons.

I’m just going to put this out there: I’m a queer, non-binary human who writes about my sexual assault and abortion. I’ve been outspoken and vocal about my experiences and what I believe — some people have called me brave to write about my experiences and speak at Shout Your Abortion events to strangers. But honestly, this is not what makes me brave. Telling strangers my experiences is easy for me. Telling my family, however, has not been. For years, I pretended to be straight and cis to my parents — and carefully omitted any mention of my rape or abortion. I was afraid of their reaction, their disapproval, and their sadness. Why make them suffer? This past year, however, my parents found out about my queerness, my assault, and my abortion — and this coming out was insanely difficult for me — as these were my secrets that I was happy to keep.

I didn’t come out willingly. My mother had found articles I had written, despite using fake names (Joanna Christi, to be exact), despite changing the privacy settings on my social media — and this devastated me. I felt betrayed, in some way. But, we eventually got beyond it through difficult conversations — she accepted my choices, even if she didn’t agree. That, as you can imagine, meant a lot to me as someone who felt like I had so shield my identity from my family — and rightly so. My mother did tell me that she thought I “lost my faith in God because I was raped,” and told my sister that I wouldn’t have been raped if I didn’t “invite that boy” back to my room.

But then, Trump happened. All the seemingly good, helpful conversations seemed to dissipate like steam on a hot summer’s day — as if it never happened. Various arguments ensued — both on and off social media. What upset me most, besides the obvious, is the fact that both my sister and I are survivors of abuse. As parents of survivors, I would hope my mother might at least reconsider voting for an alleged sexual predator, a man who has called women pigs, valued them for their appearance, and even coined the despicable phrase “grab them by the pussy.”

That is what really cut me, deeper than any knife could. How can someone who knows that I’ve been abused tell me that Trump isn’t a rapist, because he was never convicted? As someone who never pressed charges against my abuser, that hurts to hear. It’s also just completely ignorant, considering how rape cases are handled — and why so many people, like myself, refuse to come forward — especially when abusers are partners, friends, family, and beloved community members — like in both my case and my sister’s.

Despite this jagged hurt lingering, like that lumpy ache in the back of your throat when you try to stifle a cry, I have been forced to reconcile this. Because these people are my parents, and they are people I love, just like my liberal friends — just like the people whose rights I want to protect. All I can say is that it’s hard to love anyone, but it’s especially hard to love those who have erased your identity, even without meaning to. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. And that doesn’t mean because someone is a Trump supporter, we ban them form our lives. Not all of us have the luxury to do that — to unfriend, to ostracize, to estrange. Take it from me.

It would be easy for me to say, I’m done with you, but I can’t. Aren’t we all bigger than that? Isn’t this the time to do the hard work by calling our politicians, going to protests, educating others, making art, writing poems, and not just being complicit? It’s not that I’m making excuses for my parents, for Trump supporters, but if we remain in our glass bubbles, they’re going to shatter, and it will be your fault too, not just theirs.

Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (2016, ELJ Publications) & Xenos (2016, Agape Editions). She received her MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Civil Coping Mechanisms and Luna Luna Magazine. Some of her writing has appeared in Prelude, BUST, The Atlas Review, The Feminist Wire, The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. She also leads workshops at Brooklyn Poets.

Top photo: Facebook/Donald Trump

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joannac.valente@gmail.com (Joanna C. Valente) ROOT Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:26:25 -0500
On Disney's 'Moana' And Climate Change http://bust.com/movies/18683-disney-moana-climate-change.html http://bust.com/movies/18683-disney-moana-climate-change.html 53524869d1babc39b91ef7bb 1badb390

A girl from a small island embarks on a voyage to find a demi-god, defeat a volcano monster, and save the world. That girl’s name is Moana, and she is a Disney heroine for the planet. Moana stands out from other Disney folktales and fairy tales for various reasons. Not only is she a person of color, Moana’s tale is based on real folk tales of the Pacific Islands. Unfortunately, those islands are now being swallowed by the ocean due to climate change.

The story of Moana is based on real islands in the South Pacific. In fact, the Disney creators felt authenticity was important, so they made various trips to Samoa, Tahiti, Moorea, Fiji, Bora Bora, Tetiaroa, Juri, and New Zealand in order to be as accurate as possible. They also created the Ocean Story Trust,made up of various people from different walks of life. They’re academics, archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists, historians, but also tattoo masters and navigators, fishermen, elders, and artists. They shared their knowledge and stories with the production and were available to the filmmakers and crew for questions throughout the process.

Samoa, as it is known today, is different from American Samoa (Moana voice actor Dwayne "The Rock” Johnson is of Samoan heritage). The two are divided by east and west. Samoa, the independent country, is the western part. It is governed by a Unitary parliamentary democracy with eleven administrative divisions. American Samoa, the eastern part, is a U.S. Territory. Samoa is a part of a cluster of islands in the South Pacific. Archaeological records support oral tradition and native genealogies that indicate inter-island voyaging and intermarriage between prehistoric Samoans, Fijians, and Tongans. Contact with the Europeans did not occur until the early 18th century. Our heroine’s story takes place 2000 years ago, long before the divide of east and west or European contact. But her voyage of saving her people is incredibly relevant today.

In the film, Moana has been chosen by the ocean to restore the heart of Tafiti in order to save her people. Tafiti is the goddess of life and death and because her heart was removed by Maui, plants and fish are dying. It is up to Moana now to save the world.

Just like in Moana’s story, islands in the Pacific and around the world are suffering but from a different monster, climate change. According to the Pacific Climate Change Science Program, “Satellite data indicate the sea level has risen near Samoa by about 4 mm per year since 1993. This is slightly larger than the global average of 2.8–3.6 mm per year.” In addition, acidification in the ocean is increasing as well. About one-quarter of human-emitted carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean; this extra carbon dioxide mixed with the sea water causes ocean acidification. The ocean acidification makes the corals unable to absorb the calcium carbonate needed to maintain their skeletons. The decline and death of coral reefs is cause to worry since they are vital to the ocean's ecosystem.

The ocean is only one part of the climate change problem. The beautiful islands the film takes place in are also suffering from floods and droughts caused by climate change. These serious problems are not only a harm to the beauty of the environment they are also affecting Samoa’s infrastructure and economy.

“We can no longer grow or develop as a nation unless we ensure that every investment, whether it is in infrastructure, food security, watershed management, health improvement, or tourism, is informed by the most up-to-date data on climate change projections and expected impacts, particularly related to extreme weather events and resultant disasters,” said Suluimalo Amataga Penaia, CEO of Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Scholars, policy-makers, economists, and everyday people are rapidly working together in order to help reverse the current effects we are seeing. Moana is a small piece of that positive change. By creating a heroine who embarks on a journey to save the dying plants and fish, Disney has created one of the most relatable and heroic characters of all time. In the film, she sets out on a voyage to save her people, and like most heroes, she learns who she is through this voyage. We can all be modern day Moanas. We can be heroes to save the planet!

Currently, women only make up 25.7 percent of environmental scientists. In addition, only 19.3 percent of women graduate with higher education degrees in engineering and 39 percent in physical sciences. This film may be an inspiration for women both young and young at heart to pursue a science focused career.

If, like Moana, you are a girl who loves the sea and it calls you, environmental or oceanic science might be the field for you! And even if we don’t each become scientists, or go on voyages with demigods, we can help save our oceans ecosystems with our everyday actions.

And who doesn’t want to be a badass not-a-princess heroine chosen by the ocean to save the world?

Isabel Dieppa is a writer and actor. Her interests lie in science, art, and history. Past writing includes interning for the Chicago Field Museum ECCO program, the national theater blog HOWLROUND, music reviews for UR Chicago, and in a former life was a beat reporter for the Indiana Daily Student. She is currently aspiring to be a science and culture writer and debating graduate school. The next big adventure may include digging near Mount Vesuvius, she also loves cats and wants to harness the power of words to save the world.

Top image: Moana

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idieppa0830@gmail.com (Isabel Dieppa) ROOT Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:12:21 -0500
Truffles, Booze, And A Spiralizer: 9 Gifts For Your Favorite Foodie http://bust.com/eat-me/18673-gift-guide-foodies.html http://bust.com/eat-me/18673-gift-guide-foodies.html unnamed 1

Whether your favorite foodie prefers to make sweet, savory, or alcoholic treats — or prefers to skip the "making" step and just eat them! — we've found TK of the season's best buys for the kitchen and the home bar, plus a few ready-made treats for the food-loving-but-cooking-challenged peeps out there.


The Inspiralizer will let them turn zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, and other veggies into spaghetti-like noodles.

Nonstick Fry Pan

Although it sports a sweet, vintage pattern, this pan is thoroughly modern, with a non-stick interior and helpful heat indicator that will let them know when it's perfectly preheated.

Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup

Your favorite hostess will love dropping edible hibiscus flowers into a glass of bubbly, using them to garnish desserts, or serving them alongside a lil' goat cheese.


For the chocolate lover in your life, try assorted truffles from a lady-run sweet shop.

Serving Board

Setting a tasty spread will be writ in the stars for the hostess using this walnut serving board featuring inlaid brass zodiac consellations.

Everything I Want to Eat

Anyone who likes to eat will love this stunning new cookbook by Jessica Koslow, the chef of L.A.'s Sqirl restaurant who is dominating the California food scene.

Holiday Sparkling Cocktail Kit

Champagne cocktail connoisseurs will dig this set brimming with essential ingredients. Cheers!

unnamed 4

Made with heavy gauge aluminum, this 10-piece set features T-fal’s patented Thermo-Spot™ technology that indicates when each pan is perfectly preheated. T-FAL PROGRADE NON-STICK COOKWARE 10-PIECE SET, $129.99, T-FALUSA.COM



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Health nuts will love this subscription service that sends 5 new superfood smoothie recipes and all the pre-portioned ingredients needed to make 10 smoothies each week. GREENBLENDER GIFT CARD, $49 (COVERS FIRST PAYMENT OF ANY CLUB PLAN), GREENBLENDER.COM.


Photographed by Megan Senior

This article originally appeared in the December/January 2016 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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socialmedia@bust.com (BUST Magazine) ROOT Wed, 30 Nov 2016 17:42:48 -0500
Alanna Masterson Of ‘The Walking Dead’ Has A Message For Body-Shamers: ‘Grow The Fuck Up’ http://bust.com/feminism/18682-alanna-masterson-walking-dead-body-shamers.html http://bust.com/feminism/18682-alanna-masterson-walking-dead-body-shamers.html walking dead tara

The Walking Dead actress Alanna Masterson isn’t just great at killing zombies — she’s also an expert at murdering internet trolls.

Masterson, who plays Tara Chambler on the show, posted a message on Instagram to the people who have criticized her body, something she says began when she gave birth to her daughter in November 2015. The message, posted alongside a photo of Masterson's daughter, reads:

Dear Instagram trolls, body shamers, and the men and woman who think it's ok to comment on my weight: I hope that you don't have children. And if you do, I hope you teach them about kindness and acceptance. I hope they learn that it isn't ok to make fun of people or call people names. I hope one day YOU learn what it takes to be a parent. A kind, selfless parent. A working parent. A parent that puts themselves in someone else's shoes.

Maybe you can't get it through your thick fucking skull, but nursing a baby for a year (and pumping in a van between takes, in the dead of summer in Georgia) is a lot of work, determination, and scheduling. So before you decide to make a comment about my chest being "too large" or how "fat" I've become, just know that this little girl got the best start to life. I wouldn't have changed it for a second. I would've gladly continued to eat enough calories to produce milk for her little bones to grow.

Also, grow the fuck up. Your mother should be ashamed for raising such a judgmental bully. I'm sure she knows how "courageous" you must be for trolling and hiding behind your Iphone and computers. P.s. I would LOVE to see any man or woman give birth to a baby, nurse the baby, and then work 17 hour days and NAIL their own stunts. P.s.s. Be kind to each other. We need it now more than ever. ❤️✌?️


Dear Instagram trolls, body shamers, and the men and woman who think it's ok to comment on my weight: I hope that you don't have children. And if you do, I hope you teach them about kindness and acceptance. I hope they learn that it isn't ok to make fun of people or call people names. I hope one day YOU learn what it takes to be a parent. A kind, selfless parent. A working parent. A parent that puts themselves in someone else's shoes. Maybe you can't get it through your thick fucking skull, but nursing a baby for a year (and pumping in a van between takes, in the dead of summer in Georgia) is a lot of work, determination, and scheduling. So before you decide to make a comment about my chest being "too large" or how "fat" I've become, just know that this little girl got the best start to life. I wouldn't have changed it for a second. I would've gladly continued to eat enough calories to produce milk for her little bones to grow. Also, grow the fuck up. Your mother should be ashamed for raising such a judgmental bully. I'm sure she knows how "courageous" you must be for trolling and hiding behind your Iphone and computers. P.s. I would LOVE to see any man or woman give birth to a baby, nurse the baby, and then work 17 hour days and NAIL their own stunts. P.s.s. Be kind to each other. We need it now more than ever. ❤️✌?️

A photo posted by Alanna Masterson (@lucytwobows) on

Masterson returned to the Walking Dead soon after giving birth to her daughter Marlowe, which is pretty damn impressive. And instead of appreciating this, the Walking Dead fans directed a bunch of body-shaming hate at her instead. We applaud Masterson’s response, and want to add that the body-shaming would be unacceptable even if she hadn’t recently had a daughter.

Her last paragraph is a killer. We’re gonna save this one for future use. Here it is again:

Also, grow the fuck up. Your mother should be ashamed for raising such a judgmental bully. I'm sure she knows how "courageous" you must be for trolling and hiding behind your Iphone and computers. P.s. I would LOVE to see any man or woman give birth to a baby, nurse the baby, and then work 17 hour days and NAIL their own stunts. P.s.s. Be kind to each other. We need it now more than ever.

the walking dead


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erikawsmith@bust.com (Erika W. Smith) ROOT Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:05:48 -0500
'Always Shine' Starts Strong But Doesn't Quite Come Together: BUST Review http://bust.com/movies/18655-always-shine-review.html http://bust.com/movies/18655-always-shine-review.html Always Shine

Directed by Sophia Takal
Out December 2
Rating: 3/5

Within the first 10 minutes of Always Shine, it’s clear that the film was directed by a woman. In the first scene, a beautiful, up-and-coming actress, Beth (Caitlin FitzGerald, Masters of Sex), auditions for a horror movie by taking her top off and saying the words, “I’ll do anything you want!” for some sleazy producers who inform her that the film requires “extensive nudity.” A few scenes later, Beth’s best friend Anna (Mackenzie Davis, Halt and Catch Fire) gets into a fight with a mechanic who’s overcharging her for an unauthorized repair. The women look similar, but their personalities are very different: While Beth is sweet and accommodating, Anna is angry, outspoken, and, according to Beth’s boyfriend, “a little intense.” When Beth and Anna decide to spend some time together in a remote cabin with no cell phone service, their mutual jealousy soon comes to the forefront. There’s plenty of bickering over Beth’s greater success with men and her career—until, finally, Anna decides to adopt her friend’s sweet, shy persona in the hopes of achieving the same measure of success.

The twist ending is predictable and the action is sparse for a movie that’s being billed as a psychological thriller. Director Sophia Takal makes some interesting choices, but ultimately, the story doesn’t quite come together. 
–Erika W. Smith


PHOTO: Mark Schwartzbard, courtesy of Oscilloscope Laboratories

This article originally appeared in the December/January 2016 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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socialmedia@bust.com (BUST Magazine) ROOT Mon, 28 Nov 2016 17:53:42 -0500
Larisa Shepitko's Stunning Soviet-Era Films Will Have You Wondering Why You've Never Heard Her Name http://bust.com/movies/18681-larisa-sheptiko.html http://bust.com/movies/18681-larisa-sheptiko.html Lauren Sheptiko HeaderImage via Tumblr/TheCriterionCollection 

Although women are not as recognized or celebrated in Hollywood as they should be, there are also directors around the world whose work is rarely shown and nearly forgotten. Larisa Shepitko, a Ukrainian-born filmmaker, is one of the many international directors who received critical acclaim during her lifetime but is not a name known to many today, even consummate film buffs.

Shepitko was born in 1938 in Ukrainian territory controlled by the USSR. She attended the All-Union State of Cinematography in Moscow where her mentor was Alexander Dovzhenko, a figure of early Soviet cinema and a contemporary of Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin). She studied directing at the State Institute for Cinematography at the VGIK and graduated in 1963. Her prize-winning thesis film, Heat , which she made at 22, tells the story of a new farming community in Central Asia during the 1950s. Called a fusion of political drama and Western styles, it was shot in such barren landscapes and climes that Shepitko actually fell severely ill during production. She called in another young filmmaker to help finish her vision, fellow VGIK student Elem Klimov. Shepitko and Klimov would later marry.

Larisa Sheptiko and Elem KlingovShepitko and Klingov

Apparently Shepitko had rejected his original marriage proposal and would only accept his continued proposals after he agreed not to try and influence her work. Shepitko and Klimov were part of the Russian “New Wave” under Khrushchev before the cultural censorship of 1967 and ‘68.

Shepitko’s next film, Wings (1966), focused on a much decorated World War II female fighter pilot. The pilot, now a principal at a vocational college, is out of touch with her daughter and the new generation. The film aroused controversy in the Soviet press because film in the USSR was not meant to depict conflict between children and parents.

Wings Larisa Sheptiko StillStill from Wings (1966)

Wings was followed by You and I in 1971. It is Shepitko’s only film in Technicolor. It received favorable reviews at the Venice Film Festival but lacked proper distribution and exposure in the Soviet Union.

At 35, Shepitko faced an extreme risk of death when she gave birth to her son while she suffered from a serious spinal injury. “At that time I was facing death for the first time and like anyone in such a situation, I was looking for my own formula of immortality,” Shepitko said of her pregnancy. Her response to this dark time is perhaps her most famous film, The Ascent.

The AscentStill from The Ascent (1976)

The Ascent is adapted from a novella by Vasili Bykov and follows two partisan soldiers in Belarus who attempt to evade the Nazis in the frozen landscape during 1942. Described as a war narrative, it is also a Christian allegory. Once Rybak and Sotnikov are captured by the Nazis, they are questioned by an investigator, but Sotnikov refuses to give away any information about his fellow soldiers’ plans or movements. Christ-like Sotnikov is sentenced to death because of his own convictions, while Rybak shows his weakness and begs the investigator to let him join the German police so he won’t face execution. He watches his comrade Sotnikov be hanged and is then haunted by his friend’s death.

Shepitko was often categorized as a political filmmaker, but she considered herself a humanist. She said she was more interested in the exploration of the individual in society, struggling with the eternal question: “Why do we live?”

Larisa Sheptiko

The Ascent won Shepitko the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival and with her newly bankable artistic cachet, she could have had a long and illustrious career. Her next film was going to be about a Siberian village, titled The Farewell.

Superstitious, Shepitko had her fortune told in Bulgaria in 1978, afterwards she took her friend to a nearby church and made her swear that if anything happened to her or her husband, her friend must look after their son Anton. A few months later, in June of 1979, she was killed. She and five other crew members were killed in a car accident while they were on location for her film, The Farewell.

A week after her death, her husband Klimov was on set to complete the film. However, most critics said The Farewell lacked Shepitko’s personal vision.

In 2005, the Leeds International Film Festival organized a retrospective of Shepitko’s work, but for the most part, her films are not studied or well-known.

This post originally appeared on laurencbyrd.wordpress.com. We post one director spotlight by Lauren each week.

Lauren is a freelance writer and blogger. After leaving Tennessee post-college, she has lived in Los Angeles, upsate New York, Queens, and Los Angeles again. She loves to talk about women in film, but also cares about good TV, documentaries, podcasts, true crime, journalism, and social justice.

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lauren.byrd@gmail.com (Lauren C. Byrd) ROOT Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:55:52 -0500
New Texas Law Means That Women Will Have To Bury Their Aborted Fetuses http://bust.com/feminism/18680-new-texas-law-means-women-will-have-to-bury-their-fetuses.html http://bust.com/feminism/18680-new-texas-law-means-women-will-have-to-bury-their-fetuses.html hospital

This week Texas approved a law that would require health care facilities to bury or cremate aborted fetal matter, as opposed to disposing of it as medical waste.

Let's reiterate that to really emphasize the issue here: Texan women who want to get a safe and legal abortion will not only have to make the difficult decision to get the procedure done, but will have to face dramatic consequences to their tissue being removed, as it is essentially given a funeral.

Before the law was passed, fetuses were considered tissue (which they are) and once aborted were disposed of how all tissue was disposed of – in a sanitary landfill as medical waste. This law requires medical professionals to treat an aborted fetus not as medical waste, but as a deceased person, which, by definition, it is not.

These rules, which have also been passed in Louisiana and Indiana earlier this year, were initially proposed by Gov. Greg Abbott. Abbott said in a fundraising email in July that he submitted the rules to "reflect our respect for the sanctity of life." But his unsubtle motivation can be found in the same email as he says he wants to, "Turn the tides against the soulless abortion industry in Texas."

Abbott and his law have faced criticism since the bill's proposal in July, including from NARAL pro-choice Texas who said the rules “Serve no medical benefit and do nothing but impose an undue burden on Texans seeking abortion care.”

The new procedures will likely cost health care facilities thousands of dollars (cremation alone can cost up to $10,000), which could lead some facilities to stop offering abortions, or raise the price to have one done. That, along with the fact that abortions that occur "at home" are exempt from the required burial, will likely only encourage dangerous abortions performed by non-medical professionals.

“The state agency has once again ignored the concerns of the medical community and thousands of Texans by playing politics with people’s private health care decisions,” said Heather Busby, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas in an interview with the New York Times. “Texas politicians have now responded with one of the most blatantly pointless and insulting restrictions yet.”

By creating these expensive hoops to jump through (which lead to other expensive hoops to jump through) politicians like Abbott aren't making abortions less likely, they're making safe abortions less likely.

Luckily the litigation is likely to be challenged in court. But until then, and until the rules go into effect on Dec. 19, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas is urging Texans to write letters to media outlets and to contact the representatives to incite action against the law. You can find out more information on their website.

Photo via Pixabay

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Kellywltrs764@gmail.com (Kelly Walters) ROOT Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:36:30 -0500