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Newsflash: January 9 – January 16

By January 10, 2019 271 Comments

Sandra Oh Makes History at the Golden Globes, Among Others

As with almost all Hollywood entertainment, the Golden Globe Awards have historically honored and been attended by white men and women, though that has been starting to change—especially in the 76th Awards that were held on January 6th. Heralded as the lesser sibling of the Oscars, this year’s ceremony was hosted by Andy Samberg, an actor known for playing Jake Peralta in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Sandra Oh, an actress known for playing Cristina Yang on Grey’s Anatomy and the first Asian to host the event.

She went on to win lead actress in a TV drama (also being the first Asian to win said award). Other notable achievements include: the first black Spiderman won for best-animated film, Regina King’s performance in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” a drama discussing African-American life in Harlem, garnered her best supporting actress, and Ben Whishaw’s performance in “A Very English Scandal,” a television series that details the challenges faced by closeted individuals in England, won him best supporting actor.

Oh, while looking out into the crowd said, “This moment is real. Trust me. It is real. Because I see you [pointing to women and minorities in the audience], and I see you, all these faces of change. And now, so will everyone else.”

USC Annenberg Report Reveals Lack of Diversity in Film

However, despite all of the above, a report conducted by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative analyzing 1200 of the top-grossing films from 2007 to 2018 shows that we still have a long way to go in terms of diverse representation on screens. While the number of Black directors each year has increased from six in 2017 to sixteen in 2018, all except one of them were male. Additionally, in roughly the ten years that they have conducted the study, there were only 42 Asian directors in total—with a scant three of them being women.

This summer’s “Asian August,” along with other notable film achievements such as Black Panther and Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, to name just a few, has demonstrated that POC stories are important narratives that we all need to hear. And the fact that they are finally getting some spotlight in a predominantly-white industry is long overdue. But in spite of all the progress that was made this year, the Annenberg report reveals that those are merely surface-level achievements (but important ones nonetheless). If we are to achieve true diversity, not only should actors and actresses start looking like all of us, but the people behind the scenes—the directors, producers, composers, and more—should as well.

Millions in India Form a Human Chain in Protest

In Kerala, India, two women accompanied by undercover police entered a shrine that has had a long history of banning child-bearing women from entering. This event came after events in October, when India’s Supreme Court ruled that the centuries-old rule dictating that women were not allowed inside was unconstitutional.

While these two women—who are now hiding at safe houses—were not the first ones to try and enter the temple, they are the only ones to have succeeded so far. All previous attempts were met with violence by the thousands of protestors that stood outside the doors of the shrine.

Indeed, upon hearing the news that two women had successfully made it inside, Kerala broke out into protest. A priest of the shrine shut it down for “purification rituals,” which are generally only used if blood has been spilled within the temple, or a child urinates.

However, elsewhere, the two women’s efforts were met with joy and celebration. India, ranking as the world’s most dangerous country for women in 2018 by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, has recently seen a shift toward gender equality sentiment. On January 1st, estimates ranging from three to five million people formed a human chain spanning 300 miles long in protest of their rights. They chanted, “we are taking the pledge that we will uphold renaissance values. We will stand for equality for women! We will fight for secularism!”

While the women entering the temple and the human chain are important signs of a population that is more than ready for gender equality, legislation has yet to catch up. Susbhashini Ali, a Communist Party member, mentions this fact, urging those in the crowd to “speak for ourselves … We want our rights, our equality, and we have to move forward.”

Marie Kondo “Sparks Joy” With New Netflix Series

Clutter is an inevitable part of life, some might say. Not according to Marie Kondo. Kondo, who garnered international attention for her best-selling books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy, is a Japanese home organizer who now tests her skills in California through her new Netflix series, entitled “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”

Kondo uses her self-created “KonMari” method to clean homes, which rests on the core principle that possessions should be kept only if they “spark joy” in the owner. While the exact meaning of “spark joy” is ambiguous, the rest of her method is clear—one should divide the work of tidying up into five categories: clothes, books, papers, “komono” (a term for miscellaneous objects such as the kitchen, the bathroom(s), etc.), and sentimental objects.

The eight Californian homes she visits and helps are generally representative of typical life: one is a new expecting couple, while another is a male couple living on their own for the first time. While we ourselves may not be as tidy as Marie Kondo evidently is, we can all try and convince ourselves that one day, we will follow the KonMari method too.

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