November 2014 WAM! Entertainment Guide

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Welcome to the second edition of the WAM! Entertainment Guide! With these new monthly guides, we’ll aim to answer the question: “Who’s getting it right — right now?” Every month we’ll feature a fresh, curated selection of music, tv, film, books, games, and more, all submitted by WAM!mers like you.

We know that achieving gender justice in the media isn’t just about fighting what’s bad — it’s also about supporting the good stuff. Each month, we’ll feature a carefully curated selection of can’t-miss media in line with WAM!’s values. And because we know that very few things are without legitimate criticism, we’ll included a “counterpoint” for each selection if there’s a feminist critique you may want to consider.

Next month, we’ll be publishing a special holiday edition of the WAM! Entertainment Guide! We want to know about the best holiday films that aren’t classist, who is putting a spin on your favorite holiday tunes, your favorite queer love story set in the North Pole, and what you’ll be binge-watching during your holiday vacation. Click here to tell us all about it!

And without further ado, please enjoy this month’s selections! Click on any title to read more. Tell us what you think using the hashtag #WAMGuide.

This documentary chronicles 14-year-old Laura Dekker as she attempts to fulfill her dream of becoming the youngest person to sail around the world solo. Sound nuts? It’ll all make sense after you learn about Laura’s childhood. Though directed by first-timer Jillian Schlesinger, Maidentrip was shot mostly on a handheld video camera that Laura had with her during her journey. Through that lens we watch Laura literally grow up before our eyes, under daunting circumstances no less. We agree with WAM!mer Alice, who says, “to see someone so incredibly determined, self-possessed, and sure of what she wants in life is inspiring.”

Favorite Moment: Toward the end of her journey, after a particularly grueling experience on the boat, Laura turns the camera on herself to tell us how she’s realized that she doesn’t want an average Dutch life (which she describes as “get money, get a house, get a baby, and then die”). It’s a moment that will resonate with many WAM!mers.

Counterpoint: Some folks think it was irresponsible to let Laura take this voyage. In fact, the first part of the movie covers the extensive 11-month (very public) legal battle the Dutch government waged on Laura’s parents.

Maidentrip is available for purchase in the iTunes store and is also streaming on Netflix.

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You may recognize author Daisy Hernandez as the editor of the widely celebrated anthology “Colonize This!” as well as the former editor of Colorlines. This memoir will strike a chord with anyone that has struggled to define themselves beyond their family. Hernandez takes us into her journey, starting from her childhood in an immigrant home in New Jersey. Along the way, she explores her sexuality, how colonialism has destroyed her language and culture, and the racial politics of the newsroom, among many other things. Daisy has lived an incredibly full life and it’s a joy to see it all through her eyes.

Favorite Moment: Hernandez writes with great candor and conviction when discussing her personal faith and how she continues to practice religion despite all of the reasons an observer would think she would retreat from it. It’s both refreshing and satisfying.

Counterpoint: There are no feminist critiques for this memoir, but some readers have found the non-linear timeline of the book hard to follow.

A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir is available at Women & Children First and wherever books are sold.

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This podcast and its accompanying blog bills itself as “a conversation about women, the workplace and success.” But host Ashley Milne-Tyte doesn’t just bring you episodes and posts about the same stale topics on women in the workplace (read: babies, “having it all,” getting a raise), and that’s why WAM!mer Aminatou loves it. “It covers topics like why so few women work in tech to why writing an op-ed is a good career move,” she told us. What’s really refreshing is that The Broad Experience is not just talking about women in the workplace, it’s talking to and with women in the workplace.

Episodes of the podcast come less often than discussions and interviews on the blog, but the conversation is always lively. For each episode of the podcast, Milne-Tyte and her expertly-chosen guests chat about everything: the barriers to women reaching the executive suite, being transgender in a corporate office, how to start a small business, and the dynamics of “mean girls” in the office, to name a few. While some episodes are only useful for women in certain industries, we’ve found something to mull about from every one.

Favorite Moment: “When Women Work For Free” is a fantastic post that tackles the ongoing discussion about how women are expected to work for free. The conversation is smart and thought-provoking. How much should you charge for your time? Why are women expected to be givers rather than takers in the workplace? And this great piece of advice: “the key is to learn to be comfortable with the fact that this is what you are worth.”

Counterpoint: None, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that disagrees. The Broad Experience, and Milne-Tyte, are a delight.

Subscribe to The Broad Experience and download past episodes in the iTunes store. You can also read The Broad Experience blog at http://www.thebroadexperience.com/.

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The American adaptation of this Venezuelan telenovela is the best new show you aren’t watching. It’s a smartly-written show with a shining performance from star Gina Rodriguez. 23-year-old Jane is a smart girl focused on spending time with her mother and grandmother and finishing school so she can become a licensed teacher. She’s also focused on keeping her promise to God (and her grandmother) to stay a virgin until her wedding night — a promise she’s made good on but struggles with every time her hottie boyfriend of two years comes over. So imagine her surprise when she ends up pregnant with her (now-married) high school crush Rafael’s baby! And did we mention that Rafael’s sister is responsible for the whole thing? In true telenovela form, the show’s premise is wild and the cast of characters share seriously complicated relationships, but it only makes the whole thing more fun. Bonus: for a show with such an abstinencey premise, it features some surprisingly frank and nuanced conversations about abortion, bodily autonomy and personal choice.

Favorite Moment: When Gina’s mom sees the positive pregnancy test, she is convinced that Gina is Immaculata and falls to her knees to begin frantically praying to her daughter right in the middle of the emergency room while Gina tries to snap her out of it. Beyond being an absolutely hysterical scene, it’s nice to watch a mother be so supportive (in her own way) of her daughter in this situation.

Counterpoint: We’ll be honest, we were worried that the premise of this show would provide many opportunities for slut-shaming and victim-blaming. And while that hasn’t been the case yet — the show is only a few episodes old — the opening scene as well as some thoughts from Gina’s abuela will make some folks cringe. But the writers do an excellent job of juxtaposing Gina’s family’s conservative roots with their concern for Gina’s well-being, and in the process illustrate the very real difficulties that we all face when making big decisions about children.

Watch Jane The Virgin on the CW Mondays at 9:00 ET/8:00 CT. Past episodes are available on the show’s website.

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Set in the mid-1980s, this novel defies genre. It’s a love story, it’s a mystery, it’s social commentary, it’s a coming-of-age story, it’s historical fiction — and it’s fantastic. We meet protagonist Angie four years after her sister Ella’s death in Nigeria, which has left Angie struggling and adrift. What happens next is a whirlwind adventure that takes us through the 60’s and 70’s Black Power movement in Angie’s hometown of Detroit and the go-slow life of Nigeria in the 80’s. Written with powerful observance of behavior and how each individual experiences blackness, Into the Go-Slow will surely be shortlisted for every fiction prize this year.

Her last morning in Surulere, Angie awoke to a rooster’s crow and lay there unmoving, waiting. Lightning crackled. The chalky medicine had finally worked, her stomach calm. She rose and dressed to a quiet house. On a bold whim, she boiled a pot of water on the little burner, mixed it with cold water and used that to take a warm bucket shower. Afterwards, she made a cup of tea with sugar and pet milk and sat at the kitchen table. She could hear Funke getting out of bed. Rain poured in sheets. Out of nowhere, the fan in the main room came on and the mini refrigerator hummed — a magical burst of electrical current running through the house. That gave her resolve. When Funke walked into the room, Angie said, “Tell me what you know about Ella.”

Funke rubbed her eyes. “Later,” she said, yawning.

“No. Now.” Funke looked at her.

“Do you want the truth?”

“Yes.” Angie cupped her tea, bracing.

Favorite Moment: It’s not a moment, but Davis’s vivid descriptions of Detroit and Nigeria are seriously immersive. If the title seems confusing to you, don’t worry; Davis gives you a strong education in the “go-slow.”

Counterpoint: None, unless having your entire social life on pause while you devour this book is a counterpoint.

Into the Go-Slow is available at Women & Children First and wherever books are sold.

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And don’t forget to send your selections for next month’s holiday edition now.
Submit your nominations for the December WAM! Entertainment Guide today!