Tag Archives: feminism

Oprah

Making Oprah

Oprah

Hi Hart Beat. It’s a rainy Tuesday night here in Brooklyn so I’m hanging out at home, making some fajitas and listening to the history of the Oprah Winfrey Show. Yup, you read that right; the Oprah Winfrey Show. Since we live in a world that is (sometimes) great and good, this fall WBEZ Chicago Public Radio released a three-part podcast series on the making of the Oprah Winfrey Show.

The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.
– Oprah Winfery

Let’s step back a second, Hart Beat. You love Oprah, right? If not please leave (or just go to the next post) and if yes well then welcome to the club! Loving Oprah and her daytime television show is something that I have always admitted to. I remember in middle school I used to fake my period so I could stay home from swim practice and watch Oprah at 4pm. It was one of my favorite things. I knew at the time that I was probably a little young to watch the show (sex! drugs! diets!) but I didn’t care. I loved Oprah. I loved the studio audience, I loved the theme song, and I loved the fact that I never felt alone when watching her. I always knew there were thousands of other girls and women out there on their couches also listening.

Almost 15 years later listening to this podcast, I’m brought back to those days in front of the TV. If you were ever a fan of Oprah back in the 90’s or early 00’s, admire her book club, or are just an entrepreneurial young person you will devour this podcast mini-series. Oprah is still one of the most inspirational human beings and hearing her speak with Jenn White on the podcast brought tears to my eyes.

My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you I the best place for the next moment.
– Oprah Winfery

Did you know that the tagline of The Oprah Winfrey show in its last ten years was “Live your best life.”? The woman was YEARS ahead of her time. In the time before #livingyourbestlife and #youdoyou were obnoxious Instagram hashtags, Oprah was revolutionizing how America saw women of all sizes and colors. Not only was she revolutionalizing how we were seen but also how we saw ourselves. In a week like this with the Women’s March on Washington just days away, there isn’t a better time to listen to one of our original heroines. Find “Making Oprah” here or download it on any podcast app you use.

One last thought, if anyone (ANYONE) can find out how a girl can watch back episodes of the Oprah Winfrey show please let me know. I’ve tried for years and good old Harpo Studios is holding those (smartly) to their chests.

P.S. Yes I cried while I wrote this post. I’m emotional and no one can bring that out of me like Oprah. #notjoking #hi

Top photo via Huffington Post and the second photo (of Oprah’s first ever episode) via her personal Instagram account @oprah.

Hannah Hart Beat

Art Before the Women’s March on Washington

Women's March on Washington

Hart Beat! Are you going to the Women’s March on Washington this weekend? I’ve spoken only a little about November 9th and what the election and its result has meant to me, my friends, my family, and my neighbors. Sometimes I feel like I have lots to say. And other times I read articles like this one from the NYT and start to cry on the subway again. Then there are the days that I’m so fired up and angry I can hardly sit still.

One thing that has helped has been listening to women. Women artists like Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim. Women artists like Cheryl Strayed and Zadie Smith. Women singers like Nina Simone and women reports like Ann Friedman. I’m going to be in Washington this weekend with hundreds of thousands of women and men and one thing that I’ve enjoyed lately is the official march’s Instagram account. They’ve been showing art by different women in preparation for the day and so I thought I’d share some of my favorites here with you. At the bottom of this post you can find their names and handles so you can follow them too. If you have others please let me know! See you in D.C., Hart Beat.

P.S. I found this article helpful for getting ready for the march. If you have any tips send them my way!

https://www.instagram.com/weezyvc/

Hannah Hart Beat

Artists in order of their appearance here,

  1. Louisa Cannell / @weezyvc
  2. Jennifer Maravillas / @jennifermaravillas
  3. Kimothy Joy / @kimothyjoy
  4. This is DYNASTY / @thisisdynasty
The Future is Female

The Future is Female

Hannah Hart Beat

 

Oh Hart Beat, aren’t you happy to be alive right now? I was talking with a friend the other day about how we are to be woman alive right now in today’s world. With Hillary taking place as the presumptive Democrat Party Nominee (!!!) we’re living in a world where we are not only doing what we want, but showing everyone else how it’s done. I’m so proud. I’m so thankful that I can have an IUD to choose when and if I want to have children, I’m so proud to work for two amazing entrepreneurs, and I’m so proud to see all my friends work in whatever they want, without a second thought.

I’ve been feeling so proud of my womanhood lately that not only did I order a “Hillary 2016” sticker for my car (I have seen zero Hillary stickers in this entire election process 😑 ) BUT I also bought the iconic “The Future is Female” shirt which was recreated by the design company Otherwild. The shirt has an interesting history so I thought I’d share a bit of it here for you.

The original “The Future Is Female” T-shirt design was made for Labyris Books, the first women’s bookstore in New York City, which was opened in 1972 by Jane Lurie and Marizel Rios. The photographer Liza Cowan took a picture of musician Alix Dobkin, her girlfriend at the time, wearing it in 1975.

The photo up top is the shot by Jane Lurie taken in 1975. Baller, right? Even more amazing is that Otherwild donates 25% of the proceeds from the shirt to Planned Parenthood. So ladies (and dudes) out there, head on over, buy yourself a shirt and join me in this prideful moment happening around us now.

Hannah Hart Beat

 

Both photos via Otherwild.

Help a Sister Out (Every Day)

Lift Each Other Up - Hannah Hart Beat

It’s mesmerizing. Right, Hart Beat? One of my favorite artists Libby Vander Ploeg, who has worked with Food52 in the past, published this PSA for International Women’s Day called “Life Each Other Up” earlier this month. Now in the days of social media these small(ish?) holidays are everywhere and I usually just pass them by. National Donut Day! National Hug a Friend Day! National you have a sibling day who cares we all have siblings day. They can be a bit much. Also, if every day is a holiday of some kind then they never seem special.

International Women’s Day though, it got me thinking. With everything shitty going on in the world, not to mention all the fear mongering and general hate happening in this country, it was nice to have a day where I was seeing all my favorite ladies being celebrated. From bloggers, to celebrities, to politicians, everyone was preaching wise words that they have heard from a women. So much love was spread.

The day got me thinking about how we should think about women and the roll we’ve all played in each other lives every day. And, even more than that, that we’ve got to lift each other up everyday. Because if we don’t, who will? That’s why I’m in love with this gif and am in love with you Hart Beat. As a belated International Women’s Day, here are a few posts I’ve published in the past waxing love for women everywhere.

Happy reading, Hart Beat!! And happy everydayshouldbewomens day!

Hannah Hart Beat

Just Not Sorry

Hannah Hart Beat

Evening, Hart Beat. Sorry for the radio silence for a few days there. I promise I’m back and have a few posts for ya. This first one comes from a suggestion of a friend at work. In our All Staff slack room she posted this genius google mail plug-in Just Not Sorry and I was like OH MAMACITA DOES THE WORLD (do I) NEED THIS.

Hannah Hart Beat

If you didn’t pick up from the screenshot above Just Not Sorry is a gmail plug-in that warns you when you use words or phrases that undermine your message. The words will be underlined for correction plus each correction gives you a quote or summary of how the phrase might be perceived.

Hannah Hart Beat

I hate to say this but I am 100% guilty of qualifying things I say at the office. It’s something I don’t understand (for real though). I should say what I mean and mean what I say! Yes that may be a Dr. Suess reference but whatever, this stops now. It kind of reminds me of this post I wrote last year about using exclamation points too much in work email. Since then I’ve definitely toned down the exclamation points and now, after this plug-in, I have a reminder to cut back on the “just’s,” “sorry but’s,” and “I think’s.” Are you with me, Hart Beat?

Plug-in recommended by Kenzi Wilbur and top photo of Debbie Harry from The New York Times.

Reese Witherspoon preaching feminism 🙌

Hannah Hart Beat

Hey Hart Beat! It’s lunch time so I thought I would share some reading for you if you’re looking for that kind of thing right now. Last night on Facebook I came across Reese Witherspoon’s acceptance speech for Glamour Women of the Year Award. I’ve been a long time fan of Reese and this speech made me love her even more. I admire so much her attitude and her advocation for ambitious women. One of the main points that Reese makes is, in this world dominated by men, if you see somewhere where you think you can add benefit, do it! Don’t wait for someone else to create the world for you. Anyway, here’s the whole speech if you’re interested. I hope you find it as inspiring as I did, Hart Beat.

I can’t thank Glamour magazine enough and Conde Nast and Cindi for asking me to be here. You just made this night so amazing. These incredible, inspiring women are doing so many things to change how we perceive women, and I hope Amy Schumer and all the other nominees that when you consider making your biopic, you’ll give me the rights first, which would be great. Although Amy, I’ll have to play your grandmother in the movie (by Hollywood standards), and you’ll probably have to play your own mother.

I’m so excited that so many young women are here tonight. This all started for me when I was a little girl. I was 14 years old when I learned that I love acting, and I still do. Acting allows me to slip into the skin of all kinds of different women, and not in a creepy “Silence of the Lambs” way…but in a way that lets me explore the full spectrum of humanity. Every woman I’ve ever played is passionate and strong and flawed, except for Tracy Flick. She’s 100 percent perfect, but she made me say that. But I also learned at 14 years old that I was ambitious. Really ambitious. Did I say that out loud? Let’s talk about ambition.

I want everybody to close their eyes and think of a dirty word, like a really dirty word. Now open your eyes. Was any of your words ambition? I didn’t think so. See, I just kind of started wondering lately why female ambition is a trait that people are so afraid of. Why do people have prejudiced opinions about women who accomplish things? Why is that perceived as a negative? In a study by Georgetown University in 2005, a group of professors asked candidates to evaluate male ambition vs. female ambition in politicians. Respondents were less likely to vote for power-seeking women than power-seeking men. They also perceived ambitious women as looking out for themselves. They even reported ambitious women as provoking feelings of disgust.

Now, in my life I have always found more comfort in being the underdog. Whether people thought I couldn’t do something or they said it was impossible, I always rose to the challenge. I enjoyed reaching for the impossible. I remember when I was 18 years old and applying to colleges, I had this male college counselor, and he said, “Don’t even bother applying to Stanford, sweetie. Your SAT scores aren’t good enough.” But I did it anyway, and I got in. (But it wasn’t because of my SAT scores!)

When I got into the film business, I was doing dramas, and casting directors didn’t know if I could be funny. So I did a comedy, “Legally Blonde,” and then my entire career I was pigeonholed. I did comedies, they didn’t think I was serious. I did dramas, they didn’t think I was funny. And I got older and they didn’t think I could still be viable. So about three years ago, I found myself very curious about the state of the movie business. I really wondered how the digital evolution was affecting the landscape of filmmaking and specifically why studios were making fewer and fewer movies. So I started asking questions, and I decided to meet with the heads of each of the different movie studios that I had been friends with for years and I had made many movies with them. Each of the meetings started with something very casual like, “How are your kids?” and “Wow, has it really been that long since ‘Walk the Line’?” At the end of the meeting, I sort of casually brought up, “So, how many movies are in development with a female lead?” And by lead, I don’t mean wife of the lead or the girlfriend of the lead. The lead, the hero of the story. I was met with nothing, blank stares, excessive blinking, uncomfortable shifting. No one wanted to answer the question because the fact was the studios weren’t developing anything starring a woman. The only studio that was was turning a man’s role into a woman’s role. And the studio heads didn’t apologize. They don’t have to apologize. They are interested in profits — and after all, they run subsidiary companies of giant corporations.

But I was flabbergasted. This was 2012, and it made no sense to me. Where was our Sally Field in “Norma Rae” or Sigourney Weaver in “Alien” or Goldie Hawn in, you name it, any Goldie Hawn movie: “Overboard,” “Wildcats,” “Private Benjamin”? These women shaped my idea of what it meant to be a woman of strength and character and humor in this world. And my beautiful, intelligent daughter, who is 16 years old now, would not grow up idolizing that same group of women. Instead, she’d be forced to watch a chorus of talented, accomplished women Saran wrapped into tight leather pants, tottering along on very cute, but completely impractical, shoes turn to a male lead and ask breathlessly, “What do we do now?!” Seriously, I’m not kidding. Go back and watch any movie, and you’ll see this line over and over. I love to ask questions, but it’s my most hated question.

I dread reading scripts that have no women involved in their creation because inevitably I get to that part where the girl turns to the guy, and she says, “What do we do now?!” Do you know any woman in any crisis situation who has absolutely no idea what to do? I mean, don’t they tell people in crisis, even children, “If you’re in trouble, talk to a woman.” It’s ridiculous that a woman wouldn’t know what to do.

So, anyway, after going to these studios and telling people about how there’s barely any female leads in films and the industry’s in crisis, people were aghast. “That’s horrible,” they said. And then they changed the subject and moved on with their dinner and moved on with their lives. But I could not change the subject. I couldn’t turn to some man and say, “What do we do now?” This is my life.

I’ve made movies all my life, for 25 years, since I was 14 years old. It was time to turn to myself and say, “OK, Reese, what are we going to do now?” The answer was very clear. My mother, who is here tonight, a very strong, smart Southern woman, said to me, “If you want something done, honey, do it yourself.”

So, I started my own production company, Pacific Standard Films, with the mission to tell stories about women. And I was nervous, y’all. I was spending my own money, which everyone in the movie business always tells you, “Don’t spend your own money on anything.” I was warned that on the crazy chance Pacific Standard would acquire any good scripts we would never make it past our first few years in business because there just wasn’t a market for buying female-driven material. But like Elle Woods, I do not like to be underestimated.

I’m a very avid reader. In fact, I’m a complete book nerd. So is my producing partner, so we tore through tons of manuscripts and read so many things before they were published, but we could only find two pieces of material that we thought were right. We optioned them with our own money, and we prayed that they would work. Both had strong, complicated, fascinating women at the center and both were written by women. And lo and behold, both books hit number one on the New York Times bestsellers list. One is called “Gone Girl” and the second is called “Wild.” So we made those two films last year, and those two films rose to over half a billion dollars world wide and we got three Academy Award nominations for women in acting performances. So that is year one. Against the odds, Pacific Standard has had a year two and year three. We bought five more bestselling books. Next year, we’re going to make two of those, “Big Little Lies” and “Luckiest Girl Alive,” into films. We have over 25 films in development and three television shows, and they all have female leads of different ages and different races and different jobs. Some are astronauts, some are soldiers, some are scientists, one is even a Supreme Court justice. They’re not just good or bad; they’re bold and hunted and dangerous and triumphant like the real women we meet every single day of our lives. But our company isn’t just thriving because it feels like a good thing to do. It’s thriving because female-driven films work. This year alone, “Trainwreck” with Amy Schumer, Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy,” “Pitch Perfect 2,” “Cinderella,” the “Hunger Games” franchise, those made over 2.2 billion dollars world wide. Films with women at the center are not a public service project, they are a big time, bottom line-enhancing, money-making commodity.

I think we are in a culture crisis in every field. In every industry, women are underrepresented and underpaid in leadership positions. Under 5 percent of CEOS of fortune 500 companies are women. Only 19 percent of Congress is women. No wonder we don’t have the health care we deserve or paid family leave or public access to early childhood education. That really worries me. How can we expect legislation or our needs to be served if we don’t have equal representation? So here’s my hope: If you’re in politics, media, the tech industry, or working as an entrepreneur or a teacher or a construction worker or a caregiver, you know the problems we are all facing. I urge each one of you to ask yourselves: What do we do now? That’s a big question. What is it in life that you think you can’t accomplish? Or what is it that people have said that you cannot do? Wouldn’t it feel really good to prove them all wrong? Because I believe ambition is not a dirty word. It’s just believing in yourself and your abilities. Imagine this: What would happen if we were all brave enough to be a little bit more ambitious? I think the world would change.

P.S. Another inspiring feminist that I love talks about her secret to great hair. Hint, the answer is feminism.

Hannah Hart Beat

#WWCBD: Connie Britton shares her hair secret

Hannah Hart Beat

Oh my god, Hart Beat. The internet is an incredible place and today was no different. Our girl Connie Britton has yet again come out and shown the world how amazing she is. In this new video that the actress put on youtube speaks to the importance of feminism in today’s culture.

Apparently the actress was tired of people on the red carpet asking about how she got such beautiful hair and decided to do something about it. I LOVE YOU CONNIE. The video is inspiring and I just want to share it with the world!! One of my biggest pet peeves is when women say they aren’t feminists or don’t believe in feminism. Really? You don’t believe that women should have the same rights as men? Because that’s what feminism is, ladies. So four for you Connie, you are my spirit animal today and always.

For more on the video you can read Bustle’s great article here.

P.S. An amazing article about Connie Britton from The New York Times a few years ago.