Screen Queens: Feminism in Pop Culture This Week 5/22

Screen Queens is LadyClever’s new roundup featuring feminist entertainment headlines from stage and screen each week: innovative portrayals and story arcs, sketches and comedy, appearances, awards, and more.

TV STILL - Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 6  Pictured: Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton Photographer: Helen Sloan/HBO

Get your hand off her, a**hole.

Maggie May December Romance: It turns out Hollywood hasn’t gotten the memo about thirty being the new twenty. In an interview with The Wrap, 37-year-old Maggie Gyllenhaal admitted she was recently told by a producer that she was actually “too old” to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man. Let it sink in for a moment that an almost-twenty year difference was still not a wide-enough age gap for Hollywood to cater to the male fantasy of the hot fifty-five-year-old man still being able to bag young chicks. Though Gyllenhaal said she was surprised by the producer’s admission, she chalked it up as one of the many “disappointing things about being an actress in Hollywood.”

“It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made feel angry, and then it made me laugh.” Thirtysomething actress Maggie Gyllenhaal on being told she was not young enough to be cast as an AARP-eligible character’s girlfriend

A Letter-Man’s World: David Letterman ended his era of the The Late Show with a yawn rather than a bang this week, choosing to close out his thirty-three year run with a line-up of icons who were predominantly cut from the same Caucasian/cis/male cloth. “No show needs to end with an earnest group hug of pan-racial affirmation: This is television comedy, not a “dialogue about race,” Scott Timberg wrote for Salon.”But Letterman seems like he’s offering a farewell from 1955 rather than 2015.” Timberg points out that the show has booked a more diverse variety of guests throughout its years. However, the finale celebrations were a pale (pun intended) reflection of the more supposedly-progressive leaning the show is credited with having sometimes taken. Here’s hoping that Colbert taking the helm will do more to boost the visibility and inclusion of females, the LGBT community, and people of color in the industry.

I Cannes Not Even: Amid Tinseltown making headlines for ACLU violations regarding inclusion of women in Hollywood, this week the illustrious Cannes Film Festival in France saw no issue with keeping females off the red carpet who opted out of jamming their feet into high heels. “The festival declined to comment on the matter,” Jezebel reported,” but did confirm that it is obligatory for all women to wear high-heels to red-carpet screenings. Multiple guests, some older with medical conditions, were denied access to the anticipated world-premiere screening for wearing rhinestone flats.”

Taylor Made: Everyone’s favorite songbird Taylor Swift’s new video for her single“Bad Blood” dropped on Monday and earned 20.1 million views in just 24 hours, TIME reported, setting a new Vevo record. “The accomplishment comes just days after the singer swept the Billboard Music Awards, walking away with eight trophies including Top Female Artist.” That’s really it. Just, yay for you Taylor Swift.

Stark Raving Mad: [Trigger warning: rape/sexual assualt] In last week’s episode of Game of Thrones, titled “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” [Game of Thrones spoilers ahead, do not read on if you are not caught up to Season 5, episode 6] teenaged bride Sansa Stark suffers a brutal sexual assualt at the hands of her now-husband, the sadistic Ramsay Bolton. Though the scene was not depicted on screen, the audience watched as Bolton rips open her outer garments and bends Sansa over, at which point the camera then shifts to Theon (essentially her adopted brother) grimacing and crying nearby as he’s forced to watch the gruesome assault — as Sansa’s cries fill our ears all the while. Many women took to social media and called immediately for a boycott of the show after the scene aired. Previous depictions of a woman’s rape had also been handled poorly by GoT, according to public opinion, and female viewers who are through with the show are expressing immense frustration at the unnecessary brutality. This scene in particular was not in the books, meaning the showrunners made the deliberate choice to craft and incorporate this scene. The female-centric geek culture The Mary Sue blog may perhaps be the largest site declaring their refusal to cover the series moving forward as an expression of their opposition to the choice and in support of their readers affected by the show, writing “….allow us to say something very important: rape is not a necessary plot device. Really think about that before shouting “creative freedom” in our direction, please.” Will the HBO series’ treatment of rape have any impact on your devotion to the show? Please share your feelings in the comments. — Casandra Armour

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