When I see footage of women programming in the 1940s I get chills. There were many female programmers in the 1940s and ’50s, and they made major contributions to the field. Programming was originally seen as a ‘female profession.’ I want people to know names like Betty Holberton, Jean Bartik, Katherine Johnson, and Annie Easley, in addition to Grace Hopper.
I think informing women and girls about their past and exciting them for the future go hand in hand.
Photo: Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust, stars of Netflix’ new series, Love
Who Cares About Actresses was happy to find that we weren’t the only ones raising our eyebrows at the new Netflix original Love. Yet again, we found ourselves watching a conventionally unattractive guy date a conventionally attractive girl (emphasis on conventional). It is a trope that most women are tired of because we almost never see the reverse. Really, we shouldn’t be surprised; Love is produced by Judd Apatow and we don’t need to tell you that he is a huge fan of pairing ‘hot’ girls with ‘ugly’ guys. The message, straight women, is that if you want love, you better be a mainstream knockout, but he doesn’t have to be.
Vulture posits thatLove makes the trope slightly better by how much of a mess (re: attempting to get sober) Gillian Jacobs’ character is, but we’re not sure it really makes much of a difference. We rarely see women who are deemed conventionally attractive as being unlikable, and when we do, critics tend to respond poorly. (Think Charlize Theron in Young Adult.) Would Rust be with Jacobs if she had her life together? It is not as if Rust’s character is doing incredibly well, but she is certainly poised as a complete mess in comparison to him. As Vulture puts it, “TV’s hot girl/ugly guy pairings typically go unchallenged, largely because standards for female attractiveness haven’t budged much over the past 60 years.“ Perhaps that is the bigger issue here; we might see women who do not fit into conventional standards of beauty on TV, but they are hardly ever portrayed as sexual characters capable of being loved. Love received relatively good ratings, but would that have been different if they had paired an ‘ugly’ (re: any woman not in Hollywood right now) woman with a ‘hot’ man? Who Cares About Actresses calls for someone to make that show–and no, you don’t get points if at any point the girl gets a makeover.