Sexist Comment Wracks Ginny and Georgia

by Sara Conway on April 15, 2021

Film and Television

Taylor Swift Calls out Popular Netflix Show

by Nikki Idelson ’22 A&E Staff

For anyone who has been on Netflix recently, the new television show Ginny and Georgia has been all the rage. It was released on Netflix on Feb. 24, and fans have been dying for a second season ever since.

The show centers around the relationship between a mother named Georgia and her daughter Ginny. According to Marie Claire magazine, the show goes beyond depicting the relationship between Ginny and Georgia, as they ”cycle between love interests, varying degrees of deception, new friendships, a mayoral election, and criminal activity.” Marie Claire also described the show as “half thriller, half coming of age story, with little sprinkles of comedy in between serious moments. It’s a grab bag, and there’s truly something for everyone in this addicting new show.” This is why the show has become so popular, as it truly does have something for everyone.


However, Ginny and Georgia has also received its fair share of criticism, which stems from the fact that in the final episode of the first season, Ginny makes a sexist comment to her mother. The joke revolves around pop icon, Taylor Swift. Ginny and Georgia are arguing about Ginny’s romantic relationships, and Ginny snaps at her mother, saying, “What do you care? You go through men faster than Taylor Swift.” In response to the joke, Swift replied on Twitter, saying, “Hey Ginny & Georgia, 2010 called and it wants its lazy, deeply sexist joke back.”

From the early 2000s to now, Swift has been constantly ridiculed for the very public nature of her romantic relationships, many of which have served as inspiration for music after their respective relationships ended. This unfair scrutiny over the years is a result of the deeply rooted sexism in the music industry that has existed for centuries and continues to prevail today. She has been made to feel wrong for her dating history while men, such as John Mayer, who have also had a very public dating record and have written music about it, have been praised.This unique form of sexism has continued to prevail within society, despite all of the progress that has been made in achieving equality for women. This also shows how important it is for all individuals, especially women, to point out micro-aggressive instances when they see them.

Many have come back at Swift, saying that she has taken the joke to an extreme. However, this “joke” is an example of how sexism is still deeply rooted within society. PopSugar commented on the situation, saying, “the ‘take a joke’ mentality simply minimizes the irrevocable damage the sexist attitude is causing.” From the joke itself to those who deny the severity of it, it is clear that we as a society have much more to do in fighting against the underlying sexism that exists today. It is disappointing to say that neither Netflix nor any of the cast members of Ginny and Georgia have said anything regarding the situation. Fans are hopeful that season two will be more conscious of any jokes that are made.

Why You Need to Watch Booksmart Right Now

by Patrick T Fuller on March 18, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

A Close Look at a Timely, Feminist Coming-of-Age Story 

by Nikki Idelson ’22 A&E Staff


In a society that continues to be dominated by white men, female success in film is often overlooked. However, in the past decade, women have started to gain recognition for their accomplishments. Hopefully one day, society will reach a point when women are honored every day, rather than just one month a year. The film industry boasts talented women in all roles which deserve to be celebrated no matter the time of year. In the past couple of years alone, female directors have not only entered the picture but have dominated the scene. One of these directors is Olivia Wilde. 

Olivia Wilde is an up-and-coming director in addition to being a seasoned actor. In 2019, her big directorial break came from her film Booksmart. The film centers around two friends, Molly and Amy. They are in their senior year of high school and at the top of their class. In the beginning of the film, they criticize their classmates who spent their high school years partying. However, they soon come to learn that these classmates have actually done well in school and are still attending good colleges. Molly and Amy realize that they missed out on much of the social aspect of high school, leading them to go to a party with their fellow classmates. They end up having an insane night that results in learning and coming to terms with various truths about themselves. Although Booksmart appears to be another coming-of-age tale about self-discovery, its impact is much deeper. 

For one, the film features two female actors as leads. Typically, in all types of films, especially coming-of-age ones, the leads are men. Molly is a fiery young woman who has no fear of telling any person, especially men, exactly what she is thinking. According to BuzzFeed, in one of the early scenes in the film, Molly has “photos of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Michelle Obama plastered on the walls of her room.” The incorporation of these two influential women is essential to the movie’s message, as it helps to bring positive awareness to women in politics, which is a field where women are not always taken seriously. By incorporating these powerful women into the film as individuals to be looked up to, the film helps to show that young girls and teenagers can, and should, look up to leaders such as these. 


Amy’s character is much quieter, yet she is still a leader. According to film critic Monica Castillo, the film goes much further than simply showing two women in lead roles: “it was just as refreshing to see it set in a high school that’s full of diverse students, different sexual orientations and gender expressions.” Amy represents the much needed acceptance and normalization of LGBTQ+ characters in film. This representation can be seen in her crush on a girl named Ryan and then her later hookup with a character named Hope. Amy’s crush and eventual hookup are never made a major deal and are depicted as normal. In a way, Booksmart celebrates the LGBTQ+ community with the same passion as LGBTQ+-genre films, albeit with an extra push towards casually integrating it into mainstream cinema.

Overall, Booksmart is a film that every person must see. It not only shows two powerful women as leads, but also touches on the true realities of growing up. It incorporates a diverse cast, which in prior years has typically not been the case. This film has helped to break down barriers in the representation of women in lead roles. However, these advances are just the start. Film needs to not only represent the voices of white women, but also the voices of women of color. Women belonging to the BIPOC community need to not only be cast in side roles, but also given voices as leads.

The Revival of the “Free Britney” Movement

by Sara Conway on March 4, 2021

Film and Television

Framing Britney Spears Sparks Outrage for the Star

by Nikki Idelson ’22 A&E Staff

Pop icon Britney Spears has been making headlines since the release of the new documentary Framing Britney Spears, made by the New York Times. Released on Feb. 5, the documentary gave viewers a glimpse into the darker parts of Spears’ life that had been hidden for years. The film opens with Spears’ rise to stardom, as well as her eventful downfall due to her personal struggles. Spears rose to fame at 16 when she released her major hit, “…Baby One More Time.” Her career took off following this release. However, as eventually came to light, her life was not as glamorous as it appeared.

Following her first major hit, Spears gradually became more provocative in her music videos, receiving hate and criticism in response. However, this did not stop her from making her claim to fame. Spears continued to rise in popularity, but began to suffer mentally due to a variety of factors. One of the most prominent of these factors was that she had several paparazzi following her around on a daily basis, which left her feeling as though she had no freedom or privacy.

Another detriment to her mental health was her relationship with Justin Timberlake. From 1999 to 2002, they were considered the “it couple.” However, in 2002, they ended their relationship. This breakup was difficult for Spears, who had fallen in love with Timberlake. Timberlake’s response to their breakup also played a major part in Spears’ personal struggles; when asked if he had slept with Spears, he responded, “Okay, I did it.” This led to many talk show hosts using this sound bite as content for their shows. Spears was horrifically slut-shamed within tabloid magazines due solely to a claim that Timberlake had made. 


Her marriage to Kevin Federline, which ended in 2006, was another challenging time for Spears as she lost custody rights to the children they had together. At this time, she was abusing both alcohol and other substances, which led her to, according to Today, “voluntarily check[ing] herself into an undisclosed treatment facility.” Soon after, in 2008, in order to gain more freedom in her visitation rights to her children, she agreed to enter into a conservatorship, with her father being the main executor of it. According to Glamour Magazine, “Her father and an attorney were granted a temporary—then permanent (in October 2008)—conservatorship over her assets, estate, and business affairs.” Following her placement under the conservatorship, a legal term defined as placing one’s financial affairs under the management of a guardian, Spears began to appear as though she was doing much better, performing in concerts all over the world.

However, in 2019, as fans began to learn more about Spears’ conservatorship and how limiting it was on her own personal freedom, a movement started worldwide, known as “Free Britney.” According to the New York Times, “Now that she is 39, a growing number of fans are agitating on her behalf.” This fan aggravation stemmed from the fact that this conservatorship unjustly stripped Spears of her autonomy, which is why fans argue that it should be lifted altogether. As Glamour Magazine said, “As of November 4 that year Britney filed an official motion to permanently remove her father as a co-conservator of her estate. Her lawyer reportedly requested that Bessemer Trust Company be the sole conservator moving forward.”

Spears’ legal representative even attested that “the singer has told him ‘on many occasions’ she’s afraid of Jamie [Spears’ father] and doesn’t want to perform professionally while he’s in the current role.” Spears’ request to remove her father completely was denied in a court on Nov. 10, 2020. Spears, as well as her fans, are continuing to fight for her freedom against this conservatorship.

Not So Rosy After All: Bachelor Nation Outraged

by Sara Conway on February 25, 2021

Film and Television

Harrison and Kirkconnell Enveloped in Racism Controversy

by Nikki Idelson ’22 A&E Staff

Within the past week, Chris Harrison, the host of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, has come under fire for defending racist behavior that current contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, openly displayed in the past. According to Cosmopolitan, following the first episode, which aired on Jan. 4, TikTok user Maddy Bierster “accused Rachael of teasing her in the past for liking black men.” Bierster made another video shortly after in which she showed seven messages that she had allegedly received from various individuals claiming that Kirkconnell had also bullied them in both high school and college. In February, pictures emerged on Twitter of Kirkconnell attending what is known as an “Old South” antebellum-themed fraternity formal in 2018, at Georgia College & State University. The two photos depict Kirkconnell and her friends dressed up in southern belle dresses. Elizabeth Boyd of New York Times notes that these parties are “signs of nostalgia for a bygone, segregated South and all its attendant privileges,” and that they characterize Southern sorority life.

Fans of The Bachelor have shown their outrage and disgust with Kirkconnell by speaking out against her actions through social media. However, it was Chris Harrison’s response to the allegations that resulted in many Bachelor fans boycotting the show altogether. In an interview done by Extra on Feb. 9 with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, Harrison essentially defended all of Kirkconnell’s actions. Lindsay asked Harrison to comment on the photos of Kirkconnell attending the Old South party, to which he answered, “Well Rachel, is it a good look in 2018, or not a good look in 2021?” Lindsay responded by saying, “It’s not a good look ever. She’s celebrating the Old South, which is not okay.” Harrison then used the argument that “50 million people did that in 2018, that was a type of party that a lot of people went to,” and continued to question if this lens was available in 2018, and if “we were all looking through it in 2018?”


These insensitive and harmful comments have led many Bachelor fans to criticize Harrison. In a Feb. 10 Instagram post, he responded to the backlash, saying, “I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology. . .What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am deeply sorry.” Harrison has since announced that he will be stepping back from the franchise for an unknown period of time. Kirkconnell issued her own apology shortly after Harrison. However, it is clear that this apology in no way excuses the racist behavior she has exhibited in the past. It is evident that racism continues to manifest even on mainstream national television. Despite the progress that has been made, it is not nearly enough, as can be seen through the actions of Kirkconnell and Harrison. Racism continues to prevail through various micro-aggressive behaviors, this incident being one of many. With such a diverse public audience, television personalities must use their platforms to begin dismantling racism instead of perpetuating it.

Bridgerton Explores 19th Century Gender Dynamics

by Sara Conway on February 11, 2021

Film and Television

by Nikki Idelson ’22 A&E Staff


Anyone who has been on Netflix recently has heard of the new show Bridgerton, which has been all the rage for almost two months now. The season first aired on Dec. 25, 2020, and has been in the top-10 list on Netflix ever since. According to The Today Show, the series is “based on the popular Bridgerton book series, written by Julia Quinn, that revolves around two families during ‘the season,’ an annual period where elite families would host formal events to introduce their children to society and find them a suitable marriage.” It takes place in England during the early 1800s and follows the scandalous lives of several families who are part of the elite.

Looking beyond all of the scandals, the show also incorporates a lot of important details about the gender roles that existed during the early 1800s. Anthony, the eldest Bridgerton, is asked by his mother in the first episode, “Are you merely the older brother, or are you the man of the house?” This question shows the patriarchal expectations that existed at the time, as men were expected to step up and be the leaders of their given households. Anthony was simply expected to take on this role of “man of the house” and arrange for his sisters to be married off, as he was the eldest of his brothers when their father died.

Bridgerton also shows the domestic roles that women, especially those of the upper class, were expected to have in society. Women were expected to be married off at a very young age to a man within their given social class. One character who fights against this norm is Eloise, one of the Bridgerton sisters. Eloise desires a life that does not simply revolve around marriage as she  instead dreams of attending college. This dynamic can be seen in episode two when she says, “Having a nice face and pleasant hair is not an accomplishment. Do you know what is an accomplishment? Attending university! If I were a man, I could do that, you know.”           

Looking at the gender roles that exist within society today, it is evident that women now have more freedom in deciding what they want to do with their lives, as well as who, and even if, they desire to marry. However, these classic gender roles are still apparent, as men are expected to be the heads of their households—in which they hold a job and are the only provider—while women are expected to be the nurturing caregivers who remain at home to take care of the children as well as the household. Even though a few of the show’s characters, such as Eloise, defy their expected gender roles, the majority eventually fall into these roles due to social pressures. Although these gender roles have dissolved in some capacity since the 1800s, they remain evident in today’s society.

The Bachelorette Premieres with Oldest Contestant Yet

by The Cowl Editor on October 29, 2020

Arts & Entertainment

What this Means for a Culture that Idolizes Young Beauty

by Nikki Idelson ’22 A&E Staff

The Bachelorette logo

Clare Crawley graced the screens of Bachelor Nation on Tuesday, Oct. 13. The Bachelorette will be airing every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. for the next 12 weeks. With COVID-19 delaying the show, safety considerations posed new challenges for the filming crew. Surprisingly, another new feature to the show is the Bachelorette herself.

At 39 years old, Clare Crawley is the oldest Bachelorette in all of The Bachelorette history. She was featured on Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor, two seasons of Bachelor in Paradise, as well as The Bachelor Winter Games. She has faced heartbreak, but has also treated each of these experiences as opportunities to learn and grow, saying, “With age comes more life experience and self confidence.”

However, she also experienced ageism in this season. CNN notes, “Up until Crawley’s season, the average age of the ‘Bachelorette’” was 27. The show has featured a woman in her 30s as the lead just twice.” This shows how The Bachelorette is beginning to break out of its age-old tradition of having solely individuals in their 20s on the show.

This ageism is demonstrated in the trailer at least twice. One contestant storms off, shouting, “I expected way more from the oldest Bachelorette.” In another scene, Crawley is in tears, yelling, “Sick, sick! I don’t care what I’ve done, to sit there and say ‘You‘re the oldest Bachelorette that’s 39 that’s standing here single,’ it’s because I didn’t settle for men like that.” These two instances  show that ageism led the contestants to expect her to act a certain way simply because she is the oldest Bachelorette.


Further, Crawley has faced the unfair assumption that she should simply accept however she is treated and take whatever she is given because she is “single at 39.” However, Crawley has fought against this idea In the above quote, she is essentially saying that she is not single because she is “difficult” but, instead, because she will not settle for just anyone. With this season of The Bachelorette, Crawley has fought against the harmful stereotype that if an individual has not found their “soulmate” by the time they hit their mid-30s, then they should, and are expected to, throw in the towel completely and stop searching.

However, with Crawley being the Bachelorette, she has shown that one can find love and be desirable even at an older age. She has even turned her age into a positive attribute, saying in an interview with Good Morning America, “I feel like a lot of people put [my age] out there as a negative thing. But for me, it is just more years under my belt, more learning and knowing what I want, what I don’t want, and what I won’t settle for.” Crawley has emphasized that women should not settle for or accept poor treatment simply because they want to find love before they hit their mid-30s, but they should instead understand that they deserve to be treated well, and, therefore, should not settle or give up on finding love.

Melissa Silverstein, the founder and publisher of Women and Hollywood, said that this season of The Bachelorette helps to show that “romance and sexuality aren’t just for the young.” This season will be monumental in helping to change this stereotype and show that women can find love at any age.

Artists Adapt Concerts to the COVID-19 Context

by The Cowl Editor on October 15, 2020


Harnessing Creativity through Drive-ins, Live Streams

by Nikki Idelson ’22 A&E Staff

Drive-in movie theaters have always been a beloved American pastime to experience a favorite movie during the warm summer months. Recently, drive-ins have undergone a resurgence, one that has not necessarily been solely for the movie-watching experience. Artists such as Chelsea Cutler, Quinn XCII, the Beach Boys, Keith Urban, and many more have utilized drive-in movie theaters to hold concerts safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Forbes, in several states such as Nebraska, Wisconsin, Washington, North Carolina, Illinois, and West Virginia, “drive-ins are popping up like daisies.” Some artists are performing live in-person, while others are pre-recording their concerts.

For many artists, drive-in concerts have garnered their highest attendance. Examples of this unexpected popularity have been seen with Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, and Metallica, who all had pre-recorded drive-in concerts. WIS News 10 reported that “other than his show in Times Square in the ’90s, he’s [Garth Brooks] never had 350,000 people show in concert before, making it a massive success. Same with Blake Shelton and Metallica.” These drive-in concerts have offered people a taste of what it was like to attend concerts pre-COVID-19—minus the huge mosh pits, of course.

However, these drive-in concerts have also received some backlash. This is mainly due to The Chainsmokers’ live drive-in concert that was held in the Hamptons in late July. CNN reported that some of the issues with this concert included “thousands of people in close proximity, out of their vehicles, a VIP area where there was no pretense of a vehicle, and generally not adhering to social distancing guidelines.” The security hardly enforced the social distancing guidelines, mainly due to the fact that hundreds of individuals were in attendance, resulting in the concert being difficult to manage.


Despite this, several artists who have performed live drive-in concerts have had no issue. Chelsea Cutler and Quinn XCII, who are currently performing together, recently had live drive-in concerts in Charlotte, NC, and Columbus, OH. The drive-in concerts were unbelievably popular and received much attention, so much so, that they will be holding another drive-in concert on Oct. 23 and 24 in Chicago, IL. They had very strict protocols in place, such as having to stay in one’s car unless going to the bathroom or sitting in the trunk, as well as the requirement of social distancing and wearing masks, with strict security in place.

Another popular technique of media delivery that artists have been utilizing in order to offer some semblance of a concert experience is live streams. These live streams have typically been through social media, such as House Party, Youtube, Livexlive, Instagram, and many artists’ individual websites. Several artists have turned to this tool, such as Billie Eilish, Avril Lavigne, and Machine Gun Kelly. Even the Metropolitan Opera House has turned to live streaming. Many of these live streams are free of charge, while bigger artists are charging a small fee. According to the New York Times, in order to help popularize these live streams, artists have had to invent new and exciting ways to present music. For instance, Brad Paisley tried to turn his live stream into more of a pre-COVID experience by performing “his full stage show at the Steel Mill, a rehearsal space outside Nashville.”

Artists and large live streaming companies have also turned to hosting live stream music festivals. These have gained much attraction as music festivals have been a long-loved tradition for many individuals. Although live streaming and drive-in concerts are not ideal for those who are avid concert and music-festival-goers, this has become the new normal for the time being. If you are itching to see your favorite artist in concert, a live stream or drive-in concert is your safest, and only, bet for the foreseeable future.