The Bechdel Test and women in the industry

Let’s be brutally honest here – since the dawn of time, women have always gotten handed the short end of the stick. It doesn’t matter what scenario, industry, or time in history it is, women have always been treated inferior to men.

Think of how not too long ago, men would laugh and scoff at the thought of a woman being a doctor, lawyer, accountant or police officer. In some places on our beloved planet earth, women still do not have the right to vote or leave the house alone. Women continue to be categorized as “weak”, “damsels in distress”, and “delicate” by men who are seen as “strong, “macho” and “powerful”.

It is harrowing to think about, but today in 2017 women are still being dismissed and looked over non-stop because of lingering misogynistic stereotypes. Women who are of colour, who belong to a non-western faith or who are queer often face even worse mistreatment.

As human beings in the 21st century, we live for the entertainment of any sort. Social media, movies, television, music, live events and more are what brings us together as a community and engages us daily. Even if it is often a little fun and silly, we are deeply influenced by everything we see and hear from early childhood. We often take our entertainment for granted, as it has a grand part in shaping us into who we are.

Most often, filmmakers and producers aren’t encouraged to take big risks or jump “out of the box”, such as featuring women in lead roles in films that aren’t sappy love stories. Remember that everything always comes down to money, and big executives often fear that putting something out of the norm might scare the consumer away. Film students are told from the get-go that their projects have much less of a chance of succeeding if they do something bold and unpredicted, even if it’s actually a good idea. (Anna Waletzko, “Why the Bechdel Test Fails Feminism.”)

Despite the general hesitation of leaving normality in Hollywood, some trailblazers have made big, bold decisions that actually worked, and helped change stigmatized ideas implemented into our society.

A good example of this is the hit 80’s fiction American television series “Cagney and Lacey”. Profiling the escapades of two police officers in New York City, the unusual factor of this series was that detectives Cagney and Lacey both happened to be women, working in a male-dominated industry. Cagney and Lacey was the first ever “buddy” television show about two women (as that would have been categorized as a huge “risk” at the time) and withheld a strong feminist message. The show documented not just their lives as badass detectives, but as average women who worked full time had families to take care of and struggled with sexism in the workplace, which is a very relatable concept for most women then and today.

Television sitcoms in the late 80’s to mid 90’s such as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and the Cosby Show provided representation of successful African-American families on TV, and RuPaul’s Drag Race has succeeded for 8+ years in showcasing the colossal talents of queer people on televisions worldwide. Most recently in 2017, a modern adaption of Wonder Woman was released, being the first ever action/superhero film with the protagonist being a woman.

When watching a film or television show, do you ever notice a significant lack of involvement in the direction of women? It is a lot less apparent than the average person would think, but a colossal amount of popular movies have a tough time with having more than one female actress in the main cast. I challenge you to think of 5 major motion films you’ve seen recently that involve more than one main prevalent character in the main cast.

In 1985, an innovative comic artist by the name of Alison Bechdel published a strip called “The Rule” in her original comic “Dykes to Watch Out For”. In the comic strip was something far more deep and complex than just a few punchlines as you’d find in an average comic, it was the birth of The Bechdel Test.

To pass The Bechdel Test, a film must answer these three simple questions with a “yes”; in the film, are there at least two named women, do they talk to each other, and is it about something besides a man?

At first glance, it seems a little silly. I mean, c’mon, you would think that most movies have at least one female character and that she would have a name. But believe it or not, even in liberal Hollywood, women are still excluded at large in the film industry.

After hearing about Alison Bechdel’s marvelous algorithm, it really does stick in your head. You will find yourself questioning every movie (or television show) that you watch, and you will be stunned as to how much of our entertainment excludes women.

It doesn’t take a lot of attention to realize that action films are in majority exclusively marketed towards men. Following the age-old stereotype that men must be ruff-and-tuff and are only entertained by violence, weapons and overtly sexualized women, cult movie franchises such as The Fast and the Furious and Terminator have been catering to their testosterone-pumped male audience for decades. Despite the strong stigma towards the involvement and interest of women in the action genre, there are some noteworthy exceptions.

One of those exceptions happens to be Quentin Tarantino, one of Hollywood’s biggest names. Tarantino is broadly known for his cult classic movies that all contain a persistent pattern of gruesome, graphic, raw violence that somehow always ends up looking so aesthetically beautiful.

Quentin Tarantino is best known for directing and writing the Kill Bill film trilogy, which the first two pass The Bechdel Test by a long shot. With the main cast being comprised of mainly women, such as Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah and Julie Dreyfus, Kill Bill is jam-packed with badass assassin ladies fighting to the death and searching revenge from one another. Although the plot (and title) is centered around a man, there is an overwhelming amount of named female characters, who talk to each other, about something besides good ol’ Bill.

A smaller yet largely growing subgenre of action movies is the superhero category. Iconic and beloved comic books coming from publishers such as Marvel and DC are being made into movies and television series at a rapid pace. As entertaining and childhood fulfilling these films can be, they significantly lack female presence.

Granted quite a few of these superhero movies do in fact pass The Bechdel Test, they usually barely meet the criteria. For example, 2 out of 3 of the ever so popularized Avengers films technically pass the test, but it’s nothing exciting. Often if there are two named female characters who actually speak about something besides a man, it’s a complete fluke.

It is quite interesting to look into films that do and don’t pass The Bechdel Test and to analyze the cast and crew behind it. A fascinating example is the movie adaption of American Psycho, a gruesome novel written by Bret Easton Ellis. American Psycho documents the life of Patrick Bateman, a 27-year-old rich, snobby investment banker working on Wall Street. Bateman is also a serial killer on the side and preferably preys on women. A quote from a New York Post article on the Broadway version of American Psycho describes the story as “a sly skewering of a woman-hating, alpha-male mindset that sadly didn’t die along with the 1980s” which hits the nail on the head perfectly.

On the surface, American Psycho seems to be very misogynistic. Patrick Bateman does not treat the women in his life with respect, and only views them as sex objects. Before the release of the movie, several feminist organizations and groups even rallied together in protest of the seemingly anti-women theme.

Unlike most stories, American Psycho has a protagonist which is extremely unlikable and almost not human. Patrick Bateman is in no way a Ted Bundy or Charles Manson, meaning he may be a murderous villain but has absolutely no charm or likability to his personality. Christian Bale, the actor who played Bateman in the movie, even mentioned in an interview that he pulled inspiration from Tom Cruise’s infamous interview on the David Letterman show, stating that he noticed “intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes”.

The outstanding factor which gives American Psycho its brilliance that many seem to not pick up is the perfect amount of satire and comedy implemented in what seems like a horror or thriller story. The entire film/book subconsciously pokes fun at the very realistic rich, yuppie Wall Street type that Bateman and his peers are portrayed as.

Guinevere Turner, who wrote the screenplay, stated in an interview that “…It’s a satire about how men compete with each other and how in this hyperreal universe we created, women are even less important than your tan or your suit or where you summer and to me, even though the women are all sort of tragic and killed, it’s about how men perceive them and treat them.”

Many people, including director Mary Harron and writer Guinevere Turner, see American Psycho as a feminist film. Bret Easton Ellis, the author, has mentioned several times that he even intended on his book to be a strong feminist statement.

Underneath it all, American Psycho shows us that the men in our society who appear as symbols of power and success are almost always holding up a facade. They are corrupt, immature, and terribly sad human beings. They abuse women and can get away with almost anything (even murder), which is exactly what American Psycho is all about. Despite tragically failing The Bechdel Test, American Psycho certainly does uphold many strong statements on feminism and misogyny.

Continuing on with the horror genre, a movie that does, in fact, exceed The Bechdel Test’s seemingly tough criteria happens to be The Silence of the Lambs. Released in 1991, this cult classic is based on a four-book fictional series written by Thomas Harris. The plot of The Silence of the Lambs, in particular, is based around an FBI agent, Clarice Starling, who profiles the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter in search of answers to a complex murder case.

In terms of The Bechdel Test, it is quite dubious as to if The Silence of the Lambs passes or not. On, a website dedicated to listing movies and indicating as to whether they pass the test or not, The Silence of the Lambs is said to pass. Comments in the open forum show how tricky the rules of the test can be, such as this one from Amanda, who wrote “I think it passes. Clarice and her roommate are quizzing each other about the number codes when they are running. The only thing that is iffy for me is the fact that I don’t remember hearing the roommate’s name mentioned in the film.” But then, someone later comments on the thread that Clarice’s roommate is named Ardelia.

It is apparent that most of the conversations had between women in The Silence of the Lambs (usually involving the protagonist, Clarice) do somehow involve a man. But in a film such as this one, does that really make it fail the Bechdel Test? Other fans on the forum brought up that the test might not be so credible on a film such as this one, as a user named Commissioner commented “…In this film, the female is an agent during an investigation. She’s going to have to talk about the suspect/killer to other agents, male or female. Should it fail the test for that? If she didn’t, it wouldn’t be realistic at all.” This is a very strong example of how like every system or algorithm, the Bechdel Test does have its flaws.

Yes, Clarice had quite a few conversations with other women about men, but it was her job to do so. It doesn’t seem right to label The Silence of the Lambs as an “anti-women” or “non-feminist” film, as the protagonist is portrayed as a strong, brave, independent woman working in a male-dominated workplace.

We would assume that movies like The Silence of the Lambs which contain a strong female protagonist would pass the Bechdel Test. Mostly because our standards as consumers when it comes to women are pretty low, and we just automatically assume that if a film’s main character is female, then that automatically makes it “pro-women” and “feminist”, right? Well, that theory has now been proven wrong.

Continuing with the category of movies with “strong female leads”, Labyrinth comes to mind. Labyrinth is a cult classic film put in the genre of “fantasy/action” released in 1986 and produced by the ever iconic Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets. The movie follows the story of a young girl named Sarah who must embark on a quest through a mind-boggling maze in a fantasyland in order to save her baby brother from the goblin king.

Labyrinth happens to be a movie that does have a very strong-willed, independent, female protagonist. While only being a young girl, Sarah is the epitome of brave. She goes through all sorts of trials and tribulations while trying to save her baby brother and is a great character for young girls to look up to. But despite having a strong heroine, the film severely lacks any sort of female representation.

As most Jim Henson projects are, the majority of the cast (if not usually all) is his trademark Muppet characters, which evidently aren’t people. In Labyrinth, many people had noticed that that out of the hundreds of little puppet characters featured, none appeared to be female. None. With all the random little extra muppet creatures, they did not think to make a single one female. Sure, maybe one was, but they certainly did not include anything of the sort. An anonymous writer on the Bechdel Test website forum puts it pretty well by commenting, “They didn’t think to give Sarah a single female companion, with a name? Even all of the unnamed creatures and talking doorknobs, hands, false alarms, etc were male. WTF?”

After nit-picking through several movies to see if they withstand the true test of feminism, there have been quite a few conclusions and inquiries drawn. The main and most pertinent one being is The Bechdel Test really credible? Does it really measure a film’s degree of “feminism” properly?

The issue with The Bechdel Test is that it really isn’t a one size fits all kind of test. Almost all of the films discussed previously had some sort of issue, making the outcome of it passing or not quite dubious. For example, The Silence of The Lambs has a strong female lead, but she mostly talks about men. She is an FBI agent, so does it make the film less “female-inclusive” if she’s just doing her job? American Psycho is deemed misogynist due to its alpha-male protagonist and overall lack of respect towards women, but the underlying message of the movie is making fun of men and meant to be radically feminist.

Yes, The Bechdel Test is a good test of measure for certain movies, but there are too many exceptions to make it a truly working system. That’s not to say that it doesn’t “work”, or it isn’t valuable in any way, but all systems have their flaws. And with a subject as personal and political as women, the best way to identify if a film is seemingly “feminist” enough might be using your common sense and best judgment.   

At the time, Alison Bechdel surely was not intending on a joke in one of her comic strips to be used as a serious testing process for movies. The Bechdel Test was not a specific algorithm created by professionals or specialists in order to prove something, it was made by a very socially aware artist to make her audience laugh.

There is incredible pertinence and importance in the Bechdel Test, especially in this day and age where women in the film industry are a very current topic. It is an eye-opening and innovative concept which we should pay more attention to, as the involvement of women in film is quite pitiful. The Bechdel Test should be used exactly as it was meant to be; a thought-provoking conversation starter in effort to bring more awareness and attention towards a very pressing subject.


   Works Cited

    Waletzko, Anna. “Why the Bechdel Test Fails Feminism.” The Huffington Post,, 27 Apr. 2015,


    “Cagney & Lacey (TV Series 1981–1988).” IMDb,,


    Stewart, Sara. “Women are chopped up, but ‘American Psycho’ skewers men even more.” New York Post, New York Post, 22 Apr. 2016,


    Williams, Zoe. “Why Wonder Woman is a masterpiece of subversive feminism.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 5 June 2017,


Bechdel Test Movie List. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2018, from

Lettre à ma grand-mère


Chère Emma,

J’aime bien ton texte; tu as utilisé plusieurs verbes au passé composé (phrases affirmatives et négatives).

Pour les points à améliorer, il faut d’abord que tu décides si tu veux dire TU (tutoyer) ou VOUS (vouvoyer) à ta grand-mère. Il ne faut pas utiliser parfois tu, parfois vous, mais plutôt décider dès le début quel pronom tu vas utiliser et faire preuve de cohérence en utilisant le même jusqu’à la fin du texte. Ensuite, il y a quelques expressions et constructions de phrases à corriger. Finalement, j’aimerais que tu réécrives ton texte pour le 12 janvier.

S’il te plaît, lis les corrections ci-dessous, à l’intérieur de ton texte (voir ***). J’ai fait une correction détaillée pour t’aider… Viens me voir si tu as besoin de clarifications.

Bravo Emma pour tes progrès en conjugaison!


Chère grand-maman,

Bonjour! Je ne t’ai pas écrit *** depuis si longtemps ***(qu’il y a tellement longtemps), alors il faudra qu’on se rattrape. Vous  avez *** ou tu as?*** manqué beaucoup de changements dans ma vie, et j’ai commencé d’oublier ce qui se passe dans ta vie aussi!

Présentement, je suis entré la douzième année à l’école cette année, et ca se passe très vite! Je suis presque partie de l’école, es-tu *** ou êtes-vous *** fière? Souvenez-vous quand vous êtes venues *** venue (féminin singulier) *** me voir à ma graduation en maternelle, il y a presque treize ans! Je n’ai pas encore fini la biologie, l’anglais ou le français, mais j’ai réussi à finir les mathématiques et les arts l’année dernière qui prenait trop de mon temps!


Après les vacances de *** Noël, je vais *** postuler *** (appliquer = anglicisme à éviter) pour des universités. Je n’aurais jamais pensé à faire quelque chose si grand comme ca, mais j’ai très hâte!

Je suis sûre que tu te poses cette question tout le temps, et oui, ma chienne Coco n’est pas morte! Elle ne dort jamais pendant toute la nuit, mais pour un chien de huit ans elle est très forte! Hier soir, j’ai *** amené Coco faire une promenade *** (non : pris Coco pour une marche) à notre plage préférée, et nous avons pensé *** à (pas de) toi! Je ne t’ai pas *** rendu visite (pas : visitée)  à ton appartement sur la plage il y a longtemps. Nous avons aimé l’arbre de Noël qu’on a vu dans ta fenêtre!

*** Phrase suivante à reformuler :  Je suis très excitée de savoir que je serai avec toi bientôt pendant… ( pas : Bientôt, je suis très excité d’être avec toi pendant les vacances d’hiver!)

Quand elle *** va revenir (futur) *** (pas : est revenue) de Londres, j’espère qu’on va avoir du temps avec ma cousine Sarah aussi. *** I missed en anglais est : Je m’ennuie du temps passé ensemble (non : J’ai manqué notre temps ensemble) depuis qu’elle a déménagé il y a trois ans. Vous *** ou tu as *** avez parlé de  *** comment heureuse : non – tournure anglaise, il faut dire : à quel point tu es heureuse de voir (il vous fait de voir) toute ta famille ensemble, alors j’ai hâte qu’on se rejoigne ensemble ce Noël.

Alors ma chère grand-mère, j’espère que tu as apprécié cette lettre. Je ne t’ai jamais écrit une lettre, mais après celle-ci je pense que je vais t’*** en envoyer une autre.

À bientôt!


Cyntoia Brown and The Deeply Flawed American Justice System

In 2004, a 16-year-old girl from Tennessee named Cyntoia Brown shot a man named Johnny Allen in the head. She was not a murderer, but the result of a lifetime of misery and injustice.

Cyntoia Brown never had a fair chance at life. Before she was even born, her mother Georgina Mitchell, who herself was the result of rape, was an avid drinker while she was pregnant at the age of 16. When Cyntoia was born in 1988, her birth mother kept her for eight months while still drinking and picking up the use of crack cocaine. She was soon after given up by her mother and spent her early years of childhood bouncing from foster homes until she was finally adopted at two years old. [1]

Because of her mother’s actions, Cyntoia is assumed to suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome disorder. Women who are pregnant or who are trying are advised to stay away from alcohol, as it travels quickly from the mother’s blood to the fetus. While affecting a child’s physical (such as facial feature deformation and low body weight) and mental (lower IQ, difficulties with learning), fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can have a strong part in diminishing a person’s quality of life. This alone gives substantial doubt of her actions, decision making and overall direction in life. [2]

Despite her adoptive mother’s efforts to create a stable home, Cyntoia was damaged from her early childhood and suffered from emotional baggage. She later ran away from home in 2004, at the age of 16. [1]

Naturally, once she ran away, Cyntoia got involved with the wrong people, thus the beginning of a hellish string of events. She became the property of a then 24-year-old man named “Kut-throat”, who physically and sexually abused her, as well as forcing her into sex trafficking to make money to fuel their drug addictions. The 16-year-old girl, still a child, was repeatedly drugged, beaten, and raped as a prostitute by various men. [3]

Eventually, Cyntoia was taken by Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old real estate agent. Allen then took her to his home and proceeded to rape the drugged 16-year-old girl for several weeks on end. She said that she was scared and feared her life, as she had found an astonishing amount of guns around Allen’s home, and he acted very strangely around her. Fearing for her life, Cyntoia built up her courage, took out a gun from her purse and shot Allen in the head, killing him.

She stole his wallet, truck, and some guns, as she planned on returning to her pimp and thought if she maybe had something to bring back he wouldn’t beat her. Cyntoia drove away to meet her pimp at his hotel room and was soon found and arrested by the police. Despite being only 16, she was tried as an adult and was convicted of first-degree murder with a life sentence (60 years before a re-trial) in prison. [4]

13 years later, Cyntoia Brown is now 29 years old and still incarcerated. During her time in jail so far, she has had the chance to complete her GED and associate’s degree (with a GPA of 4.0) and is now working towards her bachelor’s degree and hopes to achieve a master’s. Lipscomb University, located in Tennessee, has a program with the local women’s prison called LIFE (Lipscomb Initiative For Education) which allows 30 students from the university to spend one night a week studying liberal arts alongside the inmates. In effort to describe the benefits of the program, an article on Brown by a Lipscomb student reads “The mix of students and specifically designed coursework provides academic and character-building benefits for both students at the prison and students from campus.” ( [5]

Most recently, Cyntoia’s case has resurfaced the internet with the hashtag “#SaveCyntoiaBrown”, leaving everyone in shock. Shared by celebrities such as Rihanna, LeBron James, and Kim Kardashian-West, the story of a naive 16-year-old girl from Tennessee who was gravely taken advantage of has caused a re-ignition of interest. Kardashian-West herself has even put her legal team to work in hopes of helping Cyntoia with her unfair, lengthy sentence.

An online petition has even been started to help her achieve clemency, with currently over 440,000 signatures. The petition was created by a fellow student of Cyntoia’s at Lipscomb University, who also works alongside her legal team. People around the world are enraged and saddened to see such a tragic story unfold, and Americans are starting to wonder how corrupt their justice system really is.

Putting the pieces together, it seems as though there are much too many aspects of the story that point towards a grave injustice for Cyntoia Brown. From the early beginning of her life, Cyntoia was unfortunately set on the wrong track and no effort was done to set her straight. Her mother tainted her quality of life before she was even born due to her substance abuse. As previously mentioned, children who suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome usually have lower IQ’s and have a tough time learning with poor judgment. Brown was also the product of rape and trauma, same as her mother and grandmother.

It is a known fact that Cyntoia Brown has struggled mentally and emotionally throughout her life, which if anything should have made the prosecutors think twice as to whether she is a heartless criminal or a lost teenage girl with poor social skills.

Something which we should never forget while reviewing this case is that this whole incident involves a 16-year-old girl. A teenager, a child, whose brain and body is still developing. It was extremely idiotic and inutile for Cyntoia to have been prosecuted as an adult. In what sense is that fair? From a crime she committed at 16 (in self-defense), she will not be eligible for parole until she turns 69 years old, granted she gets it. Although Cyntoia may have a slim chance at parole, in America, a colossal amount of people are sentenced to life without parole, many before they turn 18. Every state legally allows youth under the age of 18 to be tried as adults, with an estimated 5,000 juveniles in adult prisons. [6]

The United States is, in fact, the only place on earth that still gives children life in jail without parole. There are an approximate 2,100 minors currently incarcerated in the U.S. which face spending the rest of their days locked up with no chance of getting out. Only 20 states have banned life without parole, leaving the majority America’s juveniles who commit criminal acts vulnerable to spending the rest of their lives incarcerated for a crime they committed in their youth. [7] This is an injustice, and one of the many flaws which the American justice system obtains.

Cyntoia Brown was robbed of having a normal childhood and overall life. No one, let alone a 16-year-old girl, should have to endure the pain, abuse, and suffering that she did. It is incredibly unfair that Cyntoia experienced the childhood that she had, but it is even more unfair that she is forced to spend the rest of her life incarcerated. A teenage girl forcibly turned prostitute who shoots a man in the head because he was abusing her and having illegal sex which she did not want is not homicide, but sheer self-defense. It is disgusting to think that a young girl is being punished brutally for defending herself and her own life.

The American justice system and we as a society have failed to help this young girl, and thousands of others just like her who have endured similar injustices. It is a true symptom of a decaying society. The story of Cyntoia Brown should not just be tragic or infuriating, but a wake-up call for us all.



[1] Jacobs, Tom “Life in Prison Begins at 16: The PBS documentary “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story” asks the question: Who is responsible when family and society so fail a promising child that she turns to prostitution and murder in her teens?”, Pacific Standard Magazine, February 25 2011 Accessed November 22, 2017

[2] Unknown, “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)”, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, June 6 2017 Accessed November 22, 2017

[3] Loller, Travis “Attorneys seek new trial for teenage killer” Associated Press, November 13 2012 Accessed November 22, 2017

[4] Unknown, “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story”, Independent Lens, PBS, February 7, 2011 Accessed November 13 2017

[5] Shoun, Janel “Cyntoia Brown, LIFE student at local prison, is subject of film shown at HumanDocs” Lipscomb University, October 14, 2010 Accessed November 30, 2017

[6] Sainato, Michael “Cyntoia Brown and The Flawed Juvenile Criminal System”  The Real News, November 28 2017 Accessed December 1, 2017

[7] Rovner, Josh “Juvenile Life Without Parole: An Overview” The Sentencing Project, October 13, 2017 Accessed December 1, 2017

Celebrities are criminals too

It often seems as though being a celebrity makes you “untouchable”. People who are in positions of power often like to use their status as a weapon. They threaten their victim’s success and usually end up getting their way whether it’s consensual or not. 

Woody Allen has been accused of pedophilia since 1992 (25 years) and has been involved in the creation of 32 projects in the film industry since. Bill Cosby has been accused of rapedrug-facilitated sexual assaultsexual battery, and child sexual abuse since the early 60’s, and still, awaits the verdict from his trial. R. Kelly was charged with statutory rape and child pornography in 2002, with actual video proof of him engaging in sexual relations with an underage girl, and was somehow found not guilty. In 2009, Chris Brown viciously physically attacked his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, and has come out with 4 albums since. 

Now, we have Harvey Weinstein, who is being outed for sexually assaulting and threatening the careers of multiple actors and actresses in the industry. The whole world knows about what despicable things he’s done. He has allegedly been fired from his job as a top film producer, and his wife is divorcing him. 

The worst thing with all these men previously mentioned, besides their crimes, is that they’ve all somehow managed to get away with it. What usually happens when a normal, mundane middle-aged man is found with possession of child pornography? Or when some guy serial-rapes 20+ women? Prison. Sometimes even capital punishment. Our entire society turns on them. They are considered the scum of the earth.

But when Woody Allen does it, he ends up with an Academy-Award winning movie grossing over $40 million worldwide. Ignition, R. Kelly’s top hit song, is still heard on the radio daily, even though he raped a 17-year-old girl on camera and urinated on her. Chris Brown beats up his girlfriend and wins a Grammy.

Even the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, has been proven of sexual assault and abuse of many women. But he’s a rich, white, socialite, man so we can let him be president of one of the world’s most powerful countries!

Although we always seem to forget, men aren’t the only ones who commit criminal acts and get pardoned. In this current season of the ever-popular television anthology series American Horror Story, popular actresses Emma Roberts (niece of Julia Roberts) and Lena Dunham both have brief roles. But did we forget that Roberts physically assaulted her boyfriend (and American Horror Story actor), Evan Peters? And didn’t Dunham sexually assault her younger sister many times and even write about it in her recently published book?

Our daily entertainment is built off of criminals. We pardon them because they said “sorry” and happen to be our favorite artist, or produce our favorite movies. But why? Why do we, as human beings, find that okay? Why didn’t Chris Brown’s record label drop him? Why do actors and crew still want to work on films with Woody Allen?

How can you say that Woody Allen is your favorite filmmaker while knowing that he’s an awful pedophile? How can you re-watch the Cosby Show and not feel disgusted every time Bill Cosby pops up on the screen? How can you not mentally see the scarring photo of Rihanna after Chris Brown pummeled her everytime you hear his voice on the radio?

It shouldn’t matter who the person is. Because justice is not served until they are convicted, or labeled as a pedophile or rapist. Harvey Weinstein should go to jail. Just like Ted Bundy did, or Jeffrey Dahmer. Just like every single person in the world who commits a crime and breaks the law. 

It is a colossal, throbbing slap in the face for every abuse victim there is to sit at home and watch Entertainment Tonight or TMZ talk about a man who has sexually abused multiple people, and that still has his huge, successful career. It would be daunting and horrific to watch your abuser live his life normally, let alone win a Grammy or an Oscar.

We shouldn’t show any more remorse to these people than we would to anyone else. Pedophilia is a crime. Rape is a crime. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse are all crimes. And until we deal with people like Harvey Weinstein as we do with criminals, we are allowing other celebrities in positions of power to feel like it’s acceptable to abuse people.

How The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air changed black culture in the 90’s


The 1990’s were a decade of monumental events shaping African American culture in North America to be as it is today. Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years, showing resilience and power as a leader. Rodney King, an African-American taxi driver, was severely beaten by Los Angeles police officers, who were later found not guilty. The displeasure of the citizens of L.A was clearly seen and heard, as they caused the biggest racial prompted riot in the 20th century, causing the city of Los Angeles over $1 billion in damage with 54 people dead, 2000 injured and 8000 arrested. [1] Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G, some of the greatest names in rap history, were both murdered. Six African-American individuals became mayors in different states, breaking the cycle of Caucasian mayors. Mae Carol Jemison was the first ever African-American female to travel in space. Tiger Woods won the golf master’s tournament and became the first ever African-American to win. [2]

These are just a few of many, many more incredible accomplishments which the African-American community achieved within 10 years. Those 10 years were a great push for more negative and positive change to come in the 2000’s. Within the decade, a new television show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, was aired 1990 – 1996. Starring rapper turned actor/comedian Will Smith, this cult classic sitcom documented the life of young Will moving from Philadelphia to Bel Air to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousins. Will’s trials and tribulations were shown on the show weekly, of him tackling high school, adapting to a ritzy neighborhood, and being black. The Fresh Prince was without a doubt one of the most eye-opening, entertaining, and informative shows for people of all races to have a revelation of what black culture truly is.

While being irresistibly comical and relatable, the Fresh Prince of Bel Air taught many lessons. During the nineties, all-black casts on sitcoms became the new and trendy thing for TV networks to do. In the eighties, sitcoms such as Diff’rent Strokes, The Jeffersons and most notably The Cosby Show. Being close to bankrupt from his rap career in the 80’s, Will Smith signed a contract with NBC to start filming the show, based loosely on Will’s life and the producer’s.

The main characters on the show were the Banks family; aunt Vivian and uncle Phil, cousins Hillary, Ashley and Carlton, their butler Jeffrey, and of course Will. The Banks are your stereotypical rich family – they live in a lavish mansion, belong to country clubs, drive expensive cars, wear nice clothes, go to private schools and obtain fabulous careers. The only thing which divides them from the rest of their neighborhood is that they’re black. The show pokes fun of that continuously through the seasons and shows the struggles which they go through.

In Season 1, Episode 6 named “Mistaken Identity”, Will and Carlton drive down their father’s law partner’s fancy Mercedes-Benz to palm springs for him. On the way down, the two get stopped by a police officer. Being street-smart, Will catches on and follows the orders, yet a very naive Carlton who thinks they’re being stopped for speeding persists on communicating to the officers about the truth and how they aren’t criminals. After being held under arrest for a string of car thefts, their parents pick them up and all is well.

The turning point of this episode is when Will and Carlton have a conversation at home about their evening. For the first time, Carlton had experienced racial discrimination and was truly in denial. Being brought up in a safe, sheltered environment, he was protected and stayed out of trouble. Will, on the other hand, had spent most of his life in West Philadelphia slums and was no stranger to being a minority due to his skin tone.

After many statements made by Carlton to defend the police officers, Will tells him; “You just don’t get it, do you? No map is going to save you and neither is your glee club, or your fancy Bel-Air address or who your daddy is. Because when you’re driving in a nice car in a strange neighborhood, none of that matters. They only see one thing.” Will then points to his cousin’s face, implying that the color of his skin will always be seen before anything else about him. Carlton later asks his father if he would’ve stopped a car “driving two miles an hour”, and Phil replies “I asked myself that question the first time I was stopped.”, leaving Carlton in a state of confusion as to why he and Will were really stopped. [3]

This episode holds a very strong and important message about privilege, naivete, and prejudism which still remains extremely relevant in 2017. White police officers, especially in North America, have been well known to have a bias towards their own race. In 2015, 1134 African-American people were unnecessarily murdered by police officers in America. [4] Research shows that 69% of those people were unarmed, non-violent and only suspected of committing a crime, meaning that more than half of them were virtually innocent. And despite essentially committing manslaughter, 99% of the officers in the country have been convicted of any crime. [5]

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reminded us in this episode that people of color will always have a disadvantage due to years of racial based ignorance and stereotypes. It is embedded in our culture that black people are a threat. They have been accused of being thieves, thugs, criminals and so much worse due to astigmatism created by white people. White police officers think it’s acceptable to kill and abuse an innocent bystander because of the color of their skin threatens them. Police brutality is never okay no matter the reasoning, but having it happen due to someone’s race should be absolutely unallowed. When this episode aired in 1990, shortly before the Rodney King incident was publicised, it certainly gave NBC’s viewers of all ages, genders, and races a wake-up call about the racial injustice that Americans have been plagued with during all of history.

In effort to break down stereotypes put on African-American people and turn the tables on racial success, the Fresh Prince created many characters, plots, and storylines to show people of all races that your ethnicity does not change who you are, and cannot infringe into how you live your life.

The Fresh Prince certainly did question what being “black” really meant. Throughout the seasons, Will is always teasing Carlton for not being “black enough” due to him not living a stereotypical life of a person of color in the 90’s. In Season 1, Episode 23 “72 Hours, Will challenges Carlton to a bet that he wouldn’t last a weekend in Compton, Los Angeles’ most infamous neighborhood. Carlton takes on the bet, and soon enough fits in perfectly with Will’s friend group. After hearing what dangerous things naive Carlton was preparing to do, Will became concerned and brought him back home.

Yet again, the two cousins find themselves in a disagreement. Carlton tells Will “ always act like you carry around some measure of blackness that I don’t live up to.” An attacked Will replies with “Wait a minute, you never judged me? You do everything except carry around a big ‘ol gavel. You act like I’m an idiot just because I talk different.” [6]

In another episode from Season 4, Episode 8 “Blood Is Thicker Than Mud, Will and Carlton try out for an all-black fraternity at their university. Will is loved by everyone and accepted, yet the guys dislike Carlton because of his background. During an argument, Carlton gives an unforgettable speech. “Being black isn’t what I’m trying to be. It’s what I am. I’m running the same race and jumping the same hurdles you are, so why are you tripping me up? You said we need to stick together, but you don’t even know what that means. If you ask me, you’re the real sellout.” [7]

Will and Carlton are polar opposites. One being privileged, well dressed, poised and groomed, while the other is rough, wild, eccentric and quite ghetto. Will represents what most people think an African-American person would be like. He says things like “yo” and listens to rap music. He disobeys his parents and is free-spirited. Carlton, despite being as black as Will, acts differently. More white. He wears fancy clothes, studies hard at school, has an extensive vocabulary and always obeys the rules.

Having two main characters on one of the biggest television shows be so same but different at the same time truly opened up viewer’s eyes as to what stereotypes we subconsciously believe in. Black people can be intelligent, successful and ordinary. They can live in nice parts of town, go to good schools and be presentable. Carlton is not any less “black” than Will because he belongs to his school’s glee club. Will is not a thug or an invalid because he grew up in a slum, or wears his hat backward.

As human beings, we tend to assume things about people based on their looks and how they act. Our privileges and disadvantages should not divide us as people, especially as to how we treat and view others. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air consistently made it clear that your race does not define who you are. It is your skin color, and your heritage. It is not a synonym to describe your personality or how you act. As a society, we need to stop using race to divide each other, especially to those in the same race as us. As Uncle Phil says at the end of Season 4 Episode 8, “When are we gonna stop doing this to each other?” [8]

The nineties were a time of change and evolution. The events which took place during the decade shaped how the future 2000’s would be like for African-Americans in the U.S.A. The way which African-American people have been treated has changed drastically throughout the years. There has been positive change such as when Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American president in the U.S, and there has been negative change such as continuous police brutality against black people and the recent comeback of the Klu-Klux-Klan.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sent a strong message to Americans and viewers worldwide of being yourself, accepting your heritage and that anyone can live in a huge mansion and become a judge if they work hard enough, even if they’re a minority.










Sciences Humaines

1896 – 1913

  • L’hausse d’immigration (1912)
  • L’ethnocentrisme et la xénophobie
  • Les personnes de Premières Nations ont étè envoyés aux réserves et les écoles résidentielles
  • Les femmes ont pris d’action sur la prohibition et leur droits (voter, suffragettes)
  • Les Étas Unis ont accès à l’Alaska (1903)
  • Les Canadiens ont étè contre les Britanniques

La Première Guerre mondiale

  • La Première Guerre mondiale (La Grande Guerre, the European War) était de 1914 – 1918, En Europe, fini au 11 Novembre
  • Elle était commencé par l’assasinat de l’archiduc Ferdinand, le futur roi Austro-Hongrois et sa femme
  • L’assasinat était fait par un terroriste serbe
  • Il avait deux groupes, la Triple Alliance: l’Allemangue, l’Empire Ottoman, l’Empire Austro-Hongrois et l’Italie
  • Et la Triple Entente: L’Empire Russe, Le Royaume-Uni et la France
  • Parce-que Le Royaume-Uni est leur mère patrie, le Canada, l’Australie, L’Inde et La Nouvelle Zélande était automatiquement oubligé d’aller supporter la Triple Entente
  • Les 4 batailles –
  • 1. Ypres (France) en 1915
  • 2. Somme (France) en 1916
  • 3. La Crête Vimy (France) en 1917
  • 4. Passchendaele (La Belgique) en 1917
  • Pendant la guerre, les femmes avaient deux chois; d’être infirmières où conductrices d’ambulance. Elles étaient aussi volontaires
  • Les innovations technologiques pendant la guerre était les aérostats, les ballons dirigeables, les avions, les biplans, les gaz toxiques, les chars blindés, les sous-marins, et les paquebots navires
  • Le soutien à l’effort de la guerre était les obligations d’aregeant, l’effort volontaire (les ressources comme la nouritture et l’essence), l’impôt (1 à 15% revenu), l’impôt d’entreprises (42)
  • Le Canada était toujours en dette à cause de leur emprunt d’aregant de l’Étas-Unis
  • Pendant la guerre, les femmes ont eu la chance d’avoir des métiers industriels (comme travailler sur une ferme, ou conduire un bateau) car les hommes était partit en guerre
  • Plus de 4000 Autochtones canadiens se sont enroulés en
  • En 1917, Borden a crée la Loi du service militaire, qui faisait joindre l’armée obligatiore pour les hommes canadiens
  • “L’election Kaki” est arrivé en 1917, qui a donné les hommes qui était née en pays étranger avan 1902 le droit de voter, et certaines femmes qui était en relation des hommes militaires
  • En 1917, le tsar Nicholas II de l’Empire Russe a abdiqué son pouvoir à cause des révolutions fait par les russes frustrés qui avait une grande perte de merchandises et nourritture
  • Il y avait aussi le début d’une guerre avec les Étas-Unis et l’Allemagne parce que les allemands ont coulé plusiers navire dans une zone neutre
  • La campagne des cent jours est arrivée en 1918, c’était l’offensive finale des alliances contre les empires centraux
  • Sur le 11 Novembre 1918, un armstrice a étè signé en France pour finir la guerre
  • Le Canada a obtenu un siège dans la conférence de paix de Paris

Le français au Liban (version corrigée)

Quelque-part entre la Syrie et l’Israël vivent environ six millions de personnes dans un pays qu’on appelle le Liban. Situé au Moyen-Orient, le Liban comprend d’une grande variété de nationalités, langues et religions. L’arabe est la première langue utilisée au Liban, avec l’anglais, l’arménien, le kurde et surtout le français. Le français est nommé la deuxième langue officielle du Liban et est parlé très souvent entre les Libanais. Dans le texte suivant, on va élaborer au sujet des Libanais francophones et comment le français s’est établi au Liban.

Commençant avec la Première Guerre Mondiale, la France a pris contrôle du Liban, qui était précédemment gouverné par l’Empire Ottoman depuis le 16e siècle. La prise de contrôle des Français était le début de la langue française au Liban. Depuis ce temps, le français est toujours une langue qui est entendue parmi les Libanais. Le français est utilisé sur leur argent, des plaques d’immatriculation, des signes de rue et d’autres. Environ 45% des Libanais aujourd’hui sont considérées francophones, avec 500,000 des 900,000 étudiants qui vont aux écoles francophones. Leur dialecte de français est différent que le traditionnel français en la France ou le Canada, lequel est un mélange du français et l’arabe. Le français et surtout l’anglais sont plus utilisées par les nouvelles générations aujourd’hui, ce qui cause la langue arabe à disparaître.

La langue officielle du Liban, l’arabe, disparaît de plus en plus à chaque journée. L’anglais et le français sont les langues plus populaires et apprises entre familles. Beaucoup de parents préférés d’envoyer leurs enfants aux écoles anglaises ou françaises, car ils pensent que ces langues leur donneraient un futur meilleur aujourd’hui que l’arabe. À cause de ça, les enfants n’apprennent jamais l’arabe à l’école ou avec leurs familles, qui créent une perte entière de la langue dans les futures générations. Ceci est très triste et plusieurs ont peur que l’arabe va éventuellement être une langue complètement perdue au Liban.

En conclusion, c’est très malheureux que l’arabe disparaisse vite au Liban. Par ailleurs, c’est intéressant que le français reste toujours parmi les Libanais depuis toutes ces années. Le français existe évidemment dans plusieurs dialectes et versions différentes parmi tout le monde. C’est vraiment intéressant d’apprendre à ce sujet et de trouver l’histoire de chaque place et leurs langues!

Le Français en le Liban

Quelque-part entre la Syrie et Israël vivent environ six millions de personnes dans un pays qu’on appelle le Liban. Situé dans le Moyen-Orient, le Liban comprend d’une grande variété de nationalités, langues et religions. Malgré d’être un pays assez petit, le Liban est très divers et as environ 17 majeures communautés religieuses. Il y a surtout beaucoup de Palestiniens et Arméniens qui vivent au Liban, car eux et leurs familles étaient des réfugiées des guerres passées. L’arabique est la première langue utilisée dans le Liban, avec L’anglais, L’arménien, le Kurde et surtout le Français. Le Français est nommé la deuxième langue officielle du Liban et est parlé très souvent entre les Libanais. Dans le texte suivant, on vais élaborer au sujet des Libanais francophones et comment le Français s’est établi dans le Liban.

Commençant en la Première Guerre Mondiale, la France à pris contrôle du Liban, qui était précédemment gouverné par l’Empire Ottoman depuis le 16e siècle. La prise de contrôle des Français était le début le la langue française en le Liban. Depuis ce temps, le français est toujours une langue qui est entendu parmis les Libanais. Le français est utilisée sur leur argent, des assiettes de licence, des signes de rue et d’autres. Environ 45% des Libanais aujourd’hui sont considérées Francophones, avec 500,000 des 900,000 étudiants qui vont aux écoles Francophones. Leur dialecte de français est différent que le traditionnel français en France ou Canada, lequel est un mélange du français et l’arabe. Le français et surtout l’anglais sont plus utilisées par les nouvelles générations aujourd’hui, ce qui cause la langue Arabe à disparaître.

La langue officielle du Liban, l’Arabe, disparaît plus en plus de chaque journée. L’anglais et le français sont les langues plus populaires et apprises entre familles. Beaucoup de parents préférés d’envoyer leurs enfants aux écoles anglaises ou françaises car ils pensent que ces langues leur donneraient un futur meilleur aujourd’hui que l’Arabe. À cause de ça, les enfants n’apprennent jamais l’arabe à l’école ou avec leurs familles, qui créent une perte entière de la langue dans les futures générations. Ceci est très triste, et plusieurs ont peur que l’arabe va éventuellement être une langue complètement perdue au Liban.

En conclusion, c’est très malheureux que l’arabe disparaisse vitement en le Liban. Par ailleurs, c’est intéressant que le Français reste toujours parmi les Libanais depuis tout ces années. Le français existe évidemment dans plusieurs dialectes et versions différentes parmis tous les pays du monde. C’est vraiment intéressant d’apprendre sur ce sujet, et de trouver l’histoire de chaque place et leurs langues!

Unsolicited Opinions – My Blog

This year I’ve taken it upon myself to start putting all of my opinions, ideas, and thoughts onto a single platform to share with others.

I love to write things that make a statement, and that prove a point. Journalism has always been a strong interest of mine, and I have always admired writers and journalists who are brave and aren’t afraid to say what’s on their mind. An incredible inspiration of mine is Hunter S. Thompson, who wrote iconic masterpieces such as “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and founded Gonzo journalism. Thompson created a new era of journalism that was so fearless and detailed that made the reader feel as though they lived through the stories themselves.

On my blog, you will see me writing about topics which I feel very passionate about such as feminism, social and criminal justice, human rights, and equality. My goal is to build a vast library of my writing and to write pieces that stand out from most mainstream articles or essays.

My Blog:

Visual Arts 11

Since September Emma has noticed some significant improvements in her Makeup and Artwork. She is noticing her SFX makeup to be more realistic, her photo’s to be cleaner and more descriptive, and her concepts to have more consistency and depth.

She has been working steadily to develop her skills with the goal of ‘creeping people out’. She knew she had achieved this when her work was removed from the exhibition walls of the quiet space… because it was just ‘too creepy’…

As Emma and I discussed the context of her work, outside her niche, we realized that she is asking similar questions in her Makeup and Artwork as she is in her academic writing and research.

We identified the some of the key questions informing her inquiry to be:

How crime affects our society
How and why it happens
How do people perceive it
Who are the ‘criminals’

I want to encourage Emma to intentionally bring more of her academic questions to her Art practice.

This manner of questioning is powerful. It is powerful in every medium, it is not exclusive to reading and writing.  Critical thinking and questioning in the Visual Arts as the method leads to comprehensive detailed work that distinguishes mature and accomplished artists from the rest.

I am committed to working with Emma next year, to witness this intentional  her work transform