The Smurfette Principle and the Bechdel Test

Are you a lady? Have you’ve been feeling that you are underrepresented in cinema? Or that when a lady is in a movie, she’s just there to promote the storylines of the male character or to giggle about boys?

Well, here are 2 things we should all know about:

1. The Smurfette Principle – If you’re watching a “chick flick”, you would expect there to be at least 2 female characters. The female lead and her bff. Well, these movies are marketed directly to women and every hollywood producer knows that you have to have at least 2 women in a movie to get those chick flick bucks. Because what woman isn’t happy with her most dominant portrayals in recent movies being Sex in the City and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?

The Smurfette Principle is the tendency for fiction marketed to “general audiences” to create a female character just for the sake of having a female character for demographics. You know, like Smurfette. She’ll either be a romantic interest for the males, a supporting character for the males like a mother or teacher, or a feminized version of an existing male character.  This is because the people in charge of making fiction available to the masses – the producers, publishers, etc – don’t think men want to consume fiction where the characters are female. Maybe they don’t. But men are only half the population, and us ladies have our own money now. This is starting to let up. 2 of my favorite shows on TV are Bones and Body of Proof, both featuring super smart ladies solving crimes with a variety of male and female assistance. But there’s also Castle which I’m also a big fan of, but Becker is just a really kickass Smurfette with a gun. She hardly ever even talks to any of the other female characters.

2. The Bechdel Test – As a lady, you know we talk amongst ourselves quite often. And a good portion of that time those conversations are about men and their shenanigans. But other than when one of us is in that really horrible lovesick puppy phase, we do talk about other things. Fluff issues like clothes, makeup, shoes. Serious stuff like medical issues, money, political issues. Shouldn’t the portrayals of women in the movies reflect our many interests? Enter the Bechdel Test.

Does the movie:

1. Have at least 2 female characters?

2. Do they talk to each other?

3. About something other than men?

If the answer to all three is yes, then that movie passes the Bechdel Test.

I checked this year’s Netflix DVD list so far:
127 Hours Maybe
Dinner for Schmucks No
Winter’s Bone Maybe
The Fighter No
Unstoppable No
Cyrus No
Despicable Me Yes
Mallrats: Extended Edition No
The Social Network no
How to Train Your Dragon Yes
Machete Yes
Salt Maybe
The Expendables No
The Town No
Going the Distance Yes
Easy A Maybe
Get Him to the Greek No
My Sister’s Keeper Yes
Grown Ups Yes *but it is listed as a maybe although in the comments they say that is because the form was not filled out correctly
Extraordinary Measures Not listed, but I think so.

Why does this matter? Think of yourself when you were a little girl and what characters you had to identify with. What were they like? As women, and as little girls we deserve authentic characters that we can relate to and use as guides and role models. But more importantly, men and little boys need these authentic female characters too. They deserve female characters that reflect a real world, so they can relate to them, and identify with them, and use them as guides and role models. So that movies marketed towards “general audience” can actually reflect the population of a general audience.

This weekend I’m hoping to watch Super 8, and I’ll definitely be on the look out for the Bechdel Test and the Smurfette Principle.

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Adventures in Food: Waffle House

FYI, Waffle House is delicious and cheap and should come to California.

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Cooking Day!

It’s finally cooking day!

Before starting, eat breakfast. This is going to be hard work, so make sure it is something filling with protein. I had ham and cheese scramble, so I’m good. Other than that, make sure the kitchen is ready. Empty the dishwasher/put away the dishes, take care of the breakfast dishes and then you’re ready.

I start Cooking Day at around noon. I use a crockpot, pressure cooker, 2 big pots, and a cast iron skillet to do all the cooking. The pressure cooker is optional, but if you don’t have a pressure cooker, try to borrow a second crock pot.

12:00-12:50 – Prep veggies

12:50-1:00 – Start Lasagna sauce

This is onion, carrot, garlic, oregano, basil, marjoram, crushed tomatoes, and a bag of chopped frozen spinach. Bring to a bubble, then reduce heat to a simmer.

1:00-1:25 Brown the meat cubes

The meat cubes were a little too big, so I cut them down and then tossed them with some salt, pepper, and flour. As each batch browns, put them in the pressure cooker if you have one. If not put them in a big bowl to use in the next steps.

Add about 2 cups of vegetable broth and 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker. Fasten the lid and put over medium heat to build up the pressure.

1:25-1:40 Start the potatoes.

Make the “gravy” for the stew.

This is onion, carrot, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and a bottle of red wine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer.

If you aren’t using a pressure cooker put half the meat cubes in too, along with 2 cups of vegetable broth.

1:40-1:50 – Clean up

1:50-2:00 Black Bean Spareribs

This is one rack of spareribs that I had the meat counter cut in half across the bone. Then I cut them into individual riblets. So this is riblets, garlic, 1/2 a jar of black bean sauce, and about 1 cup of vegetable broth. Put this in the crockpot on high. I use a liner because they are awesome.

2:00-2:20 Meatballs

Mix together 3 cups of bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, some carrot and onion, salt and pepper, 2 eggs and 2 pounds of ground beef. Shape half of the mixture in to meatballs.

2:10 – Drain the potatoes. Let them sit in the colander while you make the meatloaf muffins

2:20-2:25 Add 1 tablespoon of bbq seasoning and 1/4 cup of bbq sauce to the remaining meat mixture. Mix it up and then shape into little muffins and put in a muffin tin.

I don’t know what happened, I guess I didn’t take a picture of this step.

2:25 – Spread potatoes out on trays to cool.

2:25-2:35 Clean up.

2:35 put one tray of potatoes into the freezer.

2:35-2:45 Brown the sausage for the lasagna. Turn off the burner for the sauce.

2:45 Mix up the ricotta

This is 1 16oz container of ricotta cheese, 1 egg and a handful of chopped parsley.

2:45-3:00 Assemble lasagnas.

3:00  – Take meatballs out of the oven. Set on a trivet to cool

The first tray of potatoes is ready to transfer to a baggie, and the second tray goes into the freezer.

3:00-3:15 Clean up.

3:15 Take meatloaf muffins out of the oven.

3:15-3:30 – Curry Sauce

This is onion, carrot, garlic, green onion, red curry paste, 2 cups of vegetable broth, 1 can of coconut milk, and half of the sweet potatoes.

3:30 – Release the steam on the meat cubes.

3:30-3:40 – Split the meat cubes between the curry sauce and the stew gravy.

Add the other half of the sweet potatoes to the stew along with the tomatoes which have had the tough parts removed.

Add the baby corn and water chestnuts to the curry sauce.

3:40-3:45 Clean up

3:45 Put curry into freezer containers and set on a trivet or towel to cool.

3:50-4:00 Corned Beef – Bonus Meals.

I forgot about corned beef for St. Patrick’s day when I was planning the menu, but I picked one up at Costco yesterday. So this is like a bonus meal.

Set up the corned beef in the pressure cooker.

Add about 2 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups of water. Fasten lid and set over medium heat to build up pressure.

4:00 – Transfer stew to freezer containers.

4:00-4:15 Clean up

4:15 Transfer second set of potatoes to the bag. Use the potato tray to freeze meatballs and meatloaf muffins. The meatball tray is super greasy and you don’t want that in your freezer.

4:20-4:35 Taco and fajita meat

For fajitas – cut the chicken into strips. Put into the skillet with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, coriander, half a small can of tomato paste and a few splashes of vegetable broth.

For taco meat – use the rest of the carrots and onions, cumin cumin, garlic powder, coriander, half a small can of tomato paste and the rest of  the vegetable broth (around 2 cups). Bring to a boil. Stir in ground beef, stirring well to breakup. Reduce heat to simmer.

4:35 Transfer fajita meat to freezer containers.

4:40 Transfer spare ribs to freezer containers, carefully pour half the cooking fluid into each container.

4:45 Transfer taco meat to freezer containers.

4:45-5:00 Cleanup. Run the dishwasher and take out the trash/recyclables.

6:00 Put half the containers into the freezer, half into the refrigerator. Relax.

6:30 Put the other half into the freezer. Relax more.

6:45 Release the pressure from the corned beef. Transfer to freezer containers. Relax.

This part is still in the future:

7:00 Put the corned beef in the refrigerator.

7:05-7:10 Clean up.

7:10 Relax.

8:00 Put the corned beef into the freezer.

If you feel like eating any of this after cooking all day, go for it. I will be eating a sandwich. If the hubster ever get’s home from work he’ll probably have potstickers.

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Once A Month Cooking – Cooking Day Minus 1

Cooking Day-1 is about getting ingredients together and preparing your kitchen. I do the majority of the shopping on this day except for the produce items which I pick up on Cooking Day morning at the Farmers’ Market. Normally, I would finish the grocery shopping on Cooking Day-1, but today I forgot my list and I’ll have to swing by the grocery store tomorrow after the Farmers’ Market to pick up a few things that I forgot.

After I unload the groceries, I go through the refrigerator and reclaim any containers that are hosting zombie leftovers. Hopefully it’s just a few containers, since part of the program is to portion out the meals so that zombie leftovers are avoided. Then I pull out all the containers I’ll be using from the cabinet and find all the lids. If you have trivets, pull them out too. If you don’t, pull out a few extra dish towels or hot pads and lay them out. Check your knives, if they need to be sharpened get to it. This is also the time to wipe down the refrigerator shelves if they’re getting sticky. Not really part of the OAMC, but helps keep cleaning the refrigerator from being a huge project.

At the end of Cooking Day-1, run the dishwasher/do all the dishes, clean out the sink, wipe down the counters, and clear off a space to let containers of food sit on to cool down.

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Once a Month Cooking – Cooking Day Minus 2

I cook on the first Sunday of the month, so the Friday evening before I make a list of the things I’m going to make for the month. This month I am making:

3 Lasagnas
2 Beef Stews
2 Beef Curries
2 meals worth of meatballs
2 meals worth of meatloaf muffins
2 meals worth of pre-cooked potatoes for mashing
2 meals worth of Chinese black bean spareribs
4 meals worth of pre-cooked ground beef (for tacos or chili)
2 meals worth of fajita meat

I’m also going to add to the freezer:
2 meals worth of tortellini
2 pie crusts for quiche
frozen potstickers

Then I pull out whatever recipes I am going to use, and make an ingredient list. I use pen and paper for this, but there are plenty of apps out there if you are into that. I’ve tried them, and keep coming back to a paper list. Hey, whatever works right?

Ingredients I need for this month:
parmesan cheese

Farmers’ Market
sweet potatoes

Grocery Store
baby corn
bay leaves
bbq sauce
bbq spice
Beef Cubes
black bean sauce
bread crumbs
canned plum tomatoes
chicken tenders
chili powder
coconut milk
crushed tomatoes
Frozen peas
Frozen peppers
frozen spinach
ginger powder
gravy mix
ground beef
Italian sausage
Lasagna noodles
pie crust
pork spareribs
Red curry paste
Red Wine
spaghetti noodles
spaghetti sauce
tomato paste
vegetable broth
water chestnut

Then I go around the house, marking off what I already have and setting those things out on the counter to begin my mise en place.

Finally, I add any other stuff I might need to get at each place.

orange juice
chocolate chips

Farmer’s Market

sandwich meat
cheddar cheese

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Modified SSK – The Video!

This is an even easier version of the SSK alternative, the Slip Yank Twist.

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Echo on a sneeze-a-thon

She even does a couple of fake sneezes:

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