N : Nani Pelekai “No! You’re not taking her! I’m the only one who understands her! You take that away, she won’t stand a chance!”

N

Nani Pelekai

In 2002 I instantly fell for a little fluffy blue alien named Stitch. I listened to the soundtrack on repeat, spent hours perfecting the art of drawing Stitch and of course, bought the movie. I felt an immediate kinship to Lilo, and my Jack Russell being Stitch.

I didn’t realize at the time but Nani is pretty bad ass in her own right. It’s hard enough losing a parents at any age but at 19 Nani is just 13 years older than her sister. Nani is in the period of her life where she should be trying to find the person she wants to be. But she takes on the responsibility of raising her little sister, Lilo.

Instead of being able to lean on her parents for support, Nani must be the rock Lilo needs. It seems rather selfless in a way but seriously what else could she have done?

Nani puts Lilo before everything. Friends, further education and her “boy friend” David. Nani doesn’t want to settle down and live happily ever after. In fact, its not very clear that Nani and David are even dating in the first film. He’s definitely interested but she doesn’t have time for that.

Her priority is Lilo. Her Ohana.

Something else I took for granted was Nani’s realistic body type. As a grown woman I appreciate her legs and tummy. She’s not fat by any means. She’s a realistic representation of the female body.

thank you for reading!

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M : Mary Richards

M
Mary Richards

Aside from watching hours of I Love Lucy every summer, my mom and I used to watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I thought Rhoda was cool but of course, I loved Mary.

At the time I just thought it was funny, I never realized the significance of it.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a show about a career focused woman succeeding in a male dominated field while casually dating men without the end game of marriage.

Mary Tyler Moore played Mary Richards. She leaves her fiancee at the alter and moves to Minneapolis. Mary was not focused on finding a husband, she dated casually but remained single throughout the series run.

She lived on her own, made good friends and did her own things. Never having to apologize for it.

The show did not sit back on purely featuring Mary Richards as a single independent woman, they also focused on many controversial topics of the times, subjects such as, equal pay for women, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, marital infidelity and divorce, as well as infertility, and adoption.

 thank you for reading!

Fun Fact: The Mary Tyler Moore Show was produced by MTM, the Production Company Moore cofounded with her second husband, Grant Tinker. Making her her own Producer, much like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz with Desilu Studios.

L : Lucille Ball “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”

L
Lucille Ball

My Mother’s idol is the late great, Lucille Ball.
Comedian, actress, producer, wife, mother and friend.

Since I was old enough to watch television, I would watch countless hours of I Love Lucy with my mom. My Dad used to work late, so the two of us would enjoy Nick at Nite’s Summer Line Up. Those were some of the best summers of my young life.

FACTS ABOUT LUCILLE

  1. Lucille Ball and her younger brother were raised primarily by their grandparents.
    • Her Father died when she was four and her mother had to work several jobs to support them.
    • Her first audition was for a local stage production of A Chorus Line when she was 12 years old.
  2. Ball started her career on Broadway using the stage name : Diane Belmont.
    • Thinking Diane Belmont was more glamorous than Lucille Ball.
    • She apparently got the name Belmont from the Belmont Race Track in New York.
  3. Ball wanted to be a serious actress, she performed in many B movies even starring in a few of them.
    • She did several A movies but drama was not her strong suit.
  4. While filming one of her A movies, Too Many Girls (1940), she met and fell “instantly” in love with Desi Arnaz.
    • Too Many Girls was Desi Arnaz’s feature film debut.
    • Quote about Desi, “It wasn’t love at first sight. It took a full five minutes.”
  5. Ball and Desi were pretty opposite of one another.
    • She was an American and he was a Cuban, thus they came from different backgrounds, different cultures.
    • She was six years older than he was.
    • But they fell madly in love and eloped November of 1940.
    • They had a second wedding six years later at the request of Desi’s mother.
      • Believing that the reason they had no children was that they needed to have a proper Church Wedding.
  6. Ball starred in the radio show, My Favorite Husband.
    • The first broadcast aired as a one-time special on CBS Radio on July 5, 1948.
      • Starring Lucille Ball and Lee Bowman.
    • Due to its popularity, CBS made it into a series.
      • This time starring Lucille Ball and Richard Denning.
    • The Broadcast aired until 1950, which is when CBS asked Ball to turn it into a television series.
      • This time Ball refused unless Desi could play her husband.
  7. The network felt that audiences would not believe the interracial couple would be realistic to TV viewers.
    • even though the two had been married for a full decade by that point.
    • The two went on the road with a vaudeville act, Lucy playing the zany housewife trying to get into her husband’s show.
    • Side Note: Lucy and Ricky were television’s first interracial couple.
  8. Desilu Productions
    • Combining Desi and Lucy.
    • After the network’s resistance, Ball created the company in order to produce I Love Lucy.
    • Ball was the first woman in television to be head of a production company.
    • Using her experience in B movies, Ball had a knack for knowing what television audiences wanted.
    • After their divorce, Ball bought Desi’s shares and remained an active studio head.
      • She gave the okay to produce Star Trek.
  9. Ball and Desi wanted to remain in California.
    • This may not seem like a big deal but long story short, television was usually played to live audiences and then recorded by kinescopes for LA audiences.
    • Their sponsor, Philip Morris didn’t want to spend the extra cost that filming, processing, and editing would require.
    • Ball and Arnaz offered to take a pay cut to finance filming, on the condition that Desilu would retain the rights to the I Love Lucy episodes once they aired.
    • They promoted the 3-camera technique now the standard in filming sitcoms.
  10. Ball had three miscarriages before she gave birth to her two children, Lucie and Desi Arnaz Jr..
    • Lucie was born before I Love Lucy.
    • Her second pregnancy was written into the show’s second season.
      • In real life, Ball gave birth to Desi Arnaz Jr..
      • On the show she gave birth to Little Ricky.
    • Thus making her the first pregnant woman on television.
      • Though due to censorship she wasn’t pregnant, she was “expecting” or spectin.
        • TV executives were afraid a pregnant woman would insinuate that the couple had had sex…
    • The episode of Little Ricky’s birth aired the same day Ball had scheduled her cesarean birth.
  11. I Love Lucy became a smash hit.
  12. During McCarthy’s Red Scare Ball was flagged for Communist leanings.
    • In 1936 and 1938 Ball had registered to the Communist Party.
      • She explained that she did it at the insistence of her socialist Grandfather.
    • Desi joked that, “The only thing red about her is her hair, and that isn’t even real.”
  13. After the end of Lucy Ricardo, Ball continued to work.
    1. Ball starred in several other hit TV shows
    2. Vivian Vance (Ethel) often playing her sidekick.
    3. Ball even had both children, Lucie  and Desi Jr. in the show.
  14. Ball passed away on April 26, 1989.
    • April 26 1989 was Carol Burnett‘s 65th birthday.
      • Ball passed away in the morning, later that day Burnett received flowers from Ball.
    • Ball presented with Bob Hope at the 62nd Academy Awards one month before her death.
  15. Fun Fact: After marrying, Desi Arnaz Ball’s career seemed to take off.
    • Looking back on her career it seemed she was superstitious about the letters A and R.

Thank you for Reading!

K : Kat Stratford “I guess in this society, being male and an asshole makes you worthy of our time.”

K
Kat Stratford

The 1999 film, 10 Things I Hate About You is a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s late-16th century comedy, The Taming of the Shrew. Kat and her sister Bianca are named after the two sisters, Katherina and Bianca. In the film their surname is Stratford, after Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

Kat is not perfect, but what I find inspiring about her is Kat’s determination to completely not care what people think of her. She didn’t feel that pull towards the need of popularity. In fact, she had a taste of popularity and had the clarity that it was not for her. Towards the end of the film she tells her sister Bianca that she slept with popular guy, Joey because everybody else was doing, she regretted it and vowed never again to do anything just because everyone else was doing it.

~

I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair.
I hate the way you drive my car.
I hate it when you stare.
I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind.
I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme.
I hate it, I hate the way you’re always right.
I hate it when you lie.
I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry.
I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call.
But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you.
Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

~Kat Startford

The part we were waiting the entire movie for is when Kat reads her 10 Things she hates about Patrick. The number is up for some debate. Actress, Julia Stiles didn’t intend to cry. It wasn’t scripted and it was not something she had planned on doing. According to an interview with Cosmopolitan Stiles answers, “On some level I knew that I was supposed to be somewhat emotional, because when we did the table read I remember I just said the poem, and I could have been reciting the phone book,” Stiles said. “But [when it came to filming] I never expected that I was going to start crying. I don’t know why I did, whether it connected to something going on at the time, or if I was just overwhelmed by the whole experience of making my first big movie.”

Thank you for Reading!

 

 

J : Jo March “Late at night my mind would come alive with voices and stories and friends as dear to me as any in the real world. I gave myself up to it, longing for transformation.”

J
Jo March

Little Women will always be my favorite book. I watched the film countless times with my “Marmee” and read the book with my Grandma. For my Birthday one year the three of us traveled to Concord to visit Orchard House. (The home of the author Louisa May Alcott.) I always recognized myself in Jo, the hot-tempered brunette writer and my cousin, Derby as the young, blonde artist, Amy.

As a child I used to come up with wild stories and often times made my family and friends act out my plays just like, Jo encouraged her sisters with their Pickwick Portfolio.

Josephine “Jo” March-Bhaer is the second daughter of Robert and Margaret March. Where her older sister, Meg is feminine, Jo is masculine. Where her younger sister, Beth is shy, Jo is outspoken and where Amy sees the world though pictures, Jo sees it through words.

Author, Louisa May Alcott wrote what she knew and what she knew were her sisters. Her older sister, Anna was the eldest who like Meg got married; her younger sister, Elizabeth like Beth died young and her youngest sister, Abigail “May” was quite an accomplished artist, much like Amy. Of course, Jo was inspired by Louisa herself.

Alcott never married and wanted Jo to remain a “spinster” like herself. When she first published “Little Women” she broke it into two parts. The first part ended with Meg’s Wedding Proposal.

Fans of the book wrote letters to Alcott pressuring her to have Jo marry Laurie. Alcott stated, “Girls write to ask who the little women marry, as if that was the only aim and end of a woman’s life. I won’t marry Jo to Laurie to please anyone.”

Laurie was rumored to be inspired by a man Alcott had briefly dated. He was a Polish musician named Ladislas Wisniewski, who Alcott affectionately called, Laddie. The two spent two weeks alone in Paris together but the romance ended there. She wrote about Laddie in her diary but before her death she edited his portions out, his only trace being the phrase she left in the margins, “couldn’t be”.

If Laurie was indeed inspired by Laddie, no wonder Alcott did not want Jo to end up with him.

Jo was always a character I looked up to. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind or to speak against injustices. She believed a woman could be anything a man could be or do. She took care of Beth not only during Beth’s illness but throughout her life, kept Amy in line and sold her hair so her mother could see her wounded father.

But I admired her most for her creativity and love for story.

Thank you for Reading!

Happy Wednesday!!

 

I : Ida B. Wells “One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”

I
Ida B. Wells

Ida Bell Wells was born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi on July 16, 1862. She was the oldest daughter of James and Lizzie Wells’ eight children. They were owned by architect, Spires Bolling at his home which is now the historic Bolling–Gatewood House or Ida B. Wells Museum.

Wells was born during the American Civil War. She was about five months old when President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Her parents were active during the Reconstruction Era. Her father joined the Freedman’s Aid Society and even assisted in starting a college specially for newly freed slaves, Shaw University (now Rust College), where he served on the first board of trustees. Both her parents insisted that their children receive an education. They attended Shaw University, even her mother, Lizzie attended classes.  Sadly, both her parents and one of her brothers succumbed to Yellow Fever in 1878, when Wells was just 16.

While the adults around her wanted to split the up the remaining children, Wells at just 16, assumed responsibility for her five younger siblings. Claiming to be 18, she received her first teaching job at $25 a month. She taught for several years at several institutions and continued her education at Fisk University in Nashville, TN.

Her passion was standing her ground.
In 1884, Wells bought a first class ticket to Nashville. The conductor ordered her to give up her ticket and sit in the smoking car of the train. She refused and was physically removed and dragged off the train. But it didn’t stop there, she wrote an article for The Living Way, a black church weekly and hired an attorney to sue the railroad company, the railroad paid him off, so she hired a second attorney and won her case. Unfortunately, the railroad appealed and ultimately won and forced Wells to pay for legal fees. Wells expressed her disappointment for the ruling, “I felt so disappointed because I had hoped such great things from my suit for my people…O God, is there no…justice in this land for us?”

She continued working as a teacher and continued voicing her opinions in The Living Way under the nom de plume, Lola. In 1889, J.L. Fleming, (Memphis businessman) and Reverend Taylor Nightingale, (pastor of the largest African-American church in Memphis) offered Wells a position at their newspaper, The Memphis Free Speech and Headlight. Wells requested a position equal to editor and they agreed. Around 1891, Wells was offered an editorial position for the Washington, DC’s Evening Star. This was around the time she was fired from her teaching position for writing a scathing expose on the terrible conditions of segregated schools. And so, became a journalist full-time.

She became an investigative reporter after the wrongful death of her friends. Her friend opened the Peoples Grocery (a convenient store in a Black Neighborhood.) Angry that it was doing well, thus competing with the white grocery store, a white mob attacked Peoples Grocery, three of the white men were injured during the altercation. Three black men, including Wells’ friend were arrested. While they sat in jail waiting for their trial, another white mob lynched them.

After receiving death threats, Wells moved to Chicago and continued to research lynchings, documenting charges and causes, which led her to start an anti-lynching campaign. Wells published her research in a pamphlet entitled, Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases. She continued writing articles and along with several black leaders, including, Frederick Douglas and future husband famed African-American lawyer, Ferdinand Barnett; organized a boycott of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Due to the fact they refused to collaborate with the black community on representing African-American life in their exhibits.

In 1896, she formed the National Association of Colored Women, though she would later be excluded due to a coupe started by Mary Church Terrell.  Although Wells was a feminist she was often rejected by women’s suffrage organizations in the United States after her she would blame many white women for lynchings during her travels through Europe. In 1889, Wells organized a protest in Washington, DC in an effort to urge then President William McKinley for reform. She also attended one of the first meetings of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), though she later explained that she felt the group was too inactive while in its infancy.

She called upon another President, Woodrow Wilson, this time on behalf of National Equal Rights League, urging the President to put an end to discrimination when it comes to government jobs. Before her death in 1931 at the age of 68, Wells ran for state senator. A woman of action, Wells has been quoted with saying, “I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap.”

Thank you for Reading!

 

H : Hermione Granger “Now if you two don’t mind, I’m going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed – or worse, expelled.”

H
Hermione Jean Granger

Muggle-born Hermione quickly became top of her class. Most would call her a know-it-all, but many would refer to her as, “The Brightest Witch of her Age.” Due to her brilliant academic mind, the sorting hat considered placing her into Ravenclaw but ultimately chose Griffindor where she met her best friends, Harry and Ron. While she often helped them in their studies, the boys helped her to embrace her rebellious side. Allowing her to venture outside the Library and put her studies to good use.

When I was reading Harry Potter, Hermione was my favorite character. She still is my favorite character but back then I remember talking with my friends about the books and feeling weird about my choice. My friends would declare, Ginny, Luna or Harry to be their favorites. Some had crushes on Snape.  I always felt funny and thought, does loving Hermione make me simple?

But Hermione is anything but simple. Like many of the women this month, she is a strong independent woman, consumed with books and focused on learning as much as she could. For the most part Hermione was too busy to care about her looks, though being a teenage girl she wasn’t entirely self-effacing. When Draco hit her with a Densaugeo spell which rapidly grew her already above averagely large teeth. Later when Madam Pomfrey had to minimize them, Hermione had her shrink her teeth to a much more normal size than prior  to the hex.

Aside from learning, Hermione devoted her time to S.P.E.W., the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. She created S.P.E.W. after realizing how badly Elves were treated. Although she was passionate about liberating Elves from their lives of servitude, she had little support including Hagrid and the Elves themselves.

There is some controversy surrounding Hermione ending up with Ron, even author J.K. Rowling has voiced regret in the pairing. I really wish she didn’t do this. When I was reading the first book, I hoped that Hermione and Harry would get together and was disappointed when it was obvious she was going to end up with Ron. Then I warmed to the idea, because perhaps he was the yin to her yang. Because although she was serious and studious, Ron’s playful nature helped her to relax and not take herself so seriously.

Overall, Hermione proved her importance time and again. Harry Potter might have been the chosen one but he would have died in year one without Hermione.

Thank you for Reading!

P.S.
One of my favorite Hermione moments did not make it to the films. I loved the part where Hermione must use her logic to solve a challenging riddle Professor Snape left in order to protect the sorcerer’s stone.

 

 

G : General Leia “Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it you’ll never make it through the night.”

G
General Leia

She needed rescuing but she was no damsel in distress.

Strong from the start Leia uses her mind in order to get what she wants. She doesn’t show skin or flip her hair or bat her lashes at enemies. She uses her her wit, intelligence and determination to play with the boys and usually she’s the brightest one in the room.

We first meet Leia when she was known by her more recognizable title of Princess.
In A New Hope, she is a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan.  We all know she was in fact a spy for the Rebel Alliance transporting the Death Star plans to the Rebellion.

Unbeknownst to Leia she was adopted by Breha and Bail Organa of Alderaan. The two were killed when Tarkin was questioning Leia about the Rebellion’s Base. The Death Star used Alderaan as a demonstration of the space station’s power. At which point, Leia was left orphaned and without any place to really call her home. Leia had no choice but to put all her energy into the Rebellion.

She was focused on her cause throughout the entire series, only allowing her emotions to show through her bonds with Luke, Han and even Chewie. Actress, Carrie Fisher has stated in interviews that she felt a lot of people didn’t like Princess Leia. They saw her as a “Space B*tch” and the writers only knew how to make her strong by making her angry.

But in her defense, Leia has a lot of pressure and stress on her. Like I said above, she just lost her family and probably all of her friends. And she’s fighting for her life, I’d be pretty angry too if I were her. (But to play devil’s advocate, I do see Carrie Fisher’s point, because I agree, it’s hard for some men to write strong women).

But with that said, let’s appreciate how Bad Ass, Leia is. She is not afraid of Tarkin or Darth Vader. She gives it right back to them, never apologizing or begging for her life. She is truly one BAMF. And fast forward to Return of the Jedi, where she  doesn’t wait for Luke to save her from Jabba’s ship. She kills the big space slug herself.

Leia is a woman of action.

Leia is also a woman who masks her emotions. It takes Leia time to admit her attraction to Han Solo. Washington Post writer, Alyssa Rosenberg writes, “Yes, it’s slightly ridiculous … that [Han] tries to pry a confession of affection out of her on Hoth, as Leia is trying to manage an evacuation with just an ion cannon for defense. But Han’s not wrong that if Leia doesn’t figure out that she’s a person with needs, she’s going to burn out … In a way, it’s an early confession of love: Han’s anxious about the bounty hunters who are still pursuing him … But he would stay and give his love and support to Leia if she could just acknowledge that she needs him.”

This may have been an issue once she became a mother. After the Empire is defeated Leia marries Han and they have their only child, Ben aka Kylo Ren. Leia became a Senator of the New Republic. This was around the time her son became Kylo Ren.

Quick Side Note: According to Wookiepedia, the truth about Darth Vader being Luke and Leia’s father is hidden from the public, specifically from Ben Solo. Though Leia had planned to tell Ben the truth about his Grandfather’s fall and eventual redemption back into the light. Unfortunately, this never came to be, Snoke targeted Ben, meanwhile the truth about Leia’s father was revealed publicly through her political enemies.

In The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, its revealed that Leia and Han sent Ben to train with Luke in his newly established Jedi Temple. Ben had feelings of abandonment which Snoke used to his advantage. After her son destroyed the Jedi Temple and became Kylo Ren, Leia and Han separated, returning to what they did best. Han and Chewie went back to smuggling and Leia dove into politics.

With the Senate not taking her concerns about the First Order and Snoke seriously, Leia retired and formed the Resistance. It was from this point on that she no longer wanted the title of Princess but she was to be General Leia.

Thank you for Reading!

 

 

F : Furiosa “Out here, everything hurts. You wanna get through this? Do as I say. Now pick up what you can and run.”

F
Furiosa

I’ll admit it, I wasn’t a Mad Max fan until 2015. I had little interest in the franchise until I saw the trailer for Fury Road. Even then it was my husband’s idea to actually see the film in theaters. And boy was I hooked. I still wouldn’t call myself a Mad Max fan. I came to the franchise too late. But I proudly say that I am a HUGE fan of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Furiosa drew me in. She’s a warrior. Remember the scene where she’s fighting Max one-handed? Fortunate for him she had taken her arm off…eh?

Creator, George Miller had two names in mind for the title of the film, Furiosa and Fury Road. Fury Road was chosen for the title and after much thought Furiosa became the first name of the lead female heroine. Other thoughts for her name were “The Praetornian”, “Warrior Woman” and “The Imperator”.

Miller consulted with writer and feminist, Eve Ensler of “The Vagina Monologues” to become a on-set adviser, so she could enhance the female characters.

~

Furiosa and her mother were kidnapped from the Green Place. Her mother died on the third day of their kidnapping. Furiosa was given to Immortan Joe to become one of his wives but after it was discovered she was barren, Furiosa was given to one of Immortan Joe’s Imperators. That’s where Furiosa cultivated her skills as a warrior and learned how to handle the war rig.

She lost her arm during one of the battles. If it wasn’t already quite obvious, Furiosa was the only woman within Immortan Joe’s Army.

Eventually Furiosa was assigned to protect the wives. She kept her distance, such as most people who want to survive the Wasteland. But eventually she began to bond with the wives and ultimately agrees to escape the Citadel with them. And the rest is Fury Road…

Thank you for Reading!

T.G.I.F!