Culture

Reading Anna Karenina was not a particularly enjoyable experience (please don't send me angry letters, Tolstoy enthusiasts). Watching the movie, however, was entirely different. After Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, this is director Joe Wright's third literary adaptation, and the result is a sumptuous visual spectacle. The movie's screenplay was written by Tom Stoppard, who has taken a marvelously novel approach to presenting this story.

A new infographic from designer Briana Higgins looks at casting practices in Hollywood, particularly with regard to gender and race. Using data from Gwen Sharp at Sociological Images, the graphic shows that nearly 70 percent of casting calls show preference for white actors, while more than two-thirds of leading roles go to men (men also dominate second- and third-billed roles).

Alfred Hitchcock directed some of the most iconic movies of the 20th century and was also immensely prolific. Hitchcock's last great muse was the actress Tippi Hedren. She was plucked from obscurity to be his next blonde leading lady, and together they made two movies: The Birds and Marnie. Last month, HBO Films released The Girl, a behind-the-scenes look at the twisted relationship between Hitchcock and Hedren.
Thank you to writers, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan, for writing some terrific female characters and to director Sam Mendes who did a splendid job directing; infusing the film with many enlightened choices. Thank you to producer by Barbara Broccoli for defending our gender and making such a great piece of entertainment. Perhaps when you hire women to write and direct the next installment, things will get even better!
With a Netflix queue predominantly filled with Parks and Rec, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mad Men, from time to time I worry whether I have an accurate impression of how many complex female characters there are on TV. To get to the bottom of this, and for your viewing pleasure, I’ve done some back-of-the-envelope calculations and analyzed the new TV shows launched this season on the major networks.
Canada’s women writers can now turn their eyes to a new prize. There's a paper ceiling in publishing. In Canada, women buy and read more books, while men and women publish equally, but prizes and reviews are not 50-50. Women writers win approximately a third of prizes and receive just a third the review coverage of their male counterparts. Since 1996, the UK has had the Orange Prize, which awards 30,000 pounds to a female writer. The Rosalind will be Canada's equivelant award.
The day after I watched Barfi!, I watched English Vinglish and was reminded that Bollywood can still make fantastic movies. The movie is written and directed by a woman, Gauri Shinde, and stars Sridevi in her first movie since 1997. Clearly Bollywood is answering my pleas for more women in cinema, and doing so with panache.
After the resounding stateside success of Downton Abbey, PBS is hoping that Call the Midwife will be its next breakout British hit. The first of six episodes aired last Sunday, and if that pilot is any indication, I've found my new British addiction. Set in London's East End in the 1950s, the show follows a group of midwives and nuns who work at Nunnatus House, a nursing convent.

Golden Globe winner Tina Fey (30 Rock) and Golden Globe nominee Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) will host the 70th Annual Golden Glo

The web series "Broad City," created by comedians Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, has been tapped by Comedy Central for a pilot. The pilot will be executive produced in part by Amy Poehler, who, like Jacobson and Glazer, is tied to the Upright Citizens Brigade. Described in the WSJ as "sneak-attack feminism," the show "follows two girls, played by Jacobson and Glazer, throughout their daily lives in New York City, making the smallest and mundane events hysterical and disturbing to watch all at the same time," according to a release. Watch the show's teaser after the jump.

Monday morning, T Magazine editor Deborah Needleman tweeted about an upcoming Katie Roiphe event at the New York Public Library, describing Roiphe, who frequently butts heads with feminist writers, as "sexy (sorry, feminists), smart, and sassy." That qualifier quickly became a meme when Jezebel founding editor Anna Holmes and Salon reporter Irin Carmon started tweeting with the hashtag #sorryfeminists. Soon it felt like every woman on Twitter, plus a few men, were tweeting #sorryfeminists entries.

Kathleen Pye has written an open letter to Lady Gaga in the wake of the pop star's recent disclosure about eating disorders and body image issues. "What you do need to know is that many of us, women, men, children, regardless of age, socioeconomic status, or other discerning factors, understand your pain," Pye writes at Fem2.0. "Perhaps we can’t understand the hurt caused by tabloid magazines, but we can relate to the struggle." She adds, "This is my hope for you: take care of yourself."

Pages