Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is the executive editor of Pandagon.net and the author of the book, It's A Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Recent Articles

Mad 21st Century Men

The world of Mad Men still feels familiar despite the show's long hiatus.

(AP Photo/Rex Features)
I’ll have to work this in quickly before it becomes a cliché, but despite the show's title, female characters have eclipsed male characters in audience sympathies on Mad Men. Identity is the show’s primary concern, putting the rapidly changing gender roles of the '60s at the center of its plot developments. And, the face showrunner Matthew Weiner gave post-'60s America is a female one. One thing seems certain to pass, despite the show’s unpredictability: Peggy Olson will eventually eclipse Don Draper, her mentor. Feminist viewers take delight in watching Peggy and some of the other female characters endure and overcome sexist treatment in no small part because we don’t have to put up with that kind of overt misogyny anymore. We cringe when a male character tells Joan to her face that he thinks of her as a “madam from a Shanghai whorehouse” who is “walking around like you’re trying to get raped.” Then we get to revel when Peggy stands up to the offender, and feel gratitude for the real...

Six Seasons and a Movie!

Community finally comes back on the air tonight to finish up its third season, and it's kind of a big deal for the show's rabid fans.

(Flickr/reway2007)
Community returns tonight after NBC unceremoniously put it on hiatus halfway through its third season, and it's a television event you would have had a hard time not knowing about if you spend any time online. While few expected the low-rated cult hit to see a fourth season, fans at least felt they needed closure, and far more for this show than for other single-camera critical darlings like it, such as 30 Rock or possibly even Arrested Development . Why? Because despite its well-deserved reputation for kooky, abstract humor, Community has some of the best-developed characters on television. More importantly, they’re characters who have evolved and changed as people, giving the audience a deep need to see how our beloved study group at Greendale Community College finally ends up. Ever since Arrested Development ushered in the era of single-camera sitcoms that get more critical ink than viewers, the form has tried to distinguish itself from the traditional three-camera soundstage...

A Home for the Hip Hipster Bashers

The TV show Portlandia is the last stand between the cool and the uncool fedora haters. 

(AP Photo/Kristina Bumphrey)
Portlandia , or as it’s known around my place, “Stuff White People Like: The TV Show ” aired its season finale on March 9, having successfully bested Mad Men as the show whose impact on the cultural discourse furthest outstrips its ratings. The kind of people who pen magazine articles defining the culture’s official watercooler topics spring directly from the educated, anxiously hip urban middle class that Portlandia captures so perfectly, giving it a massive edge in this contest. Beyond just being an entertaining black hole of self-referential humor, however, Portlandia signals an important shift in the zeitgeist. By replacing once-fashionable hipster-bashing with warm-hearted humor about hipsters, for hipsters, Portlandia suggests that finally, a decade after it became cool, hipster-bashing is square yet again. It’s once more hip to be hip, so long as you have a sense of humor about it. To be clear, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, the creators and lead actors of Portlandia ,...

A Social Network of One's Own

Pinterest is quickly becoming the safest place for women to socialize on the Internet.

(Flickr/GoodNCrazy)
I initially visited Pinterest after hearing its praises sung for being a remarkable organization tool with a social component, but all I saw at first were pictures of clothes, interior-design ideas, and cheesy photography coupled with “inspirational” mottos and prayers. Few things make me hit the “unsubscribe” button faster than seeing a black-and-white picture of a lake emblazoned with pabulum about living life to the fullest, but my hostile reaction belied a bit of the internalized sexism in the heart of even the most stalwart feminist. After all, I love fashion and design, so why wouldn’t I want to see more of it if not for the fear that it might be too girly? It doesn’t take long for a blog-loving feminist to find the ugliness of the “ew, girly!” reaction. Women dominate on Pinterest— around 70 percent of users are female —and the site drives more traffic to commercial sites than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined. Pinterest's popularity means that the male-dominated world of...

A Homeric D'oh

The Simpsons celebrates a television milestone but where has all the edge gone?

(Flickr/wallyg)
Watching The Simpson s now is like watching the movie version of the Broadway show based on John Waters’ classic Hairspray . The form is the same, but the spirit just isn’t there. When the 500th episode of the show aired Sunday night, I couldn’t be bothered to care. The main problem is that the show jumped the shark more than a decade ago and, while it still manages to pop off plenty of laugh lines, it lacks the satirical heart that made it truly groundbreaking when it made its debut 23 years ago. The Simpsons first aired when I was in the seventh grade, and like much of the country, I fell in love with the characters and embraced it with the same enthusiasm that I had shown for other, more wholesome programs like The Cosby Show . Certainly, The Simpsons felt rougher around the edges, darker, and definitely more controversial than previous sitcoms. Homer frequently leapt on Bart and choked him in rage. Marge was stupid, and Lisa misunderstood. Still, the show adhered to the sitcom...

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