Shame can ruin a life. A mistake can force a woman to live in self-sacrifice. For Diane, the reasons why are hidden in the loaded question: “How is Brian?” This question haunts her through the entirety of Kent Jones’ character-driven film, Diane. Not only is Brian Diane’s alcoholic and drug-addicted son, but underneath her attempts to save him is the reason for her guilt. She never feels she can make up for what she did many years ago. Nothing lets her off the hook. She’s locked in a prison of voices muttering relentlessly in her mind. How does a woman...

“I knocked, I cried, she wouldn’t open up.” That is Wiktor’s torment. These lyrics begin Pawel Pawlikowski’s film Cold War and foretell the fate of Wiktor and Zula’s love. A love that never had a chance. Theirs is a war originating in Zula’s history. A history that spawned deep shame and distrust of love. Just when Wiktor thinks Zula’s let him in, she turns cold and runs away; or betrays him. Yet, because she too cannot stay away, their cycle of separations and reunions plays out over many years as, finally, Zula “puts the knife” into Wiktor’s heart. We watch...

A sentence to shame is worse than having no sanitary pads month after month. Period. End Of Sentence. This film, 2019 Oscar Winner for Best Short Documentary, shows us very clearly that you can’t do much as a girl in rural India if you’re bleeding. But, not only that. When old superstitions and taboos about menstruation prevail, and you’re seen as dirty or cursed; stigmatized and ostracized; it interferes with everything. Especially with hope; school; and being able to "rise and fly." Believe it or not, this is the state of affairs in parts of India in the 21st Century....

Date rape is a confusing thing. You know the guy. You went out with him. You consented to kissing him. Maybe even more. But, when it came right down to it, you said “No “and he didn’t listen. Is it your fault for having gone that far? It’s not. No is No. There’s no reason to feel guilty or take on the blame. That can interfere with your life. Look at Loretta Young. Look at her daughter, Judy, who wrote in her memoir (Uncommon Knowledge): “My life has been filled with hypocrisy and deception from the moment I was born.” Loretta...

The women of Litchfield were robbed of their power long before they got there. Piper, with her courtyard pulpit plea for self-respect in Season 3 of OITNB, is the new inspirational speaker on women’s empowerment. Granted, she’s got a lot to gain monetarily from convincing her fellow inmates to go along with her stinky panty plot. Yet, Piper’s (Taylor Schilling) pretty high on the idea of putting one over on the patriarchy and everyone else who has ever made her feel less than good about herself. So, she has quite a lot to say about standing up against self-hate. Self-respect is power -...