Weekend Reading

Altucher — whose Wikipedia page contains the phrase “ran a fund of hedge funds” — recounts the tale of taking his daughter out for a fashion show and some ping-pong. When he is not on the list at the fashion show (a friend had promised to add him), he manipulates his way in. When the ping-pong venue is closed due to a private event, he manipulates his way in and plays ping-pong at someone else’s party.

He believes his fun evening provides a lesson for us all: “Don’t break the laws. Don’t kill people. Don’t steal. But most other rules can be bent.”

James Altucher thinks he has written an article about “getting everything you want.” He has actually written an article about white privilege. (And probably class privilege, and male privilege, and maybe some others.)

The basics are that for every one female-speaking character in family-rated films (G, PG and PG-13), there are roughly three male characters; that crowd and group scenes in these films — live-action and animated — contain only 17 percent female characters; and that the ratio of male-female characters has been exactly the same since 1946. Throw in the hypersexualization of many of the female characters that are there, even in G-rated movies, and their lack of occupations and aspirations and you get the picture.

It wasn’t the lack of female lead characters that first struck me about family films. We all know that’s been the case for ages, and we love when movies like The Hunger Games: Catching Fireand Frozen hit it big. It was the dearth of female characters in the worlds of the stories — the fact that the fictitious villages and jungles and kingdoms and interplanetary civilizations were nearly bereft of female population — that hit me over the head. This being the case, we are in effect enculturating kids from the very beginning to see women and girls as not taking up half of the space. Couldn’t it be that the percentage of women in leadership positions in many areas of society — Congress, law partners, Fortune 500 board members, military officers, tenured professors and many more — stall out at around 17 percent because that’s the ratio we’ve come to see as the norm?

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