Recently, on that social media site and time-suck known as Twitter, film critic Miriam Bale asked her female followers: “What is one of your earliest feminist stirrings from watching movies (or TV)?” The query was notable not only because of the swift responses (everything from the problematic ending of Grease to the pop power of the Powerpuff Girls), but also for its inclusion of the small screen.
Normally, it’s movies that play the madeleine in our Proustian moments of recalling formative screen-based realizations. But from an early age, many of us plunked down in front of the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena: Warrior Princess and Sailor Moon. As a pre-teen, I rarely saw women fighting for themselves or taking charge on film, but I did see it weekly on Fox, NBC, and YTV. The boob tube was where the boobs were at—and that’s still the case. Due to this, we wanted to give the smaller screen’s politics of representation their due, and with TV no longer being perceived as the basement baby of screen media, the timing couldn’t be better.
In our seventh issue, Nathalie Atkinson looks at the feminist politics of Murder, She Wrote and its star, Angela Lansbury. Anne T. Donahue turns her magnifying glass on another famous TV sleuth, Veronica Mars, saluting the show for the straightforward (and therein radical) way it addresses rape culture. Kelli Korducki examines assholes and self-actualization in Transparent, and Zoe Daniels looks at Adventure Time as a freeing gender fantasy. Zeba Blay bravely goes into the world of reality TV to talk about depictions of black women in VH1’s Love & Hip Hop. And returning to the trope of the female detective, Kathleen Kampeas-Rittenhouse dissects the good, the bad, and the ugly in contemporary feminist crime dramas Happy Valley, The Fall, and Top of the Lake.
We’re also very proud of our powerhouse roundtable featuring Monica Heisey, Jazmine Hughes, and Katie Nolan, who discuss everything you wanted to know about web series but were too afraid to ask. Last, but certainly not least, Fariha Róisín profiles one of the biggest stars of the web series world: Issa Rae. You can see Rae as the centerpiece of our beautiful and inspired cover art designed by Lola Landekic.
While we’re looking at the small screen, cléo certainly isn’t getting any smaller. We’re growing and continually learning about film and feminism and all the ways they intersect. Volume three is something of a milestone for the entire team: Julia Cooper, Mallory Andrews, and Eleni Deacon. Without their dedicated work, cléo wouldn’t be able to exist.
It’s also thanks to you, our readers, that we keep putting out issues. Thanks for your support, donations, constructive criticisms and for sharing what you read here on the interwebz. We hope you keep tuning in for many more issues to come.
– Kiva Reardon
April 20, 2015