In case you didn’t know, Mark Ruffalo is a goddamn national treasure.
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He was recently on the Comic-Con panel for Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok with some obscure talent like Cate Blanchett, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, and Jeff Goldblum and I’m pretty sure he had the time of his fucking life.
Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Here’s the funny thing: Mark Ruffalo is very famous. (Don’t act like you can’t recite 13 Going on 30 by heart.) But he’s still super-proud to be surrounded by his fellow celebrities and friends, which is why he started snapping photos of them mid-panel.
Update:Step is scheduled for theatrical release on August 4, 2017.
This story was originally published on February 21, 2017
There is a bit of risk involved when a white woman takes on the responsibility of telling a story about Black girls and their communities. A lot can get lost in translation, leaving the end product flat and flavorless. With meaningful diversity in high demand, this isn’t a ball to be dropped. It’s a risk that Amanda Lipitz undertook when she made the documentary Step. And it paid off. The film follows three Black girls in Baltimore during their senior year of high school, a time marked by the death of Freddie Gray and subsequent riots, the college admission process, and the quest to take first place at the Bowie State step competition.
Step tells the story of a Black community the way it should be told: as a series of overlapping themes and layers, each with a history of their own. The heightened racial tensions in their native Baltimore are conveniently highlighted in the wake of Gray’s death. But the incident and the city-wide riots that ensued thereafter aren’t framed as an eye-opening moment about the realities of race for the Lethal Ladies of Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women step team. Instead, they represent just another layer, albeit unsettling, of what it means to be Black in a city like Baltimore. Dialogue about the events surrounding Gray’s death come to the teenagers as easy as conversations about reality television.
It’s the ease with which Step captures Black joy, even in the midst of such high levels of personal and communal stress, that makes it special. Stepping is a style of dance created by historically Black fraternities and sororities. Stepping involves turning the whole body into an instrument, and collectively with other members of the team, putting on an orchestrated performance. The connection between stepping as a practice rooted in higher education and the fact that the seniors of the BLSYW are using it as a way to make college a reality for themselves cannot be overlooked.
In movies and television, the way out of the hood is too often frames as a fantastical golden ticket saga. The payoff being a life of fame from a professional sports league or the music industry. But social mobility also looks like being the first in your family to go to college. It looks like financing that education without amassing a lifetime of student loan debt. Despite the severe lack of resources coming into poor and working-class Black communities, we have still managed to create outlets like stepping that can serve as a pipeline toward that mobility.
Lipitz, who was involved in the founding of BLSYW charter school, is doing her part to enrich this pipeline away from the camera as well. She will be using proceeds from the deal with Fox Searchlight to go toward scholarships for the 19 girls on the team and a donation to the school. The success of Step is an example of putting privilege to work and letting our stories tell themselves.
Hollywood is governed by outdated myths. Myth 1: Non-white actors don’t generate box office returns. But researchers at the University of North Carolina and McGill University found that films featuring Black actors earned roughly 60% more than films with no Black actors. Diverse films perform better. Still, actors and actresses of color remain persistently underrepresented in all strata of entertainment, from studio and network chiefs (which are roughly 94% white), to leads in film and on TV (where they remain outnumbered by roughly 2 to 1).
Beyond The Hashtag is R29’s take on the persistence of racism in Hollywood, from financing and directing to casting and moviegoing. Let’s look at the signs of hope for a change.
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Update: Trystan Reese gave birth to his baby on July 14,2017. He and his partner, Biff Chaplow have named their son Leo Murray Chaplow. He’s the first biological child for the couple, who have two adopted children as well.
Read our original story below:
Trystan Reese and Biff Chaplow exploded onto the parenting scene a couple years ago after the couple fought to adopt Chaplow’s niece and nephew, who were living in a traumatic home. Their journey through court hearings and custody battles was chronicled on the popular parenting podcast The Longest Shortest Time, and Reese and Chaplow were dubbed the “accidental gay parents.”
Now, after gaining custody of their son and daughter, Reese and Chaplow are planning to add a third child to their family. Reese, who is a transgender man, is pregnant. In a new episode of the podcast, he and Chaplow talk about their decision to have a baby, going through a miscarriage, finding out Reese was pregnant, telling their families, and how other people react to seeing a pregnant man.
In order to get pregnant, Reese had to stop taking testosterone, which meant that his periods started coming back for the first time in 10 years. But even after months of trying and carefully tracking his cycle, Reese wasn’t pregnant. He and Chaplow started to get discouraged, but while many cisgender women who are trying to get pregnant might feel the need to blame their body for failed attempts, Reese was found a way to be much kinder to his body.
“I had to work so hard to feel great about my body that I didn’t ever blame it on on my body,” he said. “I just sort of thought maybe this isn’t meant to be. Maybe we learned what we were supposed to learn from this experience and and we need to just sort of accept where we are and this beautiful family we have which is not a consolation prize at all.
And one morning I woke up and I felt really, really bad. Like I had a fever bad, like lying on the tiles of the bathroom floor because how cool they are — feels good on your face kind of bad.
And I randomly grabbed one of the tests and it came back positive. And I was like oh my god this is actually happening.”
On telling Chaplow that he was pregnant:
“I had to go wake him up and I was like ‘ah I’m pregnant.’
He was a little bit sleepy but he was just like ‘I told you so.’ So that’s still, like, romantic. He said ‘I’m really excited to start planning for you. But like is it OK with you if I go back to sleep now?'”
Reese told The Longest Shortest Time that he and Chaplow were anxious for their six-week appointment, when pregnant people get their first ultrasound, and on the week of the appointment he called the clinic to make sure his doctors were aware and prepared to treat a pregnant dad.
“I can feel someone looking at my face and searching for the remnants of womanhood. They kind of squint their eyes a little bit and I can tell they’re trying to, like, take away my beard. They’re trying to transition me in their heads.”
Triple-checking that this clinic was prepared to treat transgender people, though, paid off.
“There hasn’t been an ounce of transphobia from anyone I have come in contact with,” he said. “I expected to have to show extra ID, them to have to call their manager, all kinds of things and none of that happened. I went to go give blood at the phlebotomy lab, checking in with the person at the desk and she would type in my Medical Records ID and she be like ‘OK you’re here for the six weeks along blood test. oh six weeks along. Congratulations you look good.’
And I’m sitting there and I’m like ‘did you not notice that I am a man?'”
On telling his mom:
After ultrasound, Reese wrote an email to his mom to break the news.
“I didn’t know what her response was going to be and I didn’t want to put her on the spot with the expectation that she was going to fawn and gush,” he said. “I wrote like five or six drafts of the email just to make sure that I got it right. And she wrote back right away. ‘Congratulations I know you’re going to be great dads. There’s no reason why only screwed up people should have kids.'”
Their son, Riley, is happy to have a new baby coming to their family soon, but also worried about what kids at school might say if they knew his dad was pregnant.
“He tried to ask us if we would pretend like the baby was just our cousin that we were babysitting,” Reese said. “[For him] it’s literally like just anything to have this not be our baby that my dad gave birth to. So, you know, we’re happy to let him protect himself however he needs, but there is a limit. And pretending that this baby is not ours is where the line is drawn.”
Their daughter, Hailey, on the other hand, is overjoyed to tell anyone and everyone.
“She has told everybody in her class that her dad is transgender and is having a baby and she’s going to be a big sister. So we’ve kind of gotten to see it play out.”
On people’s reactions to seeing a pregnant man & keeping himself safe:
Safety is a big worry for all transgender people, but especially for a visibly queer and pregnant man, so Reese has figured out how to protect himself while in public.
“Because it’s still freezing cold in Portland, I’m able to layer. So with like a chunky sweater, a long open coat, and then like a drapey scarf, you cannot tell at all.”
But the one place Reese is really public about his pregnancy is online. He posted a video explaining why he, as a transgender man, would even want to be pregnant on Facebook and got a lot of feedback — both positive and negative.
“Everything from a lady upon learning that I am a trans person who’s pregnant saying that I look like a circus freak, and much worse things than that have been said to me and about me, all the way to trans people who are angry that I even made a video to begin with because I shouldn’t have to explain myself.”
On how cool it is to be pregnant:
“It’s been really awesome. And that’s like not cool to say,” Reese said. “You’re supposed to like complain about your ankles or whatever. But I’ve been having a blast being pregnant. Feeling the movements has been so cool. The kids every night will read stories to my belly. You know, it’s just been really awesome.”
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you’re thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it’s time we talked about it that way.
Doctors told her that she was just stressed or going through normal growing pains. Later, they thought she must have an eating disorder or anxiety. But only one of them dug deep enough to realize that she had a serious autoimmune disorder and was incredibly sick.
After recognizing that all of these doctors had misdiagnosed her or written her off as a complainer likely just because she is a woman, Hirsch is using her art to speak out in comic form.
“When it was happening, I didn’t know the end of the story,” Hirsch tells Refinery29. “So I really did start to think of myself as a problem, a complainer, or a hypochondriac.”
She went on feeling that way until she finally met a doctor who took her seriously. That doctor told her that he was shocked she wasn’t sicker. But the thing is, she was — she had just stopped talking about it, since no one believed her anyway.
At first, she was just relieved to have a diagnosis, but then she got angry. “It wasn’t just me,” she says. “I didn’t do a bad job of talking to my doctors. It’s a problem with medicine.”
She’s right. Hirsch isn’t the first person to tell a story like this. A 2015 Atlantic story by Joe Fassler details the night his wife waited in agony for 14 hours because the emergency room staff didn’t believe that her pain was as bad as she claimed.
This kind of unconscious bias that tells doctors (even women doctors) that women’s pain can’t possibly be as bad as they say is such a widespread problem, in fact, that when Hirsch tweeted a link to her comic it became something of a thread for women to share their own terrible experiences at the doctor’s office.
Thank you. When I was 9 & couldn’t breathe, doc asked if it was possible I was “hysterical” after a recent move. My lung had collapsed.
“You’re in that room and in your underwear and there’s a weird power dynamic,” Hirsch says. “We’re conditioned to trust whatever the doctor says to you.” Looking back now, though, all she can think is “how did all of those doctors let me live in this pain for so long?”
Have you ever tried making crêpes at home? It can be a pretty daunting task. The batter must be poured to the perfect thickness and ample amounts of cooking spray go into making sure each paper-thin pancake doesn’t stick to the skillet. All that trouble almost never pays off and you’re left with thicker-than-desired griddlecakes. Or, you end up with a pile of half-shredded crêpes and a very dirty pan that will need to soak in the sink for hours. Well, thanks to Trader Joe’s, we may never have to work that hard for the treat again. That’s right, the cult-fave grocery store known for delicious freezer-aisle snacks just announced the launch of new Chocolate-Filled Crêpes.
TJ’s new Chocolate Filled Crêpes feature soft, golden brown crêpe dough made into perfect rolls and filled with thick, creamy chocolate sauce. When the treat is heated, the chocolate filling oozes out, making each bite satisfyingly decadent. They can be enjoy plain or with bananas, berries, or whipped cream (or all three). According to the Trader Joe’s website, the new product is “as divine as the crêpes sold in fine crêperies.”
These crêpes may taste like they’re from a Parisian café, but a lot less work goes into preparing them. All we have to do is pop the frozen dessert in the microwave or oven. Making these crêpes doesn’t take much time or effort, and like many other TJ’s products we love, they don’t cost much either. Each box comes with seven crêpes and costs just $2.69. That’s a lot more affordable than making the batter yourself or flying to France. So, kiss your batter-pouring days goodbye and pray that Trader Joe’s eventually rolls out these frozen crêpes with a variety of fillings. We’d love a savory crêpe with cheese and another sweet one with Nutella, please.
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