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My daughter and I watched a documentary about film composers and were stunned by how few women were in it.

Like, seriously stunned.

Of the many composers featured in the film "Score," only two were women. But I suppose we shouldn't have been surprised. If I were to list famous film scorers, I'd offer up names like John Williams, James Horner, Hans Zimmer, and Howard Shore. I don't even know the name of a female film composer off the top of my head.


John Williams received a lifetime achievement award for his film composition work in 2016. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

That's not good news for my daughter, who wants to be a film composer. She'll be studying music composition at university this fall, and while I have no doubt she'll rock it, it's disheartening to find out how male-dominated her chosen field is.

But perhaps change is on the horizon.

Marvel just made superhero movie history by hiring a female film composer.

As a bright spot in the darkness, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought on Pinar Toprak to score the much-anticipated "Captain Marvel" film. Toprak, who helped score the popular video game "Fortnite," will be the first female film scorer in a comic superhero movie.

To give you a sense of why this is significant, take a look at this list of DC superhero films and this list of Marvel superhero films. Just scroll through to see the sheer number of films — presumably all of which have included a score of some sort.

It's not that women don't ever score movies. They do — but only 3% of the top 250 films of 2017 included female composers (up from 1-2% a few years before). The industry has long been dominated by men and has been slow to change.

It's not just film scores. The whole music composition world is heavily skewed toward male composers.

In some ways, it's understandable. The most well-known classical music pieces come from the likes of Mozart, Bach, Schubert, Brahms, Vivaldi, and other male composers from generations past. The problem is that as the landscape has changed for women in music, the music that gets played and celebrated hasn't.

The statistics from Drama Musica and the Donne — Women in Music project show that among 1,445 classical concerts performed around the world in a year, only 76 included at least one piece by a woman. That means 95% of classical concerts only include male composers.

[rebelmouse-image 19346633 dam="1" original_size="500x445" caption="Image via Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, used with permission." expand=1]Image via Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, used with permission.

The numbers are not just due to the predominance of famous dead men in the classical music repertoire. In a survey of the 22 largest American orchestras during the 2014-15 symphony season, women only accounted for 14.3% of living composers whose work was performed.

"These numbers are both abysmal and embarrassing, particularly in this day and age," said Kristin Kuster, composer and associate professor of composition at the University of Michigan.

When an industry has been male-dominated for centuries, it takes a concerted, purposeful effort to level the field.

And there are some in the music world — like Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Music director/conductor Ulysses James — leading the way.

After reading an article about the gender disparities for composers in orchestra performances, James responded with this:

"Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic Association Board members and I saw this article and decided to do something about it. Fourteen of the sixteen works we will be performing in the 2018-19 season will be composed by women. I'll also commit to programming 50% of the following season and beyond to women composers. Thank you for the article."

That's how it's done. It takes a conscious effort to turn the tide, and even just one decision like James' can break a pattern.

Thank you James and others making the effort and giving my daughter hope for a successful career doing what she loves. Let's hope more will follow your lead.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.