Mad Women 01: The Original Mobwife

By Kate Mooney

Who’s Mad?  Karen from Goodfellas, 1990.

Karen is the quintessential pissed off mob wife, with a nails-on-the-chalkboard screech that’s nearly laughable in its melodrama, if she didn’t so desperately mean it. Her rage gets her nowhere, inextricably bound up in her lust for Henry and the thrills of the lifestyle. Her anger is a cry for love that, falling short, settles for submission.

Initially, her rage is the catalyst for their passion. Their sparks first ignite when she’s yelling at him on the street after he doesn’t show for their second date: “You’ve got some nerve standing me up. Nobody does that to me, who do you think you are, Frankie Valli or some kinda big shot?” Henry doesn’t hear a word she says, but her firey spirit draws him in: “I remember, she’s screaming on the street, and I mean loud, but she looked good. She had these great eyes, just like Liz Taylor’s.”

She, in turn, is attracted to his violence: “I know there are women, like my best friends, who would have gotten out of there the minute their boyfriend handed them a gun to hide. But I didn’t. I gotta admit the truth—it turned me on,” she says. This is the woman who asks her husband, “I wanted to go shopping, can I get some money?” And when he asks how much, she air-measures a wad of bills between thumb and forefinger. After he hands her the stack, she begins unbuckling his pants.


Of course, in time, the hot and heavy turns dark and damaged. Karen’s anger devolves into madness. She’s pressing all the buzzers on Henry’s girlfriend’s building, screaming, “He’s my husband! Get your own goddamn man!” in front of her two little girls, nonetheless. She’s dangling the bag of drugs she snuck in during jail visiting hours, screeching, “Let her sneak this shit in for you. Let her do it!” And finally, she’s holding a gun to his head, seething and shaking as she demands, “Do you love her?” all the while straddling him. A little cooing and low talking, he calms her down in no time, knocking the gun out of her hands and pulling it on her.

Karen chooses to suffer as Henry’s disenfranchised wife rather than regain self-respect by leaving him, because, “Why should she (the other woman) win?” Her fury, though ineffectual, is all she has to hold on to. DeNiro’s Jimmy Conway says it best, “She’ll never divorce him. She’ll kill him, but she won’t divorce him.”

Kate examines what “mad women” have meant throughout history and media. She also writes funny things for The Hairpin, The New York Observer, and others, check her out: @yatinbrooklyn


By Madelyn
Breaking Glass (Brian Gibson, 1980)

The Brooklyn Academy of Music is home to some really great programming, like this past winter’s “Vengence is Hers” which featured tales of badass heroines seeking revenge. This month there is a new line up of films: Punk Rock Girls. Outspoken women with insanely awesome haircuts scream singing over crunchy guitars about sticking it to the man? Be still my heart, this series was made for Maddd Grrrls!

A few of us went last night to the opening screening of Breaking Glass, a high-impact, low-budget British “rock opera” from 1980 that depicts London’s post-punk scene. The heroine, played by the intense, ever-vivid Hazel O’Connor, garners attention for her progressive political lyrics, and has to fight the man (in the form of managers, police, agents, and mansplainey bassists) to retain control over her work. O’Connor wrote and performed the entire soundtrack, which sounds kind of like a demented version of early Blondie… and its catchy as hell.

There’s plenty of awesome movies playing at BAM through June 1st. I propose a meet up for the screening of Times Square, next Wednesday.

BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave. Brooklyn, NY


Playlist by Ilana Kaplan

When it comes to music, I’m all over the map. However, 2014 seems to be the re-launch of the girl-power movement. I’m all about this comeback  though it never should have dissipated in the first place.

This playlist is a culmination of lady musicians who kick ass by making tunes you can get angry with, cry to, or feel empowered by whenever you need a mood boost. If you want to say “fuck the world” while kicking and screaming, Meg Myers or Fiona Apple will do the trick. If you’re feeling like you need a good cry, Lykke Li and Cat Power are where the tears will stream. If you’re looking to feel like the confident YOU that you know you are, there’s nothing like some Garbage or Robyn to make you feel like you own the world.

So, whether you’re in the mood to throw things or get your girl-power on, this playlist will make sure your needs are met in all areas.


What gets your fists pumping and your booty shaking? Share a playlist with Maddd Grrrl, email


Words + Image by Zoraida Palencia


I never worried about my body as a kid. It was just a body that let me jump puddles, conquer imaginary monsters and run as fast as I could into my adventures. Now as an adult, I worry about this body. Everyone can see it, in all its curvaceous soft glory! Am I suppose to be thin to be happy?  Or thin to attract all the suitors of the world? I’m tired of worrying about it so much.
My body isn’t so hideous. I don’t want to hide it. However, I feel like this and I fight it everyday. So, I draw these figures to show myself that all bodies are attractive. In it’s current form, I can still jump, conquer and run. I’m a maddd grrrl because I’m tired of body shame.
Z_01_72dpi Z_02_72dpi


IMG_2095-1There are many ways to be a feminist, but most of them are WRONG. 


It’s no secret that filmmaking remains a male dominated industry. Without women writing, directing, and working behinds the scenes, we’ll continue to be fed films with flimsy, one dimensional female characters and damaging depictions of women. It’s time to put your money (and your clicks) where your mouth is. Stephanie Wain is a undergrad studying film at Penn State, and she has the opportunity to make her feature length film a reality (this is almost unheard of for an undergraduate). Donate to her IndieGoGo campaign, and vote for “Stones We Throw” on IndieWire’s ‘Project of the Week.’