Maggie Smith

30 Best Pop Culture Spinsters

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The word “spinster” refers to an unmarried woman, and is most often synonymous with the stereotype of the past-her-prime old maid, a woman who hasn’t made a good match and who’s doomed to live an unfulfilling life. Well, that’s just stereotypes talking, because… hey, what’s wrong with that, exactly? The answer is absolutely nothing. Pop culture has given us some pretty great spinsters (although on average they do fall within a specific, homogenous, moneyed, and white demographic). So here are our 30 favorite writers, artists, and fictional characters who show the freedom that comes from living an unmarried life — female characters who are defined by their wants and desires, and not characterized through the simple scrim of their relationships.
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‘Downton Abbey’ Has Finally Become the Soap Opera Its Critics Always Said It Was

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Like a town crier, I spent much of the year before Downton Abbey first aired stateside telling my friends and family, “You will watch this and you will love it.” And throughout its first two seasons, I remained a diehard follower. Should this not already be clear, I have quite the soft spot for British period drama, particularly when it takes place in a glorious Great House, is rife with class overtones, and oozes sentimentality and snobbery.
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Flavorwire’s Holiday Gift Guide: 50 Gifts for 50 Cultural Icons

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Everyone knows that the holidays are a time for tradition, so here’s one of Flavorwire‘s long-time favorites: doling out gifts to some of contemporary culture’s biggest and boldest icons. Whether they’re dead or alive, naughty or nice, whether they’ve been a cultural touchstone for five decades or five minutes — everyone deserves presents this time of year, right? So with that in mind, click through to find the perfect gift for the Miley Cyrus, Joss Whedon, or J-Law in your life. You know you’ve got …Read More

‘Downton Abbey’ Season 3, Episode 6: The Dowager Countess Recap

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Now in its third season, Downton Abbey is more divisive than ever. Once almost universally acclaimed, the British period drama that follows the aristocratic Crawley family and their many servants faced accusations last year of descending into soap opera-style sensationalism. Although we don’t mind a juicy soap opera here at Flavorwire — and have, in fact, been known to defend Downton Abbey against its snobbier critics — this season we hope to unite the various factions by limiting our recaps to the one character everyone can still agree to love: Violet Crawley, that feisty, elitist grandma played by the one and only Dame Maggie Smith. Each week, we’ll recount the Dowager Countess of Grantham’s adventures. They may often be tangential to the main storyline, but they’ll always be among the most important Downton moments to us.
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