feminism, feminist, gender, homosexual, Ireland, misogyny, politics, race, sexism, Uncategorized, violence, Violence Against Women, women, writer

The Woes of Feminism and the Movies

Many of us have been unfortunate enough to witness the vitriol and small-mindedness which accompanied the build-up and release of the gender-reversed reboot of Ghostbusters earlier this year. With it, of course, came the chorus of mostly male laments against feminism: “How dare four women take the place of four men, who do they think they are? When we say reboots, all we want is updates CGI, not feminist propaganda!”

Unsurprisingly, the malevolence didn’t end there, but included the use of intimidation and threats against the spook-filled films selection of female stars, most notably and again unsurprisingly Leslie Jones, the specter-ass-kicking squads resident black sass queen. While Jones’ stand against the intimidation tactics unfortunately involved a loss for the Twittersphere (she recently announced a much needed break from the site following the abuse) the equation which continues to divide feminism and movie media has become once more evident via Twitter trend #FeministAMovie

The hashtag reached trending proportions in early August, catching my own attention on 11 August… of the hilarious possibilities which were available. How excited I was to scroll through potential hilarious gender-reversals, queer puns, and non-heteronormative re-titles.

What I got instead proved the false consciousness which continues to surround the feminist movement. Several of which used Ghostbusters as the bone of contention:

It was only following my disappointment that I discovered the hashtag was, in fact, a response to the all-female cast announced for Oceans 8; the new installment combining the star skills of Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, and Awkwafina. The outraged reaction against the positioning of women in public spaces resulted in a reiteration of misogynistic themes,  homophobic and transphobic commentary, and the general array of stereotypical sexist insults which amount to the manosphere’s armory.

Certainly, the stereotype of the “Feminazi,” the “manhater”, the angry, hairy, cajoling cartoon feminist consistently drawn into bad cartoons was redrawn again and again:

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These texts reanimate negative stereotypes commonly linked with the feminist figure in popular culture, many concentrating on the negative ways feminist discourse (supposedly) affects women’s most crucial aspect: appearance. A failure to adhere to traditional and overtly-normalised femininity and the beauty standards related to this unnatural state of being is consistently related one’s success or failure in being a woman.

Related to these highly idealised beauty standards and ideals of proper womanhood is the contemporary horror related to female menstruation. Horror movies, blockbuster comedies and the following tweets alike depict this natural and widely experienced event as the abject moment:

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Many others simply and in-eloquently depicted feminism and feminists as something to be despised and abused, where feminists are literally unknowable (and unloveable) and as at once undeserving of men and unable to keep them.

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Thankfully, and once again in keeping with the Ghostbuster’s narratives, feminists rallied against their would-be oppressors with a selection of their own #FeministAMovie tweets which created new sexual spaces, challenged heteronormativity, repossessed female and coloured space from male and white privileges and generally educated individuals that the humourless, hairy-feminazi figure could at least, occassionally, be funny for the sake of politics:

 

In short, movie media continues to challenge feminist gains, but there is an undeniable movement occurring wherein women are being permitted space to narrate new experiences on screen. Comedies such as Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters and the up-coming Moms are repositioning women’s traditional position on screen, while action genres are redrawing squad goals in Oceans 8, and sci-fi/comics genre is FINALLY due to welcome Wonderwoman to the big screen in the first female-lead movie, and while these narratives are being challenged by the greater masses, we’ll continue to met the challenge.

 

 

S.

 

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advice, feminism, feminist, literature, misogyny, race, racism, sexism, strenght, women

The Best of the Oscars (According to Me)

Everyone’s talking about the Oscars. The epic photobombs; the celebrity selfies; the best dressed. And, of course, the beautiful Lupita Nyong’o, who took home the coveted Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Everyone’s talking about her eloquence, her dress (seriously, though, that dress!), and her speech. And obviously, this is the Oscars and the hypes still all in the air, so the Academy’s best and brightest are still catching us out on the speech acceptance videos (hopefully soon there’ll be a full update) but for the moment, here’s some of the highlights for Lupita’s acceptance speech:

Lupita later dedicated the win to her parents, but inspiringly stated:

When I look down at this golden statue, me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.

Lupita, furthermore, recognised the pain and suffering which led Solomon Northup to narrate both his and Patsey’s despondent story.

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And then, there are the lesser told stories. Blogs and news pages are full of Lupita’s graceful figure and eloquent quotes; let’s not forget Cate Blanchett’s own win and stark reminder.

Blanchett now boasts the best actress award for her work as the lead in Blue Jasmine, and cut a stunning in a Georgio Armani gown. What really stole the show for me, however, was her speech, in which she recognised the incredible talent of her fellow nominees, stating:

As random and as subjective as this award is, it means a great deal in a year, yet again, of extraordinary performances by women […]  [There are those] who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences.’ she said. ‘They are not. Audiences want to see them, and in fact, they earn money. […] The world is round people.

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And then, after the awards and celebrations, their was Lupita’s entrance on Ellen:

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feminism, feminist, misogyny, sexism, women

Bechdel Test to be Introduced as a Cinema Rating in Sweden

The Bechdel Test is one of the most interesting, controversial, and telling assessments of sexism and misogyny in the movies. And instead of just quantifying these statistics, Sweden is stamping it out.

The Bechdel Test, simply, involves reviewing the following three criteria: are there at least two women in the movie; do they talk to each other; and do they talk about something other than a man. And Sweden have made the first move in introducing a rating system which warns movie goers of the potential sexism, misogyny, and one-minded-one-dimension-female-characters prevalent in the film and the movie itself will only get an A rating should it pass the three criteria mentioned.

Interestingly, several somewhat surprising and high-profile films are included in failing the Bechdel Test: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the Harry Potter series, and the Star Wars franchise.

Check out some more interesting facts regarding the Bechdel Test here: http://bechdeltest.com/