Tag Archives: Feminism

EVERYONE PLUG YOUR EARS > Feminism!

18 Jul

He said:

that girl has a chip on her shoulder–

a goddamn brick on her shoulder.

She’s a with-holder, she roll

like a boulder,

a freight train,

a bed stain .

It’s like she got caught in the rain

or acid. We can see she’s rancid.

She’s unchecked.

She’s a list. She’s in a mother fucking tryst

with power. She’ll devour

your metaphysical, your reciprocal

heart beat. She’ll start beatin’

you at your own game, has been

for too long—you mad bro? You

gonna slap a hoe? Get a hold on.

Yeah get a grip. She’s not a bitch.

She’s a mother fucking

feminist.

PHEW: You mad, bro?

Well, you shouldn’t be. As a feminist woman I’m not trying to usurp your power. I’m not trying to say I’m better than you. I don’t want your pants. Keep em. I hate Levi’s. But, what I do want is equality. I want recognition if I work equally as hard for a job I am just as qualified for. I’m not asking you to slam doors in my face, rather than hold them open and trample my dignity. I’m asking you to hold open a door for yourself, for your dude friends, for the crazy cat aunt we’ve all got. And, while you’re busy doing that. I’ll hold the door for your brother, you dad, your mother. I’ll walk your grandma across the street. I see feminism as equal opportunity kindness. I see it as feet free of the ratty slippers called gender. I see it as asking questions. I see it as engendering more questions. I see it as exploration. I don’t see it as defamation.

I don’t want to de-masculinize you. So stop crying about it on the internet.

The other day, I was at a bar with my friend, Zorn, and our other friend’s mom. The stomping grounds were quiet, so we birthed bloody into the night a raging debate about gender. Only, it took us a while to realize we were on the same side. Zorn—a pretty unique dude, rat prince, runaway, the wiser the better—was trying to explain that mine and Bea’s (the mom) examples of “anti-feminist” behaviors were essentialist and conversely anti-masculine. Initially, I didn’t understand. I was all bent out of shape because I dig that boy and I thought he was trying to tell me that my experiences weren’t legitimate. Also: he’s a fighter, yeller, etc. We had to slow down and learn the rules of listening—all of us. Eventually, once I realized what Z-baby was trying to say, I broke it down like this:

Bea and I both have worked jobs in which we were approached as men typically approach attractive women. IE: Heya baybay…lookin good in that uniform. etc. Yet, when we began to out perform the dudes/demonstrate our personalities—both of us being quite silly, fun-loving, yet take charge ladies—they denigrated us. They maybe called us bitches. And, they made us feel as though unless we are capable of acting like beautiful objects rather than real, hard-working people, then we weren’t fit to be women.

Can you see how Zorn would have interpreted that? He’s right in saying that our sample of men was small, that we might have made it sound as though all men are bad/denigrate women. But, here’s how I rationalize mine and Bea’s experience:

We live in a house. And, in the house, there are some things ok for women to do, and some things ok for men to do. Because we’ve been living in the house so long, it’s a little engrained in us to just naturally do these things. That’s called gender. While some people are perfectly okay performing the tasks assigned to them, others don’t understand the house. Others don’t see the reason for the house. There’s such a beautiful sky out tonight. When women (and men) cross the gender line, no one knows how to react to them. Women doing what was traditionally men’s work have to be framed by men in the only way they have ever learned to interact with women. Thus they are often sexualized. But if they can’t dig that, men don’t know what to do—especially if the woman does the job better. In this way, women (and men crossing lines) get compartmentalized and labeled bitches (or fags.)

So, how do we change that?

The fact of the matter is, a lot of people don’t care. Even women. It’s easier to make something from a box. To use a stencil. It’s less time consuming.

But, for those with qualms, those made uneasy in the shadowy recesses of the house, I suggest certainty. I mean, if you’re off put by gender expectations, then you have to seriously commit to living your life outside the box. Make yourself an example. I’m not saying you can’t be a mama. I’m not saying you can’t be the toughest, hairiest, Paul Bunyonesque dude ever. It’s more about support. Don’t laugh at jokes about women, or sexy queers, or racism. Be prepared to address supervisors who are not acting appropriately. Be prepared to start a million small fires.

That’s how you burn a house to the ground.

LADY FILMS – “Frida”

26 May

HELLO!  It’s been so long since I’ve updated like a good little blogger.  Here are my excuses for why I’ve been absent, so put on your Forgiveness Pants:

  1. On the 11th, it was my birthday, and I was too busy partying/having an existential crisis because I am now 23 and that is scary/partying/stewing in my own sweat because we don’t have AC/partying/eating Mexican food/partying.
  2. Last Wednesday I was sick and when I tried to write the blog post, I actually coughed up one of my lungs onto the keyboard, and it was super gross and messy.  That didn’t really happen, but I was sick and I slept a lot.
  3. Also, I’ve been spending SO MUCH TIME looking for a job.  It’s as if looking for employment is my actual job.  I had an interview today, though, and I’ve been prepping for it a lot (and by “prepping,” I mean “FREAKING OUT”).

So do you forgive me?  I hope so, because I am here to make it up to you with DOUBLE LADY FILMS MADNESS!  TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE (EVEN THOUGH THE PRICE IS “FREE”)!  DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE, DOUBLE YOUR FUN!

And we couldn’t have picked two films that are more radically different.  In one corner, we have Frida, a biopic about bisexual Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, starring Salma Hayek!  In the other corner, we have Bridesmaids, chick comedy extraordinaire, starring Kristen Wiig and many other hilarious ladies!  DO YOU EVEN SEE HOW MANY EXCLAMATION POINTS I AM USING RIGHT NOW?!  I am having to bring DOUBLE THE EXCITEMENT!  Look!  All caps, too!

But seriously…

Frida

Much like my last Lady Film, Bright Star, Frida is a true story about a lady who loves art and the people who create it.  The film, which came out in 2002 and was directed by Julie Taymor, tells Frida Kahlo’s story, from the crippling bus crash she survived as a young woman, to her first art show and her death soon after.  For the most part, the film focuses on her marriage to famous Mexican painter Diego Rivera (played by Alfred Molina), a man known for his murals, his belief in Communism, and his womanizing ways.  The two have a tumultuous relationship full of infidelity.  Diego has sex with Frida’s sister, with nude models he uses for his artwork… basically anything that has boobs and is still breathing.  But that’s okay because Frida does the same!  She sleeps with Leon Trotsky!  She even sleeps with women Diego has already bedded.

They both sleep with this woman, but Frida took her out to breakfast afterwards, so clearly she wins.

Throughout all her marital struggles, and her numerous health problems, and a miscarriage, Frida learns to channel her anguish into her surrealistic paintings (although it’s worthwhile to note that Frida did not see her paintings as surreal; as she said, “I don’t paint from dreams or nightmares.  I paint my own reality”).  The film mirrors the aesthetic of Frida’s paintings, and there are a handful of beautiful shots where paintings blend into reality.

"The Two Fridas"

Frida is perhaps best-known for her multiple self-portraits.  She often “turned the camera” (paintbrush?) on herself.  Her paintings became explorations of her own identity, and that often included her identity as a woman.  As a historical figure, Frida Kahlo is already widely regarded as a feminist figure, due to her success, her “radical” lifestyle, and her keen observations on what it means to be a woman.

So does the film reflect that? Continue reading

Lady Films: A Primer

27 Apr

Lately, I’ve been pondering the concept of films made by and/or for women.  It seems a much smaller field than that of “literature made by and/or for women.”  That’s because, as sexist as basically every space on Earth can be, few are more sexist than Hollywood.

The New Yorker recently ran a “profile” of comic actress Anna Faris (from The House Bunny and The Hot Chick), and the article supposedly ballooned into this entire treatise on the state of women in Hollywood.  I can’t access the entire article, because I do not subscribe to The New Yorker (-2 hipster points for Lora), but there have been some notable excerpts popping up all over the web.  None of them are very encouraging:

Nicholas Stoller, the director of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Get Him to the Greek,” says…“You need to make the actress completely adorable, or else she’ll be thought of as the straight man or the bummer….

To make a woman adorable, one successful female screenwriter says, “You have to defeat her at the beginning. It’s a conscious thing I do – abuse and break her, strip her of her dignity, and then she gets to live out our fantasies and have fun. It’s as simple as making the girl cry, fifteen minutes into the movie. Relatability is based upon vulnerability, which creates likability.”

Faris gets million dollar offers for roles she calls “the girl,” or “bounce card roles,” after the reflective sheet that softens the light around an actor, because the whole job is to giggle, simper and coo. She told me, ‘I feel I did that in ‘My Super Ex-Girlfriend’ – a 2006 film in which her role consisted of allowing Luke Wilson to admire her ass and then turning with melting eyes as he ran off to have sex with Uma Thurman….[she said,] “These roles are destroying a generation of boys, who think we’ll forgive any kind of assholey behavior.”

(via RachelSimmons.com)

I’m not really going to delve into the logistics of this, or how it makes me feel, or how I’m learning to accept that this bullshit exists, because frankly I don’t need to cry myself to sleep tonight.  But I will say this:  the quotes above and the attitudes and behavior that they acknowledge exist in Hollywood are the exact reasons why I so passionately want to see films that positively portray women, even if I end up having to make those films myself.

So, if I’m going to do this, I want to know, without a doubt, what a good film for, by and about women would look like.  I’m not talking “chick flicks.”  I hate that term.  Rather, I’m dubbing them “lady films.”

lady film (noun) – A film that has well-rounded, non-stereotypical female characters and female-oriented plots.  It can specifically be made by or for women, or not.  The female characters are realistic, and the ideas put forth in the film do not set out to offend women; rather, the film might even empower its female audience. Continue reading

Girl Power vs. Feminism in Film

6 Apr

So now you’ve heard about the AWESOME time Layne and Elysia had at Slash Pines (by the way, I want to know where the name of the festival came from.  Does it take place in a forest where all the trees look like this:  //\\/\/\\///\?).

But what did the other Chickz do that weekend?!  This is the question you didn’t even know was burning a hole in your brain until just now!  Basically, we partied.  Also, Lindsey and I, along with our friend Ben, went to see “Sucker Punch.”  And Ashley and our buddy Spencer went to see “Insidious,” which made them unable to use the bathroom alone for at least four hours after the film.  Also I went to Butler to watch them win their game against that one team, before they lost the final game on Monday against that other team.  But most importantly, THERE WERE PARTIES IN THE STREETS.  That was fun.  While I was gone, Ashley wore a mink coat around Muncie.

BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THIS POST IS ABOUT, BECAUSE THERE ARE ENOUGH CHICKLITZ HISTORIANS AND I DON’T EVEN OWN A CAMERA.

So let’s get down to business (to defeat the Huns #Mulan).

——-

So yes, I went to see “Sucker Punch.”  Did I know it was probably going to suck?  Yes.  Did it suck?  Mostly.  It was neat looking and I was entertained.  That’s about all it had to offer.  So why did I see it?

Okay, I genuinely like to support films that have women headlining them.  And this one has, like, six women.  You see, if these films fail, Hollywood won’t blame the director (unless it’s a female director) and they won’t blame the timing, or the quality of the film.  They will blame it on the fact that “people don’t see films about women.”  As someone who loves pop culture and who wants to see more Hollywood films that reflect a larger variety of experiences and treat women as equal to men, I feel a responsibility to support as many films about women as I can.  I saw “Sex and the City” in theaters, and I’d never even seen the show, nor could I relate to ANYTHING about it (if it was called “Celibate in the City,” that’d be a different story). Continue reading