Fuck politics, women need to be making sitcoms.

19 Apr

I’m serious.

Justin sent me a link to a recent (OK, not that recent) article about Kathryn Bigelow, the first female recipient of the Academy Award for Best Director for The Hurt Locker (who also directed one of the greatest movies ever made — provided that you watch movies for the same reasons I do — Point Break). The article, written by Barbara Kellerman of the Harvard Kennedy School, while it did make me snort a few times, made me come to an important realization: it’s more important for women to concentrate on gaining control of the entertainment industry than politics.

But first, let’s get back to what made me snort. Kellerman, apparently a sex discrimination and objectification apologist, claims that it’s:

… not that Hollywood dislikes women. It does not: films and females have gone together since the inception of the movie business. It’s just that even now, a decade into the 21st century, Hollywood wants women in front of the camera rather than behind it.

See? It’s all good, y’all. Hollywood may not value women’s abilities, intelligence, or artistic talent, but it likes looking at conventionally “hot” ones. Why complain that there aren’t enough female Best Boys when women dominate the Interchangeable Sex Object market? Come on, now. How can Kellerman make the claim that Hollywood doesn’t dislike women when “it” only allows them to play the limited roles it assigns them, when it requires that they perpetuate its own warped ideas about womanity (I love coining new words) if they want to participate at all, when it bars them from occupying any positions within the industry hierarchy from which they might gain the power to create entertainment that depicts women as human beings rather than formulaic rehashes of the temptress, girl next door, damsel in distress, or shrew archetypes? Sounds to me like Hollywood dislikes women and wants to make sure the rest of us do, too.

And then there’s this humdinger:

[I]t would be disingenuous not to point out [Bigelow’s] decades-long relationship to James Cameron, the guru behind The Hurt Locker’s most obvious competitor, Avatar, and one of Hollywood’s all time heavyweights.

The fact that they were married for a couple of years a couple of decades ago has no apparent bearing on Bigelow’s emergence as a star director in her own right. But the fact that for years Cameron has been her mentor, as well as her apparently unwavering collaborator and champion, does. It’s anyone guess whether Bigelow could have made it so far on her own, notwithstanding her talent and drive.

Oh, SNAP! So, even when a woman finally does wrest a begrudging nod from the 90028 phallocracy, we have to give a dude credit for it, “notwithstanding her talent and drive” (whatever that means)? I wonder whether anyone, when discussing the garbage James Cameron has strewn across the cultural landscape, has ever bothered to pontificate on the various personal relationships that might have propelled Cameron to his current position atop the entertainment shit heap. Probably not, since when men make use of personal connections to get ahead, they’re just savvy, resourceful go-getters. But when a woman (or anyone who isn’t a white dude) does anything other than take some kind of melodramatic Russel Crowe-esque stand against accepting help from anyone in their struggle to measure up to standards set and enforced by these nepotistic networkers (I’m practicing my alliterations in the hopes that TruTV will hire me to narrate some “shit gone awry” clip show), everyone assumes that she — because naturally, being female, she lacks any true talent or skill — must have hosed her way up the ol’ ladder of success.

Not only does Hollywood dislike women, but I suspect that Kellerman, though possibly unbeknownst to herself, might not be that big of a fan either.

Which brings me to the actual point: women need to get control of the entertainment industry (and its controlling boyfriend, the advertising industry) or else, and it ought to be our foremost goal, possibly even taking precedence over political representation. Whether we are pumped about it or not, the entertainment and advertising industries make up the bulk of our culture, and culture, though it is an excuse for nothing, does appear to underlie everything. The entertainment industry, news media included, shapes and directs public opinion on nearly everything, including and especially gender roles. We’re surrounded by the entertainment industry’s influence nearly every second we’re awake, and it probably plays a larger accumulative role in forming our ideas of self, other, and society than any other influence. If women were to gain control over at least half of that industry and its output, and if that control were to result in kinder, more sympathetic, more realistic, or just plain less hateful representations of women, the effect on our culture would be striking.

Equal representation in politics would be great, but the only way that will happen without a massive reduction in societal misogyny would be through the use of a quota system. Whatever your views on affirmative action or our purportedly individualistic and meritocratic political system, that isn’t likely and would probably lead to the kind of social backlash I’m not interested in learning the details of. It may very well be that the only way to ensure women’s interests are represented in politics is to create the kind of culture in which women’s views and political participation are seen as desirable and necessary to the functioning of society, and the only force in the world with the power and reach to propel us toward that reality is the popular media. Blogs ain’t doing the job. The corporate entertainment industry shut down any potential that the independent media efflorescence of the early to mid 90s offered. No one cares what the local booger punk band thinks. A popular entertainment media takeover by women is the only solution.

But then we’d have to rely on the kinds of women who give a shit about getting ahead in Hollywood to represent our interests to the public, you say? Yes, it’s a lesser of two evils situation, to be sure, but at least women can identify with women as human beings like themselves and would be less likely to make yet another horror movie in which young attractive women are tortured to death for the titillation of teenage misogynists or yet another boob comedy. Without looking it up, I can guarantee you a woman didn’t write or direct American Pie. Sure, I’d like to see something a little more radical than a gradual, piecemeal amelioration of women’s systemic oppression, but until I write my treatise on how to create an anarcho-communist utopia in which beer is blue and tastes like flowers and Cadbury Creme Eggs are sold year-round by peaceable means, I’ll have to stick to offering my thoughts on how to change things from within the cruel system in which beer tastes like beer and I ate my last Creme Egg last night. For now, I’ll take what I can get, and this seems possible. Just think, with a popular media that portrayed women as human beings rather than either syrupy, kissy-faced angels or conniving whores, maybe Barbara Kellerman would be able to measure women and men by the same standard and either give women credit for their achievements without disclaimers about the personal advantages they enjoyed, or call attention to the far more numerous social, economic, political, and personal advantages most men enjoy.

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51 Responses to “Fuck politics, women need to be making sitcoms.”

  1. Julian Real April 19, 2010 at 1:07 PM #

    Brava!

    May I cross post this, with full linkage and stuff, to my blog?

  2. charley April 19, 2010 at 2:01 PM #

    this fucking rocks. unfortunately, it’s probably really hard to even get into a position where you have much influence in popular media, especially for women. and I guess my goal of making feminist comic books probably isn’t that ground breaking, but with batgirl being paralyzed, black cat being raped, and jubilee depowered, plus a laundry list of other misogynistic shit going on in popular superhero comics, it’s got to be at least a little important, right?

  3. polly April 19, 2010 at 2:07 PM #

    Well Gramsci of course, would have agreed with you. The classic war of position. And normally I agree with Gramsci, but I don’t necessarily think he was envisaging maybe that kind of cultural domination. I like to think he wasn’t.

    For me, the problem is that even if women do get involved in these things, they’re always doing them on male terms, and therefore will always need to man up to get ahead – the phenomenon Ariel Levy described precisely in female chauvinist pigs (yes I know there are problems with both Levy and FCP but bear with me). I don’t think that this is a problem Antonio G foresaw, how much cultural domination would involve a process of embourgeiosification (no idea if that spelling is right, or if it’s even a word) or em-doodism in the case of females in male dominated industries. Em-doodism would be the problem I’d think.

    Cadbury’s creme eggs are evil and when I rule the world (I’m thinking August, if it all goes according to plan) they will be banned.

    • Nine Deuce April 19, 2010 at 2:13 PM #

      I definitely agree that em-doodism is the problem, but I’m often torn between urging people to spend their energy on radical overhauls that may never occur, or on small things that might be feasible now. I’ve been leaning more and more lately toward the latter, but it’s been bothering me because many times following the latter course creates even more obstacles to the former, and my real sympathies and predilections lie with the former. I know that women have to shit on other women to get ahead in entertainment, but I hope they’d at least do a bit less of it.

  4. polly April 19, 2010 at 2:18 PM #

    Oh and there’s a piece on a similar theme in t’grauniad.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/19/single-woman-not-a-crime

    I know nothing of Tina Fey apart from she is famous for impersonating Sarah Palin, but it should probably be noted that a great many of those who come up with the crap about women ARE females. In which BTW I don’t include the great Helen Fielding, author of Bridget Jones, who is a very funny and satirical writer (the bit no one seems to get). But a hell of a lot of “powerful” women got that way by spouting crap. About the most feminist film I’ve seen recently was Mamma Mia and even that went seriously pear shaped at the end when Meryl Streep married Pearce Brosnan. Why would you marry anyone who sang THAT BADLY?

    IMHO, the revolution will not be televised.

  5. polly April 19, 2010 at 2:20 PM #

    Oh and people who get ahead in ANY industry only do it by sucking up to the right people (the ones above them) and shitting on everyone else. This is the one sad, but undeniably true, fact I’ve learnt in my forty something years on earth.

  6. one angry girl April 19, 2010 at 7:44 PM #

    so i sent this post to barbara kellerman, whose email address is listed as barbara_kellerman@harvard.edu
    hope you don’t mind ND

  7. Julian Real April 19, 2010 at 7:50 PM #

    ‘ere you go, love! Thanks ND, and commenters. You’re rocking my world.

    http://radicalprofeminist.blogspot.com/2010/04/revolution-will-not-be-televised-nine.html

  8. Nine Deuce April 19, 2010 at 8:02 PM #

    Polly – I agree with you on all points. The obvious ideal would be a situation in which there were no entertainment industry to implement the soft enforcement of big business-approved social mores, but I’m still a waffler; I don’t know whether to use this blog to tell people that or to come up with half-assed “time being” measures, of which this surely is one.

  9. Julian Real April 19, 2010 at 8:32 PM #

    ND, why are you feeling it’s “either/or” and not “both/and”? I’m all about challenging male supremacy “by all means conceivable and workable”. I hear what you’re saying. And I’ve often, often thought “feminists must control media” for anything to happen at all. But, given some changes in some Scandinavian countries, which have, actually, slid back a bit from what I hear from a friend in Sweden, clearly getting ENOUGH women in political seats of import will result in a few of ‘em being feminist, not women in male supremacist drag. No? That’s not at all predictive–I know how fucking virulent white male supremacy is here: this damned country is built on racism and sexism in ways that make either being rooted out VERY tricky indeed. I’m wondering, I guess, why you feel your blog has to take and promote only one approach?

    Re: The United Rapes of Amerikkka’s “American Pie”: a fellow from the Univ. of Michigan named Adam Herz wrote both AP1, AP2, and 3: American Wedding. The second with a little help from another dood. So you’re doodar is workin’ just fine. And in the “it’s not looking brighter down the pike” category:

    In development:
    American Pie 4 (details only on IMDbPro)

  10. feministscreenwriter April 19, 2010 at 9:57 PM #

    This has been my favorite post of yours. You outlined everything I am trying to accomplish with my screenwriting. I have nothing to add. I just felt compelled to comment.

  11. polly April 19, 2010 at 11:55 PM #

    I’m not saying it would be a bad thing at all ND, just saying I can’t see how it would ever happen. I think Gramsci underestimated the difficulty of the war of position, since the media is essentially the propaganda machine of global capitalism.

  12. Rachael April 20, 2010 at 12:41 AM #

    I’m just so disappointed at the reactions that downplay Ms. Bigelow’s accomplishment.

    Sigourney Weaver says that she only won the award because she has breasts. Rachel Talalay says that Bigelow’s win may be harmful to women. And now Barbara Kellerman suggests that the best way to keep Hollywood supportive of women is to ensure that they continue exist as objects of the male gaze.

    Sigh.

  13. Immir April 20, 2010 at 5:57 AM #

    Absolutely true. When people sa things like “women like rich men” or “women choose guys with big houses/cars” etc I always just say-
    “You watch too much T.V. You obviously got that notion from movies and sure the parts are acted out by women but movies are written BY men”.

  14. isme April 20, 2010 at 6:37 AM #

    Well…we could hope that an increase in interest in foreign and/or independant movies would decrease Hollywood’s power, though it seems likely that the mindless masses would always prefer the shite Hollywood pumps out.

    Cross fingers for a serious writer’s strike?

  15. Imaginary April 20, 2010 at 11:18 AM #

    If you want to watch some good films that aren’t shit, Power Up films is pretty awesome. I think GirlTrash!: All Night Long is hitting theaters soon. It’s a start.

  16. wiggles April 20, 2010 at 11:59 AM #

    Where do organizations like the Women & Hollywood fit into this plan? They’re not very radical; they often promote male-directed films with “strong female characters” (ralf), for instance, but I think they could be persuaded to get more hardcore.

    I’ve complained to them about this upcoming atrocity:

    Get that? Ken’s Dream House. Some may think it’s a trivial thing. I would strongly disagree.

  17. Miss Andrist April 20, 2010 at 12:35 PM #

    …I have a friend who turned the downstairs of his townhouse into a blue-screen studio. All we need is some scripts and we could do this.

    Seriously.

  18. gare April 20, 2010 at 5:09 PM #

    wow whats happening to radical feminism. ND is waffling, Twistys getting her gutters on TV, and I dont feel so good meself.

  19. polly April 20, 2010 at 11:39 PM #

    I’m not even going to say what the insides of creme eggs make me think of. Yuk.

  20. Rebecca April 21, 2010 at 5:43 AM #

    Nine Deuce, this is a important post. I thought a lot about such things – what if suddenly all the shows sent on TV took women’s issues seriously, took sexism as something seriously bad, showed women and men as the human non-stereotypes we are? People say, “it’s just a song”, “it’s just a movie”, but completely absorb the messages given from them. As modern humans spend so much time in front of screens, we are more influenced by entertainment than ever.

    Images are powerful! I’m a visual artist, a painter. Contemporary artists of all types just keep repeating the message of woman/girl as a standard decorative object only, male artist keep drawing female subjects only as thinly veiled porn, female artists mimicking them. As with most other areas, the ones who have power and the ones you must suck up to are male, the viewer is presumed to be male.

    I’d love to hear the thoughts of you brilliant commenters on the following, I hope it’s not derailing: As an artist, what kind of positive images can I spread instead? I want to use this skill I have, I want to yell to the world: Women/girls are people!
    But to come up with something that is not pure social realism propaganda is difficult.
    Want kind of art would you like to see in this world, my fellow women?

  21. Miss Andrist April 21, 2010 at 12:51 PM #

    I am of the Valerie Solanas camp:

    They made a mold that looked exactly like themselves, filled it completely with as much shit as they could wedge into it, and called it art.

    Art is a man-shaped mold filled entirely with shit, and it’s still only half as full of shit as men themselves.

  22. joy April 21, 2010 at 3:44 PM #

    I’m a musician, writer, and artist as well, and have been thinking on this matter for some time.

    Most “art” is done by males. The art world is dominated by males. The messages they send us about ourselves and the culture we live in are as oppressive as overt sexist behavior directed at us in our daily lives, because it impacts other people. Often millions of other people.

    For a start, I’ve been trying to make art that isn’t about men. Love songs and stories that aren’t about obsessing over men, wanting to be with men, missing men.
    Of course, I haven’t just substituted women, either. I’m trying to communicate something new about love. About possibilities perhaps people haven’t even considered. Self-love. Egalitarian love. Love that isn’t codependent, redemption that isn’t dependent upon another person’s suffering or sacrifice. Stories that don’t have either happy endings or sad endings. Simple shit, but radical.

    A “feminist” piece of art doesn’t have to be overtly pushing “the cause”; sometimes the vacuum of what is ‘missing’ is as important as the whole of the content.

    So clearly everything one does can never be feminist — the case of the ‘feminist piss’ for example — but if one at least never does anything sexist with their art … that will be however many fewer pieces of sexist art. And then this vacuum of sexism can draw in more people seeking refuge, can in fact spill over onto “the norm” …

    or maybe I am just an optimist.

  23. Harriet April 22, 2010 at 4:44 PM #

    I’ve been looking for a blog like yours for a long time. Most of the blogs I find are fashion related and although some of the ‘what i wore today’ posts are sure, nice and sometimes these girls can be pretty visually inspirational my interest is running dry. (Although big love for the DIY fashion blogs, charity shoppers)

    You make many very good points, you actually remind me a lot of me and my sister. My rants are on my blog are mainly fuelled by irritating sexist facebook groups that I really shouldn’t let myself get worked up about! And dickheads who patronise me about my guitar playing cos I’m a girl.

    So James Cameron eh? He actually directed one of my favourite shows Dark Angel that I thought had quite a few feminist undertones. E.g. the constant ‘girls kick ass’ quote and general woman empowerment. I haven’t actually seen Avatar though…

    Anyway great stuff!
    Hat x

  24. joy April 23, 2010 at 3:59 PM #

    Hey Harriet, check this out —

    http://wilddeerbabybrd.livejournal.com/1086.html

    and follow the linkage there.

    Also, last post we saw “what-about-my-Nigel”, “what-about-my-military”, separatist debate, and the surfacing of trans issues.
    This thread, which raises a lot of good points and offers a good jumping-off point for discourse … resounding silence. What’s up?

  25. sonai April 23, 2010 at 7:24 PM #

    thanks, 92. Ignore Celebs, is the policy that works for me. I hate when I catch female celebs being interviewed on borderline feminist topics and everyone’s sitting on the edge of their seat like a prominent female in Hollywood is going to give the pronouncement that we’re all going to march to. No, thanks. If Hollywood just wasn’t around things would be a lot better for women and especially young women’s self image/thought process about their life possibilities. The movies have zero imagination in that dept.

  26. Nokidding April 23, 2010 at 7:36 PM #

    This post came at very interesting time for me. When I was a kid I wanted to make comic books. Now lately I’ve been dreaming about it again. I’m thinking that when I move out (from my parent’s house) and apply for three year long studies, I might make a goal to get into comics.

    But anyone who knows about comics knows that they are mostly made by dudes for dudes. And they are VERY sexist. Most comic artists are really just a big bunch of pathetic, over sexed loser boys/men. There are some exceptions of course, great female artists exist and about 1% (gay? asexual? impotent? surely, it cant be NATURAL!) ) of the males seem able to draw women as something else than fapping material (they are still usually poorly written).

    I’ll never forget when I was a kid and TV station aired a japanese anime (=cartoon) show. The reason that cartoon made such a huge impression on me was because it featured three main characters who were ALL GIRLS (omg!) and they had to save the world instead of cooking and shopping and whatever. It was the first time I thought “wow, girls CAN do that”. It was truly about the girls and their personal issues and growth and finding out they were much stronger than they believed. Of course that show was based on comics made by women for girls.

    So, that’s what I would like to do. Make comics for girls and women and help them to feel good about their gender. Help them feel POWERFULL.

    Most people don’t seem to understand or admit the power of media. It’s the number two influence in our lives just after our parents (and, sadly, more and more often ahead them).
    And media, ALL media and ALL arts are sexist (and racist and classicist etc). Personally, I give absolutely NO value to terms like “classic” or “true art” because they are always defined by some upper class asshole dudes. Yes, I’m SURE all the painting of nude women in museums are made because of the symbolism (cuz male body just can’t be symbolic) and not because dudes who painted them liked drooling over pretty women! What a joke!

    I actually have a pretty strong hate for fine arts because when ever there is an art show, men are portrayed with clothes, often ugly, different figures, personalities etc. But women? Nude. Sexy. Pretty. Objectified, shallow. Sadly, female artist seem to do this almost as much as male ones. It’s even a problem in feminist art.

    We can’t have female politicians and company leaders and surgeons until every fucking media outlet stops telling us non stop that we_can’t_do_it. And complaining about it to Hollywood, tv-stations, producers, magazines etc. wont help – only way is to get into the business and change it. Once again my favorite feminist phrase: don’t ask, don’t demand, TAKE.

    At the moment, most women working in media and arts are playing by men’s rules. Lady Gaga a feminist icon? Sex and the City? Josh Whedon? First female director ever to win academy award?

    In my future comics, the girls wear clothes and go for adventures and are smart and awesome and sometimes make mistakes and they are different races and body types and they don’t go braindead if they start dating. But how the hell to sell something like that to big audience when girls obsess over America’s Next Top Model? Feminist art is okay, but mostly feminists care about it so the effects are small.

    We need to find a way to communicate to girls and women in big ways.

  27. wiggles April 24, 2010 at 12:46 AM #

    So …

    What are people’s favorite female-made movies? TV shows?

    For movies, I’m a big fan of American Psycho. I haven’t read the book, but the movie’s a near-perfect satire of white male hetero upper-class privilege. Jason Bateman is dumb as a bag of rocks and repeatedly flat-out says “I slaughter people for kicks” and nobody notices because he’s a handsome, successful guy who went to a good school. The scene where he walks you through every banal step of his morning grooming and exercise regime says it all. Hannah Arendt would dig it.

    For TV, I’m getting into Nurse Jackie. I check the credits, and every episode appears to be written by a woman and directed by a man. I like that Jackie’s a high-functioning dysfunctional. A lovable fuck-up, if you will. Usually only male actors get to be lovable fuck-ups, or do bad shit and get away with it. Even be liked for it. Too many female characters have to be perfect all the time. The civilizing agent. The glue that holds everyone together. Jackie cheats on her patient, adoring, husband with her drug dealer while remaining likable.

    joy – I’d be interested in reading some of your lyrics, if you feel like sharing. There’s been a series on TigerBeatdown.com about sexism in the music industry. Not just corporate, but overall systemic, including fandom.

  28. wiggles April 24, 2010 at 1:34 AM #

    Oh, SNAP! So, even when a woman finally does wrest a begrudging nod from the 90028 phallocracy, we have to give a dude credit for it, “notwithstanding her talent and drive” (whatever that means)?

    At the Oscars last year, while presenting for the Best Director category, Clint Eastwood went on an on about the noble tradition of white dudes helping white dudes in that field. Coppola puts a good word in for Scorsese. Lucas gives a leg-up to a young Ron Howard. etcetera. And how great that whole system is.
    Damned if I can find the clip on YouTube though. I wonder if there’s a reason for that.

  29. joy April 24, 2010 at 1:33 PM #

    wiggles — check out the link in my post to Harriet, that goes to my personal writing page. Mind you, that article is a little bit more Feminist 101 than I write here, but, y’know.

    I’m much more of a poet than a songwriter. When I perform, I like to cover songs written by other people that I then re-imagine to suit my purposes.

    I’ve read all of Sady’s music pieces. The ones comparing Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are my favorites, and they get a shout-out in my essay. However, Sady and I have our personal differences, mainly that she thinks “radical feminism” is a dirty word and I think “sex-positive feminism” is neither.

  30. wiggles April 24, 2010 at 5:13 PM #

    I’m not sure how sex-pos Doyle really is in the conventional sense of the term. I know she defines herself that way sometimes, but she seems more like a liberal feminist to me.

  31. joy April 24, 2010 at 6:34 PM #

    True. I guess it’s just the whole “ladies can now fuck lots of dudes” theme that gets me.

    Yes, having casual sex is not like being disallowed to have any sex, and the media tends to portray women as not wanting to have a lot of sex. Or, as wanting to have sex with only one dude.

    But what if you are a lady who does not want the dude she sleeps with to sleep with a bunch of people, but are not a monogamous marriage-minded person? What if you are a lesbian? What if you aren’t, but you still don’t want to fuck dudes?

    Which is why I read my radical feminist blogs where people talk about those kinds of things, and she writes her blog where people … don’t. We can’t all be on the same bandwagon.

  32. cdw April 24, 2010 at 6:44 PM #

    I hope Charley and everyone do start/keep making art (visual, auditory, whatever) and hopefully linkety-link us to it. By the way that list was horrifying, I had completely forgotten about WIR, since like, high school.

    Personally I didn’t really follow any of it beyond “please let her win because Avatar was just FernGully with a better budget” (though it was thankfully free of Robin Williams) and when she did I was all, “yay! go girl”; but I haven’t even seen the movie yet because (with the exception of some FilmForum level Aahrt films and “In the Loop”) Avatar was the last film I let someone drag me to see.

    I most certainly wasn’t aware that women were such a paltry showing in terms of directing and writing (producing I never had any illusions about) but I can’t believe that Weaver threw Bigelow under the bus like that; dick move, brosef.

    I’m also confused about what it is that makes Weaver a go-to for commentary. She’s been in the industry a while, sure, but why ask her how she feels this is a step forwards? I’m having flashbacks to Sarah McLachlan at the Lilith.

    I hope the ladies do carve out a place for themselves in the media world if only for the change of pace. Seeing as this post started with Hurt Locker it occurs to me that the last time I saw a female perspective on war/military life (I’m not sure, but I don’t think Army Wives counts) was probably China Beach, but I may be over estimating the input of the female leads in that show.

  33. lizor April 25, 2010 at 2:03 PM #

    CDW, Kimberly Peirce directed Stop-Loss, a Gulf War story. She also directed Boys Don’t Cry, which is outstanding.

    Speaking of female directors, anyone care to comment on the current French “new wave” of “feminist” film making? I watched Catherine Breillat’s “Romance” and was simply grossed out and appalled. Perhaps I am missing something, but I am completely perplexed as to how this story may be interpreted as “feminist”. Then there’s her film “Anatomy of Hell” which sounds like an utter horror show.

    I would love to hear any insight or thoughts on this work from posters here.

  34. wiggles April 25, 2010 at 3:19 PM #

    cdw – There was a series in the 90s called “Homefront” that was really good. It lasted for two seasons. There was a mixed roster of directors and writers that was about half female and one of the two producers was a woman. It centered on women in the U.S. when WWII was wrapping up and women were being pressured to go back to their “proper” womanly roles. It’s not available on DVD but it looks like somebody uploaded some episodes on YouTube.

  35. wiggles April 25, 2010 at 6:50 PM #

    lizor – I Netflixed Breillat’s A Real Young Girl recently. It was gross. I tried to build up a rationalization that it was a brutally honest portrayal of a poor kid trying to come to terms with her own sexuality while navigating a world of oppressive skeezebags, but I couldn’t quite get there.

  36. cub April 27, 2010 at 4:38 PM #

    for your consideration: “near dark” should be inserted alongside “point break.” a horror classic f`sho.

    and i was stoked to see bigelow get that award. seriously, fukkabuncha james cameron and his shitty comments after the oscars. he matters not.

  37. lizor April 28, 2010 at 7:06 PM #

    Wiggles,

    Yeah, I can’t wrap my head around where she’s coming from at all. She continually finds new ways to show women’s bodies a site of desecration and does so in a tone that implies that this is, if not natural, at the very least a universal female desire.

    It’s pretty hard to take – at least with the title “feminist” attached.

  38. lizor April 29, 2010 at 4:43 AM #

    I posted over on the Van Halen thread that I don’t really get why more women don’t conspire to kill their rapists – well, threat of getting caught obviously, but murder does happen, so why not more of that kind?

    On that same note, I’ll bet we’ve all had the picture of a society where the gender power is reversed, not as proposition to strive for as a society, but as an object lesson for all of those nims who insist that gender parity has been achieved.

    So why is it that no one has produced a fictional drama where that is depicted? Not fiction that includes “strong female characters”, (which is great – don’t get me wrong), but a film or tv show where the men are treated with the same casual disdain and the women have the same sense of entitlement as exists in reverse right now.

  39. sneeky bunny April 29, 2010 at 9:06 PM #

    There was an episode of the show Sliders that depicted just such a scenario. But that’s the only one I can think of off hand.

  40. wiggles April 30, 2010 at 1:35 PM #

    @lizor
    April 28, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    I’ve only seen the one movie, so I don’t know much about a larger pattern in Briellat’s work. I was hoping it was a commentary on how outside influences affect a person’s sense of self so that capitulation ends up looking like consent. But then I couldn’t tell exactly, and maybe the ambiguity was the point, but I’d have preferred to see that girl kick all those old pervs in the nuts.
    Which reminds me, that was another thing that was unsatisfying about that movie; no anger. How are you going to make a movie about an adolescent girl trying to figure out what she wants for herself while swatting away all these grown pervs and never let that girl have one violent revenge fantasy?

  41. m Andrea May 4, 2010 at 1:22 AM #

    This is the best idea I have heard in a very long time! It does make more sense to go after the hand which controls the culture, coz daddy’s hand controls the cradle — in the sense that studies have shown it is from his father or other male role models that a boy learns his attitudes about women.

    @Nokidding, I wish you the best.

  42. A. Adams May 9, 2010 at 4:12 PM #

    Sadly, there’s a reason there are more women in front of the camera than there are behind it.

    I’m a writer. I write a variety of things, including screenplays. I was recently introduced to an unspoken rule that I always break in my writing. This rule states that you cannot have two or more female characters speaking to each other about something other than a man. Worse, if they have names then they really shouldn’t be talking about anything other than a man.

    What’s truly tragic about this is that it is rather difficult to name one mainstream film that breaks this rule. It goes hand in hand with another, slightly better known rule in which females should only be present to draw attention to the male. In short, women are merely props in the film industry.

    I sincerely hope that Bigelow’s win will mark a change, but I doubt it. Women do need to take over the entertainment business before tackling politics because until a woman such as Bigelow can be pointed out as a winner on her own and not as James Cameron’s ex-wife, it’s a lost cause.

  43. joy May 10, 2010 at 10:10 AM #

    A.Adams —

    Bechdel’s Test! Yes! (Google it if you want to, but it’s the same principle you wrote here.)

    Very, very few films pass the Bechdel’s Test. Almost none. And men are not interested in making films that do.

  44. wiggles May 10, 2010 at 9:34 PM #

    Of the directors to be featured at Cannes this year, 19 are male, 0 are female.

    http://womenandhollywood.com/2010/05/10/another-male-director-added-to-the-cannes-lineup/

  45. James May 27, 2010 at 2:51 AM #

    Nicely Gramscian.

    I like it. I’d comment that what you actually mean is feminists need to take over the entertainment industry. Seeing as a reactionary woman will do as much harm as a man, indeed probably more as there’s the “horse’s mouth” effect.

    Just look at all the snide bitching in celeb-gossip rags, Gawker, etc…As important as quantity is quality.

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