Posts Tagged ‘Feminism’

The Love Witch (2016)

October 23, 2017

120 minutes – Unrated but I would rate it R for nudity, explicit sexuality, eerie atmosphere, and death.

Love is terrifying if literature and popular culture are to be believed. I have not felt romantic love yet but I have heard all of the stories. On the other hand, I have experienced crushes and physical attraction and they are definitely scary too. There is that moment when the chemicals kick in and I feel like I am losing mind. Like Madeleine Kahn, I feel the flames on the side of my face and I need to calm myself down. It is both a great and a horrible feeling at the same time. Kind of like taking an upper and a downer at the same time. Wires get crossed and things get confusing. Then comes the fear of indecision of whether to actually do something about it. It can be a maddening bag of emotions. That chaos can be terrifying as you stand on the precipice, wondering what comes next. I remember I once crushed hard on a woman much older than I was. I would see her several days a week. In fact, I would sit next to her. I both was both full of excitement and dread everytime we would meet.

We are all taught from a young age that confidence is a great thing to have. Of course, they are right. When I was a child, I had very little confidence and people often asked me why I was silent most of the time. Eventually, I found my courage and my voice and I am fine talking to people. Confidence drives us to go after what we want in life and also gives us the strength to protect what we have. However, as with all things, too much confidence can be a bad thing. Do you know who has unshakeable confidence? Serial killers. Serial killers cross the boundaries society set for the proper amounts of confidence. They are so sure of themselves that they feel that they are right no matter what. Killing people is no problem when you feel like you are right all of the time. Some of society’s rules definitely deserve to be challenged but murder is a boundary we do not want to cross.

The first thing that struck me about the movie is the excellent production design. Everything is just perfect looking. Everything in every scene has a purpose and fits together so well. That sort of thing is eerie. The real world (and most films) are messy and sloppy in some way. None of us match our outfit to the decor and there is almost always one or two things just a little out of place in our homes or apartments. The movie is a seventies technicolor throwback to a time where Wicca and magical cults were a big thing in the public’s imagination. The movie is full of that imagery. It is absolutely covered with pentagrams, daggers, nudity, men and women with capes, and all sorts of other strange images. The titular love witch always has portrait perfect makeup which I have never seen in real life outside of a fashion show. It adds to the overall creepy atmosphere of the movie. Everything but the witch looks fairly normal, put together but slightly imperfect. They also did a great job of filtering the footage so it looks like it comes from that time but still looks very clear. The movie has so many vibrant colors that sometimes almost hurt the eye which just adds to the madness.

The witch herself is played by Samantha Robinson and she is so awesome in this movie. Her voice is so alluring that it drew me in immediately. Her eyes are also striking and she spends a lot of time gazing deeply into the camera but I get the feeling she is not looking at the viewer but through them. The cadence of her speech is off, somewhat alien but not enough that she is completely out of place. She has a way of drawing the perfectly normal people around her into her weirdness. It makes her look incredibly powerful and magnetic and that in itself is scary. There is something dominant in her performance but it is unlike performances like Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman or Scarlet Johannsen as Black Widow. It is somehow stronger and less vulnerable. Her inner monologue is so much fun to listen to but also, again, kind of frightening. To know what someone like her is really thinking is disturbing. The rest of the cast does a great job as the unwitting normal people this woman meets, victims or near misses.

Overall, I thought this was an excellent horror movie. The movie tackles the troubling themes of gender roles in today’s world through the lens of seventies culture. The patriarchy is a very real thing that is scarier than any monster we might see in a horror movie. Male dominance should not be a thing and most feminists (myself included) only want human equality and not female dominance. A lot of this movie is about women finding their power. However, these are issues that we continue to try and tackle and I was happy to see a horror movie address it in an intelligent way from a different angle.

 

(As a side note, this film had its US premiere in my hometown.)

Gender Moments in Television

April 8, 2016

So since today we’re supposed to examine the letter G, I thought Gender was a fun word to look at. I was thinking about this post since early February when the thoughts were sparked by an episode of Adam Savage’s Still Untitled podcast. Gender is hard to write about as we get a little stuck in our ways but the good news is that things are slowly changing. High profile shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black are doing their part to shatter gender stereotypes and ignorance. However, I decided to think up some more subtle examples woven into more mainstream shows. These are things people might not even notice right away but may open cracks for more knowledge and open-mindedness to worm its way past heavy defenses.


Jessica Jones does not use feminine wiles

Some of you may already see where I am going, some of you might wonder and some of you might already have had your minds blown like mine was. Jessica Jones is a great show that is subtly feminist in its equal representation of females. We could go back and forth on polarizing interpretations of the main villain portrayed by David Tennant. We could talk about how Jessica Jones and Patsy Walker are way tougher than women are usually portrayed. We could also talk about how Frank Simpson is threatened by Patsy and Jess’ strength. All of these are great depictions of gender as it really is in the world. However, let’s look at what’s not there. At no point in season one does Jessica Jones use her feminine wiles to get her way. She uses brawn, she uses brains and she uses connections but she never uses her sexuality. I don’t mean to say that it would be bad if she did but it’s an interesting thing to think about.


Charlie coached in seducing a guy by Dean Winchester

I love Supernatural but at its heart it is literally a show about bros constantly trying to save the world from magical threats. It follows Sam Winchester who is a fairly enlightened guy who is pretty respectful when it comes to differences and connected to the world. His brother Dean is a little less connected and tends to yearn for the 1970’s as he looks for earthly pleasure in the forms of booze, women and pie. While the combination sounds like The Odd Couple meets The X-Files it’s not exactly cut and dry. Under Dean’s surface, there is a deeper human being and Sam isn’t really as saintly as he often appears. My favorite episode of the whole series is The Girl with the Dungeons & Dragons Tattoo which guest stars Felicia Day. In the episode, Dean assumes that Charlie (Felicia Day) can get by a guard by flirting with him but Charlie reveals that she is gay. So, Dean talks her through flirting with a male using what he knows he likes. It’s just an awkward moment where both characters realize things about their identities.


Perry Saturn, Loser Wears a Dress

In the sports entertainment world (otherwise known as pro-wrestling) is a real but also fictional world where people fight physical and technical bouts for money in front of crowds. In this world image is everything because the outcomes and storylines are fictional but the pain can be real. You have to make the crowds interested in each match or they will be pointless to put on without earning money to pay all the costs involved. So, some intelligent promoter thought up using match stipulations to drive up more interest in matches that might need a little help. World Championship Wrestling came up with a lot of weird ones. People who lost matches had to leave the company, be people’s manservants, change group affiliations and so on. When Perry Saturn went up against Chris Jericho at Souled Out in the loser had to wear a dress. This was meant as a humiliation punishment but it turned out that Perry Saturn liked wearing a dress and didn’t see it as a punishment. Wearing women’s clothes isn’t a sign of weakness.


Castle is constantly rescued by Kate Beckett and is alright with it

There are too many of these moments to count. Castle is a show about Richard Castle, a murder mystery writer who suffers from writer’s block and eventually becomes a consultant to Detective Kate Beckett. The show has a lot of fun moments in it that are pretty human and there is a lot of drama to follow along with enough comedy to light the way. Kate’s evolution has little to do with her sexuality and more to do with her emotions as a human being, a police detective and an orphan. Castle, on the other hand, starts the first episode as a flirtatious, stubly alpha male who has questionable tendencies toward eligible females. Through the series, he comes to respect Kate better and respect himself better through her eyes and the eyes of his daughter. One thing that does occur from episode one is that Castle has no problems being rescued over and over by a woman as well he should not. Honorable mention goes out to Life and Psych as two more examples of tough, feminine characters who are fully accepted by their peers.


Officers Blubs and Durlon declare their love

Gravity Falls is a cartoon about twin twelve-year-olds who are sent to live with their Great Uncle for the summer in a small Oregon town. The town of Gravity Falls is filled to the brim with weirdness. There are supernatural creatures and magical spells and eldritch multi-dimensional beings that do all sorts of horrible (yet sometimes funny things). The show also has a whole cast of characters who are exaggerated but share a lot of moments that resonated with my life and, by looking at the fandom, I was not the only one so impacted. Two prominent side characters are the town’s only police officers, Officer Blubs and Officer Durlon. They are ignorant, lazy and crazy but, in the end, they do their job and help defend the town the best they can. Starting early it was hinted that they had a very close relationship but I always assumed they were friends. Then they started saying things that could be interpreted as making them more than friends. In the second to last episode they finally clearly declare their love as they embrace. I have to accept it as canon now.

Tumblr

July 7, 2015

I’ve heard a lot of people get down on Tumblr because it’s very political and full of feminists.  Awesome!  That’s where I’ll put all of my political and feminist stuff!  I have had a Tumblr for a while but I realize I have never linked it here.  I mostly use it to repost things I agree with or amuse me but I think I might start putting short thoughts on there.  The longer form stuff and all of the stuff that is mine and only mine will stay here just as it has always been.  If I figure out a way to auto blog stuff over there then I will do that as well.  Anyway, here’s the link.

My Tumblr Blog

A Few More Words on Feminism

March 17, 2015

So let’s talk about some stuff surrounding the term “social justice warrior” for a bit. My last post on feminism was written with a lot of emotion and not a whole lot of thought behind it. I look up to my feminist heroes who may or may not be your feminist heroes. Let’s see if I can get my thoughts ordered a little better this time. These are my views on feminism but I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of similar vibes out there.

The Term Social Justice Warrior

I’m actually kind of surprised that this is used as a derogatory term. It actually sounds kind of like He-Man and She-ra running around and righting wrongs to me. It’s also actually embarassingly pretty accurate to the feminist movement. However, the goal is not so much “justice” as it is “justice for all”. In my mind, the end goal is equality and not really about punishing or rewarding anybody. Feminism is about educating people about the way things are and trying to navigate a clear path out of the mess we got ourselves into.

Non-Feminists

Declaring myself a feminist made a lot of sense to me as soon as it was defined as simply “Anyone who wants equality for everyone.” Previously, I had hesitated over the label because A) I am not a female and B) I didn’t want to appropriate their fight as my own. Later, I learned that there were male feminists and that fighting together doesn’t mean putting anyone down. There are still plenty of people out there who are not feminists for some of the reasons that I wasn’t. Some people decline to join the cause either because the definitions look muddled to them or they just don’t join causes. The first can be corrected by further education but the second is unfortunate but easily forgiveable.

The people who are “anti-feminist” confused me for a long while. I really believed that they were humongous assholes who hate women. While this is true of a fair percentage of this group, there are a lot of people who actually aren’t evil. A lot of it comes down to confusion. There are people who honestly don’t believe in the existence of inequality between the sexes. They think we shouldn’t fix what is not broken. A little more world experience and research would show them plenty of evidence to the contrary. Some people believe that feminism is not about equality and instead about putting males down. As feminism becomes more and more mainstream, they believe they have become persecuted and must fight for their rights. They miss the whole equality message. Education could fix this but only if these people can shake the weird conspiracy theory they have accepted.

Disney Princesses and the Depiction of Females in Art and Pop Culture

I posted on here before that I had become upset at myself for following established tropes by making a female character with anti-feminist leanings. I further began to examine a lot of the pop culture I was consuming and had consumed to judge whether it depicted women fairly.

I am a huge Disney nerd and I have seen just about every Disney animated film (and several of them multiple times). I began to judge earlier Disney animated features for being sexist and attempting to define women’s roles in society. Suddenly, I realized that Snow White and Cinderella weren’t sexist because the female protagonists decide how they want to live their life and follow through. If that means being “just a wife” or “just a mother” then that’s just as empowering as having a career or fighting the good fight or anything else. The jury is still kind of out on Aurora from Sleeping Beauty but that’s ok, the fae in that story are pretty strong women and so is Maleficent. The point is that my views on feminism are constantly evolving as I try to educate myself and absorb new viewpoints.

My Feminist Heroes

Kate Leth – A comic book writer, webcomic artist and all around fun and smart lady. She taught me the term “Patriarchy” and why it was a bad thing. She helped guide me by putting the info out there on her tumblr and in her comics. She also introduced me to the Carol Corps and the Valkyries, both organizations I support.

Angelina LB – A friend of Kate’s, she also showered me with a lot information through her tumblr. Funny enough she’s a lot more “traditionally girly” in her appearance than Kate is. It shows a little about the diversity of the female, feminist population. I like that.

Lewis Lovhaug (aka Linkara) – Linkara is a very outspoken feminist guy who never lets a negative opinion shut him up about equality for women. He usually does his work by pointing out horrible, blatant sexism in the comics industry. He calls out bad artists and poor writing and inspires me to try harder in my own writing.

David Willis – Willis is the creator of several webcomics, through which he has explored aspects of his own learned behavior and also the sexism inherent in society. He has also explored sexism and feminism and everything in between in a thoughtful yet funny way.

Well, that’s not everything but it’s a little more on where my head is at.  More as I think of it, I’m sure.

Feminism

September 7, 2014

A couple of months ago, I was writing a storyline for my fake wrestling company.  I may finish it and post it here but I hit a major snag with it.  The gist of the storyline was that a male performer was stalking a female performer and her boyfriend kept defending her.  At a key point, the woman betrays her boyfriend and sides with her stalker.  Finally the two guys have a blowoff match in which the boyfriend gets his revenge on both of them.

The snag I hit was that I was suddenly very uncomfortable with the woman (Courtney Valentine as names are important) just being a macguffin in the story.  When I saw and heard the character in my head, she was way more dynamic than that.  I could feel her frustration at not getting to fight for herself, her voice falling on deaf ears.  I also felt really weird about her falling for her stalker even though the stalker (Seth Aron) had no actual designs on her.  He just wanted the boyfriend’s (Mikey Collins) title.  It just felt wrong.

Now that I have had time to think about it more, I think it reflects some measure of growth that I’ve experienced in the past few years.  I have been exposed to feminist artists and figures through my travels through the internet for quite some time.  It has really had an effect on me and it took a while to realize how deep the roots had gone.  I have always respected women but my eyes have been opened to just how different a woman experiences the world.   Everybody should take a few moments to look around and realize the way the world works and how it needs to change.

I am proud to call myself a feminist.  You do not need to be a woman to be a feminist.  You don’t have to be any specific thing to be a feminist.  All you have to do is believe that all people should have equal rights and equal respect.  It is not about putting men down, it’s about raising everybody to the same level.  We are all human beings and we should all be treated as such.

Now, I am not saying all of this for my benefit.  I am not a White Knight, riding to the rescue of Women’s Rights.  They don’t need my help.  I am not a “nice guy” who is only being nice and saying the right things for some girl to reward me with her favor.  I am an asshole who has realized that while I’ve never disrespected women, I was not part of the solution.  If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

So that’s pretty much it.  I’m a feminist and women, men and everybody in between deserves to be treated with the respect they deserve.  I could go on and on about all sorts of sexist things that grind my gears but I’ll just throw down some links to people I respect.  These are the people who opened my eyes.  I urge you to seek out more of the same. Thank you for reading this.  It may not have been perfect but it was honest.

Links:

Jessica Williams setting us straight

She does it again

A story from Starline Hodges, an artist I admire

Imran Siddiquee

Cracked sets the record straight

Beyonce on feminism

Kate Leth on sexism in geek culture


The Hidden Message

klaatu barada nikto

Growing a family

Im just trying to evolve

Panorama of the Mountains

Liam Sullivan's Ideas and Reflections

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

wolfenoot.wordpress.com/

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist’s Path

Art, Poetry, Prose, Spirituality & Whimsy

The Bloggess

Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Damyanti Biswas

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

%d bloggers like this: