movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Tue Sep 15 2015, 09:27pm | 5 comments
Feminist criticism isn’t about ripping something to shreds or making others feel guilty for liking it. It’s simply about pointing out a specific creative weakness and then taking that a step further to explain the real-world social ramifications of that weakness, all in the hopes of dissuading future filmmakers from making the same mistake.
Yeah, this. I think the reason some fans take such offense and respond so harshly to feminist critiques of something they love is that they think it’s a judgment on THEM, as people, for liking it. The Ewok analogy is great because it reminds us that it’s possible to like something even if it’s problematic. (I would add this, though: You’re not necessarily an asshole for liking a film with a sexist problem, but you MAY be an asshole if you then strenuously DENY that it’s a problem after it’s been pointed out to you, or insist that the problem in general doesn’t exist.)
If the Avengers team were made up of three or four women it wouldn’t be such a problem for Black Widow to have an arc that involves romance. But as it stands, she has to be all things to all people… Indeed, what makes Mad Max so exciting is its sheer number of women… because they all appear together, none of them feel like stereotypes. The film acknowledges the vast diversity of the female experience and presents these women as active players in their own stories.
BINGO. Basically, apply Legend of Korra-style representation to everything. Please. :-)
I think another consideration may be the attitude that a Dedicated True Fan is allowed to criticise something, but an outsider Can’t Understand and shouldn’t be watching films meant for Dedicated True Fans anyway. (The fact that playing only to the True Fans is a franchise killer doesn’t seem to occur to them.)
If one accepts this attitude, it’s only a small step to feeling that DTFs are male and women are always outsiders…
I like how I can say “that female character was just there as eye candy, isn’t that so stupid?” and my friends are all like “yep, she could have been a cool character if the camera wasn’t up her ass all the time” but as soon as I mention any feminist terms like sexism or male gaze they get all defensive and uncomfortable. There is a huge misconception in western society surrounding what feminism is and what is a feminist. The only reason I use those terms is because they should convey my point more efficiently. But anymore I find myself talking the long way around to avoid misunderstanding among my peers.
What if you liked Return of the Jedi and you liked the Ewoks?
Then you will never understand feminism. :-)
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