Hey, Feminist Flicker! What's It All About?
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That's a great question. What is it all about?
It's about the very thing you're doing right now: asking questions. I'm assuming, since you're reading this, that those questions include, "Are you going to forever ruin some of my favourite movies?" and, "Is this stuff really going to be worth the price of a subscription?" The answer to the latter, I hope, will be a resounding "Yes!" Only you can answer the former, I'm afraid.
But, other questions might hopefully include, "Why do I find it difficult to connect with some movies the way all these men do?" or, "Why do some of the scenes in this movie make me feel weirdly uncomfortable/irritated/enraged to Hulk-like status?" or, sometimes, maybe even, "WHERE ARE ALL THE WOMEN?"
Make no mistake - The Feminist Flicker is the hero we deserve, and here's why: Patriarchy, and the resulting oppression of women, is a fundamentally stupid idea. In and of itself, the notion of holding back and treading down over half the population of the world should never succeed - and yet, succeed it does. The reason for this is painfully simple. Just like every other form of oppression - racism, for example - sexism is consistently propped up, maintained and nurtured though social structures, such as government, economy, religion, and the media. It is disseminated by those in power, for the purpose of retaining that power.
The power of the media should not be underestimated in this process. It permeates everything, and washes its subtle messages into our homes, our imaginations, and our understanding of the world around us. From an early age, we are heavily influenced by everything we see on pages, and on screens - both big and small. Movies are hugely influential, because they are the most powerful of screened viewing experiences. Our attitudes and expectations are unconsciously moulded by those stories revealed to us in the dark.
Movies are often among the worst offenders when it comes to disseminating ideas that reinforce sexism. The male-dominated industry behind them tries to sell us on the idea that it is on the side of equality, by graciously gifting us with the occasional powerful female character - as long as we don't expect her to have the opportunity to interact with other female characters, for example, and as long as we don't mind her being objectified while she works. This is the way in which the sexist film industry is adapting to a modern audience that is becoming more conscious of gender representation - distract them with a token symbol of what they want, while we firm up the patriarchal framework just out of sight. After all, as an iconic female film character once said, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."
But, in this allegorical case, it is a medicine we neither want, nor need - and so we must ask questions. It is important to ask questions of everything in our daily lives, but it is especially important to ask questions of movies, and those that make them - because they are so socially influential. It is important to look beyond the Hollywood sheen, and outside the eyes of your movie-star crush. It is important, having spent your hard-earned money on your ticket/DVD/streaming subscription, to ask, "Am I happy with the way women were treated and represented in this film?"
When the answer to that question is a resounding "Yes!" 100 per cent of the time, then The Feminist Flicker can perhaps take a vacation from applying her Feminist Flicker-Vision to celluloid creations. Until then, right here, she'll run those unblinkered peepers over a different movie every fortnight - taking a long, hard look at the reality of those fictions in the process. There'll be humour, and there'll be snark - but most importantly, there'll be the truth about sexism in movies, because that's what it's all about.