The crumbling cement in this relationship is the injured little girl lying on the table downstairs. Her parents are united only on the question of her safety. Unsurprisingly, Karen has no voice or agency of her own. The adults perceive her as entirely helpless— “Maybe it’s shock,” her mother says of her condition. “She can’t possibly take all the racket…”
‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit,’ a BBC production from 25 years ago, adapted by author Jeanette Winterson and based on her own autobiographical novel, is one of the few films in theaters or on TV which contains both a coming-out story and another parallel, equally compelling story. Seven-year-old, red-haired “Jess” (played as a young child by Emily Aston and as a teen by Charlotte Coleman) grows up in a small town in Lancashire, in the north of England, with her strict Pentecostal adoptive parents; her father, always in the background, is silent and her mother (Geraldine McEwan), front and center, quotes the Bible and denouncing the “heathens” all around her.
Tim and Julie didn’t know about the sexual abuse Beth had been subjected to as early as 19 months old by her father. They didn’t know she was suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder, a condition that surfaces from past trauma and neglect into oceans of disturbing, detached, unresponsive, and apathetic behavior. They couldn’t possibly know that a young girl could be filled with so much—that much rage.
Miller’s examination of the Salem Witch Trials, held in the Province of Massachusetts Bay from 1692-3, depicts the internal, secretive drive of a New England witch hunt, and how paranoia quickly escalates to devastate a marriage, a family, neighbors, and eventually, to cripple an entire community. The actions of little girls set it all in motion.
Little girls are often what we associate with innocence. Girls are said to be born out of “sugar, spice, and everything nice,” which attaches a stigma to women from birth that is unrealistic. Society is conditioned to believe this ridiculous myth, which changes the way we value little girls over little boys.
Horror films hold a mirror up to these ideals, distorting the images and terrifying viewers in the process. The terror that society feels while looking at these little girls echoes the terror it feels when confronted with changing gender norms and female power.
While watching ‘Mockingjay Part I,’ I had an epiphany. I asked myself why Katniss Everdeen is such a compelling heroine to audiences and why other heroines modeled after her are popping up all over the place? There’s no denying that audiences (especially young women) are hungry for strong female representation on screen. We love to see Katniss use her wits and her bow to save the day, but in ‘Mockingjay Part I,’ there is very little action (Katniss uses her bow only once), and Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is still riveting. Why, do you think, that is?
Gina Price-Bythewood: “It’s a love story first, but for me as a filmmaker, I never just want to make a movie that entertains. It should entertain first, but I think it should say something and this was an issue that was important to me, the way woman are objectified. The way that women don’t have a voice. As an artist I was able to put that into the film as well as someone who has something to say and sometimes it’s a struggle to get the chance, to just inspire women, also men, to have their own voice.”
Check out what we’ve been reading this week–and let us know what you’ve been reading/writing in the comments!
Over a 100-day period between April and July 1994, the world stood by while Rwanda’s extremist Hutu government instructed its supporters to massacre 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
Singer writes of Nolan’s fans’ approach: “If there’s a potential mistake or flaw, it’s always the viewer’s fault, never the film’s (or, Nolan forbid, the director’s).” This is all too familiar in feminist media criticism. How many times do commenters assert we’re “just looking for something to be upset about”; that is our criticism should be attributed to our own over-sensitivity rather than the actual presence of flaws in the subject?
Most of us, to some extent, want to get away from the families we grew up in, to not be reminded of the people we were at 5, 10, or 15. Actress Mariel Hemingway had more reason than most: not only did her famous grandfather, Ernest, kill himself in his home, not too far from the house where she grew up, but her parents had their own problems, spending their nights drinking in the kitchen, then fighting, sometimes breaking glass and drawing blood, which Mariel, when she was still a child, would clean up.