Last year, we published the Top 10 of 2011, with the only criteria being the number of page views each post received. This year, we're publishing the most viewed post in each month of 2012. The list, of course, would be entirely different if we published the 10 most viewed posts in all of 2012, but those posts usually occur earlier in the year, and we want to make sure some of the posts written within the past few months also get a shout out. So, enjoy the list, and be sure to click on the post title in order to read the entire piece!
We'd also like to thank the lovely people at Shakesville, Women and Hollywood, Bitch Media, Ms. Magazine, and Feministing for driving so much traffic to our site in 2012, and thank you to ALL our readers for sharing the work we do at Bitch Flicks.
December: "Pregnancy Brain" in Sitcoms by Lady T
Two sitcom episodes, less than a year apart from each other, both dealing with forgetful pregnant women who don't know how to manage their lives without help, but the message of each episode is very different. The How I Met Your Mother episode is sexist and cliched, while the Modern Family episode attempts to treat the pregnant character with humanity, and mostly succeeds.
I was probably 6 or 7 years old the first time I saw The Last Unicorn. And while I thought it was pretty, I found it incredibly boring. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I rewatched it and understood why it was so boring to Little Girl Me - this is not a film for children, and never should have been marketed as such. Such is the major pitfall of an animated film - unless it explicitly says it’s pornography (and sometimes not even then - people are stupid), people assume it’s for children. What makes The Last Unicorn so special is it might be one of the most bittersweet and poignant fantasy movies ever made. It is the Anti-Disney film - everything that Disney fairy tales are not.
As the two matriarchs of the group--Chloe (Brittany Snow) and Aubrey (Anna Camp)--recruit young women to audition at the back-to-school activities fair, Aubrey makes it clear that they are looking for women with "bikini-perfect bodies." Chloe responds quietly with "How about we just get good singers?" Thus begins the Bellas' journey into a new world filled with women of color, overweight women, "alternative" brunettes with lots of eyeliner and lesbians.
I like The Little Mermaid. I like a lot of things that are problematic, and I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with liking problematic things as long as a certain awareness is maintained that Problems Abound Therein. Art is complicated like that. But I like The Little Mermaid and I think it's compatible with valuable feminist messages. Certainly, it was my first introduction into a feminist narrative and I have always considered the problematic romance storyline to be camouflage for the real story. But we'll see whether or not you agree.
These passing comments and the clear symbolism of female repression and underlying power make it clear that Breaking Bad isn't simply a tour de force of masculinity. The negative reactions to the female characters reveal misogyny in the audience, not in the series. The fact that we are exhilarated by men plotting and killing, and are nervous or annoyed when the female characters attempt to navigate their lives tells us more about ourselves than the characters.
This has been a post I’ve been meaning to write for a long time. I’m an absolutely die-hard fan of Sailor Moon, and part of that is because it served as my childhood introduction to feminism. That might be a little bit hard to believe, considering the superheroines of the show are known for outfits not much more revealing than Wonder Woman’s. Silly outfits aside (you get used to them), this show was absolutely groundbreaking. Its protagonists are 10 realistically flawed, individual and talented teenage girls (and women) who, oh, you know. Save the world.
But isn’t that life? Isn’t that what people do when they’re dumped? They obsess over their exes, retracing the steps of their relationship, trying to deciper the clues that led to the relationship’s unraveling. They pine for them. They strategize ways to accidentally run into them (or avoid them like the plague). Either way, there’s a lot of strategizing involved. I wanted Lola to be empowered. To stop obsessing over nice but douchey guys who didn’t appreciate her or who weren’t right for her. I wanted her to hang out with her female friends. But the way the plot unfolded rang more realistic and way more uncomfortable.
Where does this global growth leave characters like Black Widow and movies with female centric stories or leads? What happens when Hollywood produces movies to meet the needs of the world’s fastest growing and most populated countries – which also happen to be those with the most skewed gendercide-based birth ratios? Cultures that habitually accept the elimination of females aren’t going to be that interested in stories about women and girls, especially those that feature powerful, culture-threatening, transgressive characters.
March: Biopic and Documentary Week: The Blind Side: The Most Insulting Movie Ever Made by Nine DeuceI didn’t really have a problem with Lawrence being older than Katniss. Although I totally agree about the concern for girls “conflating girlhood with womanhood.” But I suppose it didn’t bother me so much because Katniss is never sexualized. She cares about archery, not what she’s wearing. While Katniss receives a pageant-style makeover, so do the male tributes. While it hints at it, I just wish the movie had conveyed the book’s satire of toxic beauty standards.
I’m sure that the Tuohy family are lovely people and that they deserve some kind of medal for their good deeds, but if I were a judge, I wouldn’t toss them out of my courtroom should they arrive there bringing a libel suit against whoever wrote, produced, and directed The Blind Side, because it’s handily the dumbest, most racist, most intellectually and politically insulting movie I’ve ever seen, and it makes the Tuohy family — especially their young son S.J. — look like unfathomable assholes. Well, really, it makes all of the white people in the South look like unfathomable assholes. Like these people need any more bad publicity.
I have no clue how Shailene Woodley managed to stay in the shadows until now (because let’s face it, The Secret Life can hardly be counted), but it’s been said that she’d given "one of the toughest, smartest, most credible adolescent performances in recent memory" as Alexandra. Rawness and realness of her talent are visible throughout the film, and she definitely sets the bar high, both for herself, and other young actresses. If Alex King could say something to this, it would probably be ‘Fuck, yeah!’.
And “guy” comedies (e.g. Knocked Up, Superbad, I Love You, Man) are exactly the same, predictable genre. I’ll even grant you that they’re technically funnier, mostly because the quantity and transgressiveness of the jokes is greater. There’s a complicated set of reasons for this, involving gender, comedy, and socialization. But suffice to say that gendering rom-coms as “chick” entertainment is a relatively recent phenomena and that we’re all socialized to think women are less funny, so I’d really appreciate it if critics would take a little step back when they did their sexist stuff.