Feminists know a good deal about having and voicing unpopular opinions about films and television. There are often uncomfortable truths about well-loved movies or series. While many people prefer to either ignore those uncomfortable truths or deride those attempting to expose them, it is imperative that we remain active participants in the consumption of media.
The impulse to erase a woman’s testimony, to deny her agency and perception of the crime, while denying society’s victim blaming and bias against survivors of rape — this is the basis of what feminism describes as rape culture. Yet here it is practiced not by a misogynist man, nor by a loyal friend of the alleged rapist, but by a female director aiming to create “emphatically a feminist film.”
‘The Neon Demon’ brings to light the dual narcissism of our culture: the simultaneous, reciprocal reality created when consumers come into contact with images. The images exist so long as we look at them, and all Refn has done is reify our culture’s unhealthy obsession… I’m glad for ‘The Neon Demon,’ because it solidifies something that was already there: a hundred ornate mirrors reflecting back a society complicit in rape culture.
‘The Legend of Billie Jean’ addresses questions of gender and class that are as real today as they were in 1985 and sets its story within the struggles against the patriarchy and the ruling wealthy class by people who all too often fall victim to those oppressions. … She wants dignity, and respect – truly, what she is after is equality.
The Ovarian Psycos is a cycling club for women of color in East Lost Angeles that’s a lot like Take Back the Night. Its purpose is to build a sense of community between local women, but also to draw attention to the fact that women aren’t safe unless they travel in packs. … [Directed by Kate Trumbull-LaValle and Johanna Sokolowski] the film captures something true and beautiful about the power of grassroots organizing, and the idea that regular people can band together and try to create change.
‘Neighbors 2’ doesn’t explicitly state that sororities are misogynist, but the goal of the alternative sorority (essentially an all-female share house, right?) at its center to create a space where the women can make their own fun outside of the patriarchy — that wants them to be well behaved and perform their sexuality for men — is feminist, whether the movie states it or not.
There is a deep nostalgia for the 1980s, especially the pop culture of the decade. … Stories with iconic women at their heart flourished in the 80s (‘Working Girl,’ ‘Sixteen Candles,’ ‘The Legend of Billie Jean’). The emerging breed of action heroine born in the 70s came into her own in the 80s (Sarah Connor from ‘The Terminator,’ Ellen Ripley from ‘Aliens,’ Leia Organa of ‘Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back’).
The film’s female characters seem to have accepted their fates and although they may not be okay with it, they don’t do much to fight against it. Today, women’s voices are constantly silenced, even (and especially) when conversations and arguments are about our own bodies.
Trigger warning: rape and sexual assault | Watching a young adult have to navigate the social stigmas of rape and sexual assault in a small high school community is what pushes this film past the danger of falling into a trope that some filmmakers use as an easy way to tell women’s stories.
Marvel’s ‘Jessica Jones’ is the latest, best example of white feminist fiction: excellent on sexism, terrible on racism.
These films work to varying degrees, and the circumstances are diverse, but the core of each story is the same – one violent little boy. In a society where privileged young men (i.e. heterosexual, white, young adult males) are committing heinous crimes like date rape and mass shootings on an alarmingly regular basis, a fear of angry young men seems valid, and reason enough for a trend in horror.
Check out what we’ve been reading this week – and let us know what you’ve been reading/writing in the comments!