Religion

‘Meera’: The Satyagrahi as Social Rebel

Meera

In the two most famous films based on Meera’s life, 1945’s ‘Meera,’ starring the legendary M. S. Subbulakshmi, and 1979’s ‘Meera,’ starring Hema Malini, Meera’s social rebellion is made less threatening by her characterization through an Indian ideal of the devoted and submissive wife, albeit devoted to Krishna rather than to her earthly husband. Nevertheless, each film offers an interpretation of Meera’s resistance that represents its own philosophy of female emancipation.

Scarlet Witch and Kitty Pryde: Erased Jewish Superheroines

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Not only is erasing Judaism a disservice to both Scarlet Witch and Captain America, it’s also disrespectful to the Jewish writers who invested so much in making a statement about Jewish resistance in their artistic expression. … What’s aggravating about the omission of Kitty Pryde’s faith is the fact that the filmmakers didn’t do this to Magneto’s character…

The Margins of Dystopia: Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’

Russell Crow as Noah

It certainly isn’t a feminist world she lives in, but she does her level best to undermine her husband in an enclosed space. As Noah himself veers away from his family tradition of life-supporting environmental husbandry, Naameh continues to practice what he (used to) preach, preserving her daughter-in-law, the animals, and the land once they find it again.

Geraldine Granger, the Vicar at Large: Fat Positivity in ‘The Vicar of Dibley’

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Because of their position in the church as a figure that facilitates human connection to a higher power, people usually disconnect priest, vicars, etc. from human emotions. Being sexless or promiscuous is also attributed to female characters in media who are fat, or overweight…

One of the exciting things about ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ is that Geraldine is not a sexless and humorless character—as a vicar and a woman with a fat body.

The Sublime Sadism in ‘Breaking the Waves’

Bess talks to God

Her role as sexual martyr is better suitable for Bess than the role that is expected of her: the patriarchal role of the woman. The religious community in which Bess is brought up is stifling and oppressive, in which male domination prevails in both the personal and public life of the community (the household and the entire commune is dominated by the elderly male church leaders).

But Where Does The Road Go?: Journeys of Self Discovery in ‘Electrick Children’ and ‘Blue Car’

Poster for Electrick Children

I suppose its no coincidence that many coming of age films feature runaways. The coming of age plot is, after all, the search for self realized through the search for something external. It doesn’t really matter what the search was originally for: an old home, a long lost father or a missed connection; in the end, it’s the journey, both literal and figurative, that matters.

The Sin of Sexuality: Desire in ‘Philomena’

'Philomena' movie poster

Sex is everywhere and nowhere in ‘Philomena.’ Sex is the reason that the titular heroine is sent to Roscrea as a young woman, to have her illegitimate baby behind closed doors. Sex is also the reason that Philomena’s son, Anthony, is adopted out to an American family even though his mother is still living.

‘Transmormon’: The Spaces In Between Religion and Gender

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Like so many other orthodox and traditional religions the issue of gender identity is seen as an eternal assignment from God, as are the sexual desires and attractions that accompany it. For Eri Hayward, a transgender woman from one of Utah’s most conservative areas, the difficult experience of realizing what she believes about her own eternal identity is a familial journey steeped within the religious mores of her community.

So, Your Dad Wrote a Romantic Fantasy: ‘Winter’s Tale’

Stranger with a gun? Serve 'em some tea!

The monogamous, heteronormative, patriarchal narrative is strongly entrenched in our culture. Women, in particular, are taught to seek out one person, their “soulmate.” We’re told that only that one person will make us happy and whole, and that only that person should fuck us (after we’re married, of course) for ever and ever. This is the Romantic Myth, and it kills.

Pussy Power and Control in ‘Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer’

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And it sinks in. We can, half a world away, celebrate Pussy Riot’s name. We can listen to their music and cheer them on. What our challenge as feminists needs to be is to take their cause as seriously as those Carriers of the Cross take it. We must hold on so tightly to our convictions–at home and abroad–that the utter fear and terror of female power that those enmeshed in the patriarchy are emboldened by is neutralized.

Diablo Cody’s ‘Paradise’: Manic Pixie and the Napkin of Sin

The survivor of a horrific plane crash, Lamb wears compression body stockings over her burns and constantly taking pain pills

It probably says something about Diablo Cody’s directorial debut, ‘Paradise,’ that despite its creator’s celebrated career and feminist street-cred, it premiered and disappeared without me hearing a thing about it. And it’s easy to see why: ‘Paradise’ is cloying, tone-deaf and awkward, and such a perfect storm of awful and offensive that I’m kind of obsessed with figuring it out. How did Cody, who has written such memorable female characters fall so far off base with Lamb Mannerheim?

Nun Better: ‘Sewing Hope’ and ‘Radical Grace’

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Nuns are the BEST. What’s so interesting about them is that they operate simultaneously within and against a hierarchy. Anyone who cares about social justice can relate to the frustrations of trying to change institutions from the inside, often wishing you could opt out, but never being able to. Recently I saw two documentaries about awesome nuns being awesome feminist warriors in very different circumstances.