Too often, representations of women fall into clichéd binary opposites in the style of Levi-Strauss. Thus, TV shows feature the “good” woman in direct conflict with the “bad” woman, with this clash driving the narrative forward. Mickey encompasses both; she is simultaneously good and bad, selfish and giving, childish and mature. It is this complexity that ensures Mickey’s believability and development as a character. She is real and human, and thus, relatable.
It’s great to see a character whose fatness is a part of her identity without being a point of dehumanization, but the films try to make Fat Amy likable at the expense of other characters, positioning her as acceptably quirky, in contrast to the women of color, who are portrayed in a more two-dimensional manner, or Stacie, who is unacceptable due to her promiscuity. Ultimately, the underlying current of stereotype-based humor puts the film’s fat positivity in a dubious light…
Frida Kahlo’s sense of kyriarchy, in which the tension between Indigenous culture and European imperialism is a core aspect of her multi-faceted narratives of oppression and resistance, is simplified in Julie Taymor’s film ‘Frida’ towards a more Euro-American feminism, focused on Kahlo’s struggle for artistic recognition and romantic fulfillment as a woman, to the exclusion of her ethnic struggle.
The New York Film Festival (NYFF) wraps up this weekend. Here are the best of films about women or directed by women (or both) that still have NYFF weekend screenings (including some “encore” shows on Sunday) or are streaming or open today in theaters: including Ava DuVernay’s ’13th,’ Kelly Reichardt’s ‘Certain Women,’ and Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘Julieta.’
As frustrating as our erasure and stereotyping is, however, I’d like to go beyond the question of “good” and “bad” representations of bisexual characters to ask this: exactly what it is about bisexuality which makes it so hard to represent on-screen? And why, when bisexuality is visible, is it so likely to collapse back into dominant stereotypes of bisexuality as either promiscuous or merely a phase?
I’ve had countless conversations with other queer women who had similar awakenings in 2004, when Alex Kelly burst onto our TV screens and shook up the Orange County. But upon subsequent re-watches, I’ve been forced to notice that Alex’s storyline isn’t the empowering queer narrative I remembered. For one thing, all of her romantic interests take advantage of her and use her for personal gain.
Both films, then, arguably fit a wider cultural pattern of bi erasure, suggesting that bisexual characters must “resolve” themselves as either gay or straight. I would argue, however, that what marks ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’ and ‘Kissing Jessica Stein’ as something more nuanced and interesting than another tale of “inauthentic” bisexuality, is the subtlety with which they examine all sexual orientations as limited by our internalized need to socially perform.
The overall implication here is that the bisexuality of a female character is inspired by the male character. Where is the bisexual character’s free will? In fact, where is her bisexuality? All of these films have one thing in common, which is that the sexuality of the character exists to cause strife between the straight man and the lesbian woman that pursues them, and always ends up siding one way or the other.
Maureen is worth a second look, particularly at a time in which bisexual women and lesbians are routinely ignored, left out, and killed in television and film. … ‘Rent’ repeatedly comments on Maureen’s apparently untamed sexuality. In “Tango: Maureen,” Joanne wonders if Maureen became involved with other men while dating Mark. Mark confirms these suspicions and Joanne also admits that Maureen cheated on her, suggesting that one person cannot satisfy Maureen’s sexual appetite — a common myth about bisexual people is that they cannot be monogamous.
Meredith and Cristina reach for each other consistently for 10 seasons, never allowing a male relationship to supersede their friendship. … Watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ depict such a powerful female friendship consistently inspires me to improve my own relationships with women, looking to Meredith and Cristina as a model for how sisterhood really should be.
On first glance, it may well appear that the film follows the usual trappings of the romance genre, in which the young women eventually marry the men that they love, who fortuitously possess more than ample funds to elevate them and their families from poverty, thereby “saving” them. …If we delve a little deeper into Lee’s adaptation it becomes clear that the sisters are not saved by the men they marry, but rather by each other, and multiple times throughout the story.
The narratives surrounding the television series ‘Downton Abbey’ and the musical film ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ are about change and more specifically, how the daughters within both families represent the small, but important contributions that these characters make to modern feminist narratives. … In both ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ each trio of sisters takes a step in determining her own fate.