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Archive for April, 2009

Things that upset me

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Someone who sprays deodorant near me.

Someone who bumps into me. And doesn’t apologise.

Someone uses hateful and ableist language. The p-word, the s-word, the c-word, all of ‘em.

People who block my exiting an elevator.

Someone who says “Myself and Carl

People who use managerese.

Randoms who tell me to smile or ask me why I look angry. I won’t smile for you, arsehole.

Friends who cancel a meeting — at the last minute.

Someone who asks me whether I am crazy. I normally say “Yes, I am”.

Sms-speak in correspondence. Yes, even in sms messages.

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Written by Joy-Mari Cloete

April 30th, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Feminist movies are an aquired taste

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Much in life are worth the time that we spend getting used to them. Whisky is one of them. Some people claim they only liked salty liquorice after the third or fourth try; I, however, liked it instantly. But it took me a long time to appreciate whisky.

So I was thinking about movies recently, mostly because of a post that I had read about feminist movies. I don’t remember much of the movie Volver. I saw it at the beginning of last year. I only remember what I felt after I’d seen the movie.

I wondered whether such movies aren’t perhaps the type one gets used to … slowly. I didn’t hate the movie; I had a neutral feeling about it. It was different to the movies I am used to. Most of the movies I used to watch are those with male-centric plots. Boy meets girl, they fall in love but then something happens that drives them apart. Girl cries and devises a solution to win boy back. They get back together. The End.

Even when there is no real love plot, women are not the focus; men are.

Zoolander is one of my all-time favourite movies and it has a guy as the protagonist. I have only a few favourite movies that pass the Bechdel test. This test rates movies on 3 criteria:  It has to have at least two women in it; Who talk to each other;  About something besides a man.

So I wonder. Should I watch Volver again? Am I a bad feminist for not liking the movie much the first time around? Or should I just find other feminist movies to watch?

I grew up on a Disney diet of Snow White and The Three Musketeers. That’s what I and many others are used to. Yes, I enjoyed Monsters,  Inc but it fails the Bechdel test.

I’d love feminist movies — or movies that pass the Bechdel test — to become the norm but I realise it will take a long time. Most women are OK with watching chick-flicks and men are still pandered to; women are ignored. Well, most of the time — there are a few movies that get women right. And I do not have the statistics but strong, women-centric films are mostly from Old Hollywood, European, or ‘Indie’. Why? It’s because women are a niche market. And you have to search high and low to find women-centric movies; Mr Video stocks blockbusters, mostly.

87 Million women in America went to the movies in 2007; 85 million men in America went to the movies during the same period.  And more 60+ women than men of the same age have been going to the movies from 2003 to 2007.  The MPAA 2007 Movie Attendance Study records the 40- to 59-year-old age group as the most frequent movie going group. Surely this should mean that there is a lot of scope for women-centric movies.

And surely this means that girls growing up today will not have to get used to feminist movies; they will come to see such movies as the default.

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Written by Joy-Mari Cloete

April 20th, 2009 at 11:46 am