Skip to main content

Women in Media: 3 Questions & A Quote

Last night I saw The Avengers. This is not a review, although I enjoyed it and think it was the first superhero movie I have seen in theatre. Superhero movies are a genre that is distinctly lacking in my life.

Anyway. Prior to the viewing, I was chatting with two lovely ladies who had already seen the flick, and of course, we discussed the women on the big screen (Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cobie Smulders). Karen brought up a very interesting series of questions that she asks about movies and their portrayal of female characters. They are:


  1. Is there more than one female character?
  2. Do the female characters talk to each other?
  3. Do they discuss anything other than other male characters?


Huh. Insightful questions.

Reminds me of a conversation with Wendy back when I watched my first Bond movie, and I wondered if we really have come all that far in the world of feminism and portrayal of women in film.

The answer, I believe, is yes and no. I know there are a lot of complex factors (women want to see romance played out on the big screen, etc etc), but I always appreciate the chance to think critically about the media I feed myself.

Related: this blog post from author Rachel Held Evans, someone I've recently discovered and come to admire.


But the way I see it, TIME gave us a something of a gift. By stripping that cover of all pretense, it revealed in plain language the lie behind so much of the media’s messages for women: If you aren’t a sexy, put-together, powerful, super-mom, who breastfeeds her kids until they’re four while baking apple pies, making crayon art, and investing in a successful career,  then you’re a failure. You will always fall short. You will never be enough. Such an idea is so absurd, it should elicit laughter, not groans.  It’s like millionized lashes and fortified fruit science—too stupid to take seriously!
And yet a small part of us believes it.


For the record, the female characters do not talk to each other in Avengers. And each one exists primarily in relation to a more/equally dominant male character.

Comments

Christina said…
Ah but they do talk to each other in Iron Man II, where in fact, the Black Widow temporarily works for Pepper.
jonathanturtle said…
Also, notice the difference in how Scarlett Johansson is portrayed in this movie poster compared with the men. Nice assets...

http://bestmoviesevernews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/The-Avengers-2012-Movie-Poster-21.jpg
Beth said…
Christina - this is interesting. And they talk about things other than men? And this is in the movie, or in the comic book series?


JT - I KNOW, right!? I felt like there were so many shots of her butt. And Cobie's. Even in black plastic, they find a way to add some sexineiss.
jonathanturtle said…
It's central to the plot.

Popular posts from this blog

What About Travis!?

I just watched Hope Floats, the second movie in my I-really-need-to-vegetate night. Now that we have more than three channels, there are so many quality programs on TV! Like movies in the middle of the week. I enjoyed many of the lines in this movie, including:

"I went home and told my mama you had a seizure in my mouth."
(referring to her first french-kissing experience)

"Dancing's just a conversation between two people. Talk to me."
(the conversation in our living room then went,
Girl 1: Only Harry Connick Jr. could say that line without it being incredibly cheezy.
Boy: Without it being cheezy? That's all I heard. Cheez, cheez, cheez.
Girl 2: Yeah, but it was sexy, sexy cheez...sigh.)
"Better do what she says, Travis. Grandma stuffs little dogs."

Bernice: At home we had a pet skunk. Mama used to call it Justin Matisse. Do you think that's just a coincidence? All day long she would scream, "You stink Justin Matisse!" Then one day she just…

Fostering FAQ: What's Her (Mom's) Story?

This is probably the second most common question I hear about the baby currently in our care, right after, "Will you keep her?"

It comes in many forms:

"So, what's her story?"
"Is her mom in the picture?"
"How did she end up in your home?
"Is her mom a drug addict?"
"How could a mom not love such a cute baby!"

I get it. It's natural curiousity, and I know I've asked similar questions of my friends who are adoptive parents.


But here's what I'm learning: a child's story is their own. And equally as important, the parent's story is their own.

Imagine how it might feel to hear that for the foreseeable future, you are not allowed to care for your child. On top of whatever difficult circumstances you are already in - perhaps poverty, social isolation, lack of adequate housing, domestic violence, intergenerational trauma, drug or alcohol dependency, low cognitive functioning, or a myriad of other complex strug…

Simone Weil: On "Forms of the Implicit Love of God"

Simone Weil time again! One of the essays in Waiting for God is entitled "Forms of the Implicit Love of God." Her main argument is that before a soul has "direct contact" with God, there are three types of love that are implicitly the love of God, though they seem to have a different explicit object. That is, in loving X, you are really loving Y. (in this case, Y = God). As for the X of the equation, she lists:

Love of neighbor Love of the beauty of the world Love of religious practices and a special sidebar to Friendship
“Each has the virtue of a sacrament,” she writes. Each of these loves is something to be respected, honoured, and understood both symbolically and concretely. On each page of this essay, I found myself underlining profound, challenging, and thought-provoking words. There's so much to consider that I've gone back several times, mulling it over and wondering how my life would look if I truly believed even half of these things...

Here are a few …