Not Feminism 101

#1

I need a place to talk about the more nuanced aspects of patriarchy, sexism, racism, intersectionality, capital “F” feminism, and all issues pertaining to structured and institutional discrimination as faced by women.

This is not the place to debate what words mean or anything close to “what about the men”.
I want to talk about things like why this comment is problematic:

TBH all this feminist chest-thumping is getting tiresome. I really want to see WW because it got great reviews and it made bank, which means it’s a good movie, that’s it. WW is a very difficult character to get right without ending in self-parody even in comics, which might explain why it got fewer movie treatments to begin with.

IMHO this constant complaint about fewer treatments is just misplaced. Would you rather have one great movie every 30 years that everyone will remember, or have several shitty ones that everyone will forever laugh at (see: Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Punisher etc)? Superman and SpiderMan have been almost destroyed by excessive franchising, people should be happy that WW has been treated with utmost care and love until today.

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#2

This idea that us womens should be glad or happy that they DIDN’T make a Wonder Woman for sooooooo long because… they might have fucked it up… I don’t even know where to start.

Why do female led vehicles get ONE chance to succeed. AND it can’t do moderately well, it has to break box office records! And yet we’re on our THIRD fucking Spiderman? And one of those iterations had an evil spidey dance sequence? But that didn’t kill the franchise, hell it spawned two new ones.

But no, womens need to wait, to be patient, and not complain, because reasons?

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#3

It’s funny because he basically makes his point for us, but doesn’t even realize it. Because hell yeah, I’d love for the female superheros to get the same number of chances to fail as the male ones do. Just because some of the male movies suck doesn’t mean others still don’t stand out.

Or, to turn it around, hell yeah, I’d rather there be only a handful of amazing male superhero movies instead of the dozens of piles of dreck we’re spoon-fed every summer and holiday season.

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#4

Hollywood IMO is a microcosm of the intersection of exploitation by the rich with toxic populism. There are more problems with regards to kinds of representation than even fit in one topic, but the involvement of women - both as subject as well as creators - is a great place to start.

From a solutions perspective, I grew up with people celebrating the democratization and decentralization of media, so maybe it is natural for me to see answers in avoiding mass/broadcast/mainstream media in favor of egalitarian DIY efforts. Modern creation and distribution technologies mean that (unlike fifty years ago) struggling to get others to represent you is not the most obvious or realistic option. If movies are a “popular” art form, then why not popularize them as a medium for women to independently make their own movies?

What I don’t understand is the decision-making of people who would rather stick with Hollywood instead of going independent. Lots of creators still flock there, despite knowing how shitty it is. It seems to be a catch-22 problem of “mindshare”, where people who rely upon industrial mass-media are more likely to only see that as valid. But I don’t get why those who have the choice to DIY or try changing the values and practices of an uncreative, incestuous, exploitive cartel from within would choose the latter route. It sounds a lot less empowering. But many still do.

Consider the ways that punk and the indie music scene did so much to decentralize the “music industry” and increase representation of what women’s music and who woman musicians could be. By making it yourself, networking your own distribution and venues. Something analogous needs to happen with video/movies - and not by relying upon a giant corporate gatekeeper like YouTube.

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#5

It definitely strikes me as someone patting us on the collective head and telling us that we don’t actually know what we want. Instead, we should STFU and be glad that there are top men in charge of the situation. Top men, I say. {sigh}

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#6

I know you don’t mean it this way, but “make your own ____” is generally considered a silencing technique.

We don’t want to make punk/indie movies. We want big shiney explodey blockbusters but with women in them.
Thats literally it.

I keep telling women at work who are hesitant about seeing Wonder Woman because they don’t do “comic book” movies, that they really should see it, because its good, but mostly because “this is the movie you wanted when you were 11yrs old”.

Its important to have representation in popular media because it is everywhere, and if the message that is spewing at us is that women simply don’t exist in movies, then we need to look at and address that, because pop media is everywhere.

On the flip side, I always do support female led indie films, because voting with my dollars is the least I can do!

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#7

Damn straight I don’t mean it that way, that’s cynical AF. Empowering people to represent themselves in the media seems to have a lot more future to it than encouraging consumerism and the “leave it to the professionals” mentality. In my thinking, pop media == pimp media, and aint nobody got time for that.

I think that this is also the ploy that Hollywood uses to try keeping itself relevant, by conditioning popular tastes to be that which requires $100 million and hundreds of people to produce. That investment in the industry simultaneously makes movies appear like something the average person can’t hope to achieve, and is also used to justify the formulaic nature of blockbusters. complete with its conservatism about hiring and representing women.

It only seems silencing when one internalizes that one’s own participation in media is limited to consumerism, that nobody has any cultural capital outside of that exploitive industry, that only their media is “real”.

Obviously, none of this means that Hollywood can’t do better, and be encouraged to do better.

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#8

And you know that most likely, if WW had been bad or was doing badly, he’d use it as an excuse: “See, Women-led (super hero) movies can’t succeed!”

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#9

Yup.

See: Elektra or Catwoman.
They were terrible movies, and did not do well.
Of course it had nothing to do with a bad script or just being a bad movie, no its obviously because they starred women. Obvy.

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#10

Possibly because people view female vehicles as appeals to women to join a larger audience, rather than as earnest attempts to make a great film that everyone will enjoy.

When they wanted to get girls into arcade games, they didn’t make a new game where you controlled a female character, they just made a cute version of Pacman and called it “Ms. Pacman.” For a lot of people, Wonder Woman is just “Ms. Superman,” and her purpose is just to get women interested rather than to tell a compelling story in her own right.

This seems to be where the commenter is coming from when he (?) says:

i.e. “I’m hearing that this isn’t just Ms. Superman.”

And hopefully that revelation leads to a situation where audiences come to expect Wonder Woman movies the same way they expect Batman and Spiderman.

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#11

That commenter goes on to say he hasn’t even seen WW … which, /sigh.

The funny thing about Ms.Pacman… it was more successful and popular than the original.
Which means that not only were women playing it, but also men were too.

I go back to my original thesis; we don’t need special movies or legos or games or really anything, we just need women represented. Thats it, thats all.

Also, side note: its always weird to me that men don’t find fictional worlds weird or off-putting when there are no women in them. How do men not notice that an entire gender is missing?

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#12

The problem is that when some people see women represented, they assume that said product is therefore a “girls version” of the real, boy stuff.

Minorities get this a lot, too. Put two black characters in a sitcom, and it becomes a “black sitcom.”

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#13

Its a self feeding fallacy too.
The less representation there is, the more they think that representation means its not for them.
Its a catch-22

Look at YA books.
Publishers think they cannot sell YA novels with a girl of colour on the cover.
So even with books that have a girl of colour as the protagonist they put a white person on the cover.

So much of this always seems to be rooms full of executives trying to guess what the masses want, but limiting those guesses to their own narrow world view. And of course, there is resistance and backlash, because some people cannot see another get a thing without assuming that they themselves are losing a thing.

I just want more, more women, more people of colour, more people with disabilities, just more more more.

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#14

They’re always there for the savin’, though!

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#15

All of this is why, when I do see a woman of color on a book cover, I buy it. Even if it’s YA, and I haven’t been a young adult in a while. It’s lead me to some good reads, like this one by Daniel Jose Older:

I already preordered the sequel, and his grown-up books are excellent as well.

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#16

…and upon further reflection, Ms. Pacman was probably more like a sequel than a gender-coded version of Pacman. I do need to remind myself to recheck impressions that I formed before entering puberty. But, of course, there are plenty of examples of “now that boys like this, we’ll make a version for girls.”

I’ve come to define “conservative” as one who believes that life is a zero-sum game.

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#17

Um…some of us do. We also get annoyed when the only women present are stenographers or prostitutes which is why I haven’t been able to read so many SF authors since I grew up and why I find almost all the productions of Hollywood unwatchable.

But I agree that an awful lot of men don’t notice, and one reason is that they work in all-men workplaces. That’s changing, but if I had £1 for everybody I’ve encountered who has been willing to explain to me why women can’t do certain jobs as well as men, on the basis that they weren’t currently doing that job at that location, I’d be able to have dinner at the Fat Duck on the proceeds. Learning that it simply wasn’t true probably took me 15 years from leaving my all-male college. I am a slow learner.

If you think I’m just virtue signalling please tell me and I will leave this thread.

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#18

No, and I think your point about workplaces is valid. Unless you are somewhere that has made a concerted effort to ensure equitable hiring, you aren’t going to see any evidence to contradict the idea that it’s “naturally” mens or women’s work.

I had the opposite problem, actually. As a kid, it was my mom who worked in tech and my dad who had the office job, and when it was haying season my sister and I were expected to be in the fields throwing bales, not with the older women in the kitchen. It took me a long time to realise that that wasn’t the “new normal” (I assumed that the women were in the kitchen because they were from an older generation and that all girls could do “men’s work”) and that generally, women still get pigeonholed as to what they are allowed to do. It took me a lomg time to realise that I was an outlier, not the norm.

Looking around at most people I know and work with, I am still an outlier in that I think about these things. It’s only the Internet that let me learn enough to know how much more I need to learn.

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#19

I don’t think you’re virtue signalling at all!
All male workplaces are super weird! I was Quality Assurance in Manufacturing in the Rail Road Industry.
If I counted all the women on the floor (including the ladies upstairs) it was maybe… 6:1 men:women, probably less, and most of them women were in the soldering room (why are soldering rooms always rooms of women?). NO women managers. Even I got the dubious title of “Supervisor” because “Manager” was a step too far for someone with purple hair.

It was always better when women were on the production floor, when we weren’t, things got sloppy. Its so weird.

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#20

It’ll probably be pink and cost more, too. {sigh}

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