The Blessing And The Curse Of Famous Male Feminists

Originally published by RoleReboot

In a culture where a woman’s worth has been constructed through the male gaze of desire, where female credibility is constantly questioned, where self-defense gets you incarcerated or worse, it’s really no surprise that women may only come to feminism on a road paved by men.

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The Internet erupted this week when a two-month-old Tumblr post by Mark Ruffalo went viral in which the Avengers star re-posted a passionate statement by blogger Libby Ann Bruce. The original post was written last year as a response to the “Not A Feminist” Internet movement, calling out the ignorance of its participants, primarily women.

When you grin with your cutesy sign about how you’re not a feminist, you ignorantly spit on the sacred struggle of the past 200 years. You bite the hand that has fed you freedom, safety, and a voice.

In short, kiss my ass, you ignorant little jerks.”

It’s a provocative statement that has earned Ruffalo both credit and critique for being an outspoken feminist, though little has been said about the actual author. As someone who has spent her life as an outspoken feminist, this post and the responses to it have me feeling a little incensed. For one thing, Ruffalo did not write this post but, for better or worse, multiple outlets are reporting as if he had. Cosmopolitan UK cited his response as “incredible,” Huffington Post Women dedicated an entire article to identifying the actor’s most feminist moments while those in the “Not a Feminist” camp have condemned Ruffalo for mansplaining feminism and shaming their choices, an inherently anti-feminist move.

Why do we care what Mark Ruffalo has to say about feminism? Because he has the power to instigate change. This is what makes this moment so frustrating and yet so powerful.

Read the full article here.

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Why ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Is A Feminist Film

Originally published by Role Reboot

Mad Max: Fury Road is not a feminist film simply because it has a female protagonist or because it passes the Bechdel test. It is a feminist film because it was consciously constructed to expose grave injustices in Hollywood and the broader culture by making non-traditional choices that resulted in feminist acts.

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Overall, Mad Max: Fury Road is a giant fuck you to Hollywood from the soldiers on the front lines. There is no denying that Hollywood is a dark and twisted place where women struggle to exist within a web of gender norms and cultural myths: the myth of youth, the myth of beauty, and the myth of power. In Hollywood and throughout the world, the battle to both destroy and maintain those myths is enacted on women’s bodies. Fury Road takes down all of these myths starting with the misnomer that stories about women aren’t interesting or worthwhile.

Read the full article here

That’ll Never Be Me: Four of My Favorite Unsung Films About Girls

A fun piece to write for the Chicago Literati Film Issue! Full article here.

What is most revolutionary about Stick It is how the girls became their own agents for change through camaraderie and collective organization. Together they are able to take a stand against a harsh system built on holding them to an impossible standard, and by doing so, they are able to perform for themselves and their peers in a way that satisfies a personal, rather than systematic, goal.

Why it’s time to let go of ‘Let It Go’

 

Image credit: Deviant Art – Adrian Impala Mata

The new year has always been a time for re-evaluating our commitments and seeking out new opportunities—out with the old and in with the new. It is a time honored by many as the space for letting go. Which is exactly the crossroads we find ourselves at with “Let It Go,” the emotionally charged lead single from 2013’s Frozen.

Only Taylor Swift could outsell the Frozen soundtrack, which almost became the best-selling album of the year thanks to the tremendous success of Idina Menzel‘s signature song. It charted as a Billboard top 10 single, spawned countless YouTube videos of both covers and parodies, and spawned numerous live performances by Menzel. But the time has come to, well, let it go. In doing so, let us also relinquish the disproportionate feminist reputation it has earned.

Read the full article here.

 

Talk Feminism to Me (Ep2): Jason Davids Scott

My guest this week is Jason Davids Scott, Associate Professor of Theatre & Film at Arizona State University, baseball lover and all around awesome dude. We touched upon many things including feminism in the classroom, calling out colleagues on sexist behavior and the complications of “pop” feminism. Below is a quick guide to names mentioned and further references for exploration. Enjoy and thanks for listening!

Jason recalls Ms. Magazine in his house growing up. Ms. was an explicitly feminist magazine created by Gloria Steinem & Lettie Cottin Pogrebin in 1972. It continues to publish hard copies in addition to hosting an awesome blog.

Also mentioned in recalling his earlier experiences with feminism was Constance Penley who Jason was a student of at the University of California – Santa Barbara, where she continues to teach today. Penley is a leading scholar on feminism and pornography who most recently edited “The Feminist Porn Book.”

In discussing my sometimes frustration with what I tend to label “Instagram Feminism” we explore the complications with Beyonce (2014) and Miley Cyrus’ (2013) VMA performances and refer to an excellent article by Roxane Gay in which she makes the much needed point:

Unfortunately, Beyoncé will represent the only face of feminism for too many people who will incorrectly assume feminism begins and ends with her. She is one woman – an amazing woman, to be sure – but she is a gateway to feminism, not the movement itself.

There was also brief mention of Rosie the Riveter, an often mistaken feminist icon. For more about that read this.

Finally, in a year where feminism was at the forefront of many pop cultural moments, I asked Jason his favorite, to which he replies, “You’re gonna love this…Mo’ne Davis.”

Image source: SportsCenter
Image source: SportsCenter

Boom.