Our latest blog entry is another in a series of first-person accounts from the Revelator staff. Today’s entry is a look at women in the movies, made by one of Revelator’s own directors, Carlyn Hudson:
It feels good to be a woman going to the movies this summer. Rather, it feels better.
I’m talking about the last two movies I’ve seen in theatres, Magic Mike XXL and Trainwreck. Originally, my post was going to be about “Yaass Queen and the reason all straight men should see Magic Mike XXL,” but alas, enough think pieces have been written on the latter and truthfully, the very small, but recognizable moment we’re having in the female gaze is larger than one man-meat movie alone.
Let’s start with Magic Mike XXL. No, it was not a perfect movie. The plot left something to be desired (or did it? There was enough desiring going on to fill all plot holes (pun intended)). I was fortunate enough to see the film in a “Rowdy Screening” at the Alamo Drafthouse, and let me tell you, this theatre of predominantly ladies were majorly revved up to see this thing. Not even 5 minutes into the movie a woman behind me yelled, “Take your shirt off!” It was as if these women were 18 year olds at a strip club seeing live breasts for the first time. There was a palpable giddiness in the room. Women were squirming in their seats with excitement because for once, this experience was about them. What turns them on, what do they desire? This cast of hunky, shirtless men essentially had one goal: find new ways to make women happy. (Well, that and to dance.) What this film was able to do is turn the female viewer into the subject for a change. Let’s let the other side feel what it’s like to be objectified, am I right?! (For the record, I’m kidding. That’s not equality at all.)
Amy Schumer has been a force of nature in comedy for a few years now, so it’s no surprise that people flocked to the theater to see her big-screen debut in Trainwreck. She’s skewered sexism, rape culture, the notion of the “cool girl,” Cosby, and more in her TV show. She’s fearless and people LOVE her for it (I know I do). It was therefore surprising to see such a traditional rom-com starring and written by one our favorite feminist icons, but then again, perhaps that was the point. She subverted the genre, and in maybe her biggest “f you” to convention yet, she has a happy ending, and falls in love. You can read into that conclusion as a standard Apatow-and-his-nuclear-family-obsession, or, you can read into it that women who aren’t conventionally beautiful, or filtered, and who have had lots and lots of casual sex deserve love too.
To quote Anne Peterson in her review of the film, “In this way, Trainwreck suggests that neither romance, children, sex, shopping, jobs, sick apartments, nor even friendship with LeBron James can provide a shortcut to happiness. Instead, confidence, self-knowledge, and mercilessly rejecting anyone or anything that make you feel like shit — especially the contradictory demands of postfeminism — that’s something like bliss.” Amy has given millions of women everywhere permission to be imperfect. She’s dispelled the notion that feminists can’t take a joke by making herself, in a sneakily political and impactful way, the butt of those jokes. What Amy desires, and how she’s been quoted in recent interviews, is to, “…make women laugh. I want to make them feel beautiful in their own skin. I want to empower them to use their voice and not apologize. And I want a jet.”
Now do you understand the intersectionality of these two films? (Clue: it’s not men in thongs or private airplanes).
Women want to be seen. Women want to watch a movie or a TV show or hear a song that is from their point of view. Let’s give women, and minorities while we’re on the subject, more chances to be seen, yeah? And let’s commission more of their stories while we’re at it.
With love from your favorite Yaass Queen,
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