Category Archives: Films

Advice from a Cartoon Princess

I am so loving these. They are choke-on-your-tea funny.

I. Cannot. Stop. Laughing.


How Feminism can Ruin Your Viewing Pleasure

Boogie can read. This has proven to be a mixed blessing; on the one hand, I don’t have to constantly read stuff for her, on the other, I can no longer tell her that the sign on buses of a wine bottle with a red line through it is a humorous way of telling passengers that no whining is allowed (wine, whine; see, hilarious, right Boogs?! Now quit it before the driver throws us off).

She can now, obviously, read adverts which means that even if we turn off the TV and go for a walk, she still gets ‘the wants’. Bummer, eh?

It’s a particular bummer when it comes to adverts for kids’ films, none of which, basically, I have any intention of actively letting her watch. I tell you, feminism sucks like a brand new Dyson.

Having weathered The Pirates phase, we’re now into the Top Cat phase.

Now, I have very fond memories of Top Cat. It was, as a child, one of my faves. Oh, the stupidity of Officer Dibble! The cutesy dimness of Benny! The wiley cunning of that loveable Top Cat!

Notice anything?

All male. Every frickin’ member of ‘the gang’ was male. The police officer was male. From memory, even the peripheral characters – butcher, shopkeeper – were all male.

Again from memory, females only made an appearance as ‘sexy’ cats, simpering and blushing and acting all come hither while Top Cat and the gang – tongues a’ hangin’ – wolf whistled at them.

What’s the betting that particular problem hasn’t been fixed in the new movie?

My hopes are not high.

So I should say: I did have very fond memories of Top Cat. Before I was reminded this week that it was just another shitload of patriarchal indoctrination designed to keep me in my fucking place.

Feminism doesn’t just ruin your life. It retroactively ruins your life. That’s some deep shit right there.

No, she ain’t watching it.

Postscript: Having skimmed this, it seems the film features the standard one, single, solitary female character allowable under patriarchal laws applying to kids’ films and she’s (yawn), the ‘love interest’. Radical, huh?


Awesome Females II

[This is the second part to a post from way back in January.  And that post was six months late.  So don’t be confused by the reference to summer]

Our second summer film was Coraline.  And all I can say is: if you haven’t already, make sure you do.  You don’t even need to have children; all you need is a fondness for beautiful images and deep, scary themes.  Oh, and a love of awesome females, obviously.  I enjoyed this as much as the kids did.  More so probably as the large RadFem in my brain which normally sits through kids’ films mumbling Urggh? What? Are you frickin’ kidding me? Oh, for the love of god…, kept jumping up and down shouting FUCK YEAH! in my ear.

Because Coraline rocks.  If I’d seen Coraline as a kid, I would’ve wanted to be Coraline.  I’m not sure I don’t want to even now.

I cannot believe I can even write this sentence about what is a fairly mainstream film: there is nothing wrong with Coraline.

Coraline doesn’t have personality issues, and she does not, at any point, need saving.  She is brave, fearless, gutsy and smart.  She is deeply, profoundly awesome.

She is so awesome that she actually gets her own movie named after her.  Unlike, as we know, poor Rapunzel.

Coraline is not conventionally pretty.  She has short hair.   And it’s blue.  She wears (mainly) jeans and wellies.  A hair clip is her only nod to conventional femininity.

There’s a boy in the movie.  At no point is there so much as the slightest hint that Coraline therefore should go all goggly-eyed in his presence.  She never goes within a hundred miles of a swoon.  Though she rocks a fine grimace at him on occasion.

She does a admirable line in expressive sarcasm.

She has no fear of insects.

She’s bored, so she goes out to seek her own adventure.  She never expects life to come to her.

She faces a series of obstacles.  She faces them all without whining, without faltering.  And she wins.

Despite all her ‘male’ characteristics, she is never once painted as ‘abnormal’ or ‘odd’ or evil.  She never gets a comeuppance for being brave and fearless and gutsy and smart.

She saves everybody in the end.  And though nobody realises they’ve been saved and she therefore gets no congratulations, no thank yous, she just gets on with being AWESOME.

SHE ROCKS.

For the ignorant among you, I suppose a plot précis is in order.  Well, what’s wikipedia for?  Although treat the first line, which tells us this is a story about ‘a very “different” girl‘, as the sexist shite it is.

This film is almost perfect.  The only part I had a problem with was the characters of Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, two ex-strippers (yeah, I know) who at one point perform a stage show in the alternate world which basically involves them getting their kit off and singing about sex (sort of).  Not only did my RadFem shriek, Aah, fuck no!, but it just seemed odd subject matter for a kids’ film.  And I really couldn’t see the point of the scene plot wise.

And yes, Coraline’s real mum is mean and grouchy, but she’s shown as being under specific pressures and is allowed to have a human side nonetheless. So she actually came across as pretty typical as a mother (well, what they look like round here, anyway).

And, no, nothing is going to spoil my enjoyment of this film.  So there.


Awesome Females

Way back when I first returned from summer holidays – and before feminist fatigue set in – I was going to write a little post about a couple of children’s films me and the little monsters had been watching (and re-watching) over the summer, but I very quickly hit a language wall.   No, not because we’d spent the summer watching arty French films deconstructing Foucault (or owt), but simply because of the dearth of colloquial language to accurately describe what I really wanted to describe.  So I let it go because events more important than a blog post took over.

But now I have five minutes with a cup of tea, so I am suddenly re-invested in catching the language I seek.

I wanted to describe girls.  I wanted to describe females who are strong, brave, fearless, gutsy and smart.  I wanted a colloquial word or a phrase that encompassed all those traits, a word or phrase that would immediately tell you that these girls were strong, brave, fearless, gutsy and smart without having to spell out out that they were strong, brave, fearless, gutsy and smart all the time.

What I came up with was entirely inapplicable.  I immediately rejected the phrase ‘she’s got it goin’ on’ because of it’s obvious sexual connotations.  I then fell into ‘she’s got balls’, ‘she’s got cojones’, ‘she’s got spunk’ (in the Australian sense).  I think you see my problem, right?  I could go for ‘kick-ass’ I suppose but the girls I want to describe aren’t violent.  Violence is not what these girls are about.  They are better than that.  Whilst they can use violence on occasion, hey are too smart to just be violent.  These girls are not mindless.  So I’m back to testicles again.  Because, bizarrely, we really do understand that testicles confer more than testosterone onto a person, they confer way more than that; to have balls/cojones/a huge, swinging pair is to be strong, brave, fearless, gutsy and smart.  You know, kind of like a man, duh.  It is unfortunate that we do not confer the same qualities on to a fine pair of breasts.  Actually, it’s not that unfortunate – I’m more than happy to leave the biological-things-that-hang references to the men – but I really would like a word or a phrase that brings forth the same connotations.  Like, ‘she’s utterly stramsta’, or ‘she’s got tribblequong like you wouldn’t believe’.

Because as that Wittgenstein dude said: The limits of my language are the limits of my world.

But there is no word or phrase that springs readily to mind to describe a female who is fucking awesome.  Not in my language.  Is there in any language?  Yes, I could just say, ‘these girls are fucking awesome’ (for they are, in many ways), but it’s such a dull and generic way to describe them.  This post could be fucking awesome.  That strawberry Angel Delight you had for pudding last night could be fucking awesome.  A dog that says ‘sausages’ could be fucking awesome.  Now, if anybody who reads this post actually did have strawberry Angel Delight for pudding last night or actually does have a dog who can say ‘sausages’ that really would be fucking awesome.  Not relevant, but I’m just saying.  That would be so awesome – and unlikely – it’d almost make me believe in god (ha ha, only kidding god – I’d need a bit more proof of existence than that.  Like waking up tomorrow to find everybody talking about which of the 90-odd female world leaders had the most tribblequong).

Anyway, enough about the dearth of appropriate language, and more about what we were watching that glorious summer that seems about eleventh billion years ago.

Two films really stood out; and by ‘stood out’ I mean were re-played so often, I started to think the characters were my other children.

The first was ‘Tangled’ which was L’il Boo’s particular fave.  Now, don’t get me started on how the bloody thing couldn’t just be called ‘Rapunzel’ like it’s supposed to be, and how that’s because we can’t have a girl headlining a film even when it’s her fucking film.  I’m starving for some thing to celebrate, so I’m just going to skim over that kind of institutionalised misogynistic shit and go straight for the good stuff.  Oh, and that does mean therefore that I won’t mention her picture-perfect features and Barbie-esque body either, but I do just have to mention her eyes.  Because frankly, they creep me out.  They’re so unnaturally huge I keep thinking they’re going to jump right out and eat her face whole until she’s nothing more than eyes on a neck.  Creepy.

No, I am concentrating on the good stuff.

The lack of mooning for example; step-mammy may be a shit of the highest order, but at least she hasn’t told Rapunzel that happiness depends on ‘trapping’ a man.  Stuck in her tower, Rapunzel occupies herself developing her art, not her artfulness.

The fact that she’s (excuse my language) kick ass, for example.  Rapunzel saves Flynn as many times as he saves her; these kids are a team in the nicest sense.

The fact that her true happiness comes from finding her own destiny, for example.  The end of Rapunzel’s quest is finding out where she’s from and who she is (OK, she’s a princess, but still trying to think positive); marrying Flynn is a happy add on.

I know, I know, there are still a lot of problematic things about this film, but it remains that it’s one of the few mainstream films I’ll allow my children to watch because there are at least some positives.  I’ll take mild satisfaction (or at least un-rage) where I can get it.  And, I’ll be honest, I love the horse.

Film number two will have to wait, despite being my favourite of the two.  My cup of tea is gone and I have actual work to do.


With Every Silver Lining comes a Cloud

I write about how much I’m looking forward to Christmas.  I then peruse my FeedDemon and the first thing I see?

This: Can you find the female in the Arthur Christmas poster? courtesy of ReelGirl.

Hint: Yes, you can; Mrs Christmas is squished in amongst 12 males, including the main character of the film, the main character of Christmas (Father himself), random guy showing off upper arm strength, miniature version of Father Christmas (Father’s father??) and numerous elves (all elves are male?  are you kidding me? I remember watching Huey, Dewey and Louis Christmas cartoons which featured female elves and how long ago was that??  WHY ARE WE GOING BACKWARDS??)  I suppose we’re just supposed to be grateful that there isn’t a single, solitary ‘elfette’ in a mini-skirt and false eyelashes, sigh.

can you kindly stop this?

And the tagline underneath this Christmas dude-fest?  ‘2 billion presents delivered in 1 night…It takes a family.

Which immediately put me in mind of something I’d read years and years ago in the fantabulous book, ‘The Stronger Women Get, The More Men Love Football‘, by Mariah Burton Nelson, which is a delightful romp through the innate sexism and misogyny in sport, not only in how it’s played but in how it’s decided what sports are ‘exciting’ and what is ‘sporty’ and what isn’t.  Really fab stuff and indispensible for any arguments you may have about women’s (lack of) sporting prowess.

Anyhoo, one part of the book relates to experiences of female sports journalists trying to cover sporting events and, specifically, dealing with the ‘tradition’ of interviewing baseball players in the locker room itself straight after a game.

These women were routinely subject to deliberate sexual aggression as the players met the journalists fully naked (making special efforts to ensure they were naked if a female was in the room) and, often, hinting at threats of sexual assault and rape.  Despite this, the women kept doing their jobs and so legal efforts were made to ban them from the locker rooms on the grounds of ‘decency’.  One such case went to court (forgive me a lack of details – my copy of the book is in storage), with an official from a certain club arguing that it shouldn’t be allowed, because ‘baseball is a family game’.

The beautiful judicial response?  ‘The last time I looked, the family included women.’*

The last time I looked, women made up about HALF THE POPULATION OF THE FUCKING WORLD BUT YOU WOULD NEVER GET THAT LOOKING AT CHILDREN’S FUCKING FILMS!

I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

D’you know, it makes me so sad.  I mean the whole sexism crap makes me mad, of course, but you know what makes me really fucking mad?  The fact I make it worse for my own daughter.  Because Boogie has been raised with a level of gender awareness that – certainly in my experience – is unheard of in the general population, she sees this stuff.  She, equally (and it wouldn’t be the first time), can look at a poster like Arthur Christmas and see that nowhere is she represented; for her, even Mrs Christmas wouldn’t count, because she doesn’t yet see the connection between children and adults, between her, a girl, and a grey-haired old woman.  She is not there.  Heart-breakingly, she very rarely is.

And I see her seeing these things and part of me wants to erase the knowledge, the awareness that girls aren’t valued enough to make films about, to write books about, to tell stories about and just make it all go away.

Jesus, I hope this’ll all be worth it in the end.

*Now don’t go thinking that this meant the women were legally allowed to ogle men in locker rooms and the men had no recourse.  Post-game interviews are now generally conducted outside the locker room by reporters of both sexes, which is just far more professional, isn’t it?


Joss Whedon: Not Disappointing

I know, right?  A video.  It’s almost like this blog is finally crawling into the 21st century.

I will surprise you even further by not being sarcastic at all about this video.  I remember watching it at the time and just being really impressed by its simple effectiveness.  I was also incredibly relieved by it.  Despite being a massive Buffy and Angel fan, I’d never encoutered their creator before (I don’t do that kind of fandom) and it was lovely that it wasn’t one of those situations  where you love something only to find out something really disappointing about it.  Like the guy I lusted after for a month, only seeing his head above the desk dividers way on the other side of the office.  Oh, that face!  The face of a dirty angel… I finally ended up going to someone’s leaving do and meeting this guy and I was so lustful (and a wee bit drunk) I even managed to get over the shock that he wore loafers (tasselled!!) and a signet ring (onyx!!), but when he opened his mouth…Well, if I tell you he opened his mouth to ask if I’d care to shag him in the toilets? you will understand my crushing disappointment.  Nothing to spoil a Friday like realising you’ve spent a month trying to engineer a water cooler meeting with a complete arsehole.

Oh, and please don’t tell me that Joss Whedon has in fact turned into an arsehole since 2006.  Does every bubble need to be popped? No, it does not.

[Memory rekindled by the Feminist Law Professors]


Links Count

Yes, they fucking do.  Despite having 37 (yes, 37) draft posts currently cluttering up my dashboard, precisely none (yes, none) take my fancy.  Not even remotely.

Happily – because it would just be too fricking depressing if I didn’t post on the first day after announcing I would post every day, so depressing I would have to grow another moustache out of my bum to even vaguely re-balance the universe – there are those things called ‘Links’ – ta-dah!

A review over at BitchBuzz of Miss Representation, a US film looking at media portrayals of females and how they basically lead to Boogie declining to be a neurosurgeon (‘you can’t be what you can’t see‘).  Or is that because I described to Boogie what a neurosurgeon actually does?  Potato, potahto.

[The film's] findings are depressing, showing that while women continue to be seriously under-represented in politics, business and journalism, they’re continuously judged on their looks, age and weight. Its aim is to get people thinking about just what is so wrong with all this.’

An ‘expose’ (now where is that e with an acute accent…no fucking idea) over at New Statesman of the abuse suffered by women daring (ooh, how very dare you!) to have opinions and express them on t’internet.  As so often with so many things you read in the ‘mainstream’ (but friendly) press, you read the article and think, fuck, this is really fucked up, fucking hell (you may not think in quite as many swearwords as me, but still), and then you read the comments…and you realise what’s really fucked up.

And, yes, I know this is a bit old (the basic idea has been around forever in feminist circles, though this may be it’s first time it’s been ‘formalised’ by a ‘formal’ organisation), but it still makes me laugh like a fucking drain (in an ironic, post-modern – or is that ‘pathetically grateful’ – way).  In fact, I like it so much, I’ll show it you here for the benefit of those too lazy to click the link:

Read that and you start to see things kind of from my point of view.  No, really; this is actually how I think.  That it’s people who rape people who need to address their behaviour.  Rather than, y’know, the people those people might rape.  I really am just coming at you from that far out of left field.  Yes, yes, I’m a lesbian communist with a neat sideline in child snatching.  Goes without saying, right?

And this from the always affecting Surviving Prostitution and Addiction, on why Pretty Woman was not a fucking documentary.

And that’s enough, for it is Friday night and my pizza has just arrived…


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