The Other Half of the Fight

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Feminism affects men too. Some people might argue that that statement is true because feminism takes power away from men: thus the movement has retroactive consequences for men. Some might try to disprove that statement all together. But what if I told you that men could benefit just as much (and in some cases more) than females by gaining equal rights for the sexes? Would you believe me?

Men are taught to be hard in both American stereotypes and global culture. They must divorce themselves from their fragility. Social stigmas say men should want to go see action movies rather dramas. They are to prefer blood and gore war movies over a sappy love stories. Over a lifetime of being hard, men can grow a cold, authoritative personality that has no moral qualms against disrespecting women.

Author and Yale graduate Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie calls for change. In a Ted Talk last year, she told her story of discrimination in her homeland of Nigeria as well as her experiences in America and how anti-feminists not only affected her life but the lives of her male counter parts. Adichie shares her life in hopes that one day we will all be feminists. I agree with her message whole-heartly. If we want to better the world, the ideals of feminism should be shared by all.adichie_sheehan

The story that affected me the most was the one Adichie tells is of her struggles in her primary school days when she was told she could not be the class monitor. She describes the class monitor as a student who got to “write down the names of noise-makers” and carried “a cane.” For nine year olds, this is a tremendous amount of power. In order to receive this high honor, one had to get the highest grade on the test. Adichie worked hard and won the right to the title. But her teacher decided to give it to the student who had the second highest scores because “the monitor had to be a boy.”

While this type of discrimination would make any proper feminist upset for the little girl, not many might realize what effects this might have on the boy. Adichie describes the boy chosen as “sweet gentle soul who had no interest in patrolling the class with a cane.” I would imagine this experience would be one of many where this young man had to learn to toughen up and take charge. This experience also taught him that even though he was second-best, he is always better than his female-counterparts.

This is a horrible tragedy. I know in my personal experience, I have watched my brother go through the same process. When he was younger, my mom described him as a little angel. He was sweet and docile and, in many cases, better behaved than me. He was a little boy who got sad in movies where animals died and cried when our family dog had to be put to sleep. Fast-forward to today, my brother is still very much a nice guy, but he constantly makes fun of me for watching films that don’t have explosions every two seconds. I haven’t seen him cry in years and he’s become addicted to war-based video games like “Call of Duty” (games he used to hate when he was just starting out in middle school) and loves to watch plot-less action films like The Expendables . Society has put its hooks in him and molded a completely different person. It makes me sad some days when I walk by his room and I hear him on his headset calling his gaming bros “bitch” and other derogatory terms against women.

1379336Society as a whole needs to stop pressuring young men to conform to this vicious mold. Adichie makes the point that we not only need raise our daughters differently but our sons as well. She says “Masculinity becomes this hard small cage and we put boys inside the cage”, and by taking away boys right to fear, they become vulnerable; they become a “hard man.”

This speech opened my eyes. There are two sides to feminism. Throughout my blog, I have really only focused on how the word and movement effect women. Now I realize that this fight is for men too, and not as a service to women or a show of respect, but to liberate themselves s well. One of the best points Adichie makes is that humankind makes culture, not the other way around. If we want to let go off the restrictions of our current society, we must come together and push for change. If a man wants to see a movie that doesn’t have blood, bombs, and boobs for a change, let’s (as a society) not emasculate him (both theoretically and physically).

 

 

 

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Uneducated Antifeminists

 

Feminism has received a lot of criticisms over the years, but one author goes as far as to call the movement outright “evil”. With such negative hate towards the movement that intends to better the lives of both genders, it’s no one wonder many people stray away from a cause that is now considered “radical.” One group in particular shying away from the label of “feminist” is the young actresses of Hollywood. These women are growing up in a society where feminism holds a lot of negativity.

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The author of the article “Why Modern Feminism Is Illogical, Unnecessary, and Evil” ,Satoshi Kanazawa, adds to the criticism. He not only calls the movement evil but states that “modern feminism is unnecessary” and rests on the idea that “Women don’t control these resources [money, power, and prestige], because they don’t have to.  What do women control?  Men.” He makes the argument that women of both past and present have had more physical and political power then men. He assumes that even men oversee these resources, they are in fact only doing so to impress women. I think this theory is absolutely crazy based no factual, scientifically-gathered evidence.

So basically every housewife not allowed to work, every abused girlfriend, every woman who has ever had to hide her face in order to not tempt a man, were women unofficially in control of humankind. This idea is just down right ignorant. In a world where some women still cannot receive a proper education or drive a car, male oppression can be witnessed in all corners of the globe.

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This article could not be a better depiction of how untaught feminism is right here in America. Kanazawa makes the statement “any political movement based on such a spectacularly incorrect assumption about human nature – that men and women are and should be identical – is doomed to failure”. Why can’t men and women be equal? The author does a poor job to explain his support to the argument. This type of stereotypical reasoning is no different than the logic of white supremacists half a century earlier who thought that Caucasians should stand above all other races. It was not by giving up the Civil Rights movement that schools were desegregated and racial discrimination in employment was outlawed. The same is true about feminism.

The fact that Kanazawa calls the feminist movement evil with no supporting evidence shows just how many holes his assumption has in it. The word “evil” as defined by Dictionary.com means “morally wrong” or “wicked.” The article never calls into question the morality of the movement, but rather, the author’s view on the impracticality of it. With the constant misuse of the word, it’s no wonder Kanazawa’s article lacks support and credibility.

 

This misuse of words is, in fact, no different than Shaliene Woodley rejecting the label “feminist” because she does really understand the word she is defining. In her interview with Time Magazine, Woodley says that she is not a feminist because she “loves men.” In order to be a feminist, one does not have to hate the other sex. This comment just shows how oblivious Hollywood has become. Now she shares her published interview with the next generation of girls. Woodley, who makes her money by playing strong, independent women, has taught young females that bettering the lives of women detracts from that of men. For someone pretending on screen to hold an admirable amount of independence, one might wonder if Woodley even understands the strength in her unscripted words.

 

holly2This article is pertinent to the topic of film because this type of antifeminist sentiment has hit the red carpets. Actresses throughout Hollywood are rejecting the label “feminist”. Many of these young women are uneducated on the term and feel they will alienate male demographics by becoming “man-haters”. What this article and Hollywood doesn’t seem to understand is that by being a feminist one is not rejecting men. In fact, the cause for feminism is to unite the genders and bring power to all of mankind. In order to better society, people must realize this. The article by Kanazawa shows how uneducated the masses are about the rights of women. The world must stop shaming women for fighting for equal rights. If the movement continues to be undertaught in future generations, the motion for change might just cease all together.

Native American Women, Violence, and Feminism

Racism comes in more than two colors. Often times racism is viewed as a black and white issue. Racism towards Native Americans can be over looked. For example, how many mascots in college and professional sports are Indian-themed? Just about every one that chiefdoes not feature animals. The fact that we casually place Native Americans in the same ranks as animals shows how oblivious Americans are. Women are another minority often over looked. So when I read about the mistreatment of Native American women in film, I knew it was a topic I had to cover. Violence against women is always wrong. So why is acceptable in film?

In the blog post on Bitch Flicks titled “Violence Against Indigenous Women: Fun, Sexy, and No Big Deal on the Big Screen”, different instances of violence against in Native women in film is address. One example is Pocahontas. The colonial men arrive and try to take over. John Smith goes out to see how violent the natives are. He hears a sound and is about ready to shoot when he realizes its Pocahontas. The only thing keeping him from shooting her is her beauty. By being objectified, Pocahontas is able to save her town.Pocahontas

Also in the film, she and her tribe are often given animal like qualities. Even when they are saved from being killed, they are not are valued as equals. This movie helps perpetuate harmful stereotypes. This problem can be seen across the board in current popular culture. From Twilight to Apocolyto, Indians are pigeonholed into awful roles that make them appear subhuman. Even older films that had Native American characters were not positive.

In the children’s movie Peter Pan, Native Americans are pictured in less favorable light. They are hunted like animals. This is troubling to see particularly in a Disney film. These values are taught to children and have become ingrained into our society.  What’s worse is the treatment of Princess Tiger Lily. She is tied up and is almost killed via drowning. The fact that parents let young children watch films like this and do not even realize the harm being done is sad. This article makes an excellent point of clarifying this situation.

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Before reading the article, I did not realize that how often Native American women are mistreated. Many people think that this is a nonissue and that people are being oversensitive about the topic. That’s the worst part the racism. It’s invisible to the naked eye. It’s not until you apply microscopic analysis to the problem that you even realize that it is a problem. This article needs to be shared on public forums so this issue can be raised. By bringing the problem to the people, change can be made.

This article was very brief but also very informative. This is a problem that should be written about and expanded upon more often so that the film industry comes to represent all people fairly and equal. This can help change popular culture and allow America to become a more accepting country for all people.

Techology a killer robot?

Technology has not killed Cinema. Many people believe that there has to be guidelines for what is considered a “film” nowadays like film must shot on actual film strips. But with the digital revolution in full swing, not many people realize that film is actually bridging the gap between high culture and the common man.

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               The article “Film by Another Name” brings up the question: what exactly is film? In current times, everyone has a camera in their pocket. Can their home movies be considered “cinema”? Often many high culture Indy films are shot using digital films. These are the upcoming directors and moviemakers and their chosen medium. As recording becomes more accessible to the general populous, the definition of what exactly is a film is starting to change.king

Since the times of kings and queens, there has been class stratification. Some people were chosen to lead the masses and others were at the bottom rung of the social ladder, cleaning up the messes of the higher up. This is no different than the struggle for gender equality. Many follow this preconceived notion that because men have historically led the world, women are undeserving of any political power. Both of these notions are incorrect and should be rethought by both men and women of this and future generations.

In this way, many ruling classes have felt superior to the subservient peon group. They were considered more sophisticated, and the art the treasure was considered a higher class than the indignant plays and other forms of entertainment enjoyed by the lower class. Long story made short, this idea has been a huge influence in the movie industry. In the olden days, there was a need for giant studios to provide money for costly things like film. There was a sense of higher class built around the fact that only the rich could make films. As I said before, nowadays, many people walk around with a tiny digital camera in their pockets.

Movie making is becoming more accessible to everyone. I have made several “movies” for class and now with YouTube, anyone can share their ideas. As this happens, there is less exclusion to making film and this gives film makers more freedom. During the fifties and film gifforties, there was a studio era. The only way to make a film was to have a big budget supporting you. Films could easily be censored and all movies in theater had a sense of class to them.

After film was found to be made cheaper, people depended less upon studios to make films. This meant that the movies were less controlled by a few people and more people were able to get their ideas out into the public. Digital made this process explode. Now the movies shown in the contemporary film festivals are concerned high culture and are more individual expressive. People do not need to work with a slew of helpers. Anyone can pick up a camera and film. This has dramatically altered perceptions of film. Even independent projects are getting Oscar nods.

The movie world is rapidly changing. As film is becoming more accessible, it has blurred the line between average people and high culture. Now anyone with a smart phone and internet had the ability to express themselves through the medium.

Female Film Power

Fire and Ice, female heroines are taking over cinema by storm. Katniss, the girl on fire, and Elsa, the girl with the frozen touch, were the leaders of the box office. And yet Hollywood still believes women can’t bring in the dough?

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The editorial “Heroines at the Box Office” gives a wonderful counter to this idea that women cannot lead movies. The piece was written around Christmas time last year, which was perfect timing. At that point, the largest movies at the box office were The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Frozen.

elsakat2Both of these were fronting female leads, and that is not a choice the parent companies will ever regret. Over the Thanksgiving weekend of last year, the movies collective raked in about “$200 million dollars”. That’s just “four day’s profit”. I think with these kinds of statistics, film makers should realize that female leads are profitable.

Yet, even with the success of these films, women are vastly underrepresented. Out of the top 100 top grossing, there were “4,475 speaking roles”. Of those, “28.4% were women”. With over half the world’s population being women, these numbers are crazy. Women should be represented more in film.

I believe this editorial hit the nail on the head. Women are getting the short in of the stick in Hollywood. For many actors, the worst thing that could happen is to be pigeonholed into a role. Yet, women come into movies already pigeonholed. You can either by the lustfully beautiful sex symbol that sinfully allures men or the helpless damsel who needs a hero. Well who sets these standards anyway? Popular cultural has set the precedence that women are to be pretty and cute and basically useless. Deviation from this makes you the odd one out.

This is similar to politics. In politics, women are harshly criticized, but not for their politics, but for being “bossy” or “shrewd”. Male candidates don’t have to deal with being called a “bitch” or “ineffective” just because of their gender. Society makes up pre-conceived notions about women in power. If movies were to be more respectful of authoritative female roles, society view the role of boss and politician differently.hilarah

But instead, the entertainment industry is horrible in perpetuating these ideas. I remember watching this documentary on J.K. Rowling. In the program, the origin of her name was discussed. Do you know why this is the name is printed on all of her books? Not because it looks cooler. Not because she has a super long name (She doesn’t even have a middle name; she adopted the “k” from her mother’s name). It was because the book company feared that the book would be a bust because young boys don’t want to read written by females. Yet the movie franchise has gone on to be the most lucrative of any film series- with audience fully aware that the author of the based book is a woman.

Looking at the success of the series now, the number of male fans definitely rivals that of the females. In instances like this, the entertainment industry is teaching young boys not to respect females in official roles.

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If they can’t support women as leads in action films, why should men respect their female bosses or wives for that matter? This editorial illustrates that the world is ready for more equality on the silver screen. It is time to stop evaluating movies based on the gender of the star and focus on the actual content and acting ability. If we do that, we may just be on the brink of having so really awesome movies in the future.