*grumbles*

So, the Guardian portrays six female directors – which is pretty cool and yay! go, Guardian!

But in the same article where they say how sad it is that there’s only 6% female directors, they go on two spew some sexist shit.

First, there’s this:

Becoming a film-maker means developing a thick skin, [Jane Campion] added. “My suspicion is that women aren’t used to that. They must put on their coats of armour and get going.”

So, women are too wimpy and emotional to make movies? So, they are pussies, are they?

Look, maybe women actually are more emotional than men (for a variety of reasons like adaption to social environments, education, gender politics etc etc etc). But where is the fucking harm in that? As long as we can’t embrace that which is supposedly feminine, we’ll always run into these things.

Imagine the women actually put on their coats of armour – wouldn’t they suddenly all become “viragos” and looked down upon again?

Plus, as they say in the article: the female view is missing from the world of cinema. Making women more male* to be able to include their view into the world — that doesn’t make any sense.

The the article goes on.

In Cannes last weekend, Birds Eye View founder, Rachel Millward, hosted a forum for female film-makers, where documentary maker Anne Aghion noted it would not have been possible to combine her career “and the accompanying 16-hour days” with any kind of family life.

I’m sorry, but when do men have to ask themselves that question? Are all the male filmmakers childless and partnerless? How do they make it work? Ahhh… that’s right… they have women in their lives who take care of that stuff.

It is just so unfair that women have to decide between career and family and men don’t, ever. And even in a (supposedly) feminist article, this things are just taken as a given, quoted as a universal truth that’s never going to change.

And then there’s the cherry on top the whole thing: before they start with the portraits, the article ends with a resounding “YAY! 3 OUT OF 20 MOVIES IN CANNES ARE BY FEMALE DIRECTORS! WAHOOO!!!”

I’m gonna go cry for a bit.

*Short for “that what is generally perceived as male in the Western culture”

The Boat That Rocked (2009)

The Boat That Rocked is the new movie by Richard Curtis, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Norrington Jack Davenport and Tom Sturridge.

Plot:
Carl (Tom Sturridge) is sent to his godfather’s Quentin (Bill Nighy) boat because he messed up in school and his mother thought that it would be a good idea to have him live with some men. Unfortunately, Quentin’s ship is a pirate radio station, inhabited by the eccentric radio DJs. At the same time, Minister Dormandy (Kenneth Brannagh) tries to shut down the radio piracy, with the help of his assistant Twatt (Jack Davenport).

While the movie has a wonderful soundtrack and a good cast, the rest was unfortunately highly offensive to me as a woman and as a thinking human being. Most of the jokes were, as we say in German, “unter jeder Sau” (which might be translated to “beneath every sow” and means abysmal). At one point, I was about to walk out of the theatre and I have never done that before. If you wanna know why, read on. If you don’t want to read me rant again, you better skip the rest of the post.

the-boat-that-rocked1

[SPOILERY SPOILERS]

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What the hell, IFC, what the hell?

Okay, so IFC is making an Anita Blake adaptation. Apparently, they’re only going to make one movie, at least at first. For anyone who’s ever read the books and then googled it and found the million websites dedicated to casting every single character in the series, this is of course exciting news.

But here’s the thing (of course there’s a thing). According to Reuters,

IFC is targeting the movie to its core audience of men 18-34 and plans to air it next year.

Hang on. Please rewind. IFC is targeting MEN?????!!!!!

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An Addition

I love the Oscars. I am excited every year and always try to see as many of the movies as possible. It’s a recognized expression of our love for cinema and what cinema is capable of.

But let’s not forget that they are not perfect:

Best picture nominees are The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, and Slumdog Millionaire—not a single one of which centers primarily on a female character,* and only one of which centers primarily on a gay character (Milk) and only one of which centers primarily on people of color (Slumdog Millionaire).

There were no female producers on any of the five best picture nominees, and no women were nominated for Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Makeup, or Best Visual Effects. Only one woman was nominated in each screenplay category: Robin Swicord (with a male partner) in Best Adapted Screenplay for Benjamin Button and Courtney Hunt in Best Original Screenplay for Frozen River.

There is not a single woman of color nominated in the Best Actress category. Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson, both African-American actresses, were nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

There is not a single man of color nominated in either the Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor categories—though Robert Downey, Jr. was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Tropic Thunder in which he plays a white actor appearing in blackface.

There is not a single openly gay woman or man in any acting category, though the straight Sean Penn was nominated for playing an iconic gay man, Harvey Milk.

There are no men of color nominated for Best Director.

For being the Most Liberal Place on EarthTM, Hollywood sure is conservative.

————————

* Though Kate Winslet is nominated for Best Actress in The Reader, it should be noted that she was nominated for—and won—a Golden Globe in the supporting actress category for that film, and there’s a reason for that: She plays a key character in the life of the leading male character; even in its own promotional materials, the film suggests Winslet’s character is Someone Who Was Important in the Life of the Male Protagonist.

So, let’s take our love for cinema and make the world a better place. :) Let’s start with equal opportunity. Let’s remember that there’s still much work to do. And let’s think about the great movies we’ll get, when we can get access to the creative potential that currently is being overlooked because of our (conscious or sub-conscious) prejudices.

(Insert Extensive Cursing Here)

Via Shakesville, I found this article on Hoyden About Town, referencing this article at the Guardian.

Here’s the thing: Carl Djerassi, Austrian chemist and one of the developers of the birth control pill, now apparently blames said pill for the population imbalance/decrease. Of course, the Catholic Church jumped on that like a lion pounces a zebra and gleefully announced – again – how completely bad (female) sexual independence, sexual security and family planning is. Specifically Cardinal asshole Schönborn sent out a heartfelt, “We [The Catholic Church] told you so!”

The Guardian article says that all this comes from a commentary Carl Djerassi wrote for the Standard, probably the best Austrian newspaper. Unfortunately, I cannot find it online, nor do I have the newspaper [must have been from last week]. Even googling doesn’t bring any results – by the looks of it, either the Guardian made this up, or, which is much more likely, nobody in Austria cared to react to that. [Why the Standard would print such drivel is beyond me.]

So, even though Hoyden About Town made basically all the points I want to make, I – as an Austrian woman – felt it necessary to react to it myself. Which is what I’m doing now.

[Following quotes from the Guardian article]

All of this started last week, when some idiot or other in the Vatican decided that the pill not only was the Anti-Christ,

(…) it had also brought “devastating ecological effects” by releasing into the environment “tons of hormones” that had impaired male fertility.

Oh yes, they do go there. Literally, when women use the pill, it destroys male virility. Nevermind that the “science” used in this argument is so laughable, even I know it. Isn’t that the most desperate thing you’ve ever heard?

Apparently, this rang in the Catholic Week of Pill Bashing. Come on and join us all! Because after that, the whole Djerassi thing happened.

First of all, it doesn’t help that Djerassi refers to all of it as a “demographic catastrophe” — the demographics are changeing, but surprisingly, it’s not the end of the world. It just means that changes will be necessary in the future to accomodate our style of living.

Anyway. Here’s what Djerassi said:

Djerassi outlined the “horror scenario” that occurred because of the population imbalance, for which his invention was partly to blame. He said that in most of Europe there was now “no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction”. He said: “This divide in Catholic Austria, a country which has on average 1.4 children per family, is now complete.”

Excuse me while I laugh in your face for a bit.

Okay. a) What would be so bad about the seperation of sexuality and reproduction? Having sex is natural and hopefully very satisfying act that cements and speaks for the relationships that we have. And one’s sexuality is a big part of one’s identity and may or may not be linked to having children. And b) this is so not happening. Even if that statement was socially true, biologically it definitely isn’t. When last I checked, people still had sex in Austria to have children. But also socially, it’s not true.

Yeah, on average, Austrians have 1.4 children. But the problem is not the pill, it’s the social stigmata associated with being a mom-or-dad. If you work – “what about the poor kids, being raised by teachers?” If you don’t work – “don’t you have any ambition at all? Setting feminism back that way?”/”are you a man or a pussy?”
It’s the lack of social infrastructure for people with children. While Austria’s social system is rather strong – compared to other countries, the child support system is rather backwards. In fact, women are actually being punished for having children, at least if they want to have any work at all.
It’s every time someone frowned at me when I sat in a café with my nephew/niece/atheist-child because they were loud. Or cried. It’s everytime that my friend asked me if we could meet at her home because people are unfriendly when she has to navigate the pram and isn’t fast enough.
But mostly it’s the societal changes that have (thank Goodness!) happened in the last 100 years or so. We don’t define ourselves by our children, we do it by our work, our accomplishments etc etc.

That are the reasons that the birth rates drop. Not because of the pill.

The fall in the birth rate, he said, was an “epidemic” far worse – but given less attention – than obesity. Young Austrians, he said, were committing national suicide if they failed to procreate. And if it were not possible to reverse the population decline they would have to understand the necessity of an “intelligent immigration policy”.

Dang, that paragraph has it all: Sensationalistic language (an epidemic, seriously?), fat hating (not going into that, not the point now), blaming the youth, racism. I guess, they couldn’t fit in the bad terrorists any more.

I’m 23. I’d say I’m a young Austrian. I don’t have children (yet). OH NOES! I KILLED AUSTRIA!

My grandmother had ten kids. She had the first six in six years. When the use of birth control reached the remote part of Austria she lived in, she only had a kid every two years. I guess, she didn’t kill Austria yet, but at least she mortally wounded her. I mean, she could have had 14 kids and saved us all!

And I’m all for an intelligent immigration policy. I’m afraid that I don’t define it the same as Mr. Djerassi, but still – all for it. But the problem is that appararently, he thinks that immigrants are too stupid to use birth control. At leat, he obviously believes in the old stereotype of the foreign birthing machines. *headdesk*

I think that there are a lot of valid reasons to have immigrants in a country – which can be beneficial for all parties involved. But I don’t believe that shepherding them inside to repopulate Austria is one of them.

And as if that wasn’t enough nonsense, of course the Catholic Church has to pipe in and point out that the pill is the work of the devil as it pollutes the environment with all those low-flying hormones, defertilises men, can induce abortions and now such an authoritative figure like Djerassi agrees with them.

The head of Austria’s Catholics, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, told an interviewer that the Vatican had forecast 40 years ago that the pill would lead to a dramatic fall in the birth rate in the west. [See: I TOLD YOU SO!] “Somebody above suspicion like Carl Djerassi … is saying that each family has to produce three children to maintain population levels, but we’re far away from that.”

Guess what, Djerassi is not above suspicion. Nobody is. He may have made great discoveries and has at one point been a good scientist, but he isn’t any more. I suspect. I suspect that Djerassi let his personal views become more important than the science in his work. He’s not above suspicion. No, he’s under suspicion.

And he’s an asshole.

What Do Women Want?

From Alas, a blog – it’s a long and very thoughtful post and you should read it all if you can. It really speaks right from my heart:

Pity the Nice Guy™. Please. His world is all topsy-turvy. All he wants is to know exactly what all women want, so that he can have sex with them. But it turns out that different women want different things. Some women believe firmly in traditional gender roles, while others are believers in egalitarianism. Some women are all about hooking up, others want a commitment. And this means that a Nice Guy™ is completely unable to get it right on every single date. Quelle horreur!

(…)

Ah, yes. What do women want? Let me ask a different question: what do men want? Well, it depends, you might say. Some men want a family. Some want sex. Some want an equal. Some are looking for a homemaker. Some are looking for someone to snuggle with on a cold winter’s night, and some are looking for someone to cuckold them while they hide in the closet and take pictures. If there are 150 million American men, there are 250 million different things that those men want.

And the same goes for women. There is no one thing that “women want.” Different women want different things. Some are looking for a friend and companion that will be with them as they build careers. Some are looking for a potential father. Some are looking for a night of commitment-free sex. Some are looking for a threesome. Some are looking for all of the above, or none of the above. And many women — and many men — aren’t sure exactly what they’re looking for.

(…)

The older I get, the more I believe that women and men are a mystery to each other only because we are constantly told from birth that women and men are a mystery to each other, who speak different languages and are unable to actually communicate.

(…)

Well, here’s a way to find out, guy with middling psychic powers: ask the girl. She’ll tell you.

Or maybe she won’t, but then you’ll know that she’s just looking to play games. And you’ll have to decide whether you want to play along.

Feminism Or Not?

I’m a fan of horror movies. I watch a lot of them. And I watch them for the scares, for the humour, for the concepts and very rarely I watch them for the gore. Unfortunately, that’s what you usually get, because horror’s mistaken for blood. [I don’t mind the gore, but it’s not my sole motivation to watch a movie.] Sometimes, I’m surprised, usually not.

Anyway, this is not supposed to be a post about horror movies in general, but about one specific one: Teeth. You probably haven’t heard about it, it’s a rather small film, although it was shown at the Sundance Film Festival.

[HERE BE SPOILERS!]

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Various links that I’ll just throw around

I mentioned that I have an extensive reader. In the two weeks I hardly went online, a lot of things have come together. I bookmarked the links I wanted to pass on, thinking that maybe I will make a post for each. But seeing as I already have posts prescheduled till Tuesday and most of the things are pretty self-explanatory anyway, this will be one collective post for collected links. Enjoy!

Alas, a blog brings us The End of The World and tells us, why it doesn’t matter if we are remembered or not.

John Kessel examines the morality and themes of innocence in Orson Scott Card‘s Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead.

Speaking of Orson Scott Card: he also writes crap about homosexuals for the Mormon Times. [And here’s the proper rebuttal, thoroughly researched, from Feminist SF.]

And while we’re on that issue, I really liked this (again Alas, a blog):

A California Court has ruled that proposition 8 — which, if passed, will change the California constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry — can be officially described as: “Changes California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

On a slightly different note: I read this enraged review on The Dark Knight (and here’s Part Two) [Watch out, spoilers included]. Unfortunately, she’s right about the points she raises, but personally, I didn’t find them that enraging.

Anyway, continuing on this topic, did you know the Mo Movie Measure? The rules are that you should only watch movies who satisfy these three criteria: 

1. There has to be two women in it, who

2. talk to each other

3. about something else than a man.

I would even go so far and add another rule by saying that both women should have a name. It’s frightening, really, how few movies pass this “test”.

Speaking of sexist trends in movies, the Manic Pixie Dream Girlfriend is driving me insane.

So, yeah, that’s it for today.

quick good night story

I should be in bed right now. But I had to share this with you. Studying my blog statistics, two things struck me as odd.

  1. search term used: “joseph fiennes pregnant”
    I can honestly say: I hope he’s not! I keep getting flashs of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior. Though I really loved this movie when I was a kid, I don’t want to see it happen in real life…
  2. Somebody translated my entry about German Lesson by Siegfried Lenz to German with the google translator. I know that usually, only crap comes from automatic translating programs but google saw it fit to translate my perfectly neutral “the teacher” into “die Lehrerin”, which is female and especially wrong because it was a male teacher in the book.
    I wouldn’t object to it if they made everything female but police officer stays male in the translation, as does painter and expressionist.
    Not fair and not good.

Sorry, if I wasn’t completely coherent, I’m very tired right now. Sleep.

— 

Edit:
Ok, I almost got six hours of sleep so I can see that my first point might be misunderstood. So a quick note on that:
I’d love to see men get pregnant. That would really be cool. But I wouldn’t want it to end up like in Junior with all the hiding and being followed and the complications.
Also, men have no pain threshold to speak of when sport’s not involved [I know, I’m generalising and prejudiced and sooo PunC but that’s my experience], so I guess it could be easier to just get the child yourself.

Anyway, Joseph Fiennes, if you are pregnant, congratulations! And let the world know how it’s done! But only, if the child’s mother confirms that pregnant men are bearable. :P

International Women’s Day

I’m not your typical feminist. I don’t like the word, I don’t like what I see when I hear feminism.

I am convinced that men and women are different, physically as well as psychicologically. I believe that having two sexes doesn’t necessarily mean that there are only two genders. I don’t think that we should attach value to this. For me, those are facts.

Therefore, sex or for that matter gender are hugely important because they define who you are (of course not alone, there are a hundred thousand other factors). But there’s no reason at all to make a disadvantage out of one of them. There also should be no automatic advantage attached to one of them.

The world isn’t like that. I know. It bugs me. A lot.

But… and that’s a huge but… mostly when feminists appear somewhere, they don’t want to make women equal in worth to men but they want men to be equal in worth to women. As women are mostly perceived inferior, that’s not exactly what I want. I don’t want to put men down until they are on the same value level as women, I want to put women up.

I don’t think that not voting for Hillary Clinton is anti-feminist. Voting’s about politics, not sex.
I do think that punishing women for being the ones to carry out children is anti-feminist.

Punishing women for being the ones to carry out children and then complaining about low birthrates (and blaming feminism) is just plain stupid.