In recent news, Ariana Grande has called out one fan for making her feel objectified by referring to her as if she was a piece of a meat and not a real person. Backlash in the comment section ensued. Some people say, “your boyfriend is a rapper, and now you feel objectified?!” Or, “stop shaking your half naked ass, you're objectifying yourself!” Yes, maybe Grande did build her pop empire on songs with very obvious sexual innuendos and the pop music industry's stereotypically conventional beauty standards for women. But that doesn't give anyone the right to make someone, even a celebrity (celebrities are people too, rich people, but people), feel like they're just there for your sexual enjoyment, or owe you sex because they're a celebrity.
With all of the action happening right now between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, I feel the need to write this. Johnny Depp at this date in time has not made a statement about Amber’s domestic violence claims because he’s promoting his new film Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass. This movie, needless to say, has come into bad reviews by critics and audiences. The first movie wasn’t that great, but critics and audiences both thought it was an average movie. Worldwide it grossed over 1 billion dollars, so a sequel was bound to happen one day or another. But it’ll be interesting to see now with the allegations on the table, how the movie will be perceived knowing that Depp is in it. Diehard fans of his films, I bet, will go flocking and defending the performance, while people who are now skeptical of him and all of his relationships will probably boycott the movie. I don’t really go to any movie in theaters anymore, but I can say I will actively avoid Depp movies until more information comes out, but also in solidarity with Amber.
The intent doesn’t matter, what matters is how people feel. I think this is really important to remember whenever someone calls out someone else’s racism (because usually people don’t admit that they’re racist themselves). In addition, most people who are racist, when they get called out on it, say that that’s racism. People think acknowledging race, is racism. People are more conscious about being called racist than actual institutionalized racism.
It’s obvious to say that straight women are privileged because they have less rigid gender boxes than straight men. LGBTQ+ women and men have their own gender boxes put on them by our straight society and their own communities, but since I only have the experiences of a straight woman I will be exclusively writing about that today as to not misconstrue the queer experience. Specifically, I want to talk about straight women and gender expression. Gender is a performance that each of us acts out every day. Our costumes are made by cheap outlet stores, our lines and expectations are scripted for us by writers, directors and producers we’ve never met, and still we think ‘gender, sexuality and sex’ is natural. Straight women are able to perform gender more loosely than straight men due to the patriarchy letting us. Though it seems liberating at first, I argue men let women act ‘manly’ (be the boss, wear pants) not to empower us, but to tell us our self worth isn't based on our own accomplishments, but by getting their permission. Isn’t it ironic that to be a powerful woman, you have to be a man? There’s very little, if any, space for femininity and empowerment to exist in a single individual.
There’s a funny College Humor about this phrase which totally encapsulates my hatred of it. It’s funny and also extremely dark, my two favorite things. But besides watching the video I haven’t actively been around people who say this that much. It’s usually just on the internet and I usually scroll past it. However, recently on campus in an academic setting, I heard this phrase used. We were talking about Disney movies which we were dissecting for our Gender in Children’s Literature class. Ripping apart Disney movies is my all time favorite hobby, so I was really excited about it until I realized everyone in my group was for Disney, and actually hated the class because it was ‘running their childhoods.’ They claimed that knowing Ursula was portrayed by the drag queen Divine was baffling. They said after reading the article about Ursula teaching Ariel that gender is a performance means that they can never look at her the same way again. They said they’ll still watch the movies and love them, but through a more perverse lens.
This is an extremely heated topic as sexuality becomes more visible in the United States. It’s always been there, but we just haven’t talked about it at length and in depth until now. The question is, should we teach gender and sexual fluidity to children between the ages of 5-10 years old, and I answer unequivocally, yes, yes we should. Of course, there are people who disagree, especially since we don’t know the “root” of this “problem.” Is it biologically determined or is it due to differential socialization? If it’s the latter, then will teaching this “turn” people one way or another? For the people who compare teaching sexuality to religion, we’re not trying to ‘recruit’ your children into believing a certain ideology; we’re just teaching them that it’s out there. And who knows maybe we should teach religion to younger children to be more tolerant of other religions. I know parents are taking their children to places of worship as young as a few months old, so why not teach sexuality the same way?
For this editorial I will be discussing ‘brooding bad boys’ that are also supposed to be the love interest. I’m not talking about broody and mean characters because some of those aren’t romantic interests to the readers/audiences. I am talking about ones that studios think the presumably straight female viewer is supposed to fall head over heels for.
As the show wraps up its 10th season, I think it’s important to look at how it evolved and all the hate/love it got throughout the time it’s been on the air. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of the show and I’ll go into greater detail about why later. But, I do think something should be said at how audiences responded to the show. People either loved or hated it and I’m still somewhere in-between. I used to really dislike it, but now I can see both sides looking back at the entire series. The fact that The Big Bang Theory did get so many responses and emotional ones at that, does say how thought provoking of a show it was. Full House, for example was a show that stayed on the air for a long time, had mostly good reviews and a faithful audience, but that doesn’t make it a “good” show. A good show in my opinion, is one that creates dialogues and an impact on peoples’ lives, whether they want it to or not, and I can say that The Big Bang Theory does that really well, but not always for the right reasons.
How do we make sense of movies that were made today, but represent the past, representing the past. Movies like Grease, which “look like they take place in the 90s, but have actors that act like it’s the 50s, represented by the 70s’.” Movies like Ida (2014), Titanic (1997) or The Joy Luck Club (1993), are interesting pieces of film because they are made today, but also represent two different time periods. Ida is a film set in post WWII Poland in the 1960s, but it’s really talking about the effects of the 30s and 40s. The Joy Luck Club is about stories of mothers and grandmothers living in the 1910s to 1930s China, but the present day stories woven within the film, are from 1993. They both were made in the last thirty years, and represent the two different periods of the past, and thus are movies about the past, and an even more past, as if they’re flash backs inside flashbacks. Titanic has the same sort of effect on the viewer. It’s was made in 1997, but is dealing with a tragedy that happened over 100 years ago. In addition, to the lens when it was made, viewers today have their own 2016 lens on it. How well do these movies hold up with two or three time periods layered on at once? I think Ida and Titanic are still great films; the Joy Luck Club however, can seem dated especially with the style ’93 of dress and hair. But the scenes when they go back to China in the 1910s and ‘30s are very realistic, maybe because today, we’re more removed from that period than say, the 90s.
Violence in movies of course is a prevalent issue. Does being exposed to violence make us more violent people? Does it desensitize us to actual cruelty in the real world? Does it normalize violence? I can’t answer all of those questions, but I can talk about what I think about violence against women in film, and how dead women are portrayed as still beautiful. Most women when they die on screen are still made out to be sexually desirable objects with little to no blood or scarring on their faces. Of course, for men, they’re allowed to bleed and have garish faces with burns and scars, but women when they’re injured or die, are still kept in pristine condition as to beautify them even in death. The only purpose of this is to arouse the presumed straight male audience, and not to shatter their angelic view of delicate little women.
24 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.