kmgilles: (Default)
i've been watching a lot of random movies on netflix recently. the major upside i've discovered (of which there are surprisingly few) is that because you didn't buy/rent/download the specific movie it's easy to try it for 5 minutes and bail, which means i'm trying things i might otherwise might

movies i haven't bailed on (but did sort of consider it, even though i had heard of it and wanted to see it) include the josh radnor written/directed/staring twee indie comedy liberal arts. it has a great cast (allison janney! among others), but i found the story kind of ... alienating? it seemed fine at first, but it became more and more apparent how cut off from the feelings of all the female characters the narrative was (also, pretty sure it failed the bechdel test). i enjoyed the storyline where radnor's character was kind of mentor-y to this random kid who was having a hard time, but it was in such stark contrast to all his scenes with his love interest ... whose story, it's worth noting, has no resolution AT ALL.

spoilers )

and then there's an incredibly irritating section where radnor's character argues with olsen's character about an obvious twilight-analogue and its value. olsen's character, shortly before accusing radnor of being an elitist, says that the book "isn't tolstoy, but it isn't television." i'm always likely to be offended by people lumping all of tv in together*, so obviously it was going to bother me. i don't know what it means that radnor who has been starring in himym for a ridiculous number of years wrote this line, but it was still somehow more enraging than the idiocy of the argument the characters had about the value of twilight (where they both made such shitty arguments it was impossible to actually agree with either of them). because yeah, there's no tv that exists that's a better way to pass the time than reading THE WORST BOOK IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE (radnor's description). it isn't like there's any tv written by people who also write critically acclaimed books! nope!

i don't even know what my point is other than that this made me incredibly angry, and kind of disappointed in josh radnor.

*especially when they aren't doing it to other things, ie. a list of things that are bad: "magazines like cosmo and maxim; tv." yes that is something i really heard someone say ina talk earlier this year, and yes it did undermine my ability to take seriously anything else they said.
kmgilles: (Default)
today we spent a big chunk of class watching a really amazing documentary, called who's counting. it came out of the NFB, and is about a woman politician from new zealand, but i had somehow never heard of it or her.

it was really well put together and engaging (maybe not the #1 most engaging documentary i've seen all year, but there's stiff competition). it had beautiful photography of new zealand that gave me hobbit feels, but mostly it had this remarkable and amazing woman who accidentally became a member of parliament, spoling a perfectly good career as a musician. her interest in helping disadvantaged women, in calling out how ridiculous our economic system is (for giving me the opportunity to learn that it's based on how britain was going to pay for WWII), in rethinking how to calculate value are all so refreshing. despite the age of the documentary, its subject, and her career, refreshing is the most accurate way to describe the entire experience of watching it.

i can't understand how there isn't a biopic about this woman's life - about all the women who's lives she's touched. in the deep of the backlash against feminism - no matter how well the year of war on women ended in terms of the make-up of the US senate, i still believe we have yet to reach the zenith on the backlash for so many reasons i can hardly enumerate them all here - it would be so inspiring to see this story of this woman in a way that would be accessible to mass audiences of women. to see what seems impossible be possible, to unlearn and denaturalize our economic system which devalues us and acts to ensure that if we want to marry men we're likely to get one who thinks cooking and cleaning are not real work.

i also really enjoyed her pedantic insistence on bringing out the etymology of words like radical and economics. i love etymologies, this makes her a woman after my own heart, but the best part is that i only knew one of them. i knew that radical means "from the root" but not that "economics" means "the care and management of a household." that really puts a different light on things, doesn't it? the domesticity has been erased from the term and make the very things its about ineligible by robbing domesticity of recognition. and at the time i couldn't help but think - how redundant does that make the term "home economics," because what other kind are there?
kmgilles: (Default)
i started off my university career taking an english class, one of the 100 level classes that the instructor can pretty much make about whatever they want. i got lucky, and the version i took focused on the nonfiction writing produced by women during the nineteenth century (and slightly earlier, because we did read something by wollstonecraft). it was a really great class, and gave me a strong appreciation for further aspects of the nineteenth century that makes it so relevant to study today because of the ways in which it mirrors contemporary developments, events and discourses. what it also did was give me a grounding in feminism that was very much restricted to the evolution of rights and thoughts in the UK.

in general i've been really pleased with how many of my classes have put a canadian lens on what we study, because that's really been missing from my life where i've been overly interested in british and american history. but as a gender studies minor - rather than a women's studies or GSWS minor - i haven't had a reason to go back to basics with feminist history before the class i'm taking right now, so that lens has rarely been applied to feminist history or theories. as someone with a background in GSWS, i was among those who were told this week's readings were optional. i did skim them, because i wanted to know what they particularly said, but nothing jumped out as unusual or new to me.

but the lecture and discussion did. canada, which to a large degree i still have rose-tinted glasses on (for probably at least in part because of how hard it is not to compare us to the US), apparently was slow to make reforms. the only reason we have the vote is because the privy council was made to decide on it, and because the UK was far enough ahead of canada it seemed more than reasonable to them to pass it.

my notes from class aren't that helpful for getting the specifics of what we discussed in class and i didn't record my reaction at the time, but i remember feeling just blindsided by the idea that in canada women had had more restrictions on their ability to own and control property than they had in the UK, that "all forms" of contraception were illegal until 1969, and that spousal rape was not legally recognized until the 1980s. i don't know why it hit me so hard. maybe just because it was all news to me, or because it contradicts my personally held imaginings of canadian history.

fine me:

November 2013

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