I sat down to watch "The Zohan," Adam Sandlers most recent movie. Going into it I knew that it was going be filled with the usual jocular humour. Several of his movies have had many problematic scenes but I have been able to look past them and still find some reason to laugh. As each day goes by my feminist consciousness increases, and I am less and less able to ignore things that set me off...hence the creation of womanist musings.
As I sat through the opening scenes, I kept wondering a loud how long it would be until we saw a fully dressed woman show up on screen. I am sick of the usual Hollywood tactic of trading on womens sexuality, to hide the fact that there is nothing engaging, or entertaining going on in a movie. As I began to critique the movie in the early scenes I was told, "you're no fun anymore, and if you want to ruin movies for yourself that is fine, but don't ruin them for me."
Ah ha, can we say discipline and silencing. This is something that daily occurs when feminists point out sexism. We are simply to sensitive, after all it is just a movie..it's just a little harmless fun. My question is why we never consider the cost of having "fun"? These events that seem harmless on television or in movies happen in "real life". If you were having a conversation with a rape survivor would you still think that it is funny to tell a rape joke? Could you look him or her in the eye and still continue to throw your head back and laugh as they told you what rape meant to them, and how it affected their life...but yeah, it's just a joke and it doesn't mean anything. Where is your fucking sense of humour damn it?
How about the brilliant social commentators that think that it is okay to say things like the "rule of thumb", or make some other reference to wife beating. Would you feel it is appropriate if you were looking into the eyes of a woman that had been repeatedly beaten, or stalked by her husband. Or do you save your hilarious responses for when the woman ends up dead?
I know that we use media to anaesthetize our selves from the daily strain of this mortal coil however, a release should not be achieved by watching or listening to someone else being degraded. The media is not the benign lifeless force that we construct it to be. It helps to frame morals, and is a reflection of our social discourse. When we sit there blindly consuming these images without giving pause to understand that some of these images are a reflection of the ugliest parts of humanity, indeed we are embracing the darkness. There are just some things that will never be funny. When we sit there and laugh at things like rape, domestic violence, or the sexual objectification of women we are colluding with patriarchy in our own marginalization. This has real world effects because it normalizes this behaviour therefore reducing the possibility that such crimes will be taken seriously. Just because it is not happening to you does not give you the right to assert privilege, and demean the life experiences of others. If you are a woman double shame on you....tomorrow you could be the one who is objectified or beaten. No image is ever innocent, and that is a fact that we should consciously remember...