Sunday, July 27, 2008

Feminists Have No Sense Of Humour

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...

 


15 comments:

Maria said...

I called out a friend for making an unfunny joke that marginalized a group (can't remember which now) and he replied that he shouldn't have to walk on eggshells and I wondered why does respecting someone have to mean "walking on eggshells"?

I critique everything through my anti-racist+feminist lenses, which has led some to talk about how sorry they are for me cause I must not be able to enjoy anything. And I was like, "You might be able to enjoy and critique something at the same time, but I can."

That shut him up.

Larry Geater said...

Ah ha, can we say discipline and silencing.

I don't care what you find offensive about the movie. If you are critiquing the movie during the movie you are stealing from the other patrons. If you object to the content leave. Part of the price one pays for living in a free society is that you are going to be offended because others are free to offend you. You are also free to be rude and talk over some one elses entertainment if that is how you wish to behave. But I am free to object and I do.


BTW You are mistaken about the origin of 'rule of thumb'.

http://womenshistory.about.com/od/mythsofwomenshistory/a/rule_of_thumb.htm

http://tafkac.org/language/etymology/rule_of_thumb.html

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/rule-of-thumb.html

Renee said...

@Larry I actually made no reference as to the origin of "rule of thumb" I simply implied an association to this saying and wife beating. Since there is indeed a correlation even according to the sources you cited enough said.

I don't care what you find offensive about the movie. If you are critiquing the movie during the movie you are stealing from the other patrons. If you object to the content leave. Part of the price one pays for living in a free society is that you are going to be offended because others are free to offend you. You are also free to be rude and talk over some one elses entertainment if that is how you wish to behave. But I am free to object and I do.

Few things..you have no idea the context that this situation occurred in or the nature of the relationship. For your information critiquing movies throughout a film is something that this person and I have engaged in for over 18+ years....we whisper quietly back and forth about plot twists, bad acting, faux pas etc...this was a specific rejection to the sexism I was pointing out rather than the fact that I was disturbing his entertainment per say. I am beginning to believe you are looking for reasons to object.

professor what if said...

"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."

Renee,
I get this type of reaction all the time! Thank you for articulating this conundrum so well! I have been away from blog reading and am glad to be back. I have missed your insightful posts!

Jananole said...

I agree with you completely Renee, but now, the person who I voice my complaints to the most finally gets it, he just feels helpless do anything himself, so he signs petitions I write to anyone and everyone that offends me. As an aside, I just got back from Las Vegas and let me tell you, if they burn it and salt the earth I would be totally okay with it. It was female objectification times 10. There was a live strip show on a casino table in one of the casinos i was in. I have to say it did a number on my body image at first, but then i just got pissed off and really couldn't wait to leave.and it's mind-numbinglly hot ugh.

Kevin Andre Elliott said...

"This is something that daily occurs when feminists point out sexism. We are simply too sensitive, after all it is just a movie..it's just a little harmless fun."

The whole "too sensitive" thing drives me up the wall. Right along with "lighten up," which, as a man, I seem to get more than "too sensitive." Gee, no gender bias there to add insult to injury at all. Ugh!

Larry Geater said...

I am beginning to believe you are looking for reasons to object.

I generaly do not post comment that say "'Att'a boy, right on." I comment where there is disagree ment that might cause a conversation. I refrain from commenting when I whole heartedly agree with some post or when I think that there is such disagreement that comenting would be a waste of time.

I am a bit over sensative on the talking in the theater thing because I really like some movies that otheres do not.

In the most ofensive example. I went to 'Solaris' knowing I was going to see a three hour remake of a Soviet psychological scifi thriller. I watched it in a theater full of people who thought they were going to see some George Clooney romantic comedy. They, as a group spent the whole movie thinking that they were "whisper quietly back and forth about plot twists, bad acting, faux pas etc". But a theater full of these asses is enough that the guy who actualy thinks this is one of the best movies ever could not enjoy it becasue all he could hear was a symphony of stage wispers that people think are discreet. The theater is not your living room.

blogofstench said...

What's fascinating and frustrating is how people who say, "Oh, you're too easily offended" thus make your offense all about them. They turn the focus away from the problematic object or situation by portraying THEMSELVES as victims and the feminist critic as victimizer.

What really pisses me off is a special version of the "You're too sensitive." The special version is, "I know you're very intelligent, but aren't you taking this too seriously?" What better use for my intelligence is there than to promote the rampant sexism, racism, classism, ableism, etc. in the patriarchy?

Larry Geater said...

What better use for my intelligence is there than to promote the rampant sexism, racism, classism, ableism, etc. in the patriarchy?

Fighting it.

troubleinchina said...

Grrr. I hear this, Renee. I've got people in my space who are Very Concerned that I would subject myself to mental distress (and spend my money) by going to a movie and if they upset me so much maybe I should just not go to movies.

Because if I critique something they like, the WORLD IS COMING TO AN END OMG. Obviously the answer is for me to shut up.

daomadan said...

I just got this sort of response at The Hathor Legacy for critiquing Nolan and his film team for The Dark Knight. I greatly enjoyed the film, but I still wanted to discuss the negative way white women and women and men of color were portrayed in the film.

What did I get? A guy telling me "comics are for kids" and "it's just a movie."

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