Followers

Sponsored by The Feminist eZine

2010 Feminist Films + The Bechdel Test Women in Movies

A lot of feminist films came out in Fall 2010. Below is a synopsis of each to whet your interest in watching them.

Secretariat - The life story of Penny Chenery, owner of the racehorse Secretariat, who won the Triple Crown in 1973.

Conviction - A working mother puts herself through law school in an effort to represent her brother, who has been wrongfully convicted of murder and has exhausted his chances to appeal his conviction through public defenders.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest - Lisbeth is recovering in a hospital and awaiting trial for three murders when she is released. Mikael must prove her innocence. Meanwhile, Lisbeth is plotting her own revenge against the people who put her in this situation.

Fair Game - Plame’s status as a CIA agent was revealed by White House officials allegedly out to discredit her husband after he wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece saying that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq.

For Colored Girls - Each of the women portray one of the characters represented in the collection of twenty poems, revealing different issues that impact women in general and women of color in particular.

Tiny Furniture - About a recent college grad who returns home while she tries to figure out what to do with her life. written, directed and starring Lena Dunham.

Made in Dagenham - A dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination.

Miral - A drama centered on an orphaned Palestinian girl growing up in the wake of the first Arab-Israeli war who finds herself drawn into the conflict.

The Tempest - In Julie Taymor’s version of ‘The Tempest,’ the gender of Prospero has been switched to Prospera. Going back to the 16th or 17th century, women practicing the magical arts of alchemy were often convicted of witchcraft. In Taymor’s version, Prospera is usurped by her brother and sent off with her four-year daughter on a ship. She ends up on an island; it’s a tabula rasa: no society, so the mother figure becomes a father figure to Miranda. This leads to the power struggle and balance between Caliban and Prospera; a struggle not about brawn, but about intellect. Directed by Julie Taymor.

You Won’t Miss Me - A kaleidoscopic film portrait of Shelly Brown, a twenty-three year-old alienated urban misfit recently released from a psychiatric hospital. Co-written and directed by Ry-Russo Young.



The Bechdel Test for Women in Movies

The Bechdel Test is a simple way to gauge the active presence of female characters in Hollywood films and just how well rounded and complete those roles are. The test was created in 1985 by Allison Bechdel in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For.

It is astonishing the number of popular movies that can’t pass this simple test. It demonstrates how women’s complex and interesting lives are underrepresented or non-existent in the film industry. Women have jobs, creative projects, friendships and struggles among many other things that are actually interesting in our lives… and yet Hollywood simply skips over those topics in favour of stories about male characters who are made more interesting.

This topic is also covered on numerous other websites, including:

The Bechdel Test Movie List: A very long list of movies and where they rate on the Bechdel Test.

Why Film Schools Teach Screenwriters Not to Pass the Bechdel Test, an essay by Jennifer Kesler.

The Dinner Party finds a home

FEMINIST ART - It took decades for the iconic "The Dinner Party" installation to find a home in an art gallery or museum. Truth is, nobody was willing to take it. It was shunned.

No longer.

The Dinner Party, an important icon of 1970s feminist art and a milestone in twentieth-century art, is presented as the centerpiece around which the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is organized.

The Dinner Party is comprised of a massive ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history. The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils, and china-painted porcelain plates with raised central motifs that are based on vulvar and butterfly forms and rendered in styles appropriate to the individual women being honored.

The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table. This permanent installation is enhanced by rotating Herstory Gallery exhibitions relating to the 1,038 women honored at the table.

However a lot of bitterness remains about the monumental piece. Judy Chicago, the woman who organized it all, didn't pay the artists who contributed their time and skill to the project. And if you watch documentaries of the process used to make it you realize she wasn't a very nice person to all the workers/artists who helped with the project. She took all the glory for herself, hence the bitterness. (Sure it was "for a good cause", but Judy Chicago could be making more of an effort to share the credit.)

And on top of that, does The Dinner Party really deserve all the attention? Certainly it is one of biggest, most well-known feminist art installations of the 1970s, but there are other artists who probably deserve more attention.

To make matters worse Judy Chicago has been an 'one hit wonder'. She has been coasting on her laurels ever since. It is perhaps no surprise that it took so long for The Dinner Party to finally find a home.

Rozsika Parker, feminist art historian

ART HISTORY - Check out this blog post about Rozsika Parker, a feminist art historian.

And while you're at it check out this post about the cartoon Cathy. Ack!

And also Black Womanhood in Art.

And finally What Women have done to Art.

Enjoy!

In other news we are looking for feminist art about Christmas and/or other holidays. Send your JPGs to suzannemacnevin(atsymbol)gmail.com.
Art is alive. Art is everywhere. Want to add a bit of artistic flair to your home or office? Wall fountains can certainly provide that for you! Whatever your budget may be Kinetic Fountains can surely help you find the missing piece to your decor. Find the perfect wall fountain at an affordable price online today!

Need to advertise? Advertise on this blog or other websites for $30 / year!

Popular Posts

Check Out

  • FEMINISM / SEX - There is a new book out called " Oral Sex is the New Goodnight Kiss ", by documentary filmmaker Sharlene Azam. She also ma...
  • ENTERTAINMENT - Disney princesses don't slay dragons, play sports or go to university. Higher academics, athletics don't seem to be on thei...
  • 10. Sports Illustrated disrespects women through sex-discriminatory coverage of women's sports. (Fewer than 10 percent of Sports Illustrated...
  • HEALTH / SEX - Elizabeth Canner's sexy, feature-length documentary about Big Pharma is premiering this weekend at Toronto's Hot Docs Festiv...
  • FEMINISM - Imagine a TV show or cartoon. It doesn't have to be a new one, an older cartoon or TV show will work. Is it balanced in terms of...
  • Feminists are not the ideal wives or lovers right? So we've been told for years. But that assumption would be false. Feminism can improve th...
  • POLITICS - According to the Russian government the women who perpetuated the recent subway bombings in Moscow belong to a Chechen militant...
  • ENTERTAINMENT - Love her or hate her the popular comic strip 'Cathy' is ending on October 3rd 2010. Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite is ending th...