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Archive for the ‘Oscars’ Category

GLG Round-Up: The Oscars, Racism, Sexism, and Quvenzhané Wallis

In Oscars, race on March 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I will admit that I didn’t watch the Oscars as I don’t really like awards shows, I kind of really dislike Seth McFarlane, and last year’s Oscars were horrible (as were the years before). I expect the show to be simultaneously offensive and boring, but I did not expect the overt sexism and racism–and sheer disrespect even from red carpet reporters–directed at the incredibly talented and adorable (puppy purse!) star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Quvenzhané Wallis. There’s been a lot of great (and not so great) stuff written about the Onion‘s unacceptable and racist tweet and McFarlane’s inappropriate joke about the nine-year old actress. We wanted to provide a space on GLG to showcase and highlight the conversation.

Crunk Feminist Collective’s Moya writes an awesome “Love Letter to Quvenzhané Wallis.

“He wasn’t nice. Some of the people who have interviewed you and are talking about you have been really disrespectful. You’ve done such a great job telling people how to say your name. It makes me mad that people still can’t get it. People think it’s funny to make fun of Black girls with names like ours. When I was little people would say my name wrong on purpose.”

Jessica Luther’s “On Quvenzhané Wallis,” at Shakesville, provides not only a great overview of the conversation, but also a really spot-on discussion (including the failings of white feminists this week).

She’s a young black girl in a country with a horrific history of racism and sexual exploitation of young black girls. Because – AND I CAN’T SAY THIS ENOUGH – black women’s bodies have been sexually exploited, used, disparaged FOR CENTURIES. That’s great for you if that history doesn’t mean anything to you but that doesn’t mean that history isn’t real and isn’t present now. The fact that you don’t have to engage with that history when MacFarlane or the Onion “jokes” just means you’re lucky.”

Tressi MC asks and answers (with empirical analysis) “Did White Feminists Ignore Attacks on Wallis?

“In the final analysis, the white out on Quvenzhané and The Onion is gradational. Some feminist outlets covered the issue, if only tangentially. The notable exceptions are the biggest brands and the most corporate outlets. What appears to be closest to the truth of what happened, and what feminists of color are arguing, is that white feminists ignored how race made Quvenzhané vulnerable to attack and that race muted the intensity of the response from white feminists.”

And Arturo Garcia wrote “Apparently, People Have Beef With Quvenzhané Wallis,” over at Racialicious.

“Are you ready to go back to Titanic?”

In Film, gender, Melodrama, Oscars, Uncategorized on April 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Sarah S.

Confession: When Titanic first came out I saw it 8 times in the theater. I had a poster on my wall. I not only listened the soundtrack but I bought the album of Gaelic Storm, the band playing at the film’s third class after-party. I was 18 years old and I loooooved it. And I never fully rejected it as the years passed. When friends made fun of my affection, I noted that I had the weight of the Academy behind me. (Titanic was nominated for 14 Oscars, tying All About Eve, and won 11, tying Ben Hur and getting tied itself by LOTR: The Return of the King.) I also found Titanic-hating passé; one didn’t have to love it to acknowledged its solid acting, gorgeous sets and costumes, and stunning effects.

Age certainly tempered my enthusiasm, so I met with trepidation the news that not only was director James Cameron re-releasing the movie (15 years after its debut and right before the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking) but also that it was going to be coming right at you in 3-D. I tend to be as blasé about 3-D as Rose Dewitt Bukater is about the ship Titanic, so I fully expected to roll my eyes at this pointless spectacle. Well, I went, I saw, and I’m here to report back not only how Titanic holds up under 3-D technology, but also how my perspective on the underlying symbolism of the story has significantly shifted.

First off, the good: 3-D and Titanic actually work together. Cameron’s obsessive attention to set design and historical detail fit well with the layered look of 3-D cinema. 3-D often lessens lushness but in Titanic it works to emphasize the impressive look of the thing. Speaking of that obsessive attention to detail, the film’s one changed scene, courtesy of Neil deGrasse Tyson, diverges from its predecessor in its emphasis of the milky-way if nothing else. And the things you liked about the movie beyond its beauty, namely the acting and the romance between Rose (Kate Winslet) and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) hold up.

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Watching Parenthood in “The Descendants”

In Film, Oscars, parenthood on April 9, 2012 at 8:53 am

Phoebe B.

When I was a kid, which alas I only now am in spirit, I spent a decent amount of time looking at adults and presuming, sometimes rightly so, that they knew best. I believed that they understood things I was not quite capable of grasping yet; that their decisions inherently made sense and should be followed, even if I didn’t like them. I suspected that my own parents just knew what to do with some sort of parent-specific magic. It seemed to me that their rules, whatever they were, were preordained, and that bedtimes were of course always at nine, or ten, or eventually maybe even eleven.

As an adult, I have come to realize that my parents—like many other parents I imagine—are just people trying to do a good job taking care of their kids. This may sound silly, but it was quite the serious revelation for me. Even the best parents are not martyrs like Harry Potter’s parents. They’re probably more like the Weasleys, with their crazy house and messy kitchen and cluttered garage. The Weasleys do their best, but their best doesn’t always work out as well as planned. Or parents might be more like the less-magical but awesome Tami and Eric Taylor, or even MTV’s teen mothers, trying under difficult circumstances to do a good job despite being kids themselves.

Parenting is work. Fun work most of the time (according to my folks), but work nonetheless—which perhaps is why my mom quite smartly developed a system to pay herself for the work she did around the house and taking care of me when I was really little. And because I am at a point in my life where parenting is not quite on the table and but definitely up for discussion fairly often these days—not because I’m planning on being a parent anytime soon, but because many of my friends have started having children—I am all the more intrigued by representations of it.

That’s why The Descendants stood out to me. The Descendants begins with the near-fatal boating accident of Matt King’s (George Clooney) wife, Elizabeth. It becomes clear early on that Elizabeth will not survive. The film follows Matt and his daughters as they come to terms with her sudden death. Amidst his mourning, Matt learns from his eldest daughter, Alexandra, that Elizabeth was having an affair. The rest of the film follows Matt and his daughter’s search for his wife’s lover, including a Kaui vacation, to track him down. While this narrative does not laud Matt’s parenting skills, it suggests that there is no model or manual for good parenting and that everyone, including each of the family members, copes differently with grief, loss, and life.

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GLG Reflects on the Oscars

In gender, Oscars, race on February 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

This year’s Oscars were, as many on Twitter noted, fairly boring and quite frustrating: the show felt like Hollywood was congratulating itself over and over again. Billy Crystal made a series of uncomfortable racist jokes; then the Oscars poked ungracious fun at the beautiful and talented Melissa McCarthy. Every movie montage we were forced to sit through was filled with a plethora of white actors reflecting on how important the movies were for them, and The Artist swept the awards. Then there was the Cirque du Soleil bit, which was just plain confusing. Read on for GLG’s thoughts on the Oscars, or check out our Twitter feed from the night @GirlsLikeGiants

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