Film is one of my great loves, if not the overarching great love of my life, linking all of my other favorite things together — I watch a film every day, even if I’ve seen it before. Here are my favorite films to watch that are “decidedly” feminist, as in, they talk about male gaze, sisterhood, identity politics, queerness, the sacrifice of motherhood, puritanical bullshit, race and class, #misandry, other stuff.
Some of these are triggering, all of them are magnificent. I really love these films so much and they all mean so many things to me, and I think maybe you will like them too. Feel free to reblog and add onto this, but if you come for me asking why so and so wasn’t on the list, I literally don’t care at all, this list is about my favorites, not yours.
I’ve included streaming links so you can watch without Netflix, though obviously I don’t host these and don’t sue me or whatever.
Cleo from 5 to 7 - Agnes Varda - Varda is a seminal ”feminist” film maker insofar as she’s one of the most respected film makers who approaches film with a female protagonist in mind always, and her films discuss The Gaze (which is the male gaze by default because patriarchy) and this one specifically is about negotiating the gazes and expectations thrust upon you, and the systematic rejection of it all. Vanity & the labor of presentation are key parts to this movie and it’s also really good if you’re sappy like I am. I am the biggest sap. Sad, sassy sappy girl, that’s me.
Stella Dallas - King Vidor - Mothers in film tend to fall into 3 categories: the good witch, the bad witch, the sacrificial lamb.. something like that, I haven’t read film theory in awhile. But basically, you’re either a virginal goddess kind of mom with no goals of your own and kind of sexless and do everything for your kids, you’re a terrible selfish person driven by your own shit with no care for your children or obligations, or you sacrifice everything to everyone else and die. Or something. This film, it is so painful because Stella is such a GOOD MOM who sacrifices, but is deemed a Bad Witch kind of lady, and deals with it because LOVE. Stella is just such a magnificent, complex character you can’t help but appreciate. And the dudes in the film are whatever. SUCH good subtle acting and character development and it’s just so powerful. The ending. Is SO powerful. Gross, I’m having emotions.
Happy Together - Wong Kar Wai - Wong Kar Wai is my favorite film director at the moment, I am way into his trilogy on longing & the cinematography of his films and especially his casting (<3__<3). Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung are such supreme, heartbreaking babes, this film will totally break your heart especially if you read up on Leslie’s life. This isn’t my favorite WKW film but it fits this list quite well. See also: Farewell My Concubine (Leslie’s the lead). Warning: FMC will shit on your heart. FMC touches on androgyny, gender struggles and heartbreak and Happy Together is about homosexuality and heartbreak. So much heartbreak! Good sad snuggle movies.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! - Russ Meyer - Quentin Tarantino got lots of inspiration for Death Proof from this movie and Tura Santana is an actual #goddess incarnate in real life. She kicked so much ass though, you need to know her. Anyway, this movie contains babes racing fast cars, babes dancing, has SUCH obvious lesbian gaze / queer luv, girl gangs, girls killin dudes, and guys crying about the gross power they have over women and I make weird animal noises of longing through 100% of this movie because they are ALL INCREDIBLY HOT AND STUFF.
But I’m a Cheerleader! - Jamie Babbit - Satirical romantic comedies about correctional gay camp.Too real, especially cuz I had to go to church camp the year I came out to my mom! My first fashion editor boss recommended this to me before I even “”“came out / realized i was queer”“”” officially which is indicative of how fucking obviously queer I was to begin with. I live blogged it here.
“As women, we are taught to be tiny. To have small bodies, to never be imposing. The ideal of our gender are thin and childlike, hairless and dainty. We are defined by our bodies; defined by our control over them. We are taught to obsess over our physicality and to be repulsed by our desires and intelligences. We are taught to walk scared late at night. We cradle our keys between our perfectly manicured fingers, walking gracefully like a baby antelope in a herd of lions. That our virginity defines our character. That I am a frigid bitch if I do not fuck him, and a dirty slut if I do.”—The Truth About Growing Up A Woman, Michelle K. (via thatkindofwoman)
“[I]magine what would happen if, instead of centering our beliefs about heterosexual sex around the idea that the man “penetrates” the woman, we were to say that the woman’s vagina “consumes” the man’s penis. This would create a very different set of connotations, as the woman would become the active initiator and the man would be the passive and receptive party. One can easily see how this could lead to men and masculinity being seen as dependent on, and existing for the benefit of, femaleness and femininity. Similarly, if we thought about the feminine traits of being verbally effusive and emotive not as signs of insecurity or dependence, but as bold acts of self-expression, then the masculine ideal of the “strong and silent” type might suddenly seem timid and insecure by comparison.”—Julia Serano, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity (“Putting the Feminine Back into Feminism,” pg 329)
A List of “Men’s Rights” Issues That Feminism Is Already Working On
Feminists do not want you to lose custody of your children. The assumption that women are naturally better caregivers is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not like commercials in which bumbling dads mess up the laundry and competent wives have to bustle in and fix it. The assumption that women are naturally better housekeepers is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to have to make alimony payments. Alimony is set up to combat the fact that women have been historically expected to prioritize domestic duties over professional goals, thus minimizing their earning potential if their “traditional” marriages end. The assumption that wives should make babies instead of money is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want anyone to get raped in prison. Permissiveness and jokes about prison rape are part of rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want anyone to be falsely accused of rape. False rape accusations discredit rape victims, which reinforces rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be lonely and we do not hate “nice guys.” The idea that certain people are inherently more valuable than other people because of superficial physical attributes is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to have to pay for dinner. We want the opportunity to achieve financial success on par with men in any field we choose (and are qualified for), and the fact that we currently don’t is part of patriarchy. The idea that men should coddle and provide for women, and/or purchase their affections in romantic contexts, is condescending and damaging and part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be maimed or killed in industrial accidents, or toil in coal mines while we do cushy secretarial work and various yarn-themed activities. The fact that women have long been shut out of dangerous industrial jobs (by men, by the way) is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to commit suicide. Any pressures and expectations that lower the quality of life of any gender are part of patriarchy. The fact that depression is characterized as an effeminate weakness, making men less likely to seek treatment, is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be viewed with suspicion when you take your child to the park (men frequently insist that this is a serious issue, so I will take them at their word). The assumption that men are insatiable sexual animals, combined with the idea that it’s unnatural for men to care for children, is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be drafted and then die in a war while we stay home and iron stuff. The idea that women are too weak to fight or too delicate to function in a military setting is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want women to escape prosecution on legitimate domestic violence charges, nor do we want men to be ridiculed for being raped or abused. The idea that women are naturally gentle and compliant and that victimhood is inherently feminine is part of patriarchy.
Feminists hate patriarchy. We do not hate you.
If you really care about those issues as passionately as you say you do, you should be thanking feminists, because feminism is a social movement actively dedicated to dismantling every single one of them. The fact that you blame feminists—your allies—for problems against which they have been struggling for decades suggests that supporting men isn’t nearly as important to you as resenting women. We care about your problems a lot. Could you try caring about ours?
Excerpt from If I Admit That Hating Men is a Thing, Will You Stop Turning it Into a Self-fulfilling Prophecy?, by Lindy West (via lilac-time)
“The iconography of mixed-race fashion models and spokespeople often reinforces white supremacist beauty standards by fetishizing mixed-race bodies as uniquely beautiful, so long as they are impeccably groomed according to middle-class beauty standards, well dressed, and relatively light skinned. The commodified coolness and sexual exoticism of these bodies are derived from their intoxicating hint of color; just enough forbidden and dangerous racial difference to give consumers a buzz, but not enough pure blackness, brownness, or yellowness to make them feel sick or threatened.”—
Michael P. Jeffries, Paint the White House Black (via sociolab)
“Simply put, in most places in this country women that are still young enough to produce viable eggs will not find it easy to obtain a permanent “de-fertility” option. Are you 27 and want your tubes tied? Sorry, you may want kids later, trust us. Have children but don’t want anymore and are tired of taking a daily pill to prevent children? Just keep that up for 10 more years, next thing you’ll know, you will hit menopause and voila! Problem solved.
Except this is all bullshit, because women are not required to produce children, yet they are expected to be the sole responsible party for the life and death of the human race. Women of reproductive age are expected to not only have children, but to desire children. If they don’t want children, they are murderers (pro-choice) , uninformed or just plain sick in the head.”—A Woman’s Duty: Breed! (via rhrealitycheck)
I recently learned from Black female bloggers that we are appropriating this word. A Black feminist named Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw came up with the term intersectionality to talk about how race and gender intersect for women of color. It was never intended for white women to use to describe our own feminism or an allegiance with woc—or, worse yet, intersecting oppressions for white people.
We can be anti-racist, we can be allies, we can be social justice bloggers, but we are not “intersectional.” We don’t experience the intersection of race and gender.
The thing is Crenshaw never gets credit for coining this term and white feminists ignore the fact a Black woman invented it to describe her experience as a Black woman, and for other women of color to use. We as white feminists often use this term without ever engaging with Black womanists and Black feminists or other feminists of color, which constantly sidelining their issues, and being racist ourselves or not checking our privilege. Also, I’ve seen white women go to a desi woman’s ask box, when she was talking abou racist white feminists in her grad program and tell her, “oh it’s too bad there are no intersectional feminists in your school!” And she had to tell them, “nope they call themselves intersectional feminists, but they are still racist and throw woc under the bus.”
Some of us like to think if we call ourselves “intersectional” than we’re not like ~THOSE~ white feminists those ~non-intersectional~ white feminists, but that’s not true. We are white feminists—we have white female privilege. We benefit just as much from white supremacy as anyone else and we are just as able to be racist and exclude, talk over, invalidate or ignore woc.
I used to use this term for myself and I used to use this term to describe “intersections” of my oppressions. But this isn’t right. That’s not how the term was intended. And us white people steal too much shit from POC—especially women of color—ESPECIALLY Black women.
So let’s stop appropriating this term and give it back to the women who it was made for—women of color.
His body isn’t even cold yet and the New York times has already put out a shameful article declaring Nelson Mandela to be an “icon of peaceful resistance”. News outlets around the Western world are hurrying to publish obituaries that celebrate his electoral victory while erasing the protracted and fierce guerrilla struggle that he and his party were forced to fight in order to make that victory possible. Don’t let racist, imperialist liberalism co-opt the legacy of another radical. Nelson Mandela used peaceful means when he could, and violent means when he couldn’t. For this, during his life they called him a terrorist, and after his death they’ll call him a pacifist — all to neutralize the revolutionary potential of his legacy, and the lessons to be drawn from it.