Metawitches Guidelines for Spotting Misogyny vs Female Equality in Entertainment and Media

This is the basic list of questions we ask ourselves while consuming media to help us determine if we’re seeing women being treated fairly or not. It’s not a yes or no checklist, or an easy, one sentence test, like the Bechdel test. But then, Alison Bechdel never meant for her test to become a widely used standardized instrument. This test requires some thinking about what you’re viewing. Misogyny is often subtle, and it’s pervasive. It’s easy to miss with one, casual viewing, but the message still gets into our heads and affects us.

That’s why these are guidelines, rather than a test. Some of these answers will be subjective, and reasonable people can disagree. We’re talking about art and the interpretation of art, after all. It also takes practice to start seeing things like camera angles and positioning, rather than letting it fly by. Hardly any of us can always spot gaslighting, especially when it’s being done by the writers and producers instead of the characters. These guidelines are just aspects of entertainment to keep in mind while viewing, to become more aware of what you’re seeing.

I (Metacrone) started working on this list in the late 80s, and it’s slowly grown. It’s still a work in progress, just like the entertainment industry. There are very few works that would pass every question with flying colors. Figure out how much you can live with watching, and the level that makes you take action. It’s okay to just watch and enjoy the show sometimes without feeling guilty, too. But, the more you can recognize the issues with entertainment and speak out, even if it’s only to one person, the more of an effect we all have on the entertainment industry.

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Movie Review: Ingrid Goes West

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Ingrid Goes West * 2017 * Rated R * 1 Hour 38 Minutes

At one point in Ingrid Goes West, Dan Pinto, played by O’Shea Jackson Jr., describes the life cycle of superhero crime fighting to Aubrey Plaza’s Ingrid Thorburn: Batman arrests people, takes them to Arkham Asylum, they possibly get out a few months later, and the cycle continues. It’s not that different from the cycle of internet fame and stalking, as the movie shows us.

We meet Ingrid as she’s sitting in a car outside of a wedding, watching the bride’s instagram feed in real time and crying. After a few minutes of this, Ingrid gets out of the car and storms toward the reception tent. She pulls out a can of mace and sprays it in the bride’s eyes, yelling that it’s payback for not inviting her to the wedding.

The groom tackles Ingrid as she tries to escape, and we see her next in a mental ward. We find out that she wasn’t even friends with the bride or groom, instead the bride had commented on her instagram feed once, and that was enough to trigger Ingrid to stalk her and consider them friends.

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Movie Review: Wind River

 

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Wind River * 2017 * Rated R * 1 Hour 47 Minutes

I have very mixed feelings about Wind River. On the one hand, it’s beautifully made, starring a talented group of some of my favorite actors, and tells a compelling story. On the other hand, the story is about the epidemic of sexual assault and violence against Native American women, yet the voices of these women are hardly heard. The story is told from an overwhelmingly male point of view, and the two main characters are white.

Wind River takes place on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Jeremy Renner plays Cory Lambert, a US Fish and Wildlife Service hunter and tracker who works on the reservation. His ex-wife, with whom he has a son, is a Native American from the reservation. They also had a teenage daughter who died mysteriously three years prior to the movie.

As he’s hunting a mountain lion that’s teaching her cubs to hunt livestock, Cory tracks bloody human footprints in the snow to the body of 18 year old Native American woman Natalie Hanson. Natalie was the best friend of Cory’s daughter Emily, so he recognizes the body, and reports her death to the tribal police, headed by Graham Greene as Ben.

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The Glass Castle: Movie Review

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OMG, it’s a movie review!!! They do exist! I didn’t want to frighten y’all, so I put it over on WitchyRamblings, with the review of the book of the same name.

Excerpt:

(Not Spoiler Free)

The Glass Castle is a new film based on journalist Jeannette Walls 2005 memoir of the same name. It was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who also wrote the film along with Andrew Lanham, and Marti Noxon. Brie Larson stars as adult Jeannette, Woody Harrelson as her father, Rex Walls, and Naomi Watts plays her mother, Rose Mary Walls.

The film tells the story of the family life of the Walls, with a focus on Jeannette’s relationship with her father during her childhood and young adulthood. They begin as a close knit, but complicated, family who spent the first 10 years of Jeannette’s life constantly moving around the southwest.

Rex was a dreamer and nonconformist who loved his children, but was also an alcoholic and gambler who couldn’t hold a job. Rose Mary was an artist who saw the unique beauty in the world but was lacking in affection and the ability to care for her children on a day to day basis. Between them, they gave their children an early childhood filled with adventure and magic, as well as poverty and chaos…

Read more at The Glass Castle Movie Review

We Take a Break from Our Normal Programming for an Important PSA from Samantha Bee about Sexual Harassment [Updated]

Important News for Men

Anyone who has actually listened to actresses and other women in the entertainment industry knows that the sexual harassment that’s currently creating a scandal in Hollywood and (hopefully) ending careers of powerful executives has been going on since the film and music industries began in the early 20th century.

BUT MEN DON’T GET IT.

10/20/17: There have been several new developments in this story. More after the jump.

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We Take a Break from Our Normal Programming for an Important PSA from Samantha Bee

Important News for Men

Anyone who has actually listened to actresses and other women in the entertainment industry knows that the sexual harassment that’s currently creating a scandal in Hollywood and (hopefully) ending careers of powerful executives has been going on since the film and music industries began in the early 20th century.

BUT MEN DON’T GET IT.

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Role Models for Girls: The Good, the Evil, and the Frozen

 

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Or, Why Do Little Girls have to Choose Between Being Good and Being Powerful?

I was never much for Disney princesses growing up. None of them ever spoke to me. I was more into characters like Simba from Lion King. I suppose, for whatever reason, I was more concerned with the personality and journey of the character than their gender. Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Ariel…none of them did anything for me. I don’t even remember thinking they were particularly pretty. I liked Megara from Hercules a little, but I was more about Pegasus, Hercules, and Hades in that movie. The complex characters with clear goals and inner journeys were always the ones who appealed to me. (And animals. Being an animal makes a big difference to me.)

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Joss Whedon’s Ex-Wife Reveals That He Is a Hypocrite Who Gaslighted Her for 15 Years

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I Am Not Shocked at All

On Sunday, while I was traveling and wasting my life explaining my issues with the Frozen adaptation, Kai Cole, Joss Whedon’s ex-wife and partner of almost 20 years, published an open essay explaining the reasons for their divorce. Turns out Whedon cheated on his wife for most of their marriage and lied to his wife about it for the entire time. He had affairs with the actresses he worked with, other co-workers, fans, and friends. Never mind the dubious nature of Whedon sleeping with fans who worshiped him and actresses who worked for him. All the while, he was also presenting himself to the world as a champion of women, as someone who was fighting for women’s rights. A woman’s right to be used by a powerful man was what he meant, apparently.

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Why I Think “Ghost in the Shell” Is Racist As F*ck, But I’m Still Planning To See It

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Since I heard about the extremely controversial casting of Scarlett Johansson in “Ghost in the Shell,” I’ve been about as enraged by it as anyone. At first, I resolved not to see the film in protest. As a woman, I understand how meaningful it can be to see yourself represented in mainstream media. It makes you feel seen and accepted by your society, your people. It makes you feel like an equal and someone who matters. And as a lover of women in general, I don’t want to see any kind of woman shut out of our culture’s media. Every kind of woman, no matter what she looks like or how old she is or where she comes from or who she’s attracted to or what she believes in, deserves recognition and acceptance.

The film is nauseatingly racist. In addition to the blatant racism of casting a white woman in an originally Asian female role, it reportedly attempted to yellow face some of its extras, and possibly even Johansson herself.

I had a friend once who was half Chinese and half Scottish. She was outgoing, excitable, charming, feminine, and beautiful. We took ballroom dance classes together, and that was where I first realized how marginalized Asian women are. The men looked at her like she was a sex toy – old, often married men and this 14 year old girl. They flirted with her and ogled her. She was their favorite dance partner, and it had nothing to do with her dancing ability. Her personality had quite a bit to do with it, but I’m also quite certain that her race made them feel much more confident in treating her like she existed purely for their pleasure.

I often get ads for Asian women from dating sites. I get those more than any other dating site ad. I’ve seen statistics that Asian women are the most fetishized women in America. What comes with that fetishization? Viewing them as non-human.

Which is why it was so deeply offensive for this film’s producers to take an iconic, inspiring female character like Major Motoko Kusanagi and make her the default woman that we always see on our screens, rather than an underrepresented minority who deserve to see themselves as these inspiring people.

But despite feeling so strongly about that, I also couldn’t ignore that it was a female lead, who is meant to carry the film. Now, I don’t mean to say that it is REMOTELY okay that they whitewashed this character. But I kept thinking, how often do we have a female lead in a big-budget, mainstream cyberpunk film? A woman starring in an action film is unusual enough, but what’s even more unusual is a story that focuses on the humanity, or lack thereof, of a female cyborg. The cyborg trope and the question of whether cyborgs and human-like robots should be treated as equal humans has been so deeply explored within the science fiction genre that I’m sick of contemplating those questions. (I’m a sci fi baby.) It’s a very unique way to explore the human condition, and relevant to our modern world.

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#Oscars So Sexist

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That’s the hashtag that’s everywhere today, right? No, I didn’t think so. I mean, Patricia Arquette didn’t say anything to offend people by suggesting that women’s rights are as important as other causes, and the wrong movie was originally given the big award, so, as far as I can tell, virtually no one noticed that approximately THREE women gave acceptance speeches last night, and not many more won awards, even as part of a group. It was wonderful to see the diversity in the audience, as far as race and country of origin were concerned. But the women in the audience were either actresses, or plus ones. Very few were nominees for anything other than an acting award, and even fewer won. Among those who won as part of a group, almost none gave the acceptance speech. The speeches were given by the men.

Under the cut, the actual statistics on the gender of the winners and nominees.

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