A Lesson in Class & Respect and The Definition of some Lost Words

7 May

So here we are yet again, so unfamiliar with one another; the consequence of my procrastination and taking over a week to blog.  I’m entirely to blame, partially due to my hectic work schedule lately and how tired it’s made me – caring for young children is tiring work, the kind where your arms hurt like you’ve been to the gym – and also my sudden writers’ block.  I have a list of blog topics to eventually get to, but I really need to be inspired by an idea to write anything with substance, and lately none of the ideas I was coming up with were inspiring me.  Hopefully you can appreciate that I’d rather write a quality blog that you and I can both truly be proud of, rather than write just for the sake of writing.  Am I correct in saying so?  Gosh, I have no idea why I’m being so formal right now.  It really does feel like we’re strangers.  Okay, let’s get reacquainted over a topic that you should all know I’m extremely passionate about, the equality and encouragement of women in the media.  

First off, for those of you who don’t read Bitch Flicks, you really should. They do a fantastic job of educating both men and women on the importance of an accurate portrayal of women in film.  I even admit that for many years, while respecting and adoring strong women, I didn’t do my part in taking the time to understand that hardly were these women evident in the films that I watched.  Let alone that these strong, respectable women were hardly even given opportunities behind the camera.  I don’t believe that just because people are unfamiliar with the lack of women in film or how terribly we’re portrayed means that they’re ignorant to the facts.  I believe people just haven’t realized it because there’s been no need to acknowledge something that in theory doesn’t quite seem wrong.  And sites like Bitch Flicks successfully bring up the discussion of the inaccurate portrayal of women in film so that in the future you’re more aware of what you’re watching.  In short, Bitch Flicks is wonderful and you should all check it out.  

As I was saying, I was reading this week’s Bitch Flicks Weekly Picks (their selection of articles they enjoyed and are promoting that week) and was horrified at one of the articles I read.  Melissa Silverstein of   Women and Hollywood discussed how female movie reviewer Amy Nicholson wrote a somewhat negative review of The Avengers.  Naturally this led a full on attack at Nicholson.  After reading some of the comments towards Nicholson and then the comments attached to Silverstein’s post, not only am I disgusted but I’d like to offer an opinion that you can choose whether or not you’d like to read. However, be warned, if you don’t like MY opinion and you decide to comment on such, I don’t play nice.  You’re entitled to YOUR opinion, but just know I don’t stand for intolerance or rudeness, and there is a way to voice your opinion without being a jackass.  

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Avengers assembled and they kicked ass!

Being a woman who identifies as a bit of a nerd – yes I’ve read comics, idolize Batman, collect Captain America merchandise and am still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts – I literally counted down the days until The Avengers came out.  And I LOVED it.  I thought it was the perfect mix of humor and action, while the story stayed true to the characters that we’ve grown to love whether it be through reading comics or watching the buildup of films.  That being said, I noticed that the film wasn’t exactly pro-feminist, which is odd considering Joss Whedon directed and wrote the screenplay.  Though stuff like this bothers me and I’ve made a vow to honor the female characters in my films, being a movie lover of all genres, I tend to just ignore any critiques I could make concerning the portrayal of women.  In short, I can love a movie and in no way does that mean that everything is done accurately.  So yes, The Avengers had its faults but I genuinely loved it.  Obviously Amy Nicholson did not feel the same way but guess what?  It’s HER opinion.  

I can’t quite understand why people can’t grasp what an opinion is (you’re welcome).  To me, an opinion is the most originality we have left.  No one is original any more, and even most of our opinions are a collaboration of thoughts we’ve accumulated from what we’ve read, seen or heard.  In short, other people’s thoughts.  So to go against the grain and have your OWN thoughts and ideas, your own opinion is beautiful.  People should respect that.  And yes, you are subject to your own opinion as well but this is where manners come in (did you not know what those were either?).  Saying “I disagree with you and here’s why…” is a very polite way to voice your opinion; throwing in words like ‘bitch’ and saying ‘go back to the kitchen’ is sexist, immature, disgusting, volatile, repulsive, rude and makes you look like the scum of the Earth.  In fact, the kind who hides behind computers to tell someone off for having an OPINION.  This person did not murder or rape another person, nor have they committed any other crime or even said anything remotely offensive to you.

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Obviously! And one does not simply not like Lord of the Rings.

I’ll admit, I’ve met people who have not liked Lord of the Rings (what the hell, right?! Don’t even get me started..), or Harry Potter (silly muggles), and recently even a non-superhero fan (SERIOUSLY?!?!).  And when I hear that these people think negatively of something I am so passionate about, it hurts a little, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t do everything in my power to try and change their minds and I’ll even make the typical “Do you live under a rock?!” or “Clearly something’s missing there..” jokes.  But the point is, clearly, this just isn’t their cup of tea.  Yes, I’m a little upset and may even question my judgement in friends if they don’t understand how bloody amazing and life changing Harry Potter was for me, but their opinion isn’t a personal assault against me.  It gets personal if they start dissing me, in which case they’re in the wrong and I reserve the right to maturely have a controlled “discussion” on how Middle-earth IS realistic.  Otherwise, we all need to understand how an opinion is ALWAYS valid, and while we may retort an opinion we must do so with dignity and class.  

I’m not familiar with Amy Nicholson’s previous reviews and whether or not she has a bias against action films, but what I do know is chances are there are people who not only read Nicholson’s reviews but also usually agree with them.  And stop me if I’m wrong, but generally a review is designed so that instead of spending an arm and a leg to see a movie you’re not 100% positive about, you can read a review from someone you trust and typically agree with. So if Nicholson has supporters who generally agree with her and she’s just provided an honest review, those readers may have just saved their mortgage instead of watching a movie they probably wouldn’t have enjoyed.  

In all honesty, it doesn’t even seem like Amy knows her Marvel facts.  At one point she comments on how there’s no character development, but fans knows this film works perfectly even with a large cast because Marvel was able to lay the groundwork, character development and all in the five lead-up films.  She even critiques the most EPIC battle of all time for taking place in downtown Manhattan and not having more ambition, to which I say, Manhattan was made for smashing (somewhere a terrorist alert is going off).  While I wasn’t pleased with the review myself, what disturbed me even more were the comments.  

Men AND women posted harsh comments on how only men should review ‘boycentric’ films, calling Nicholson cruel names and sending ill wishes.  I’d like to think that it isn’t because Nicholson is a woman, but rather because they didn’t agree with her review.  However, this isn’t the case, one woman said that Nicholson gave women a bad name, while a few men made ‘stay in the kitchen’ comments.  EXCUSE ME?! Seriously dude it’s 2012, not our fault you didn’t learn how to cook.  Image

As mentioned, I’m a HUGE comic book and superhero lover and most of my girl friends are too, so let me just add that I don’t believe in ‘boycentric’ films any more.  There are still chick flicks but that’s not our fault, it’s just because most guys just aren’t into a sappy love story (some are, and that’s okay too!), but ‘boycentric’ films no longer exist.  More and more women love action films with little substance and lots of explosions.  I’m not surprised, it’s 2012 and as we already know Hollywood tends to be a man’s world so it makes perfect sense that women get used to these types of films and have started to enjoy them.  It can’t go unnoticed that these so called ‘boycentric’ films are the ones that top the box offices, and that’s because both genders enjoy them. I would have liked to have seen The Avengers passing the $200 million mark this weekend without women in attendance.  Good luck with that.  

Anyway, as you probably remember, I lose focus easily while writing.  So back on point, as much as I’d like to believe the fact that Amy Nicholson is a woman isn’t the reason for the backlash, it’s definitely part of the ammunition being spat at her.  And that’s what’s wrong, how does the fact that she’s a woman have any part in the reasoning behind her review?  Maybe it does, but who are you to make that call?  And to everyone who defended Nicholson, many men used the fact that they were feminists and so would stand up for any woman even if she were guilty as an excuse.  Sorry, but that’s complete bullshit.  Maybe I’m naive, but I’d like to believe that feminist women would never promote a woman just because she’s a woman.  I mean, what would that say about women if we were to stand behind Casey Anthony just because she has a vagina?  I’d like to believe, content and substance has everything to do with it.  Victimizing another person for their opinion is wrong, and that’s what we’re supporting, not the fact that she’s a woman.  It just so happens the issue becomes a feminist one because a bunch of assholes need to bring up that her opinion is based on the fact that she’s a woman.  I’m starting to think the point of this whole blog is people are ignorant.  

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Maybe you’ll grow out of it…

Okay, so maybe you skipped everything because it’s looking like this is going to be ridiculously long, so here’s a bit of a summary:

I don’t think Amy Nicholson was being bashed for being a woman, but when given the chance people like to use what they believe are our so called ‘weaknesses’ against us.  Without a doubt, Nicholson being a woman was used against her.  And not only is that wrong, it’s weak.  What’s more, we shouldn’t slam people for their opinions. There is no gray here, victimizing someone for their opinion is simply black or white and in no way is it okay.  To me that is the biggest issue here.  How pathetic is it that we can’t safely share our thoughts?  

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Impressed.

All of that being said, I do have one last thing I’d like to mention, – I know, I know!  This is taking forever and most likely at this point my grammar is terrible and my whole point doesn’t even make sense any more. What can I say?  It’s starting to get late and I’m tired. – just an OPINION I’d like to share.  I noticed some comments on Melissa Silverstein’s post on the matter turned into a short lived discussion on The Dark Knight Rises versus The Avengers.  While I’m much more a Marvel fan over DC, Batman can do no wrong, and even better, Christopher Nolan is a genius.  So to whoever said Batman is boring…sorry, some people just weren’t made to understand it’s brilliance.  This is a risky bet, but I think The Dark Knight Rises will beat out The Avengers at the box office; the finale of one of the best told superhero series of all time? Uh, hello!  While The Avengers is light and comical and full of explosions, the kind of movie you bring your kids to. TDKR is dark, twisty, relevant, smart and the kind of movie that makes people shout out in the theater (“F Yeah, Bane!”).  It’s not even a fair competition.  Feel free to voice your opinion. 😉

 

Hope you have a wonderful day.  

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