Whitney is for the parents, kids.

I also watched Whitney last night. It will tangle a viewer up! It is a show that is a mess, and a mess that you think you should watch so that you can talk about such messes, but then the mess is so sticky and bad that you think you should leave the room.  Like a lot of things lately, it got me conflicted.

The good news is we have a show about with a central female character.  I was interested in the sitcom to see if it hearkened back to that earlier era of “real lady” sitcoms from the early 1990s, when we had Roseanne and Grace Under Fire.  Sure, the advertising for Whitney was certainly selling a young-ish kind of misery (well parsed by Splitsider here)  instead of the middle-aged ladies above, but the show suggested it would have whiffs of the same autonomy of a complicated woman leading the show, using the gap between idealized femininity and real life as a motor for the show’s comedy and heart.

The bad news is Whitney spends 98% of the show in underwear. Like, for the entire week that they produced the pilot, she went to the costume trailer and maybe asked “still no pants? ” I think there is so much lingerie in the first episode to scream to the audience, “really, it’s okay, we are not that kind of show. Nothing you know will be threatened here. We aren’t a ‘smart’ show. Look at her ass! No challenges, promise!”  And then, the show goes on to suggest that having a girlfriend who eats or who uses mild sarcasm is coded as “loud” and overall an unattractive burden to the poor lout who happens to love her.  We see this as a classic hot chick tries to hit on Whitney’s boyfriend, wondering at his insane choice (in a very attractive successful woman, who seems to maybe slouch more than the hot girl?).

I don’t see this as an attempt to win over a female audience. This is not Girlfriends or any kind of network ready SATC rehashing.  This show is pretending it wants me to watch it, which is why it has such a strange boomerang of irony and generic form (the much commented on laugh track, three cameras, and constant wink). As Troy Patterson said at Slate:

Well isn’t she fresh. And isn’t that stale…There is a peculiar flavor to this cheese. If you caught a snippet of Whitney unawares, you would be forgiven for assuming that it’s one of those shows-within-a-show that exists to caricature bad television.

My guess is that this more akin to network TV branding lineups as “Laughapaloozas” in the early 90s, appropriating what they lately identified as youth culture and using its energy to promise a safe explanation to everybody else. What I’m saying is, I think Whitney’s  target audience are not 30 somethings who identify with the  weak gawk and struggle of commitment and having nice things (really, who has a couch in their bedroom, or a dresser in their walk in closet? And lingerie is expensive, folks). I think it’s for the parents of those 30 somethings (I’m including myself in this 30ish demographic).

This show does shit for women, women in comedy, and women in Hollywood.  But, it does promise our parents that we are loved even if we aren’t married. That our vague professional careers (she is a photographer) are legitimate. That partners with long hair are really nice young men. That our parents’ divorce did affect us, but it didn’t really harm us. Whitney lets parents watch their be-hoodied, belching, whimsical and sloppy ‘untraditional’ kids turn out as conventional and unworrisome as a parent could hope. If your parents watch Two and a Half Men, then I bet they will watch this. And when they do, they will probably talk about you.

This show is going to make it as a generational artifact of what we hope other people are up to.

Yours,

CF

The Leaking Conquest

Dear Millicent,

Hi! Welcome to this new day, one wherein Hollywood and comedians insist they always thought women were funny.  A reviewer on my NPR station said, “I don’t understand what the big deal about  Bridesmaids is. Apatow has always made women the smartest characters in his movies. This time, women are gross. So?” A writer acquaintance who once said “I just don’t write comedy for women,” said with great and serious gusto “Bridesmaids is important for comedy.”

The monsieur I went to see the movie  with was wowed. “It’s so much more than a girl’s comedy,” he said, a huge compliment.  And I hunched over.  I thought of Lindy West. I squinted, trying to think if I would have said the same thing after The Hangover, commending it on being more than a boy’s comedy.  You know the answer.

We are all excited about this movie. I was hoping for this great coming of women in comedy when I saw the trailer, and my fingers are still crossed for the continuation of whatever trend Apatow is building as he also produces Lena Dunham’s HBO show Girls.  I will admit, I got cautious when I saw all the emails and tweets about it being a social responsibility to see this movie.  I worried it was a great viral PR scheme…that Apatow had approached women’s comedy as an act of ego, to play all us feminists and prove us wrong about our criticisms of him.  I like the happy idea that he had a great veil-lifting, and realized the flatness of his female characters, and instantly went out to correct the imbalance that he was part of, and a bit of a mascot for.  But I doubt that.  It’s too perfect. Instead, it seems like another time to type out the cliche’ that I use in almost every post about Hollywood: how nice it must be to have cake and eat it too.  It just seems weird that it is a social responsibility to pay money to prove that a female audience exists (already known). Or to show that women would like more from their onscreen representations (already known).  It wasn’t women’s social responsibility to carry this movie, it was dudes’.  Hollywood needs proof that men will show up for a movie where a woman shits her wedding dress.

Interestingly, the previews at my theater before the show did not promise a continuation of this trend.  Instead, there was an all guy remake of 9 to 5, and a male Freaky Friday about marriage and bachelorhood.

But I sound sour, and Bridesmaids did not leave me sour.  It left me….relevant.  I felt seen.  I felt existed.  Doesn’t that sound crazy? That one dumb movie could do that?  But, watching Wiig work through jealousy and general life-shittiness was wonderful.  The way she talked to herself in her car, the way she had a private world (the cupcake!), the fact that a woman was called an “asshole” and it fit, were all minor revelations of what real people do, including that half of the population, us.  We had a movie soaking in the truth that women are as fucked up as men! Life According to Jim for everyone!

Speaking of that diarrhea scene, I immediately thought of Subashini‘s fantastic take on Awkward Women, which aligns with the pre-Bridesmaids rules for Apatow’s women:

Awkwardness indicates a lack of ordering and policing, but for a woman to relax and slip up means bleeding all over the place, even after the invention of the tampon. To relax and slip up can also mean an unwanted penis inside you, or perhaps a wanted penis, but then again, with undesirable consequences if one is not careful. There is that pesky thing that women have: The Womb. Sex, even when it’s fun, can quickly become unfun with the weight of pregnancy. The potential for a girl or a woman to become a mother is always there, underlying even meaningless sexual intercourse. And mothers are always policing social norms, are they not? The father lays down the rule, but the mother implements the rules. Women just can’t laugh or be awkward. They stand rigid and unbending and unsmiling, like an army of governesses from hell.

Here we have several leaking, unpregnant, unadorable, unrigid,  challenges.  As Subashini goes onto to say, the awkward woman is usually insane, a chaotic threat to world order (hello Nighty Night!).  So, the fact that our women in Bridesmaids shit and puke over every surface they can find in the interestingly pure and patriarchal setting of a bridal shop, is divine.  I said in a recent post that when we see a woman running in a wedding dress, it’s exciting because we see a woman fighting the system.  Here, it changes. When we see a woman shitting in the street in a wedding dress, my fingers are crossed we see a woman shitting on said system.

I will still argue that Bridesmaids is weak sauce compared to the likes of  Pulling and all the other amazing three-dimensional representations of women that have been in no way celebrated the way this Hollywood approved version of things has been.   Nevertheless, Bridesmaids does stand as a great case for more.  The angle of the jokes whispered how much comedy has been lost by not including women’s real perspectives. Examples:

  • The joke of Helen’s full out gown at the engagement party.  I have never seen a visual gown joke in a dude-normative comedy.  It did so much work so fast, and was visually compelling, as well as instantly funny.
  • A mother of 3 boys says “everything is covered in semen. Once, I cracked a blanket in half.” See, it still the same stuff we’re always laughing about, semen, but this time, it’s about the lady’s encounter with it.  It’s a joke that’s hilarious to everybody, and an observation that has been missing because mom’s never get to talk, usually. How have we not heard that before?  It’s a grand, filthy all-inclusive joke. And, it catches men in the self consciousness of their bodily humors in a rare way (I think of it as the male equivalent to the period blood stain in Superbad).   
  • Moms! Wiig’s mother is not a cartoon, but she is unhelpful and wacky like parents are.  I still think the best mother I’ve ever seen is Louie CK’s mom on Louie, but this mom was another beacon of the fact that I was welcome here.  I recognized that woman.  Same with Maya Rudolph’s dad.  It’s always a sign of life when even the minor characters has full plates of dimension, even if it is short work.
Other commendations:
  • Melissa McCarthy stole the show for me.  And while the audience actually squealed “Ewww” when she showed her leg to her love interest, her character was a direct challenge to that “Eww.”  Yes, they have her run first into the restaurant, and she has the hassle of other cheap jokes, but her character is an amazing foil to Wiig’s.  She is successful, and with an unabashed sexual appetite, and an unabashed sense of self.  When she says “I know you couldn’t guess now, but it was hard for me in high school,” she means it.  She in no way considers herself a victim or another person’s joke. She is winning.   She is a model of self-love, and the appropriate agent to point out Wiig’s sadsackery.  And kudos to the costumers for giving her that pearl necklace (and dear lord, why does that feel filthy to type? It really was made of pearls, and a necklace!).  Initially, I thought the necklace was off-base, suggesting a properness that didn’t fit, but as her character gets established, it tidily proves that her success has been there all along.
  • Irish guy from the IT Crowd. Nicely done.
  • Thank you JESUS for a cast of women with bodies.
  • Jealousy, class, money, and the tensions of friendship! Such rich stuff! So immediately connective!
  • That the ultimate “perfect wedding” is still super tacky (lasers! waterfalls! Tim Heidecker!), because weddings are unavoidably so, in one way or another.
My last notes are about nostalgia, which might be our current trend in comedy, and one that I fall for every time.  You bring on Wilson Phillips, and you got me.  And, while I charge Your Highness et al with a great romance for scripts of masculinity from the past, I charge Bridesmaids with enjoying the same, but ladystyle.  Because, when you get right down to it, Bridesmaids is 16 Candles, down to the pink bridesmaids dress, and the love interest (JAKE!), leaning on the car outside of the church.  And, there’s cake.
What did you think, dearest? Is this a moment? A start? An echo that has the power to make a boom?
Yours,
CF

Costume Drama

Dear Millicent,

Our old town got smashed yesterday. Tuscaloosa is a real disaster. Final exams have been canceled, water is being conserved, and people are doing things like picking shards of glass out of their living room walls.  The place, and the reality of what it faces now are too surreal for more words from me. I never loved the city. It deserves homages, and kindness, and repair.

What I want to write to you about today, aside from the terrifying weather of Tuscaloosa (weather that convinced me that all Nature wanted was IN. By way of roof, window, or wind, the outside wanted its shelter back), is, of course, movies.  A certain kind of movie.  A lady’s movie.

This movie is historical, and it tells of how hard it is to have a vagina in history.  These movies are about constraint, voice, and 37 different kinds of fabric.  They are also about teacups, sunlight, moments of natural happiness, and moments of rigid repression. The eye drowns in fabric and rolling land. These movies are sumptuous, sensuous, and all about a woman’s world.   The world in which she is real.  Thus, they are laden with women’s work (more fabric), women’s conversations, and women looking out of windows. There are also seasons.

I’m not bagging on these movies. I happen to love them. I’m not just a sucker for them, I am The Sucker for them.  Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, Jane Campion’s Bright Star, Agniezka Holland’s Washington Square,  Patricia Rozema’s Mansfield Park, all grand costume dramas, mostly directed by a woman, with the original story often by a woman.  We have a new spate of these kinds of stories to goggle: Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre, Bertrand Tavernier’s Princess of Montpensier (from a novel by Madame de LaFayette), and Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff. 

This incarnation of  Jane Eyre captures the nut of this genre, the austerity and sweep of it.  We have an uncompromising  heroine, uncommonly attractive, with a wit that dooms and elevates her.  We have a social structure that is thoroughly fucking her over, and we have a passion that demands a greater world.  Just like the Princess of Montpensier,  Elizabeth Bennett, Fanny Price et al, we have a heroine who simple needs to be seen.  We know from the beginning that if only she was seen, the world would realize the diamond she was.  This is also the plot of Some Kind of Wonderful, which might now count as costume drama out of sheer age (I believe there are jean shorts with a leather heart on the butt?).

The love story that is made in these stories is not about sex, but about voice. Our girl is always loved ultimately for her opinion and mind. Her atypical looks are beautiful, but they distinguish her from all the other dolts out there. When her love finds her beautiful, we know she has been truly seen, and in a way that the other women of the surrounding society are not. The beloved offers agency, a heat, a story, that the mostly female audience adores because it means that we too don’t have to be typical.  It’s proof (or a comfort) that the male gaze can be interrupted, that some other sense organs are used.

Especially because the men chasing our women usually like the sound of her voice.  Her words challenge him, and again separate her from everybody else. He can suffer her company, gladly.  She speaks, and he listens.

Both Jane and the Princess (who is more of a hot dish than an “austere oddity”) have to tackle the truth of love vs. men’s worship.  They have to maneuver in a society that completely controls them. The Princess is always an object foremost, as her father inspects her naked body before her wedding night (which makes for an incredible scene of the kind that only historical dramas can offer), as her husband is outraged that she has learned to write.  Jane has no control over her future (until she does), and often laments how she would like to be a man.  And even when their men are good, they are kind of shitty, because the system is so rotten.

With Meek’s Cutoff, we have a costume drama of different sorts–there is fabric and stitching, and plenty of full skirts blowing in the wind (more rolling hills, too), but the women are not as grand. Their hands are dirty, but the same system is fucking them over. The  men don’t tell them much, they are at complete mercy of their environment, and are often together as they stitch and wash and cook.  It’s a beautiful movie, and the word that mostly comes to mind is exposure.  It is not about love, but it is about the same thing that Jane is feeling as she runs on the moor, and what the Princess feels in the one brief horseride she gets to have by herself.  There are not many lines in Meek’s Cutoff, but in one of the longer strings of dialogue, a character says that women are made of chaos, and men of destruction.  The movie ends in a balance of both, with Michelle William’s character claiming a kind of voice (she is recognized as a leader of the group), and an unknown, wild outcome.

We often talk about messy women here–about narratives where women are allowed to be chaotic and not punished for it.  We have also talked about corsets here, and I wonder if these costume dramas often rely on all the bustles and whatnot because they shape the chaos–the cliche of a woman clawing at her corset and becoming “uncaged” is old.  And an unempowered soul is in an existential chaos.  As Jane tears at her wedding dress, I thought of all the other gowns in the wild, and why the image of a running bride is so pleasing.  Her particular dress means capture (her wedding bonnet is the most captury hat/cage ever), and by outrunning it, she escapes her first life with Rochester.  And when we see a bride running away, we see a woman taking on the system.

And this is why I think I love costume dramas of this particular variety. The world they create has such a clear definition of the suckball of patriarchy (women don’t get to choose their husbands! women don’t get to talk! they aren’t allowed to travel alone!), and they provide so many fascinating accessories to time and class that we get to enjoy the dissection of something that, closer, would be uncomfortable.  We can watch an Elizabeth Bennett or Jane Eyre rebel against their world, and we can watch them be heartily rewarded for their steadfastness (hello long lost rich uncles! hello Pemberley!).  We know they are held back (look at their skirts for goddsakes), but it’s kind of nice (peau de soie!), that we can languish in the frustration and its dismantling. As they are seen and heard, we get to play with the restraining structures that are still around today (which all of these directors have done, heavily, and often beautifully).  It is a fantasy, but not as much of love, as of agency.   Of borders. Of corsets, time, and swathes of meadows. I think we love watching people get forcibly married because the tension it brings up is scary, and fascinating, and usually, very well-dressed.

Which brings us to the Royal Wedding. I’m not saying this is a Queen Margot affair, as much as the fact that it is a real live costume drama. Why should we watch it? First off, the fabric. There will be mounds of it, and it will be a delight to the eye. It will provide us all the silhouettes and gatherings of tulle we have ever wanted. And then, we get to watch the system, a ritual of the same stuff that all those costume drama movies are talking about, in its real and most public form.  Royalty still exists, and we get to watch them in real life.  Monarchy isn’t delightful, but it is a system of built on the benefits of patriarchy and colonization and empire and overall oppression.  It’s weird, and full of the stuff of movies.  I think of the Princess of Montpensier (set in the 16th century) and then the history of Diana, less than a generation ago.  How the aim for these stories, the ones that we watch over and over again, is the same.  Our heroine is no longer an angel, an urchin, or a saving grace. She has no pedestal (but does have lots of cash), and is celebrated as a real, pulsing, speaking thing. “Altogether a human being.”

Here’s to the happy couple, and to all the happy heroines,

Yours,

CF


A Thousand Ways to be Pissed Off: The Green Hornet

Dear Millicent,

Yesterday I had a kind of attack in the movie theater. It was like all my talk about the protagonist’s diet became real, finding me in a reckoning of blood pressure and sweaty hands. This movie was the straw that broke my hump with its the insistence that nobody but white dudes have full measure in the world.   It was a blindness spiral. I had to become an angry humorless feminist because they so severely reduced everybody except the lucky white male protagonist. This must happen in all kinds of movies, but this was the one for me that did it. I couldn’t see anymore because they couldn’t see, but I had given 11 dollars to be there, and all I got from them was a big fat dose of ire.

We talk a lot here about the rarity of the three dimensional female character in media, but that rarity extends to most groups who aren’t of the privileged white dude variety. The Green Hornet has become the blazing example of how bad of a thud that loss makes.

I get that The Green Hornet is a spoof, and enjoys poking at the rigidity of the super-hero genre.  After the first scene of the movie, I was in, happy to see a script (and a Franco) making fun of the stuff of movie villains, calling out wardrobe, names, and secret hideaways. I thought we were about to watch a smart movie with a lot of action and some 3-D icing on top. It seemed like a nice way to go braindead for the afternoon.

Instead, you get a tour of how great it is to be a privileged white guy. The movie could practically be a manual for how to move around with privilege and power built by race and gender. Seth Rogen, as the Hornet, becomes our very lucky white guy/textbook example of power and privilege. He has inherited his fortune from the empire building of his dad. He parties and likes to ruin things with abandon (there is a distinct joy in smashing plasma TVs in the movie).  He gets a super powerful job because of his family. He has little regard for how his actions affect others. He’s stupid, but it doesn’t matter. He never gets called on any of his trespasses.  The world changes on his time alone–it’s only when he realizes things matter that they actually matter.

Here’s a more of a breakdown of the roles in the movie:

Lucky White Guys:  the hornet, the hornet’s emotionally cold dad, the district attorney. The all wear suits and have huge offices with couches. They have POWER.

The criminals: corner criminals are all black or latino men.  The kingpin is named Chudnofsky and fights with Armenian and Korean kingpins, so all crime is controlled by foreigners.  Sexy assassin types are provided by Asian women who work in a massage and nail parlor. The one white criminal is a sweaty guy who makes crystal meth.

Edward James Olmos belaboredly announces in some rough exposition that he was Rogen’s father’s “most trusted friend for 46 years.” I think he starts as the chauffeur in the early scenes of Rogen’s childhood, but in present day is the savvy news editor who knows what is good for the paper, if only idiot Rogen would listen to him.  We all know he should be the real director of the paper, but Rogen takes that desk after his father’s death, and only gives it over to Olmos at the end as if bestowing a grand gift to a grateful man.  And, we are not supposed to be happy for Olmos, but happy for Rogen in that he has learned something and become a better man.

Kato: His character is from Shanghai, and he provides all of the action in the movie. He knows martial arts, builds machines, appreciates good coffee, and drives his motorcycle really fast.  In one way, it’s great to see an Asian man have a major role in a movie. But he has to be a servant for a man who uses all his ideas and takes credit for his successes. And the amount of jokes relying on the word “little” is ridiculous. He is constantly called “my little sidekick,” or “you are so cute and little,” as Rogen tries to insult/feminize him, or when Rogen is absentmindedly just sounding like an asshole. Plus, there is an amazing Devil Wears Prada moment when Rogen snaps back all of the cozy “we are brothers” friendship shit that he and Kato have been enjoying and reduces Kato back to his proper servant status (he asks him to get a coffee, something, that when he recruited him, he said Kato should never have to do again, ever), all because Kato dared talk to a girl he likes. The movie plays with the idea that the two men are equals, but Rogen’s character only lets that balance exist when it suits him,

Women:  Women in no way exist in this movie. We have: the Asian assassins (who walk around in the movie for about 30 seconds, but with daggers and lace!), the framed picture of the Green Hornet’s dead mother, one female editor who is at a meeting, girls at parties around Rogen, the girl he makes out with in his father’s cars, and Cameron Diaz, who is harassed so intensely throughout the piece that I wanted to slap everybody. Diaz shows up mid movie as a temp. She is all sweetness, even wearing a prim linen dress. Rogen refers to her instantly as “the hottie mctottie” who is quickly hired because of her fineness.  She never blinks at how he talks to her, and graciously takes the job.  During her interview, he asks her age and finds 35 to be ridiculously old.  The only chance her character has is to say that she doesn’t want to talk about it, which is barely respected.  Of course, she turns out to be smart and really good at research, so they rely on her for all facts about what the Hornet should do next.  They both hit on her constantly, fight over her, and she gets fired for the rumor that she slept with one of them.  Then they show up at her door and want refuge, calling her the “mastermind” of their escapades, as if that is some gesture at giving her character some actual value. You could take her out of the movie and nothing about the plot would be altered, and she is treated solely as a prop who wears very short shorts when at home alone. She does utter the words “I will sue you for sexual harrassment,” but it is only after Rogen has verbally harrassed her, fired her for an alleged sexual encounter, tried to walk into her house without invitation, leaned in for a kiss, so it all just seems like the worst.

The movie is also full of lines like “don’t be a pussy,” “you were penisless,” “girls are annoying, thank goodness there aren’t any here,” “this day is going to be balls” (a good thing), “I like my women with balls,” etc.

As a special companion to all of this, there is also an extreme thread of homophobia throughout. When Kato is introduced as “my man,” both men stumble on explaining that it’s not meant romantically.  This joke comes up often usually ending with the awkward assurance that it wasn’t meant “in that way.”

With every group shit on except the lovable goofy lead, I couldn’t take it anymore. I am fatigued. I know the Green Hornet is supposed to be an asshole. That might be why he manages to insult everybody except the other white men in the movie, and while I’d love to give the script this credit, I can’t do it.  It’s not calling out privilege, it’s celebrating it.  Nothing in the movie calls the Hornet on his assness. When he lashes out at Kato for hitting on Diaz, he lies and said he did it to keep their cover in the office. Kato accepts this as a reason, and though he warns him never to talk to him that way again, he lets the beef go. When the Hornet demands that he run the show, even though this ends up risking tons of lives, it’s fine. Nobody gets mad at him. When he fires Diaz for something she never did and he could never legally fire her for, she simply takes her job back with twice the pay, because he asked nicely and promised never to do it again.  The classic transformation of jerk to mature hero here isn’t even about all of his assholery. It all boils down to the dumb daddy issue that he thought his dad was a bad guy, but he really wasn’t.  The Hornet doesn’t have the epiphany that he mistreats others, he has the narcisstic awakening that his inheritance is something to be proud of, not pissed on.

And with all this, I feel broken. This movie is about white guys for white guys, and is a shining example of how clumsy and singular, and powerful, that frame of reference is. It erases all of us. I told Mr. Carla Fran as we left something that I am sure has been said thousands of times by thousands of people: I just want to see a mainstream big-budget movie that admits I exist.

Yours,

CF

Nuts

Not even When Harry Met Sally!

Nuts! And Mr. Fox totally fails here, as you noted.

[via johnaugust.com]

The Yellow Screen

Dearest,

The conversation about women in Hollywood has been LARGE–over the past few months it has become a mainstay, perhaps as part of the ramp up to the Oscars.  I now know how many female directors there are, how few female writers, the installation that is Nancy Meyers, etc.  This kind of prominent conversation is good, and being savvy about the entertainment industry (which I certainly spend more hours with than any other intellectual pursuit or activist cause), feels quite empowering…I care about international maternal healthcare, but pressuring change in the high-monied, massively influential biz almost seems more important.  Skewed? Probs.  Picking Paramount over mamas doesn’t sound right.  The fantasy in my head is that if the deep pocketed studios reach a tipping point and respect women, then all other successes will follow. 

Which brings me to Charlotte Perkins Gilman.  I was reading her explanation for writing “The Yellow Wallpaper,” which basically says she went mad in the confines of domestic ladyhood, and got her pen out as a cure.  Totes feminist, and now a classic teaching text.  The same goes for Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (often taught because of it’s unabashed perspective of the female experience, and again, it’s a short novel), and “The Storm.”  These texts are celebrated as examples of women claiming their voices, but ultimately, they get stuck there.  They lean so heavily on the great revelation that a woman is three-dimensional, they become cardboard cutouts of desire, empowerment, and frustration.  They don’t live in the canon in the same space as Virgina Woolf, who has a seat at the table as big as Joyce’s and Faulkner’s. 

And so, as we are in full-on Oscar season, and Kathryn Bigelow is the favorite, with her giant gold Director’s Guild of America plate shining so brightly.  Unlike Perkins and Chopin, she is not relegated to telling women-only tales, and I hope there is a renaissance abrew (or a naissance if it didn’t happen in the first place?).  The trick is to not make this a quick trend that can be marked as the time women said things in Hollywood–an easy reference, teachable moment. 

Gilman and Chopin probably deserve more; they were bold women who wrote daring things, but they are also a warning. My fingers are crossed that Hollywood gets its Woolf on, its Munro, its Rhys, its Smith.  Bigelow could be just that.

Yours,

CF