I went to a preview screening of Sunshine Cleaners the other day with a guy friend. The film was pretty good (not nearly as good or as funny as Little Miss Sunshine, but still one of the better films I've seen lately). This post, however, is not about the film, so much as it's about what my friend said BEFORE we got to the film. He informed me that he assumed it would be a "chick flick" because the poster had two girls on it.
I'm sorry, but if we assume a movie starring women can only be enjoyed by lady-folk, that's just chauvinist shit-headery (No offense meant to my friend. He is very nice, but the victim of a sexist culture that devalues the feminine and everything associated with it). After the movie was over, he admitted it CLEARLY was not a chick flick. In fact, it's a quite gritty film that addresses mortality, blood, guts, infidelity, sexual experimentation, and much more. Why do we assume female leads can't deal with dark themes or big questions? Why do we assume if a film stars a woman, it has to be superficial, and that just because Russell Crow is in it, it's not trash? What's this rule out society seems to have, that the fewer women who are featured in meaningful roles, the more likely a film is to win an Oscar?
I'm sick of white men being seen as the universal norm capable of representing everyone, when women and people of colour are seen as only representing narrow little themes most people can't relate to. Nirmal Puwar was right in "Space Invaders." Everyone who is not a white dude is sidelined in mainstream culture. We chicks and people of colour only represent marginal subjectivities that aren't worthy of mainstream attention, it would seem that many people still believe.
So, here's your radical feminist act of the month. Take a guy to see a movie starring women/rent one, and make him watch it and realize they can get something out of films like Rachel Getting Married, Notes on a Scandal, Enchanted April, Amelie, Huit Femmes, Like Water for Chocolate, My Summer of Love, Sophie's Choice, The Women (the original version, not the shite 2008 one) and more. Take a dominant white dude and force him to realize movies about girls can be profound too.