Fave Feminist/Least Favorite Anti-feminist films

In the interest of further procrastination, I urge you STRONGLY to visit Radar’s list of the most misogynistic films of the 2000s. Done? Good.

Now, I want you to visit feministing.com ‘s discussion of the list and the numerous posts about people’s favorite pro-feminism/pro-woman films. Done? Good.

Now, please share your faves (feminist films), and your least faves (anti-feminist films), whether or not you agreed with the list, your thoughts on the film industry in general, or whatever the hell you want!

Here’s a list of my favorite pro-woman films:

1) Songcatcher. (Smart female musicologist in the early 1900s goes into the mountains after being denied a position at her university. There, she discovers that these really cool folk songs have been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries, and starts to record the music. Plus, there are some lesbian schoolteachers!)

2) Much Ado About Nothing. (Emma Thompson rocks as Beatrice–and talks back to the skeezy Kenneth Branagh! Maybe this isn’t a feminist film, but I dig it, and it’s got a pretty awesome heroine!)

3) The River Wild. (Meryl Streep kicks Kevin Bacon’s ass and can kayak like no other. I think I watched this movie about 10 times when it came out, but I haven’t seen it since I was about 9–man, I want to see it again!)

4) Contact. (Jodie Foster rocks the science world. As does William Fichtner. This movie even makes Matthew McConaughey likable.)

5) The Contender. (Examines all the crap a woman has to go through to be appointed Vice President.)

Now, for the least favorite anti-woman films:

1) Torture porn, torture porn, torture porn–I hate torture porn! (In case you don’t know the term, it’s basically Saw, Hostel, or anything else that finds torturing people (esp. women) amusing.)

2) MASH–Now, MASH is a great anti-war flick, and I love Robert Altman–but the scenes with “Hot Lips” always make me so angry. It’s a surprisingly misogynistic film. (Is one allowed to like a misogynistic film if it’s a ‘product of the times’? I think maybe you can, as long as you are not afraid to call it misogynistic and look at the prejudices behind it . . . any thoughts?)

3) Grease. It started off promising, but it totally lost me when Olivia Newton-John dresses up in the way John Travolta wants her to without expecting him to compromise at all. (And the sequel also has the horrible song: “Reproduction–Why do Girls Always Say No?” . . . *shudder*)

4) Gone With the Wind. I have serious problems w/ this film both in terms of gender and racial relations. (I much prefer The Wind Done Gone! Alice Randall rocks!) In particular, the notion that the savage kiss forced upon Scarlett by Rhett is “romantic” really wigs me out.

5 ) Because I Said So. In addition to being one of the worst movies ever made (I had to turn it off halfway through), this movie turned such great actresses as Diane Keaton and Lauren Graham into whiny, nosy, stereotypical, silly shadows of human beings. It was lazy writing–and the fact that the lazy person’s default for comedy is a set of obnoxious marriage-obsessed stupid women frightens me. Can you tell I hate this movie?

Ok. Your turn!

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14 Responses

  1. Pro-Woman Films:

    1.) Home Videos with Lisa, a Kick Ass Mom
    Because my single mother kicks ass at raising a daughter and being a woman in the military in the late 70s…when it was not so popular. She has lots of stories about what it was like to be a female in such a hyper-masculine environment. Sad thing is, when she retired 20 years later, she didn’t seem to think things were much better. Oy. (No, this is not a feature film. Although should you ever be in Oak Harbor, WA, I could arrange a free screening).

    2.) Pan’s Labyrinth
    Not traditional, but it is one of my favorite films partly because: I think the females in “Pan’s Labyrinth” are the heroines of the entire film. The strength and intellect they exercise in the face of such adversity is really something else.

    3.) Brokedown Palace
    If you haven’t seen this film, you must. You must see it immediately. Two girls go to Thailand after graduation and find themselves in a compromising situation. I shall say nothing more. I only wish they could have made the girls’ attorney a female. Ahem, plus, it has Claire Danes…LOVE HER!

    LOTS more to come. You know, when it’s not midterms. 🙂

  2. My favorite feminist film of all time: Antonia’s Line.

    Hands down. It shits all over patriarchy which is soo incredibly rare for film. But it’s beautifully done, and comes from a place of love and not anger. (Anger can be good, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it takes away from art and becomes its own force.)

    Also: Adam’s Rib, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, The Color Purple, Aliens and Aliens II, Boys Don’t Cry, Real Women Have Curves.

    I would also include Muriel’s Wedding, The Quick and the Dead, Thelma and Louise, Like Water for Chocolate, Eat Drink Man Woman, The Hours, and A League of Their Own, although those are all debatable I think.

    (BTW: You popped up in my google reader, if you’re wondering why a complete stranger just hijacked your comment section!)

  3. Oh, and Pirates 3. Elizabeth is kick-ass in that movie. One of the few adult-ish movies I let my 6yo watch.

    Too many anti-woman films to name even a fraction but I’ll throw out a few: any James Bond film, Mr and Mrs Smith, A History of Violence… pretty much any other movie that makes rape seem okay. Pretty Woman.

  4. “9 to 5″….amazing ’80s movie about sexism in the workplace starring Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Jane Fonda. So awesome. And I second and third “Real Women Have Curves”. I’m also going to toss “Little Women” out there, though we could definitely debate it…..but Jo does things her own way and Marmee is just super awesome. The scene when she writes the letter to Amy’s sexist schoolteacher? First wave awesomeness.

  5. I found all the lists interesting. I think I have to agree with feministing regarding Radar’s list in that “some I agree with, some not so much.” Or maybe the real problem is just that they only gave a 1-2 sentence explanation for each one and my memory of many of them is kind of sketchy.

    Either way, I’m agreeing with almost every pro-woman movie mentioned thus far. My additions:
    “All I Wanna Do”–Girls in a 1960’s boarding school work together to fight being integrated with a boy’s school

    “Persepolis”–animated film following an Iranian girl from childhood to adulthood during the Islamic Revolution. Pretty depressing, but still excellent and really well-done (although I would advise brushing up on your Iranian history before viewing so as to avoid confusion during the first 20 minutes)

    Also, has anyone else seen Ratatouille? I’m torn by that one–Colette is definitely one of the strongest female characters that Disney has ever created, but there’s a scene where she’s about to pepper spray the male lead and as soon as he kisses her it immediately becomes “romantic” and the spray bottle drops from her hand. It almost negates how explicitly feminist-y she is in the rest of the movie (including the fact that she is running the restaurant at the end and Linguini is the waiter).

  6. Mulan!–She defies the conventions of patriarchy and saves all of China. Pretty much the best role model Disney’s come up with for little girls so far.

  7. Kelly,
    Funny you should mention “Ratatouille.” I just wrote an 8 page analysis of it for my linguistics class (we were examing how children learn [or don’t learn] to discriminate based on linguistic variation in full-length animated feature films) and I must say, I will never see that film the same way again! With the exception of “extras,” did you notice that Collette is the ONLY female character to speak of? There aren’t even any female rats. Where’s Remy’s mom? Sister? Friend?Cousin?Anything?Nope. Nothing. She also represents the classic sterotype of the French: a bit stand-offish, involved with culinary endeavors, and romantically- interested. Oy. So, even though she owns the restaurant in the end, I put that film on my poo-poo-women list…but only after I did this involved analysis for a class. I’m sure that if I looked at LOTS of other movies with such a critical eye, I would feel the same way. All I can say is, if anyone wishes to keep loving Disney, as I do, avoid assignments like this 🙂

    Also, way to mention “Persepolis!” I haven’t seen it yet, but it is on my to-watch-when-I-have-money list and I was waiting for it to show up here.

  8. Moolaade! (imdb it) I saw it tonight at the foreign film festival. Wassau! Wassau! (only Caitlin will understand) Basically, I really enjoyed the movie.

  9. You beat me to it….I was just about to wassa wassa this board. But I cannot figure out what it means.

    Well, obviously Empowerment needs to do another feminist movie night.

  10. Wow great site. Holla Empowerment.

    Regarding the movie question, I’m very intrigued by the character of Beatrix Kiddo, aka The Bride in Kill Bill vols. 1 and 2. I’m a fan of the movie in general for its dialogue and cinematography (and thank you jesus the absence of Quentin Tarantino – stick to writing man). But The Bride is such an interesting character. She has this strong maternal urge, which initially drives her out of the assassin business, but at the same time you see how driven and strong she is in the efforts she takes to hunt down her former colleagues. I think it’s a generally positive portrayal, if you can stomach the violence, and she is a character that I am truly inspired by. I also like that Tarantino did not overly sexify Cameron Diaz and that there aren’t any scenes where her physical attributes are the only focal point.

  11. Um, Greg — don’t you mean Uma Thurman? LOL

  12. You are a sexist.

  13. How dare you use a work Shakespeare on your list of trashy movies. The greatest writer ever was a man and not a femin. Get over it. You people are hilarious, good God!

  14. I’m suprised no one mentioned the semi-new movie release Last House on the Left. The rape scene made me sick! I actually payed to rent the movie and turned it off halfway through. Do any women have a comment on that movie?

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