A Little Note on “Women’s History,” Search Terms, and Kathryn Bigelow

Okay, first of all guys, sorry about disappearing off the face of the Earth. The Vineyard’s been crazy and I’ve started scene study class with the brilliant and eclectic Erica Schmidt so things have been busy in a fun way.

I have a bit of a meta-post today in response to a lot of the searches people have been using to find my blog, particularly this post. A lot of queries about 1) Kathryn Bigelow’s height, 2) her relationship status and 3) what she looked like when she was with James Cameron. So without further ado… Continue reading

Single People’s Weeks: The Hurt Locker Undergoes the Chick Flick Test

In yesterday’s post for Single People’s Weeks, I asked (sarcastically) how Kathryn Bigelow manages to make such “masculine” films in the industry’s eyes. This critic went so far as to suggest that

Cameron has made a ideologically tinted, eco-minded anti-war epic that champions Mother Nature’s feminine spirit.  Bigelow has made a gritty, no-nonsense, ultra-masculine Iraq thriller that’s remarkably free of any anti-war sentiment.  The traditional polarity of male-female sensibilities is reversed. So that’s shaping up to be quite a battle.

It seems a lot easier to define a “feminine film”, a chick flick, a film that focuses on emotions and relationships, usually heteronormative ones (though a gay male best friend may appear) with women as the target audience. They tend to be sort of liberal, and lovey-dovey and…environmental? (Mother Nature didn’t look too feminine when she sent space rhinos to stomp all over those soldiers in Avatar, but whatever.)

Want to find a chick flick? It’s as easy as going to Nora Ephron or Nancy Meyers, or checking to see if the cast list is mostly women. If a woman gets top billing and her head’s on the same level or higher as the man’s, it might be a chick flick.

This!

not this.

If it has a woman by herself on the poster and she’s not in silhouette, it’s probably a chick flick.

Not this.

This.

In fact, most films directed by women tend to get shoved into this category whether they like it or not. Keeping that in mind, let’s run the poster test on The Hurt Locker. Continue reading

Single People’s Weeks: Hedging, Kathryn Bigelow, and “Women’s Language”

As promised, as part of Single People’s Week(s), today’s post is not about relationships, but it is about gender. And language. Maybe. I mean, it seems that way. Maybe you can tell me at the end?

Is language gendered? Was Robin Tolmach Lakoff right when she wrote in her book Language and a Woman’s Place that women use more approval seeking constructions (“that’ll be okay, right?”), more intensifiers (very, extra) and qualifiers (a bit, not exactly, maybe), and more uncertain rising intonations (ending a sentence on an upswing, suggesting the interrogative, kind of a verbal question mark) in order to not offend men? Does a female director/writer/producer, or, to be more general, a female leader, have to speak differently in order to be accepted by the mainstream? Continue reading