Tag Archives: feminism

[film]the craft or how i learned to stop worrying and love being a feminist

Teenage me was one of those girls who used to think feminism was a bad word. I didn’t like other girls, because I bought into the idea that they were all catty, mean and probably talking shit behind your back. It didn’t help that I had dealt with some intense bullying and slut shaming by girls I considered close friends after being raped. In my head, if women were getting the short end of the stick in society, it wasn’t society. It was the fact that women were petty and spiteful.

Junior year of high school two things happened to make me step back and reevaluate my life. One of these was an amazing history teacher named Mr. Berry who forced us to critically think and not just take what we were told by books and adults at face value. In introducing me to the extensive history of the Women’s Rights Movement, he made me realize that women are, yes, sometimes spiteful and mean. They are also bad ass and amazing. I was still convinced that I was a girl who wasn’t like other girls though.

The second thing that happened that year was the release of the Craft.

The Craft, for those that are somehow unaware, is a movie about four girls who come together to create a powerful coven of witches. There are lessons about forcing what you want and ultimate power ultimately corrupts. It was the rare horror movie that put women front and center, with men serving little more purpose than a supporting cast.

More than anything, for me, it’s a movie about sisterhood and how much stronger we are when we work together. It’s also a movie about owning your personal feminine power unapologetically. As someone who had been distancing myself from all I saw as feminine in myself it was a revelation. When they do end up fighting, it’s not over anything as paltry as a boy. It’s over the power to control the world around them.

As I’ve gotten older, I realize that in some ways it’s a flawed example of feminism in pop culture. What starts as a sisterhood degenerates into a mindset of uniformity of thought being necessary (to the point of attempting to kill the one that doesn’t go along). I now see that Nancy was always only interested in personal gain with Rochelle and Bonnie sycophantically following along. I can excuse this even now though. If their coven had survived the growing pains of being granted ultimate power, I can’t help but feel like they would have grown up to be their own Witches of Eastwick (probably without the babies though).

For all its flaws, the Craft made me open my eyes and start looking for the supportiveness in other girls. It made me start to build other women up instead of tearing them down by assuming they were catty at first meeting. It made me examine the idea of Girl Power and what it means. Pop culture has always been a lens of self discovery for me and the Craft is perhaps one of the biggest cornerstones of that.

Thanks, girls, for all the inspiration.

(February is Women in Horror Month. I wanted to write this piece as the perfect example of where women and horror intersect and create awesome moments. Please check out #WiHM8 for more amazing women in the horror community.)

[ink: bad feminist: essays]

Bad Feminist: EssaysBad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: This started as a review. I’m not sure it ended as one. Apologies for that.

Feminism. I don’t know if there are many words that are as wrought with conflicting definitions and reactions as this word. At heart, it’s the belief that men and women are equal and, as such, deserve equal rights. Rarely is anything as simple as it is on paper. Feminism is often perceived as the fight to prove that women are better than men and feminists as hating all men. There are certainly those feminists that seem to fit this stereotype. They seem to be the most vocal at times unfortunately.
Here’s the thing though, there is no one way to be a feminist. As much as it’s become a dirty word, feminism is at heart something that will only benefit everyone. Often I feel alone in the ways that I sometimes laugh at inappropriate jokes, wear lipstick and currently depend on my husband to carry pretty much all of the financial responsibility. I also haven’t read all the major feminist literature out there, because frankly most of it just isn’t all that interesting.
Enter Roxane Gay and Bad Feminist, her collection of essays.

Gay turns the lens on politics, pop culture and society at large on matter of race and gender. She does so in a way that doesn’t demand you agree with every word she writes. There is a tone more of “this is my story, this is my voice, stop and listen for a moment”. She talks about modern feminisms in all it’s strengths and shortcomings (mostly when it comes to race, but also when it comes to rigidity). This is a message that needs to be put out there. If it makes someone uncomfortable, well maybe they should look at why that is.

Some personal thoughts on a few specific essays that happened to be my favorites:
“Peculiar Benefits”: Ah, privilege. One of those lovely words that gets thrown around too much and starts to lose meaning (something Gay herself points out in this essay). The issue with privilege is that it’s insidious and often times people don’t realize they’re benefiting from it. Living in a first world country, we all benefit from some form of it. I am a Caucasian, straight perceived woman. I benefit from a lot of privilege. There was a point in my life when I had more than a bit of a shoplifting habit. I don’t think I would have managed to carry on for as long and on the scale I did without being white. Maybe to you this isn’t the best example. In a society that increasingly declares anyone who isn’t white deserving of whatever fate the police dole out to them, because they broke any law, it seems like a perfect example to me. So, really, just acknowledge your privilege. Gay makes the excellent point that no one is asking you to apologize for it, just acknowledge that, yes, indeed it is there.
“What We Hunger For”: This was the gut punch essay for me. I am not exactly a fan of the Hunger Games like Gay is, but I understand that catharsis it is for her. The story told here is one that I get far too well. The careless actions of boys who probably don’t even think of me even though I think of them often to this day. The careless words thrown around by other kids that were salt continually rubbed into the open wound of emotional destruction. Slut, whore, easy. Words I hope my own children never use, because of one side of a story when the other side is sullenly and suspiciously silent. (Words I hope they never use for any reason.)

Every essay here is excellent, but these are the two that stood out for me. There were times I laughed with Gay, there were times I cried. More than anything I feel like this is the kind of collection of essays that I feel expanded my world a bit. I saw the world for a moment from the perspective of someone who has had to look through a different lens than I have. There are similarities though. Even if some of those similarities are painful, that is where the hope is. Yes, we are all different and we are all unique due to skin color, sexuality, gender, a million things. We are also all similar in ways that communication across those lines shines a light on.

I am an intersectionalist feminist. I am a bad feminist. I am flawed. We are all flawed, but we are trying to do better. That is the biggest take away from this collection.

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