Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Feminist Fangirl Manifesto

So, I’ve been thinking for a while now about writing a few movie reviews, under the dubious nom-de-plume of “The Feminist Fangirl.” Of course, if I was to take on such an alias, I would first need to make the disclaimer that, as such, I am neither a feminist, nor a fangirl…(with Linda Richman inflection)…discus.

Let me explain. First, being an alumnus of a particular liberal women’s college, which one conservative publication dubbed “Radical Feminist U,” I do have many of the accoutrements of feminism at my disposal. However, I feel that I lack the kind of intellectual vigor and intensity needed to really push the envelope of feminism. Also, the label “feminism” is in itself misleading, since I hope to use these reviews to examine films through a much broader range of theoretical lenses. I do adore literary and film theory, and putting these into application is an indulgence that, post-college, I am starting to miss.

Okay, now on to the “fangirl” part. Technically, there is really no such thing as a “fangirl,” because Fanboy culture is a construction specifically designed to exclude women, or more appropriately, to lend validity and cache to the absence of women from the life of a certain kind of boy, through connoisseurship. (Connoisseurship being, of course, something that women or any marginalized group, have only limited access too because of their more limited resources). For this reason, if we define “fangirl” simply as the female counterpart of “fanboy” then I surely (and inevitably) fall shy of the mark.

So what am I? For starters, I hate video games and lack the needed “hand-eye” coordination skills to play them. This is largely attributable to the fact that (even though I desperately wanted a Nintendo as a child) my parents did not feel that it was important to buy expensive video games for their daughter…or maybe I never spoke up and asked for one. I’ll thank them for that someday. This is a serious handicap to my Fangirlism, I realize. On the other hand, I adore cartoons, (though I give no special preference to the Japanese ones) and I am fascinated by the medium of “sequential art.” While, being a literary snob, I tend to prefer graphic novels; I have a deep appreciation for comics as a more socialized, egalitarian medium.

Also, I love the spectacle of big budget movies, and I always find myself, when I see that a new blockbuster is coming out, having intense feelings of desire that it will be a success, and in doing so, meet my own high standards and expectations for literacy of script, emotional immediacy of performance, and artistic and political integrity of form.

Finally, I get freaking’ furious when I read dumb-ass message board posts on sites like “imdb.com” or “Ain’t It Cool News,” That make obtuse blanket statements like “Dude, King Kong is totally a metaphor for black guys wanting to have sex with white chicks,” or else quibble endlessly about the wind velocity atop the empire state building, without addressing any of MY concerns.

The question now becomes, why should you read my reviews? The answer is that you probably shouldn’t, unless you want to listen to a little voice from the margins taking aim at the very center.


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