Tag Archive for the Gaze

Oscar Leadup – Ladies in Film: Female Agency and Pleasure in 2010 Movies (2/23/11)

Helena Bonham Carter The King's Speech

Helena Bonham Carter in The King’s Speech: behind every great man, there stands (or sits, ever so primly) a great woman.

2010 was not what you’d call a banner year for women in the real world. Gossip rags and TV offer ever more ways for everyone to look bad, but women in particular get a special place in our celebrity-obsessed hearts. The famous-by-marriage Real Housewives of Wherever are releasing their own wines, tee shirt lines, and diet plans. The “stars” of “Teen Mom,” most of whose sole claim to fame is their deplorable immaturity and lack of successful birth control, end up on glossy tabloid covers every week. The Learning Channel airs “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” while MTV plays “Bad Girls Club” and other dreck about women fighting for the affections of Bret Michaels and Flava Flav. Note: narrative television (“Mad Men,” “Big Love,” etc) had a lot of strong, complex female characters to offer in 2010, but that’s for another blog.

Amber Portwood Teen Mom

“Teen Mom”‘s Amber Portwood, beating up her babydaddy because that‘s what good reality TV is all about. I’d rather watch “Ice Road Truckers.”

Meanwhile, over here in the real world things aren’t much better: battles over reproductive rights and the redefinition of rape are front page news. The right is set on barring federal funding from one of America’s most important women’s health organizations, Planned Parenthood.

Please Give Hall and Peet

Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet star in Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give.

Basically women’s bodies and behavior are, as always, available for scrutiny and hand-wringing. But 2010’s film releases, which feature a cadre of resolute, opinionated, loving, and intelligent ladies, offer a comparative breath of fresh air for women in front of the camera. Read more