Ocean’s 8 proves why we should do all-female reboots of everything

We got that Harvey Specter, Han Solo, Danny Ocean feeling and we aren’t letting it go

*SPOILER FREE*

I’m a feminist.

I’m a cold-blooded feminist killjoy who loves to explain to men (and everybody) why representation is important in media.

Hell, I started a blog all about it.

(hi)

But something I always find difficult to articulate to (white) men, is why representation is important. Women and other minorities know all too well why it’s so important to see yourself reflected in diverse roles.

Oceans-8.jpg

But men who see themselves in every single possible role, often don’t understand why it’s hard to imagine a world where you can be an astronaut, a CEO, a mathematician, or anything else when you aren’t represented as being able to do those roles – even in fantasy worlds.

I’ve thought long and hard on how best to explain this to even just my partner, without going on a crazy rant yet again. But watching Ocean’s 8 made it so so so clear exactly why, and in terms that men can probably understand.

You know that feeling you get when you see Han Solo weave through meteors that no Empire pilot could navigate, and do it all with a smirk and a one liner?

You know that moment Harvey Specter lays down the evidence and wins a case that seemed unbeatable, adjusts his cuff links, and walks off to a badass song?

Or what about Raymond Reddington, finessing yet another whatever it is he does that white men love so much?

More to the point, it’s that moment when Danny Ocean pulls off the grandest heist in history with all his buddies by his side and in a fantastic suit and some amazing cars.

These men who we idolise, because they are witty, and smart, and do things we wish we could do, while dressing like we wish we dressed, and absolutely crushing every moment and never failing? We want to be them even though maybe they live lives we don’t actually want, but God they do it well and with so much style.

Except we don’t – because we’re women. As women, we see these men and we like them, but it’s just another white man in a position, role, or life we already knew white men could have. We don’t want to be them and hijack their jokes and style.

Where’s our Han? Our Harvey? Our Raymond? Our Danny? They’re starting to arrive, and it feels oh so good to see someone like you who is badass, witty, intelligent, and absolutely winning at whatever they do.

Ocean’s 8 was that – and a million times more. I wasn’t relating to these characters because I would never be these characters – but boy did I want to.

Our fast cars and alcohol references were switched with fashion and art, and it was glorious.

The stakes were high, the jokes were sly, and yes, it’s all just one big vapid heist movie. But it means so much on a larger scale and I absolutely love it.

The whole movie impressed so much the fact that females are each other’s strengths, and that men are wholly unnecessary to reach our goals. That women can come from all corners of life and absolutely slay a project to death.

It also featured a high level of female songs, largely focussed on the art about women in the MET, and showed that high fashion is just as sexy and ex

citing and suitable for heist movies as fast cars and cigars.

And fuck, it had Rihanna so ????

source.gif

On a final note, if you still aren’t convinced as to why representation matters, in the words of Debbie Ocean:

“Remember, you’re not doing this for me. You’re not doing this for you. Somewhere out there, there is an 8-year-old girl who dreams of one day being a criminal. You’re doing it for her.”

source-1.gif

Black Panther: the worst part was Martin Freemans American accent

If you haven’t already seen Black Panther, then I’ma need you to close this tab and go watch it. Not because this blog post is riddled with spoilers (or is it? I haven’t written it yet so I can’t be sure), but because it’s just a no-brainer that you should GO AND WATCH BLACK PANTHER.

You might not be able to tell from my previous blogs, but I’ve been growing fairly tired of the superhero franchises of late. Mostly the DC tv shows… and the DC movies… and the Spiderman reboots… It’s all getting fairly repetitive, and the only time I get really excited is when something new happens. Black Panther undeniably ticked that box.

Black Panther is hilarious, it’s political, it has killer costume design, and an incredible soundtrack – and it only features like, 2 white people. One of those white people has an African accent, along with 90% of the rest of the cast. And not only was it ethnically diverse (in fact, most of the actors come from vastly different parts of the African continent), but it was gender-diverse. A large portion of the cast was female (no, not 50% unfortunately), but possibly more importantly, the female characters of Black Panther were on the same level as the men. In fact, the strongest warriors of Wakanda were women, and T’Challa’s sister Shuri was shown time and time again to be his equal, if not his intellectual superior. (definitely his superior in jokes and memes)

The movie was deeply political – like so many superhero movies are – but it came not from a place of replicating societal or political events, and not from a place of asking one question such as “should superheroes be ethically supported under a government” or “who was the bad guy in WWI”. Instead, Black Panther is nuanced, and asks as many questions as complex topics deserve.

Black Panther, for the most part, is a look at how colonisation affected parts of Africa, and how it still does – but it’s so much more than that. We are in a future where we are asking ourselves “how do we set things right?”, “is it more important to protect your own country, or is it your duty to share resources with those in need?”, “is it important for leaders to do what they believe is right, or to do what the majority of their people want?”, “is retrospective revenge a viable option, or should people in modern times be forgiven for their ancestors mistakes?”

All these questions and more were approached by Black Panther, as it attempts to show a country in anguish, split between protecting themselves from the outside world, and dishing out retribution upon colonists. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t condemn either argument, but shows that a hasty approach is not the answer, and nor is blindly following your ancestors footsteps.

Of course, as with any superhero film, it also features crazy tech, some incredible fighting scenes, as well as hilarious side-kicks. Oh, and Martin Freemans terrible, terrible American accent. It was so bad it pulled you straight out of the scene. Just let this man be British!!!

 

There are so many other stand outs of this film, not the least being the black excellence it exhibits, but there are so many more who are better, and more qualified to discuss this than me, so you can read those here:

Refinery29

Kulture Hub

Depaulia

Just listen, GO WATCH THIS FILM.

You’ll love it.

Unless you hate superheroes, are extremely, physically adverse to bad American accents by white men, or you’re a racist, then I see no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy this film.

Wonder Woman; and why it doesn’t matter if it’s any good (but don’t worry, it is)

Wonder Woman has singlehandedly saved the DC Cinematic Universe – but what has she done for feminism?

Praise be to whichever stars aligned above to grace us with the first female-led superhero film since the God awful ‘Elektra’ in 2005.

tumblr_oepa7iKWdU1rey868o1_250

 

Before I watched the film, I, and plenty of other people, were very worried that it would be terrible.

 

Not only does it come from the DC Cinematic franchise which is…. Let’s be real here: shit. But female superhero films tend to be made as an afterthought, with none of the same effort or money put into them as with their male counterparts.

 

And for many women, there seemed to be a lot riding on ‘Wonder Woman’ being good – in the broad sense of the word – and it’s not really surprising why.

 

There’s something called a “stereotype threat” which is a situation where a minority (or even, I suppose, a majority) feels that if they fail at something then they are confirming a common stereotype about their community.

 

This could be, an Asian woman who worries that her bad driving will be perceived as a confirmation of the stereotype of all Asian women.

 

Or a gay man, who enjoys skin care and fashion, who is afraid it will be perceived as a confirmation that all gay men are feminine.

 

There are plenty of examples we could use here, but the fear amongst many women who are so desperate for the ‘Wonder Woman’ film to be a success, is that they’re afraid that if it isn’t, it will act to confirm the stereotype that female led superhero females just can’t make bank.

 

And this is entirely understandable. Truly, a lot rides on ‘Wonder Woman’s success unfortunately. If the film doesn’t rank well, it will only serve as ammunition for male-led board members to argue that female-led movies are a waste of time – something that they’re arguing about anyway but who cares, right?

 

And if they don’t make any more of these films well… It’s a bleak future let me tell you.

 

But in my title I clearly state that it doesn’t matter if ‘Wonder Woman’ sucks – and why’s that?

 

Well, in actual fact, that’s sort of clickbait, because as I’ve stated above, it kind of does matter for so many people.

 

What I should really put in the title is that it shouldn’t matter.

 

And to be an even more shit blogger, I’m going to roughly quote someone whose name I can’t remember (but if you know who I’m talking about please feel free to correct me so I can cite them).

 

But earlier last week I watched a video of a woman who explained that she’s looking forward to the time when it won’t matter whether a female superhero film is terrible, because we’ll just keep pumping them out one after the other regardless.

 

She wants us to get to the same point we are with male-led superhero films, and she cited ‘Batman vs. Superman’ to explain.

 

Because as we all know, nobody walked out of that shit-show of a movie and said “oh well, I guess we’re done making ____man movies”. And it has to do with the fact that for every terrible male led superhero movie, there’s another great one!

 

And it has nothing to do with gender, or even the actor (just compare ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘Deadpool’) – and it has everything to do with the budget, writers, and the general production understanding of the original text.

 

So I’m here to propose that we no longer give a shit whether ‘Wonder Woman’ is good – let’s just give a shit about pumping out as many terrible female-led movies as we do male-led.

 

But hey? Didn’t I say the film was good?

 

Fuck yes it was!!!

 

In all honesty, I feel like ‘Wonder Woman’ just single-handedly saved the DC Cinematic Universe which had been making some terrible decisions since… Forever.

 

It was fast-paced, funny, emotional, and absolutely empowering!

 

It was honestly something else to watch so many women kick ass, and to see Wonder Woman in action and doing her most for humanity.

 

tumblr_or08y97pYz1rskfk6o1_1280

 

Objectively it was well-made, well-written, and well-paced – even if this wasn’t such a huge step for feminism, I would still highly recommend the film to everyone, because it’s just a bloody good time!

 

But why is it such a huge step for feminism?

 

Well, for me it’s because it does a lot of subverting, and a lot of work to de-stigmatize often stereotyped “women’s roles”.

 

So what does it subvert?

First and foremost, it subverts the fridging trope. If you don’t know what fridging is, I highly recommend this Feminist Frequency video.

 

But maybe wait until you watch the film or it might spoil some stuff for you.

 

It also subverts a lot of “sexy” tropes, such as the ‘born sexy yesterday’ trope.

 

As stated by tumblr user blueincandecence:

 

“The born sexy yesterday trope is predicated on the idea that a woman falls in love with the first schlub she sees and worships him. That emphatically does not happen. In fact, it’s a running gag that Steve is trying to convince Diana that he’s above average. Only when he proves it to her – through his kindness and his bravery – does she fall for him.”

 

The film also works hard to prove that things such as ‘emotional labour’ that are typically assigned to women, aren’t bad things, and certainly don’t weaken women.

 

While the conversation around emotional labour is big, it’s difficult, and it’s not one I want to touch on heavily here – it plays a big role in all of our lives, and Diana’s is no different.

 

When she steps into the ‘real world’ she finds it cruel, untrusting, and often barren of empathy. She sees Steve struggle with empathising with war slaves, and the death of children, as he insists that the quicker they finish their mission, the quicker they can save the women and children.

 

But Diana knows. You can be logical, and you can be emotional, and neither are less useful in a state of war.

 

And because of this, Diana ignores Steve’s “orders”, and uses her emotions and empathy to go where no man has gone before – ‘No-Mans Land’ in the war trenches of course 😉 – and saves the day for so many who are suffering.

 

tenor

It’s only through her ability to empathise, and prioritise safety in the here and

now, as well as in the

long-term, that makes her such a

formidable opponent as she smashes her way through the darkest, bleakest, and most fearsome front of the war.

 

Wonder Woman’ does have its flaws, and I would never call it the most feminist movie around – but rather than spend this review dwelling on these issues, I’d rather celebrate all it does to empower women all around the world, and also show men that masculinity can come in many forms – and hopefully Steve Trevor can be a positive catalyst for change and empowerment for men all around the world too.

 

So thank you to the stars above, or perhaps Patty Jenkins for making this masterpiece happen – and long may Diana Prince reign.