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.

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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.

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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 ????

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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.”

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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:

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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.

It, 2017: a film that appropriately ignores the entirety of the original book

I sincerely hope you never ever EVER read the original book – but by all means watch the new film if you want.

This blog is going to be NOT spoiler-free, but honestly even if you haven’t read the book, watched the old film, or the new, does it really matter? Does it???? DOES IT?

 

I honestly don’t know if you’ve ever read ‘It’ by Stephen King, but if you haven’t I sincerely hope you never do. I had no intentions of ever reading it until this year when I got it in my head that I’d be able to write a more well-rounded blog about the new figiphy.giflm if I had read the book. And that’s where my life started going downhill.

It’, the 1986 novel (or, brick) by Stephen King is, objectively, the worst book ever written.

I’m sorry. I know we all love Stephen King – hell, I love Stephen King. He’s a white man renegade for the downtrodden, the ignored, and the under-privileged. I’ll even throw him a bone and say he does this as well with ‘It’.

At the forefront it’s a horror novel where there is a killer uh, “clown”, that every so often wakes from its slumber to feast upon kids. After a while however, it also becomes a quite effective discussion about racism, sexism, and even homophobia – topics which I wouldn’t have expected to be discussed in a book from the ‘80s.

So yes, there are some absolutely wonderful things about the book, but I can’t get past the fact that it’s absolutely the worst in almost every single other way.

Now, I know we’re all actually here to read about the new film, so I’ll try and keep this snappy while still giving you context, but here are the main points as to why I think ‘It’ is the worst book ever written.

  • It’s 1,300 pages long and you could cut 70% of those out and still have the exact same novel. Like, the exact same.
  • It takes over 30% of the book for all of the main characters, AKA the Losers Club to actually all even meet
  • There are a large number of strong motifs and concepts that are either never explained or almost done in a throw-away line that doesn’t feel like it justifies the frequency of that motif/concept being mentioned
  • Stephen King clearly doesn’t understand how to write women. At all. An eleven-year-old girl whose father beats her and who is being haunted by a murderous clown doesn’t think about her boobs the instance she wakes up – Sorry to tell ya Stephen.
  • She also doesn’t feel her nipples harden when she is afraid when all of the boys just feel goosebumps
  • She’s eleven for Christ sake stop talking about her boobs!!!
  • The clown isn’t even a clown it’s a spider which is also ~The Universe~ and there is also a turtle which is also ~The Universe~ except it dies by puking out a galaxy and choking on it – are you still following? I’m not
  • Oh, also it’s almost not at all explained why the spider regularly takes the form of a clown who is called Pennywise but also sometimes Bob Gray but only very occasionally.
  • There is legitimately a child orgy that is a 100% serious aspect of the book that is described in detail for an entire chapter
  • And it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read.

Yeah it’s that last part that really threw me off the edge.

I’m sorry, but in what world should I have to read about the genitals and sexual acts and the body fluids of eleven year olds IN A SEWER.

It literally doesn’t make sense narratively either. It doesn’t.

I’d like to say, “yeah, so I had to read a really horrible, uncomfortable sex scene between 6 kids, but at least it made sense in terms of the plot development” BUT IT FUCKING DOESN’T. It’s some shoehorned attempt by Beverly (a fictional character) to bring her and her friends back together so they can stay strong and get out of the sewers blah blah blah something minor about friendship in the face of adversary.

To bring the whole group together she must have sex with each individual boy. Even if sex does somehow bring eleven year olds together (why would it), shouldn’t all of the kids have sex with each other, not just Beverly? I know this is horrible, and obviously I much rather advocate for NO CHILD SEX SCENES AT ALL, but shouldn’t the connection be between all of them not just Beverly? I mean, despite her being the only female, there’s really nothing else that makes her important enough to be the vessel through which they all ~become closer~. Unless vaginas + 5 different boys semen = cauldron and potions and some kind of sorcery.

Whatever. It’s fucked up and I wanna know how we’ve all just ignored this for the past 30 years. Why have I never heard anyone mention the child orgy before? The clown almost seems secondary to me.

What pisses me off most about this book is that it could be really good. It could be fucking fantastic. If Stephen King hadn’t messed around with so much other shit.

So anyway, I’ve just spent 700 words on how shit the book is – but what about the new movie? God I hate that I go on these tangents.

Anyway.

This movie is fantastic because it utterly ignores all of the above. ALL of the above. In fact, I’m pretty firmly in the belief that the people who made it never read the book. Oh you sweet summer children I’m so glad you didn’t.

The movie also understands one fundamental thing that Stephen King never has – nor probably ever will.

The reason ‘It’ has become a cult classic is not because it’s written well, or because it has strong motifs, or the characters are so amazing, or anything.

The reason ‘It’ has become a best seller, and garnered not one but two film adaptions within 30 years is this: a clown in the sewers of small towns who eats children is fucking terrifying.

Stephen King doesn’t realise this. Which is why he makes his clown also a spider but also a giant conceptual beast from the macro-verse.

The reason ‘It’ still brings excitement, hype, and cultish interest is because it’s a fucking cool concept – as long as we all ignore all of the other shit that makes it disturbing in a way you don’t actually want horrors to be disturbing.

Yes, the film definitely wasn’t perfect. It had some pretty bad editing at times, some of the kid actors weren’t great (I won’t hold it against the kids, but the actor who played Ben wasn’t quite up for the role, and REALLY not up for the role of stealing the Historian storyline from the one black character). There’s also the fact that it wanted to dwell on kids in underwear, failed to acknowledge the storylines around racism and sexism, and basically glossed over all of the characterisations and relationships between the kids (good and bad).

So yeah, it was your average horror film – but there were some good bits too!

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Richie Tozier is a standout for me. Finn Wolfhard proves himself again and again to be leagues ahead of other child actors right now, and his dialogue was written flawlessly. Truly flawlessly.

The clown was fucking terrifying. Bill Skarsgard does a fantastic job, and the fast, manic running forwards and the gruesome eyerolls were a fantastic addition that really could not have been played off as successfully in written form.

The explanation of the ‘floating’ motif was fantastic if only because that is hardly EVER explained or justified in the book, and is at least attempted in the film.

Oh, and there was no fucking child orgy so props for that tbh.

Anyway, if you’ve read this far then you deserve a fucking red balloon because I’ve rambled too long. So tell me your thoughts. What did you think of the film? Have you read the book? Did you like either? Do you think child orgies are A-OK to have to read for 10 pages in extreme detail?

I’d love to know.

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Girl Boss: Poor timing, straw feminism, but please stop being sexist when you’re reviewing it – you’re not fucking help­ing

Girl Boss – it didn’t blow my mind, but it occasionally boiled my blood

 

Alright.

 

I’m doing it.

 

I’m reviewing Girl Boss.

 

A show with so much hatred spewing at it, but half of the time it’s for the wrong reasons.

 

The next time I have to read an article where half the vitriol is based on the fact that Sophia acts like a girl, or wears things that are too short, or talks annoyingly, I’m going to fucking die.

 

Because there are plenty of things wrong with Girl Boss.

 

Shit tonnes in fact.

 

But as soon as you start using sexist, stereotyped terms to describe the main character, your review becomes as bad as the show itself.

 

Maybe worse but with a lot less exposure.girl boss netflix review sophia marlowe on her laptop

 

I get it. Sophia is such a millennial, but guess what?

 

That’s not her fucking issue.

 

Selfies, a love for money, and a hatred of the 40 hour working week are not Sophia’s issue.

 

Feistiness, low cut pants, and an obsession with The O.C. are not Sophia’s issue.

 

Hell, Sophia’s complete lack of social tact and empathy aren’t Sophia’s issue.

 

Sophia’s real issue is her apparent attempts to be an icon of feminism and girl power, while continuously pushing down real feminism and making a mockery of truly important power structures and harmful cultural thought.

 

And no, it’s not because she’s a bitch.

 

Her unlikeability is irksome, and makes her a questionable character who you almost never want to root for (at least for the first 10 episodes) – but that doesn’t make her anti-feminist.

 

A-la Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, we are seeing more and more feminist narratives that are working to break down the stereotypes that women are inherently good, and the ideas that they can’t do horrible things such as murder – or in Sophia’s case, petty theft, emotional detachment, and self-absorption. While these are often difficult pieces to consume, and many, many people argue that they aren’t feminist, I believe that we are at the point in feminist discourse where we can insert conversations about female monsters into our mainstream literature.

 

Do I truly believe that’s what Sophia’s characterisation does, or intends to do?

 

Not entirely.

 

But I will argue until the end of the Earth that that isn’t what makes this show anti-feminist.

 

If you’ve heard of Straw Feminism you’ll know where I’m going with this.

 

The Wikipedia version is this:

 

Straw feminism is a straw man argument whereby exaggerated or fabricated elements of feminism are used in an attempt to refute and / or derail feminist arguments. A Straw Feminist then is a fabricated character used by those arguing against feminism to devalue and derail feminist arguments.

 

But if you want a real description, with some fantastic examples, I 100% recommend you watch the Feminist Frequency video on this.

 

In fact I recommend you watch all of their Tropes vs Women series.

 

The long and short is that Straw Feminism is often used as a tool to make the main character look like the real fighter for equality. It makes feminism look crazy, deranged, and completely illogical, and the main character look sensible, essentially ignoring what real feminism looks like.

 

This became most obvious to me as a trope in Girl Boss when they pulled out the character ‘Crusty’ – affectionately named by Sophia’s not-boyfriend.

 

Crusty – because I have no other name for her – embodies Straw Feminism. She yells pointless, unprovoked hatred at Shane, calling him the problem, for seemingly nothing and everything.girl boss netflix crusty straw feminism

 

And might I add, she only stops when Sophia shoves a burrito in her mouth.

 

Now, ignoring the fact that Crusty clearly sounds homeless (she talks about bankruptcy, abandonment, isolation in ways that describe an unfortunate financial situation), I’ve seen too many memes describing woman as only angry when they’re hungry.

 

Y’know. Your girlfriend doesn’t have any real, substantial issues with your behaviour. She just needs a fucking burrito.

 

It’s like, guys know they can’t say “are you on your period?” anymore, so they’ve just replaced it with “are you hungry?”

 

It’s not the biggest improvement.

 

This Straw Feminism continues throughout the show in much less insidious and obvious ways, but the theme remains.

 

Sophia is a logical, realistic, and non-crazy feminist form of consumable girl power.

 

She’s feisty, bitchy, and literally the worst – but hey, at least she’s not a feminist!

 

And usually, while this is harmful thinking, I often don’t write entire thinkpieces on it.

 

But this show is titled ‘Girl Boss’.

 

It’s essentially hijacking the feminist movement, while simultaneously belittling it.

 

It is, of course, also the whitest show I’ve seen in a while.

 

Sophia often partakes in petty theft, as well as obscene public behaviour, occasionally causing her to brush with the law.

 

But does this stop her? Of course not! Most of it is just fun, laughable hijinks to be enjoyed for years to come.

 

These scenes consistently ignore the realities of what the results would be if someone who wasn’t a pretty white girl did what Sophia does. While I feel this doesn’t do as direct harm as the Straw Feminism does in this show, it’s still an aspect which not only unsettles me, but also places Girl Boss in the seeming continuous rise in white feminism.

 

But don’t worry! Feminism is bad kids! Don’t be like Crusty!

 

From there, while the narrative wore thin, the humour fell short, and there wasn’t nearly as much thrifting and outfit montages as I’d hoped, the only real other issue with Girl Boss was its timing.

 

Everything else aside, it’s great to celebrate stories of womens business successes – particularly in fashion retail, an industry dominated by men but aimed at consumption for women.

 

Yes, Sophia is problematic as hell, but seeing the stories where a woman fights tooth and nail for business ownership can nonetheless pave the way for better stories to come.

 

But the timing of Girl Boss can’t be ignored.

 

Under a near swamp of legal fights around pregnant women being fired, poor working conditions and pay, and of course – Nasty Gal filing for bankruptcy – it’s difficult to watch Girl Boss for what it’s intended to be; the gritty, unglamorous-but-still-glamorous rise of a female boss who builds an impressive empire.

 

One can only wonder what might feature in the next season should it be renewed.

 

I for one, hope that they approach these topics of the failings – the show needs a little realism and grounding injected into it.

 

So after 1000 words, you probably think I hate this show.

 

I highkey do. But lowkey, I’m a sucker for pop music, throwbacks, amazing outfits, and thrifting.

 

And, if you’re wondering, the final 3 episodes are actually pretty damn decent.

 

So no, it’s not my favourite show, but I’d still watch the second season.

 

Just please, give me some makeover montages, and some more amazing red flared pants.

 

Please.

 

Oh, and less fucking fake feminist agendas of the white variety please.

 

 

Xoxo, Bossy Girl

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