Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Zarban wrote:

Well, let me clarify. The movie-going audience HAS matured since the late '70s. And even young male movie-goers today are interested in well-written female characters. So all hope is not lost. For that, I think James Cameron actually deserves a lot of credit, along with ass-kicking actresses like Milla Jovovich, Uma Thurman, Angelina Jolie, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Kate Beckinsale (yes, even she).

But somehow, Hollywood in general hasn't caught on. We still get movies like National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code and Batman Begins and Transformers, where the entire role of the female lead consists of maybe giving a clue to the male lead and then following three steps behind him for the rest of the movie.

I'll quibble over National Treasure though its not exactly a bastion of feminist ideals, Dr. Chase is no damsel in distress the whole movie. She, at times, plays the equal to Ben Gate's historical knowledge, though perhaps loses in the crazy department wink Hey, if you're a conspiracy theorist aficionado, you have to leave some things behind. But, like I said, its a quibble and your point is still well made.
(I'll now post in the unpopular opinions thread that I think "National Treasure" is a perfect movie)

God loves you!

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Zarban wrote:
Allison wrote:

Also, behold the inner thoughts one of Guardians of the Galaxy writers. You can taste the respect.

And did you read the comments? They all call the writer a pig. It's awesome.

OH, and Inception. I forgot Inception in that previous post. Talk about a piece a furniture... Ellen "Hard Candy" Page didn't get SHIT to do in that movie. But that's a Chris Nolan movie for you. He writes women as corpses and furniture. I bet, if you actually counted, close to half of all named female characters in Chris Nolan films are dead before the beginning of the movie and exist only in flashbacks and dreams.

Aaaaand the post on his site has been taken down, but is still available on Google Cache. Don't you love how the disgusting things that people say on the internet will never go away?

That Chris Nolan comment is frighteningly on point. I've seen every one of his movies except Memento, and I can only think of 3 women that make it through a movie alive. I'm disturbed that I never noticed this before.

Last edited by Allison (2012-11-29 01:33:33)

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Allison wrote:

That Chris Nolan comment is frighteningly on point. I've seen every one of his movies except Memento, and I can only think of 3 women that make it through a movie alive. I'm disturbed that I never noticed this before.

Does that make him sexist, though? Think about all the men that die in his films too. It's a hell of a lot more than the amount of women who die.

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Jimmy B wrote:
Allison wrote:

That Chris Nolan comment is frighteningly on point. I've seen every one of his movies except Memento, and I can only think of 3 women that make it through a movie alive. I'm disturbed that I never noticed this before.

Does that make him sexist, though? Think about all the men that die in his films too. It's a hell of a lot more than the amount of women who die.

I don't know if it makes him sexist? I am honestly wrestling with this and I think need more data points.

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

I don't think it does make him sexist. Bad at writing women, maybe but not sexist. Again, think about all the men that die in his films, it's a lot more than the women that get bumped off. I don't see the problem to be honest.

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Jimmy B wrote:
Allison wrote:

That Chris Nolan comment is frighteningly on point. I've seen every one of his movies except Memento, and I can only think of 3 women that make it through a movie alive. I'm disturbed that I never noticed this before.

Does that make him sexist, though? Think about all the men that die in his films too. It's a hell of a lot more than the amount of women who die.

No, but the fact that he writes crap female characters kind of does.

Here are ALL the named female characters in Nolan films:

  • In Memento, Sammy and Leonard's wives are dead (and actually don't have names). Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss) betrays Leonard but also helps him in his investigation.

  • In Batman Begins, Martha Wayne is dead. Rachel Dawes does nothing but talk to Bruce about his feelings and get kidnapped. "Jessica" is a model Bruce is screwing. Barbara Gordon does nothing.

  • In The Prestige, Julia (Woverine's wife) dies tragically in act 1. Sarah (Batman's wife) kills herself in act 2 out of despair for having anything to do. Olivia (ScarJo) is secretly working for the bad guy. "Jess" is just Batman's little daughter.

  • In The Dark Knight, Rachel Dawes does nothing but talk to Bruce about his feelings and get kidnapped and killed. Officer Ramirez is secretly working for the bad guy. Barbara Gordon does nothing. "Natascha" is a ballerina Bruce is screwing. Judge Surrillo exists only to get murdered.

  • In Inception, Ariadne BENDS A CITY and is told "Never do that!" and then never does anything but talk to Cobb about his feelings. Mal is dead and still manages to betray Cobb and generally fuck with all his plans. "Phillipa" is just Cobb's little daughter.

  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Selina Kyle is secretly working for the bad guy but then helps the good guy kick some ass. Miranda is secretly working for the bad guy. "Jen" is Selina's friend (and apparently is only credited with a name to make it clear that she's not Holly "Catgirl" Robinson.)

In retrospect, I should give Nolan credit for THREE rather than two types of female characters: furniture, corpses, and betrayers. These account for all 22 of the females characters, 4 of whom kill themselves.

Meanwhile, there are a dozen or more named male characters in each film (except the low budget Memento), and they often get to have real impact on the plot even when they are minor. (Think of Postlethwaite, Berenger, and JGL in Inception; Caine and Bowie in The Prestige; and Caine, Freeman, and Oldman in the Batmovies.)

Only in Insomnia, the one film Nolan directed but didn't write, does the female lead get to be a good guy all the way thru and come out on top. Plus there are several other named female characters.

Last edited by Zarban (2012-11-29 05:56:39)

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

So, you'd want a Batman series where his mum is alive rather than them sticking to the source material?

Hardly think that one counts.

Last edited by Jimmy B (2012-11-29 04:49:32)

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Well, no one was stopping him from including Aunt Harriet.....  tongue

http://www.bat-mania.co.uk/main/heroes/images/auntharriet_tea.JPG

Or Vicky Vale, or Chase Meridian, or Batgirl..... Oh look, other Batman film writers noticed and solved (however poorly) the problem of needing a female character who affects the plot and who isn't in league with the bad guys.  big_smile

Last edited by Zarban (2012-11-29 04:59:02)

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Heh. Good point big_smile

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Zarban wrote:
Jimmy B wrote:
Allison wrote:

That Chris Nolan comment is frighteningly on point. I've seen every one of his movies except Memento, and I can only think of 3 women that make it through a movie alive. I'm disturbed that I never noticed this before.

Does that make him sexist, though? Think about all the men that die in his films too. It's a hell of a lot more than the amount of women who die.

No, but the fact that he writes crap female characters kind of does.

Here are ALL the named female characters in Nolan films:

  • In Memento, Sammy and Leonard's wives are dead (and actually don't have names). Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss) betrays Leonard but also helps him in his investigation.

  • In Batman Begins, Martha Wayne is dead. Rachel Dawes does nothing but talk to Bruce about his feelings and get kidnapped. "Jessica" is a model Bruce is screwing. Barbara Gordon does nothing.

  • In The Prestige, Julia (Woverine's wife) dies tragically in act 1. Sarah (Batman's wife) kills herself in act 2. Olivia (ScarJo) is secretly working for the bad guy. Jess is just Batman's little daughter.

  • In The Dark Knight, Rachel Dawes does nothing but talk to Bruce about his feelings and get kidnapped and killed. Officer Ramirez is secretly working for the bad guy. Barbara Gordon does nothing. "Natascha" is a ballerina Bruce is screwing. Judge Surrillo exists only to get murdered.

  • In Inception, Ariadne BENDS A CITY and is told "Never do that!" and never does that or anything else but talk to Cobb about his feelings. Mal is dead and still manages to betray Cobb and generally fuck with all his plans. Phillipa is just Cobb's little daughter.

  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Selina Kyle is secretly working for the bad guy but then helps the good guy kick some ass. Miranda is secretly working for the bad guy. "Jen" is Selina's friend (and apparently is only credited with a name to make it clear that she's not Holly "Catgirl" Robinson.)

In retrospect, I should give Nolan credit for THREE rather than two types of female characters: furniture, corpses, and betrayers. These account for all 22 of the females characters, 4 of whom kill themselves.

Meanwhile, there are a dozen or more named male characters in each film (except the low budget Memento), and they often get to have real impact on the plot even when they are minor. (Think of Postlethwaite, Berenger, and JGL in Inception; Caine and Bowie in The Prestige; and Caine, Freeman, and Oldman in the Batmovies.)

Only in Insomnia, the one film Nolan directed but didn't write, does the female lead get to be a good guy all the way thru and come out on top. Plus there are several other named female characters.

Wow.

And when you think about it, many of the roles in Nolan's movies could be gender bent without affecting the plot in the least.  Especially in Inception, there's no reason to have Ariadne be the only female and least active member of the team.

Last edited by Allison (2012-11-29 05:57:21)

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Allison wrote:

And when you think about it, many of the roles in Nolan's movies could be gender bent without affecting the plot in the least.

Oh, absolutely, but that's true of MOST genre films. (Tysto has joked on some of his Schwarzenegger commentaries that Judi Dench could have played Arnie's role; he mostly just shoots people.)

I like Nolan's movies. He's just not helping genre cinema be very diverse. I think probably the same kind of list could be made of ethnic minority characters. Somehow, there are more Chinese and black people in Harry Potter's Scotland than there are in Nolan's Gotham City.

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Zarban wrote:
Allison wrote:

And when you think about it, many of the roles in Nolan's movies could be gender bent without affecting the plot in the least.

Oh, absolutely, but that's true of MOST genre films. (Tysto has joked on some of his Schwarzenegger commentaries that Judi Dench could have played Arnie's role; he mostly just shoots people.)

I like Nolan's movies. He's just not helping genre cinema be very diverse. I think probably the same kind of list could be made of ethnic minority characters. Somehow, there are more Chinese and black people in Harry Potter's Scotland than there are in Nolan's Gotham City.

Let it be noted that the al Ghuls were played by a white Irishman and a white Frenchwoman in Nolan's batverse.  It's one thing not to write characters that are female or of color, it's another to go against those identities.

You know what show has been surprising me with representation? Elementary on CBS. I am consistently amazed that its New York actually looks like New York.

Last edited by Allison (2012-11-29 06:10:08)

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Zarban wrote:

Somehow, there are more Chinese and black people in Harry Potter's Scotland than there are in Nolan's Gotham City.

Now, this I agree with. Although, is Harry Potter set in Scotland or was it just partly filmed here? Genuine question, not being funny. I haven't read the books smile

Allison wrote:

You know what show has been surprising me with representation? Elementary on CBS. I am consistently amazed that its New York actually looks like New York.

Blue Bloods is the same, New York is practically a character on that show.

Last edited by Jimmy B (2012-11-29 06:16:52)

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

I was going to say, Nolan had a ton of female characters to draw upon-its not like anyone held a gun to his head and said "Write all male characters" (imagine that in Bale's Batman voice wink ). I mean, regardless of how awful you think "Batman and Robin" is or "Batman Forever" you have genuine female characters who get more than token lines.

God loves you!

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Zarban wrote:

Batgirl.....

NO!

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Lamer wrote:
Zarban wrote:

Batgirl.....

NO!

I hope you are not insulting the proud legacy of Barbara, Stephanie, and Cassandra.

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

One thing I think is important to note is that it's hard in any story to represent equality in every direction equally.  By that I mean, I think Joss deserves a lot of credit for his portrayal of LGBT characters throughout his many tv shows and comics.  Now could you say "Joss sucks because there are few asian roles in anything he has ever done." I suppose you could.  But the net result is, Buffy was one of two lead female action stars on TV in it's hey day (Jennifer Garner on Alias being the other one of note, and Buffy predated her).  In terms of Joss's female characters only benefitting from a relationship with a male, I would argue Willow and Tara is a relationship between two women where both women come into their own as a benefit of a healthy relationship.  It certainly doesn't END well, but what relationship in the Whedonverse does. 

Yes, Joss's portrayal of women may be flawed.  But I'll put it to you, maybe it's us, as straight men, whose UNDERSTANDING of women is flawed, and constantly evolving.  I was raised in a loving home with a strong woman as the matriarch of the house, who was the breadwinner over my father, and who was a professional in the aerospace industry during the 80's.  She was very much of, and yet ahead of, her time.  To say that I had a more evolved view of women than my peers is an understatement.  I was routinely called a fag because I dare look at women as equals.  Even now when I say to certain men that women are largely tougher than men, they look at me like I suddenly started vomiting.  I also, however, was raised by grandparents from the deep south, and all sorts of colloquialisms and habits found their way into my DNA as well.  Growing up it was considered  polite for a man to not only hold the door and pull out the chair for a lady (which, I find most women appreciate) but also to use terms of endearment like "sugar," "m'dear," "honey," and "doll," in a casual setting even with women that I wasn't as familiar with.  As I grew up I came to understand WHY a woman would possibly be offended by that.  I have largely curbed those habits, but they do come out periodically.  I'm trying.  I'm not perfect and I suspect Joss isn't either, and as a result, neither is his art.  I mention all this to frame the argument as such:  Joss is one of those hetero white men who is first through the wall in terms of making strong women the focal point of his stories.  You are self admittedly admittedly a teenage girl, so you don't remember how "strong women" were portrayed just 10 years prior to Buffy.  One character I remember strongly who was deemed a strong women by tv media was DeeDee McCall from a cop procedural in the 1980's called "Hunter."  DeeDee was the tough talking sidekick to the titular male character and she was routinely part of the action.  But when writers ran out of stories for her and they needed an arc for sweeps, they did what any forward thinking writer would.  They raped her.  It was a three week arc that was advertised as "very special" episodes, as 80's tv was wont to do.  After the three week arc ended...no mention of it at all.  No recovery process, no realistic potrayal of trauma, nothing.

Until 2 years later when THEY RAPED HER AGAIN.  For sweeps.  Both times, they made sure to dress her in long sleeves and pants so as not to insinuate that her wardrobe sent mixed messages that she was asking for it.  Take a bow, 1980's.

Joss was a writer during this time too, and the nucleus of the idea for Buffy was born as a reaction to the tropes that were then considered progressive, and now appropriately considered sexist.  The teenage girl being followed down a lonely street by strange men, who ultimately corner her....until she kills them all.  It's not radical now, but it certainly was at the time, and you can't diminish that.  So yes, Joss isn't exactly the tip of the spear in 2012 for the modern woman, nor should he be.  Equality is a relay race, not a sprint, and Joss moved that baton farther than most of his contemporaries.  Now it's time for someone else.

Eddie Doty

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Eddie wrote:

Yes, Joss's portrayal of women may be flawed.  But I'll put it to you, maybe it's us, as straight men, whose UNDERSTANDING of women is flawed, and constantly evolving.

I think this is possibly the most salient point of the entire conversation.

Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Allison wrote:
Lamer wrote:
Zarban wrote:

Batgirl.....

NO!

I hope you are not insulting the proud legacy of Barbara, Stephanie, and Cassandra.

I'm sorry but Batman:TAS made me hate Batgirl with a passion.

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Eddie wrote:

Yes, Joss's portrayal of women may be flawed.  But I'll put it to you, maybe it's us, as straight men, whose UNDERSTANDING of women is flawed, and constantly evolving.

I just read this to my Women and Pop Culture class and we all agree it is very well said.  Your whole post was, but this stuck out to me.

I agree with you on a lot of things.  I am too young to have seen anything like Deedee McCall's rape plot (and I'm glad I missed it) so I suppose I have higher standards in media.  Joss did bring us closer to the finish line, although I maintain certain decisions of his have held us back.

I suppose the bigger problem here is when people give Joss a free pass because of the progress he helped make.  "It's written Joss Whedon, though!" (as was said in the Avengers commentary) is not a valid defense against charges of sexism or misogyny or white-washing or any other problems in his work.  If men's understanding of women is going to evolve anymore, they have to listen to the criticism and keep growing. I hope Joss - along Steven Moffat, James Gunn, Jeff Davis, etc. - can do that.

Last edited by Allison (2012-11-30 02:07:32)

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Was it the criticism towards Steven Moffat?

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

I'm "friends," with James Gunn on Facebook, and he literally just posted the folllowing.

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog that was meant to be satirical and funny. In rereading it over the past day I don't think it's funny. The attempted humor in the blog does not represent my actual feelings. However, I can see where statements were poorly worded and offensive to many. I'm sorry and regret making them at all.

People who are familiar with me as evidenced by my Facebook page and other mediums know that I'm an outspoken proponent for the rights of the gay and lesbian community, women and anyone who feels disenfranchised, and it kills me that some other outsider like myself, despite his or her gender or sexuality, might feel hurt or attacked by something I said. We're all in the same camp, and I want to do my best to make this world a better place for all of us. I'm learning all the time. I promise to be more careful with my words in the future. And I will do my best to be funnier as well. Much love to all - James

Eddie Doty

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Interesting. Chris Braak wrote about what James Gunn could say on his blog just yesterday, and it's not far off Gunn's actual statement.

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

I saw what Chris wrote, but I don't doubt the sincerity from James either.  I....sorta...got to work on something that James worked on and two things emerged to be true.  A deep respect for womanhood, and a filthy, filthy sense of humor.  James posted something pretty beautiful on National Coming Out Day that I'm looking for right now.

Eddie Doty

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Re: Let's talk about Joss, baby

Dorkman wrote:

Interesting. Chris Braak wrote about what James Gunn could say on his blog just yesterday, and it's not far off Gunn's actual statement.

I remember reading that blog entry yesterday and loving it. This section is what resonates with me the most:

"I don’t know; what I do know is that I’m done with all this....

I am not interested any more, at all, in supporting the work of people that can’t figure this shit out.

Whatever, you guys.  Whatever."

I don't want to feel "whatever" but sometimes I do.  If James Gunn is sincere - and I really want to believe he is - does it cancel out what he did? And the damage he caused?

Last edited by Allison (2012-11-30 03:10:04)

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