Someone shared this article in a leftbook group I am in. It’s a quick read, so go ahead and check it out; basically, the author put in the OKCupid “you should message me if” box that men should contact her if they both a) have numerous things listed under the favorite TV shows, movies, books, etc, section and b) at least one of these works was created by a woman. Disclaimer: I take a way more hardline stance on this issue than she does.
The backlash this article received (mostly by women!) was astonishing to me. People kept commenting that so what if all their favs were dudes?! Did it matter?
Yes. Yes, it does.
Look, it’s 2018. Women are still struggling to be treated as equals in the entertainment business, but we aren’t at ground zero. We make up a small portion of the entertainment world, but we have had influence. You can’t find a movie, book, or show written by a woman? You can’t find anything directed by a woman? Really? What about…Harry Potter, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, The Mindy Project, Cardi B, Fiona Apple, The New Jim Crow, 30 Rock, My Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Persepolis, Wonder Woman (a movie so fucking significant that the woman lead and the woman director were able to get a famous producer removed from the sequel), Thirteen, Handmaid’s Tale, Blame, The Hunger Games, The Girl on the Train, Divergent, What Happened, Unbelievable, Garbage, Amy Winehouse, Ariana Grande, White Trash, the third season of Rick and Morty — none of this interests you? NOT EVEN MEAN GIRLS??? Welp. Okay.
“But I just like the things I like! Who cares if it’s all by men? I like things because I like them, not because I care about who made them.”
We are certainly no longer at the point where it’s a “coincidence” that you only enjoy male created art. Not to mention I am interested in men who can tell the difference between a woman written by a man vs a woman character fleshed out by an actual woman. The “describe yourself like a male author would” challenge on Twitter wasn’t just a joke. I am a person, and I am valuable for more than a plot point to help a man along, and I want to date someone who see the value in art that depicts women as their own individuals.
For example, I recently watched the movie Blame with my best friend (who is a woman). We turned it on not knowing a thing about it, but were almost immediately impressed by how realistic the young high school women in the show seemed. Usually there are bizarre stereotypical lines applied to high school students in movies, especially to the young women. But the characters in Blame struck us as realistic as people we actually knew in high school.
After it was over, we Googled the film. It turns out the young woman who starred in the movie wrote it when she was 15, and directed it at 20. “Duh,” we both said. And we weren’t alone — one of the lead actresses said, “I knew immediately that it was written by a young female. You can tell when something isn’t written authentically. I could tell this was by someone who understands what it’s like to be a young woman struggling with identity and fitting in.”
“But it’s petty and shallow to eliminate someone for not liking things made by women.”
Well, why the fuck are you listing your media interests on your profile, then? Why are you reading someone else’s? Aren’t you looking to see if you like the same media?
I love baseball, Ex on the Beach, Young Jeezy, The Carrie Dairies, Beyonce, coffee, The Clique series, The Intern, and Lovett or Leave It. And I do not give a shit if a man that I am with likes these things or not. A compatible interest in mass produced consumer goods does not indicate compatibility in a relationship. Unlike people who are looking for shared interests in a list of favorite media, I am looking for shared ways of thinking and life. I might not like Divergent, but I’m happy to see it on your list. I can show you a movie I love that you haven’t seen, but I don’t have the time to teach you why women should be given representation.
To be honest, I don’t love it when men use up precious Bumble characters to tell me how much they love a movie or book that a large swath of the American population loves. You think Forgetting Sarah Marshall is great? Cool, so do I — and so do a bunch of other people who suck. Plus, do you bring so little to the table that you can’t fill up 300 characters without mentioning Game of Thrones, or does it really play that large of a role in your life?
I don’t advocate lying or using your profile as a showcase of your performative wokeness, but your profile is supposed to project the image of who you are. I had to remove Wolf of Wall Street from my OKCupid, because I got tired of conservatives messages me about it. The movie doesn’t define anything about who I am, but the impression I gave off is that I valued capitalism and bro behavior.
“Real feminists don’t care about this. I don’t need to seek out women’s art, that has nothing to do with feminism.”
Well, not really. Real feminists do care about this kind of stuff, or at least they should once they think about it.
When a group of people have been oppressed, the right thing to do is to make an effort to include them. This is any minority group trying to break into spaces predominately occupied by the majority group — especially when the majority group actively seeks to keep them out (I have no idea when that doesn’t happen). Just like almost every field, this has happened with women in entertainment (I have considered publishing my book under “M. Moore” instead of my full name!).
If I had a car and it needed work, I would personally pay MORE money to hire a woman owned business. I constantly base my consumer choices in life on things like, “is this a black owned business?” “do a lot of women work here?” etc. And I will inconvenience myself in order to patronize those places. Because what I do in the privacy of my own home, with my vehicle, with my phone, doesn’t matter. But using everything in my power to bring up people who have been pushed down is incredibly important.
And do you know what else is important to me? That I end up with a man who says that he understands that.