Tales of a Midwest Lutheran on the East Coast

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Another mediation on the F word

So I finally watched the documentary "Miss Representation." It took my far, far too long to watch this, though I am grateful that it is now on Netflix, because there are rarely screenings nearby. There is way too much to talk about as a whole, other than to say it was pretty life-changing. Take a look at clips on youtube, order it from Nexflix, or go to a screening and see it for yourself. Like the title implies, it is about how women in media are being misrepresented. When shows, movies, and ads show women as beautiful objects to be desired with no depth of character or agency of her own, this is harmful to how women are viewed in society at large and whether or not she will be take seriously. This is nothing new, but the detail in this documentary is just staggering. 

But this documentary hit home for me the other day in a way that on the surface may seem really trivial. Basically, I wanted to go see a movie. Now, not just any movie. I didn't want to see shoot-em-up, action-adventure, explosion filled movie, though I easily could have. There are about 5 playing at the local AMC right now. I wanted to see Anna Karenina, the new movie with those famous people in it, based on the book by Leo Tolstoy (who wrote some really great Christian essays, did you know that?). Seems pretty easy to just waltz down to my local AMC three minutes away and get some tickets, right?

Wrong. (Warning: rant ahead, if you couldn't already tell.)

Anna Karenina is a "special" movie. It's a movie with a woman in it. Not just any woman, but a strong woman. A woman who makes choices (even bad ones). A woman who's a mom. A woman with conflicting feelings. A woman who is the MAIN CHARACTER. (Notice the title?)

So this "special" movie is in "limited release." That means that you'll have to drive out of your way or into the next state to see it, because your local AMC theater does not carry it. Because they don't think it will make much money. Because of, as "Miss Representation" revealed, a deep-held belief in Hollywood that women will see movies of stories about men, but men will not see movies with stories about women, and therefore there is little money to be made.

To them, I would say, have you SEEN how much "Twilight" has raked in?

And even though there are two very famous actors in Anna K, I have a feeling that it is in limited release because it is a "women's movie." Even though it is supposedly "Oscar material." And so, AMC will miss out on my $10 because I will be seeing it at a theater that WILL play it. But really, everybody loses when this kind of thing happens.

It may seem silly, but is it really so wrong to want access to stories about people like me? I don't think so. It's also making me seriously consider wearing my collar more, when I'm out doing things after being at the office, like shopping at Target. Because "You can't be what you can't see." Or, at least, it is much harder. And who knows? There may be a little girl out there who later in life feels called to ministry, who may or may not remember seeing a woman with a collar in a Target in some NJ suburb.

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