I actually hated Pretty Woman (1990) the first time I watched it. I was just coming into feminist consciousness when my mother put it on after years of raving that it was her favourite rom-com. I felt betrayed that she deemed it in any way romantic. Richard Gere with his male saviour complex comes along to sweep Julia Roberts off her feet? Yuck. These conservative sexual politics are what a lot of people dislike about the film thirty years on, or it’s the case that people like the film in spite of them. However, as I grew up and my initial repulsion evolved into critical and somewhat guilty enjoyment, I realised Pretty Woman’s biggest issue is not that it is outdated, but that it isn’t. In its approach to sex work, the film is as old hack as the current discussions surrounding sex workers’ rights. Continue reading The Capitalist with a Heart of Gold? And Hollywood’s Issue with Sex work
One of the best LGBTQ+ films to come out of Britain in the last decade, Pride tells the true story of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) organisation who financially and publicly supported mining communities during the strikes of the ‘80s. Centring itself round the Gay’s the Word bookshop – which is still going in London to this day – this movie has … Continue reading Pride Culture Comforts: Pride (2014)
Princess Cyd is available to watch for free on Kanopy. It is a common trope in a lot of media that women’s self-worth is tied to their sexuality. They are judged for how old they are; how often they have sex, and whether they have sex with men, women or both. Furthermore, all too often female characters are punished for their exploits in contradictory ways. … Continue reading Why Princess Cyd Is So Refreshing in Exploring Female Sexuality
Nine to Five is available to watch for free on BoB. Whether you watch it for the comedy, the kick-ass female cast, or simply because of Dolly Parton’s classic hit song, there is no doubt that Nine to Five still appeals to us today. Especially on the back of its recent run as a Broadway Musical. But, forty years later, maybe we should be asking … Continue reading The Hours Might be Different, But How Much Has Truly Changed Since Nine to Five?
You can watch Bridesmaids for free on BoB. Bridesmaids has taken on a special cultural significance since its release in 2011. Hailed as “terrifically funny, smart and tender”, the film, under Paul Feig’s directing and Judd Apatow’s producing, remains a frank display of women behaving badly. Yet it is precisely this ‘behaving badly’ that remains a sticky topic. Though the film has remained a critical … Continue reading Why Do Women Have to *Literally* Spill Their Guts to Be Funny?
You can watch Bridesmaids for free on BoB. Bridesmaids (2011) was well received by critics and audiences alike, lauded for its ability to prove that women could “be funny”. However, the credit that the film received was mostly focused around female portrayal of traditionally masculine humour: vulgar sexual innuendo, the famous diarrhoea scene, and drunken mishaps. While these aspects of Bridesmaids should be applauded, the … Continue reading “You’re your problem… and also your solution”: How Bridesmaids Remodels Female Friendship
I am very precious about my hair and I’m not ashamed of it. I had bright blonde hair as a toddler which eventually dulled to a dirty blonde, until Year 8 when I asked the hairdresser to give me summer blonde highlights and cut a bob for me. Since then, my hair has become my signature accessory to every outfit with it only getting blonder … Continue reading I Want to Be a Blonde Bombshell Too!
Everyone knows that Brits and Americans are the absolute worst tourists. They’re loud and obnoxious, expect everyone to speak English, get embarrassingly sunburnt, and care more about the cocktails than the culture. This arrogance likely roots in imperialist attitudes; the disgusting Western ideology that every other country should tailor to their desires, and that Westerners have the ultimate right to go wherever they want and do whatever they please. With this in mind, Gurinder Chadha’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice translates the class tension between Darcy and Elizabeth into a tension about national identity and culture, and American attitudes towards India. The Bennet family become the Bakshi family from Amritsar, while Darcy is a wealthy, American tourist with an arrogance aptly attached to that stereotype. Behind the sparkle of the Bollywood numbers, the vibrant colours, and the light humour, Bride and Prejudice threads through a commentary on neo-imperialism, interrogating Western attitudes towards India today and considering how open the West is to change. Continue reading When Mr Darcy Is Actually Just a Neo-Imperialist
Bright Days Ahead is available to watch for free on BoB. Bright Days Ahead is a film about ageing and how sex intersects with this process – but it is far more than just a comedy about old people having affairs. It explores the changes that come with age, both in body and in soul, and the grief that accompanies that. In creating this festival of … Continue reading Age vs Maturity: Sex and the Sea in Bright Days Ahead
But I’m A Cheerleader is a delicious romantic comedy where Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan Bloomfield, a high school cheerleader whose parents try to cure her lesbianism by sending her to a conversion therapy camp. Conversion therapy is often a very dark topic for LGBTQ+ films and understandably so. What this movie gets right though is laughing at the bigot whose reasons for conversion therapy … Continue reading Pride Culture Comforts: But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)