I saw Interstellar tonight. Still processing.
Anyone who knows me (either in person or via my writing) will know that I view life through the lens of a feminist, and that I am tired of stereotypical male hero journeys, of movies in which women are always, endlessly, less than, less admirable, less strong, less brave, less capable, less important. It is hard to explain the extent to which I would have more oxygen with which to breathe if movies split up the heroics, and/or gave them to women a good chunk of the time. Piloting, like orthopedic surgery, has been heavily male dominated for a long, long time. How amazing would it be if today’s generation of teenagers had seen the Endurance piloted by a woman? How amazing would it have been if the only female scientist on board hadn’t been the one in charge of all the babies?
I know. If you’re not on board with me on this already, it’s easy to dismiss what I’m writing as yada, yada, yada, feminist whining.
I wish there was some way to bring across the loneliness of being a female reader, movie-watcher, media-consumer and yearning for role models, for characters unchained from a value tied to how sexy they are.
Women aren’t given roles, generally, in which they get to be the hero. The movie, “Gravity” took some steps in this direction. But still, the woman in question was a medical engineer, not an astronaut. She was the person who had to be saved, first by the male hero in the movie, and then by her hallucination of him.
Doing things that we didn’t think we could do can form pivotal moments in our lives, times to which we continue to refer to help us reach other places and accomplishments. Strength builds on strength, and accomplishment can give us the courage to continue in the face of difficulty and defeat. And sometimes, seeing other people conquer challenges and break barriers can give us a measure of strength, a building block from which to climb higher. It is possible to learn from others’ experience. And what we see helps us build our imaginations.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if every person on earth could recognize himself/herself/zieself in books, movies, TV, and other media, and say, “Me too!”
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could value and include all of us?
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we looked for what was possible in every human being, no matter their gender, race, size, sexual orientation, or anything else?
We’re not really so good at love, we humans. We tend to limit our love to people we’re comfortable with. But love is a conduit for compassion, and we really need to embiggen ours. And that starts, in part, with actually looking at each other, with letting go of our hierarchies in terms of which people and which human experiences we value.
Women’s rights are human rights.