All good things
I must say I really enjoyed this class a lot too, it gave me a new perspective for watching film, and in particular reminded me that there was still a good genre out there: the documentary. For some time now I had been growing weary of the general cinematic experience. When as many times as not when I would sit down in front of that box or that screen and suffer the same plot lines, angles, scenes, (god forbid, cgi) and come out feeling nothing greater, nothing learned I did what one does when something continually disappoints them. I dumped it. I know, maybe I was hard on it and yes we still see each other once in awhile, we were lonely, but I lost a lot of trust. I was glad to have the documentary genre reintroduced to me.
Also this class helped me with some unanswered questions I had about gender politics. With the above reflections revealed, I think it's moot to say that I was interested in Rachel's course for the feminist aspect, rather than the film. Throughout my own exploration of ethics I had troubles concretely answering the question of feminism as it relates to hierarchy in general. The theory seemed incomplete to me in terms of how it regards the nature of the hierarchical structure is opposing in general. That is, does it oppose hierarchal structures altogether, does it still wish there to be such a stark Capitalism caste system, for example, are poor women equal to rich men and if so why not, and in which ways is it acceptable for them to be unequal? Why is this so? In short, was feminism concerned with the future as a matriarchy, a capital-archy, or anarchy? Don't let the term throw you, we are simply talking about the complete absence of hierarchy. Also, if gender itself has ever been seen as a hierarchy, will we be able to ever resolve the effects of the damage that it imposed? While mostly we appreciated the critique feminism and feminist film studies have brought to vivid attention, and did not have much time to spend on understanding a possible reification of the theory on the the politic side, I still believe I have come a lot closer to answering that question. (See my other post about my paper.)
But yes, in all I only wish we could have had this same class over a longer period of time. I would have liked to try to make a film! I wasn't very confident in my abilities to do that, and was blown away by what some had did with little or no experience. Hearing some people's experiences with gender, both amongst ourselves and from the films was fascinating and a growing experience.
Emma's conclusion was that all forms of hierarchy, the one which kept women oppressed as well as the one which kept people poor, as well as one which presumed things about you because of your race. Emma worked with other anarchists of the time to construct an ideology to be called "anarcha-feminism" which advocates that all oppression comes from the same general structure which could be directly combated. It recognized, more than anything, that equality among two classification's of humans is always going to leave a subset of people and therefore someone is left to discriminate against as long as there remains oppression and coercion in general. Many don't believe human-kind is mature enough for this sort of system, and I'd have to agree that they were right, right now we're not. But, a goal to aim for, and a defensible theory about why it is hard to fight only one small part of oppression at a time, as long as the general structure remains.