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Bye, everybody!

I’ve really enjoyed taking Feminist Film Studies this summer. I came in expecting to watch Hollywood films and critique their representations of women. Obviously, there’s a whole lot more to Feminist Film studies than I’d thought. I knew next to nothing about the theories we studied in this course—the male gaze, oppositional cinema, the feminist avant-garde, the connection between feminist film making and documentary, and the possibility of the female gaze (as potentially manifest in Campion’s The Piano)—all of these ideas were new to me. Even arguments critiquing existing feminist film theories, like critique of the absence of a female gaze and bell hooks on the problematic male gaze. With this onslaught of theory and critique, I felt that some of the beauty of filmmaking was lost (of course this always seems to happen to some degree when art is picked apart and analyzed). And I don’t mean to throw out analysis— I’m just worried that we shouldn’t be so hasty to trash dominant cinema altogether due to a past we’re now conflicted about. Audre Lorde says that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house? – but what if some of the master’s tools work well, and positively? What if they create beautiful results? Can’t we merely throw out those that don’t work for us and replace them with newer models? All of cinema’s norms and constructions prior to feminist film studies were not necessarily bad. It would be a shame not to enjoy a classic Hollywood movie solely because of it’s lack of proper depiction of women. To some degree, I believe that these films may reflect the views on women held by society in their contexts. Though we look back and cringe, I think the cultural context needs to be taken into account and a bit (if only just a bit) of grace should be granted. I don’t want to have the entire illusion of cinema exposed by critique. I hope we can somehow strike a balance between understanding where a film is coming from and being critical of its content and form, all the while getting lost in the cinema magic.

I've really enjoyed being in a class with all of you. Thanks!

-Anna K-O