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November 28, 2006

Any conclusions? Final Thoughts?

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Extra Credit Post (worth 1 - 5 points):
Note: If you choose to post, please post by midnight on Sunday, December 10th (if you want to receive credit).

In this course we've done a lot of feminist analysis of media (films, TV, vlogs, images...). I'm wondering now, after all of the critique, what you believe makes media feminist? Do you have a definition that outlines what makes a film feminist? Who are some feminist film and mediamakers that you've encountered?

Does a filmmaker/mediamaker necessarily need to say "I am a feminist filmmaker..." to count? Can you declare a piece of media as feminist even if the maker doesn't articulate a feminism?

Please, list (and/or link us to) films, shows, blogs, vlogs, film and media makers that you believe are feminist.

November 14, 2006

Sample student group project

Here's the video that my Feminist Thought and Theory students made for their final a few years back. Although it was a different class, a similar project could be made for this course. Lots of potential in the Mall of America.

Post from my blog:
A few years back my students from WoSt 3102 - Feminist Thought and Theory gave my daughter a makeover at Club Libby Lu . They filmed the whole thing, edited a video, and wrote really smart papers about girl culture, heteronormativity, whiteness, girl power movement, the gaze, and all those concepts important to Women's Studies. Theorizing the MofA is a very fruitful exercise!

Here's the video (forgive the hiccup in the middle of the clip. i can't find the student's final edit & i don't have time to pull out clips of just T, but you can get the point from it anyway):

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(Click for Quictime file - 14.5 MB file size)

Did you catch the clip of me with a weave-o-rama? Yup. Too much fun!

Well, one of my girl's best friends had a Club Libby Lu b-day party this weekend. Her rock star makeover:

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What's really scary is so much of the stuff for sale in the store (as you can see in the video), and if you get the deluxe makeover package you get a great bag (it's a gir thing!) filled with all kinds of heteronormative gender binary enforcing princess power.

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See Club Libby Lu's website for yourself.

Reality TV Post Assignment (10 points)

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1 - Watch (at least) one 30 minute episode of "Reality" TV

Focus on one particular episode from a "reality" TV show focused on or targeting women, young girls, or queer audiences. Makeover, weight loss, plastic surgery, model competition, sweet 16s and others would be great choices. You can choose to watch something you watch often (but watch critically or you can choose something you would absolutely not watch unless you were forced to).

If you do not have a television or access to TV or cable, you can visit the FMC lab and you can purchase a show off of itunes Store for $1.99 (with a credit card or debit/credit card). To do this, launch itunes, click on "itunes Store", go to "TV shows". They have a "reality TV" category, or choose by Network like "MTV" or . They have plastic surgery shows (Dr. 90210), MTV shows (Sweet 16), TLC shows (What Not To Wear), and Bravo (Black.White.).

2- Analyze the episode using a feminist intersectional analysis and key concepts from feminist film/media theory

Analyze the show using the feminist theory and film theory you’ve read thus far. Use concepts of gaze, intersectionality, identity, stereotypes, “scaling of bodies? / ranking of body type, skin color, hair texture, hair length+ , representational practices (construction of characters/caricatures, stereotypes), constructions of "reality", or any of the "issues" discussed in the course that you see reflected (or ignored) in the show you watched.

3 - Use theory to support your ideas/claims

Browse the .pdf files from the special issue of Feminist Media Studies focused on feminist analysis of “reality? television on our WebCT course site. Find an article that can add to your “reading? of the show you watched. You are also welcomed to find an alternative scholarly article to help analyze your viewing experience.

Select a few relevant quotes from any applicable course readings and at least one passage from the additional article (from Feminist Media Studies or other relevant scholarly article) that you chose to read.

4 - Post your 300 to 500 word entry, that cites at least one scholarly essay, by noon 11/27.

Your entry should be 300 to 500 words (about a double spaced page). Suggestion: type in word then cut and paste into blog entry to get word count, spell check, and to back up your writing.

November 7, 2006

Blog Post Assignment: Boys Don't Cry (2 points)

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On The Readings:

The weblinks (on our WebCT site) are crucial this week! Print the pdf files & READ! Remember big brother (no, call me big mama!) can see who visits each link and downloads off the site!


1. Intro from Creative Filmmaking (WS)
2. Excerpts on Kimberly Pierce's (the director's) creative process from Creative Filmmaking (WS)
3.Branding Teena: Misrepresentations... (CP)

* Be prepared to discuss the films and the readings in class next week! *

Assignment: Use one of the following questions as a spark to write your post about Boys Don't Cry. Please READ WHAT OTHERS HAVE WRITTEN and BUILD upon topics. Please DO NOT REPEAT someone else's point, but add to the conversation they have started. There are many prompts and many places you can go with your ideas. Really, the possiblities are limitless. This post is due by NOON on Nov. 13!

Using key moments from the film and some ideas generated in the assigned (and/or optional readings) on Boys Don't Cry, address (in a paragraph or two) one of the following questions or ideas generated by the question(s):

✢ What is the relationship between narrative storytelling, a "real" or "true" event, and documentary filmmaking? What changes were made to the actual events? Were the changes (in the filmic telling) warranted, deceptive, simply a choice?

✢ What does a narrative film do that maybe the documentary, The Teena Brandon Story, wasn't able to achieve (thinking: public attention, issue awareness, create an Oscar winner, etc...) What is/was at stake in (re)telling a true story?

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✢ Is Kimberly Pierce responsible for the story she tells? How and why? (think factual accuracy versus creative license, artistic accountability, ethics and responsibility)

✢ Should Hollywood/narrative films/filmmakers/actors be responsible or accountable for the stories they tell?

✢ Do films such as this, impact the public views on issues?

✢ What does Pierce achieve stylistically (think Director's palette)? Does this match her vision articulated in Creative Filmmaking text? How important is style? content? representation?

✢ What do you think about Pierce's directorial choices like casting "unknown" Swank instead of "big name" actor? What do you think about Swank's portrayal?

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✢ What is/was at stake in representing transgender issues? What was in the public about these issues before the film? How has the film impacted society's view on gender, violence, and the other issues presented in the film?

✢ What is the role of language in this issue (cross-dresser, transsexual, transgender, use of pronouns like he/she)? How does the film use language to tell this story?

✢ What does the film say about the body - gender performativity, binding, "passing", masculinity/femininity/androgyny, sexual ambiguity, identity transformation, violence, and intolerance... Does the film reinforce or complicate gender binaries?

✢ What story does this film tell about "small-town" America? American values? American life?

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November 5, 2006

He's Here!

Steven Joseph was born 11/3 at 6:44pm. 7 lbs 5 oz, 20 inches long.

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He'll be meeting you all very soon.

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I hope that paper writing is going well. There are enough options and resources (don't forget you can still watch the films in the lab on Monday) for you to write a great paper. Can't wait to see what you guys come up with.

So, yes, I'm back to business (was I never not answering emails?), so please continue to email if you have any comments, questions or concerns.

-R

October 25, 2006

Midterm Resources

Here's a copy of the Midterm Question - click HERE to download pdf file

I suggest that you re-watch the film you choose to write about for the midterm paper assignment. I advise you to watch significant scenes again, first without sound - think about analyzing shot by shot - then re-watch with sound to think about sound design (use of music, fx, v.o.). Think critically, specifically, and write in detail.

FILMS AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING IN THE:
Feminist Media Center (FMC)
468 Ford Hall
Fall 06 Hours: Monday - Thursday 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.

There are DVD copies available for in-lab viewing of:

The Piano


Live Nude Girls Unite
fyi - this is the original cover image (you can see it on the homepage too), but instead the distributor chose the stripper pole image. hmmmm.


Set It Off

For Barrier Device, you can watch on itunes on FMC's Station 02 or purchase off of itunes yourself for $1.99. See the lab attendant for help (and there is an "Instructions for Barrier Device.doc" on the desktop. Or, you can download for $1.99 on itunes.

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Set It Off Assignment

Using the readings about Set It Off, Black women, representation and authorship, etc:

Pick a quote (or short block quote) from any of this week's reading (Springer, hooks, gibson-hudson, and weblinks about F. Gary Gray) and post your response in a paragraph or two.

Your post must include the following:

*Cite the author and page number and include the quotation in your post.

*Cite specific examples from the film to support your claim (or to counter the argument you select from this week's reading).

Note: This post is worth 2 points.

Be prepared to talk about the film and the readings in class next week!

October 8, 2006

Assignment: Research Women "Of Color" (& Indie Women) Filmmakers

"Feminism is the political theory and practice that struggles to free all women: women of color, working-class women, poor women, disabled women, lesbians, old women-as well as white, economically privileged, heterosexual women."

-Barbara Smith, ed., But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies, 1986.

Are you still wondering about feminism(s)?, read some quotes - here

Want to remind yourself about "Women of Color Feminisms", read here and here

Some great articles (available online) about Women of Color Feminisms - here

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Assignment Details:

For this blog post, you are to research women "of color" filmmakers (or independent women filmmakers (meaning no Hollywood $ to make their movies)). First, consider what you've seen/who you may know - search names, film titles, key words and see if there's something you have seen. Second, browse through the many links on this blog (right sidebar, scrolling down). There are links to feminist distributors (WMM), many w.o.c. film festivals, and some sites like "Sisters in Cinema" (about Black women filmmakers). Magazines like - Filmmaker often do "best of" lists and articles like this one (which includes a number of new/emerging filmmakers of color).

Post Requirements:
1 - name, short bio, background info on filmmaker (and image if you can find it)
2 - names, short summary of any of their work
3 - any reflections on their work (if you are able to view), and post link to the work and/or homepage
4 - where you've found them (and/or where their work shows)
5 - how easy/difficult it was for you to find these women (the where are the women ?)

* Post by NOON on Monday, 10/16!

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Rachel's W.O.C. Filmmaker Post - EXAMPLE


1 - Filmmaker: Eunhee Cho (Korean, US based)

Korean-born Eunhee Cho, 29, began her first feature, Inner Circle Line, as an MFA project at the Art Institute of Chicago. Blending an experimental narrative — the synchronous story of a man (a depressed subway operator) and a woman (a techno DJ), both named Youngju — with a melancholy DV-shot depiction of downtown Seoul, Inner Circle Line is an international hybrid. From its Chicago origins it went on to attract production funding from the Korean Film Council and postproduction funding in the U.S. after Cho met producer Alan Chan at the IFP Rough Cuts Lab.

2 - Inner Circle Line seems to be her only work listed anywhere. This is a student film and has screened at many film festivals like SXSW and AAIFF.

3 - Watch the trailer here

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I found the trailer visually moving. I'm not clear on the narrative (story), beyond there are two characters - one male and one female - who share the same name. She's a DJ. What moves me most is the visuals (the cinematography), the movement, rhythm and pacing (the editing). I am a sucker for beautifully shot llandscapes and movement.

4 - I found Eunhee through Filmmaker magazine's "Top 25" to watch article. I read this magazine often and love to see who is coming out of film school. In this 25, I was excited to see one of my old students (Ham Tran) and lots of emerging women filmmakers. I chose Eunhee because her work sounded really intriguing so I went to her website to view. Unfortunately, most filmmakers in the festival circuit see little light of day. With alternative DVD rental houses (like Netflix), I'm hoping she gets picked up for some kind of distribution and I can see this film somewhere I can access.

5 - It was easy for me to find many "w.o.c. filmmakers". This is my professional field, my area of research and interest, and I am a w.o.c. filmmaker so I know where to find women making movies, like me!

September 25, 2006

Vlog Watching Assignment // Rachel's Examples

WARNING: If your computer is too slow to view the videos linked in this post, please visit the FMC (468 Ford) or one of these other computer labs on campus, to complete this assignment.

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Confused? Unsure where to begin? Read about what a videoblog (or vlog) is here:

NY Times article: Watch Me Do This and That Online
Wikipedia definition: Vlog
Vlogging Resources: Freevlog.org
Yahoo Videoblogger's Group

This Week's Assignment:
You are the spectator’s gaze, peering into other’s lives, through their videoblogs (vlogs). Visit some of the vlogs linked on our course blog (or other vlogs you may encounter in your own search) and report back on this course blog. You may consider posting on: an analysis of the gaze(s), use of personal narratives, visual style, editing, feminist activism, themes that refelct course material or whatever seems most relevant to you.

Please know the vloggers will have access to read what you’ve posted & will probably know that you linked to them. You may be critical, but do not write any personal attacks, racist or sexist comments or inappropriate commentary on our blog.

The point of this assignment is to:
1) see what video work people create & distribute online
2) employ some of the concepts and analytic tools we’re learning in this course
3) get intrigued, inspired or whatever you feel in response to the work you viewed

Assignment Requirements:

* Write a short paragraph or two, posting a response to a particular vlog entry, or you may choose to analyze a body of work on a vlog (which requires a bit more analysis).

* Your entry must include in-depth analysis that reflects understanding of course materials, discussion, concepts and terminology.

* You must LINK your post to the vlog or particular entry you viewed.

* You must post by NOON on Monday, 10/2!

NOTE: You should focus on ONE vlog post or vlog site, and include in-depth analysis. My example (below) includes a number of entries to give you samples of what I'm watching/enjoying and why, with little analysis.

!!! AVOID VIDEO SPAM !!!
(think of SPAM emails) - you know the garbage you want to delete immediately. Avoid junk video (you'll have a tough time analyzing this material using key terms as instructed below).

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RACHEL'S ASSIGNMENT EXAMPLES:

My favorite vlog:
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This vlog is by Daniel Liss, a photographer and independent filmmaker. This site is his personal space (not work for hire) and his way to express himself. This site has some great posts - watch them!

My favorite entries on this vlog site:


1 - theory/practice - an entry about the theory and practice of this videoblogger's craft.

His visual style is moving. He opens with the fog resting on the outside of a building. He uses music to get us from cut to cut. He tells the narrative (taking his sleeping baby to the botanical gardens), but says "I don't point the camera and explain...". Instead, he shows us visually (he calls it "tangentially".

He varies the framing - revealing both the landscape and the details of his world. He makes a simple shot - of a pencil scratching notes on paper - so beautiful. He explains his vlog stylistically: I add music, I play with the image. Does this stop being a vlog? This is my world - this is how I see it, how I think it - I vlog it for you...

Many videobloggers have written vlogging manifestos (with rules about what counts and what doesn't in terms of being a vlog), this may be Daniel's thoughts on the subject.

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2 - neighbors - an eloquent piece reflecting on a neighbor who recently passed

In this short clip, Daniel structures the piece with a personal voiceover. The content is very emotional (death, AIDS, and the way people interact with each other) and he chooses stylistic, visual elements to tell this story. He uses extreme close-ups of water droplets hitting the windowsill in a sad dance, the sound of the rain, sad music, and color seemingly painted on the frame (using soft focus). He holds each shot for a time, seemingly slow, but the pacing perfectly matched to the eloquence of the piece. He thought about leaving flowers but didn't, instead, he leaves this post.

Other Vlog Posts I enjoy:

1 – from Vidlicious women vlogger collective (which has LOTS of great links):


Stretching Before and After on identity, womanhood, personal narratives

2 - from scratchvideo.tv

measure 2wice. cut once. - vlog post on getting fitted for a wedding and how long it takes to make breasts

August 24, 2006

Welcome to the Course

Welcome to the public blog for the Fall 2006 course "GWSS 3307 - Feminist Film Studies: On Media, Representation, and Women Who Make Movies". This course is newly designed this term to include lots active learning (see this, this and this for examples). I have been thinking a lot about feminist pedagogy, media literacy and teaching/research/learning with technology.

We will post frequently to this blog. Students are assigned 6 mandatory posts throughout the course, but are encouraged to post more for extra credit and for fun! We also have a myu portal course website (but that's a private space for enrolled students only).

As Instructor (and Instructional Designer) I encourage students to write beyond our isolated classroom community. My hopes are to teach students to think, speak, and write critically but responsibly, and to connect our thoughts, ideas, and work to the world, thus - this blog.

I'm asking the students to read rebecca's pocket guide to weblog ethics but if you have a good site or guide for new bloggers and students, please link us!

Hopefully this blog will be a productive and creative collaborative space.

Looking forward to a great term!

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-Rachel

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I thought it might be helpful to include some basic html tags here, for students interested in doing "fancier" posts:
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This is a guide from our course moodle site:

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Other html tag sites:
Bare Bones Guide to HTML
alphabetical list of tags