Thursday, April 22, 2004

problematic man pays me a visit

Problematic Man: ho there, little girl! how are you today?
me: not so great, problematic man. i've had a hard afternoon.
Problematic Man: really? were you made to feel like a hysterical second-wave feminist in your film class? were you alienated by misogynistic student theater? and were you subsequently frustrated by the insidious classism of the O.C.?
me: yes and yes! and yes, Problematic Man! it all began ...

scene one
video production workshop, where the two groups -- one being mine and the other composed of four, white, broad-shouldered sophomore boys -- show segments of our group projects. my group's presentation went fine. then the broad-shouldered boy group showed theirs, a collection of genres: an art film, a cartoon, a sitcom. and THEN ...

[the four females in class suddenly sit up, gape at screen. film finishes.]
broad-shouldered boys: so, what did you think?
one female: why, uh, did you choose to put porn in your film?
broad-shouldered boys: what, do you hate porn?
another female: no, but what's the point? it's not as innocuous as your other genres. some people are offended by porn, you know.
b-s boys: really? they are?

problematic man: wow! they are unaware of any social ramifications or controversy of pornography! indeed, they are amazing. what happened next?

third female: and while we're on the subject, why is the only african-american in your movie the aggressive, sexualized black male in the porn?
b-s boys: is he? uh. we didn't think about that.
fourth female: you know, that's a stereotype.
b-s boys: [silence]
fourth female: a harmful stereotype. STEREOTYPE.
b-s boys: but that wasn't our intention.
females: still, you have a responsibility to consider the images you're presenting.
b-s boys: [silence]
females: you have to think about how the film will be perceived.
b-s boys: [silence]
females: STEREOTYPE!
b-s boys: ... so, you hate porn?

scene two
my good friend's production of sarah kane's Phedre's Love.

phedre: strophe, my daughter, i'm in love with my step-son, your step-brother, even though he is cyncial, egotistical, nihilistic, unhygienic & unkind!
strophe: mother, stop! can't you control yourself?
phedre: no! i'm a woman!

phedre: oh hippolytus, i love you, even though you're my step-son, cyncial, egotistical, nihilistic, unhygienic & unkind!
hippolytus: go away. i hate you. fuck someone else.
phedre: no, i must have you! because i am an irrational woman, governed by my emotions! please, let me fellate you. i will not enjoy it and you will transmit to me your various venereal diseases, and i am your step-mother, but i do not care because i love you!

strophe: hippolytus, my mother killed herself because she is an irrational woman governed by her emotions and she loves you too much.
hippolytus: i told her that you and i are fucking. and that you fucked my father, theseus, her husband. i told her these things because i am cynical, egotistical, nihilistic, unhygienic and unkind!
strophe: you monster! yet i love you anyway, because i am a woman! let us have sex, though you will transmit to me your various veneral diseases!

theseus: here i am, back home again! what transpired in my absence?
hippolytus: i am accused of raping and murdering your wife, my step-mother.
theseus: oh no! i will kiss you, and then kill you, but not before i rape and kill my daughter strophe, for no conceivable reason! then i will kill myself!

scene three
the o.c., an excellent show that sadly trafficks in stereotypes

the o.c.: domestic violence only happens in chino!

problematic man: a troubling afternoon indeed, little girl. are you feeling any better today?
me: yes, problematic man. and this weeked i'm going to march for women's lives: that will make me feel even better.
problematic man: then i've done my job!
me: but you haven't done anything -- can't you talk to those b-s boys? or my friend the director? .... problematic man? problematic man? where'd you go?

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