In his Moral Imagination class, uber peacebuilder John Paul Lederach taught us the usefulness of what he calls a Wittgensteinian Essay for pulling together random ideas that clunk around in your brain before they are fully formed as theory. This is my favorite state of play and these are some of the pathways I use to begin to explore gender and media culture in a way that can be funny, thoughtful, expository and about how defying gender roles makes simply for better storytelling. What are your thoughts as you explore this collection?
1) Watch this ad. Laugh out loud.
2) In this October 2009 article from The New Yorker, director James Cameron talks about how interesting it is to have a woman play a part written for a man – as he did in Alien/Aliens with Sigourney Weaver. The article also mentions that the role of the incidental girlfriend is so pervasive in Hollywood – those parts are referred to as “handbags”.
3) Watch the sublime Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth the Golden Age trailer and then talk to me about what defines a hero:
4) Compare the sexuality of Beyonce and Feist in these two music videos which are both around 3 minutes and 20 seconds long. Watch them side by side. How are these artists different? What are they saying??
4) And why, oh why, oh why does Ok Go’s pink clothing, white shoes, pot bellies and fey dancing not threaten male sexuality in the least? I am thrilled about it – but I think if we figure that out – it might help us sort through other elusive gender puzzles.