White feminism is extremely pervasive in film culture. There is definitely a domination by men who are everywhere, who are loudest, and whose voices are most easily accepted and praised. But then you get the reaction of white feminism, which is to counter the one thing that oppresses them: men. However, we live in an age where an ignorance of intersectionality is nearly impossible, especially if you’re on social media. You can’t live in a segregated fantasy of MEN VS WOMEN. This does not deter white feminist film critics from speaking over women of colour (or other marginalized women, by class, disability, sexuality, etc); they simply speak over other marginalized women with empty statements. A suggestion that they spoke to their friends of colour for approval on certain topics, or posts which are littered with “I know this is so much worse for other women,” or empty privilege checks. It’s all empty: solidarity is a shallow way of showing you’re accountable without doing anything, as it’s little more than going “I know women of colour exist; now on with my opinions,” while checking one’s privilege is just a perceived “free pass,” like “Well, I acknowledged I’m white, so now that that’s out of the way I can keep talking.”
The thing is that of course all women, even white women (or straight women or cis women or ablebodied women or whatever) are marginalized. Our/their voices are not heard. Film culture is a boys’ club. But the struggle seems to be to get the least marginalized into that boys’ club. And when you only hear the voices of white women concerned with being white women, whose attempts at intersectionality are entirely surface performance, you get a reduction of the films that are promoted. Varda and Akerman feel tokenized and reduced. Varda is nothing but Cléo de 5 à 7, Akerman is nothing but Jeanne Dielman. Sometimes Chytilova’s Daisies gets thrown in. But it’s reduced to “films with women directors”: Varda’s documentaries feel like they’ve been made irrelevant, while I have never seen discussions of her essentialist conception of gender. Akerman is reduced to “long takes of domesticity” without engagement with her mental illness, queerness, Jewish identity, her engagement with history broadly and within cinema, her anger and despair. And Daisies is never within the context of communist Czechoslovakia, it’s just a cool film of girls having fun. You lose so much when the only concern is “But GIRLS are on SCREEN doing GIRL things! This is so DIFFERENT from what the FILM BROS like!” which is true, and a distance from ‘film bro’ culture is always necessary. But we get bogged down in the small things. We can accept a couple white girls in the boys’ club when all they do is gently promote simplified versions of female tokens. It is always difficult being a woman. It is easier when you’re a white woman. You don’t need to speak over everyone because you’re marginalized in one way.
Isn’t it just Amazing™ that the women of colour in Fantastic Beasts are:
The President of the MACUSA who is an antagonist because she supports segregation (I only use that word because that’s the word that Pottermore used, like they literally made a woman of colour be pro-segregation (specifically, the personification of pro-segregation in this film))
A Lestrange, you know, that family of white supremacist parallels that Bellatrix Lestrange married into
We throw around the word never likes its nothing but a small rose petal. The word never is a doubled edged sword. On one side it says ‘I will never leave you’ and on the other it says ‘I will never love you.’