Intersectionality, Culture, and Why the Life is COMPLICATED
First of all, this is not meant to inform you why life is complicated. It was a catchy title and it was a third thing to help make life LESS complicated for me. That being said, you’re in for a wild ride today reader, because we’re getting into the nitty gritty of cultural studies, intersectionality, and other such buzzwords that helped me through graduate school. (Thanks, Amy and Michael).
So first off, Film Crit Hulk, the Incredible Hulk guy who runs around critiquing film and culture recently wrote a rather long essay on Intersectionality which you can read here. I warn you though, when I say long, I mean LONNNNNNGGGGGGGGG. In the article, he explains about his background of being a “doofy white guy” when he isn’t “Dr. Banner” and what the word intersectionality means.
So what exactly does it mean? Well, let’s go to Google and find out how close they actually are for the purposes of this small chunk of an essay: “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.”
Not a bad definition and pretty close to the definition I usually use. Okay, so we know what intersectionality is, we know who Film Crit Hulk is, and for the sake of argument I will assume you know who Joss Whedon is and what Wonder Woman and Game of Thrones are as well as what fanboys are and why they are pissed off a lot of the time. If you don’t, congratulations, you are pure and need to get off the Internet immediately.
Film Crit Hulk, or as I’ll refer to him from this point on, Hulk, explains that there was a Wonder Woman script that Joss Whedon wrote a number of years ago that pissed off quite a few people. As most people know, Joss Whedon made Disney a literal billion dollars with The Avengers and wrote Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So what’s the problem? Surely he knows how to write women?
Well, people got angry and it turned into a large discussion about his entire career and of course Whedon gave young people a connection to Buffy whether they be women, progressives, or LGBT, BUTTTTTTTTTTT. Joss Whedon is also a human being like you and I. Because of that he only knows what he’s told about the female experience, because he is not one. He may be a feminist, but I’m sure we can agree he’s never been catcalled for wearing a short skirt in New York City at 10am when you’re on your way to your day job. Guess who has? *raises hand*
Why is this important? Well, it brings us back to intersectionality. Joss Whedon is a male who I imagine is well off financially. I, am a female bisexual thirty year old who just got out of graduate school and am in debt. I can speak to that experience better than Joss Whedon can.
So fanboys were mad about Joss Whedon and Hulk made an excellent point: “Think about it. When you’re angry, your anger makes complete sense, right? Whether you are angry at Trump or Libtards or the pop culture moron du jour, there’s nothing ever wrong with your anger. But for women, POC, LGBT, and marginalized groups? Maybe they’re angry because the entire system around them is laughable. Maybe it’s because they have a universe of dire issues to be angry about. Maybe it’s because we talk about not believing what our country did last election, and yet 94% of black women voted for Hilary against Trump. Maybe it’s because white liberal folks talk about how they fear one day living in a police state, but black people have been living in a police state for centuries now (and worse). Heck, given our backgrounds and sliding sense of justice, if white people were immediately put into the world that black people had to live in, we would be grabbing a brick in two seconds, without the realization of the oppression that comes next. Because when that happened in Ferguson, white America shrugged and wondered why it couldn’t be like the MLK days…”
Now I have read the Joss Whedon Wonder Woman script and I’m extremely grateful we got the Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman script we got instead. Hulk explains “Which is perhaps the biggest reason for we needed Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman script over Joss Whedon’s old one. It’s because her perspective and positivity was sorely needed, especially in this current landscape.” It’s not a perfect movie, but I only consider one movie in existence to be the perfect movie in terms of many monikers and that filmmaker is dead.
But let’s be real: the criticism of the Joss Whedon script is on the system and if you claim to be an ally, what you can do to make it better. Joss Whedon is a white dude, if he was really an ally he would let a woman write Batgirl, a black man write Cyborg in the Justice League reshoots, etc. He can write Batman, Superman, and even Flash.
This brings me to my second example. So for those of you who love Game of Thrones (Team Tyrion and Drogon forever, I don’t care), the showrunners announced that after they finish Game of Thrones, they’re going to be doing Confederate, a setting in which the South apparently won the Civil War.
Someone is going to tell me “Wait for a trailer before you judge it!” But honestly? I date a black man. You really think that me waiting for a trailer is going to make me more sympathic to a system that until the 1960s told my boyfriend and others of his skin color they had to have separate water fountains, lunch counters, the back of the bus, and separate bathrooms because racism. And still systematic kills black people because the police get away with it most of the time. If you had any idea how difficult it was for a black man in America, maybe you wouldn’t “Wait for a trailer before you judge it.”
I’m saying that I’m not giving a series called CONFEDERATE the freakin’ benefit of the doubt because there’s no trailers. Don’t feed a show that will show oppression of black individuals that isn’t written by black Americans. For that, I’ll watch Jordan Peele’s Get Out.