I know I said, I didn’t want to blog for a while, but these thoughts won’t leave me, so I’ve decided to do another of these in the new version I mentioned last time.
What is this about?
Every other Wednesday I will publish a post in which I talk about (the latest or any episode of) a series or a (series of) movie(s).
In most cases this will be a collection of thoughts that cross through the different media.
You’re warned: There might be Spoilers.
with a question this time:
What do the creation of an online shop for vintage clothing and a senior internship program for an online clothing shop have in common?
They’re both about clothes, duh.
No, that’s not what I was going for.
Both stories, the first one presented in the Netflix series Girlboss, the second in the movie The Intern, are surprisingly feminist. They don’t do everything right, but it’s a start. 😉
Why is that?
- Both shows portray the life and work of a woman striving for her own dream – which in both cases is about selling clothes, but well.
- In both shows there are several other named female characters (even more so in GB), that talk tons of other things that are not boys. So they both pass the Bechdel Test.
- They show different sides of the female lead: Strength, cunning & stubbornness, but also vulnerability & love.
- They didn’t change themselves for anyone (especially not Anne Hathaway’s character whose character in The Devil wears Prada disappointed me on this).
- They are not perfect and aren’t portrayed that way. They are human.
And probably some other things someone better equipped to spot these could tell you. Since I’ve learned about the Bechdel Test I kind of started paying more attention to it – while watching, reading and writing. We are so used to all these female troupes that it’s refreshing to see things handled differently. Netflix does a better job at this than the studios that put together The Intern – maybe mostly because it’s based on a book by a real person and they’re doing a pretty good job at diversity anyway, even if they then cancel the promising shows like this one – and Sense8.
Anyway, there are some quite promising things in these two and it’s nice to see that there is at least some change once in a while.
What surprised me most
Girlboss is a horrible title. I didn’t want to watch it because it sounded girly and just like another „chick-flick“ with no story other than girl meets boy and is eternally happy. Oh dear, was I wrong. After I came across it again and again on Netflix I decided to watch the Trailer and I did not expect what I saw. It actually made me curious about the show and I binged it during the course of a weekend. Yes, it’s that good.
The cast was diverse, the majority of the few (~six) male characters where gay, otherwise oriented or (in the boyfriends‘ case) eye candy. The females were all over the place, as two headstrong-eccentric-„Love-You-In-Case-I-Die“-bff-„sisters“, as mothers, as barmaids, as musicians, as IT-girls, as annoying customers and so on… The usual „balance“ was tipped off and it was brilliant. Sure the main character is still a very annoying and exhausting person, but hey, at least she’s a person and not a cardboard cut out like so many before her. 😉
Even while told from the male perspective it sounded interesting enough to see Robert De Niro be Anne Hathaway’s intern. When the story began it felt like Hathaway’s character was in a relationship with one of her co-workers, turns out she was a married mother of a little girl and even my fears for her ending up cheating on her husband with said co-worker were diminished as the husband was revealed as the cheating party. Sure it’s annoying that there has to be a conflict through someone cheating on the other, but the solution – also in Girlboss – was interestingly handled.
There was also some nice scene where De Niro’s character reminded Hathaway’s that she’s the feminist of the two of them and how incredible the stuff is she accomplished. Which she actually acknowledged and made her decision for herself and not to please others.
What could have been better?
You probably noticed the criticism already: Tropes.
The Intern has more of them then Girlboss, but they are there and often quite annoying. I didn’t need the elderly female intern with no clue even how to drive. I didn’t need the barely characterized seductive masseuse. I didn’t need the clueless nerd-boy being forced to leave home. I didn’t need the eccentric, potentially gay, artist living at home with his overly supportive mother.
And most of all: I didn’t need the cheating husband/boyfriend.
Why does every (fictional) success story of a woman involve the man feeling left behind and in need of a different companion? Is it really that bad for a them that the other one becomes absorbed with fulfilling their dream? Do they really crave attention that much? (I know this is also a problem with male success stories, but those wives are usually portrayed as not that faithful to begin with…)
I’m pretty sure the stories would have worked well without (most) those (artificial dramas)…
What were you watching?
What episodes (or movies) did you enjoy/dislike throughout the week(s)/month(s)?
Anything you’d recommend checking out?
Let me know in the comments below!
I’m by far not a feminist blog, but I felt the need to introduce you to these two shows, simply because they surprised me that much. If you want another example where it’s even more obvious try the Spanish „No Filter“ (also on Netflix) or if you like it a bit more modern: Roller Girl with Ellen Page.
I’m going back to preparing for my vacation.
See you around.
Girlboss (and I do agree that’s a terrible title) sounds like it’s making pretty good steps in the diversity department. 🙂 I haven’t seen it, or the Intern really (though I think I did watch it a long time ago, just don’t remember any of it), but I do wish that both weren’t about selling clothes lol. Love that Girlboss shows women in all kinds of professions, with real lives and personalities, however. That was one thing I really, really liked about the recent Wonder Woman film — the character was very well portrayed, very real and authentic-feeling. She didn’t feel like she was just there to satisfy the current trendiness of badass female leads.
As for recommendations, I’ve just finished up the show Person of Interest. If you’re into sort of sci-fi crime dramas, this one is excellent! <3 It starts out a bit like your typical procedural with a twist, but by the end of the 1st season you can see it picking up its own unique, and very well-developed, arc. Not one episode I didn't like out of 5 seasons!
Have a great vacation!
Yeah, the clothes-thing bothered me too…but it also was a hint at „women don’t like what’s sold in the stores anymore“ which is also true.
I enjoyed Wonder Woman, but I didn’t really like that in the end she fought for love and that just bugged me…I don’t know why, it’s a good reason for fighting…
I’ve heard about PoI before, maybe I will check it out one day. 😉