This is an essay I wrote for FAB
(Feminist against Bush)
I thought I would post it here, I still feel the same after all these years. Except for I have to say I CRINGE at the part where i refer to critique as a "sophomoric waste of time" .... apparently I know everything and I'm 24, great job!
my movie: my bedroom
your movie: your records
of student ART
DIfferences noted between genders in the history of film and composition is often left to the obvious. What is the obvious?Art movements; such as Dada and Formalism, for starters (no girls allowed according to some ), hollywood narrative and the evil, icky Freud machine (eww sick),not to mention total control over the porn and/or sex industry. But what happens when you peel back layers, to the inner workings of the paradigm,or what, aesthetically and expressively speaking, are the real differences? To better understand one must find themselves at the root of the problem: college. This is the place where ideas are formed, labels are made, and parameters are set. This is the place where careers are started and paths are taken. This is also the place in which I exist as a student of media. I've noticed patterns in the aesthetic choices and critiques of my contemporaries this is what i'd like to address; Or in other words, why do "My" movies look like "my" bedroom; TORMENTED in my favorite shade of neon and politics; and why does "Your" movie look like "your" record collection, a product of how you would like the world to perceive you, Large and in charge!!! (this is who I AM MOM)? Men and women often tend to take different approaches in art, this is no surprise. This is because of two reasons:
1) art creates a space in which the imagination can be indulgent and offer the individual a chance
to create their ideal reality.
2) Art is emotional (and men and women approach emotions differently, which goes without saying.)
in personal observation i've found that women tend to rely more on the process then the product, while men are more concerned with advancement of the finished product. Women are naturally nurturing, so to be an artist and a women it feels right to give extra care to the process. For example, women tend to journal write more then men during long term projects and spend more time researching, leaving room to develop the original idea that the project is based on. Students of media, like all student artists are very eager to get into the field and work with the mediums and equipment available to them, this can make it easy to neglect theory which is THE most important part of project development. Because of menses,I feel that women are more likely to recognize a media project as cyclic, and when one recognizes or has a greater appreciation for the cycle you tend to spend more time on pre-production then one might normally. I'm not saying that men don't do thorough research when approaching a project, I just feel that rather then appreciating the cycle, it seems that men are mostly interested in the outcome of the final cut. Once a solid theory or idea is formed the research and development of the project lies stagnant while 'male counterparts' spend their time absorbing the most prestigious of technologies to use for their videos/films. (i.e. how many female Media workers went and received their proficiencies with the new DVX sony cameras that became available at TESC this year? (maybe one, maybe) how many men? (more then one, i'll tell you that much!)
Now here comes the emotional part, the critique process. First let's start with the language of critique. While in the critiquing space one is very likely to here phrases like "I appreciate blank" or "what is the language you are using to communicate blank?" This comes from all sides of the spectrum. (Personally, while I'm immensely smitten with the critique process, I also think student critiques are a sophomoric waste of time. But we won't get into ALL THAT right now.) There are vernaculars that I feel are very gender specific, for example; When a women is in the critique space she views her role as a supporter while a man would be more likely to view himself as a critic. I've heard the phrase "you're wrong" or "I disagree" countless times from the mouth of a man. While the phrases I hear the most from a women are something more along the lines of the "i appreciate..." variety.
I also feel that because women have played such a small role within the history of the moving picture there is no room for competitiveness, which may be why the critique process is so divided. The feminist film movement was a product of the second wave and is still quite relatively new,(I mean "visual Pleasure and narrative cinema" was written in the mid seventies and that was THE breakthrough for feminist film critique.) This is the only aspect of film and media that women have been the sole pioneers of (obviously) and this happened nearly 85 years after the first film was made. So while we're still recognizing and admiring our solidarity, men have moved beyond that point into the world of separation of ideas, and capitalization of the form. (I mean, We're still trying to figure out whether Leni Riefenstahl was the greatest feminist filmmaker of the last century or just a fascist with an agenda; and this argument began at the very first Womens' film festival when it was discussed if her film would be shown or not.)
In conclusion I'd just like to say that this argument is purely based on my own personal experiences with a bit of historical context. I'm not trying to argue that men are de-constructive, but what I am asking is how much does patriarchy and history effect the way artistic minds function? And what would happen if we took these elements into consideration while studying within the college institution? I'll tell you one thing, critiques would probably be at least 30% more tolerable!