Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thoughts About Thoughts About Lucy

     This was too long for a tweet, so I decided to put it here. In the past few days I have found two articles about the movie Lucy that have been very striking to me. Most every article, tweet, and FaceBook post about the movie has said it's terrible, so that part really is not up for debate. Here's the thing; I've been criticizing both for it's #SolidarityIsForWhiteWoman nature and having a definite case of #LenaDunhamSyndrome. If you're not up on your hash-tag activism, I'll explain. The first one refers to the idea that mainstream feminism is only concerned with the problems of middle-to-upper class White American women. The second is a phrase I coined to describe the common excuse White writers use for not including people of color in their work, that being “I don't know any of 'them' so I can't write 'them', address 'their' issues, ask one of 'them' what 'their' life is like,” etc.
     Lucy is drawing a ton of criticism for its plot, writing, and direction. Thankfully ScarJo has escaped this criticism, because she is too good for the human race, and if we displease her she may forsake us for the race of Celestial Angels from whence she came. Much of the criticism centers around the films depiction of race, especially when concerned with the origin of our species. Critics have also had problems with the film's depiction of humanity's highest evolved form being a blonde White woman (the vast majority of humanity is not that.) These are interesting talking points that a female-centric geek blog would do well to focus on, right? You would think so, but this is the article that The Mary Sue ran: “Today in Female-Led-Movies-Obviously-Don't-Make-MoneyNews, Lucy Beat out Hercules This Weekend.”
     A pretty inoffensive title to a entirely inoffensive article. The article, written by Victoria McNally (@vqnerdballs) uses a snarky, sarcastic tone to convey the idea that even a bad female-led movie can make money. It ends by saying there's no good financial reason that Hollywood studios aren't making female-led superhero movies. Both of these points are entirely valid ones that I agree with. Then I read the article that The Huffington Post ran about Lucy, and well, it goes like this: “Lucy: Why I'm Tired of Seeing White People on the BigScreen.”
     A provocative title, and one that that has brought a ton of grief to the author's twitter account (Olivia Cole, @RantingOwl) begged me to read it. The article describes in detail the many race-related flaws with Lucy and with the Hollywood thought process regarding race in general. Ms. Cole is a White woman, and she manages to deftly communicate many of the same issues that people of color have been complaining about in regards to the entertainment industry for decades. As Ms. Cole has acknowledged on her twitter account, it is sad that these issues are only now coming to the attention of many White Americans because a White person has brought them up.
     Please understand , I have no problem with the idea of Ms. McNally's article; my main problem with it is it's shallow. If you look at most articles published on The Mary Sue, you will see that many of them are equally shallow, homogenous, and toothless indictments of pop culture. One would think that such a site would be more aggressive in getting its point across, not just for White women but for all women. But that's not the case. Ms. Cole's article that appeared on The Huffington Posts's Entertainment site, had far more bite and, in essence, did far more to expose the issues of all women than any article on The Mary Sue has to date. If you kept the articles the same but switched the sites, what effect would it have? There would be little to no effect on the HuffPo site, but The Mary Sue would be revolutionized and do much to show that it is a site for all geek girls of all colors. It is an easy cure; The Mary Sue, if it is not going to make a concerted effort to have a more inclusive staff, at the very least would do well to hire more writers like Ms. Cole.

If you like or hate this article, let me know on Twitter, @DonCoyote

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