Sunday, May 15, 2011

‘Bridesmaids,’ "Tossing the Bouquet Out of the Genre"

Megan Angelo's "Tossing the Bouquet out of the Genre" isn't the Times review of Bridesmaids. It's a profile about the making of the movie. But it's the most revealing piece I think I've read about Bridesmaids. It describes a not completely minor clash of perspectives between the female screenwriters Wiig and Mumalo and the movie's famous male producer Judd Apatow.

I really liked the movie, but I think I was more put off by the two, inconsistent tones and styles than other viewers. The friend I saw it with said I was confusing real life with the movies when I complained that one scene in particular didn't make sense to me. But for me, movies work best you suspend disbelief or at least when the film pulls you into its fictional universe enough to forget about whether it's realistic.

My point was that some of the over the top parts in Bridesmaids didn't seem either that funny (as opposed to The Hangover) or authentic to me and didn't feel organic, like they fit the characters. So I'm not surprised that some of those moments were elements pushed by Apatow rather than Wiig. I love Apatow's movies by the way. He portrays guys, male aspirations and male friendship really well (as far as I can tell). I don't know if this article is an accurate portrayal of the creative process or just a good narrative to sell on opening weekend. But if it is accurate, I think Apatow would have done better to defer just a little more to the women on this one.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Women Stay in the Picture

Cut out of the Picture: Secretary Clinton and NSC Official Tomason
Here's another example of the impact of "modesty laws": two women (Sec of State Hillary Clinton and a National Security Council Director of Counterterrorism) get cut out of the situation room picture when the photo is published in a Hasidic newspaper. 


This story reminded me so much of a conversation I had Friday with friends about the implicit chauvinism in restrictive religious covering for women. Here's where my multiculturalism conflicts with feminism. I believe in religious freedom, but this type of protection just really troubles me to the core. I almost want to thank Der Zeitung (based in Brooklyn) for calling attention to the fact that traditional, protective "laws of modesty" have the perhaps unintended (if we assume the best possible scenario) effect of constraining women's choices and power: 
"In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status," Der Zeitung said. "Publishing a newspaper is a big responsibility, and our policies are guided by a Rabbinical Board. Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women, and we regret if this gives an impression of disparaging to women, which is certainly never our intention. We apologize if this was seen as offensive."
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20061215-503544.html

So women can never be part of the visual history created by this paper. But that in no way relegates them to lower status? This is their argument.