Women in Film

Women in Film

Tropes from Femme Fatal to Now
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Phyllis from Double Indemnity and Gabrielle from Kiss Me Deadly both poses qualities that were elaborated on in “Femme Noire: Dangerous Women of Color in Popular Film and TV”. Phyllis represents the queen/bitch trope, as she is a woman who is brave, intelligent and willing to do anything to meet her goals. These traits come across as evil, because Phyllis uses them quietly. In the same way that Iman’s character fools Captain Kirk in Star Treck, Phyllis’s beauty and seeming helplessness tricks Neff into helping her. However, as the plot thickens, Phyllis reveals her “white” exterior to be a façade. Beneath it she is “black” as she is shown to be manipulative and loyal only to herself.

Gabrielle, on the other hand represents the virgin/cannibal archetype. She enters the film as a dazed and confused roommate of a girl who was recently murdered. Although she throws herself at Mike, there is something so childish and naive in her attempts to be noticed that it almost makes her seem purer. Similar to Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert, Gabrielle is more than Mike bargained for. Instead of dealing with a doe eyed and rather clueless young woman, he is almost killed by a scheming criminal. Replace Priscilla’s sexuality with Gabrielle’s ruthlessness and the plot line of stories are quite similar.

In modern films, the queen/bitch and virgin/cannibal are combined in Gone Girl’s Amy Dunne. Amy presents herself as the “cool girl”. The type of woman who every guy wants to be with- she is beautiful and chill and mysterious and fun. However, this flawless front soon cracks to reveal a woman who is sadistic, manipulative and downright evil. In this way she traps Nick with our modern take on the once desirable “virgin” and releases her monstrous side out of selfishness and jealousy. At the same time, Amy is everything that our culture refers to as a “bitch”. She is aggressive and an over achiever. She is controlling and emotionally volatile. Any positive traits that Amy has are exaggerated to appear more sinister. Her “queen-ship” is more terrifying than it is admirable… (still a little admirable though).

An example of the dragon/lady in modern culture is reality TV tycoon and infamous momager, Kris Jenner. Many people accuse Kris of being an overly involved parent; a woman who is so concerned with international stardom and copious wealth that she is willing to sell her family and their privacy to achieve this. Kris’s creativity, work ethic and networking skills, which would most likely be praised if she was a man, are written off as a hunger for attention, insensitivity and superficiality. The criticism that she receives is a reminder that the negative representation of women found in Greek mythology, Film Noire and 80s and 90s media is alive and well in our current environment.

When explained, these tropes are obvious in television and film in general. What is most dangerous about these stereotypes is not that they exist, but how they are presented to us. In many cases, they appear in media that apparently has nothing to do with race. This however, does not mitigate the racial roots that these tropes have. Instead, it removes race and racism from the conversation. This leaves the demonized and misrepresented cultures (exclusively people of color) out of the conversation, while selling their typical characterizations as major flaws. In doing so, the media prevents minorities from gaining a diverse and accurate representation in film and places negative associations with their histories and cultures in the minds of the viewers.

Cover Image Credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/a6/e1/c0/a6e1c00c31796a748646ba33831cf16f.jpg

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Severus Snape Is The Worst, And Here's Why

Albus Severus, sweetie, I'm so sorry...

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I grew up being absolutely obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise. I read the books for the first time in second and third grade, then again in middle school, and for the third time in my last year of high school. Recently, I had a somewhat heated argument with a fellow fan of the books about Severus Snape. As I've reread the Harry Potter books, I've noticed that, although J.K. Rowling tried to give him a redemption arc, he only got worse because of it. Here's why I still think Severus Snape is the absolute worst.

His love for Lily Potter was actually really creepy. When I was younger and reading the books, I always found the fact that he held fast in his love for Lily to be very endearing, even noble. However, rereading it after going through a couple of relationships myself, I've come to realize that the way he pined over her was super creepy. It was understandable during his time at Hogwarts; he was bullied, and she was the only one who "understood" him. However, she showed zero interest, and if that didn't clue him into realizing that he should back off, her involvement with James Potter should have. She was married. He was pining after a married, happy woman. If he truly loved her, he would have realized how happy she was and backed off. Instead, he took it out on her orphan son and wallowed in bitterness and self-pity, which is creepy and extremely uncool. When a girl is kind to a boy during high school (or in this case, wizard school), it's not an open invitation for him to pine for her for the literal rest of his life and romanticizes the absolute @#$% out of her. It's just her being a decent person. Move on, Severus.

He verbally abused teenagers. One of the most shocking examples of this is in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Snape literally told Neville Longbottom that he would kill his beloved toad, Trevor if he got his Shrinking Potion wrong, and then punished him when he managed to make the potion correctly. Furthermore, poor Neville's boggart was literally Snape. The amount of emotional torture Neville must have been enduring from Snape to create this type of debilitating fear must have been almost unbearable, and even if Snape was simply trying to be a "tough" professor, there is no excuse for creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear like he did in his potions class for vulnerable students like Neville. In addition, he ruthlessly tormented Harry (the last living piece of Lily Potter, his supposed "true love," btw), and made fun of Hermione Granger's appearance. Sure, he might have had a terrible life. However, it's simply a mark of poor character to take it out on others, especially when the people you take it out on are your vulnerable students who have no power to stand up to you. Grow up.

He willingly joined a terrorist group and helped them perform genocide and reign over the wizarding world with terror tactics for a couple of decades. No explanation needed as to why this is terrible.

Despite the constant romanticization of his character, I will always see the core of Severus Snape, and that core is a bitter, slimy, genocidal, manipulative trash being. J.K. Rowling's attempt to redeem him only threw obsessive and controlling traits into the mix. Snape is the absolute worst, and romanticizing him only removes criticism of an insane man who just so happened to be capable of love (just like the vast majority of the rest of us). Thank you, next.

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