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fredericton 29/11/2013 - 11:31AM

CP Fredericton Film Screening of Generation M Reviewed

CP Fredericton Film Screening of Generation M Reviewed in the Brunswickan Newspaper.

"Cinema Politica Review: Generation M"
by Sarah Dominie The Brunswickan Newspaper (UNB) | Arts | November 20, 2013

Last Friday night, two dozen people crammed into the Conserver House to view the documentary Generation M: Misogyny in Media and Culture.

The documentary was created by Thomas Keith, who, as a man, is constantly asked why he would give a damn about misogyny.

The film attacked the way women are presented in advertisements, movies, video games, music and other facets of media – as vapid, passive, hypersexualized objects intended solely for sexual consumption by men.

The widespread notion that showy promiscuity is empowering and liberating for women was questioned. Music industry icons including the Pussycat Dolls, Fergie, Rihanna, Madonna and Britney Spears were flashed across the screen, proudly displaying what God gave them in poses that very clearly said “jump on.”

The film questioned whether these artists were selling music or sex, and argued that the cliché pornographic image of female sexuality being presented as the only mode of sexuality for women is degrading and harmful.

The discussion that followed the film included a consensus that while the shiny plastic sex-icon mold that women are expected to fit into is an unacceptable norm, the film neglected to acknowledge that these pop artists are thinking people who – at least in part – made the decisions to display themselves as objects. It was difficult to agree on how much of their behaviour was their own decision and how much was influenced by the tired belief that “sex sells.”

The film also discussed the “pink-blue dichotomy” that separates people based on gender and trains them from the moment they are born in the roles they are expected to fulfill. Keith touched on the fact that children are told that they can only aspire to having one of two sets of qualities – nurturing and passivity or toughness and power.

The fact that men are often shamed for displaying human qualities that are seen as being exclusively female is the result of misogyny – women are not worth respect, and men are not permitted to behave like women or they are also seen as lesser.

A researcher recounted an experiment that was done involving a baby, described as male, placed in front of a group of university students. When the students were asked to describe the baby’s actions as he crawled around the floor, they used words such as “adventuring” and “exploring.”

The baby was then removed from the room, dressed in pink, and set back on the floor. The unwitting students described the baby as being “unable to get back to her mother” and “looking for help.” This serves as just one example of the conditioning placed on children as they develop, and the misogyny that suppresses girls and women from excelling.

While this documentary had its faults, it is a must-watch for people who are new to feminism or need concrete examples of how far we still have to go in a society where many people think that equality exists.

The screening of Generation M: Misogyny in Media and Culture was co-hosted by Cinema Politica Fredericton, the Fredericton Sexual Assault and Crisis Centre, the STU Student Union and the UNB Media Arts and Cultures Program. To find out more about the film or to see a schedule of upcoming screenings, go to Cinemapolitica.org/fredericton.

 

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