the miracle gaze

10/18/11

I was going to use today to continue explainin’ the next phase of TV writing after Monday’s blog, but a couple of cultural things happened that stole away my flibbertigibbet-like powers of laser focus. The first is something you might have seen already, called Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street:

Very rarely is something accidentally so complicated – this video was obviously made by a dude hoping to drum up both Beavis-like chuckles and a few phone numbers from lefty lasses trying to change their country. However, it has gone viral precisely because it does that and so much more. Normally a cogent essay is needed, but because it’s a school night, I’ll stick to bullet points.

• Yes, it’s sexist. It gleefully employs the Male Gaze, which always sets up an inequality between the viewer and the object (hence “objectification”). This is made worse by the title of the video, which puts it in no uncertain terms.

• And yet it’s almost… sweet. As far as sexist things go, there’s hardly any cleavage or any of the usual jiggly mayhem. This video is better for gender inequality than, say, “My [Motherfucking] Humps” or the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders.

• It’s also oddly well-made, and any casual observer (or focus-group participant) will tell you what you already know: it could be an excellent P.R. tool for the OWS movement. In fact, if you had the same images and soundtrack – and panned down to reveal a new antidepressant rather than face-painting and anti-capitalist ideology, you might come away wanting the drug.

• The title ruins the video, but if it weren’t for the title, none of you would have clicked on it. If the video was labeled “Women Inspired By OWS Movement”, would you have given a shit?

• Near the end of the video, the Egyptian woman says “there are people fed up with being exploited… genuine passion never dies out.” She very well could be talking about how she herself was being exploited for the video, and how the “genuine passion” for hot chicks never dies out. That quality of meta-irony is a rare feast.

And in other news, fellow Tar Heel Lauren Myracle – a bestselling author of young adult novels – found herself in a terrible position last week. Her novel Shine was accidentally given the National Book Award meant for Chime, and she had to give it back. Unfuckingbelievable, to be sure, but Lauren handled it with the kind of grace you’d expect from someone from the era of Dean Smith.

Lauren-myracle-m.jpg

I knew Lauren in a passing-by-“howdy!” sort of way at Carolina, and hung out with a lot of her sorority sisters (as did many of you, no doubt), but always observed her as a stand-up, effortlessly sweet girl with a fantastic name I hoped to use later in a script. Obviously she got way too famous for that, but I’m psyched that she will come away form this with more fans and book sales, smelling like a rose despite the kerfuffle.

Her books have been banned for content, often dealing with YA gay and lesbian issues, making her one of the decade’s most frequently-challenged authors, according to the ALA. That rocks so hard, I can barely stand it. Go Lauren, go YA fiction, and Go Heels!

0 thoughts on “the miracle gaze

  1. LFMD

    I did not realize Lauren was a Tar Heel. I read about the book fiasco earlier this week and was struck by how gracious she was. And the Shepard Foundation donation idea was wonderful. I am so proud!

    Reply
  2. Anne

    That video is a million shades of awesome. It’s sweet for an old protest-era gal like me to see another generation find its voice and power.

    Reply
  3. grib

    I knew Lauren very well at Carolina (I dated her roommate). She is wonderful and gracious, and the National Book Award people are damned lucky it was Lauren that they did this to, because she could be counted on to handle it so well that they wondered why they didn’t give her the real award in the first place.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *