It’s not possible to answer this question unless you agree that there are two types of feminist films, which I do not. Mostly because even feminists have trouble defining what makes a film feminist. As Holly L. Derr puts in her article, ‘What Really Makes A Film Feminist?’: To actually evaluate whether a film as a whole is feminist requires much more than a tally of female characters and the conversations between them. A film may have some feminist elements, some sexist elements, and some elements that are neither, because—and this is important—"feminism" is not simply the absence of "sexism." The most reliable way to determine whether a film is feminist is to see it—and even then, the question is not a simple one.
Here’s a link to the full article:
By posing the idea that there 2 types of feminist films, you’re basically asserting that there’s a right and a wrong way to portray feminism, when there are numerous ways, many of which don't adhere completely to one or either of the types you have described or are so black/white.
There are good and bad films, and some of them are feminist and some are not, deliberate or otherwise. Some are even good films, but bad feminist films despite their intentions and vice versa. One example is the new Ghostbusters film, which is, imo, a good portrayal of feminism, but a terrible film.
Also, I can’t think of one film I’ve seen lately off the top of my head
that can't go 5 minutes without referencing the patriarchy, portrays every male character as evil, everything a male character says is wrong while the film's forced, unsubtle political rhetoric overshadows the narrative.
Even blatantly feminist series, The Handmaid’s Tale, doesn’t do any of that.
The first two thirds of your post I wouldn't argue with. No, of course things aren't black and white and feminism in film exists on a spectrum. And of course, in my OP I am simplifying and sensationalizing. But people can easily see that and it's pretty clear what I'm actually asking- Is the film natural and organic or constructed and forced. Why didn't I phrase the question differently? Well because if I had gone into all the diverse forms of feminism in film like you have in my opening post, it would be too long and no one would have read it. Now we're further down the thread it's easier for these kinds of ideas to come out.
I would have to disagree with your last bit though. And it's funny you should mention The Handmaids Tale because I'm currently watching season 2 and it's this that was fresh in my mind when I wrote my OP. Season 1 is (mostly) fine but season 2 is not based on the book as (Game of Thrones style) they ran out of material to adapt. And it shows.
Pretty much as soon as the season begins there's a pre-dystopia flashback scene set in a college lecture hall. Alexis Bledel is giving a lecture. When she finishes a female student points something out. A male student then calmly corrects her, without interrupting and in a completely polite conversational manner. Bledel then politely tells him that actually, no, he's wrong and the girl is right. The whole interaction is totally normal, everyone is happy and no-one is upset. We then cut to after the lecture and Bledel is frantically chasing the girl down. When she catches her she "heroically" tells her "Never let a man correct you". And I cringed.
And the whole season is full of this kind of stuff. The women suffering is turned up to 300. We get frequent scenes of women doing forced labour as their skin melts off. And the whole situation is a metaphor for the patriarchy. Mrs Waterford represents that "evil" woman that is brainwashed by the patriarchy into oppressing her own kind.
My interpretation of The Handmaid's Tale is different than yours - which I think is the point of the show. Obviously women's suffering is the focal point of the entire show, but it doesn't deny men's suffering in the process.
For example, the particutions are described as worse than being sent to the Colonies. Also, not all the men in this new world are well-treated - if they were, why wouldn't June's husband have stayed and lived there? And if anything, we're shown in season 2 how complicit Mrs. Waterford has been in creating the world that now exists - she is hardly going into anything brainwashed.
As for what Ofglen/Emily said at the lecture and to the student later, the point isn't whether you agree or disagree with what she said. It was to show the position and place of power she was in, in order to convey how far she is in the present from where she once was.
She was able to say something borderline misandrist in a position of power and feel like she was helping her female students stand up for themselves, however misguided her path to doing so may have been - and no one suffered dramatically from the action. Now, in the present, she is being castrated simply for falling in love with someone while that someone is labelled an abomination and executed.
In short, the show demonstrates that both the men and women suffering in this society only succeed by working together, for each other's happiness. Yes, the women are the focus more than the men, but the men are not denied the suffering or the heroism that the women character's demonstrate, they are just not at the centre of the story as they are in almost every other TV show.
I agree that the situation is a metaphor for the patriarchy. It's not a secret. I'm not sure how it's specifically anti-men, since women make up a great portion of the patriarchy; hence Mrs. Waterford.
Again interesting, I agree with some of your assessments but I don't think it's one or the other. I think we're both right.
Yes, the men suffer too. But feminists have always claimed that the patriarchy affects both genders but it's men who are ultimately responsible for it.
Mrs Waterford is the embodiment of how many feminists view any woman who may have said anything even slightly negative about feminism. They are viewed as gender traitors. Feminists have never listened to any of the criticisms these people express regardless of whether they have merit or not. They demonize them and see them as brainwashed by the patriarchy. And thus, Mrs Waterford. A creation. The boogey(wo)man of feminists. Her views and policies so undisputably evil that she even says in season 1 that she believes all women belong in the kitchen. The reason she is a political figure complicit in the creation of the show's dystopia is because her views have been institutionalized in her by the patriarchy. Or brainwashed as I said previously.
As for what Emily said to the student. What you say is interesting and I agree that is what was intended. But the writer could have chosen a number of different social situations. The one that was chosen was themed by male entitlement. So I think we are both right.
I like that the show encourages men and women working together as a solution. I like many things about the show. As a show about the politics of a totalitarian dystopia I think it's very good. And how religion can be used in politics to get a society to do some shocking things. But I think season 2 is an example of one of the categories you talked about earlier: it's a good show but a bad feminist show.