by guest contributor blackamazon, originally published at Having Read the Fine Print…
I have recently taken to using a term “Sofia Coppola feminism” and I intended to define it and then had an awesome/interesting time for the past couple of days but with the rising of the ugly head of this, felt it was apropos.
In short, SCF or “hipster feminism” is a parasitic feminism that not only ignores but is dependent on class, race, and cultural appropriation and subjugation. It is a feminism that demands emptiness (real or invented) of reflection, instead replacing it with self involvement. It requires that culture and emotion be reduced to tropes and materials so that possession of these trinkets is possession of the cultural significance. Removing it from actual experience and grounding it in blank slate whiteness and upper class (educationally or monetarily) wrenches it from the hands of those who experience it and tries to force them into a position of subjugation if they reject the positioning.
I came up with the term in my head when I was reading coverage of Marie Antoinette, Coppola’s most recent film. The article was in GQ and there was this kind of flip dismissal of the French booing
with words like
“It’s booing they do it more in Europe”
Well it’s art?
THEY’RE JUST JEALOUS
It’s what the French do….
Please understand I have not seen this film yet but my first reaction, being familiar with the director, the subject, and the director’s previous work is
VIVA LA FRANCE!
SCF ( the acronym) is a feminism that takes the idea “the personal is political” and runs AWAY with it in an awful, self absorbed, culturally decentering, yet culturally parasiting way.
SC’s three films have the proud distinction of being movies that I can’t sit through.
And I mean I can’t as in I watched The Virgin Suicides in bits and pieces over seven years before my rolling my eyes as the dumbshit kicks in.
Her talent is very visual and shehas an amazing facility for capturing ephemera.
Except she constantly tries to force this ephemera, this barely there-ness into some heavy social context.
The Virgin Suicides focuses on whiteness and pureness as the holy grail, meanwhile almost unmoors it entirely from the specificity of time frame, and the graveness of the matter.
The fact that all the girls died was less important than that they were these ephemeral creatures of light, the fact that they were abandoned by the community is less important than that all the boys wanted them.
The movie is complicit in making emptiness and the ability to be absorptive and almost formless, desirable in a way I don’t think happens in the novel.
Lost in Translation makes me violent.
It’s a racist bullshit piece of crap that had the added bonus of giving me Scarlett Johannson (whom according to that thing on my heritage I look reasonably like).
It is a movie about the shock of realizing that the world isn’t all white and that life takes work. A woman who gives up her life to follow her husband while he is working is shocked when he works.
The Japanese are presented as these odd people who are so strange and why won’t they be more understandable, in their own fucking country.
One montage that sticks out is the commercial filming which turns absolutely hilarious that the translator translates. The director is a pretentious milksop who gives way too many words to shit that ain’t that deep?
SO this is different from every other self-involved milksop how….
He’s Japanese! The isolation is not the punch line, the director isn’t, his culture in his own country is the punch line.
It succeeds by venerating whiteness as a uniter rather than commonality. Being boring, self-involved and generally distasteful is okay as long as you’re wry.
College classmates justified that I was being harsh because Tokyo was so foreign. Except
It’s this subtle shift from your life being the comfortable to being the new standard that is so prevalent.
SC prides herself on women as empty vessels thrust into odd situations wherein they supposedly have no control. It’s helplessness as a feminist standpoint.
It prides the making of social contacts whose only purpose is to affirm your specialness.
Marie Antoinette was of course the next logical step. She’s so misunderstood. She’s like a woman during bad tabloids! It’s so wrong. The peasants revolted not because they were starving and being lied to and ignored but because they had it in for the lady with the pretty shoes.
Except she was queen, she wasn’t some one completely powerless , but presenting her as powerless allows her excess to be candy-coated confection rather than direct conscious depravation of her people.
SC cuts connections, blurs lines and tries to wrest control of various cultural significators so that her characters, who aren’t fully formed but merely ciphers passing through, can be affirmed.
What’s more, she does it at the expense of their humanity, depth and frailty. Rather than construct or truly examine ways that they’re molded or mold themselves or interact with things to achieve this uselessness or this featherweight-ness , she establishes it as the center of the narrative and leaves it as if anyone who objected is simply gauche and uncultured or odd for not reveling in its beauty.
SCF does the same whatever the topic, whatever the concern. It makes a conscious effort to sever it from interaction with the world or others. It is as if any weight or concern to it would prevent the ability to have adornment while purposely lightening others’ concerns to market the self (or central female) as the only thing that matters. While purposely leaching and using anything to affirm its existence.
What’s more is that both the film style and the feminism style has a very nasty undercurrent of “if you can’t use pretty shiny, smart things to justify your placement at the center, your wasting away, psychic damage, or literal starvation is unfortunate but not paramount.”
Life should come easy and it is only until you’re made to live it (which is so mean and so the fault of patriarchy/foreigners or meanies/POCs/peasants) and when you are it isn’t because a world exists outside of you but simply because the world is intruding on you as you (special white women) are the center of the universe.
It’s a feminism that ultimately has such little confidence in itself that it must be made pretty by the starvation of innocents, the ignorance of culture, and self immolation to survive.
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