Day 205: The Women

Today I watched The Women (1939). The cool thing about this film is that all the people who appear in it are women; there are no men in the entire picture. Which is quite the feminist statement to make in the late 30s, considering that most films released today can’t even pass the Bechdel Test.

As a movie it’s wonderful, full of great acting performances and snappy dialogue. Norma Shearer is a perfect everywoman. Joan Crawford is Joan Crawford, and so sassy and unapologetic that you just want to slap her. Rosalind Russell is a revelation. She does so much fast-talking and wisecracking she could be auditioning for The West Wing. It’s the kind of performance that makes me want to see her in everything she’s ever done. I wonder if my mother has a copy of My Girl Friday…

Along with the wit, it is also a touching study of marriage in crisis and what the fallout really means for everyone involved. And on top of that it is also an interesting study on the effect of gossip and heresay in a situation like this. Basically every important piece of information, or plot development, is told to us indirectly: through someone relaying a conversation they had, or through third party gossip. We only know what we hear second and third hand from people who may or may not have been present. I think that’s what makes the big confrontations between the main characters (the dressing room scene, the brawl in Reno, the climactic party scene) all the more powerful: they are basically the only moments in the film where we see the principle players involved actually interact face-to-face, and not just hear tale of it indirectly.

It’s only fitting that I happened to watch such a female movie today, as earlier I worked myself up into a feminist rage reading the hideously offensive anachronistic ramblings of that hideously offensive anachronism, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke. (Which I discovered by way of this fantastic piece that explores the concept of “manliness”.)

I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this berk. I mean, this guy is so reactionary he’s still mad about Vatican II! I came *this* close to blurting out obscenities in the middle of a crowded waiting room as I got deeper into his dribble. I’m not sure what did more to raise my ire…there’s the obvious, surface level bullshit like how “feminizing” men turns them into pedophiles, or that priests are wrong to tell a teenage boy that masturbation is a perfectly natural act. Then there’s the more insidious misogyny when he goes into how men prefer a more challenging, sophisticated, “articulated” Mass than a more easily accessible and digestible service, which he again characterises as a “feminized” one.

In other words, women are fucking idiots.

There is not enough NOPE in the world for this bellend. Apparently he has been removed from the Curia and given the more honorary position of head of the Knights of Malta, so I take comfort in Pope Francis seeing Burke for the cancerous cretin that he is and removing him from a seat of real power. As far as Popes go, ol’ Frank really isn’t the worst.

But this Burke asshole…good Lord. Pun intended. It’s amazing that people like him still exist in 2015. I feel satisfied that I have probably done enough to offend his medieval sensibilities today by being a woman who read intelligent posts, thought intelligent thoughts, watched a man-free movie and masturbated. Take that, misogynist fucker!

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