<![CDATA[My Site - Blog]]>Fri, 11 Mar 2016 16:47:37 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Continuing the Work of the Bechdel Test]]>Mon, 07 Mar 2016 07:52:15 GMThttp://audreyedits.weebly.com/blog/continuing-the-work-of-the-bechdel-testThe Bechdel test was developed by Alison Bechdel in 1985 as a way to gauge female equality and presence in media. In order to pass the Bechdel test, a film must 1. Feature at least two female characters, 2. Have those female characters meet and talk, and 3. Have the female characters talk about something other than a man. Films that do not pass the Bechdel test are said to have an exclusively male presence with exclusive male importance. There may be one or more female characters in the plot, but they are there only to serve the purposes of the leading male roles. Around 55% of movies in the film industry pass the Bechdel test.
But does the Bechdel test go far enough in determining female equality? Using two films that pass the Bechdel test with flying colors, Thelma & Louise and Sense and Sensibility, we will explore two, potentially deeper indications of equality that ought to be utilized in Hollywood, should the film industry seek to raise the bar for gender equality. 

One issue that both Thelma & Louise and Sense and Sensibility have going for them is obvious: female solidarity. Of the former, Raina Lipsitz wrote for the Atlantic stating, “Thelma & Louise is powerful in part because it's about more than friendship. Movies that examine the bonds between women are few and far between, but they exist…”[1] 

Does the mere exchange of words about something other than a man between two female characters, as per the Bechdel test, make the film uniquely gender equal? The two characters could have easily exchanged snarky comments to pass the Bechdel test, even while being in competition of a man yet but not directly referring to that. Assigning women to roles of competition with one another, as is Hollywood’s practice, whether or not the object of that competition is for a man, does not seem to spell equality. It is something that male spectators enjoy seeing more than females.
To attain gender equality in film, meaningful relationships must be forged between women. There should be as many strong, female companionships as they are loyal male compadres and romantic relationships between men and women. Female solidarity must be demonstrated to cross economic classes, relationship statuses, ages, and personalities.

Said female solidarity spanning social differences is also aptly achieved in the film Sense and Sensibility. Ann-Marie Scholz writes in an article about dichotomies in women’s history, “One particularly significant coping mechanism all of the women have at their disposal is friendship, that is, a relationship of basic equality with one another. They may have other relationships that unite them, such as biological sisterhood in Sense and Sensibility, but the bases of their relationships are those of friendship, and the nature of their friendship is based upon the characteristics each brings to the relationship.”[2]

Even two women who had every reason to be combative and competitive with one another in Sense and Sensibility, Elinor Dashwood and Lucy Steele, instead formed a friendship that included confidential information and secrets that they kept for each other, despite the fact that they both held an interest in the same man.
Scholz continues, “Elinor’s secret is such an example of female heroism, according to Thompson, keeping a promise to a rival for reasons of honor, even if it interferes with her potential happiness.”[3] This flies in the face of the traditional “male gaze”, which is more interested in female characters that compete for male attention. This complex friendship between the two women signifies that integrity and kindness outweighs the importance of male companionship and is honoring to feminine strength and independence. 
The second consideration for Hollywood to improve upon it’s representation of women is to not shy away from producing films that promote exclusively pro-female plots in equal numbers by comparison to exclusively pro-male plots. Thelma & Louise, specifically, raised criticism for not just being pro-female, but anti-male in its depictions of male and female characters. Lipsitz wrote, “As Janet Maslin explained in the New York Times in 1991, the real objection to Thelma & Louise was neither its violence nor its protagonists' purported misandry; rather, it was "something as simple as it is powerful: the fact that the men in this story don't really matter." For 129 glorious minutes, two women were the stars of their own lives, and their lives did not revolve around men.”[4] 
While it is completely culturally acceptable for movies to revolve around men and masculine themes to the demise of women, when there is a film that is as feminine as most others are masculine, it seems to cause a stir amongst critics and viewers. Countless films, particularly of the action and comedy genres, depict women as objects to be had, used, or receive adoration from. This seems to go largely unnoticed in society. It is rare that a film comes along, such as Thelma & Louise, where the opposite is true. Interestingly, most romance and even romantic comedies, movies that generally attract a predominantly female audience, typically have both male and female characters that seem to matter equally. By contrast, genres that attract a greater male audience, such as action movies, staunchly favor male importance. Why is this so? For purposes of gender equality, it should be found just as acceptable for there to be as many films where men matter less than women, as there are films where women matter less than men.
In conclusion, the two central issues that, if implemented on a larger scale than a movie here and there with decades in between them, would continue the work of female equality in media. The first is female solidarity that scales different social classes, relationship statuses, and personalities. Women can and should be seen in more bonding scenarios and fewer competitive ones. That two women merely talk to one another about something other than a man is nice, but is merely a shadow of something that could and should be carried out to a fuller, more meaningful extent.

​Secondly, it should not raise a cultural raucous when a film about women sullies men, while movies about men are usually the other way around and no one bats an eye but perhaps a few feminist critics.  If it’s commonplace for women to not matter in masculine-driven media, it should be just as commonplace and acceptable for men to not matter in just as many movies where the film is driven by femininity. Perhaps we could one day live in a world where neither is commonplace, but both genders matter equally, always.
Works Cited
Lipsitz, Raina. “The Last Great Film About Women.” The Atlantic. 31 Aug. 2011 Web. 5 Feb. <http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/08/thelma-louise-the-last-great-film-about-women/244336/>
Scholz, Ann-Marie. “Thelma and Louise and Sense and Sensibility: New Approaches to Challenging Dichotomies in Women’s History Through Literature and Film.” Journal of South Texas English Studies; Fall2009, Vol. 1 Issue 1, p9, p12.
Sense and Sensibility. Columbia TriStar Home Video, 1995.
Thelma & Louise. Dir. Ridley Scott. Prod. Ridley Scott. By Callie Khouri. Metro Goldwyn Mayer, 1991.

[1] Lipsitz, Raina. “The Last Great Film About Women.” The Atlantic. 31 Aug. 2011 Web. 5 Feb. <http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/08/thelma-louise-the-last-great-film-about-women/244336/>

[2] Scholz, Ann-Marie. “Thelma and Louise and Sense and Sensibility: New Approaches to Challenging Dichotomies in Women’s History Through Literature and Film.” Journal of South Texas English Studies; Fall2009, Vol. 1 Issue 1, p9.

[3] Ibid, 12.

[4] Lipsitz, Raina. “The Last Great Film About Women.” The Atlantic. 31 Aug. 2011 Web. 5 Feb. <http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/08/thelma-louise-the-last-great-film-about-women/244336/>
<![CDATA[Travel. Love. Explore. Read. ]]>Sun, 10 Jan 2016 22:08:55 GMThttp://audreyedits.weebly.com/blog/travel-love-explore-read Okay, so I haven't been the most die-hard blogger so far. That probably won't change soon. What can I say? In the past six months I have taken on new and exciting (not to mention time-consuming) projects, and I've done a bit of traveling as well. I road tripped from the beautiful Pacific North West (where I live) to Texas and Oklahoma in September/October, then I spent two, awe-inspiring weeks in the Middle East in October. Lastly, in November I spent Thanksgiving week in the winter-wonderland of Leavenworth, Washington.  

In addition to traveling, I have taken on work as an editor with a legal transcription company, as well as continuing my education at Eastern Oregon University, freelance editing, and co-managing an AirBnB guest house. These are just the biggest items on my list of pursuits; I have others still! Needless to say, I have been very busy and neglectful of the small stuff, like this blog.

It's important for us writers and artists to dive head first into as many life experiences as possible. The normal and the unusual alike. I can't tell you how all of my experiences, both good and bad, have effected my creative abilities. When you travel, things won't always go as planned.You'll get hurt in love and you'll make mistakes. Exploring the world around you, whether locally or globally, can be dangerous on different levels. Or, you can read about and explore the entire universe, and parallel universes, from the comfort of a chair. This, too, can hurt you and break you. The most difficult experiences in our lives are the ones that give birth to the most profound passion, creativity, and insight. Embrace the good with the bad in your life, seek out more, then take what you learned, saw, and felt, and express it in whatever way seems best. For many of us, that's writing. 

Happy Writing!

<![CDATA[Introduction]]>Sun, 30 Aug 2015 19:44:43 GMThttp://audreyedits.weebly.com/blog/introductionGreetings! 

I have always wanted to have a blog! I had an online diary in my late teens, so it's been a long time. My hope is to blog about topics and/or books that will inspire and educate my fellow writers in the literary arts, on a monthly basis. These will most likely be topics that I come across while editing, as well as in my college courses, that strike me as important and helpful. I might also use this blog to feature or review books and authors. If you have in mind any particular topics you would like me to cover, get in contact with me and I will do my best.

A little about me, on a personal level. I have been editing for over two years, and not to sound redundant at all, but I am in my third year of college, working towards my Bachelor of Science in English. I love what I do, so much! I am also a single mother of two and I live in the logging country backwoods of Oregon, not far from the Portland Metro. I love to travel, knit, learn about languages and other cultures, raise goats, go on nature hikes, garden, fish, write stories and music, play guitar, and of course, READ! 

I am looking forward to many blogs to come!