May 21

Pretty, Katie Makkai

May 14

Size Matters – a short film collage

Size Matters, Peg TIttle

 

What if women were the taller sex?  I suggest that this would make a difference in the power relationship between men and women.  Ask any short man.

This short film is a five‑minute (approximately) collage of scenes from ordinary life.  That is, ordinary life reversed ‑ one in which women are taller than men.

So every woman in the film must be taller than every man, except where specified; on average, the men should be 5’4″ and the women 5’10”.  (Tap into women’s basketball and volleyball teams and men’s figure skating clubs and dance companies for extras.)

This is a silent film, though clearly dialogue is going on.

It is of utmost importance that the actors’ carriage not undermine the height difference.  It should be mandatory for all actors to take a cross‑gender acting workshop.

For that reason, a woman should be director.  Most women, more than most men, tend to be more aware of the nuances of body language that mark dominance and subordination.  A woman director would thus be more apt to ask the actors to make the necessary corrections.

 

SCENES:

 

  1. The halls, classroom, and grounds of an elementary school: all the teachers are male; the principal is female; students are shown mostly in all‑girl and all‑boy groupings; when the group is mixed, boys and girls are the same height; all are engaged in gender‑neutral activities (I know that young girls play house and young boys fight, but showing this would confuse the point; young girls and boys also sit at their desks, stand around talking, walk down the hall, chase each other, etc.)

 

  1. A cafe: all the staff waiting on customers are male, as is the cashier.

 

  1. At home, in the kitchen: as she’s on the phone with an important call, she absently reaches to get something out of a high cupboard for a child, then does the same for him (he could’ve reached, but it’d be a stretch ‑ it’s just an easy reach for her, no big deal).

 

  1. At the office, in the lobby: a cluster of women executives walk in on their way to their offices; they nod or ignore male subordinates at reception.

 

  1. A dinner date: a man and a women are finishing dinner and the cheque is presented to her.

 

  1. Hospital admissions area: the nursing and clerical staff are male; the doctor walking past is female.

 

  1. The halls, classroom, and grounds of a high school: all the teachers are male; the principal is female; students are shown in situations somewhat similar to the elementary school scene, but now the girls are taller than the boys.

 

  1. A male‑female couple walking down the sidewalk: she takes longer strides than he does, so he has to walk more quickly; in fact, he has to half‑run to keep up, like a child (and perhaps he hobbles on platform shoes); the way they hold hands, she seems to be leading him, and is always just a tad ahead of him.

 

  1. At home, at dinner time: she and the older, taller daughter are at the table; the younger, shorter son enters from the kitchen carrying something, followed by the husband carrying something (nothing special, it’s just routine dinner time).

 

  1. Crowd scenes: these are sprinkled throughout the rest of the film, but it is imperative that they not begin about half way through so the viewers see the effect first (power relationship reversals) and only later the cause (only in the crowd scenes does it become really clear that women are taller than men in this world).

 

  1. At the office: a woman in her own office is engaged in serious business as a male secretary slips in with a message and a cup of coffee for her.

 

  1. Various offices at a university: most of the faculty are women (shown in classrooms or in their private offices); most of the admin and support staff are male (shown at desks in a more public area).

 

  1. A male‑female couple dancing: she leads.

 

  1. Hospital operating room: the surgeon and anaesthetist are women; the nurses are men.

 

  1. At home, in the living room: she’s in the larger of two chairs, reading the paper; she lifts her feet up off the footstool so he can run a vacuum cleaner between the chair and footstool.

 

  1. A male‑female couple posing for a picture: her arm is around his shoulders.

 

  1. A courtroom: the judge is a woman; the clerk is a man.

 

  1. At the office, in a meeting room (all of the women must be taller even when seated): the seven or eight women present are talking and deciding; the one or two men present sit silent, taking notes; a man half raises his hand for permission to speak, but is unacknowledged; a man reaches over to fill a woman’s water glass before filling his own, not because he was asked to do so but just as a matter of routine (the subordinate attends to the superordinate’s needs).

 

  1. A male‑female couple approaches a car; the woman gets into the driver’s seat; the man gets into the passenger seat.

 

  1. Election campaign shots: all candidates are women; the men are in the background and clearly aides.

 

May 08

To all the men who

To all the men who let their mothers and wives do all the dusting, vacuuming, kitchen wiping, and bathroom scrubbing; to all the men who throw their garbage  out of their cars and boats and ATVs and snowmobiles; and to all the men who ‘externalize’ the waste/disposal costs involved in doing (their) business — because it’s somehow emasculating to clean up after yourself, YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR DEFINITION OF ‘MASCULINE’.  Because at the moment it’s very much like ‘infantile’ and ‘irresponsible’.

May 02

A Great Twisty Faster post: “That can’t be sexual assault because it’s normal”

Thought I’d start reposting some of Twisty’s pieces (because, really, they need to be read again and again) (sigh).

 

“That can’t be sexual assault because it’s normal”

Apr 25

from Joanna Russ’ The Female Man

excerpted from Joanna Russ’ The Female Man:

 

…I wept aloud, I wrung my hands, crying: I am a poet! I am Shelley! I am a genius! … Lady, your slip’s showing. …

There is the vanity training, the obedience training, the self-effacement training, the deference training, the dependency training, the passivity training, the rivalry training, the stupidity training, the placation training. How am I to put this together with my human life, my intellectual life, my solitude, my transcendence, my brains, and my fearful, fearful ambition? I failed miserably and thought it was my own fault. You can’t unite woman and human any more than you can unite matter and anti-matter; they are designed to not to be stable together and they make just as big an explosion inside the head of the unfortunate girl who believes in both.

Do you enjoy playing with other people’s children-for ten minutes? Good! This reveals that you have Maternal Instinct and you will be forever wretched if you do not instantly have a baby of your own (or three or four) and take care of that unfortunate victimized object twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, for eighteen years, all by yourself. (Don’t expect much help.)

Are you lonely? Good! This shows that you have Feminine Incompleteness; get married and do all your husband’s personal services, buck him up when he’s low, teach him about sex (if he wants you to), praise his technique (if he doesn’t), have a family if he wants a family, follow him if he changes cities, get a job if he needs you to get a job, and this too goes on seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year forever and ever amen unless you find yourself a divorcee at thirty with (probably two) small children. (Be a shrew and ruin yourself, too, how about it?)

 

 

 

Apr 14

The Mr. America Pageant – a short feminist script

The Mr. America Pageant, Peg Tittle

(hoping there are some people out there looking for short feminist scripts, for film or stage!)

 

This is a parody of the Miss America Beauty Pageants.  Basically, it’s a freeform collage of scenes (of indeterminate length – five minutes might suffice) similar to those one would see during the pageant, but all featuring male contestants instead of female contestants.  Seeing men say and do such things is hilarious; why isn’t seeing women equally laughable?

 

Suggested scenes…

 

  1. Backstage before the opening parade of contestants, showing shots of individual men in close-up, wearing their crowns, gushing about how excited they are to be here, to have won in their home state – and to be HERE!! – oh my, this is what they have dreamed about since they were a little boy…

 

  1. Opening parade of contestants: each man in a tuxedo, wearing his home state banner and crown, walks (in that rehearsed way) from offstage to front and center, poses in profile to left and right, smiling throughout, then walks to the back to stand in chorus line, while the MC introduces each one by state, the contestants adding “I’m X, and my home state is Y!”

 

  1. Swimsuit competition: a parade of the men, most in a bikini, some in a larger suit, again with their banners on

 

  1. Talent competition: men doing the things the women tend to do…twirling a baton (and smiling at the same time), playing the piano, playing the flute (and smiling at the same time), singing a (sappy, insipid) song, dancing on pointe and singing at the same time (and smiling at the same time)

 

  1. Interview section: the individual men are asked questions, and they give the answers the women so often give – What are your life plans? I want to help people, I would like to work with children, I want to become the best person I can be, I like reaching out to young people, changing their lives…What is the most important thing to you? world peace…What do you cherish the most? children, life…What would you tell young people today? I would tell them to look inside their hearts…

 

  1. Mr. Congeniality Award: presented with lots of hugs and tears

 

  1. Mr. America crowning: the finalists are called and assemble at front and center, then the runners-up are eliminated one by one, and finally the winner is declared, crowned, and presented with flowers and a sceptre; again tears and hugs; he stands in glory, then does the victory walk out toward the audience and back, then stands again, tears streaming down his face.

 

Apr 07

“What is Wrong with this Picture?” a short feminist film script by Peg Tittle

What is Wrong with this Picture?

 

This film consists of a collage of scenes, five to ten minutes in length), in which women are always the superordinates and men are always the subordinates.  Dialogue isn’t that important, so once the scenes are decided upon and roughed out, the cast can probably improv rather than follow a script.

 

Suggested scenes:

Office: Woman in executive office summons her secretary, who is a man, who enters and politely inquires “Yes, m’am?”  She says something like “Ask Ms. Jordan to come to my office, then bring us coffee, please, and hold all calls.”  He nods in subordinate fashion and exits.

Boardroom:  Seated around the table discussing important matters are, every one of them, women.

Hospital scene: Female doctors and male nurses and clerks.

University: Female faculty and male support staff.

Bank:  Male tellers; occupants of individual offices are all women.

Courtroom: Judge, lawyers, and security are women; clerk is male.

Golf course:  Only women are playing.

Office:  Woman executive directs her male assistant to call her husband and tell him she’ll be late for dinner.

Home:  Househusband answers the phone, surrounded by cloying, annoying kids, and shows irritation at the message.

Fancy restaurant:  Several women dine together and discuss business.

Doctor’s office: Female doctor giving embarrassed man a physical, which includes a close examination of his penis as well as a rectal examination.

Househusband taking kids to the dentist: The waiting room is full of fathers and kids; the receptionist is male, as is the dental hygienist; the dentist, who breezes in for the authoritative final check of the hygienist’s work, is female.

Househusband grocery shopping:  All of the other shoppers and all of the checkout cashiers are men; a woman is in the manager’s office.

Home:  Husband sets the table and brings out the dinner he has prepared; kids and mother sit waiting; perhaps the woman offers to help, but the offer isn’t really genuine and is brushed aside. with a smile.

Guests for dinner: Two male-female couples are sitting at a dinner table; the conversation is dominated by the women who talk about politics; the two men are silent, though they look supportive from time to time and interject supportive comments, questions to let the women shine; one of the women says something like “Let’s let the boys clean up, shall we?” and the two women retire to the living room for drinks and more conversation.

Office lunchroom: All and only men sit in small groups talking about their kids, the need for an on-site daycare, their failure to obtain promotions, their bosses; a sweet male voice comes over intercom “Danny, Ms. X would like to see you right away”, at which Danny grimaces but gets up and leaves the room.

Car:  Woman at the wheel, man in the passenger seat.

Mar 28

Men against Abortion

Is that why men are against abortion?  Because women are, might be, killing men?  Male fetuses?  If the fetus was known to be female, they wouldn’t have a problem with it?

Mar 07

Ten years later, she meets Dick, and he’s so –

            You’re so – different.  Not such an –

Yeah.  It’s like before I was so – driven.  It’s like I was in a car, no, I was the car.  And it was always in high gear, in screaming high gear.  I had to get somewhere, I always had to get somewhere.  I couldn’t sit still without revving my engine, roaring my engine.  Every car was a car I had to pass, and every time another car passed me, it was such an affront, it was so – humiliating.

And then it stopped.  And the silence – the not being driven, not being pushed – I could think.  For the first time in my life, I could just – think.  And feel.  All sorts of things.  Subtle things.  I don’t know how to describe it.

For a while I was so – sad.  I thought if I could’ve lived my whole life like that – I wanted a ‘do over’ so bad.  I wanted my life back.  It’s like it had been – hijacked or something.

            So what happened?  I mean, what changed everything?

Oh.  I got in a car accident.  Lost the family jewels.

 

(inspired by reading about burdizzos)

Feb 22

Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, Sheri Tepper

Although I read this fantastic novel years ago, I was recently reminded of it by Judith A. Little’s Feminist Philosophy and Science Fiction: utopias and dystopias. 

At the end of the novel, five options for human reproduction are presented:

  1. Only partners for life will be able to reproduce, and only once every decade.
  2. Parthenogenesis, with a few males born every eighth or ninth generation.
  3. Heterosexual reproduction, but no woman will ever conceive unless she chooses to conceive.
  4. Heterosexual reproduction, but with a short period of fertility.
  5. As it has been.

What would you choose and why?

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