What if Twilight was given a Buffy twist?

Buffy vs Edward (Twilight Remixed) offers a great feminist ‘re-mix’ of the decidedly non-feminist Twilight.

As the re-mix envisions, Buffy teaches Edward a thing or two, telling him “You know being stalked isn’t really a turn on for girls.” (Come to think of it, Bella needs to hear this one too – maybe Buffy could convince the wilting wallflower Bella to respond to Edward’s bedroom intrusions with her “get out or I will drop you out head first” comeback.)

Ah, from Buffy to Bella – from strong, smart, witty slayer to oh-I-am-soooo-clumsy Bella – we are decidedly stepping backwards as far female role models go.

What if same-sex marriage were given the same cultural backing as arranged-marriage reality-tv style?

As we so value traditional marriage, the moral and upstanding purveyor of cherished culture traditions, Fox, is developing a new series called I Married a Stranger.

According to RealityTV World, each episode of I Married a Stranger will follow a woman willing to marry a man she’s never met. The groom-to-be will be chosen by friends and family of the bride-to-be from a pool of six bachelors chosen by the shows producers.

Wow! Now if that doesn’t say sanctity of marriage I don’t know what does. Well,  except maybe yet another reality marriage series in development from CBS:

ARRANGED MARRIAGE is a series that brings the tradition of arranged marriages, which is still practiced successfully by many cultures throughout the world, to the U.S., where it is virtually an inconceivable option for most single Americans. Three adults who are anxious to get married, but who have been unsuccessful in their own search for a mate, choose a life-altering path. They rely on their closest family and friends, those who love and know them best, to choose someone for them to marry based on shared goals, values, experiences and the commitment to make it work. The series intimately documents these three arranged marriages, starting with the first meetings of the families and the wedding day; and then follows the couple through the day-to-day joys, challenges, and emotional tumult that results from their arranged union.

Cool! “Intimately documenting” a practice done by those OTHER cultures that are, according to the condescending tone, way less enlightened than US culture. So, not only is CBS developing a reality show that is gag-inducing on so many levels, but they also manage to be cultural elitists in their description of the show. Way to belittle other cultures while profiting from them, CBS!

In our “sanctity of marriage” culture, it seems anything goes as long as its one man, one woman.

If same-sex marriage were given the same cultural (and monetary) backing of these quadruple icky reality shows, perhaps Prop 8 would haven been driven back into the dungeons of evil from which it sprang…

What if being turned into a product is the new form of female empowerment?

According to Megan Fox, or “one of Hollywood’s hottest commodities,” as she is described by the June 19 2009 issue of Entertainment Weekly, being commodified is empowering, not degrading.

As Fox states in an interview with Chris Nashawaty in this issue, “I think all women in Hollywood are known as sex symbols. That what our purpose is in the business. You’re merchandised, you’re a product. You’re sold and it’s based on sex. But that’s okay. I think women should be empowered by that, not degraded.”

Yeah, because being turned into a product is SOOO empowering. What more could a woman ask for than being merchandised based on sex appeal. How uber-empowering!

And all women in Hollywood are known as sex symbols? That is their purpose? Really? So Meryl Streep, Katherine Hepburn, Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Tandy serve no purpose beyond  being commodified into sexualized eye candy? Huh, I didn’t get that message from Sophie’s Choice.

In another part of the interview, Fox discuss that she felt being sexualized at age 15 was “awesome,” adding “I wasn’t a feminist yet.” This indicates she is a feminist now. Pardon me for asking, but what part of wholeheartedly cheering female objectification is feminist? Guess I missed that in the handbook.

What if bedtime stories could get with the feminist program? (A review of Bedtime Stories)

I should have known better, especially given it was an Adam Sandler movie. But, the optimist in me thought there might be some re-visioning of ‘bedtime stories’ rather than a tired re-hashing of all their sexist mores. So much for optimism.

The film drips with delimiting gender stereotypes.  The evil mom (ala Hansel and Gretel and umpteen other fairy tales) is replaced by the over-controlling, health-food-obsessed Courtney Cox. Life with her is no fun – she is the purveyor of wheat-grass cakes, the destroyer of kid-fun. At least she has a job – a principal no less – but, even this career is played on to further the over-controlling, mean meme. Here, she is a descendent in a long line of evil female school marms, from Miss Trunchbull in Matilda to Miss Umbridge of Harry Potter.

Thankfully, cool bro (in the form of Adam Sandler) comes in to save the day. He plays a number of positive (read: male) roles – savior, deliverer of fun, bringer of adventure, giver of roasted marshmallows.

Of course, it wouldn’t suffice to only put the story in motion with one evil female; we need an entire cast of second-tier xx types.  To fulfill this sexist media imperative, we have Violet, the empty-headed fashionista (who must be saved by Sandler’s character on various occasions and who, of course, rewards him with a kiss – what else do women have to offer but their sexuality?) Then, we have the goody-two shoes babysitter/friend who tries to ruin all the fun with her rule-bound boringness. Thankfully, her saving grace is she is “skinny,” as one fat-hating scene emphasizes. In the scene, a number of women who used to bully Adam Sandler’s character when he was in high school are put in their place when he parades this skinny arm-candy in front of them. So the fat-is-ugly stick can beat the audience a little more, Sandler’s character verbally attacks a woman who – how dare she – is enjoying a plate of pasta even though she is not an acceptable size zero.

To ice this sexist cake, we have the little girl who, though her masculine name Bobby tries to trick us, plays typical second fiddle to her brother. At first we are led to believe that she controls the stories that end up becoming reality, but, no, that would be just too much power in the hands of one without penis privilege. It is, of course, the brother that controls the stories.

And, for the grand finale, said brother is left with a kiss from the older “hot” girl at the movie’s close – because even the pre-ten-year-old-set needs to learn that the main purpose of female existence is their hottitude.

To summarize, this ‘new’ take on  bedtime stories offers the same savior boy/hot damsel in distress paradigm. Sigh.

What year is it again?

What century?

And Ms. Cox – what were you thinking? You have a daughter for goddess sake!

To be fair, the movie did have its funny moments. But, why can’t we have humor, fun, and adventure sans the sexism? Why can’t we have more movies that don’t drill negative stereotypes into girls and boys heads?

Films are showing some signs of improvement, but still have a long ways to go. This last weekend being a case in point, we had the release of Up. Though I have not seen it yet, from the previews it looks like once again all the main characters are male. And, in the recent Monsters vs Aliens we had only ONE female lead. For more adult fair, take the Star Trek previews – though Uhura plays a significant role in the film, she is sidelined or absent in every preview I have seen. As for Land of the Lost, must the preview feature a boob-grabbing Chaka? Please – Jodie Foster, Camryn Manheim, Tina Fey, Ashley Judd – someone with feminist sensibilities – can you produce a few  family flicks?