Do you ever feel like there are so many thoughts buzzing through your mind at one time, interconnecting and colliding with each other, that you may never be able to decipher a single one from the others?
I feel very anxious when I notice this happening. That, in itself, is an individual thought. One that my mind seems to have manufactured in order to identify that a sliver of understanding remains. One little thought to provide comfort and guidance within the madness.
Thank you Brain.
Swedish cinemas take aim at gender bias with Bechdel test rating
Movies need to pass test that gauges the active presence of women on screen in bid to promote gender equality
You expect movie ratings to tell you whether a film contains nudity, sex, profanity or violence. Now cinemas in Sweden are introducing a new rating to highlight gender bias, or rather the absence of it.
To get an A rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.
"The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test," said Ellen Tejle, the director of Bio Rio, an art-house cinema in Stockholm’s trendy Södermalm district.
Bio Rio is one of four Swedish cinemas that launched the new rating last month to draw attention to how few movies pass the Bechdel test. Most filmgoers have reacted positively to the initiative. “For some people it has been an eye-opener,” said Tejle.
Beliefs about women’s roles in society are influenced by the fact that movie watchers rarely see “a female superhero or a female professor or person who makes it through exciting challenges and masters them”, Tejle said, noting that the rating doesn’t say anything about the quality of the film. “The goal is to see more female stories and perspectives on cinema screens,” he added.
The state-funded Swedish Film Institute supports the initiative, which is starting to catch on. Scandinavian cable TV channel Viasat Film says it will start using the ratings in its film reviews and has scheduled an A-rated “Super Sunday” on 17 November, when it will show only films that pass the test, such as The Hunger Games, The Iron Lady and Savages.
The Bechdel test got its name from American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who introduced the concept in her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For in 1985. It has been discussed among feminists and film critics since then, but Tejle hopes the A rating system will help spread awareness among moviegoers about how women are portrayed in films.
In Bio Rio’s wood-panelled lobby, students Nikolaj Gula and Vincent Fremont acknowledged that most of their favourite films probably would not get an A rating.
"I guess it does make sense, but to me it would not influence the way I watch films because I’m not so aware about these questions," said Fremont, 29.
The A rating is the latest Swedish move to promote gender equality by addressing how women are portrayed in the public sphere.
Sweden’s advertising ombudsman watches out for sexism in that industry and reprimands companies seen as reinforcing gender stereotypes, for example by including skimpily clad women in their adverts for no apparent reason.
Since 2010, the Equalisters project has been trying to boost the number of women appearing as expert commentators in Swedish media through a Facebook page with 44,000 followers. The project has recently expanded to Finland, Norway and Italy.
For some, though, Sweden’s focus on gender equality has gone too far.
"If they want different kind of movies they should produce some themselves and not just point fingers at other people," said Tanja Bergkvist, a physicist who writes a blog about Sweden’s "gender madness".
The A rating has also been criticised as a blunt tool that does not reveal whether a movie is gender-balanced.
"There are far too many films that pass the Bechdel test that don’t help at all in making society more equal or better, and lots of films that don’t pass the test but are fantastic at those things," said Swedish film critic Hynek Pallas.
Pallas also criticised the state-funded Swedish Film Institute – the biggest financier of Swedish film – for vocally supporting the project, saying a state institution should not “send out signals about what one should or shouldn’t include in a movie”.
Research in the US supports the notion that women are under-represented on the screen and that little has changed in the past 60 years.
Of the top 100 US films in 2011, women accounted for 33% of all characters and only 11% of the protagonists, according to a study by the San Diego-based Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film.
Another study, by the Annenberg Public Policy Centre at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that the ratio of male to female characters in movies has remained at about two to one for at least six decades. That study, which examined 855 top box-office films from 1950-2006, showed female characters were twice as likely to be seen in explicit sexual scenes as males, while male characters were more likely to be seen as violent.
"Apparently Hollywood thinks that films with male characters will do better at the box office. It is also the case that most of the aspects of movie-making – writing, production, direction, and so on – are dominated by men, and so it is not a surprise that the stories we see are those that tend to revolve around men," Amy Bleakley, the study’s lead author, said in an email.
Another peculiar dream invaded my overly-active slumbering brain last night.
The peculiar and vivid dreams, the ones I can recall in the morning, seem to only present themselves at opportune moments. Namely, when Mary-Janes presence is lessened.
She still visited last night, but not over the usual extended period of time. I had roller derby training.
Mary-Jane blankets my mind with a numbing haze of comfort. Sometimes the blanket is thick enough to block out all overarching thoughts and creativity. Last night, the blanket was light, so little bursts of creativity and madness were still able to penetrate and project themselves through my mind.
The dream was scary. And it followed the same recipe as always. Always an unknown location, always a quest to complete, always a warrior, always innocents, and always unfinished.
It was an old building, reminiscent of a classically-nightmarish boarding school or Victorian-style mansion, but there were occasional passages that mirrored more recent architecture - 70s or 80s. Maybe Grand Design had recently paid a visit.
There were monsters coming. Real monsters. Great hulking, weapon bearing monsters. In humanoid form of course; my imagination is not that fertile. I have been playing a lot of Diablo III recently, I assume that fuelled the monsters form.
I was the warrior. This part is clouded, but I believe I was not a lone warrior. However, my counterparts are never usually identifiable. More like handy AI. And it was a stealth mission, so to be perfectly honest, I was probably better off working alone.
The innocents were school children - hence, the locale. I remember two distinct scenes with the children. The first scene took place in the newly renovated portion of the building, down a corridor that lead to a staircase which I assume lead to some kind of exit or safe house. That would make sense. My quest was to get the children (roughly 30 of the little shrimps) and adults (teachers, most likely) out of the building and out of harms way.
What I remember most distinctly about this scene was telling the children to be quiet. They had to be quiet or else the monsters would know where we were headed. I felt anxious and frustrated trying to tell the children to be quiet. They seemed to be viewing it as a game and couldn’t grapple with the gravity of the situation. Continually, they chatted away, as if they were heading down to recess or off to another class. As if it would be that simple. I started ushering them down the staircase, pleading with them to stop making so much noise. My panic began to rise as I started checking around corners for any signs of the enemy and I felt a minimal pang of relief when I noted that the children were funnelling their way down the stairs. I never saw them again and know nothing of their fate. Cut scene.
The second scene took place in a classroom. I remember entering the room, which was dark and dusty, but still filled with students and their teacher, mid-lesson. I went in through the door and told them we had to hide. The students hid under desks, but the teacher remained standing in the room. I remember the teacher the most; her hair was in a classic French scroll, and she wore a cardigan and a long skirt. She looked like a teacher. She stood there with no fear, even though we both knew of the danger we were in. She stood still, with her head held high, not fearing her fate, whatever that may be. It was as if she trusted my presence. Then I saw it, the monster at the door. This was the pinnacle moment*, because it was when I realised that I had no weapon, nothing to protect myself or the innocents with, and the enemy was coming. And everything was going to be ok.
Things always seems to blur at the pinnacle moment. The next thing I remember is needing to escape, as I am now being chased by monsters. I am in an old room, which may or may not be the classroom that I was previously in. Two notable things occurred at this point. And I should also mention that this is last portion I remember of the dream. The first notable thing was that I was now naked. My previous attire of pants and shirt were now gone without a trace and I was left to make my escape in the stark reality of my humanity.
The second of the two notabilities is that the pinnacle moment had thoroughly kicked in and I was now almost fearless. I could still feel the fear, but it was dormant, not guiding me anymore. My only escape option was a window, and as I was apparently on the fourth floor of the building, the fearlessness was a welcome relief. I dashed for the window which was clad in curtains and found myself in a classic thriller window-sill scene. I had to traverse across the building to get to my safety, blah blah so original.
I believe the nudity symbolised some form of newly gained agility, because I was owning that window-sill.
I had moved some way, when I came across a well lit room, luxuriously decorated, and with several monsters sitting around sharing a brandy and stories of the day. Perfectly respectable. I had to manoeuvre my way around the large bay window looking directly into the monster room. Thankfully the decorator had included curtains in this room too, so I was able to move around the sill using them as my cover. The last moment of the dream came just as I had made it around the window and was crouching behind the final length of curtain, which was inconveniently placed behind a seated monster. Chatter in the room ceased and I realised all eyes were now on the window. The seated monster began to turn his head and an uncomfortable breeze blew past me..
Unfinished as always.
The last thing I watched before bed was Pulp Fiction.
*I like to use ‘pinnacle moment’ to refer to the point when I realise I’m dreaming. My character seems to actively acknowledge that it is a dream and that things will work themselves out. It’s nice to retain some rational thought and dignity, even in dreams.
some people just don’t realise how offensive honesty can be.
My brain is either extremely sluggish or working on over time.
I’m a student. And yet I’m not currently studying at this present time.
I am doing.. Not much.
This is probably the relevant place to mention that I am an Art student.
Not an ‘arts’ student. An Art Student.
I study art. Not the ‘arts’.
I’m thoroughly baffled too.
Now that ^^, was the correct use of baffled.
So. I study art. I do know some things about art. I know who Brunelleschi is. I find him a lot more interesting than M C Escher. But really, you don’t care and neither do I.
I go to art school. University. And I’m pretty sure it’s not so much a case of me being interested in the subjects as it is them telling me the subjects I should be interested in.
Did everyone already know that? Am I coming in really late to this knowledge/idea? Why didn’t anyone tell me? People are so selfish with their knowledge!
The thing I’m having most trouble accepting is that we’ve been told, at art school, that, roughly, only 3% of us will make it. Make it.
Does that mean fame? Only 3% of us will find fame? Or does it mean a job? Or a career? Or some kind of income? Some kind of happiness?
Is that what I should be searching for? Is that what will complete me? Is that what will validate my success as an artist? As a human being?
We’ve been told not to expect fame. That fame doesn’t come easily. That, perhaps, it’s not something that should be desired. That fame isn’t everything.
Well, quite clearly, it is. It is everything.
Do they say that to all students? Or is it just the artists? I’m struggling to understand.
Why aren’t they teaching us how to be famous then?
Why do I know that I am more interested in Brunelleschi than I am in M C Escher, but I don’t know how to achieve happiness?
Maybe, we just have to be famous within ourselves. Personal Jesus?
Oh gosh, personal Jesus has taken it to some other worldly dimension. I don’t know. It’s a song isn’t it? Marilyn Manson? Did he cover it? Oh gosh, please don’t punish me for not caring.
Refused aren’t fucking dead.
In fact, they’re going to Coachella in April. At The Drive-In are going too!
How To Become Famous:
Ok, so here’s the thing: I’m not famous.
Not on the internet. Not in the imitation of the internet (I think people call that the ‘real world’ or something, really I think it’s the complete opposite). Not on the bus or the train. Not even in my own house. Not even famous to my cat.
Why is that?
There are a lot of people who are famous. Not as many as there are people who aren’t famous, but still there are a lot of people who are famous for something.
There are also a lot of people who are famous for nothing. Almost as many as there are people who are famous for something.
What are those something’s though? What are things that people aren’t famous for? How did they acquire these things? Could someone direct me to where I could find one of these things for myself?
It’s too much already. I’ve only just started asking these questions and already I’ve landed myself in a baffling position.
Baffling is a strong word. Perhaps, it’s the wrong word to use there.
You know what, I don’t even care. I’m leaving it. Wow, look at me, already rebelling against the parameters of words. Why I’m a modern day.. Modern person. An illiterate youth.
Any which way. I’m confused. Mainly about fame, and why I think I need it.
I know I don’t need it. I’d be perfectly content with living an unnoticed life.
What does that even mean?
not perceived or observed
Surely, I’ve been perceived or observed by someone. Just the other day I bought some tartan pants and I’m pretty sure I was perceived or observed by the lady who took my money. And when I asked why I hadn’t actually received the game cartridge in my Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS case, I’m relatively sure that the lady at the counter perceived or observed my confusion/sympathies towards their in-capabilities.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we’re never actually perceived or observed. By anyone.
Not until we’re famous.
Undetectable on the radar. Non-existant.
Ahh, I feel a paradox coming on. I should stop.
none of us are special. we are all just so abruptly normal.