Sexism in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer, and discussion of womanism, feminism, and what the first, second, and third waves mean to us, as the recent Women’s March marches around.

For some background, in the new Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer that came out a few weeks ago a talking tree has more lines than the actual female “lead.” 

Sam thinks this is probably fine. Jen does not. Here are the points they make. Watch the trailer below to see what we’re talking about

 

Sam:

  1.  First (before getting your panties in a twist) you should know that most film companies don’t cut their own trailers. That’s done by some marketing company that has nothing to do with the values of the actual creators involved in the film. Our film, because we are poor, will have a trailer cut by us, and rest assured that women will talk in it. It’s got tons of talking. So if you want to get mad about our trailer, definitely blame us, but don’t blame the studio for the GotG trailer.
  2.  You can be strong without talking. Gamora doesn’t need to run her mouth to be a strong female character.
  3. A lot of story can be done with show rather than tell; the best actors can tell you a lot without opening their mouths. Zoe speaks through her facial reactions, and that’s okay. This is actually a problem with the Bechdel Test, in that it can’t really apply to a lot of short or silent films, in which ideas are not expressed via spoken words.
  4. Trailers don’t exist to develop characters or tell me a story. The purpose of a trailer is to get your attention and get your money. With a big blockbuster like this, you know it’s going to be worth seeing in a theatre. Indie films have to work harder to tell stories in trailers, because it’s harder to get people’s money if they don’t know you, but otherwise trailers don’t exist to tell a story. So we don’t need Zoe’s characterization. (It’s a trailer, people)

Jen:

  1. Zoe Saldana doesn’t actually do anything important in the trailer. Is that fair? Literally every other character had more interesting lines: Rocket the Raccoon, StarLord, the freaking talking tree, and Drax. GRANTED, I watch Guardians of the Galaxy for Drax, because I love him, so I didn’t notice this the first time around, but on the second watch-through? Weak!
  2. Gamora is ONLY a romantic lead in the trailer. Someone said online–and it’s a good point–that it doesn’t even make sense for the strong silent assassin to talk, but quite frankly, we don’t even see her as the silent assassin. We see her do one back flip or something, but the majority of her screen time is spent being the shy silent love interest for some dude. I’m really tired of women being delegated only to the love interest role. Would it hurt to give her five more seconds so she can have a funny line, too?
  3. To me, trailers do exist to tell a story. I don’t care about a trailer if there isn’t a story involved. Even StarWars, which is so much the love of my life that it influenced my religion, can’t get me excited about trailers. But I loved the first Guardians of the Galaxy trailer because it did an efficient job of setting up the characters and establishing the conflict between them. It was the only trailer that’s ever gotten me excited about a movie I knew nothing about. I expected more from the second one.

 

Womanism vs. Feminism

We discuss how some feminists have historically not been interested in the plight of women of color. Womanists, as self-defined, are supposed to be the new “pro-women” who are also interested in intersectional issues. Sam argues that it’s laughable that we’d try to splinter or obfuscate the issue with a new word. “That’s not how language works.” The solution is changing the term from within: Just as we influence feminism with movements like the HeforShe, to make it cool for men to be feminist, we should also influence feminism with movements towards celebrating women of color. There’s no need to create more division.

The Three Waves

Jen believes, because of the example of early Black lady patriots like Sojourner Truth, that really the first wave of feminism was inclusive. (For those who don’t know what first wave means, the first wave of feminism won women the right to vote, the right to own our own kids, and began to address issues like abuse in the home–your Susan B. Anthonys and, as mentioned, your Sojourner Truths) Jen really sees the stereotypical white Feminazi as a second wave thing. The Liz Lemon stereotype, the #solidarityisforwhitewomen kind of Eat, Pray, Love, white lady comes from the second wave.
This is the wave that’s always dissing Jen’s mom for daring to have eight kids, because how dare you not use birth control, and how dare you stay at home, you unproductive man-slave. This is your Hilary Clinton talking down to #BlackLivesMatter, your NARAL and your Planned Parenthood trying to tell the Black community what to think.

 

 

Third wave feminism, a particularly Hispanic-friendly feminism, accepts a woman’s right to be feminine, or to stay in the house if she likes. Jen’s business Spanish studies really impressed on her the idea that female entrepreneurship is far more common in the Hispanic community than in the white community; when Jen goes to Paraguay many of the “stay-at-home” women actually run businesses out of their own homes. Sam says, “yeah, you have to hustle,” and explains that her mother is also always selling something. Third-wave is intersectional in that it accepts the institutions and ideas inherently present within POC communities. It co-opts them rather than trying to transform them into the image of white working woman culture.
Sam and Jen both support whatever feminism supports womanhood in all its expressions: femininity, or throwing off femininity; staying at home, or working outside; the point is that we have the freedom to express ourselves as individuals and not as a gender.

 

So what do you think? Was the GotG trailer sexist? What’s your brand of feminism? As you can see, we’re cool with disagreeing with each other, and with you, so yap away, ladies! (And gents)

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