So You Wanna Talk Bout Feminist & Queer Gaze in Film, Huh
Film is one of my great loves, if not the overarching great love of my life, linking all of my other favorite things together — I watch a film every day, even if I’ve seen it before. Here are my favorite films to watch that are “decidedly” feminist, as in, they talk about male gaze, sisterhood, identity politics, queerness, the sacrifice of motherhood, puritanical bullshit, race and class, #misandry, other stuff.
Some of these are triggering, all of them are magnificent. I really love these films so much and they all mean so many things to me, and I think maybe you will like them too. Feel free to reblog and add onto this, but if you come for me asking why so and so wasn’t on the list, I literally don’t care at all, this list is about my favorites, not yours.
I’ve included streaming links so you can watch without Netflix, though obviously I don’t host these and don’t sue me or whatever.
- Cleo from 5 to 7 - Agnes Varda - Varda is a seminal ”feminist” film maker insofar as she’s one of the most respected film makers who approaches film with a female protagonist in mind always, and her films discuss The Gaze (which is the male gaze by default because patriarchy) and this one specifically is about negotiating the gazes and expectations thrust upon you, and the systematic rejection of it all. Vanity & the labor of presentation are key parts to this movie and it’s also really good if you’re sappy like I am. I am the biggest sap. Sad, sassy sappy girl, that’s me.
- Stella Dallas - King Vidor - Mothers in film tend to fall into 3 categories: the good witch, the bad witch, the sacrificial lamb.. something like that, I haven’t read film theory in awhile. But basically, you’re either a virginal goddess kind of mom with no goals of your own and kind of sexless and do everything for your kids, you’re a terrible selfish person driven by your own shit with no care for your children or obligations, or you sacrifice everything to everyone else and die. Or something. This film, it is so painful because Stella is such a GOOD MOM who sacrifices, but is deemed a Bad Witch kind of lady, and deals with it because LOVE. Stella is just such a magnificent, complex character you can’t help but appreciate. And the dudes in the film are whatever. SUCH good subtle acting and character development and it’s just so powerful. The ending. Is SO powerful. Gross, I’m having emotions.
- Happy Together - Wong Kar Wai - Wong Kar Wai is my favorite film director at the moment, I am way into his trilogy on longing & the cinematography of his films and especially his casting (<3__<3). Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung are such supreme, heartbreaking babes, this film will totally break your heart especially if you read up on Leslie’s life. This isn’t my favorite WKW film but it fits this list quite well. See also: Farewell My Concubine (Leslie’s the lead). Warning: FMC will shit on your heart. FMC touches on androgyny, gender struggles and heartbreak and Happy Together is about homosexuality and heartbreak. So much heartbreak! Good sad snuggle movies.
- Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! - Russ Meyer - Quentin Tarantino got lots of inspiration for Death Proof from this movie and Tura Santana is an actual #goddess incarnate in real life. She kicked so much ass though, you need to know her. Anyway, this movie contains babes racing fast cars, babes dancing, has SUCH obvious lesbian gaze / queer luv, girl gangs, girls killin dudes, and guys crying about the gross power they have over women and I make weird animal noises of longing through 100% of this movie because they are ALL INCREDIBLY HOT AND STUFF.
- But I’m a Cheerleader! - Jamie Babbit - Satirical romantic comedies about correctional gay camp.Too real, especially cuz I had to go to church camp the year I came out to my mom! My first fashion editor boss recommended this to me before I even “”“came out / realized i was queer”“”” officially which is indicative of how fucking obviously queer I was to begin with. I live blogged it here.
I SECOND ALL OF THESE MOTIONS