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I just read this article “Lady Bird and the problem with White Feminism” (https://medium.com/tartmag/by-lena-potts-15b150fca7a6). Very interesting reading pointing out the lack of minorities’ (other than women) representation in Lady Bird, or if so, done in a very stereotypical way. But also analysing how this may be due to the fact that Gerwig was writing about HERSELF and maybe not prepared to include other people into her own personal experience. Lena Dunham said about Girls (greatly biographical) that it can’t be expected for her to write about someone she is not. Broader stories ask for a more diverse input, but how ok is it to hide behind the “this is my story” card?

I’m deeply curious as to how to address this issue in the best way possible myself. While I wish I could have written Black Panther (and omg it was amazing on the screen), I feel that if I tackle something like it I’d be bashed for appropriation and it would most certainly not be successful writing because I don’t have the cultural deep understanding that it takes. But if I write about what I know… well, sadly it’s going to lack diversity because that’s how the place I was born in looks like. I can write about women, that box I can tick (referencing how that journalist referred to Get Out when interviewing Daniel Kaluuya on the red carpet >·<)… but how is it expected for one (Gerwig in this case) to write in a voice they don’t know? And how is a personal story subject to criticism of this kind if it is, in a way, a historic account of one person’s experience? I mean, there’s no black Hitlers in Nazi films, so if this is Gerwig’s own growing up world, how is this wrong?  

To answer my own questions, in my opinion, I’d say that attention should be given to a more diverse group of writers (I mean up there where awards are given and thousands of people can access the film) to write about their own personal stories, not only Black Panther‘s, but more Moonlights too. But at the same time, I need to feel free to write about what I know without being subject to backlash of this kind and have all coexist. Is this crazy? Or should I always aim to include everyone in every story ever told?

Author: Bea Cabrera

Freelance Filmmaker with a passion for big cities, snowboard, cinema and a weakness for the smell of freshly ground coffee. Engineer & Graphic Designer in a previous life, loving and living both: art and technology.  

2 Replies to “White Feminism or a personal story?”

  1. Lamb Corcskroo says: October 13, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Art is sacred. Diversity quotas are insincere at best and murderous at worst. Read your history. Take pictures of what you are drawn to, not what shitheads with their own agenda demand you to. If you are conflicted about it, explore it, but don’t let it define you. The equity mafia is raging, but their intentions are not what they seem. It’s all about ideology, and nothing about empathy.

    1. Bea Cabrera says: October 14, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      I used to be 100% in agreement with that. And I’m still sort of. I’ve listened to other people’s sensibilities lately and I found true that there is a mis/under-representation of many cultures and realities in media and entertainment. While this left me conflicted I have come to the realisation that I can’t be held accountable for that, even in what little I do in the industry, and I can’t be expected to solve this issue… because, as you say, there wouldn’t be much history, empathy or reality in what I wrote if it was not drawn from my own experience. But on a broader sense, more attention should be paid to diversity within groups of writers, within a TV channel’s offer, within a year’s worth of movies, etc. Now, asking a single film to check all the boxes… that’s just absurd and we wouldn’t be making art, as you say, we’d be blatantly creating products.

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