On Friday, I saw the Noboru Iguchi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, and Tak Sakagucki-helmed Japanese flick Mutant Girls Squadas part of the Northwest Film Center's Portland International Film Festival (PIFF.) From the synopsis, I expected a girl power-y saga of young women bonding over their new superpowers and fighting off comic book-esque villains at each other's behest... something like X-Men meets D.E.B.S. (the latter of which I will defend until my death, and not just because of name loyalty). Basically, I went into Mutant Girls Squad thinking it would be ridiculous and entertaining. I was half right.
Comments, spoilers and a gruesome trailer after the jump!
As many of you know, we've been hosting Mad World here on the Bitch blogs (and around town) since March, and we've had a great time discussing advertising, gender, and identity as a part of this series. However, as Johnny so eloquently said to Pony Boy, "nothing gold can stay." (OK, so he was quoting Robert Frost, but the cuteness of the young Ralph Macchio means we're going with the remediated version.) Our Mad World series is coming to a close, but that doesn't mean we're going to stop with analyzing ads. We'd never do that—it's our mission to bring you a feminist response to pop culture!
Ashley Anne Kirilow, a 23-year-old Burlington native, admits she faked cancer, ran a bogus charity and collected thousands of dollars from hundreds of people. She shaved her head and eyebrows, plucked her eyelashes and starved herself to look like a chemotherapy patient.
... When I first saw this news case, I thought to myself (yes, rather cynically): there is no way that anyone other than a young, attractive, normative person could have pulled this off. If Kirilow had been—for example—fat, in her 30s, plain-looking and homeless, few would've given her the time of day. Much of Kirilow's success seems attributed to the fact that she easily roused pity with her little lost girl story and her brave smile. Kirilow embodied a version of white womanhood that we want to believe in (or at least we've been socially conditioned to embrace it): pretty, plucky, determined, and in need of rescue.
Kirilow is a prime example of a sympathy grifter: a grifter who uses racist/sexist/classist/etc beliefs in their favour, to get money, affection and attention, or to (literally) get away with murder.
You know how in Gattaca doctors used hormones to control the personalities of fetuses, ensuring a creepily uniform generation of "perfect" people, like the guy who plays Ethan Hawke's brother in the movie? Well, now there is a doctor who is attempting to do something similar by eradicating non-"feminine" traits in female fetuses—an "abnormal" disinterest in babies, not wanting to play with girls' toys or become mothers, "career preferences" that are deemed too "masculine"—and she's this week's Douchebag Decree recipient. Dr. Maria New, come on down!
A few days ago, the Hollywood Scoop reported the same crew behind HBO's boys & toys hit Entourage were cooking up another show for the network. This one would be a spin-off of Entourage, but this time based around women in Los Angeles. The only report is that it would be like Entourage meets Sex and the City - which is a bit confusing because it's all the same show. However, I'm looking at this development a bit more skeptically than usual.
Trouble is, HBO already aired a different show that the Entourage crew executive produced. It was called How To Make It In America, and if we've learned anything from the treatment of female character Rachel Chapman (played by Lake Bell), we know that a well-written woman is hard to find.