Genius shmenius

Glosswitch at the New Statesman takes issue with the way “genius” male movie-makers get a pass for obvious misogyny in their movies because Genius. Are they even Genius? she asks.

One of the many ways in which abusive men get away with terrible things is because we’re supposed to respect their genius (and assume that misogyny is somehow a necessary part of it). Right now we’re calling time on the misogyny, but why can’t we call time on the perception of genius too?

Men who don’t like women – and there are an awful lot of them – frequently make art that a male-dominated establishment considers to be amazing, but which a high proportion of women consider to be crap. You didn’t know this? That’s because up till now we haven’t said.

Why haven’t we said? Partly because of the hipster aura around guys like Tarentino.

Just as the “best” postmodern theory tends to be appallingly written in order to fool us that the difficulty is in the ideas, the nihilism and misogyny of the “best” male directors is so glaringly obvious we end up assuming we’ve missed the hidden message (so we use “hyper-reality” as a posh way of describing unimaginative exaggeration). The real creativity isn’t in Manhattan or Inglourious Basterds; it’s in the imaginative contortions critics have gone through to make these films seem more than the sum of their parts.

[jumps up waving hand] I’ve considered Manhattan misogynist all along – misogynist, and bad, and self-admiring.

There’s nothing unsophisticated in recognising that an industry mired in sexism will produce art that is tainted by sexist beliefs. There’s nothing childish or bourgeois about calling time on representations of the human condition which fail to accommodate half the human race. For too long genius has been defined as male, far removed from such petty concerns as granting consideration to the female gaze. This isn’t just unfair; it’s dull.

Time to say good-bye to hipster misogyny.

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