Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Update on "To-Me" Factor

I find I do not stand alone as a woman who objects to the "blue for boys, pink for girls" movie review of "The Lord of the Rings" by Caryn James (see blog item below, December 20, 2003). In an editorial for Salon.com (available only by subscription,) Stephanie Zacharek characterizes James' review as "the tired old Hollywood-marketing game" of gender-typing movies to influence who goes to see them. She also zeroes in the problem with such a review, namely the lack of thoughtful analysis:

"Why think critically, when you can just consult the imaginary focus group in your mind? "

Further into the editorial, Zacharek challenges the idea that a whole group united simply by their gender must necessarily respond to something all the same way. She asks the simple question: "Do you need to be a man to respond to "typically masculine" notions of nobility and heroism?" She notes that anyone "male or female, has the right" to like or dislike any given movie.

This editorial exhibits much more of the kind of awareness of abstracting that general semantics promotes. Zacharek states pretty unequivocally that each person has a personal response to a movie, dictated in large part by personal experience. She also points out that gender only plays a part in personal experience and doesn't determine it completely.

This falls into the g.s. category of "to-me-ness" that I found so lacking in the James review. Thanks to Stephanie for using her access to the wider Internet audience to call James on her lopsided and unnecessarily inflammatory review!

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