Disney+ didn’t start streaming in the UK until March this year but it debut in the certain countries last November. One of the first original films to be released on the service was this Anna Kendrick Christmas film. For the subscribers like myself who didn’t have access to Disney+ last year, the film was released last month. I can’t say that I was exactly relishing the idea of watching Disney’s answer to Fred Claus and it was only partly because I find Kendrick’s quirky schtick a bit tiring. However, I need to start making the most of my subscription at some point. The only things that I’ve watched on it so far are The Simpsons, The Lizzie McGuire Show, and Recess. I have plans to watch a load of Star Wars and Marvel stuff over Christmas but, until then, I’m always looking for opportunities to watch.
On Saturday 19th September, I woke up to the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. I know that when a well-known figure dies there is always an outpouring of grief on social media but everything I read about Ginsburg felt different. This was a woman who had done so much and was such a beacon of hope. The collective sadness of so many, particularly women, was clear and this was a loss that would be felt for a long time to come. Ginsburg leaves behind her an amazing legacy and her fight for gender equality has changed the course of American politics. She was so much more than a feminist icon. In recent years, she became a cultural icon thanks to her nickname Notorious RBG. What else could I do this week but look back on her great career?
I have a copy of Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Girl somewhere on my bookshelves. Obviously, I haven’t read it yet but I haven’t read a lot of the books on my bookshelves. A friend gave me a copy of How To Be A Woman for Christmas one year but I haven’t read that either. It’s not that I didn’t want to. It’s just that there are so many other books in the world. Being a reader is like having the worst case of FOMO imaginable. There are so many books that have already been published and plenty still to be published. Of course, you’re always going to be wondering if the book you’re currently reading is the best one that you can get. It’s understandable that certain books and authors are going to miss out and, unfortunately, Caitlin Moran was one of them. I had thought about waiting until I’d read the book but if I did that I’d never have watched the film. It probably goes against the bookish code but it had to be done.
Last week, I posted a short video to Instagram that featured a few ideas for films, documentaries, and television shows that people could watch to champion black voices. When it comes to the films that I review on this blog, I don’t tend to put too much thought into what I’m watching. It’s either whatever I fancy watching or whatever I can access at the time. I’ve never really looked at the diversity in my film choices in the same way that I do with my book choices. I make an effort to read a wider range of authors and stories every year, so why don’t I do the same with films? Why do I not do more to listen and pay attention to black voices and stories? Why do I not think more about who is directing and writing the films that I watch? All I care about is the story. It’s the very thing I get angry about whenever anyone speaks out against Oscars So White criticism. It’s something I need to work on and there’s no better time than now. Starting with one of the documentaries that I suggested on my Instagram post.
I’m pleased to announce that I’m currently on book 3 of Jacqueline Wilson’s Girls series. Unfortunately, that is a little bit longer than the rest and I’m quite busy with work stuff at the moment. So, I’m not actually getting as much reading done. I’d been finishing the other books in two nights but this is proving a bit trickier. Still, I’ll get there. I’d actually finished Girls Under Pressure at the weekend but I couldn’t post my review until today. Not that I mind. I loved being one of the stop’s on the Inside the Sun Virtual Book Tour. Although, the time between finishing the book and writing this might explain why it’s proving a bit difficult. Of course, it might also be the fact that this book means a lot to me. It’s something I’ve already addressed here on the blog and it does make me rather biased.
I currently have a lot of streaming services on the go and it means that I never really know what I want to watch. Normally it means that I just watch the same old thing over and over again. Take this week for instance. I didn’t know what to start so started watching a random series of Buffy. Unfortunately, the one that Amazon recommended to me was season 7. Yes, I still watched it but I didn’t exactly enjoy it. Is there anyone out there that enjoyed season 7? Why the show didn’t stop after season 5 is still a mystery. But it got me thinking, which season did I really think was the best. And as it’s Friday, I only went and ranked them. Initially, I was just going to do it based on how attractive I find Giles. I think he peaks around season 5 for me. But then the singing in season 6. God, the singing. But I’m getting away from the point.
I’ve been working from home since Wednesday and it took until yesterday for me to really use the situation to get on with my reading. I spent a few hours on Sunday afternoon to finish the last 110 or so pages of my current read, which wasn’t great going considering it is only about 160 pages long. Still, it has hopefully set me up to get better and use my downtime to read more. Which I need to do considering how many books I’ve bought recently. My 2020 book buying ban had been going quite well until I was faced with having to spend an undisclosed amount of time stuck inside my house. Then I went crazy and decided I need to bulk buy books to keep me occupied. Not that I’m ever in any danger of having nothing to read. On the plus side, I bought and preordered a few books by international authors. I’ve been getting better at reading a wider range of authors in the past few years, so 2020 should prove to be my most diverse reading list ever.
Last weekend was International Women’s Day. The one day a year when all of the pathetic men out there can go on social media and say “er… but when is International Men’s Day?” Yep, you can really see why the patriarchy has thrived for so fucking long, can’t you? It’s such a fun time. Still, the day is always a good excuse to celebrate women and their impact on the world. Reading books by female writers or watching films directed/written by women. This week I’ve been reading the final part in Alexis Marie Chute’s fantasy trilogy. I’ve also been watching some fantastic female superheroes. So, I decided to carry on the comic book theme and discuss some of my top female characters. Most of them will be very obvious because I’m an obvious person and I’ll miss out plenty I’m sure. There are just too many of them!
I know you’re probably getting sick of me banging on about diversity at the Oscars by now but I’m tired of hearing people say “it’s about quality, not diversity”. Yeah, in an ideal world. This isn’t an ideal world. What the people using that argument are either stubbornly, naively, or purposefully not seeing is that the system is weighted against diverse entries. The voting system is a joke. The first round lets all members of the Academy vote for whichever eligible films they want in their related categories. You don’t have to have seen all of the films. We know that a lot of members are quite traditional (see Martin Scorsese and his hatred of comic book movies) and have specific ideas of what should and shouldn’t be eligible (see Steven Spielberg’s comments on Netflix). How many of those eligible to vote will have bothered to go out and watch Hustlers to see that J Lo gave a much better performance than Scar Jo did in Jojo? We also know that Hollywood champions films that will make money and they don’t think films with diverse casts or storylines will make money. Then there are the smaller film companies who can’t afford to put on a huge campaign for their films/stars. They are blown out of the water by the bigger film studios who can shove their big-name stars in front of everyone. Look at Brad Pitt’s Oscars campaign this year. Flawless. Even down to his photos with ex-wife Jennifer Aniston. He’ll have had a great deal of backing. Smaller movies, less well-known actors won’t get that opportunity. Therefore, they don’t grab attention in the same way. The system is weighted towards a certain type of films and those films are, typically, not diverse. Those films don’t typically have female directors. So, stop saying it’s only about quality. Until we have a system that sees every film get a fair chance, diversity needs to be discussed.
I have never really been the biggest Jane Austen fan. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t describe myself as a hater but I can’t say that she inspires me greatly. And let me tell you something, being a bookish person who doesn’t automatically adore Austen is tough. I don’t judge anyone for liking her but there’s a certain amount of blind faith in her that means you can’t go against her without getting some backlash. My issue is that Austen has been turned into some sort of literary heroine. Somewhere along the way, female writers in history appear to have been erased from the public consciousness and Austen has taken the crown for most important female writer ever. This is nonsense. It’s like the fucking Beatles all over again. Jane Austen did not invent female writing. She has great insights into human nature and is quite funny. But it’s like romantic-comedy. It’s safe because everyone knows where it’s going. The reason that Jane Austen survived wasn’t that she was doing anything incredibly revolutionary or different. She survived because she’s readable. That’s not a bad thing. Obviously readable is good but it’s not necessarily exciting. Austen’s novels never did anything daring enough to have people decry them. They just stayed in the middle of the road. And as for Austen being a feminist? Yes, she writes about strong female characters but Austen was not influenced by the burgeoning feminist narrative going on at the time. It’s very much domestic feminism and it’s very much confined to its little bubble. The main reason that Jane Austen is often given the position of the greatest female writer is that you’re not encouraged to read the others. For whatever reason, they’ve been removed from the conversation. So, here are some of my favourite female writers who, in my opinion, are better than Jane Austen. I’ve not included every single one but there are definitely some women here that I think everyone should read.