Today in the Continued Absurdity of Being a Woman in a Misogynist Culture

I am very excited about the upcoming major motion picture Oceans 8, starring fully one zillion amazing women. It's about thieves who commit an elaborate heist.

That's not a spoiler — that's the premise of all the Oceans movies: The original 1960's Rat Pack Ocean's 11; the 2001 Clooney Pack remake Ocean's 11; its two sequels, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen; and now the all-lady version, Ocean's 8.

They're stylish crime capers! That's the whole point.

But Frank Sinatra and George Clooney were probably never asked if they weren't encouraging young boys to go into a life of crime, like the cast of Ocean's 8 were. Yes, really.
Midway through Ocean's 8, there's a scene where Sandra Bullock's exquisitely coated Debbie Ocean faces a mirror and reminds herself why she's decided to rob the Met Gala: not for man, not for herself, she says, but for the 8-year-old girl out there who could be inspired to lead a life of crime. At an extravagant press conference for Ocean's 8 held next to the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art today, one reporter asked the cast if they really were trying inspire 8-year-old girls with their work. What effect would these "strong female roles" have? "Encouraging children to crime," Cate Blanchett deadpanned.
ILY, Cate Blanchett.

The line in the film is a send-up of the very dynamic that apparently played out at this promotional event: The expectation that women must always be centrally occupied with representing womanhood, especially with regard to the example we're setting for girls.

What about the children? is something privileged men get to demand of us (and of marginalized men), but never have demanded of them, no matter how depraved their behavior or the policies they support. (*cough* gun proliferation *cough*)

Visible women must never be allowed to be imperfect, and imperfect women must never be allowed to be role models.

Rinse and repeat forever.

In any case, it isn't only Cate Blanchett who's smarter than this shit.
Mindy Kaling then took the conversation in another direction, pointing out that the film provides positive representation of another, noncriminal sort in the fact that the characters are "orchestrating a crime, rather than fighting over a man." Sandra Bullock pointed out that there is a man the characters in Ocean's 8 fixate on, but more because he's a target, not a love interest. The film aces the Bechdel test and probably earns a heap of extra credit on the assignment. "Our conversations are not about that man, and I think that's very exciting," Kaling said.

..."To an 8-year-old girl, maybe we're not trying to say, 'Go have a life of crime,'" Anne Hathaway added, "but we're saying, 'Go do what you want; there's space for you.'"
And in that space will be someone asking stupid questions. But keep doing what you want, anyway, girls.

Never let stupid questions make you question yourself. Take that piece of unsolicited advice from your Auntie Liss straight to the bank.

Or, you know, to your thieves' den, if that's your jam. You do you.

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