I’m tired of letting pretentious white dudes define what good art is.
Men have this habit of mansplaining music, film, and literature to me. They think I’m “smart,” but somehow also assume that I’m not familiar with their canonical old white dudes. They dismiss my taste in things like romantic comedies as being less important. They’re shocked to hear that I like Terrence Malick films as much as I like “10 Things I Hate About You.” I’m tired of men viewing my tastes as less than intellectual just because I prefer art that deals with intimate personal experiences or love.
Sure, I like French New Wave cinema just as much as your next liberal-arts educated white person.
But you know what else is good? “Clueless.” “When Harry Met Sally.” “Gilmore Girls.” “Insecure.” Eileen Myles. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Jhumpa Lahiri. Kara Walker. Chris Kraus.
And more.Art doesn't have to be about tortured white men. Click To Tweet
Art doesn’t have to be about tortured white men in order to be beautiful or important. Films don’t have to be dramas. Novels don’t have to be 1500 pages long. In fact, they can have value and well-developed female characters at the same time!
So I’ve developed a new strategy to deal with mansplainers.
The next time some hipster dude tries to give me a monologue on how great some historical white dude is, I’m going to interrupt him with my own monologue on something I like.
The next time a man scoffs when I talk about my enduring love for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” I get to scoff when he talks about Franz Kafka.
Some example conversations:
Dude: “WHAT? You haven’t seen ‘The Sopranos?’ It’s one of the greatest shows in television history.”
Me: “I’m sure it’s good, but I just don’t have time to start a new series when I’ve only watched all six seasons of ‘Gilmore Girls’ three times. I’m obsessed with the way Amy Sherman Palladino was influenced from the classic screwball comedies of the 1940’s. The scripts for every episode were like 150 pages long. Also, it is literally a tragedy that ‘Bunheads’ was canceled.”You know what's better than 'The Sopranos?' 'Gilmore Girls!' Click To Tweet
Dude: “Oh, you’re Jewish? I just always think of Woody Allen films. Manhattan is –”
Me: “I prefer Nora Ephron’s oeuvre. She was a genius. ‘You’ve Got Mail’ is one of the most underrated pieces of screenwriting from the twentieth century. Also, Woody Allen is a rapist.”You've Got Mail is one of the most underrated pieces of screenwriting. Click To Tweet
Dude: “Oh, you you studied creative writing? How interesting! You seem really smart. Have you read ‘Infinite Jest?’”
Me: “No, I haven’t read ‘Infinite Jest.’ But, don’t you think it’s weird that so many famous, canonical authors like David Foster Wallace have committed suicide, and yet we don’t define them by the way they died? Whenever anyone says the name Sylvia Plath, people automatically think ‘crazy’ and ‘stuck her head in an oven,’ but when we talk about Hemingway we think about his masculinity. Have you read ‘The Bell Jar?’”No, I haven't read 'Infinite Jest.' Have you read 'The Bell Jar?' Click To Tweet
Dude: “I mean, it’s like that quote from ‘On The Road…’”
Me: “Get out of my house.”
Dude: “I’m not in your house.”
Me: “Go away though.”
If every single one of us starts interrupting pretentious white dudes with equally pretentious monologues about nineties teen movies, together we can stop mansplaining. I’m done pretending that my opinions on art and culture aren’t important just because they’re seen as traditionally “feminine.”
I’m done acting like I give a fuck about your monologue about I just need to give Woody Allen another try.
Join me, friends.