Am I If I Don’t?

Most of my thoughts that don’t immediately lend themselves to a jocund, asinine YouTube video just get a quiet shrug; however, they occasionally persist, soaking up vital synaptic RAM. So, as I also consider the internet to be like my brain’s external hard drive, this is a great place to store the files that don’t fit anywhere else but can’t be deleted because of nostalgia, or because without them Adobe will stop working.

This might make me seem like an asshole but the truth often does that to people.

I consider myself to be many things but also very few. For example, I’m a feminist. I’m a feminist because I believe in equal rights for everyone. I’m all over big picture feminism, sure: rape culture is repugnant, slut shaming is hypocritical, etc. It frustrates me. It disgusts me. But am I a feminist? I don’t go to protests. I don’t make a point of actively supporting female creators or politicians. In fact, I read mostly men; all my favourite books are written by men. Most of my favourite films are directed by men, and I sincerely doubt a majority of them pass the Bechdel test. As someone who has frequently reviewed and recommended films online, I have received many requests along the lines of, ‘What are your favourite films by female directors?’ and rolled my eyes. My favourite films are my favourite films irrespective of the creator. Why do you want to know my favourite films directed by women? To me, with a passion that lies exclusively with film, recommending movies made by women is as arbitrary as recommending movies that feature the colour red. It’s not a genre or era. It’s just a happens to be.

And I know this isn’t the ‘right’ response. I understand why someone would make a ‘Favourite films directed by women’ list. I understand why they wouldn’t then make a ‘Favourite films directed by men’ list. It frustrates me that a ‘strong female character’ is still something to marvel over. I hate the MPDG. But outside of the fabric of the movie, it doesn’t interest me. Film is what interests me. And as a woman, I feel that sometimes these requests made to me aren’t authentic. They’re the judging yeah but… comments.

I’m giving films directed by women the exact same consideration as films directed by men. The same critical criteria. There are less films directed by women, yes, and that’s fucking frustrating but historically relevant and ever (albeit slowly) changing, but for me it still doesn’t constitute a category. There shouldn’t be a Best Female Director Academy Award. It could be argued that the Best Actress Academy Award should eventually be made redundant. We’re all only eagerly awaiting the real actor award anyway…

So, I’m a feminist by the definition of the word, but am I a feminist?

In the current US political storm, I’m supporting Bernie Sanders. I’m British, but I have the t-shirt. I agree with a lot of his policies, I’ve done the research, I think he’s a respectable guy. A good guy. But, conversely, I haven’t done much research into the other candidates. I simply think Hillary isn’t capable of leading a country and Trump has a lot of questionable ethics. But I’m ultimately ignorant, so I’m not going to go publicly trashing either of them. And I can’t even vote for Bernie, so do I support him?

I’m pro-animal rights. If I had one wish I’d eliminate animal cruelty, and everyone would send me death threats because it isn’t world peace. I get it. It would be a fucking dumb choice, but it’s also a hypothetical one so who gives a shit. I’m one of those assholes who can watch some human atrocity online and feel very little. Not because I don’t care, or from an inherent lack of empathy, but the detachment of the screen. The modern sickness. If it were to happen in front of me I’d be overwhelmed but video nasties are more common than reaction videos. Shit, video nasties spawn reaction videos, so we’re all comfortably numb. However, if I see the thumbnail for an animal cruelty video, I’ll cry. I’ll get angry. I’ll wish a slow, painful death upon the perpetrator, and fuck if that link isn’t staying blue. If I won the lottery I’d live on a farm with as many rescue dogs as possible. I eat only free range eggs. But that’s it. I’m not a huge meat eater, but I don’t know where a lot of the meat I do eat comes from. So, I’m pro-animal rights, but am I?

And that’s the thing with defining yourself, what are you if you don’t? Because if I’m only what I actively and overtly do, I am very few adjectives.

And I’m not even sure I want to be adjectives.