Dive into a supermarket chaos, steal a strap-on, go have your hair done, eat a hot dog, participate in a beauty pageant and take to the barricades. The R&A Shorts Feminist Visions screening demonstrates (at least) six ways how to wield a hammer.
On days when feminism is plastered all around us and the media paints a picture of it being an elitist way of life, a feminist film screening proves to be an opportunity as well as a risk. When your own human rights are not at stake and feminism is merely a lovely little hobby like yoga or craft beers, feminist events can lend a fascinating view into a whole new world. But for the rest of us, they can be potential minefields of flashbacks and entering them depends solely on one’s own fortitude. This is why it is uncommon to get to watch a screening of films where everyday oppression is not in the centre of everything, even though it does have its place in the narratives almost as if it was a part of the cast.
It is uncommon to get to watch a screening of films where everyday oppression is not in the centre of everything.
Feminism is not a way of life or a hobby. It is a tool. This is why the Feminist Visions short film screening is more of a collection of how-to-videos of how different people use the same tool to fix a broken but still reparable system.
The Feminist Visions short films are satisfying to watch. I watch with great interest, although with conflicted emotions as black German women compete for the very first time over the title of Miss Black Germany in Elisha Smith Leverock’s similarly titled short film. I chuckle uncontrollably as young guys crumble up in front of a young black woman in Fuck You (dir. Anette Sidor), as she puts on a strap-on during a night out and flips the middle finger not only to her boyfriend, but to the whole world – fuck you, indeed.
Anxiety takes over as I succumb to the beautiful but burdensome imagery portraying chaos and order in Entropia (dir. Flóra Anna Buda). I may not personally relate to the relationship that one has with their own minge, vulva or vagina as depicted in Hot Dog (dir. Alma Buddecke and Marleen Valin) – but I have no trouble in believing that many others might. The plain and pastel-coloured close-ups of food and the sounds of the food being handled ensure that all the depicted emotions can easily be sensed.
The ones who are privileged are those whose world is straight by default and for whom ‘getting’ a man depends only on getting a proper nail treatment.
Ladies Day, directed by Abena Taylor-Smith, is exceptionally good from the intersectional perspective: a day in a hair salon shows that amongst all of the film’s characters, connected through shared experiences of racism and thus microaggressions, the ones who are privileged are those whose world is straight by default and for whom ‘getting’ a man depends only on getting a proper nail treatment. The film makes you empathise with the main character, making you first nearly cry out of frustration and in the end smile out of sheer relief and happiness.
Finally, I see myself, the way I was before and the way I am still seen as, in the fabulous Riot Not Diet (dir. Julia Fuhr Mann). The film forces me once again to observe my own standpoint during these times, dictated by my own body size, and at long last gets me to confess that years of body positivity activism has yielded results. I no longer peep, scoff and judge, but instead look at all these people, women and femmes, with feelings of empathy, whilst loving them and falling more and more in love with our shared hammer, also known as feminism.
Original Finnish text: Javiera Marchant Aedo
Translation: Aki Pitkäkoski
The writer is a presenter, activist, feminist and stand-up comedian.