Friday, June 09, 2006

Watching Movies

Now that the kid is visiting her grandparents in New Orleans, mr. delagar and I suddenly have time to watch movies again -- now and then, between the exhausting press of prepping for summer session classes and studying for his comps and French competency exams and me writing Book IV, I mean.

But last night we watched a movie: North Country, which had Sissy Spacek in it, though you barely noticed that, also the woman from Fargo, ditto. Lots more could have been done with both of these fine actors, for my money, but never mind.

The movie did a deal more to raise mr. delagar's consciousness that it did mine. Nothing in it was new to me -- having been raised a woman in the lower American middle class how I was.

As the movie is opening, he's sitting watching it with me. "What's this about?" he demands, grumpily.

"Oh, shut up," I said.

"Why would any woman want to be a miner?" he demands.

I shot him a deeply annoyed look. Like, are you fucking well kidding me? "Mostly," I said, "because she's blown through her trust fund."

After a moment, he laughed. "I'll never understand you poor people," he admitted. "Why can't she just go to law school?"

But as the movie rolled on, and the main character begins to get slammed by not only the men in the mine, but by her own family, his outrage developed. "Excuse me?" he erupted at one point. "What the fuck is this?"

"I put up with that every day of my life," I told him. "That's what junior high was like for me."

He gave me a look. "And no one stopped it? The teachers did nothing?"

"Oh, right. On planet Oz the teachers stopped it. I shouldn't have had tits if I didn't want boys grabbing them in the hallway, should I? I shouldn't have been a girl if I didn't want guys asking me how my cunt smelled."

The only part of North Country which does not ring true for me is the bit where her family and friends finally stand up for her. I know we need that at the end of the movie, and yay hurray I'm glad it's there. And I know the women at the mine did win their lawsuit. I have my doubt that the men at the mine rallied around them, or that their families stood up for them. My family never did. In my experience, your family never will. It's a rare thing when your friends will either.

I'll tell you what the worst part of watching North Country was: realizing I have an eight year old daughter, and knowing that the world has not changed.

5 comments:

zelda1 said...

Yvonne, that was her name, and she developed real early and all through elementary and Jr. High she was tormented for having big breasts. Boys pulled on her bra straps and tried to touch her breasts every chance they got. The older boys were horrible. Thus, when I was old enough and developed enough, I hid my breasts and hid my bra. No one stopped the abuse, not the teachers, the school nurse, the parents, no one. Those breasts were her problem, even though she was only in the third grade. I fought for her as did other girls our age. Men just don't get that it isn't girls in high school who suffer through this, though they go thorugh enough, but it's little girls. Little girls who shouldn't have to put books in front of their chest to keep the slimmey little boys from trying to cop a cheap feel. If more women were in power in the educational arena, maybe things would change, though, none of the female teachers helped Yvonne.

Mouse said...

Yeah, you've got yourself. Your family feeds you when your hungry, buys your clothes when you can't, might even pay your bills, but won't just won't stop the harassment. Yeah, been there, done that.

Diane said...

North Country isn't a very good film. It's a shame; there's a lot the screenwriter could have done with it, and Theron deserved better.

Bardiac said...

It seems to me that choosing to have kids is an incredibly optimistic act... like somehow you believe that the world will be better, or heck, still be worth living on in 50 years. I'm sort of amazed at that. It's like planting trees only more so, because if a tree gets hurt, it doesn't worry me so much.

Trina said...

I agree with Diane. I just watched the movie for the first time myself, a few days ago. Sure, it's a big story that needs to be told, but the way the writer(s?) chose to tell it was the same way Hollywood writers choose to tell these little-guy/girl-vs-the-big-guy story Every Single Time. Like I said in my entry on the subject, you could have timed down to the second that point where everybody stands up in the courtroom.

When I was in eighth grade I went through my own trial by fire, from a small group of boys -- one of them the principal's son -- who decided to make me their target for the entire school year. People I thought were friends saw what was going on and did nothing to help. At least one teacher witnessed what was going on every day, and did nothing (she was the older sister of one of the boys in the group). My parents did practically nothing. Thankfully they got bored with it over summer vacation, and I escaped, only to have the same group pick it up again when I was a sophomore in high school. The joys of small town life. Time heals all wounds? There are still times when I wish I could line all those guys up and kick each one of them in the balls, and it still wouldn't be enough for what they put me through.