God, I’m sick of male critics

Once I really get this site up and running, one of the things I’d like to do with this blog is a little reviewing – because my god, am I sick to death of male critics. The disjunction I feel while reading male theatre and film reviews – not all (not all men, etc.) – is often really startling to me; we really are living on two different planets, or at least in two different semiotic systems. It’s a little bit of a one-two punch, reading reviews for two very different artworks – Arthur Miller’s The Price, currently on Broadway, and Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, currently in theatres. But what’s striking to me is how each of these works speaks from, and to, a gendered perspective. The Price was far from a perfect production, in my opinion, but it became obvious to me that many of the critics reviewing it had done little to no caring work in their lives; they seemed baffled by the play’s central conflict between two brothers of who did and didn’t do what to help their elderly parents. The most “out of style” thing about the play, actually, was that it was about brothers; make it two sisters and it’s hardly worth having a play about, it’s so common today. (A play where a woman steps back from a more promising future to do caring work? And she pays a price for it, you say? Incroyable!)

And there’s something similarly off in the current reviews of Wonder Woman, even the glowing ones: I can see the critics kind of scratching their heads a bit and slowly registering, huh, this movie isn’t talking directly to me, because it’s such an unfamiliar experience to them. The son of a friend told his mother that, sure, he liked it, but it was a little “pandering” – which I translated for her as “not speaking to me at the expense of you, mom,” because honestly, I can’t think of a single thing more pandering than suggesting that a fourteen year old boy from Queens, or an eleven year old boy from middle England, or a farmboy from Tattooine is actually the most important person in the world regardless of the fact that they’ve done, precisely, nothing. That is pandering seriously on a massive, massive scale.

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