To publicize the upcoming Stitch Magazine/College Feminists collaboration, dubbed the Bitch Issue, the two student groups hosted a showing this past Thursday of the perennial teen girl comedy/emblematic 90’s fashion montage Clueless alongside a short primer from English and Gender Studies Professor Nick Davis on the intersection between feminism and the cult classic.
Clueless, he says, while not “unambiguously feminist,” pioneered the girl-centric niche in cinema that paved the way for the popular success of female-driven movies to follow. And in many ways, this message – that young girls can and should have roles beyond the love interest or the one-dimensional airhead – is one that is central to the goals of both student groups. The theme of the joint project, like the fan favorite movie, is female empowerment and its various forms.
Stitch editors-in-chief Rachel Nussbaum and Cat Chen, who planned the screening, emphasize how Clueless displaces traditional ideas of feminism.
“People often think of fashion as the antithesis to feminism,” said Chen. “But we want to show that it doesn’t have to be.”
Lizz Bohl, president of College Feminists, agrees. She stresses that while feminism in popular culture is often problematic, it ultimately serves its purpose of bringing attention to an important issue.
“Movies get people exposed to ideas that they haven’t thought of before, and then gives them an avenue to dig deeper,” said Bohl.
Getting this exposure on campus isn’t hard. With countless Facebook event invites and flyers promoting events plastered across every square inch of campus, it’s clear that students are actively spreading awareness of social and global issues. However, movies are uniquely palatable because they provide an entertaining and immersive venue that invites a wide audience to not only learn about pertinent issues, but also to participate in socially relevant dialogue.
“I learned a lot about social issues, national issues, global issues, from seeing them represented in movies,” says Professor Davis. “Part of why I teach [film classes] is that I know that those have been huge wake-up-calls for me.”
But Davis also cautions against limiting activism to two-hour long session in front of a screen.
“It is important to take what you learn from movies and go learn more about them,” said Davis.
But here at NU, movies are just the starting point.
For Stitch and College Feminists, Clueless, with its trendy mannerisms and inimitable style, sets the backdrop for future discussions about girl power, femininity, and redefining feminism as something inclusive and fluid – the fab film was just an added bonus.
Dear White People – A&O (January 30th 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. at McCormick Auditorium)
Ida – Department of Slavic Languages (February 4th, 4-5:30, Harris L28)
Obvious Child – NUWFA (February 4th, 8 pm, Louis 118)