Allison Milton/The AS Review
At 6 p.m. on Wednesday in AW 210, the AS Women’s Center will host their third and final event in the quarterly series “Feminist Response to Pop Culture.” Previous events in the series discussed the film “Twilight” and the song “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry. This event will provide a feminist perspective on the newest pop culture craze: “Avatar.”
The Feminist Response series, which started in November with a panel on “Twilight,” has been a hit on campus and has introduced more people to the Women’s Center programming, the center’s Assistant Coordinator Shawna Held said.
The series has invited students to challenge how they look at pop culture and to critique the things they love, which for some may be “Avatar,” she said.
Speaking at the event will be Fairhaven Professor Dan Rowe, who will analyze and discuss the colonization and the white savior archetype that is present in Avatar. This archetype refers to the message in the movie that white cultures cause problems in other cultures but end up fixing them, Marie Schow, Women’s Center intern, said.
The other confirmed speaker, Brittany Otter, AS Social Issues Resource Center outreach coordinator, will be discussing the role that disabilities play in the movie and how they are portrayed.
Other issues that will be discussed are beauty standards, sexualized portrayal of women, how women are represented in some films as betrayers of culture and the otherness of the characters, Schow said. The “otherness” in the film refers to the fact that the actors who play people from the Na’vi culture are people of color and those who play the scientists are mostly white, Held said.
The storyline, which Schow and Held agreed has been told in other forms before in films such as “Pocahontas,” portrays the white savior archetype and the idea of the other.
“Why has this same story been told so many times before and what does that say about our culture?” Schow said. “It reflects on our culture and how we tell stories.”
The event is not just for those who dislike the movie. Even if you sat in line for the midnight showing, bought the DVD within minutes of its release and wished the Na’vi people existed, you can get something out of this event. Held said that although she enjoyed reading “Twilight,” it was important for her to take a critical look at it through a feminist lens and the same should go for “Avatar”-lovers.
For some of you, one “Avatar” event might not be enough. But ASP Films has got you covered. Following the event, the film will be taking over the Communications Lawn on the big screen. Although the film will not start until the sun goes down, the free event will begin at 7:45 p.m. with music and prize giveaways from ASP Special Events, which is cosponsoring the event. ASP Films Coordinator Matt Blair said he chose to show “Avatar” to take advantage of the large screen and surround sound. And, who wants to see those epic fights on anything smaller?
“We feel like we get a good reception and aim to allow students to have a night off right after midterms so they can go outside and see a giant movie, on a giant screen with a crowd of their own peers cheering along,” Blair said. “It’s very rare that you get that experience, not to mention for free.”
“It is important to love something but be able to critique it. They can go to the feminist response and then to the movie and be like ‘Oh, I never noticed that before,’” Held said.
Blair said his hope for the film is that attendees of the feminist response will gain new insight to the film, but can also be entertained.
“There is a lot to appreciate about ‘Avatar’ visually and a lot to examine beneath the surface of the story,” he said. “There is a lot of contentious issues in the film. … I hope that students will come to the outdoor movie with the intent of examining the film closely.”