The XX Factor

Refusing to See “Avatar,’ As a Feminist Act

There’s another hand-wringing article about the lack of female directors in Hollywood in today’s New York Times . This article is written at least once a year, and I’ve never read any good or satisfying explanation as to why only about 10 percent of the movies reviewed in the Times were directed by women, or why only three women have ever been nominated for Oscars. In the Times piece, Manohla Dargis capably deflates the usual excuse for why there are so few female directors-studios say movies by women don’t make money. What’s more, Dargis adds, “The vogue for comics and superheroes has generally forced women to sigh and squeal on the sidelines.”

Enter James Cameron’s Avatar , which appears to be about blue aliens and dragons. Oh, and also CGI alien boobs, which Cameron seems inordinately obsessed with . As Josh Levin points out in Slate , Avatar is not meant to appeal to women. I have zero interest in seeing this film, despite the rave reviews so far, including the one from Variety that says “everyone who ever goes to the movies will need to see” Avatar. Since Hollywood does only care about the box office, it is my small act of quasi-feminist resistence to refuse to see this movie. I know that if Avatar flops, it won’t necessarily get more films directed by women with stories starring women made. But maybe it will mean that instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make the ideal cat-person breasts, studios might take a smidgen of that cash and spend it on one or two movies that aren’t geared toward 15-year-old boys.