Happy International Women’s Day!
People have different opinions on what this day entails, but here’s how I see it: Since women are systematically silenced, and have been since the dawn of time, the 8th of March is a compensation of sorts. It’s a ridiculously insufficient compensation, but an essential first step nonetheless. We need a day where we bring attention to women. A day where us men listen more than we speak. (Thus, it’s also the only day of the year where I don’t have to feel guilty about writing a short post.)
There are many women I’d like to bring attention to, but I’ve picked author and video essayist Lindsay Ellis. I discovered her when she was still known as The Nostalgia Chick, the female counterpart to the controversial YouTube celebrity Nostalgia Critic. Like the Critic, she produced video reviews of old children’s films and programming, but her chief interest was media targeted at girls. With robust theoretical frameworks and a delightfully aloof persona, Ellis took on everything from Titanic to 2007’s theatrical Bratz release. Her analyses put most of her commentator compatriots to shame. Ironically, while the Critic may be the better entertainer, the Chick was the true critic.
Ellis has since left that character behind and become a straightforward video essayist, to great success. She’s everything I want to be: a celebrated, verbose pop culture analyst with a feminist edge. But what I’m most jealous of is that she’s so insanely well-read. (As you might have figured out from the absence of bibliographies on this blog, I’m not a bookish person.) Ellis boasts scholar-level knowledge of literature, history, film theory, and feminism, and what she doesn’t know, she researches. Perhaps her most impressive work is this deep dive into the Hobbit film series. Not only does she review that tripartite tedium; she unravels both its troubled history and its impact on New Zealand’s film industry. That stuff takes mad research.
Lindsay Ellis is one of the smartest and most disciplined content creators on the web. She understands that pop culture is a reflection of humanity, and treats it with the intellectual respect it deserves as such. And yet she’s never boring; her videos are as accessible as they are academic. Not to mention firmly in favor of equality and inclusivity. Now, her YouTube channel is already a popular powerhouse (as is her debut novel, apparently), so it’s not like she needs to have her praises sung by a minor blogger. But on the off-chance that you haven’t watched her, what better time to start than today? And what video could be more apt than a feminist analysis of the most man-pandering movie series of all time? Take a look below, while I go read a book for once.
In admiration of a great mind, and support of women everywhere,
The Thinking SJW