04 July 2014

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Her (2013)


There's (at least) two ways to interpret and watch Her (2013, Spike Jonze). The first one would be the anthropocentric obvious approach: for two hours your screen is filled with Joaquin Phoenix living a quite lonely life and experimenting with the first operating system with artificial intelligence. A bittersweet futuristic story for everybody concerned about the ways we use technology and build our lives around it.

But then there's the other side. A much more entangled and complex side. If you look closely enough  - as with everything, we all consume culture in an interested and biased way, not necessarily seeing and hearing the same message - there's a lot to be taken away from it. There's a whole conundrum of issues on body-ness (although in this case it's not about type of body but about absolute lack of it), on inequalities in relationship (imagine being with someone so much more intellectually capable that you cannot even imagine how they do the things that they do), on what having sex means, on jealousy and on wishing to be assured that our beloved are ours, on being with somebody very different than you are... and on what is to be considered a happy ending.

People at Feministing have had a lengthy conversation on this, claiming Her to be the most feminist film of 2013. Here's a quote just to entice you to both see the movie and read the whole thing, and in this order preferably.

"I’m a proud cyborg feminist, and part of what the means for me is that to be the authors of our own embodiment means thinking about technology as expanding what it means to be “real” rather than the ultimate artificiality. Samantha is a real person– and the fact that the very premise of the Slate article hinges on the fact that she isn’t really troubled me. Her resounding “fuck you!” to Theodore when he waxed insecure about Samantha’s personhood was a strikingly feminist moment, a cyborg-feminist one even, and one that ought to dispel most doubts in the viewer about her sapience.
I was also worried in the first half of the movie that Samantha would feel permanently inferior because she lacked a traditional human body; imagine my transhumanist heart soaring when she realized that her data-based corporeality was not only just as good as, say, Theodore’s body, but perhaps even better. It’s redolent of the way that people with body stigmas–be they trans, fat, PWD, or people of color–come to recognize our own inherent beauty and transcend the hegemony of, say, white/cis/thin beauty norms."  

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