Ebook Membership: With humour, honesty & emotion, Hanna Flint’s debut ebook takes us down a cinematic journey providing a vital eye on the display’s illustration of girls & ethnic minorities on this deeply private reflection from the main movie critic.
Hanna Flint speaks from the guts in Sturdy Feminine Character, a private and incisive reflection on how cinema has been the important thing to understanding herself and the world we stay in [Footnote Press]
It’s fairly uncommon to return throughout a ebook the place the vast majority of the phrases have you ever vigorously nodding alongside in your native espresso store, seeing your childhood self mirrored on the web page, however this ebook will just do that.
Hanna Flint’s debut ebook, Sturdy Feminine Character, is a deeply private reflection on how movie and cinema have developed through the years, particularly for racialised girls, with Hanna linking this again to key occasions over the course of her personal life.
It’s half memoir and half cultural commentary with an abundance of humour, honesty and emotion. Every chapter title is a quote from a movie that aptly describes the content material of that specific chapter, a of entirety that boasts the breadth of data and expertise that this writer has for cinema.
For those who ever wished a visit down reminiscence lane in relation to the world of movie from one of many trade’s prime critics, then Strong Female Character is unquestionably the ebook for you.
“The heat of Hanna Flint’s writing and the insightful evaluation of the artistic industries will make sure that this ebook will function a time capsule of kinds for the movie trade, while making readers snicker and cry”
Kicking off with Origin Story, Hanna makes use of the primary part of the ebook to recount the early days of her childhood.
As children, all of us need to see individuals who appear like us on the display however in case you’re a young Arab girl in the 1990s, this illustration was fairly laborious to return by.
Flint talks about how essential Disney’s Princess Jasmine was to her when she was a toddler, to see a Brown woman like herself on her TV display. And as somebody who additionally watched Aladdin on repeat and noticed Jasmine as my very own fairy story inspiration, it felt affirming to know different girls like me have been having related experiences in childhood.
As Hanna writes, “Sometimes you don’t know what you’re missing until it’s right in front of you and here Jasmine was, in vibrant colour, confirming our existence.” Illustration isn’t every little thing however it might go a great distance in understanding and cementing who you’re whenever you’re rising up.
The writer additionally displays on themes round Edward Said’s Orientalism with Western media all too typically resorting to “exotic stories that mash up the cultures and customs of different Eastern regions with a big, fat, one-size-fits-all ‘Orient’ label.”
She hyperlinks this again to MENA illustration in movie – on and off the display – through the years and the way individuals from our area are nonetheless portrayed in a really restricted means because the ‘Different.’
From actors selecting to revert again to utilizing their perceived ‘foreign’ names, like Thandiwe Newton and Tanyaradzwa Concern, to how motherhood and fertility are portrayed on display, Hanna explores origin and heritage by interweaving witty and shifting anecdotes from private experiences.
Within the subsequent part, Coming of Age, the reader is taken alongside the subsequent leg of the journey, the wonder and messiness of the teenage years.
That is the place the nostalgia actually takes maintain, particularly within the sixth chapter titled What a Hunk the place love, romance and nineties/early noughties romantic comedies are dissected and mentioned.
The great thing about Hanna’s writing is within the consolation she creates for readers, chatting with you as in case you have been a lifelong pal fairly than only a stranger behind the pages. And the film-infused classes alongside the way in which, after all.
“The great thing about Hanna’s writing is within the consolation she creates for readers, chatting with you as in case you have been a lifelong pal fairly than only a stranger behind the pages”
On this explicit chapter, she seems into how younger love is portrayed on display whereas sharing tales of teenage boyfriends, crushes on massive film stars, and actors that she’s going to discover herself in the identical room as an grownup. “Yes, I did tell Robert [Pattinson] I had an Edward Cullen doll; and no, he didn’t call security, he found it rather amusing. They say never meet your heroes, but maybe it’s OK to meet your former actor crushes,” the writer divulges.
In addition to old-school movies like Twilight and Clueless, themes of virginity and relationships are additionally explored on this part, which sees Hanna shine a brilliant gentle on her personal experiences in a superbly genuine means.
Grownup Materials is the third part of Sturdy Feminine Character and appears into how intervals, magnificence beliefs, feminine pleasure and porn are represented on display.
Within the tenth chapter on femininity and sweetness beliefs titled ‘I can’t even keep in mind to shave my legs’, Hanna writes about physique hair and the way this has been weaponised by the patriarchy so as “to uphold the tight parameters of femininity.”
As somebody who’s additionally grown up with darker physique hair, I’ve by no means come throughout writing that speaks about hair so candidly, particularly in relation to facial hair. “Suddenly, I was filled with the anxiety and humiliation of my eleven-year-old self after a boy in my class had said I had a moustache,” Hanna writes.
“Grownup Materials seems into how intervals, magnificence beliefs, feminine pleasure and porn are represented on display”
Just like the writer, my darker physique hair means I do have thick eyebrows and get a little bit of a moustache, which was rudely identified to me by a woman in school.
For a lot of Arab girls like me (and girls basically), it’ll present a reassuring respite to learn phrases about physique hair that we thought have been simply secret ideas in our minds, while linking it to how girls’s hair has been offered on display over time.
The fourth and remaining sections of the ebook, Office Drama and Sturdy Feminine Character, take a vital lens on working within the movie trade and the way the dichotomy between how ladies and men are offered and talked about on and off the display.
“Too typically rape has been legitimised via male antiheroes and the strains between rape fantasy, eroticism and violent assault have been blurred to strengthen misogynistic concepts of manhood and the submissive place of girls”
Within the remaining part, there’s a very highly effective chapter on misogyny, gendered violence and the #MeToo motion that Flint tackles with honesty – sharing her personal experiences of sexual violence.
“Too often rape has been legitimised through male antiheroes and the lines between rape fantasy, eroticism and violent assault have been blurred to reinforce misogynistic ideas of manhood and the submissive position of women,” the writer explains on the portrayal of rape in movie.
Hanna recounts instance after instance of movies which have constantly failed their feminine characters or actors, or each, guaranteeing that an intersectional lens is all the time taken to her evaluation and the difficulty of gendered violence.
Sturdy Feminine Character isn’t only for followers of the cinema, there’s one thing in there for everybody, which is what makes it such a robust and fascinating learn.
The heat of Hanna Flint’s writing and the insightful evaluation of the artistic industries will make sure that this ebook will function a time capsule of kinds for the movie trade, while making readers snicker and cry.
Shahed Ezaydi is a contract author and journalist, specialising in opinion and options writing on politics, race, tradition, and social points.
Comply with her on Twitter: @shahedezaydi