The O/\ and the Intersectional

The Hollywood Reporter had an interview  (spoiler warning) with the co-creators of Netflix’s The O/\, Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij.  In the interview Batmanglij says this:

“What is the finale other than hypermasculinity meets hyperfemininity?”

I’m interested in how intersectionality figures in this story. It is a story about storytelling, about the authority of a woman to tell her own story, how we judge the truth of the story…most importantly, her control over who she tells the story to and for what reason.

I see a striking contrasts between what we do alone and what we strive to do together. Family is positioned as an organization of relationships that should be interrogated.

Over and over, in this story I see the struggle to gain one’s life and identity in an ecology constantly challenged because of masculine struggles for power. We see the struggle among power as a Faustian bargain for knowledge, as a Frankenstein desire to control life and death, as bullying of several different kinds, and also as a Feminist notion of intersectional transcendence.

I’m very interested in how other people from different subject positions read this text. I’m suspicious that most of what I read online is coming from the same kinds of people (too many like me). I hope there is a wider diversity of reaction to this story than what I’m seeing initially.

It’s also another example of what is made possible by the slightly (but still inadequately) increased diversity of our current media environment.

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Ralph Beliveau
Media Arts Area Head
Associate Professor, Creative Media Production
Beliveau@ou.edu @ralphbeliveau

Dr. Beliveau is on faculty for the Gaylord College and affiliate faculty in both Film and Media Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. He co-authored Digital Literacy: A Primer on Media, Identity, and the Evolution of Technology (2016) and co-edited the forthcoming collection International Horror Film Directors: Global Fear (December 2016). He writes and teaches about media education and literacy, race, horror media, documentary, rhetorical criticism, video production, film, popular culture, music & cultural studies, and documentary theory production & history. He has written about network society, documentary rhetoric, horror media, The Wire, African American biographical documentaries, Alex Cox, Supernatural, Richard Matheson, Night Gallery, Italian film, and Paolo Freire and media literacy. He previously taught Radio/TV/Film at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and broadcast journalism, popular culture, and rhetoric while doing graduate work at the University of Iowa. Beliveau ran an FM radio station and cable television studio in Chicago and worked in Los Angeles in independent film and television production. He served as editor of the Journal of Communication Inquiry, chair of the Cultural and Critical Studies division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and chair of the Student Documentary Competition for the Broadcast Education Association. Beliveau is part of the team of faculty who leads the British Media Tour annually and also taught Italian Popular Film and Literature in the Journey to Italy program in Arezzo. Beliveau earned his B.S. from Northwestern University and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. More can be found at http://www.ralphbeliveau.com/.

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