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Found Feminism: “Tomorrow When The War Began” Film poster on the London Underground

2011 April 13

I snapped this one on the tube the other day, after doing a double take to check my eyes were not deceiving me.

Film poster showing mostly women and some men emerging from a burning town

Tomorrow When The War Began

I’m very used to seeing Action Movie Posters – they tend to have muscle men front and centre. If women appear then they have strangely low cut tops and are in that curious pose that only women in posters ever adopt.

You know, the one in which they twist around in order to show their bottoms, chest  and face at the same time. Seriously – click here, here, here and here for some quick examples. Then walk around all day trying to work out when you ever do that pose naturally.

Here’s a man in the same pose. Note massive coat covering everything.

So you can really play Spot The Difference here. On this poster, not only are there more women than men, but they are all dressed pretty much the same. And no-one is wearing ridiculous costumes. Or standing in a funny way.

Yes, the women are all pretty actor types. But then so are the men.

The film itself (wiki article here) is coming out shortly. I had to check what it was about to make sure I wasn’t making some terrible mistake – if so, I’ll have been tricked into promoting a hideous anti-feminist car crash of a film.

Now, the plot is not without its problems, though mostly around the issue of race rather than gender: teenagers fight a guerilla war after their Australian town is invaded by the Asian “Coalition Nations”. This is such a hackneyed big budget trope (attack by foreigners/aliens), and it clashes a bit with the indie flick, Blair Witch-esque documentary feel I got from the trailer.

I remain hopeful (fingers crossed) that, like the poster, the film will do something different.

Found Feminism? See you at the cinema. Let’s discuss over popcorn.

  • Found Feminism: an ongoing series of images, videos, photos, comics, posters or excerpts – anything really, which shows feminist ideas at work in the everyday world. What’s brightened your day? Share it here – send your finds to [email protected]!
8 Responses leave one →
  1. Michael S permalink
    April 13, 2011

    Oh dear, just read that plot synopsis… substituting xenophobia for misogyny doesn’t strike me as particularly good progress : (

    Also hypocritical given Australia’s history!

    • Sarah Cook permalink
      April 13, 2011

      Yes, the synopsis left me twitching too – I wasn’t suggesting we swap one problem for the other, but felt that the style of poster in and of itself was refreshing enough to be of interest. Going to have to reserve judgement on the film itself.

  2. Pet Jeffery permalink
    April 13, 2011

    On the issue of racism, I notice (from the trailer) that one of the good guys seems to have oriental features. Maybe it’s not too bad, in that regard, who knows?

    The clambering up rocks in the trailer put me strongly in mind of “Picnic at Hanging Rock”.

  3. Pet Jeffery permalink
    April 13, 2011

    I found something oddly satisfying in the curious poster poses, but it took me a while to identify the source of my satisfaction. They remind me of the ancient Egyptian way of depicting the human body, so that every part is shown to best advantage: a front view eye set in a profile face, torso also front view, but legs in profile… I’ve always liked ancient Egyptian paintings.

    • Sarah Cook permalink
      April 13, 2011

      I take your point, and the stances are iconographic. However (and between my comic book, roleplaying, computer game and action movie addictions I see a lot of “heroic” poses) there is a distinct difference in the stances for women and for men and sadly it’s not an homage to the children of Ra – it’s about showing as much (often frighteningly fake and inflated) curve as possible.

      • Pet Jeffery permalink
        April 14, 2011

        Helping to make your point, in your example with the man:

        he’s not really adopting the same pose as the women… even if he wasn’t wearing that coat, he wouldn’t be displaying whatever breasts he may have.

        • Pet Jeffery permalink
          April 14, 2011

          I’m beginning to think that The Pose may be ubiquitous. I’ve stumbled on an excellent (or appalling, depending on one’s point of view) example on page 85 of this week’s Radio Times. I was hoping to post a link to this, but I can’t find the image on the Internet. (Maybe someone more Internet savvy than I am could do so.)

          The interesting thing about this is that it isn’t for an action movie, or anything like. It’s a publicity shot for Desperate Housewives. My impression is that Desperate Housewives is aimed primarily at an audience of women. (And, when I’ve watched the show on television, the adverts have confirmed this impression… I think that the products advertised give a fairly accurate indication of the viewing demographic.)

          I now wonder whether The Pose (emphasising the curves) attracts (mostly heterosexual?) women as well as men.

  4. Sarah Cook permalink
    April 15, 2011

    @Pet Jeffery,

    Oh yes, *that look* is EVERYWHERE.

    It’s the look that says “Lookit me! I am attractive in the way it is socially acceptable for women to be!”

    So it’s not a big shock that it’s used in Desperate Housewives, probably also in Sex and the City and various other places I frankly don’t have the desire to go and look at.

    Now, I have a particular view on sexuality and attractiveness and it’s that normal is what you are used to – because this sort of body, and presentation of bodies, is the one that society has rubber stamped into being “sexy” it’s the one that is used to attract people who are interested in looking at conventionally attractive bodies.

    There’s a sort of vicious circle going on. We are conditioned to like what we like by society. You can see it reflected in the different presentations of historic bodies (um, bodies throughout history, not, like, the Natural History Museum).

    For me, part of the Feminism Project, is about breaking free of those social assumptions, or at the very least revealing them for what they are.

    Things we have been told that are not neccesarily true.

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