Monday, April 07, 2003

Nothing like a cold and a sick day from work to catch up on movies. Today's Netflix menu: "Girlfight" and "Mango Chutney." Overall, it's they're hard chick chick flicks.

Starring new comer Michelle Rodriguez as Diana DeGuzman, a teenager on the verge of getting kicked out of school for fighting, finds an outlet in boxing. In boxing she finds success, love, and focus. The movie won Best Director at Sundance 2000.

"Mango Chutney"
Another independent flick. Two Asian Indian sisters, one a motorcycle riding lesbian artist, the other the dutiful hetero married one, find their lives aren't necessarily written by the book. Sarita, the married one, finds she cannot have kids. Her sister offers to be a serrogate mother. Sarita realizes through the process that she does not want to have kids, she had only been wanting one for everyone else. Her sister Reena finds that being a mommy doesn't stop her from being a "big ol' dyke" while Sarita finds the leather jacket biker mama in herself.

I often enjoy movies where the characters break away from the stereotypical norms. Even lesbians have stereotypical norms. Before having the kid, Reena's lesbian friends argue about whether having kids is part of the hetero patriarchal hegemony of the nuclear family model with 2.5 kids. Diana finds that she doesn't have to be the girlie-girl to get the guy. Her boyfriend must find out what he's worth when he decides whether he will fight her in an amateur bout.

I also love boxing movies. Actually I love boxing. My grandfather used to pick up the weekly tv schedule and mark off all the boxing matches. In the 80s, many of the matches could be found on regular tv, as the 90s progressed the bigger and bigger matches went to pay per view and fewer channels showed matches except for the Spanish language stations.

I must admit, I love to fight. Tuhan/Master, my kali teacher, noticed it early on. "You love to fight." I do. A lot of people say it's barbaric, two people pounding on each other. They say too we're not ready to see women box, in the same way we're not ready for them to be combat soldiers or POWs. I could relate to Diana. There is something real and tangible about boxing. It's just you and the other person. Lines are clear, goals are clear. If you make a mistake, you find out right away. There's a referree that keeps it fair.

The difference between physical pain (like cuts and bruises) and emotional pain is that you know that physical pain will eventually heal. And you find that your body is a lot stronger than you thought and that you can push yourself further than you realize.

Been reading a book on Philippine games (thanks Watcher!). Interestingly enough a lot of the games are combative games and many of these are about making animals fight (eg cockfighting). In one game, the first player makes a fist places it on the table. The second player tries to smack their hand so hard that it their fist opens. Seems violent. But it's a game about endurance, about not showing pain, a test to how much one can endure in order to prevail.

I don't think that violence is the way to go in terms of conflict resolution. I think most of the violence in the world is sporadic and uncontrolled. And most of the people who inflict the violence don't care too much about the consequences of it. But there's something to be said about sport in which one is allowed to push yourself to and extend one's limits in a safe space.

The other aspect that resonated with me was the personality of the tough chick and perhaps more butch woman who finds a way to be femme. that these definitions of butch and femme and what we expect from these identities are not as structured and definite as we believe.

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