Wrecking Societal Norms One Film at a Time


The times are changing. And so is Hollywood, one movie at a time.

I watched the film, Trainwreck, over the weekend and despite  it making me cover my eyes a couple of times, I learnt an incredibly lot about the world we live in as women today.

Amy Schumer, the lead role as well as script writer, is arguably one of the most brilliant writers I have seen. Watching her, she doesn’t quite cut it as a stereotypical leading lady. She looked normal, almost attainable which of course by now we all know, isn’t why we watch movies. Or to put it in my favourite lines from the movie, “You’re clever but you’re not too brainy. You’re prettyish but you’re not too gorgeous. You’re approachable.” Like seriously, who says that? Such witty remarks were not a reflection of meanness but rather deep-seated reflections that we sometimes have but never have the audacity to voice out.

She contrasts in many ways stars that I have always looked up to such as Christina Yang, Olivia Pope, Mary Jane…the list goes on. The women who have it all together. Let’s also not forget their incredible sense of style and go-getter attitude. These are the women we want to be but hardly those we are. I mean let’s just be real here, not many of us are world class surgeons owning hospitals. Neither do we have POTUS let alone the presidents of our own countries on speed dial. Did I mention the thousand dollar outfits? Ideal but not real.

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I will not deceive you, not in my wildest dreams would I elicit enough brawn to imitate Amy (both character and real-life). She is one-helluva woman who is a living testament of how the feminist movement has revolutionised. The fact that slowly media gets to portray the complexity that is being a woman is also exhilarating. It shows that one does not have to be skinny to be beautiful and most importantly it shows that a woman can love sex and not be ashamed of it. A woman just as a man can be the one dictating who she sleeps with and that does not make her a whore. She doesn’t have to wait for a man to call after they sleep together and most of all she can be flawed and still be whole. This in no way implies that all other characters are fictional. Yes they do exist, but I wish that there was more work put in to show the struggle and discipline it would require to fit that role.

When it comes to feminism, I stand at the fence. Not because of any insightful opinions but merely an admittance of my lack of awareness. Hopefully, the digger I deep into it the more solid I may get because being warm just doesn’t cut it for me. However, this does not mean I am blind to the many things society has for many years chosen to colour the experience of womanhood. I do notice when my choice of dressing is influenced by my fear of societal judgement. I also notice when I cow in front of catcallers or secretly release my middle finger even though not out rightly yet I have often been called bold. I notice my irritation when friends worry about my inability to cook especially because soon I may be ‘someone’s wife’. I notice my indifference to terms such as Mzee wa nyumba, ameolewa, adhi tedo as I view how gradually language has adopted what for society had always been a legitimate child: inequity in the living experience of womanhood. But not anymore, at least for those who choose to be the stop sign to this long narrow path.

A woman like Amy Schumer, is my kind of super hero. What makes her extraordinary is the ordinary way she portrays womanhood. Recognising the fact that we too can be the determinants of our love lives. Showing different definitions of beauty and desirability. I being black hope to also see how this lifestyle can be lived devoid of white privilege. Questions such as if she was black wouldn’t she just be viewed as a whore, angry black woman or video vixen type of girl often cloud my thoughts. However for now, I am content in the progress we have made in the depiction of women. Trainwreck, Amy and many more shows to come are normalising the female experience and all I can say is “It’s about time!”