Avatar is Art, Female Characters Empowering for Women and Girls


Yesterday was one of those rare days when I witnessed a staggering work of genius.

Astoundingly, I witnessed two.

One of the works of genius is likely to change all media forever.

Of course I mean James Cameron’s Avatar. It is Epic.

In The Girl Revolution terms it was startlingly beautiful with a mixture of female roles any parent should be proud to expose their daughters to: the Navi female lead was attractive but not hyper-sexual, instead she was a warrior and hunter and in line to be the next village spiritual leader. The head human scientist was science fiction genre-queen Segourney Weaver, the human female supporting actress was a fighter pilot, the village spiritual leader was a wise and holy matriarch.

The typical female film archetypes are nowhere to be found in this epic film. The village whore was not cast, the promiscuous girl was not doing it with the football player so the audience could catch a glimpse of her boobs, the dumb blond was not featured, the submissive wife was nowhere to be found, the powerless and trapped beauty in need of saving is missing and my friends, there was not a single evil stepmother or conniving man-stealer.

The sexuality of the film was authentic. By this I mean, there was no gratuitous ogling, fondling, crass, boys-will-be-boys, everyone-just-wants-to-get-laid, casual-sex-is-fun, porno-inspired, beer-commercial-craptastic, look-at-the-plastic DDDs, Oh-Edward-I-want-to-damn-my-soul-and-die-to-spend-eternity-with-you, prince-come-save-me-for-I-am-helpless “romantic” scenarios.

There was a singular sex/romance scene in the entire drama in which the male and female leads chose each other after several months of non-sexual intimacy and spiritually joined together at the Navi’s holiest Temple. The scene was not graphic nor porno-graphic, but very loving and intimate. It ended with the words, “We are mated for life.”

As a creative-type myself, it was a sheer pleasure to experience the film. I consider it of high honor to witness an artist’s work of creative genius. Creative energy poured out in a spiritual way, as in this film, is even better. I had read about Cameron’s visualizing the Navi and the Pandora world since the 1970s in a New Yorker article and my interest was peaked. My main attraction to the film was to see what 30 years of meditating, expanding, working on idea would culminate in. The sheer scale of the film is tantalizing. The attention to detail is intimidating. The technology he invented to make the film is creation in high-tech genius. The visual beauty is so great that several times I gasped in awe and wonder.

The film is so surreal you can taste it, smell it, touch it. There is a palpable and quite lovely energy to the film one can absorb if one is so inclined. I am.

Jeremy, my husband, and I are debating whether to allow Ainsley to see it. I want to expose her to creative and inspiring genius while it’s in the theaters, with the 3D glasses, for full effect. DVD will not do this film justice. It will be like turning a pop-up book into a flat postcard. Avatar will be this generation’s Star Wars. I believe it will be culturally significant, become part of the lexicon of world culture, weave its way into our speech and casual conversations, develop a following of people who parade around in blue and have Navi conventions, and change Halloween costumes forever. I don’t want her to miss it. It will be culturally significant in a way that someone who forgoes the experience will be missing cues, comments and humor. I don’t want her to miss an opportunity to witness creative genius. Avatar is Art – rare, precious and inspiring.

Jeremy disagrees. He feels it is too emotionally intense for an 8 year old. He feels the themes are rather mature, the emotions run extremely high, and it will be overwhelming or frightening for her.

Oh, the other work of staggering genius is the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Come back next week because we’ll be talking a lot about it. It will have a profound impact on our work here at The Girl Revolution.

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