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[SXSW ’21] SXSW 2021 was a place women could tell their stories

It is necessary to let women tell their stories

It is the middle of Women’s History Month. This month has been particularly unkind to women. On March 3rd Sarah Everard walked home after leaving a friend’s house, but she never made it home. March 13th marked the anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s murder, a painful reminder of the lack of justice in the country. On March 16th eight people, six of which were Asian women, were the victims of a killer’s shooting spree. In a world where violence is a daily occurrence and the objectification of women is so deeply embedded in the culture, it is important to tell the stories of women. 

It is necessary to let women tell their stories without interference, without exploitation, and without excuses. Diversity and representation are an integral part in sharing the scope of human experiences. We need all women to speak out. This year’s South By Southwest Film Festival has offered a wide selection of experiences. From drama to comedy to horror, women amplified their voices and the situations faced in society. 

There are quite a number of notable documentaries that discussed the female experience. Andrea Nevins’ Hysterical takes a look at the world of women in comedy. Fortune Feimster, Margaret Cho, Marina Franklin, and many others discuss the double standards placed on female comedians. They tackle sexual harassment, the myth of unfunny women, and what it means to be angy. It will make you laugh, but whether you are on the stage or at a desk, the material will resonate. 

Jennifer Holness’ documentary also discusses how anger is reflected on women. Her documentary Subjects of Desire examines the way black women are perceived in terms of beauty, sexuality, and demeanor. Subjects of Desire follows around women who are contestants in the Black Miss America Pageant and their efforts to celebrate who they are in their skin. 

Many of the films told complicated stories that discussed the difficulties and expectations placed on women in their efforts to support other women. See You Then, directed by Mari Walker, is about two women reuniting after a bad break up a decade before. Expectedly awkward, the last time Kris saw Naomi was before unexpectedly walking out on her. Now Kris has fully transitioned to a woman and a very progressive Naomi is torn between giving her full support and raging at Kris who abandoned their serious relationship. 

There is a lot of drama, but there are also plenty of  light hearted comedies. Mei Makino’s Inbetween Girl, is about a Chinese-American teen named Angie. She’s cool and fun and does her own thing. However, life gets messy when her parents get divorced and her father hooks up with a traditional Chinese woman. Angie gets mixed up in a love triangle in her efforts to cope. Angie is a funny, multi-dimensional human, who is far from perfect and that makes her awesome. 

Lisette Feliciano’s Women is Losers offers perspective on the Catholic Latina life in the 1960’s. Discrimination is prevalent and so is adhering to the patriarchy. Celina has to find a way to make a life free from the tyranny of expectations. Celina breaks the fourth wall to share her insights which can be very funny as well as heartbreaking. 

There are a lot of stories being shared, but there are so many more out there. There are so many stories that never had a chance to be told.  Check out some of these films and get your own stories out there.

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