A while ago, Blog Sister Andrea James posted here about the movie Whale Rider.
Last night I went to see it with some women friends, after we had dinner at a great little new place called the “Barefoot Gypsy.” I wish we had seen the movie first so that we could have had all of our dinner time to talk about it. There’s so awfully much to talk about.
Andrea was absolutely right about the movie being extraordinary on all kinds of levels, including visual.
And, I, who am so enamored of mythologies that empower women, was, of course, swept away by the tale’s affirmation of intuition and connections to “feminine” elements (water, sea creatures), ritual as art – and all that “right brain” stuff.
I’m still mulling over how I feel about the role of women in that society – which is very much like the traditional role of, say, Italian and Polish women. And that is that they let the men think that they are the bosses and then the women find ways around their foolishnesses. The men make up strict rules for everyone’s behavior (including their own) based on their interpretation of what their god or gods have supposedly proclaimed. And the women go about their lives on a whole other intuitive, connected, and somewhat devious plane. They “mother” their men, treat them like large children who can be dangerous because of their size, and so they have to be placated and manipulated into doing the right thing.
But despite my discomfort with that “woman’s place” thing, I felt in my very bones the power of the movie’s honest message. Whoever rides the whale is the one who was meant to ride the whale. Ride, Sisters, ride.