STEVEN SEAGAL’S FEMINIST BOOK CLUB 3. THE BELL JAR

HOLLYWOOD – Famed action star and feminist Steven Seagal presents Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar in Steven Seagal’s Feminist Book Club.

Hi everyone. Steven Seagal here, star of On Deadly Ground and Machete

One of my best friends in the film industry, Woody Allen, once said some harsh words about Sylvia Plath in his wonderful film Annie Hall: ‘interesting poetess whose tragic suicide was misinterpreted as romantic by the college girl mentality’. 


Although he was spot on about her posthumous reputation, Plath is an astonishingly vibrant novelist and her first and only novel is a touchstone roman à clef for the feminist movement.
Published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas, the book tells the story of Esther Greenwood, a young woman who is trying to make her way in New York city at the time leading up to the Rosenberg executions. An independent woman, she struggles with her career and at the same time her mental problems, depression and a feeling of being trapped under ‘the bell jar’ of the title.
She is helped or hindered by psychiatrists, friends and her mother, but finally resorts to electric shock therapy which we are led to believe has helped in some way to lift the bell jar and allow her to breathe. 

Although it is almost impossible to disentangle this book from the Plath’s suicide which shortly followed, it must be remembered that there is a lot of wit here, as well as an indictment of the stifling  post-war American consensus. Patriarchy takes something of a battering, especially in the figure of the self-satisfied psychiatrist Dr. Gordon. However, that said, no one else gets a battering and -although this risks becoming a refrain – I for one would have liked to have had a few fight scenes, especially in the hospital towards the end.  It’s one thing kicking against the pricks but how about kicking some of them in the pricks. 


So, to sum up:

Feminism: 8
Martial Arts: 2
For a total of: 5

For more of Steven Seagal’s Feminist Book Group Click Here.

STEVEN SEAGAL’S FEMINIST BOOK CLUB 2. JANE EYRE

HOLLYWOOD – Hi there, sisters. Steven Seagal here. Star of such films as Under Siege, Above the Law and Beside the Point.

Ha ha, I made that last one up. Anyway, as anyone will tell you in the business, film making involves a lot of hanging around. Some people use the time to goof around, overs take drugs to numb the pain – and yes, I’m looking at you Morgan Freeman. Me, I like to read my way through the feminist classics. Today, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre!

The Bronte sisters lived in a remote village in Yorkshire, England and wrote books under intentionally ambiguous pseudonyms. Jane Eyre tells a semi-autobiographical story of a young girls growth and development into a woman. Something of an outcast, she is mistreated by her extended family and harshly dealt with at school. But despite this, she challenges her position and particularly the Byronic Mr. Rochester who is the father of her new charge and with whom she falls in love. Of course, Bronte’s reformist agenda is challenged by the suppressed revolutionary anger represented by Bertha Mason, the Madwoman in the Attic, who leant the title to that classic of feminist literary criticism by Gilbert and Gubar.

Given the context of its time, the book must have been a revelation, although now the plot seems to be the template for a thousand inferior romantic fantasies: ‘I married him, reader.’ As such it has a historical resonance rather than offering the feminist of today useful insights. as for bone crunching action, there are very few fights and no Akido whatsoever. Actually there are no fights at all. No Karate, no Kendo and no Judo. The one exciting scene – a fire and a suicide and a maiming – happens off page so to speak.

So to cap off.
Feminism: problematic but gripping: 8
Martial Arts: little or none: 2
Total: 5 

For more of Steven Seagal’s Feminist Book Group Click Here. 

STEVEN SEAGAL’S FEMINIST BOOK CLUB: 1. A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN

HOLLYWOOD – Welcome to Steven Seagal’s Feminist Book Club! 

Hi, I’m Steven Seagal, star of such hits as A Dangerous Man, Driven to Kill and Against the Dark

Every week I’m going to be looking at a classic of feminist literature and reviewing it. I would be really pleased to hear your own reactions as you read along with me. Feel free to use the comments box and let’s get a real dialogue going. Today, I’m reviewing Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women.


Nowadays, Mary Wollstonecraft is perhaps most famous for being the mother of the authoress of Frankenstein which later became the inspiration for Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. However, in her time and for us feminists, Wollstonecraft is the inspiration of a whole movement which sought to unravel and overthrow patriarchy and bring women to a knowledge of their own self-power. Although many have disputed how far the book can be viewed as feminism as opposed to proto-feminism, given the context of male oppression, the book written in 1792 was fundamental in valorizing female work and attempting to promote women away from being viewed merely as objects and wives, and more towards being companions and equals.
Okay. But what about some of the downsides? Well, first of all although this is a landmark piece of thinking, it is a rather dry philosophical tract that some might find difficult to keep up with. Also, there are no fight scenes, absolutely zero. Ditto round house kicks. Although she does bring up the topic of domestic violence that just isn’t the kind of violence that one can truly enjoy.

Conclusion: 

Feminism: a foundational text: 10/10 
Martial Arts: scarse:  2/10
Total: 6/10

For more of Steven Seagal’s Feminist Book Group Click Here. 

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT STEVEN SEAGAL

HOLLYWOOD  – Since 1988 this boyishly handsome martial artist – Steven Seagal – has dominated the world of ACTION cinema and feminist literary criticism.  

However, who is this man and how high can he kick? Is it true he once killed a man with a sharp edged fart? No. We only have facts here at Studio Exec so enter the dojo of truth and bow to the Sensei of FACT:

  1. Steven Seagal can’t play the guitar.
  2. He’s a feminist, with a particular interest in feminist literature. ‘The female voice has been marginalised and erased from literary history for centuries,’ said Seagal at one of his popular feminist book club events. ‘As Virginia Woolf once wrote, we need a room of one’s own.’ For more on his feminist book club CLICK HERE.
  3. Steven Seagal loves grammar and his favorite English words are prepositions. ‘Not many people know that I’m a close student of the English language,’ said Seagal. Many of his films are tributes to prepositions, such as Above the Law, Under Siege, Opposite the Post OfficeInto the Sun, Beside the Point and Out of Reach.
  4. For several years, Steven Seagal has been working under cover at the New Mexico police department where he answers the phones and sometimes is allowed to use the photocopying machine. 
  5. Actually he did once kill a man with a sharp edged fart. David Carradine described it as a back projected shuriken. It was in the 1970s and he doesn’t like to talk about it.
For more FACTS on everything from this to that click HERE! 

STEVEN SEAGAL’S FEMINIST BOOK CLUB: 4. THE HANDMAID’S TALE

NEW MEXICO – Greetings women everywhere! I’m Steven Seagal: action star of such preposition led films as Into the SunUnder Siege, Above the Law and Out of Sight and the only prominent male feminist who can kill a man with a well aimed spit. 

And today for my feminist fans everywhere I’ve been reading Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Surely Attwood’s Canadian, what the hell has she got to say that’d be any use to anyone? Well, you’re not wrong about the Canadian bit, but that aside this is a terrifying dystopian fiction which entertainingly illustrates the dangers (and perhaps some of the attractions) of patriarchy gone mad.

Attwood


The book tells the story of a future in which women’s rights have been suppressed in the racist homophobic and sexist Republic of Gilead. Our heroine is Offred, a handmaid who has babies for high ranking officials. Her latest mission however, The Commander, also known as Fred, seems to develop feelings for her and his wife intrigues for her to have sex with the driver, Nick. The book is by no means subtle (and she says she’s Canadian!?) but it is one thing you don’t find too often in a feminist classic, entertaining. I had a ball reading this, and the quality of writing is top notch. There was something of the thriller to it and the page turner. So well done Margaret! And – although still woefully light on neck snapping, bone crunching fight scenes – it does at least try for some action and a sense of danger that comes from something other than the female protagonist’s fragile sense of selfhood.

So:
Feminism:                                 9
Martial Arts:                             7
For a total of:                            8