Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Secret Dairies of Anne Lister (2010) [* * * * * *]

I downloaded this movie by mistake because it was under 'Toy Story 3', but I'm so glad I did. I've always been terrified of lesbians, because women tend to get quite close as friends. When they hit on you, its a violation of your privacy and gross manipulation. I'm sure hetero men would feel the same when confronted with a secretive gay man - probably why there's so much fear of it. I'd say lesbians are more pushy and domineering than even men at getting their own way with you.

This is a story of a lesbian in England (1791 - 1840), a rich orphan, who seduces several women in her lifetime, though she's madly in love with one, Marianna, who betrays her to get married to a man (for social approval). But you see a love as deep and true as in any forever-romance, from Anne Lister's side anyway.

She kept a secret diary, 1/6th in code (greek and algebra), with enormous output - 4 million words written at 2000 words a day(!) about her life and relationships. You see none of the usual tiptoeing around the truth that women do to protect tthe male, the social 'niceties' that conceal deep lying to oneself - just the raw woman and her clear comprehension. Fantastic, unusual even today, but in Jane Austen's contemporary ... unbelievable!

The movie is, barring a few racy scenes, a fabulous reminder of how hard women have struggled to come this far, 150 yrs of internal struggle - to reject marriage, which suits few, for security and social acceptance; to withstand patriarchal mockery when they take to industry or managing finances; above all, to put their own thinking mind as equal to a man's, and their own passions first. Women of substance and character.

Its a herstory of feminism: a woman's struggle to be who she truly is - written by a woman, about women and for the women she loved. Hats off and many thanks to the Anne Listers for freeing themselves, so that my choices and freedom aren't a struggle today!
Trailer of 'The Secret Dairies ...'

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