Beyond Bechdel

By Allison J. Scharmann

Men Explain Quentin Tarantino to Me

It begins innocuously enough. I am minding my own business — eating, doing work, or socializing at some mundane event or another — and the conversation turns to film. It doesn’t take long for someone, and by someone I usually mean a man, to demonstrate his profound knowledge of cinema by singing the praises of the work of one Quentin Tarantino. I take a deep breath. It is not every day, after all, that I can muster the emotional energy to argue with a self-identified cinephile clad in wire-framed, Warby Parker glasses and a two-sizes-too-big sense of self-importance. The exact impetus of my response is different each time. Often it’s implicit, a positive gesture from my conversation partner to Tarantino’s portrayal of women onscreen. Less often, it is explicit: “And he’s a feminist, too!”

“Quentin Tarantino is not a feminist,” I say.

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