I don't get it ... why is your blog called 'Straight Men with Guns'? 

To explain; this blog should really be called “Straight Men with Guns (do not want)” but it’s not as catchy.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been doing this thing in my head every time I hear about a new film coming out, or I watch an ad or preview for something…

If I can subtitle this film (or TV show, etc.) with the words ‘Straight Men with Guns’, then I give a big yawn and I pass on it. 

It’s a completely personal, individual reaction that I have, and no, it’s obviously not meant to be a judgement on the kinds of media YOU wish to consume, or even a judgement on the quality or merits of an individual film. But it’s a reaction to the overwhelming tidal wave of stories about straight men needing guns to go catch the robber/ murderer/serial killer, or needing guns to pull off another heist, or needing guns because they’re a big, tough drug dealer. I’m just done with it all.

I’m going to clarify here that, having studied film, theatre, writing, and especially, screenwriting, I understand the need to have high stakes in a plot, and that placing your character under extreme amounts of pressure is the key way to drive up tension and engagement for an audience. I know that involving your protagonist in a life and death situation will sometimes require the need for guns. Got it. I also know that the vast majority of people around the world experience extreme amounts of drama, tension and excruciatingly high stakes throughout their lives without any association with guns.  As to the 'Straight Men' part of the equation, I’m not going to explain why we should have a variety of people in our stories and media, because it should be obvious…

Why can’t we have more films that involve straight women undertaking a heist? Or trans men hunting a killer? A cast of queer Indian women running an international cocaine smuggling outfit? Even films subtitled ‘Straight Men with Overdue Library Books’, for fuck’s sake. Seriously… it’s not hard to come up with something more interesting than the alcoholic detective who comes back from retirement for one last case… Urgghh, I’m asleep already.

So when I get the trifecta - Guns. Straight. Men - that’s when I shrug and go “Not for me, thanks. Give me a year or two, and I might come back to it.”

It’s my own little Bechdel test, reminding me that for every fantastic new female-lead comedy, multi-racial cast, or drama that includes people of varying gender identities and sexualities, there’s still a whole industry convincing us that the latest Straight Men with Guns blockbuster is a completely original, never-before-seen (watch out for the twist!) must-see hit.

 Just. Not. Buying. It.

So that’s it. That’s the title for the blog, based on my own personal feelings about the laziness of most media-based storytelling. This is a blog about feminism and intersectionality. It’s about stories and characters, and the way we choose to represent our society, and who we choose to leave out. And also, importantly, it’s about the education we’re getting. Kids, teens and adults are always reading and consuming stories, and some of them are learning how to tell their own. How they learn to tell those stories is going to be vital to our next generation of storytellers.

 

You may wonder why it’s not titled ‘Straight White Men with Guns’. I did think about this for a while, but I realised that a film about men of any colour acting out these kinds of cop/ criminal/ tough dude roles is pretty much overdone. I’d love to see more people of colour in our media (especially Australia’s media), but not necessarily rehashing these kinds of macho roles.