Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the wokest one of all?
Hollywood is notorious for celebrating the most progressive projects, often nominating films and shows that fans hated for prestigious awards. Now the Critics Choice Association is one-upping themselves with a new initiative they’ve dubbed the SOFEE.
SOFEE stands for ‘Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment’ and it’s exactly what it sounds like. A press release describes how this honor “recognizes outstanding new films and television series that illuminate the female experience and perspective through authentically told female-driven stories.”
Further, “qualifying projects will have a prominent female character arc, give female characters at least equal screen time to male characters, have female leaders behind the scenes, and pass elements highlighted in the Bechdel test.”
The first proud recipients of SOFEES were the woke-ified TV version of “A League of Their Own,” the historically inaccurate film “The Woman King,” and Hillary Clinton’s interview series, “Gutsy.” All three earned perfect scores when they were measured against the numerical scoring system.
“The last five years have seen a dramatic shift where women are being given significantly more opportunity to create large-scale entertainment,” Tara McNamara, chair of the CCA Women’s Committee said of the award.
“The result is that half of the population is seeing truer representation on the screen. As the most influential critics organization, we believe it’s the role of the CCA to recognize studios and filmmakers making positive female-forward entertainment with an easy-to-spot seal graphic — perfect for a movie poster or TV ad.”
“Our hope is that those who care about how women are depicted on screen and utilized behind the scenes will look for the SOFEE graphic to help inform their media consumption decisions,” she concluded.
There’s only one problem with SOFEES: each “perfect” entertainment piece they’ve awarded with the honor is objectively terrible.
Take “The Woman King,” for example. Even some leftist reviewers were forced to admit that the film literally rewrote history to make the Agojie warrior women look like abolitionists. In real life, they were happily profiting from the African slave trade and had no interest in losing that revenue stream.
The reviewer from The New Yorker made note of this historical error. “If the scriptwriters had wanted, ‘The Woman King’ could have been an amoral epic about swordplay and statecraft,” the reviewer shared.
“But ‘The Woman King’ chooses to make resistance to slavery its moral compass, then misrepresents a kingdom that trafficked tens of thousands as a vanguard in the struggle against it.”
The Wall Street Journal also noted how it was all a farce.
“The central problem with the movie—call it the #MeToo ‘Black Panther’—is that in reality Dahomey notoriously built its wealth on capturing local people and selling them into slavery,” the reviewer said of the film. “Characters in ‘The Woman King’ blame enslavement in Dahomey on the economic meddling of white traders although it was well-established in West Africa before the Europeans got involved.”
“The Woman King” featured strong female characters and was directed by a woman, but when it came to actual substance, it lacked historical accuracy for the sake of extra woke-ness. The abysmal remake of the classic 1992 drama “A League of Their Own” wasn’t much better.
Before the Amazon Prime series debuted, co-director Will Graham bragged about how progressive it was going to be.
“There was a much bigger story there that wasn’t just about a team, but that was really about a whole generation,” Graham said at the Tribeca Film Festival. “That’s a big part of why we wanted to make it. It was just this feeling of—especially with queer stories, women of color—having a story that’s really centered on joy.”
He delivered on that promise. Dave Nemetz from TV Line said the new “A League of Their Own” made a “noble effort” but that the series was “a little too eager to make its point, sidelining the baseball elements and getting bogged down in heavy-handed subplots.”
Nemetz called the addition of the lesbian romance to the plot, “soppy and predictable.”
“We may not have seen anything this explicitly gay in the original movie, but we’ve definitely seen LGBTQ storylines like this many times before,” he continued.
While most critics and audiences loved the new “A League of Their Own,” according to Rotten Tomatoes, it’s worth noting who exactly was watching it in the first place.
“This is prestige lesbian television,” the reviewer from Out Magazine shared. “A League of Their Own features some of the best writing and directing on TV this year. It’s Carol, but with Black people, butches, and a great sense of humor.”
Then there’s “Gutsy.” In it, Clinton and her daughter Chelsea “embark on a thought-provoking journey to speak with pioneering women artists, activists, community leaders, and everyday heroes.” Almost no one is watching it, except for the one time the Clinton women had a cringe-y exchange with Meghan Thee Stallion about the raunchy rap song “WAP.”
“Hint for other politicians getting ideas: It may be best to be behind the scenes of these projects so the baggage isn’t prominently laid out on the show’s doorstep,” one reviewer observed.
Now there are two more recent nominees for SOFEE recognition. The documentary “Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power” is described as an “enlightening” look at the movie industry that uncovers “the toxic narratives that have been shown about gender, sex, and race” all to help “encourage a much-needed change to gender roles in the media.”
The CCA has also chosen to recognize the AppleTV series “Bad Sisters,” the story of five siblings who decide their lives would be better if one sister’s abusive husband was dead. The dark comedy, set in Ireland, is probably the most watchable of the SOFEE projects thus far, but it does manage to paint men in a less-than-favorable light.
While the CCA created SOFEE to help guide viewers toward worthy entertainment projects, so far this emblem is likely to have an opposite effect if they keep focusing on women and ignore overall quality.
Besides, what is a woman anyway?