Exploring the Female Film Student Experience in #MeToo Society

by: , January 27, 2020

MAI is delighted to include Ruby Aylin’s brilliant video essay in its pedagogy issue. Aylin made the film for a module on her filmmaking undergraduate course at a UK university, and in it she responds to the pedagogical approach that she observed as underpinning her learning. That is: male-centric, and with few opportunities to learn about women filmmakers or discuss the issues affecting women on sets and in the industry today. Thus, the video uses Aylin’s own footage, alongside documentary images, to tell a personal story that is always political. It both recognises and analyses how the gendered nature of film education can inform taste, impact careers, and affect women’s daily lives. Aylin’s valuable insights and self-reflection, alongside the dynamic nature of her storytelling and nuanced handling of the Weinstein case, are testament not only to her talent as a filmmaker, but also how important women’s voices are in educational spaces when they are able to make themselves heard.

On a personal note, I’m also deeply honoured to introduce Aylin’s video because it responds to an article that I wrote and that MAI published in 2018 (‘Fuck the Canon’). Seeing Aylin take inspiration from and critique that essay is, for me, seeing feminist pedagogy and network-building in action. That I learned so much from her work speaks to the need for non-hierarchal learning environments and our radical rejection of the top-down, patriarchal models of teaching that are taught to us (or rather, imposed upon us) by the UK education system.

Now, as right-wing backlashes continue against the most marginalised people in our society (women of colour, trans women, disabled people, non-binary people, queer people, and more besides), and against Arts and Humanities subjects, it is critical that we support and amplify feminist pedagogy wherever and whenever we can. While all of our learning may be shaped by different approaches, boundaries, and experiences, we are a community that can create new worlds through our sharing of knowledge and ideas. I hope that Aylin’s brave and powerful video essay inspires more people to engage in feminist thinking and practice. I have no doubt that her work will play a part in others making positive changes to their learning environments, and beyond, too.

Rebecca Harrison.

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