everything's made of glass

Manila, 11 October—One of the more interesting things I saw this week was the trailer for the latest female-led spy movie called The 355. It stars Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz (!!!) and Fan Bingbing as secret agents from different countries coming together to stop a Big Bad that definitely looks like Facebook.

I was researching the relevance of the number 355, which I last remembered from the graphic novel Y the Last Man. The code name is a reference to an American female spy during the American Revolution. 355 belonged to the Culper Ring, which transmitted information on British troop movement to George Washington. (READ: Women spies of the American revolution via National Women’s History Museum)

Anyway, I always love a good female-led action movie, and my list is rather long—from Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider installments, Salt, and Wanted, to Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde and The Old Guard, to Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow (still an Emily Blunt film, not a Tom Cruise film to me), to Sandra Bullock in Ocean’s 8, to Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman and Brie Larson in Captain Marvel, and all that jazz.

But there’s just something about the emergence of /this/ particular storyline today—the world’s best female spies banding together to stop cyber terrorism—that just screams Glass Cliff to me.

Simply put—women are likelier to be put in positions of leadership in times of crisis, when chances of failure are high. That’s called the Glass Cliff. (READ: Why struggling companies promote women: the glass cliff, explained via Vox)

We’ve seen this first-hand—our first woman president was elected after a twenty-year dictatorship, our second one succeeded our first president who was ever impeached, and right this very moment, the only person who seems to know what she’s doing in terms of pandemic response is the vice president—a woman.

And while I’m glad we’re having a very diverse cast of women at the forefront of this fictional (?) fight against an “unseen enemy”—I am so excited to watch this movie next year, when hopefully we’d be confident enough again to go out and watch a movie on a big screen—it really begs the question: Why? If movies really are a product of their time, why are we imagining a world where women take over this particular fight? Probably because it’s way out of control, and the men in power have been pretty much useless at fixing it.

Don’t get me wrong; we dream about the same things. I mean, you know things are fucked when mom comes along to fix it. That’s where we are right now in general, I suppose: I look around me and see women-led countries faring better in terms of pandemic response. (READ: Are women leaders really doing better on coronavirus? The data backs it up via The Conversation)

AND YET for all the general ineptness, the President still scored high approval ratings in the latest Ulat ng Bayan Survey by Pulse Asia. That latest report just made me keel over in frustration when I first heard of it, so I proceeded to block it out in my mind in order to function for the rest of the week.

But I do agree that instead of dismissing it as “fake”, which is this generally unhealthy thing that is done in the face of something disagreeable these days, I think it’s really best to take a look at why this is the popular sentiment. Of course, it’s systemic. And of course, the sample size definitely does not include the COVID dead, nor would it probably include COVID-19 patients, current or miraculously mass healed.

I do acknowledge that Pulse Asia has employed scientific methods to ensure that their sample is as random and as representative as possible. In fact, the Technical Details are also available for scrutiny here. I remember sitting in one of those survey 101s and I remember most starkly the explanation for the sampling that stuck with me the most: To judge soup, I don’t have to finish all of it; I just have to taste a representative part.

It’s probably oversimplified, and we’re probably more like a buffet than soup, but even in buffets you just take a bit of everything and then judge the entire spread. I’m not sure if that’s fair, but I suppose it’s what’s doable. Just my luck if I happened to have taken a particularly undercooked portion or what.

Hell, I’m not sure if I could be completely honest with a survey person either when they come knocking at our door, knowing full well that they know where I live with my family. Times like these, am I right?

Anyway, looks like they’ve taken a sip and reported dutifully about what they found.

Looks like the Kool Aid is still poisoned, so no thanks.

Media recs

Anyway—some things we watched this week, for your consideration when you have downtime:

💰 Teenage Bounty Hunters via Netflix—Quite the enjoyable surprise! Twins Sterling and Blair Wesley are mistaken for bounty hunters. Shenanigans ensue. It actually plays out like a procedural, but it has pretty good dialogue that surfaces a lot of teen themes that are actually very well discussed (sex, religion, sexual orientation, even gun ownership—who would have thought?) Also features the slowest slow burn wlw I’ve seen of late—enemies to friends to lovers, anyone?

🏚️ The Haunting of Bly Manor via Netflix—NO SPOILERS PLEASE! This one just dropped on Friday, and we’re in the middle of watching this ‘spiritual sequel’ of Haunting of Hill House, so no concrete comments yet. Yelling next week, possibly.

🌈 Gaya sa Pelikula Episode 3 via Youtube—Speaking of things that premiered on Friday, Episode 3 is now up and it is setting some very high standards re: older sisters haha Ate Judit is GOALZ. Currently taking notes for when I have to visit my brother and his (future?) boyfriend.

And of course, this week’s favorite meme, because we love our moms and we do not attempt things like this ever haha here have some voyeuristic fun—volume on:

Thanks for making it this far.