I had some additional thoughts about The Help that didn’t fit neatly into the previous post, so I thought I’d include them separately. Mostly I just wanted to share some links that get at The Help from a different perspective, or are generally interesting.
The Association of Black Women Historians wrote an open letter detailing the historical inaccuracies on display in the film and book.
Here is a blog that is dedicated entirely to exploding this silly work of fiction. I especially like the points comparing the depiction of black men vs. the depiction of white men.
And here is a good post that is itself linking to yet another post. Posts within posts!
It didn’t go unnoticed by me that this is a film focused on women where the women discuss a variety of things that aren’t men. However, as I said in my Love and Other Drugs post, just because a film passes the Bechdel Test doesn’t mean it does a good job representing women. The Help is terrible in this respect. Both black women and white women have plenty to complain about. The white women are ditzes (save for saintly Eugenia) and the black women are straight up Mammies. There’s no way to get around it.
I also wanted to note that I appreciated the performances of Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. Viola Davis in particular is such a fantastic actress, and can do a lot with very little (see Doubt). That said, I will not be guilted into championing or in any way defending The Help because it features a couple black actresses. No way. I understand the predicament black actors and actresses find themselves in, but this is not something I can condone. I demand better roles for men and women of color. Black women aren’t your god damn Mammies.