Advantageous (2015), dir. Jennifer Phang

Written, directed, and cast almost entirely of non-white women, Advantageous is a futuristic dystopia in which human labor has been almost completely replaced by tech. Society's answer is, of course, to try and maneuver women back into the home, thus freeing up remaining jobs for men. The result is that being a single woman--or worse, being a single mother--is nearly impossible. Advantageous taps into a range of feminist issues including aging, beauty labor, motherhood, personhood, and class in a way that's both timely and otherworldly.

One of the things that I was really struck by was the way that this dystopia diverged from the genre's usual treatment of gender issues. While often gender is completely effaced by dystopian fiction (think Snowpiercer), when it is treated, it's usually done so through rape (think the new Mad Max). Usually rape in these films is just a way of demonstrating how completely social conventions have fallen apart; it's a very big, very bad world out there where women can't walk around for fear of being assaulted.

As a woman, this deployment of rape has always seemed easy and, well, not terribly compelling. As most women will tell you, social conventions do not protect against the seemingly omnipresent threat of assault. One of the reasons Advantageous was so moving and so different is that the dystopian future for women it imagines isn't sensational or violent; it's terribly predictable and familiar. Economically disenfranchise them so that they have to return to the home, to dependence on men. 

Again, not to belabor the point, but this is part of why we need different kinds of people making different kinds of film. It improves the quality of the content. Where the worst reality a male screenwriter might be able to imagine for women is their constantly being raped, a female screenwriter sees a completely different nightmare scenario: one where self-nullification is, quite literally, her only advantage.