Thoughts of a Chicana Feminist

Monday, September 26, 2005

"[Fire] nourishes. But it also destroys if you don't respect it."

One of my favorite movies is Foxfire. It is based on the book Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates. Her official website used to be cool - personalized - but it looks like her publishing company took over at some point. Now it is a too corporate, glossy for my tastes.

Anyway, the book and movie are very different, but equally entertaining and powerful. I watched the movie first and then read the book, which of course is always a mistake. Books always give so much more depth to their characters and each event is always so much more dramatic. I actually had to read the book a second time because my head kept trying to insert images from the movie into it. Once I accepted them as different stories I appreciated them both.

My favorite movie scene is when Angelina Jolie's character "Legs" tatoos a flame on herself after she and the other girls narrowly escaped the police. She says, "[Fire] nourishes. But it also destroys if you don't respect it." Legs goes on to tatoo a flame on the other characters. You realize their connection/friendship to one another will last forever. It is pretty moving.

That scene also reminds me of one of my favorite pieces of the book. The girls go around town tagging whatever they can with "Foxfire will burn and burn." It is their way of claiming their territory in the man's world they live in. Even though I do not condone destruction of property in real-life (I've worked too hard and too long for what I have. I don't want someone going around ruining my stuff!), I totally love the idea of a group of girls claiming their place in the world and being completely unapologetic about it at the same time. Wasn't that what we learned from Virgina Woolf in A Room of One's Own?

I just had a birthday a few weeks ago and I've been seriously thinking about getting a tatoo of the Foxfire flame somewhere. Not because I am a fan of the book and movie, but because I feel my soulful flame is burning so strong right now I feel nourished for the first time in years. I never want to let the flame die down again. To tatoo or not to tatoo? That is the question.