Plain Jane the Shockumentary about Jane Hash
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Jane Hash. There’s a name you shouldn’t ever forget. She’s amazing, and her name is so useful. For example, who else can name their blog and podcast “Hash It Out With Jane” and be figurative and literal at the same time? Here, check out the blog, with links to the podcast and much more at hashitoutwithjane.blogspot.com.
Shortly before her documentary, “Plain Jane: The Shockumentary” began streaming, I watched it on DVD and wrote a review. I wanted to share that review here because if you keep up with this blog you know one thing I complain about a lot is terrible and unrealistic representations of disabled people in the media and also how I don’t like when non-disabled people show up and make films about us without being involved in our communities. That was two things. I only remembered the second point after I’d started the sentence. So you got a free one today!
[Image description: A woman wears a slinky red dress and black fishnets. Tattoos on her chest are visible. She has red lipstick and nail polish matching her dress, and reading glasses. She holds a pen and pad of paper in her lap and looks up, with raised eyebrows, at the camera.]
Here’s the review.
“A documentary film is a gift to the viewers. You get to sit back and relax while the subject of the film bears all. That said, rarely do you find one so rousing, engaging, and so bearing-it-all with such great spirits as ‘Plain Jane: The Shockumentary.’
Jane Hash has done an incredible service to the disability community by making and starring in a documentary that shows her just as she is: a complete, complex, well-rounded, sexy, sexual person with a full life and a disability.
This film blatantly rejects the dehumanizing tropes so often saved up for disability documentaries: disabled person as pitiful help object, as subject of ceaseless inspiration, or as hero at overcoming personal obstacles. You see each one of those limiting stereotypes torn to bits in this film, though she is never heavy-handed. She accomplishes this by letting you observe her day-to-day world and by explaining when explanation is needed. For instance, how many people who criticize Social Security benefits recipients for not working know about financial injustices such as this scourge: go to work and earn a living, or keep your health insurance, which would allow you to keep on living.
Don’t let that last sentence turn you off from jumping in, though, because you will be roaring with laughter and delight throughout the movie. Whether she perches serenely upon a rock in the middle of a rushing river, rides her power wheelchair like a chariot, complete with goat-costumed men with harnesses, or yells in frantic rage from the backseat of her car that she should be the one driving (she is 2 foot 7), the movie is nothing if not an absolute blast.
‘Plain Jane’ is groundbreaking, bringing together so many pieces of the disability experience that are typically silenced, such as sexuality, self-advocacy, abuse and injustice, and humor. I have the DVD, which I am promptly sending to a friend to watch. So I’m counting the seconds until this movie is available streaming. Because it simply must be watched and discussed sooner than we can get DVDs around in the mail.”
Now you can stream it. So please do. Please be advised there is adult language, partial nudity, and sexuality unabashedly on display in this movie. Not Safe For Work.