Not that it's ever not been a popular pastime, but beating women
is really hot these days. On screen and off.
Mel Gibson's grotesque recorded obscenities are just the most recent and most highly
publicized of such assaults. What we have going on in movies the past year is supposedly well
intended violence against women. These include some films that I myself have
reviewed positively, such as "Kick-Ass." And others that I liked
not so much, such as "The Killer Inside Me,"
and the two Stieg Larsson adaptations "The
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
and "The Girl Who Played With Fire." Even "The
Twilight Saga: Eclipse," gets
in its licks, especially when a nasty female vampire gets the Medusa treatment.
And Alejandro Amenabar's arty, upcoming (July 23) "Agora" (which I haven't seen) , the true story of Hypatia, the 4th
century CE female philosopher from Alexandria who got what was coming to her for
being such an uppity smarty-pants and anti-Christian, anti-patriarchal pagan.
True, "Killer" is supposed to depict a misogynist sadist and isn't
meant to approve of his actions, but does that give it license to show a woman
getting beaten to death? And Larsson in his books overtly states his hatred of
men who hate women, yet in the books and the movies such violence is luridly
demonstrated. Is it all that different from the remake of the reviled 1978 shocker "I
Spit on Your Grave" in the offing, in
which a violated woman's hideous revenge only follows after she herself has
been hideously violated?
Then there are the
films that make no attempt to excuse their exploitation of brutalized women
with any kind of uplifting context or message, or the Weinstein's upcoming
about which the website "Movieline" has written:
"...the marketing campaign for Piranha 3D has revolved
videos, wet t-shirts, straight up
nudity and all-around misogyny - not to mention the implied carnage
that thousands of CG-created 3D piranhas can do to an unsuspecting co-ed swimming
in the water - that it has been deemed not appropriate for families attending
Comic-Con next weekend should come as a surprise to exactly no one."
not suggesting that these movies in themselves cause the violence against women that is so common
in real life. Rather, it reflects the audience's
fascination with and fear of the subject. And no wonder: does a
day go by that we don't here about some estranged husband or boyfriend killing
their girlfriend or wife?