Viewing posts tagged patriarchy

Even Furiosa

Further to some objections I've had to my description of Mad Max: Fury Road as having reasonably good gender politics.  Trigger and Spoilers, obviously.


What Mad Max: Fury Road does - with its depiction of Furiosa - is to refuse to make violence the exclusive province of men, or to make men the only ones who are any good at it.  (Not unprecedented - but quite good.)  Furiosa gets to do all the trad-masculine things that Max does.  She's just as good at them as him.  This, apparently, is a big problem for those kinds of insecure, reactionary misogynitwits who drivel on about how women are weaker than men.  According to such douchenozzles, this is just a scientific fact, and it's not a man's fault if he just repeats the incontrovertible findings of Science.  In actuality, of course, what such bigoted ninnies are actually doing is regurgitating some half-digested sociobiologistic bullshit.  They then accuse feminists (who control Hollywood in their ideologically distorted, bass-ackwards bizzaro world) of playing a dirty, emasculating trick and oppressing men by spreading the vicious civilisation-eroding lie that not all women need a man to open jars for ...

No Name

Triggers


Apparently, they've found out who Jack the Ripper was.  Maybe.  At least, so says the Daily Mail, and a bloke who's written a book about the case, and who owns a business selling 'Ripper' tours.  So, reliable and unbiased sources.

Turns out, Jack the Ripper was... some guy.

Who'd have thunk it?

So, will this put a stop to the lucrative Ripper industry?  The books, movies, walks, etc?

No, of course not.  Like all previous unmaskings, it'll just fuel the fire, even if this unmasking turns out to rest on marginally better evidence that some hack's ability to create anagrams, or an evidently untrue story told by a publicity hound, or the baseless hunch of a crime writer, or an obviously forged diary, or the manufactured bad reputation of a dead one-time heir to the throne.

Because, contrary to what everyone ever has always said about Jack the Ripper, interest in the case doesn't stem from the fact that the murderer was never caught.  It stems from the appeal of the degradation, humiliation, punishment and silencing of women... and from the way revelling in this (with whatever ...

The Veil ('Deep Breath' 3)

The veil.  A politically loaded symbol.  It carries all sorts of old semiotic baggage, of course.  Weddings.  Widowhood.  Ladies in Conan Doyle who want to hide their identities (thus it has a trajectory into the figure of Madame Vastra via Victoriana).  In genre TV these days, a woman wearing a veil is likely to be a tragic or vengeful figure, hiding a facial scar of some kind.  (See 'Silence in the Library' / 'Forest of the Dead'.)

The veil is thus something that implies a particular set of social situations for women.  The connection appears to be the concept of separation.  The veil is a boundary between the woman and society.  It creates a space in which she can hide her unsightliness, either disfiguring grief or grievous disfigurement, from those who don't want to have to see it.  The wedding veil is lifted as the woman is taken possession of in the marriage ceremony; thus it is there to emphasize her acceptability by temporarily putting it in doubt.  It is, of course, the symbolic tearing of the hymen.  The man takes possession and breaks through the barrier ...

3

"Not so much of that oatmeal, girl," says Meg to one of the kitchen drudges, "It's only pikemen we're feeding, not horses."

They're in Irongron's castle, somewhere in the century or so following the Norman Conquest.  Sarah is undercover, cooking Irongron's stew.

"Don't the guards on the gate get stew?" she asks, wanting to know in which pots to drop the Doctor's knock-out potion.

"What, meat for those common creatures? I should say not. They'll have oatmeal the same as the rest of us, and lusty enough they are on that. So you watch yourself if ever you take out that skillet."

So class is, perhaps, a more fundamental division than gender, but gender oppression brings its own particular problems.

"I'm not afraid of men. They don't own the world."

Well, they kind-of do... but Sarah isn't discussing actual property relations.  She's talking about the way the world should work, with no one group 'owning' it.

"Why should women always have to cook and carry for them?" she demands.

"What else should we do?" asks Meg.

"Stand up for ourselves. Tell the men you're tired ...

26

The Doctor, the Brigadier, some scientists and a Ministry bureaucrat have ventured inside Axos, a living ship that has just landed on Earth.

The Axons have greeted them.  They are a nuclear family - man in charge, surrounded by wife and boy and girl - modelled on classical statuary, their skin a lustrous gold.

They reflect the prejudices of those they meet.  They are part of Axos and have formed themselves from the ship/entity.  They easily adapt their image to Westernism, Patriarchy, Classicism, the worship of the commodity and of wealth itself.

In return for shelter (ostensibly), they offer "a gift... a payment".  They appear unable to quite understand the concept of 'gift', immediately amending their use of the word.  They meant 'payment', which implies a commodity transaction.

Their payment is...

"Axonite!"

It looks like a mineral, something torn from the ground by labour.  In reality it is just another aspect of Axos, individuated from the amorphous and tentacular mass of the whole so it will pass as a rock.

"Axonite is the source of all our growth technology," says Daddy Axon, "Axonite can absorb, convert, transmit and programme all forms of energy."

Note the ...

27

TW


Adelaide screams at the sight of Palmerdale's dead body.

Leela slaps her across the face, silencing her.

This is horrible.  It's one of the relatively few examples of serious, realistic, non-Fantastic, gendered violence in the show.  Companions are captured by monsters, etc., but this kind of thing happens rarely.  It is better in some places.  Worse in others.  In 'The Time Meddler', Edith's implied-rape is in there simply to tick a box of genre tropes.  Yeurch.  In 'Vengeance on Varos', Maldak slaps Peri across the face to assuage his bruised ego.  It's utterly gratuitous and revolting.

But this is a woman slapping another woman.  (That's not worse... except in the sense that the representation, authored by a man, alibis male involvement in violence against women by ostensibly disappearing its gendered dimension.)

More than that - it's Leela slapping another woman.  Wonderful Leela, who has never done anything like this before.  Okay, she's a ruthless killer in battle... but slapping a 'hysteric' like she's James Bond or something?  Normally, though she dreads weakness in herself because of her self-identification as a ...

Prometheus Underground

Warning: Triggers and Spoilers.  And waffle.


Sex & Monsters

In Prometheus, the Engineers are ancient Titans who created humanity... and, it is implied, seeded the galaxy with their DNA. There is something very noticeable about them: they are all men. Meanwhile, there is a definite vaginal look to a great many of the alien bio-weapons they created and which then subsumed them. However, I don't think its really possible to read the battle between Engineers and their bio-weapons as a battle of the sexes. The weapon creatures are also phallic and penetrative, as in previous iterations of the Alien universe. All the same, it's true that presenting the creators of life (in their own image) as exclusively dudes does imply that generative power resides in the male alone. It is enough for one Engineer to dissolve his DNA into the waters of a planet to kickstart the process that will lead to animal life (if that's how the opening scene is meant to be read). The Engineers are male but apparently sexless, capable of asexual reproduction. The deadly runaway bio-weapons, which seem hermaphroditic, look like the intrusion of sex into a male but sexless world. Sex is ...

How Curses Work 3.5: Mythoimperialismo

Imperialism lies not just in the physical violence of invasion, domination, exploitation and subjugation, but also in the cultural violence of the appropriation and representation of the subjugated.

This is how exploitation and domination always works.  Patriarchy's domination of women is expressed in the marginalization, infantilization and suffocating sexualization of the female image in culture, the relentless portrayal of the woman as secondary, as an adjunct, as a commodity, as a servant or helpmate, as a source of male pleasure and satisfaction.  So the violence of imperialism is also expressed in the representation of the subjugated peoples as inferior and/or dangerous, by the plundering of their stories, histories, images, ideas, practices, customs, languages, discourses, art, architecture, etc., and their transformation into aspects of the dominant culture of the imperialist.

The subject culture is usually thus shown to be inherently deserving of domination, inherently savage, childlike, irrational and sinister.  If the subject culture is not demonized, it is usually infantilized, fanaticized (even their bravery is not real bravery but rather fanatical zeal from savages who do not feel pain or fear death the way we civilized people do), or shown as shambolic, idiotic and comic.  Needless to say, any ...

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