Viewing posts tagged sexism

41

Early morning in Britain.

Shop-window dummies twitch, stand up and smash their way out into the high street.  They stalk past the shop logos and brand names and adverts.  Price tags dangle from their fashionable clothes.

Their hands are not like human hands.  They're not organs of manipulation, to be used for work.  They flip open to reveal weapons.

The dummies encounter shoppers, or people waiting for the bus to work.  They gun them down.  People fall and die next to the shop fronts.

The dummies are plastic effigies of people.  Products, manufactured things, fashioned in the human image.  They alienate the human image from humans.  They were made in a factory, on a production line, by workers.  Sold to shops.  They are hostile commodities, made for a capitalist concern; made by people working for a wage, yet out of human control, invested with a life of their own, confronting people as an external, dominating, fierce, blank, gothic, inhuman power. 


The alienation of the worker in his product means not only that his labour becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside him, independently ...

Carry On Screaming

Trigger warning / Spoiler Warning


Just watched Peter Strickland's amazing film Berberian Sound Studio.  It stars Toby Jones as Gilderoy, a repressed (or is he just normal for his home context?) British foley artist and sound mixer hired by Italian filmmakers to create sound effects for a satanic exploitation flick.

Berberian Sound Studio is a study of male fear and hatred of women.

The horror movie that we hear (never see) being made is about the undead revenge of women who were tortured and killed as witches.  The slimey director spouts pretentious bullshit about how his film is an important social document, intended to honestly portray and condemn the abuse of such women, to recognise their suffering, etc... yet his film rests upon the assumption that the women who were accused of witchcraft were, in fact, witches.  Otherwise, how could they come back from the dead in satanic rituals?

The torture - involving, at one crucial point, a red hot poker being inserted into a woman's vagina - is shown lovingly on screen... though, as I say, we (that is, the viewers of Berberian Sound Studio) don't see it.  Gilderoy sees it though.  He sees ...

Punishing Viewing

Something I wrote a while ago, somewhat rewritten.  I'm re-posting it to mark the release of 'The Mind of Evil' on DVD.  In brief, being in colour doesn't make it any better.


There is a very old idea about ‘human nature’, that we are born with certain social characteristics already implanted or programmed in our brains, usually inherited from our parents and ancestors. You will find this idea laced throughout the whole of modern Western culture. Ruffians and villains in Conan Doyle are often said to have "vile antecedents". Oliver Twist is incapable of being a pickpocket because, despite being raised in a pauper's orphanage, he is a middle class child displaced amongst the scum classes. Similarly (because J.K. Rowling is nothing if not studiedly unoriginal) Harry Potter is filled with love just like his late mum, despite being systematically emotionally and psychologically abused up to the age of 11.  I could go on at great length.

This conception of human nature (please take the quote marks as read whenever I use that phrase) is directly and inextricably linked to class, and to questions of social role, crime, etc. It is still claimed ...

Maybe some of us BELONG in the fields

A very good overview of the squalid pass to which Moffat has brought the show in its 50th anniversary year, with special attention paid to the issue of mysoginy, via River and Clara:

...we're not being encouraged to think there's something wrong with this person [River]: it's the show itself that comes across as jaded and withdrawn from empathy and decency to a psychopathic extent (and what a charming ethical copout to have the Doctor leave before he can witness the rest of the killing). Again, we have the depressingly widespread idea that a woman acting violently is empowering and a corrective to sexism and misogyny. When questioned about his ability with female characters during a Guardian interview Moffat replied:

River Song? Amy Pond? Hardly weak women. It's the exact opposite. You could accuse me of having a fetish for powerful, sexy women who like cheating people. That would be fair.
It would indeed. Unfortunately, a fetish for powerful, sexy women who like cheating people is no substitute for an interest in human beings.

http://richardhcooper.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/steven-and-women-or-how-steven-moffat.html

I don't agree with every jot and tittle of this, but it ...

The Twitter Dilemma




Skulltopus 13: Return to Fang Rock

My monomaniacal focus on the quasi-Weird(ish/esque) in Doctor Who resumes (after a bit of a hiatus... during which I just couldn't be arsed) and reaches the Graham Williams years, the heyday of the tentacular in the Baker era.  See here for links to all previous Skulltopus posts and here for the last one (which includes a summary of the whole thing so far).



I started the whole Skulltopus thing with 'Horror of Fang Rock', but that was ages ago (and before I really knew where I was going with this topic) so I feel the need to go back to it, if comparatively briefly.

Okay, so 'Fang Rock'.  Hmm.  Well, it's a Terrance Dicks script, isn't it?  Uncle Tel is, as we all know, well dodgy on politics.  He writes about how the working classes are happy being poor, and aristocrats are dandy, and the empire was kind of okay.  His baseline assumption is one of contented 'capitalist realism', of unquestioning acceptance of the status quo.  Plus he's rubbish on the question of women and sexism.  He's so bad on ...

Changing Times, Nice Guys and 'Strong Female Characters'

I've gone on the record saying I think Moffat's version of Doctor Who is sexist and heteronormative.  A challenge I often hear - and it's a serious point - is the idea that Moffat's Who is, at least, no worse than previous eras on issues like depictions of gay relationships, and is frequently better.  There are positive depictions of gay characters, quite unlike anything in, say, the Hartnell era.  Well, firstly, let me say that I don't want to claim that things are 'worse' now (in any absolute way) than in the Hartnell years, when homosexuality essentially didn't exist at all in-story in the Who universe. And sure, many old episodes have displayed all sorts of heteronormative stuff, and also outright homophobic stuff (albeit usually by implication).  Harrison Chase is, in many ways, implied to be an evil gay man (it's not that I think gay people are like him, but rather that he is constructed partly of tropes that connote gayness in pop culture).

It isn't that there's a scale that pertains to culture now just as it pertained in 1963 and 73 and 83 etc, with Who ...

Vixens and Saxons


Some disjointed thoughts about 'The Time Warrior'.  Is it sexist?  Is Linx really a girl?  And what is the correct Socialist attitude to Irongron?


1.  Men Are From Earth, Sontarans Are From... umm... Saturn?  No, couldn't be.  'Saturn' is an anagram of 'Rutans' for a start...

'The Time Warrior' is the chronicle of a failed romance.  Irongron and Linx.  The odd couple.

Made for each other.
The initial attraction. The slowly dawning mutual realisation that they have much in common. They take turns helping each other out. Terms of affection pass between them: Linx is Irongron's "brother" and will be his "general". Physical intimacy follows, as Linx allows Irongron to see his face then almost takes his arm as they leave to deal with the android knight. Irongron gives Linx a familiar nickname (albeit a rather unkind one).  Then ...

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