Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Misandry, Misogyny, and the Persecuted Male

A bit of an odd update today. First things first, the catalyst for this post was the accusations of misandry leveled at me (or, at society, feminists, what have you) in regard to my review of Evil Angel's remake of In the Realm of the Senses, Pure (2009). The first comment, in its blandness, I published. The second, with its direct threats of various forms of physical and sexual violence toward me, I did not publish and simply reported it along with the person's profile information. The first thing I need to say is that any further threats of violence directed at me will remain unpublished, and simply be forwarded to those investigating the issue.

But, the seriousness of threats of violence aside, I think the fact that the accusation of misandry has been raised twice (maybe by the same person? who knows) on the one and only blog post here that discusses and depicts graphic representations of violence against males to be quite revealing. Ponder for a moment, how many films discussed on this site have addressed and/or depicted violence against women? Off the top of my head, there's Joy, The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann, Hard Gore, Forced Entry, Water Power, Hot Summer in the City, and many, many, many more.

My question is this: have we become so accustomed to the female body serving as victim or victim-hero (best case scenario), as physical receptacle for symbolic violence of all sorts, sexual or otherwise, as the damsel in distress around which men mobilize to either hurt or save, that one lone representation of graphic violence against men amongst a plethora of rape and violence against women can prompt such outrage? Is this outrage justified? As in, can this outrage be a way of thinking about representations of violence in general? Do those men who found the content of Pure to be so utterly offensive, and were angry at me for discussing it, ever think about what it would be like to encounter such imagery on a daily basis? Do they identify with women in this moment?

I still remember my own discomfort watching Kurt Russell get the shit kicked out of him, in spectacular fashion, at the end of Death Proof, and wondering why this was so traumatic. I think we are accustomed to seeing women in peril, women in distress, women screaming. I think, due to gender roles, we feel more comfortable exploring violence through the body of a woman, at least in graphic, spectacular fashion. There are anomalies, of course, but the shock experienced when confronting these anomalies (take Father's Day (2011) for example) speaks volumes about our levels of acceptance and expectations in connection to gender, sex, and violence.


J. Laredo said...

I agree though I rather enjoyed Kurt Russell's pain at the end of Death Proof. I thought he got what he deserved, could dish it out but not take it. It was almost a moment where he was revealed to be the Cowardly Lion, all puff and no stuff.

As a fan of the rape revenge sub-genre of horror films I may have a skewed perspective. Films like I Spit on Your Grave allow us to enjoy violence towards men because it is perceived as a consequence for their violent actions. I think I would be more uncomfortable if I felt the victim did not deserve it. The mentally retarded character in I Spit treads that line though I still felt he needed to be punished for not acting to save the female protagonist.

Gore-Gore Girl said...

Hey J! I'm glad you brought up the revenge element. It does mean that there is satisfying retribution, but nevertheless it was startling to me to see a male body, prone, objectified, a spectacle, being beaten to a pulp. You don't tend to see such representations. Usually the violence is tempered by action or editing - quick cuts, aggressive and active behaviour on the part of the man.

Like you, I am a huge fan of the rape-revenge genre, and I think revenge complicates what I'm getting at above.

BlackSix said...

I think the pinky violence films of Japan are among the most interesting twists on the whole rape/revenge genre, particularly the 'girl gang' films of Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto (of even better both of them in the same film). The mixture of sexploitation and women kicking ass is pushed to the extreme.


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