Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Are Feminists Natural Born Killers?

The other night I watched Natural Born Killers for the first time. As a feminist vegan I have a feeling that I'm not suppose to enjoy a movie like this; but I'm going to go out on a limb and admit that I did.
I think there is a deep-seated human desire to see the destruction of other humans around us; to vicariously live out a fantasy of pure mania.

Though it's violent, what feminist woman hasn't dreamed of being Mallory? What feminist hasn't, underneath it all, really just wanted to kick the shit out of some sexist asshole?

I know I have.

Most of us don't because it's wrong, which is why I felt this sick pleasure when I watched the movie.

Yesterday I came upon this film clip that made the argument that True Grit's Mattie Ross is not a feminist character.
The argument basically says that the movie just reinforces masculinity--she's dominant, confident, and never ranges emotions--she's rational the entire time.

The argument pointed out that many other female-character driven movies have done the same sort of masculinizing of women, so that even if the character is biologically female she's behaving in a very male-way.

Perhaps. But I don't believe that to be entirely true. Uma's character in Kill Bill shows empathy and tenderness and yet she still is a badass. Juliette Lewis's character, Mallory, though probably clinically insane, seems to have an emotional range.
But more importantly when these movies end, I feel as if I personally got a confidence boost. These women were strong, assertive, confident, intelligent. And I don't think those necessarily need to be considered masculine traits; if we believe that all humans deserve to be able to display a range of emotions and character from passive to assertive, shy to confident, dumb to smart, then we should also consider not labeling them one gender or another.

I love watching women kick ass, but I don't literally think of doing the same thing, when I watch I take the actions metaphorically, kicking ass= achieving goals.

Sure, there are other ways to show and tell this, but I enjoy a little aggressive fantasy every once in a while. Even if I would never really behave that way. Even if I don't think people should do it in real life.

But this also could stem from our violent culture, which I fully admit I am a part of whether I want to be or not. Sure, we'd like to see movies that aren't so violent, but do we know how to make them, what they would look like? Would we get a thrill?

It's possible.

But for now, at least women are getting lead roles. A slow process, but a process of possibility nonetheless.

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