I don't like horror movies. And by horror movies, I don't mean psychological thrillers like Silence of the Lambs. I mean movies like Hostel, or that new one with Hillary Swank and the fucking frightening locusts. Movies that are frightening just to scare the shit out of fools willing to part with $12 for a movie ticket without any sort of commentary behind them hold no place in my life or on my Netflix queue.
This morning I was reading Bitchfest, a collection of essays from Bitch magazine. While Bitch is a feminist magazine, it isn't a boring, dull, politics-only publication, but it takes on how women are treated in pop culture by women who like television, sex, and fun. While I consider myself pretty sensitive to portrayals of women, the essays in this book brought up a lot of points I'd never thought of, especially the essay "XXX Offender: Reality Porn and the Rise of Humilitainment" by Shauna Swartz. She describes a new type of porn where a woman is coaxed on a bus, promised money for sex, is debased, and is then left by the side of the road when the man is done. While it's performed by actors, the fact that it's presented as real humiliation of women is a new low for the porn industry. (I say this as a woman who likes porn on the merits. Hi, Mom!)
As soon as I got to work, I got this article from CO about the new horror movies called "gorno." Eli Roth, director of Hostel and Hostel II said this at a junket for his new film:
"Any time people see women in a horror film," he noted, "they say, 'Oh, these girls are just pieces of meat.' And, literally, in Hostel Part II, that's exactly what they are. They are the bait, they are the meat, they are the grist for the mill."
Yeah. Thanks, dude. Thanks for encouraging horny teenage boys to associate hot women and sex with torture. Last time I checked, I am more than a piece of meat, as are most other women. How is it possible that movies that show too many naked breasts have an X rating, but movies that graphically depict extreme violence are open to any kid with a fake ID or a stupid parent?
Kira Cochrane, author of the Guardian article, sums it up nicely:
...[R]ecently the levels of horrific violence on show at the multiplexes - and the sheer cynicism of the films involved - have gone through the roof. And a lot of the most nasty, unrepentant and terrifyingly pointless violence is aimed at women. ...the violence against women that's most troubling, because it is here that sex and extreme violence collide.
I don't really have anything else to add. It's a really sad time to be a woman, what with our eroding abortion rights, continued low pay when compared with men, and getting raped and murdered in porn and at your local movie theater without anyone complaining. Check out Bitchfest, and complain with your wallet when Hostel II comes out. Otherwise, you're just grist for the mill.