Scorpio Risen

Grinding my axe: Grindhouse

Posted on: 15 September, 2007

A few months ago, I read this article: http://film.guardian.co.uk/features/featurepages/0,,2069286,00.html.

Now, here’s a rant I prepared earlier on Myspace:

“Seriously. This fucking angers and sickens me. It’s fucked up. There’s no way I can put it anymore simply than that.

There’s a lot of bullshit going around that we live in a “post-feminist” age, feminism isn’t needed.

Fuck off.

There are thousands, millions of reasons why Feminism is important.

It’s not over. Misogyny, it’s still here. Society still fucking sucks. Society still needs a fucking good arse-kicking.

There are some real sickos out there. Paedos, rapists, woman-batterers, people who get kicks off of sick-arse films like that “Grindhouse” or buy “Rapist No. 1” dolls. What the fuck is up with that?

Fuck “irony”. That’s a lie to cover up sick, perverted misogyny.

If the fight IS over, if feminism HAS achieved its goals, if all us fems are just “ridiculous” or “whinging”, “whining” whatever, why the fuck are there films such as mentioned in the article, and why the fuck are they mainstream, and directed by well-renowned and respected directors like Tarantino?

Feminism is still important. More so now than ever. Because people are apathetic, or just fucking stupid, or whatever. Because people are fucking blind.

I can’t fucking wait for the revolution. Things have got to change. Even if it fucking kills me, I want a revolution, grrrrrl style.

Vive la revolution feministe.”

As you can tell, I was pissed off about this at the time – just check out the excessive use (even by my standards) of taboo language.

A few weeks ago, a Tarantino fan commented on my rant:

“I read the article, and it’s very selective in what it does and doesn’t mention.
For example, they fail to mention that in both parts of Grindhouse, the protaganists are females who overcome their male adversaries.
Any violence committed to women in the film is committed to equal (infact, worse) measures to men.

What’s more, to suggest that Tarantino is misoginistic is an deeply ignorant statement – laughable, in fact, when his last three films have stared women who are shown to be intellectually and physically superior to men (Jackie Brown is a middle-aged black woman who takes on the mob and wins, Kill Bill is about a woman who has been wronged and takes revenge on the man who did it to her, and succeeds thanks to her physical and intellectual superiority, and Grindhouse is pretty much just girls kicking ass – these women aren’t exploted, they are shown to be strong and independant).

I think you should do a little more research before you base a significant part of your argument on misleading or, in this case, incorrect information.”

To which I replied:

“OK —, thanks for commenting; it’s always good to have both sides.

However, I do have to note that while you claim the article is selective in what it does/doesn’t mention, in which you implied that the article suggests the film only directs violence at women, this is not true: “In most of these films, both men and women [my emphasis] end up being sliced, gored, dismembered, decapitated. In that sense they offer audiences equal-opportunity gore. But it’s the violence against women that’s most troubling, because it is here that sex and extreme violence collide.”

You said that “Any violence committed to women in the film is committed to equal (infact, worse) measures to men.” But I don’t think it really matters whether men are equally abused in the film, as the main issue of violence towards women in the film, and others of the genre, are – other than the obvious – that it is sexualised. But then again; why would it not be in a society in which sexualises almost everything about women.

Also, Tarantino’s involvement with the films are not highlighted to call him a misogynist, but to state that these gorno films which are misogynist are clearly becoming more mainstream (but most certainly not more highbrow), if a talented and respected director such as Tarantino is to work on them. Although one could argue that to work on such a film makes one a misogynist, irrespective of previous work.

Also, the fact that Tarantino plays a zombie soldier called Rapist Number Oneholds a gun to her head, before threatening her with rape – and actually merchandises this character, is hardly going to put him in the good graces of any feminist, whether or not he clad Uma Thurman in a tight yellow costume for Kill Bill.

Also, on your argument on the selectivity of the article, where you say “they fail to mention that in both parts of Grindhouse, the protaganists are females who overcome their male adversaries”, could you please riddle me this: how does Rose McGowan’s character overcome her male adversaries if, after having fortuitiously survived Planet Terror, she gets horrifically murdered in Death Proof? Are there other female characters who survive in the film which weren’t mentioned?”

To which he replied:

“”how does Rose McGowan’s character overcome her male adversaries if, after having fortuitiously survived Planet Terror, she gets horrifically murdered in Death Proof? Are there other female characters who survive in the film which weren’t mentioned?”
I can’t see what your point is in this paragraph. It’s a horror film. People die. Men and women. Do you mean to say that women should not be killed in horror films? You seem to be grasping at any little detail and twisting it so the casual observer will see sexism where it does not exist. I’ll grant you, there are still films out there that exploit women, no question. But Grindhouse is not one of them.

To be honest, I think it’s great that you’re so passionate about the subject. In a world engulfed in such crippling apathy, it’s really refreshing to talk to someone who’s truly passionate about something, yet I can’t help feeling that you’re perpetuating any rift or inequality between the sexes with all this ranting (your word, not mine). Feminism is, in my opinion, a great thing – but like anything, it can easily be taken too far. I am just as passionate about equality for all sexes, races and creeds as the next guy (or girl – I’m not slipping into that trap), but what do you hope to gain? You seem to view men as the enemy, and I just don’t understand why? Why do you perpetuate the ridiculous ‘us versus them’ ideology that radical feminism seems to adhere to. I have no doubt that there is still gender inequality in the world, but this just feels to much like looking for something to complain about. It feels almost like your not so much pro-female as you are anti-male, and that ain’t pimp. That ain’t pimp at all (you’re gonna get me on that one, aren’t you).
Why not fight battles that need fighting?”

My response?

“”‘how does Rose McGowan’s character overcome her male adversaries if, after having fortuitiously survived Planet Terror, she gets horrifically murdered in Death Proof? Are there other female characters who survive in the film which weren’t mentioned?’
I can’t see what your point is in this paragraph. It’s a horror film. People die. Men and women. Do you mean to say that women should not be killed in horror films?”

Oh, perhaps I didn’t make it clear (my bad), but the point was that you said “the protaganists are females who overcome their male adversaries”, and I wanted some examples where, ultimately, these females did overcome their male adversaries.

I do not view men as the enemy; just the patriarchal system. Patriarchal enablers, therefore, naturally piss me off – and women can perpetuate patriarchy just as well as men. I am not anti-male, and as such, resent being called it.

I think it’s good that we both agree that there is still gender inequality in the world, although I have a feeling that we see certain aspects of it slightly differently: for example, I believe that it is deeply entrenched culturally, and we are dripfed certain messages, hence why I do take issues such as misogynistic films seriously (well, I see them as misogynist, clearly you don’t, and that’s your call, I guess there are some things which are slightly more subjective perhaps). It is actually this analysis of deep roots of patriarchy in our world which leans more to the radical side of feminism – because I go to the roots of causes in such a way.

I would comment on your use of the word “pimp”, but feel rather predictable, although it does have to be said, that if it means I’m not going to be exploitative of people, then I’m OK with not being pimp.

And, just a little note, I do hate it when people try to tell me what to fight for or not. I mean, wouldn’t you? Also, I do concern myself with other “bigger” issues, such as protecting abortion rights, and rape issues – recently, I’ve been concerned with rape crisis centres – but I believe that it is also important to examine the little things too, somewhat akin to the Tescos logo.”

And that was the end of that.

I would’ve edited it, but a lot of my points were responses to his comments, and wouldn’t have made much sense, plus it’s good to get both sides of the argument.

However, I would also like to link here to Charliegrrrl (for some reason all the little tools, including hyperlinks aren’t coming up on my damn computer, so…) and these two posts:

http://charliegrrl.wordpress.com/2007/09/06/glasgow-protest-against-rapist-no1-tarantino/

http://charliegrrl.wordpress.com/2007/08/19/rapist-no-1-tarantino-in-liverpool/

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2 Responses to "Grinding my axe: Grindhouse"

Hey scorpio girl – there is now a report on the protests on Charliegrrl. It seems poor mister Tarantino was very upset at the criticism! RESULT! (nb there’s also stuff on the FACT forums at http://www.fact.co.uk, but I’m unable to read it for the sake of my mental health. You may want to though….

“It feels almost like your not so much pro-female as you are anti-male, and that ain’t pimp. That ain’t pimp at all (you’re gonna get me on that one, aren’t you).”
Why didn’t he just state that at the beginning, thus revealing his true attitudes towards gender and feminism? 🙂

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