I’m starting to get it. Men are simply so piss-in-their-pants terrified of women that they must reduce us to bits and pieces in order to even begin to cope with the horror.
No? So quit it with crap like this, movie industry run by men:
Ah, the ol’ Girl With No Face Is Coming To Kill You. Please scroll down for more examples. I had no idea this was such a visual cliché. Some poor graphic designer needs to get out of the house and meet some real women once in a while. We’re not out to kill you… honestly!
That’s the Region 1 DVD of Stalker on the left; it’s out October 15 [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada], and available to rent now on Amazon Instant Video. It’s been available in Region 2 — cover on the right — for a while [Amazon U.K.]. Do the Brits find women slightly less scary?
These poor boys! They have no idea, as they are about to embark on their journey into this head- and torsoless sexy lady’s crotch, that she is going to eat them alive with her vagina.
Come As You Are is out on October 7 in Region 2 [Amazon U.K.].
previous: decapitation sexy!
I mean, really, what does a woman need with a head or a brain when she’s got bazongas like these, amirite, guys?
previous: woman, hide your face
So, the depiction of a woman who’s been anonymized and dehumanized, it’s a portrait of powerlessness, right? Take a look at this:
A press release tells us what Rhymes for Young Ghouls — which just made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival — is about:
Red Crow Mi’gMaq reservation, 1976: By government decree, every Indian child under the age of 16 must attend residential school. In the kingdom of the crow, that means imprisonment at St. Dymphna’s. That means being at the mercy of “Popper”, the sadistic Indian agent who runs the school.
At 15, Aila is the weed princess of Red Crow. Hustling with her uncle Burner, she sells enough dope to pay Popper her “truancy tax”, keeping her out her out of St.Ds. But when Aila’s drug money is stolen and her father Joseph returns from prison, the precarious balance of Aila’s world is destroyed.
Her only options are to run or fight … and Mi’gMaq don’t run.”
It sounds potentially interesting, a tale about a powerless girl who fights back.
But check this out:
Mademoiselle C is a documentary about Carine Roitfeld, the editor of French Vogue for 10 years, which made her one of the most powerful women in the fashion world. So why is she depicted in a pose of dehumanized powerlessness?
Be forewarned, ladies! There’s no amount of power you can achieve that cannot be downplayed and dismissed.
previous: baby got back (and no face)
Reader singlestick note in comments that the poster for the upcoming film I Used to Be Darker is somewhat problematic:
Maybe the film should be titled I Used to Have a Face.
Alas, the poster for Devil’s Pass (aka The Dyatlov Pass Incident) — which isn’t just a good spooky movie but notable for the fact that the leader of the central group of protagonists is a woman — also depicts an anonymous (and slightly monstrous; note the claws) female figure with her back turned:
Always be sure to show plenty of skin, ladies. Just don’t show your face. It might lead others into mistaking you for a person.
previous: my vagina let me show you it
Is a lady’s crotchal area like a garden, or a fruit stand? Only her doctor, her lover, she, and the world entire know for sure!
On the left: the newly released poster for Fading Gigolo, from writer-director John Turturro, about a florist who develops a sideline in beflowering women’s naughty bits. No, wait: it’s about
Fioravante [who] decides to become a professional Don Juan as a way of making money to help his cash-strapped friend, Murray. With Murray acting as his “manager”, the duo quickly finds themselves caught up in the crosscurrents of love and money.
I have no idea what that means, but I guess it has something to do with women who have terrible gardening accidents.
On the right is the DVD cover for An Awkward Sexual Adventure, available on demand from Amazon Instant Video and on Region 1 DVD from Amazon U.S. and Amazon Canada. This is apparently the tale of a girl who takes an afterschool job as a fruit vendor, and never has time to change out of her uniform before her shift starts. Or else it’s this:
Desperate for sex tips after his girlfriend dumps him, an uptight accountant meets a beautiful stripper who expands his horizons, complete with trips to massage parlors, S&M toys and cross-dressing in this sweet yet raunchy comedy.
Also: they eat a lot of cantaloupe.
What is clear, however, is that neither of these movies is actually about the owner of the crotchal areas depicted, but are instead about how men benefit from access to said crotchal areas.
Fuck this shit.
previous: scary headless women are coming to kill you
I like how the Amazon description of Alyce Kills — coming to Region 1 DVD on August 20 — makes it sound at first as if it’s a story about a woman:
A young woman struggles to keep it together after tragically killing her best friend. Haunted by guilt she begins to unravel; losing sleep, losing her job and eventually her sanity. When she finally decides to take control, she unleashes enough horror and chaos to satisfy any gorehound.
But then right there at the end [emphasis mine], it becomes clear that the only purpose of this tale is to satisfy the viewer’s bloodthirst.
Late at night in a remote backroad restaurant, the customers are trying to stay awake. To keep boredom at bay, there’s nothing better than horror, cannibalism, sex and violence.
Bikini violence by anonymous women is the best.
previous: my back let me show you it
Need a womanly shape without any of that nasty personhood getting in the way? Anonymize her by having her turn her back to the viewer. Almost as good as a burqa!
It’s not always shitty junk movies that do this, either. Shell is a remarkable British movie about life for a teenage girl in very isolated rural Scotland, featuring a female protagonist who is a fully fledged human being. And yet this is how the Region 2 DVD wants to sell you on it:
Part of me wants to be generous and say that this is merely an expression of how she wants to run away from this awful place. But then my brain kicks back into gear and knows that this is suggesting generic-female-in-need-of-rescue because acknowledging her as one specific girl with lots of human issues — as, perhaps, with a closeup on her angry or sullen or bored face — would be too scary.
previous: women are nothing more than their bodies
Women! If only we could do away with their pesky brains and identifying faces, they would be perfect. Wait: Who says we can’t?
Don’t let the title fool you, this is a real movie.
Surprisingly funny, and witty. Jackson, the main character goes through his daily routine as a struggling artist looking for love in Los Angeles.
If he’s looking for love, might I respectfully suggest he might have more luck with a whole woman rather than a headless corpse?
A highly cinematic and atmospheric look at the final days of a turn of the century brothel when much of the Parisian sex trade was confined to grand maisons, populated by elegant madams and vetted clientele and Xavier Beauvois.
One user deems it “Anti-Erotica, An Ode to Female Suffering.” Well, of course the poor woman is suffering: her head’s been cut off.
As always in our culture: sexy means “conventionally attractive white woman’s body presented for the titillation of heterosexual men.” It’s actually a refreshing change of pace when the headless woman isn’t white, as on the theatrical poster for Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada], which I featured a while back, before I decided I needed to start collecting this shit in one place:
Diversity in misogyny!
previous: anonymous silhouette pregnant with Hell Baby
Teaser poster for the upcoming horror comedy Hell Baby [official site]:
There’s an actual woman in the film who’s pregnant with this little devil — she’s played by Leslie Bibb. But what’s more important, clearly, is the unborn creature (who wants to bet it’ll be male?), not the woman who’s carrying the monster. Naturally.
previous: headless prostitutes are teh sexy
Check out the poster for the film American Courtesans, coming to Region 1 DVD on July 12. It’s not porn — it’s a serious documentary about sex workers. From the official site:
“American Courtesans” is an intimate portrayal of modern day escorts in America. In our own words we discuss our lives, the events that led us into our profession, and the reasons we stay. We welcome you into our world for a brief moment and will be candid and honest about what life is like for us; each of us willing to offer up our life experiences. We only ask that you listen with an open mind, and allow us to show you who we are.
We will address the stereotyping and social stigma attached to this profession and what it has cost us. You will see who we are through eyes of our clients, spouses, children, and parents, along with the contributions and impact it has had on their lives. This is a true documentary so you will also find that many of us have made poor choices, based on life circumstances, that we are vividly candid about.
We are women who come from all walks of life, we are your neighbors, your daughters, your mothers, and your sisters. We shop in the same stores as you and eat right beside you without you ever knowing we exist. We are American Courtesans and we welcome you to our world.
So: the film is about real women doing a real job that can be really tough. And this is being sold by reducing them to anonymous “hot” bodies.
previous: how movie marketing objectifies and dehumanizes women
I’m talking literally. With a startling regularity, movie posters and DVD covers reduce women to objects, to representations of vague, general “womanness” rather than individual people who happen to be women. Sometimes this takes form as a caricature-like rendering of a generic female body; sometimes it means we get a photograph of an anonymous woman who is faceless or headless, her identifying features cropped out of the image.
I’m sick of it, and I’m gonna start calling it out. Like with this variation, to the right, of a Movie 43 theatrical poster that’s on the film’s Amazon Instant Video page. We see this sort of thing a lot, a headless female figure not meant to represent a character in the movie but merely indicating a sort of generic “sexiness”… because women’s bodies are all about promising sex to the (presumed heterosexual male) viewer.
And these are fun, no?
A Labor of Love is an apparently classic documentary that will be released next week on Region 1 DVD. The Amazon description is interesting:
Vinegar Syndrome proudly presents the home video debut of what Roger Ebert called “an absorbing document [that] captures the human reality of the sexual experience” A LABOR OF LOVE documents the heart felt and earnest attempt by a naive Chicago filmmaker to create an X rated movie. Between struggles with the cast, the production forges on in a manner which Variety called “intelligent and thoroughly entertaining – a frequently hysterical group portrait” and Hadrian Belove of Cinefamily acclaimed as “a lost v‚rit‚ masterpiece – a movie-about-movies documentary classic.’
An anonymous female shape best represents “the human reality of the sexual experience”? In a cultural shorthand in which the female form equals sex, I guess it does.
A Taste of Money is also out next week on Region 1 DVD. This is what it’s about:
In a mansion on the outskirts of Seoul lives one of the richest families in South Korea. Patriarch Yoon is the president of a multinational conglomerate, but his wife Madame Baek really holds all of the power. Her personal secretary Young-Jak, a handsome young man newly introduced to the world of wealth and influence, deals with the family’s immoral — and frequently illegal — activities while he awaits his own opportunity to make it rich. When Madame Baek catches her husband having an affair and exacts her revenge by seducing Young-Jak, a torrid series of intra-familial deceptions ensues in this sexy and controversial erotic thriller from South Korean master Im Sang-soo.
So here’s a film about a powerful woman who seduces a handsome young man… and the DVD cover offers us a fully dressed man and a completely naked woman, whose face is turned away from us, rendering her an anonymous object the possession of which represents a man’s power. Why doesn’t the cover show us an older woman clutching a naked young man greedily to her? Because that would look ridiculous. So why did no one think this looked ridiculous?