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Literature, & Etc.

Archive for April 16th, 2009

Horror/Comedy or Just Plain Wrong!

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Taking numerous theoretical based courses this past year has made me hyper-aware of the ways in which people are conceived in literature, film, and television.  It is not too difficult to analyse a particular medium and look at the power struggles at work or the ways in which gender or class is presented to the viewer/reader. 

Two trailers I viewed recently over at Apple in particular have made me reflect on how we portray women and men. 

The first is a film entitled: Donkey Punch. Let me share with you the synopsis provided by the company:

After meeting at a nightclub in a Mediterranean resort, seven young adults decide to continue partying aboard a luxury yacht in the middle of the ocean. But when one of them dies in a freak accident the others argue about what to do, leading to a ruthless fight for survival. DONKEY PUNCH is the fourth film in Magnet’s “Six Shooter Film Series,” a series of six films highlighting the vanguard of genre cinema from around the globe. This series includes the following films: LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (Sweden), SPECIAL (US), Nacho Vigalondo’s TIMECRIMES (Spain), Ollie Blackburn’s DONKEY PUNCH (UK), EDEN LOG (France) and BIG MAN JAPAN (Japan).

For those who are not aware of the deviant sexual practice known as “Donkey Punching”, let me forewarn you, it is not a pleasant act. From Wikipedia: Donkey punch is a slang term for an apocryphal and potentially lethal sexual practice supposedly performed during anal sex. The purported practice involves the penetrating partnerpunching the receiving partner in the back of the head or neck (what is known in boxing as a rabbit punch, after a technique to kill rabbits) allegedly causing the receiving partner’s anal passage to tense up and increase the pleasure of the penetrating partner. When used, the donkey punch is almost exclusively executed during or just before the orgasm of the penetrating partner.

There is some controversy concerning whether the initial sexual act is restricted to anal sex prior to the donkey punch, or whether muscular contraction after the blow to the back of the head or neck during vaginal sex can also qualify as a donkey punch. It has even been proposed that a possible use of the donkey punch is to create a situation in which there can be a “surprise anal penetration” tantamount to sexual assault or rape.

The plot centers around a group of young men who decide to make a bet. They will each pick up women that evening and the one that can perform the “donkey punch” wins. I assume that the prize is bragging rights. Fucking disgusting.  So we have a young man who commits this act, harms the female (big surprise there), and then has to kill off her friends because the sexual act has now become an act of murder. 

I realize that this falls under the genre of horror, but I think this film goes beyond simple fright or the uncanny. This movie not only unsettles an individual it also holds up and perpetuates a stereotype of hyper-masculinity in which the ultimate male act is to violently assault a women during a sexual act. This message is passed on to many young men and women, especially since this film is primarily targeted at younger teenage audiences. 

The second film trailer I viewed is a comedy entitled Ante Up. The synopsis is as follows: 

A rank, a notorious teller of tall tales, discovers a mysterious light switch in his new house that he believe controls the sex drive of his virgin girlfriend. When his best friends call his bluff, via a bet, Frank must prove he’s telling the truth without losing his long-term girlfriend in the process. ANTE UP is an independent feature comedy shot on film. Produced over a two and a half year period with breaks for fundraising, it began as an idea when the Writer/Director had only $23 to his name.

So yet again we have a female who is subject to male desire without her consent being forced into sexual situations. Hmm, yes, rape is very humorous and funny. This not only sends a message that females are simply objects of exchange to be used and bartered between men but that this is what men do, and I take offense to this projected ideal. I do not view women in this way and it just bugs me that this is what is being idealized. 

Some might think I am over-reacting and that these films are primarily for entertainment purposes, and this is true, they’re all fictitious, but the messages they send have very real consequences for how we think of gender and violence and a larger society.  These are the representations that we’ve put up on screen to reflect the way we feel about ourselves and each other, kind of fucked up if you think about it.

Written by thebeliever07

April 16, 2009 at 11:16 am

Posted in media, personal, random

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The Years by Virginia Woolf

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I’m currently engaged in a battle with Virginia Woolf’s The Years. The book is amazing and the way in which Virginia draws focus on one particular family as it confronts birth, death, joy, and sorrow through various ‘years’ at the turn of the century is amazing.  It is written like a literary soap opera.  The various ups and downs of a family that deal with jobs gained and lost, marriages, etc. It is a slow read though and I find myself wondering why I really care about this family. Virginia has created a large cast of characters in such a way that focus is not given on any one single character. Just as you find yourself starting to become wrapped up in one character, she changes focus onto someone else which is both enjoyable and yet frustrating.  It is a slow book but one that allows you to sink your teeth into the text. Virginia also deftly weaves the changing face of society and time in the background of these characters lives.  Small scenes that step outside of the the characters point of view and glance at men and women walking down the street, railways, trams, trolleys, carriages, etc. Well worth picking up. Will write a proper review soon. Cheers.

Written by thebeliever07

April 16, 2009 at 8:29 am