Monday, 16 March 2009

Quick hit: Lesbians in film? Generally first out the air-lock

Yonmei of Feminist SF - The Blog! has a fantastic post titled I will not die for your amusement, which begins thus:
Last Friday I was sitting in a cinema with a bunch of friends and friends of friends, waiting for The Watchmen to begin.

And then the trailer for Lesbian Vampire Killers came on. And in the space of a minute or two, I was reminded that to most of the straight people in this auditorium, I’m just a target. Not a real person. A straight man with an axe planning to kill lesbians is kinda funny, isn’t he? All jolly good fun.

I want this film to bomb and die at the box office. I want it more than I can tell you. I want it to be a massive, multi-million loss. I want the makers to quit. I can’t avoid the damn posters, I can’t avoid the damn trailer: but I can at least want never to see a sequel in the trailers, on the posters, on the Internet, in the film reviews.
Go read the whole thing; it won't take long and it's worth it.

I think it was Giovanni who first put me on to Feminist SF, so big ups to him.

11 comments:

Anna said...

Irk. Lesbians are tolerated in popular culture when they're willing to be attractive and have sex while men watch. If they don't fulfill these criteria, they're threatening things to be ridiculed or worse.

Dell said...

I saw the trailer and it was just horrible. If you pitched the idea of say 'Jews being killed for fun' or 'African Americans being killed for fun' they wouldn't be allowed to do the movie.

Yet it's OK to do movies about lesbians being killed for fun.

Byron said...

Its disappointing that in the last sentence of her post she tars Watchmen with the same brush as 'Lesbian Vampire Killers'
Alan Moore who wrote the comic on which the movie is based has been an activist against homophobia, in 1986 he stopped writing a comic strip for a newspaper when they ran a homophobic editorial and in 1988 he published the comic anthology 'AARGH!' (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia) as protest against a homophobic law change. The lesbians who die in Watchmen were not killed for anyones amusement, there is even a line in the film where another character states that they were 'murdered for their way of life'

I haven't read the comic yet (I wanted to see the film first as I knew the comic would be better and make the film less enjoyable) but apparently there are other lesbian characters in it who were left out of the film.

Giovanni said...

I think it was Giovanni who first put me on to Feminist SF

It sounds like something I would do - that blog kicks some serious butt.

reddeath26 said...

Wow, I am in full agreement with you in the hopes that this film will bomb. I could be reading into it incorrectly, but is this a not so subtle attack on feminism? While I do not always agree with feminist thought, the possibility of comparing them to vampires is quite atrocious.

Lucy said...

I haven't read the comic yet (I wanted to see the film first as I knew the comic would be better and make the film less enjoyable) but apparently there are other lesbian characters in it who were left out of the film

Yeah, there are. The gay characters don't make it into the film, either - at least, their gayness is never mentioned. Except, surprise, surprise, for the...I hesitate to say villain? antagonist of the piece, anyway, whose homosexuality is theoretical and suggested by an unreliable narrator in the comic, and fairly subtextually blatant in the movie. Watchmen the comic did deal with issues of homophobia, but the movie was basically "Hi, lesbians! Bye, dead lesbians! Look, sinister (and probably gay, and foreign) guy!" They could have done a better job, I think.

OTOH, the subversive re-creation of the famous VJ photo in the credits was pretty wicked.

Craig Ranapia said...

Wow, I am in full agreement with you in the hopes that this film will bomb. I could be reading into it incorrectly, but is this a not so subtle attack on feminism?

No -- to "attack feminism" you've actually got to think about it for a few seconds. I'm not so sure Snyder is capable of marshalling a coherent thought about anything much at all, considering the way every shred of joyous subversion Moore brought to the source material was sucked out of a film that's a triumph of production design and little else.

BTW, am I the only person who's somewhat disturbed that a big blue CGI cock excited more outraged commentary than a brutal -- and gratuitous, IMO -- attempted rape?

Anonymous said...

What a sad world you all live in. If you knew the actors who wrote and starred in this you'd be chuckling at their attempts to make such a film. It's a send up.

Anna said...

Anon, if it offends people, then the joke's clearly failed.

Anonymous said...

Over in the UK it hasn't offended anybody - or at least nobody has stood up and said it. In fact, the biggest lesbian columnist said it was not funny and that was that.

That is the main idea from most people, the slapstick stylings of James Cordon were not that funny at all... no surprises if you saw his appearence at the BAFTAs earlier this year.

But to get all antsy about it because it may have upset lesbians is a little precious. The movie was pure fantasy and could have been called anything else. In fact that was the idea, to name it in the most tacky way possible to get a reaction..... and it did. It reeled in all the silly people!

RESULT!

Yonmei said...

Over in the UK it hasn't offended anybody - or at least nobody has stood up and said it.

I'm in the UK: I was offended: I said so, in the very post "the Hand Mirror" linked to, and I wrote to the ASA complaining when I saw a trailer on TV for this offensive piece of crap.

Further, every lesbian with whom I discussed this film - and, as a British lesbian I'm pretty damn certain I know more British lesbians than you do - was offended by this film.

And I knew - as the other British lesbians also knew - that there was no point making a big deal of our offense, because the best we could hope for was that this film would bomb and die. Because people like you would find our being offended funny and even a reason to go see the film to "prove" it wasn't offensive.

But to get all antsy about it because it may have upset lesbians is a little precious.

Yeah, because it's so "precious" to get antsy about upsetting lesbians. Our feelings don't count. That was the point of my post.