Nov 26 2005

Amnesty International Should Catch Some Flying Daggers


Mei’s sexalicious head-chandelier makes these dudes love her to death

My delightful house-guest Miss Thing Stingray, though she cannot have failed to notice that I have been a bit under the weather recently what with the cancer and the chemo and the more or less incessant nausea and everything, nevertheless turned upon me yesterday a gaze that can only be described as rueful, and chastised me for having failed to update the old blog with any kind of timeliness. Apparently boring old pukey me is no longer as amusing in real life as I am on a computer screen, so would I please get after it?

Actually, I attribute my recent shortcomings as both a hostess and a blogger not to my current infirmity, but to this absurd non-smokin, non-drinkin lifestyle I have been forced to adopt as a result. How many megawatts of fun can a person reasonably be expected to exude when the highlight of her day is a Zofran washed down with a swig of Gatorade and a Simpsons rerun?

But enough about me. What about this Amnesty International poll? The one indicating that " 34% of people in the UK believe that a woman is partially or totally responsible for being raped if she has behaved in a flirtatious manner"?

Or if she is perceived as "promiscuous"?

Or if she has been drinking?

Or if she has worn "sexy" clothing?

Because we did not just roll off the lapdance truck yesterday, this intelligence concerning the persistence of "sexist blame culture" does not boggle the mind.  It is no news flash that we, as women, in traipsing about our daily lives as members of the sex class, are the irrefutable cause of massive and unrelenting boners, many of which so enrage those hapless chaps to whom they are attached that assault is the frequent and inevitable outcome.

Sexist blame culture isn’t surprising considering that its parent culture is patriarchy. You remember patriarchy, the fun-loving institution that brings you the fetishization of dominance and submission, the hatred of women, and the global reverence for I-can-kick-your-ass?

Anyway, what surprises me is that this revelation of blame culture surprises Amnesty International. They call the results of their poll "shocking." Maybe they would be less shocked, and would not have to commission expensive polls, and have more of a clue, if they rented popular movies more often.

That’s what Stingray did. Last night she brought home one of those cartoony martial arts movies called House of Flying Daggers.  Released in 2004, it stars that tiny Crouching Tiger girl with the red lipstick, Zhang Ziyi, as a hottie who can chuck a flying dagger across miles with pinpoint accuracy straight into your jugular without batting an eye. Of course, this detail is of secondary significance to her overarching sexbottish delicacy. Theoretically she can kick your ass, but, as "a rare beauty," she is primarily an inflamer of boners, so she is necessarily and constantly the victim of attempted rape throughout the movie. Rape, in fact, appears to be the grandest of romantic gestures in this film. The rapists are the two romantic leads who love her. One of them finally kills her because he loves her so much, and then the two rapists try to kill each other.

Nothing in the tone of the film suggests that there is anything the slightest bit off about this. Neither is any explanation is given as to why the Zhang Ziyi character can butcher 47 enemy soldiers with a stick of bamboo but can’t fend off a single rapist. That’s because we don’t need an explanation. This is patriarchy, and whatever else Zhang may be, she is a sexbot first, and loving rape is her job.


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  1. bitchphd

    She can’t fend off rape because she LOOOOOOOOVES the rapists. Because like you say, she knows that she is supposed to be a sexbot, even if she is also a sexbot killing machine. After all, sexbot killing machines are… so sexy!

  2. ehj2

    you two are almost depressing me.

    and without even mentioning what is perhaps the “worst” and most confusing part … that once the rapist/defilers have raped and defiled … then they don’t “want” the object of their rape&defilement anymore. they want a “new” shiny undefiled forest, river, girl/woman, “object” of destructive affection.

    the first thing “they” want to do to an untouched perfection is not “love it as it is” … but … mess it up … and then they don’t want it.

    what is with that?

    can i even handle the answer?

  3. Meganann

    Yeah, and because you know women–they all just want a big ol’ dick. And if a woman fucks one man, she is obviously a sexed-up nympho whore who wants it from anyone (correction: any MAN).

    Women, no matter what they do, are percieved as wanting it even if they say ‘no’. They’re really just saying it because they feel like they have to, not because they don’t want it.

    And that Zhang Ziyi girl, totally wearing red lipstick…slut.

    If you were born with a vagina, you must be asking for it.

  4. ripley

    I really hated this movie. It was sexist crap. she’s soooo good at fighting except that she has to be rescued alla time by the men? Yeah and every non-fight scene has her being humiliated (even if it’s not actual rape) -there’s all these girlish cries and tearful grunts of fear..

    And because the director is having an ‘affair’ with her, having thrown over his previous, older leading lady, for this one.. I felt even more disgusted by the level of hostility the film shows to her. Can’t help but see it as the hostilty of an old powerful man with his young lover, because he resents her youth, so he puts her in all these humiliating scenes.


  5. wordgirl

    Because the patriarchy was nurtured into its present power on the strength of the idea that THE WORLD AND EVERYTHING/EVERYONE IN IT IS HERE TO SERVE MEN AND MAKE THEM HAPPY. ONLY THEIR FEELINGS MATTER…NO ONE ELSE’S.

    That would explain the veritable minefield of societal expectations placed on women. We’re criticized as being physically weak, but we’re also hounded for losing our femininity when we occasion to outrun/outscore a man in the sporting fields. In the old days girls were encouraged to let guys win a board game because their egos needed stroking, which only perpetuated the notion that girls couldn’t compete. Girls who beat boys are ballbusters. Girls who lose to boys are just losers.

    Be weak so that we can feel powerful and not be threatened by you. But that also means we’ll be able to make fun of you or disqualify you from certain sports…because you are weak.

    Flirt with us. Be sexual with us. Be REALLY nasty with us. Wear clothing that limits your movement so that, when you run from us, you can’t get far. Truss yourself up in pantyhose or short tight skirts and high heels. Don’t do anything that ruins that dragon-lady manicure that makes your hands look like the paws of a sun bear. Keep those tits aired up. They need to be at least as big as your head because that’s the way men like them. It makes us feel good when you try to dress sexy for us. But now the way you look makes you you a whore. And whores deserve to be raped…because they really like that kind of thing anyway. What??? You don’t want to have sex with me? You are probably one of those women who hates sex. We can tell. You wear slacks a lot and shirts that don’t give us a peek at the “goods”. You sexless/frigid bitch!

    Please let me get you pregnant. Why? Well–because Motherhood is a woman’s highest calling and I have mandate to spread my seed. But–we all know that pregnant women are irrational and can’t make good decisions.Women with PMS, pregnant women or menopausal women are all insane. And a woman who stays home with young children is just a boring idiot with no ambition. A woman who puts her children in childcare is just a bad mother. And a selfish bitch who can’t put anyone’s interests ahead of her own. But…I still want to get you pregnant. Just don’t get fat. Because fat women are unattractive. It’s manly for me to show my big shelf gut, but yours just makes you look like Barbara Bush.

    No wonder women are so angry. Can you blame us?

  6. mythago

    Go rent The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk, aka “Lesbian Kung-Fu Mothers of Ancient China”. You’ll feel much better.

  7. rose

    I love this post, I love you guys, I love the internets. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to be outraged in good company rather than all alone wondering who the hell are these people.

  8. Tony Patti

    “Because the patriarchy was nurtured into its present power on the strength of the idea that THE WORLD AND EVERYTHING/EVERYONE IN IT IS HERE TO SERVE MEN AND MAKE THEM HAPPY. ONLY THEIR FEELINGS MATTER…NO ONE ELSE’S.”

    Words like this just need to be repeated over and over again because it’s so hard for men, even men who think they are “good men” like myself, to grasp the privilege that we have, whether we choose to enjoy it or not.

    The classic Twisty stuff about how men assume that the default state of being human is being male is also hard for men to grasp. Many men have been cruelly mistreated for trying to look at things from any other point of view.

    The first real glimpse I had of the hellish world of being a woman was in the sex-mad 70s, and I was, as many a young woman would like to do, walking down the street minding my own business with no thought as to my desirability since I was a member of the sexless class. Or so I assumed.

    Two men, leaving the notorious gay disco Herbies, started walking behind me, and started to hiss at me. I nearly jumped out of my skin, and I might have, it it hadn’t been crawling with the shock of fear and the sheer disgust.

    Though I have never been so stupid as to whistle at girls or anything like that, I’d never thought of it as assault before. But the feeling of being physically assaulted was visceral and real. And I was able to see, instantly and deeply, the fear and horror a mere whistle can provoke in a young girl.

    Unpleasant though it might be, exposure to the same kind of sexist crap men dole out to women from gay men is an affective way to bring some small idea of empathy to young men. I’ve always said we need pubic rites in our so-called civilized world.

  9. ms kate

    One would think that such a lethal female would lure men to their deaths. Either have sex with them (if she cares to) or not but kill them. Like a black widow spider or hungry pissed off female octopus.

    I find it interesting that she can’t want sex and have sex on a consensual mutual level – she has to be dominated and controlled/taken or killed. That is what is truly sick – the perception that a killer woman is out of line and must be taken and/or murdered to put the world to rights. Probably related to all those suicidal jerks who just have to kill their whole family and then themselves rather than skulking off to do it solitary.

  10. Pinko Punko

    Zhang Ziyi also got forceably taken in Zhang Yimou’s “Hero”, if Flying Daggers didn’t drive the point home enough. Ont op of that, Hero was a fascist apologia for Communist China. Twisty, I don’t want you to lose your shit anymore than you already are but Vox Day, cobag extraordinaire, has posted on this topic from the other side. We point out one of his comments from his comment threads at Three Bulls!, but if you want to see the vileness for yourself it is at:

    Of course I am physically ill about it.

  11. Kyra

    Thank you, Twisty and all, for warning me not to watch these things, all of which seemed rather fun-looking and innocuous from the previews and commercials.

    Theory: A movie that features a lethal, ass-kicking female character will always have that character raped, killed, or otherwise victimized and humiliated, if not all of the above. And it will always be by a male character or characters. If none of the above happens, she will without a doubt have her lethality compromised by being put in a situation where she requires the rescue of male characters.

    Gods, it’d be just SO GODDAMN WONDERFUL if somebody took over all the big movie studios and decreed that the genders of all the lead characters be switched.

    Seriously, think about it. What if the blatantly gender-biased Star Wars Episode III (which I am still mourning for) had, say, young Jedi Annaki Skywalker who gets into all the fights and whatnot, and her Senator boyfriend Padem who sits around and stares out the window? See how problematic that would be—everyone would notice that he never does anything, and it would be changed.

    This is why I stick with books.

  12. Hattie

    You are noble to post when you’re feeling so bad & deprived. I count on my Twisty fix and thank you very much.

  13. Julia

    I’ve missed you, Twisty!

    And I’ll avoid those movies.

    Pinko Punko–I followed that link and it made me physically ill.

  14. Rene

    I haven’t seen House of Flying Daggers, but I did see that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon piece of shit, and I hated it, mostly, I must admit, because the people were supposed to be flying, and you could totally see the wires hooked on their capes. If it was supposed to be funny, in some throwback Ed Wood kinda way, well, OK, but the relentless hoity-toityisms clogged my kitsch receptors. If anyone got raped in that movie, I probably wouldn’t have noticed because I was too busy wishing they would all get slaughtered asap.

    I’m too vindictive to be a good judge of cinema, I think. After watching Rosemary’s Baby, I decided that Mia Farrow deserved to be ravaged by the devil because she painted over all that gorgeous walnut paneling. From the second she first chirps, “A fresh coat of white paint would brighten this place considerably!” I’m ready for her to be punished. Granted, being betrayed by John Cassavetes and then raped by Satan might strike some as a tad harsh, but anyone who’s ever had to scrape paint off old woodwork will understand.

    On a more serious note, I read somewhere that Indian cinema is chock-full of rape scenes. Representations of people kissing or having consensual sex is strictly forbidden, but rape–why, that’s just good clean family entertainment!


  15. Pinko Punko

    Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon was not as problematic as the other too, but once again Zhang Zhiyi was forcibly had AGAIN in that movie, if I remember correctly. Perhaps this is a common theme of Chinese mythology? Well, it’s certainly a common theme of many cultures mythologies and well cutlures. Rape is everywhere.

    Vox Day is a terrible person, but his views are very commonplace.

  16. aeonsomnia

    I read Vox’s pissy little “women ask for it” diatribe the other day. And you know what? I wondered, after reading that, if ole’ Voxie would feel the same way about rape if he got drunk and some dude decided that his drunkeness=open season & permission to bugger him. (Or to really give Voxie the vapors, if a woman decided to rape him with a strap-on; that’d probably give him a heart attack).

    Yeah, notice how men conclude that rape isn’t so “sporting” and fun when it’s possible that THEY might be on the receiving end of any brutalities.

    As for “House of Flying Daggers”…{sigh}. Sounds like another movie I won’t be renting. And the commercials made it look so cool, too.

  17. Pinko Punko


    There are more interesting scenes in HoFD than Hero, in my opinion, and it doesn’t have the stench of fascism on it, but they both have the Patriarchy all over them. I have argued with many people that claim the superb aesthetics trump the sinister message. I really want to just call them shallow. While watching both of those films I could separate my disgust at the messages from the artistry, but that doesn’t mean I turn around and recommend them as “awesome” to people. They are highly problematic. Problem is our entire culture is steeped in patriarchy, as are our intellectual and artistic traditions. It comes down to where on the scale these things fall. I found those two Yimou movies to be wanting.

  18. Kate

    Well, I posted about the Amnesty International study at a lefty blog I sometimes write for.

    And I got not only the women ask for it response, but a lot of “but women lie about rape to humiliate men!”, and “men who are falsely accused of rape deserve recompense for the victim despite no other criminal proceeding having this liability”, and a whole lotta pretty intense bullshit too about women being “deal-breakers” if they back out of sex at the last minute, and so on:


    I agree about the Yimou films as well. Very creepily misogynstic. Chinese culture isn’t really known for its woman-friendliness, what with foot-binding, abandonment of girl children and such other matters.

    I’d also say thanks for posting despite suffering from the after-effects of chemo, Twisty.

  19. Pinko Punko

    Kate, I agree with you. Also, this is not the place to discuss the false-accusation thing, but I can’t help but think that is a part of the patriarchy too.

    1) Such fervor over false-accusations is the patriarchy acting to suppress accusations in the first place by casting the accuser into doubt.

    2) some other stuff that I can’t quite elaborate correctly so I leave it at that.

  20. aeonsomnia

    Pinko – Maybe I’ll try the movie. I was so hoping that this one would be a “female character kicks ass w/out getting punished/raped/killed/put in her place” movie, though. Tank Girl’s the last movie I remember with a woman fighting back and winning w/out some punishment befalling her.

  21. Pinko Punko

    Aeonsomnia- let me know at 3bs! if you do see it. Basically it comes across as very much the traditional myth bullshit, but less distasteful than Hero. I so wanted it to be good. Visually stunning. Maybe Aeon Flux will be the movie for you, but Charlize is half naked the whole time so, I don’t know. I missed that cartoon on MTV.

  22. zuzu

    Zhang Zhiyi is also starring in Memoirs of a Geisha, which comes out in December. So Does Michelle Yeoh. Which of course begs the question of why they’re using Chinese actresses instead of Japanese for a Japanese story if not for the “oh-well-they’re-known-by-Americans-and-they-all-look-alike” factor.

    There is also a scene in the book the movie is based on in which the virginity of the main character is bid up, which is part of a business transaction of her house and her mentor.

    There’s something to be said for eliminating that scene, but it wouldn’t be true to the Kyoto geisha scene of the period. Like it or not, that happened at the time.

  23. Kate

    Yeah Pinko Punko, but it’s so frustrating that every thread gets derailed into “waaah men are victims too!” crap that makes me want to beat people up with my recently acquired brick-sized copy of ‘The Second Sex’. Anyway, as you say, another topic for another day.

    Back to Chinese and otherwise films: as you say Zuzu to elimate that would be lying about the past. I guess it all comes down to the way it is handled.

  24. Ron Sullivan

    If you ever have the slightest doubt that “our” culture is deeply misogynistic, consider the fact that “Fuck you” is the most hostile thing you can say to anyone.

  25. G. Brooke

    One possible antidote to “House of Flying Daggers” sickness-syndrome: a few good episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an ass-kicking female hero who is frequently assaulted, but is never a victim and never needs a bail-out from the Big Strong Man (not even from her ass-kicking boyfriend).

    Kiddo, “the bride” from Kill Bill, also comes to mind, I suppose.

  26. The Fat Lady Sings

    I wanted to let you know all these discussions have prompted me to post some video of a performance piece I did regarding this subject. This has really pushed some buttons in me – so I felt the need to respond.
    Sometimes I Hear My Voice

  27. TeenageCatgirl

    You know, women are going to have to start doing worse things to men (rapists) than men can to women. Maybe then rape wouldn’t be such a laugh for them.

  28. TimT

    One possible antidote to “House of Flying Daggers” sickness-syndrome: a few good episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an ass-kicking female hero …

    You reckon? I’m a big fan of Buffy, too, but several episodes come to mind where she has to be bailed out by her gang. And one thing that really shits me about the show is how Buffy’s friends are always going on about how ‘strong’ she is, and how she always ‘survives’ and ‘rises above circumstance’. Sure, she’s strong. She’s so freaking strong that she needs her friends to tell her how strong she is, every second of every day.


  29. Jane Dark

    Great post, Twisty. Thanks.

  30. anne

    closer to home again but again moving in the wrong direction: let’s step back to Thelma and Louise, shall we?, and over the cliff.

    I could use some better endings for tough women: any suggestions?

  31. antelope

    Well, it wasn’t the greatest movie I ever saw, but how about Mr & Mrs Smith for a flick where the tough woman turns out to be both a bit smarter & a bit tougher than her tough-guy hubbie, and in the end they decide they’ll be reasonably happy together anyhow.

    Yes of course there’s the title & all the bullshit gossip surrounding it that both support the patriarchy pretty strongly, but the actual plot was typical fast-moving hollywood fare w/out any women having to be punished.

    Of course, as I think about it, this is the ONLY natural first step in the direction of “equality” for the patriarchy in that there’s a good chunk of the movie where they BOTH feel betrayed & BOTH respond to it by beating up on one another.

  32. anashi

    God, I love your blog. Soooo much sanity.

  33. anashi

    Oh, Buffy was brought up. *jumps at chance to show her knowledge* Buffy was actually nearly raped by Spike. For some reason she couldn’t fight him off, because she had just mysteriously lost her power. Spike was the one who stopped it in the end, because she begged. It made no sense and reminds me a lot of what is going on with the dynamic in this movie. Then we got the lesbian kilt off during that season too, I think. So yeah, Buffy not so much with the fighting of patriarchy.

  34. TimT

    And the whole Willow (Girl=Lesbian=Witch) thing? Don’t tell me that’s an exciting new role model for women.

  35. ae

    Twisty, this is why I would so make out w/ you. That movie was a steaming pile o’ poo. Thank you!

    The AI survey, on the other hand, might make me lose my mind, so I’ll stick to film comment. I’d recommend anything by Marleen Gorris, especially “A Question of Silence” and “Antonia’s Line.” (“The Luzhin Defence,” meh.) Also, “An Angel at My Table” (dir. by Jane Campion).

    Brava, Fat Lady.

  36. Emma

    I think that Joss Whedon (and all his collaborators) wants to have strong female characters, but sort of wusses out.

    I mean, I can’t decide if he’s actually treating them like people, or if he just wants every nerdy girl to have hot lesbian sex so he can get his rocks off.

    Even bad ass Faith needs saving, if you’ve continued on into Angel.

    Personally, I think all of the relationships and things in Buffy would take me ages to interpret. I’m sure there’s an exception to every rule.

  37. anashi

    “And the whole Willow (Girl=Lesbian=Witch) thing? Don’t tell me that’s an exciting new role model for women.”

    Exactly, and especially with how magic was so completely associated with lesbian sex or lesbian intimacy at the beginning of the relationship. At first the connection was positive and then suddenly we have the episodes where the magic Willow uses is actually like a drug and evil. So lesbian sex = bad magic = evil.

    (God, I’m a nerd)

  38. Freedom

    Buffy was actually nearly raped by Spike. For some reason she couldn’t fight him off, because she had just mysteriously lost her power. Spike was the one who stopped it in the end, because she begged.

    Actually, that’s not how it happened. Buffy had suffered a head injury just prior to Spike’s attempted rape. And when she and Spike were fighting she hit her head again against the tub. That’s why she was unable to fight him off. She did beg him to stop but he didn’t. That was when Buffy used her Slayer strength to kick him across the bathroom and into the wall.

    And people kept praising Buffy as this great feminist show but I never saw it. I mean the show had it’s moments but it always seemed way more patriarchy affirming than feminist to me.

  39. bitchphd

    Ok, if we’re going to talk Buffy…

    Actually, in the Spike rape episode, the writers went to great lengths to show that Buffy had been thrown against a concrete headstone across her back, so that she was more damaged/sore than usual–and in fact, she DID shove Spike off her in the end, even so. He was remorseful afterwards, and she said as much.

    Having said all that. I think the problem with Buffy is the same as the problem with The Awakening, or the House of Mirth, or the Yellow Wallpaper, or any number of other feminist fictions, and Anne’s question hits it on the head: what other ending is possible for smart, strong, independent women? The difficulty of imagining What Would Happen to a woman who stepped completely outside of the socially prescribed roles stymies a lot of great writers. It’s like stepping off the end of the map, plot-wise.

    Which is why I’m one of the few people who really liked Buffy seasons 6 and 7: I think a lot of the difficulties, inconsistencies, and aesthetic problems of those seasons can be traced to the writers bravely trying to imagine possible answers to that question.

  40. bitchphd

    “and she said as much” = meaning, when he tried to offer some pitiful excuse about how he had stopped, she says, “because I made you.”

  41. Anonymous

    A quick criticism of Zuzu’s comment “There’s something to be said for eliminating that scene, but it wouldn’t be true to the Kyoto geisha scene of the period. Like it or not, that happened at the time.”

    That is completely incorrect. You obviously haven’t read Mineko Iwasaki’s actual memoir. Arthur Golden falsified the virginity-selling incident as well as many of Mineko’s relationships with people that, in real life, she actually loved. There are reasons for feminists to be infuriated by the idea of geishas, but at least be angered by facts and not fiction.

  42. jc.

    After reading your comments on the study which shows that many believe that raped woemen were asking for it I unfortunately read the Vox(?) and friends take on the same report. The “intellectual” discussion level and style of these “men” was pretty much on par with a pubescent circle jerk. However with time some of their logic began to penetrate (heh-heh- penetrate get it?) my sensibilities and i bega realise that the world is full of all kinds of whiners “who asked for it”
    For example:
    sexually abused children. Think about it what do the expect with those chubby little cherub butts, hairless bodies and continually asking adults to play with them? How can it end any other way with such provocation by the little tykes?
    Earthquake victims. They´re moslems and live in a foreign country. Idiots, what the hell do they expect to happen?
    Starving africans. C´mon they live in deserts and are africans, how stupid can you be?
    Jews. They killed christ, steal all our money and run the communist party. They´re just asking for it.
    Black people. They wear their baseball caps backwards, keep grabbing their crotches and walk funny. Just whose fault is it really that they can´t get a good job or live somewhere nice (ie.; white)?
    The list can be made long but the truth of the matter is that if you ´re stupid enough not to be a white hetero (not negotiable) christian (preferably) american male then it´s your own damn fault and you should stop whining about the consequences and take them like a man.
    By the way, as it says in the Bible: “Merry Christmas and goodwill to MEN.”!!!

  43. laughingmuse


    I will recommend, for the martial-arts Chinese film genre, one of my faves, Heroic Trio. (Maggie Cheung is in it, actually, too.) The women have different personalities, have their own personal dramas, and try to fight an evil sorcerer guy who is stealing baby boys and feeding them human flesh, trying to raise a new Emperor.

    OK, ignore the last part, but it’s a fun movie. Just don’t be shocked when there may be stunts with wires, or people all seem to wear 20 yards or chiffon gauze and stand near a big wind machine.

  44. piny

    >>You reckon? I’m a big fan of Buffy, too, but several episodes come to mind where she has to be bailed out by her gang. And one thing that really shits me about the show is how Buffy’s friends are always going on about how ‘strong’ she is, and how she always ‘survives’ and ‘rises above circumstance’. Sure, she’s strong. She’s so freaking strong that she needs her friends to tell her how strong she is, every second of every day. >>


    I kind of liked this, because it seemed like a rebuttal to an implicitly sexist idea of heroism: y’know, the man who does it all by himself? Buffy needed help and support not because she was a woman, but because she was a human being–because everyone who excels has a bunch of people pushing them along the way. She survived longer than any other slayer because she’d managed to learn that. Also, the people who helped her, Tara and Willow most notably, were useful in ways that didn’t depend on brute strength.

  45. anashi

    Ugh, sorry, I got the scene wrong. I went back and watched it. I still find it vaguely unsettling that she still wasn’t able to throw him across the room at the very beginning. The smashing into the wall thing is too convenient. I don’t think the last seasons were handled well at all. There was this total disconnect with the audience (which was mainly women). One of the people behind the show said they were trying to draw in more men during those seasons and that they had succeeded.

  46. Anonymous

    I’ve heard that Chinese cinema isn’t so good with the whole portraying rape thing.

    The last kung fu film I saw was Kung Fu Hustle, and if anybody else has seen it I’m curious as to how you would rate it in terms of the patriarchy.

    There are two main female characters in that film. One is the mute love interest who doesn’t really do much except stand on the sidelines. Except for a scene where she’s a young child menaced by bullies, she’s not really put in distress.

    The other main female character is the landlord of an apartment complex, and she’s kind of a stereotype; She’s the loud, middle-aged somewhat shrewish wife with an irresponsible, constantly put-upon husband. It’s a classic pairing; think Hagar the Horrible or something.

    The twist is, she’s also one of the greatest martial artists in the world. One of her techniques involves yelling really loudly.

    She’s also never really menaced; like I said, she’s one of the greatest martial artist in the world, and it’s shown in the movie; she easily takes apart the assasins and thugs the evil Axe Gang sends against her, and is only beaten by the Beast, who is identified as the strongest martial artist in the world. Even so, she and her husband (Who, keeping with the stereotype, is the lesser of the pair) almost manage to beat him.

    At the end, she does have to be saved by the hero, but only after she gets him away from the beast and gives him time to realise his true power. In other words, she rescues the hero before the hero rescues her.

    So, I’m curious as to whether you folks think the landlady is a strong feminist character; whether her strength and likeability outweigh her stereotypical character.

    I should mention that [b]Kung Fu Hustle[/b] is a comedy, but the bad guys are nasty enough that it feels good to see them get their asses kicked.

  47. TimT

    I wouldn’t know whether the landlady is a strong feminist character or not, but she sounds bloody hilarious. I’ll keep an eye out for that.

  48. anashi

    I’d say she was. My feelings at the beginning of the movie changed as I watched more and more. She kicked so much ass, and that scene in the car after defeating the man the gangsters sent after them was bloody hilarious.

  49. K

    I always thought Buffy didn’t kick Spike off immediately because she tried to reason with him first.

    I’m also one of the few chicks I know who doesn’t think that scene was entirely out of character for Spike, or even uncharacteristic of his sexual relationships with women all the way up til then. Leaving aside the threesomes and moresomes he probably had with Dru, Spike had only had relationships with two women. Both of these relationships were characterized by rather violent and unhealthy sex.

    This is certainly not an excuse for rape of any kind, but I think in the context of the Spuffy storyline, it’s not unexpected that Spike would have to be shocked into taking no for an answer. When he thinks about it he’s pretty remorseful, admittedly again Spike-style, meaning for every two or three points of making things better he gets 20 of fucking things up further, as we see in S7. Our Spike never does anything half-assed, you know.

    As for the Scooby gang helping out, Whedon & Co. explicitly state, several times, both in-and-out of script, that they dislike the “lone hero” myth and wish to upend it. How any Buffy fan could miss that is beyond me. After all, they do the same with Angel, and while doesn’t use his dick that often I don’t think he could be mistaken for an XX chromosome person.

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