Look, it's not like I want to keep sending traffic to the Total Film site. Especially after they treated us to their list of the 100 Greatest Female Characters. But last Wednesday, they published another list of greatness, this one involving movie posters. Well, I love movie posters, and I understand that my Greatest Ever list won't match Amber's Greatest Ever list, or anyone else's Greatest Ever list, and that one's reaction to and appreciation of all forms of art is subjective and often deeply personal. So I'm not here to discuss whether these are, in fact, the 40 Greatest Movie Posters. I'm here to talk about how Total Film talks about the posters that feature women. (I'm using the word "feature" here loosely, as most of the posters that dare include a woman often objectify, obscure, and/or dismember her.) Feel free to look at their list of all 40 posters, but I'm including only the posters that "feature" women below.
I take it back. I am going to talk about the offensiveness of these shitty selections. Out of the nineteen posters above--and that's nineteen out of Total Film's forty that actually contain some semblance of a woman's image--most either sexually objectify the woman or show her getting attacked. Or she's dead or dismembered. I mean fuck, out of Total Film's list of 40 Greatest Movie Posters, Bitch Flicks has previously criticized the posters of American Beauty, Choke, The Silence of the Lambs, and Secretary for showcasing dismembered women. That's bad enough. But the way the Total Film writer, George Wales, talks about the women/characters in these posters is just ... problematic at best.
Jaws: "Nubile young swimmer versus hungry giant shark. We know who our money's on ..." Um, nubile? Really?
Rosemary's Baby: "They should stick one on the wall of every Boots. Sales of contraception would skyrocket!" Why even bother selling contraception anymore? Just force doctors to make every girl, immediately when she begins menstruating, sit in an an empty room alone with this poster. I'm sure we can get some legislation passed on that if we just casually mention it to a nearby Republican.
The Silence of the Lambs: "The presence of the moth over the girl's mouth ..." The girl's mouth? She's not five.
Pulp Fiction: "Uma Thurman practices her best come-to-bed expression ..." Is that what she's doing? Practicing? That's a thing she sits around practicing? Like learning to play an instrument?
Secretary: "Okay, so it's more than a little pervy, but given the subject matter, that's probably fairly appropriate. And there's a wonderful symmetry to the image ... oh who are we kidding?" I don't even know what this means. What's pervy? The poster? The film's exploration of fetish and S & M? The writer of this article?
Hard Candy: "Every parent should mount one of these in their child's bedroom to ward off sexual predators ..." Look, George Wales. You can't tell from the poster that this is a film about sexual predators. And even if you could, you're basically implying that it's the responsibility of the victim to ward off a potential attack. A child has no responsibility in warding off sexual predators, okay? A child abducted and abused by a sexual predator is a victim of kidnapping and sexual abuse. End. Of. Story.
Brick: "The more hard-boiled elements aren't on display, but the amount of fragile beauty conjured up by a single wrist is most impressive." Yeah, when I look at a dead woman's hand floating in the water, I'm all, "OMG the gorgeous subtlety of a woman's probable murder."
Being John Malkovich: "Cameron Diaz's make-under is also on full display." Because that's important to note.
Choke: "It certainly captures the off-kilter mood, although we must clarify that Sam Rockwell doesn't actually eat any women in the film." He doesn't?!! What a misleading rip-off. Reminds me of the title of an article I just read at Total Film called, "The 40 Greatest Movie Posters."