No movies ever had to justify a cowboy going on a rogue revenge kick after his log cabin was burned to the ground or his family was killed; certain sufferings of injury, murder of loved ones, robbery, etc., have been accepted throughout cinematic history to merit revenge at all costs. ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ was a large part of a relatively new phenomenon, possibly born out of the feminist movement, to add rape—based on the woman’s experience of rape, whether validated by law or not—to that list of worthy harms, which is an important statement in our rape culture.
Grier’s legacy has lasted over four decades, but there’s something about her career that leaves me feeling unsettled, as if her filmography is indicative of larger (backward) social trends. She started out headlining action films–an amazing feat for a woman, much less a black woman in the early 1970s. A glance at a few of these films show feminist themes that are incredibly rare 40 years later. Her early films were groundbreaking, but nothing much was built after that ground was broken.
Pam Grier was the first black woman to be on the cover of Ms. Magazine (August 1975). Jamaica Kincaid wrote the article, “Pam Grier: The Mocha Mogul of Hollywood.” Written by Leigh Kolb[Warning: spoilers ahead!] The first time I saw Pam Grier in a film, I blurted out, “Why isn’t she in everything?” I first saw Grier […]