‘Jennifer’s Body’ is not a traditional female possession film. The genre is generally typified by mild mannered asexual women who begin to act in overt and sometimes pathologized sexual ways once they become possessed. Jennifer’s sexuality, on the other hand is firmly established at the beginning of the film, from her clothing, the way she interacts with both her best friend Needy and the males in her school, to where she casually mentions that she is “not even a back door virgin anymore.”
There is so much violence both toward men and women in the movie, but it is so over the top that teamed with the beautiful highly stylized cinematography it is hard to take seriously. This time around, the world of Sin City has a very ethereal dream-like quality that tempers its grittiness a little.
The control of sex and sexuality was a fascination of the 19th century. In a reaction to the thought to be morally bankrupt licentiousness of the regency period, Victorian sexual values were characterized by repression, control and purity. Fitting as a common theme of the era was man’s victory over nature. It was a time when the medical establishment was obsessed with classifying and categorizing and “disorders” such as homosexuality and hysteria were invented
Shots of Lisa emphasize her youth, her beauty, the perkiness of her breasts, and the roundness of her ass. Unlike Maggie, she is very sensual and perhaps the opposite of nurturing. She is openly mocking toward Marty and refuses to cater to him emotionally. Marty seems to see Lisa as a necessary evil; she allows him to deal with all the pain and degradation he sees in his job. At one point Marty says in a voiceover sequence says: “You gotta take your release where you find it, or where it finds you. I mean, in the end it’s for the good of the family”–implying that having Lisa in his life allows him to get out his “animal” urges, allowing him to be able to be a good husband and father to his family when he gets home.
There were parts of the short that I really loved. The variety of women–not just in terms of body type but also ethnicity–was wonderful to see captured on film. The scenes where the women were just hanging out being themselves were beautiful and really conveyed a sense of easy feminine bonding that is something unusual in a world where women are almost always conveyed as competing with each other.
LSP’s character design can barely be called feminine in the ways that we as a society code things feminine. This is especially true if you compare her to other female characters on ‘Adventure Time’ such as Flame Princess and Princess Bubblegum. Her gender markers are the fact that her name is Lumpy Space Princess, the fact that she is pink, and that her speech takes on the patterns and vernacular of a valley girl although her actual voice is low and not immediately parse-able as feminine. The other main gender marker of LSP is the fact that she is into traditionally feminine things such as shopping and make up.
At its core, ‘Maleficent’ rewrites the morality tale that we all know. Instead of showing us that there is good and there is evil and never the twain shall meet, it tells us that sometimes people do bad things because they are hurt or scared but if they show remorse, realize the error of their ways, and act in ways that show love or kindness–they can be redeemed.
One big problem with how this relationship is portrayed, especially its beginnings, is that it feeds into the mythology that teenage girls are temptresses who seek out older men and seduce them, applying pressure until these helpless men give in against their better judgement. This mythology has real world implications.
Instead what we have is a movie that presents us with a tired pseudo “Girl Power!” line and expects us to swallow it hook line and sinker. Many times the movie presents us with tropes about female friendship and then pretends like it is subverting them in a clever way. But it doesn’t. Instead we have a movie about female friendship that is all about talking about a man (again) and involves shaming him by trying bring question to his masculinity (again), while simultaneously throwing women of colour under the bus (again).
Overall I thought the episode was excellent and I can’t wait to see the next one. One of my favourite things about ‘GoT’ is theorising about who might make what moves next.
Daenerys has struggled so much to come into her own as both a Queen and a person it would be tragic for her aspirations to be upended by a juvenile love triangle storyline. That said it could be interesting for her to develop a romance with someone who respects her for who she is and is willing to be a real partner to her. Later on in the episode it seems as though Daario is coming out ahead when he presents Daenerys a bouquet of flowers that she initially reacts bemusedly scornfully to until he tells her the uses of each plant and pontificates on the fact that in order to rule a land one must first know it/understand it. Daenerys takes the lesson with good grace.
Interestingly and unfortunately, most reviewers have been unable to see this. Her costume is tight, but then so is the captain’s and we are not treated to lingering shots of her butt and cleavage; in fact, most of the time we are looking at her face and not her body. Generally speaking the captain is at least if not more so objectified than she is and yet we do not seem to allow that to interfere with his essential humanity. This is often not the case when it comes to the perception of Johansen’s character. People can’t seem to see past the fact that she wears a cat suit even when she does so much more than look sexy. Like most action movies, this one doesn’t pass the Bechdel test but unlike most action movies it provides us with a female character who is actually a character in her own right.