‘Ex Machina’ and ‘Her,’ by contrast, are uncomfortably searching explorations of the hetero-male fear of, and emotional need for, women, that feel like self-scrutiny. By replacing women with female images that are literally constructions of male fantasy, the films offer no distractions from probing the heroes’ own psychology. These guys are not chauvinazis. They are the real deal.
But, as a woman in the audience, my relationship to these types of characters, who are reliably, predictably, boringly male, is fraught. I relate to them, but only insofar as I must continually reinvest in the myth that men are the only people who are truly capable, truly deep enough, of having wrenching crises of the soul. Even though I know this to be false in reality—women experience alienation and existentialist ennui, too (I can’t believe I even just typed that)—I am deeply troubled that the experience of this sort of angst seems to be the exclusive province of men in our cultural imagination.
What is telling is the presence of so many films that either elide or sexualize female bodies in the category that presumably represents the best of the best. The Academy clearly has a critical preference for movies about men, with women present primarily as wives and sex objects.
Bitch Flicks staff writers Amanda Rodriguez and Stephanie Rogers talk about the critically acclaimed Spike Jonze film ‘Her,’ sharing their thoughts while asking questions about its feminism and thematic choices.
Check out what we’ve been reading this week–and let us know what you’ve been reading/writing in the comments!