Piled Higher and Deeper
I certainly am one of those people who will occasionally sigh and regret that there is not enough time in the span of a life to read all the books or to see all the films I want to see. But I'm glad that at least the classes I take, and those that I will be taking, enable me to watch films, read about them and analyze them myself. A recent example is Ridley Scott's “Thelma & Louise” (1991). The film is basically about a road trip taken by two women escaping the police after one of them commits a murder while she was trying to protect the other from a rapist. Later, the two of them get involved with other criminal activities in retribution, not towards individuals, but the whole patriarchal, male dominated system. It caused a lot of controversy in the United States when it was released, raising the question: Is the violence they are responsible for justifiable because they had been abused and they are women? A similar, and lighter, attitude comes with the Rob Marshall film “Chicago” (2001), a musical about two female cabaret entertainers in the 1920s who became famous after killing people and avoiding punishment, maybe due to their fame. If “Chicago” or “Thelma & Louise” focused on male characters, then it would not have been possible to sympathize with them. I find it quite interesting that a female killer could attract so much attention, both in cinema and in real life. The female killer is something to be scared of, something to be pitied and understood, and something to be desired at the same time.
This eventually leads into the topic of feminism and the debate around it; a favorite topic of mine, as can be understood. The films I mentioned above, especially the former, provoked a reaction from anti-feminists. “Thelma & Louise,” they claim, is an account of men-hating women creating chaos and causing unnecessary damage as they travel.
But, when I think of it, my heart is with Thelma and Louise. I'm not saying that I approve of every woman killing their rapists. But in a wild, male-dominated world, those of the “second sex,” to use Simone De Beauvoir's phrase, should at least be having the fantasy that those who abuse women should be punished somehow, and those who punish should get away with it. Am I being sentimental and radical? Perhaps. But why not, after all, as one wise, frustrated woman said last century; “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.”