Representing Female Narratives with Things That Go Bump In the Night

free2
Art via Pinterest

For women to tell their stories, it has often been a hard and critical journey. Whether through poetry, the short story form or screenplays, women have always had to pussyfoot around core issues of hegemony and patriarchal suffocation. I’ve been exploring African female writers recently, and their contribution to empowering women’s voices. Each woman is an ocean of tales. She will let you sit on her island and bring forth the waves with torrential rains or gentle drizzle. Do not attempt to impose your prejudice or your ignorance on her. She will smile sweetly for a while, until she loses her patience with your inability to truly see life or those around you.

When I came across the trailer for The Mummy 2017 – yes I’m one of those weirdos that spends an awful lot of time enjoying movie trailers…

weirdo

…I was delighted at the portrayal of a strong, unapologetic female antagonist. I’m not a fan of evil in the real world (depending on what time of month you catch me) but I am a big fan of women who look their injustices in the eyes and unleash unimaginable terror when it’s called for. Perhaps I’m just a big fan of Karma. I’m tired of the various forms of masculinity I come across that are incapable of seeing the ways in which they reenact gendered stereotypes. The ones you really have to watch out for are the ones that insist that they love women and that they respect them. Those are the ones that love an idea of a submissive woman, domesticated and sweet that never question their thoughts or actions. They’re the ones that outwardly oppose silly displays of male testosterone but make up for it by mentally playing with females, and ultimately destroying each one that enters their lives. They’re also the ones that have a savior complex and can only feel relevance if they’re ‘saving’ women or ‘mentoring’ them. And the more the merrier. Sad. Often unaware of their treatment of females as mere ‘things’. But true. And ever pervasive. So when I see that a horror movie is allowing an oppressed female the chance to get her revenge on types like these that fill the pockets of society- I’m going to silently chuckle.Or loudly cackle. Karma karma karma. Movie narratives are starting to explore the female psyche in deeply provocative and terrifying ways- and I’m ok with that. Of course these are exaggerated extensions of the darker aspects of most human beings, but sometimes stories need to be told from these places of pain and fright. The Gothic in narratives can be a mobilizing force. It can offer a way for the light to intrude and heal those aspects of oneself or society that can often go unnoticed.

Whilst the movie is only set for release in June (I think) the trailer sparks interesting conversations on female roles, the dangers of ambition and greed… and that topic no one quite likes to go near – revenge.

gloria

Revenge is frowned upon. If there are any young readers reading my blog, never turn to the dark side. Unless you like wearing full black and were pushed.

Truth be told, I maaaaaay (that’s a yes) be rooting for the Princess when I finally get to watch the movie. Patriarchy could do with a good dose of the heebie-jeebies sometimes. Enjoy the trailer below! I’m off for the Easter vacation to explore the ocean, exquisite coffee and search for some magic…maybe in a stranger’s eyes (who won’t awaken centuries of suppression). Or maybe I’ll just let the creepy-crawly shadows reveal my inner voice…bump…bump…bump. Your thoughts and comments are as welcome as ever. Conversation and differing opinions are how we learn in life 😉 Ciao ciao!

Via KinoCheck International on YouTube

Man Exploiting Woman: Or the Problem with Being Tess Durbeyfield.

“Did it never strike your mind that what every woman says, some women may feel?” Tess Durbeyfield

Man exploiting woman. What a clichéd topic. And yet a topic of importance nonetheless. I recently finished Thomas Hardy’s captivating novel Tess of the d’Ubervilles (1891) and found myself appalled as ever at the treatment of pretty, young things when males believe they must have their cake and eat it too. It’s disgusting. No matter how educated or kind, patriarchal influences have instilled the belief (in the minds of men at least) that it is perfectly OK to ravage the female mind and body…after-all they can repent later when their selfishness has reached its expiry date…when the damage has been done and the woman has no more dignity to face the world. It’s sick and it’s twisted. And yet it’s real. Characters like Angel Clare and Alec d’Urberville are not men that merely aggravate the pages of Hardy’s novel, they are men that have ventured to step out of the 19th century and mock us females even today. Yes I’m seeing Orwell’s pigs dressed in human attire right about now. Sometimes I can hardly distinguish some men from pigs, if truth be told.

When I reached the final page of Tess of the d’Urbervilles , I felt angry. I thought Tess was a spineless creature that could have, no should have, known better. I went as far as to call her an excruciating example of female fragility. You may wonder why I was being so harsh on a character that ultimately was the product of prejudiced times…and yet is that any excuse? Female empowerment has certainly come a long way since the Victorian era but the arrogant male, who sits prettily on his chauvinistic fence, displaying his holy face to the world while putting a noose around the necks of the unfortunate women who adore him…why does he still exist? Why do we let him? Perhaps, it’s because their manipulations are so charming and women have learned to absorb the blame too well. This was perfectly illustrated in the novel when Alec (the man who stole Tess’s innocence), scoundrel turned pastor, accuses Tess of leading him to unholy thoughts and beguiling him with her beauty. Because most men are incapable of recognizing depth (let’s just be honest) and so let’s blame superficial enticements, shall we.

“you temptress,Tess; you dear damned witch of Babylon- I could not resist you as soon as I met you again.” Alec d’Urberville

The blame is taken from Alec and forced upon Tess. Alec couldn’t possibly fess up to his faults (god forbid)…no no, it must be Tess’s fault. The saddest part about the novel is that Tess accepts the blame, the fault, the feeling of being unworthy. And that is why she incenses me. I cannot respect a woman who does not respect herself (or a man who puts a woman in that position). Till the end she loves unconditionally the man who had forsaken her, and even accepts an alliance with the wretched Alec d’Uberville (who is the sole reason for her descent into hellish reality). Are these our options as women? To smile sweetly when wronged and show our womanhood by forgiving? To endure pain till we commit murder and then drive ourselves ill to death? No. The strength of a woman lies in her intuitive ability to look pain in the face and laugh at it. Sounds a little crazy…but women are not made of sugar and beg your pardons. We will not bemoan our fate or cry from the adoration we give that is abused. We are trees that slowly grow, tall into the sky where sunshine kisses our faces and stars dance on our cheeks. Our roots are strong and will crush every injustice we face…while you, Sirs, sleep snugly at night thinking that you’ve gotten away with everything.

treewoman
Art via Pinterest.

 

Featured art: Eydhen on Deviantart