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March 2000, Week 2


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Adam Wathen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 13 Mar 2000 09:11:25 -0600
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I don't see how this discussion is at all out of line on this list.  As a
matter of fact, I believe that this discussion is more than warranted.

Despite our culture's prominent misogynistic imagery and recurrent images
of "evil women" (as available as "hay in a hay-stack"), it is not out of
line to assist someone in coming up with a list of films in which women are
portrayed as "evil."  I have not seen people revelling in the "evil women
game," and I don't expect to.  Why should we not answer the call to come up
with titles???  Particularly if we are helping a woman find examples so
that she can write an article...

I find it fatuous that you would look down on this woman's thesis and
proclaim that it is not a legitimate examination of film characters,
especially when you express such a desire to eliminate the misogyny in our
cultural portrayal of heroines and heros.  Shouldn't examinations like this
be lauded and supported?  I welcome discussions about "evil women" in film
because it helps us all to realize how frequently women are demonized in
our culture.

Your statements are well received, but the attack on this discussion is
surely misplaced.

Here's some additions to the list:

Diabolique (both versions)
Cat People (although it is horror, it is DEFINITELY metaphor for this "evil
Body Heat
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest


At 04:44 PM 03/12/2000 -0500, you wrote:
>i don't much like raining on the parade,  but i'm beginning to find
>the whole "evil women" game that everyone's having so
>much fun playing not only fatuous but also more than a little
>offensive . . .
>finding evil women in mainstream film is about as difficult as
>finding hay in a hay-stack . . . in the mythology of western
>civilization [which is to say the mythology of men] women have
>ALWAYS been evil, starting with the very first one, eve, and
>continuing in an unbroken line to tomorrow's movies . . .
>a MUCH more interesting question, i think,  has to do with
>evil men . . . of course there's no lack of heinous villains
>in the stories we tell each other, but these guys are almost
>always marginalized relative to some heroic male figure
>whose job it is to defeat the baddie . . . this is very different
>from the kind of evil women who have been mentioned in the
>various contributions to this thread . . .
>. . .  for the most striking thing about the discussion so far is how
>often it is precisely the main female character is a story who is
>evil . . .  a figure we might call the evil heroine/protagonist
>. . . if that's the case then it would be a good idea for us to
>see if we can find instances of stories [movies or otherwise]
>built around  evil heroes,  male protagonists who
>carry the burden of the story despite major moral
>failings . . .   or is the self-confidence of men so shaky that we
>cannot tell any stories with central male figures unless we
>represent those figures as ultimately noble . . .
>at a quick guess, we'll find many fewer evil heroes than
>evil heroines . . . and if that's the case it ought to tell us
>something about ourselves that we need -- but don't want
>to -- know . . .
>mike frank
>Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite

Adam Wathen
Reference/Documents Librarian           (402) 280-2978
Creighton University                    [log in to unmask]
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178

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