Escape to the Movies: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

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I love how people cry misogyny when women are used as cannon fodder in movies, yet these same people wouldn't dare say a word if it were men who were the bad guys and getting killed.

It's about time a film comes out where women are the bad guys and get punished for their evil ways. The haters can shut up.

Elijah Newton:

1) all the villains are women :: the audience need never suspect a male, but women are, by gender alone, suspicious
2) anyone appearing 'beastial' is a woman :: women are dehumanized. Again, I'm thinking guys don't suddenly transform in this. I'm assuming the troll is inhuman to start with.
3) violence against women. the villianous bestial women exist to be beaten. In the trailer I don't see them redeemed, helped, healed or rescued. I don't think I need to reframe this - justifying violence against women is pretty much the core of misogyny.

1) Yeah, because movies where all the villains are men don't exist, right? Oh, wait. Yes, they do! Infact, the vast, vast, VAST majority of action films sees the men always as villains.

2) Again, in many other movies, even bestial enemies are shown as male.

3) So, in other words, it's only sexist when it happens to women? There are too many movies where male beasts don't get healed or redeemed. Strange how now that a movie presents them as female, it's suddenly worth mentioning.

Blue Ranger:
I love how people cry misogyny when women are used as cannon fodder in movies, yet these same people wouldn't dare say a word if it were men who were the bad guys and getting killed.

It's about time a film comes out where women are the bad guys and get punished for their evil ways. The haters can shut up.

This is fallacious because you are ignoring social and historical context. And I don't mean the witch hunt thing, I would probably be crying misogyny as well if the antagonists were evil housewives or evil prostitutes or any other form of non-progressive all-female army (because women as actual soldiers would be sort of progressive, even if might end up being misogynistic anyway).

The context I'm referring to is the oppression of women throughout history, not just via witch hunts. You can't say that it's sexist not to feel a thing when men are killed in droves because men have been (and remain) in possession of most of the sociopolitical and economical power in the world. To wit, it's hard to levy a complain of sexism when movies where men die are made by men and for men (which is also why it's hard to levy a complain of misogyny against 50 Shades of Gray, which is absolutely dripping with abuse apologism and glorification, plus general misogyny, but it was written by a woman for women so the issue becomes quite murky). In short, if men dying in droves is sexist, it is, at best, internalised misandry (though that's just me being generous towards your argument, I honestly doubt the men who write men getting killed genuinely hate their fellow men).

The problem where a marginalised or oppressed group is portrayed like this is that we are not in the state of absolute equality that would allow the portrayal of something like this without consequences. Women are still oppressed around the world and even the most progressive Western society still has plenty of subtle, ingrained sexism leftover from millennia of oppression. Portraying an all female race of bad guys to be beaten up by a man, even if the creators' intentions are completely innocent, can still be seen as misogynistic because it just smacks of men getting off on watching women being beaten up and killed.

Until we reach a point in society where such a notion is unthinkable, people are going to either have to be more careful with the things they put out to the public, or just take all the accusations as the price to pay for cashing on the repressed misogyny of a quietly sexist audience.

Bob, sometimes you get a little too overly "correct". You spend more than a third of the review ranting about real witch hunts, despite it obviously not implying that the witch hunts were somehow a good thing.

Also, why does everyone hate J. J. Abrams? How can he possibly be worse than Lucas?

Edit: Wow, the comments are a mess.

Darken12:
There is a difference between "women as equals to men in a combat role" and "an army composed almost entirely of women whose main purpose is to be beaten up and killed for the camera." I heard that argument before when people defended the Hitman trailer. Just because a woman fights back while the male main character beats the shit out of her doesn't mean the camera slowing down so that you can see every bone and cartilage in her nose breaking isn't glorifying violence against her.

Actually no, there isn't a difference. There is no difference between and army of women meant to be killed by the protagonist, or an army of men meant to be killed by the protagonist. Both are still sexist by your logic. Both still involve glorifying violence. I would expect someone who whishes for equality to call out both and call a spade a spade.

Darken12:

Blue Ranger:
I love how people cry misogyny when women are used as cannon fodder in movies, yet these same people wouldn't dare say a word if it were men who were the bad guys and getting killed.

It's about time a film comes out where women are the bad guys and get punished for their evil ways. The haters can shut up.

This is fallacious because you are ignoring social and historical context. And I don't mean the witch hunt thing, I would probably be crying misogyny as well if the antagonists were evil housewives or evil prostitutes or any other form of non-progressive all-female army (because women as actual soldiers would be sort of progressive, even if might end up being misogynistic anyway).

Wrong. It's not fallacious.

Whether you like it or not, your excuses here just don't fly. Everything you said is NOT an excuse to justify using men as cannon fodder, while getting upset because you can't handle when it's women in the same position. No, I haven't ignored any social context here. You, however, ignore the context that this is a fantasy movie. A fantasy movie where the antagonists are capable females. I don't know about you, but I want the heroes to win, whether they face an army of men or women.

Darken12:
The context I'm referring to is the oppression of women throughout history, not just via witch hunts. You can't say that it's sexist not to feel a thing when men are killed in droves because men have been (and remain) in possession of most of the sociopolitical and economical power in the world. To wit, it's hard to levy a complain of sexism when movies where men die are made by men and for men (which is also why it's hard to levy a complain of misogyny against 50 Shades of Gray, which is absolutely dripping with abuse apologism and glorification, plus general misogyny, but it was written by a woman for women so the issue becomes quite murky). In short, if men dying in droves is sexist, it is, at best, internalised misandry (though that's just me being generous towards your argument, I honestly doubt the men who write men getting killed genuinely hate their fellow men).

This may come as a shock to you, but men being used as cannon fodder doesn't become okay because it was created by a man. Men and women can be sexist towards their own gender. You clearly don't have an understanding of equality if you think it's okay to accept something like that. By saying these things, you are being rather sexist yourself.

I also doubt that men who write about women getting killed are saying how awesome it is for women to get brutally killed anymore than when it happens to a man.

Yes, we get it. Women have been treated horribly in the past. Movies like Hansel and Gretel is not a movie saying how awesome those days were and how we should go back to it.

Darken12:
The problem where a marginalised or oppressed group is portrayed like this is that we are not in the state of absolute equality that would allow the portrayal of something like this without consequences. Women are still oppressed around the world and even the most progressive Western society still has plenty of subtle, ingrained sexism leftover from millennia of oppression. Portraying an all female race of bad guys to be beaten up by a man, even if the creators' intentions are completely innocent, can still be seen as misogynistic because it just smacks of men getting off on watching women being beaten up and killed.

Until we reach a point in society where such a notion is unthinkable, people are going to either have to be more careful with the things they put out to the public, or just take all the accusations as the price to pay for cashing on the repressed misogyny of a quietly sexist audience.

Now you are just grasping at straws trying to justify your own sexist views on this. Yes, there still is ingrained sexism in our society. Funny how you fail to realize that it goes both ways.

It's not the creator's problem how people wish to interpret his work.

See, here's the thing about equality that people like you can't seem to grasp, which is the reason we don't have equality today: You have to practice what you preach. Saying how it seems to be "creepier" to kill women in movies as opposed to men is not a sign of equality. It's the opposite, even if you think you have good intentions. You can bring up the past all you want. The thing is, we don't live in the past. We live in the present. If you want equality, then start denouncing movies where men are used as cannon fodder as well. The gender of the person who created said movie is a moot point. Start treating people as equals and practice what you preach. Get rid of your preconceived bias on this subject. That includes accepting silly movies where the villains happen to be females. Powerful, capable females, at that. You have yet to do that by your admission of thinking killing wowmen is "creepier" than killing men. No matter how you try to spin things, that's a sexist notion to have and it renders your argument obsolete.

When ever anyone starts to talk about oppression this is the only thing I really think of.

" title="" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS_1bzaj2fw[/video]

Blue Ranger:
Actually no, there isn't a difference. There is no difference between and army of women meant to be killed by the protagonist, or an army of men meant to be killed by the protagonist. Both are still sexist by your logic. Both still involve glorifying violence. I would expect someone who whishes for equality to call out both and call a spade a spade.

And I said I don't like those movies either. I don't think that killing men just to see them die is okay. If you're going to kill a bunch of men, it should serve a valid narrative purpose. My gripe with this movie is that the violence and murder against these women serves no narrative purpose beyond titillation or gore/violence exploitation. And this takes place in a societal context where violence against women is still pretty damn common.

The creators of the movie are the ones that control all its aspects. They are the ones who decided that the main character was going to be a male, and that the antagonists were going to be primarily women. They are the ones that not only do not shy away from violence against them, but actively go out of their way to glorify it on screen. None of this was beyond their control. All of this was their choice. They could have easily had a gender-equal army of witches to avoid accusations of sexism, but they didn't.

My point is that I don't consider it unreasonable to get a sexism vibe (whether it was intentional or not) from the movie.

Blue Ranger:
Wrong. It's not fallacious.

Whether you like it or not, your excuses here just don't fly. Everything you said is NOT an excuse to justify using men as cannon fodder, while getting upset because you can't handle when it's women in the same position. No, I haven't ignored any social context here. You, however, ignore the context that this is a fantasy movie. A fantasy movie where the antagonists are capable females. I don't know about you, but I want the heroes to win, whether they face an army of men or women.

You're confusing in-universe sexism with out-of-universe sexism. In-universe, there's no sexism when Hansel fights back when a woman tries to kill him, so long as he doesn't go out of his way to be sadistic or excessively violent. There might be sexism if he enjoys hurting women, but I haven't seen the movie so I can't really comment on that. Out-of-universe sexism, on the other hand, is when the movie creators decide to make Hansel's primary antagonists all (or almost all) women when they could have easily kept the "evil magic users" theme and make them equal-gendered. Other forms of out-of-universe sexism include the sexualisation of witches (and Gretel, and the redheaded witch), the glorification of violence against them, and the discrepancy between Hansel and Gretel's fighting competence.

Blue Ranger:
This may come as a shock to you, but men being used as cannon fodder doesn't become okay because it was created by a man. Men and women can be sexist towards their own gender. You clearly don't have an understanding of equality if you think it's okay to accept something like that. By saying these things, you are being rather sexist yourself.

I also doubt that men who write about women getting killed are saying how awesome it is for women to get brutally killed anymore than when it happens to a man.

Yes, we get it. Women have been treated horribly in the past. Movies like Hansel and Gretel is not a movie saying how awesome those days were and how we should go back to it.

It doesn't make it okay, but it doesn't make it clear-cut sexism either. All the isms and prejudice are based on the notion of otherness, they are based on a distinct lack of empathy between the person and the Other. When the isms and prejudices are internalised, they have more to do with accepting the views of the dominant majority and becoming simultaneously Self and Other. This leads to a state of constant cognitive dissonance, low self-esteem and even self-hatred. It's very hard for men to be sexist towards themselves when they are the dominant majority (and have been from the dawn of history), and never saw themselves as Other (unless it's because of a matter of race, religion, sexuality, etc), so the "internalised sexism" you mention is more the result of men considering their own lives as expendable (as part of archaic notions of cavalry, honour and manhood) and less about actual prejudice.

And yes, actually, the movie DOES seem to say "wouldn't it be awesome if witches were real and we were justified in beating the shit out of them???", which, while I would love to assume it is not based in conscious, wilful sexism, it is still probably the result of inadvertent, latent misogyny.

Blue Ranger:
Now you are just grasping at straws trying to justify your own sexist views on this. Yes, there still is ingrained sexism in our society. Funny how you fail to realize that it goes both ways.

It's not the creator's problem how people wish to interpret his work.

See, here's the thing about equality that people like you can't seem to grasp, which is the reason we don't have equality today: You have to practice what you preach. Saying how it seems to be "creepier" to kill women in movies as opposed to men is not a sign of equality. It's the opposite, even if you think you have good intentions. You can bring up the past all you want. The thing is, we don't live in the past. We live in the present. If you want equality, then start denouncing movies where men are used as cannon fodder as well. The gender of the person who created said movie is a moot point. If you want equality, then start treating people as equals and practice what you preach. That includes accepting silly movies where the villains happen to be females. Powerful, capable females, at that. You have yet to do that by your admission of thinking killing wowmen is creepier than killing men. No matter how you try to spin things, that's a sexist commen and it renders your argument obsolete.

What? That makes no sense. How do you know I don't decry action movies elsewhere? Why should I bring up other types of movies when we're talking about this one in particular? This actually sounds more like a "shut up, men have it bad too so stop talking about how bad women have it" argument, which is exactly what always happens whenever someone tries to bring up sexism or any other ism or phobia. It doesn't work like that. Society still hasn't reached perfect equality, so there will still be sexism, and we are still justified in bringing it up. We are never going to reach equality if we keep shushing anybody who raises awareness of society's flaws.

And as for the reason I think it's "extra" creepy, I think that, for as long as society marginalises women, products made by men have to prove that they are trying to go out of their way to avoid being sexist in order to avoid being called sexist. For as long as sexism remains the default, I am going to keep assuming that works made by men are sexist by default.

mrblakemiller:
2. Which came first, actual witch hunts or stories about evil witches? Mhm. And no, I don't care that some people some time used this phrase to kill people who were innocent. If I had that as a qualifier, I wouldn't be able to play the same video games all the school shooters have, would I?

That honestly had to be one of the strangest and most out of place rants I've ever seen from Movie Bob, and that's kind of saying something since I'm not a big fan of half his rants.

Yes, innocent people were/are tortured and killed in witch hunts. Just like innocent people are killed in wars, cops who ignore the law and endanger civilians are either corrupt assholes or at the very least a big problem for society, and serial killers are crazy bastards who need to be stopped. We all generally know these things to be true and they go without saying.

And for the most part, the majority of us are capable of recognizing that while these things are bad, we can still enjoy watching Rambo, John McClane, and Leatherface do their thing and realize that it isn't the real world and that watching over the top, silly representations of things which would be terrible in real life does not, in any way, condone them.

I honestly can't even see why Bob felt the need to even go into that little preamble aside from actually trying to come off like a pretentious douchebag who's trying to read more into the premise of the movie than is actually there. But I guess I shouldn't be too surprised when that's really kind of his schtick I suppose.

TheSchaef:
Oh, look, MovieBob bagging on Star Trek 09 again. I guess that's one way to draw in comments when reviewing a completely forgettable Van Helsing knockoff.

Happy to credit the Hansel director for his work on Dead Snow, but tossing out the fact that Abrams brought Mission: Impossible back from the brink of eternal ridicule. It is my unprofessional opinion that the selection of Brad Bird to direct the fourth was insurance against losing that momentum.

We get it. You don't like Star Trek as space fantasy rather than science fiction. If anything, that makes him ideal to direct Star Wars, which is ENTIRELY a space fantasy. How do lightsabers work? We don't know! How does the Force work? EFF Midichlorians, we don't know! What powers the hyperdrives on the spaceships? It's bigger on the inside! Space fantasy!

You're talking about a saga wherein the biggest plot twist ever was that the big bad was actually the father of the hero, and where the only character in the prequels who was interesting to watch was the most evil guy in the universe!

In fact, didn't your review of Star Wars accuse Abrams of possible looking to recast Star Trek AS (among other things) Star Wars?

Abrams in, George out, possible original cast cameos... I'm really not seeing the downside so far.

MacNille:
edit. And if a women kills a man? It is not misandry. It just show her as a strong independent women.

I think you just reviewed Enough in less than 25 words.

Honestly, I think that if a guy was placed in that, I would have liked it more. Purely for the fact that it would show that abuse happens both ways. I wish people would remember that.

Darken12:

Xelanath:
The key difference being that vampires aren't inextricably linked with Judaism, werewolves aren't inextricably linked with black people and/or slavery, and daemons aren't inextricably linked with a medieval concept of Sodomites.

And that really is the crux of the argument here. No matter how distasteful you may find it, witchcraft in modern culture is overwhelming associated with the female gender. I don't think I need to list examples.

Now, the film may well still prove to be misogynistic, I'm not ruling out that eventuality. However, I firmly believe that it's a mistake to make such an assertion on the grounds that the antagonists are female witches.

That's not an excuse, you know. The reason witchcraft has been associated with the female gender is due to the patriarchy seeking to control women and then women clinging on to the idea of witchcraft as one of the scant ways to feel empowered in a patriarchal society. Reinforcing the idea that A) witches are all (or mostly) women and B) that they are evil and deserve to be killed, reinforces the patriarchy's lies that caused the death of so many innocents in the past. A movie about beating the shit out of evil witches is glorifying and validating the crimes committed by powerful men against women who couldn't fight back.

To clarify; you disapprove of the use of/portrayal of witches as female in all media then? If so, I have no quarrel with you. Don't get me wrong, I disagree with your conclusion, but I appreciate your line of reasoning.

FelixG:

Elijah Newton:

I suspect his basis for calling it on misogyny is pretty sound by the way. Haven't seen it, so if I'm wrong on any of the following consider this a pre-emptive apology.

1) all the villains are women :: the audience need never suspect a male, but women are, by gender alone, suspicious
2) anyone appearing 'beastial' is a woman :: women are dehumanized. Again, I'm thinking guys don't suddenly transform in this. I'm assuming the troll is inhuman to start with.
3) violence against women. the villianous bestial women exist to be beaten. In the trailer I don't see them redeemed, helped, healed or rescued. I don't think I need to reframe this - justifying violence against women is pretty much the core of misogyny.

So by this meter stick Underworld would be Misandry (Misandristic?)

1) All the villians are guys
2) All of the werewolves are guys, never see a girl werewolf so the guys are dehumanized and are A OK to beat the fuck outa and murder?
3) Violence against guys. The villianous bestial men exist just to get murdered.

I dont think Underworld is misandr...whatever, these kind of movies are just supposed to be good ol fashioned beat em up fun.

Heya Felix! Nice to hear from you again.

First off, props for making a solid apples-to-apples comparison between Hansel & Gretel and Underworld. I'd rate them about the same as far as budget, not-quite A-list actors, and with the goals of providing popcorn munching entertainment fodder. And good point-by-point comparison - inasfar as I'd taken the argument, you refuted it. Touche.

That being said, at the risk of venturing way to far into tl;dr, let's keep this going. I agree that Underworld isn't misandristic and that it reads as a good ol fashioned beat em up fun. Now I'd like to point out ways that Underworld isn't like H&G, with the idea that H&G deserves criticism for showing violence towards women.

First, cowardly nit-picking. This is a horribly cheap shot because yep, I can't remember seeing any female werewolves on screen. But if you'll induldge a moment of OCD completionism according to the Underworld wikipedia entry Lycans are a race with both males and females (one character Lucian is described as "born the son of a captured female werewolf"). So there are female werewolves. Maybe they were on screen and just looked really butch, I'm with you and don't recall seeing 'em. This isn't much of an argument.

The second, though, is something I feel I'm on firmer footing with and has to do with who is fighting who. Setting aside what gender shows up on screen (because you've won that point) my mind goes to the monsters themselves and if a case can be made that some have genders and others don't.

I don't think any of us are arguing witches, vampires or werewolves are real. They're all stand-ins and metaphors. In that sense, both vampires and werewolves are historically gender-neutral, representing sexuality, disease, repression, etc etc. So vampires v. werewolves of UW doesn't really read as a gender war (not that it couldn't, just takes some work). Witches, though, are pretty much by definition women. If they're in literature, not only are they female characters, they're also usually gender specific metaphors - the threat of a woman's sexuality, repression, etc. Alternately, to play the semantic angle, if you've got a guy working magic, then they're generally referred to as warlocks, or sorcerors, or cultists - specifically so the audience doesn't confuse them with the gender the word 'witches' exclusively brings to mind. So the victims, the ones being hunted/beaten, are more exclusively female than vampires or werewolve are exclusively male (or female).

In H&G, the good guys are witchhunters, which while accurate (they hunt witches, after all) is pretty unsettling from a real-world standpoint. As mentioned by Bob, humans hunting witches references history pretty universally judged as less than stellar moments of humanity, from the auto da fs to Holy F*ck They're Still Doing What In Saudi Arabia, Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Papua New Guinea*? (and, not to beat the drum overmuch, but this contemporary stuff in India an PNG is mostly to women) H&G isn't real, of course, and it's not purporting to be anything other than escapism but, I dunno. Hesitation about whitewashing this kind of terminology is totally justified.

FelixG:

So much for equality, because when its guys getting beaten senseless its just fun, but the moment the villians are females people like bob whine about it being misogynist.

Blue Ranger griped about this, too, and while I'm tempted to blow it off I don't feel right ignoring it. Here's my take :

When it's a guy being beaten, the body is just a placeholder. It doesn't read as a guy, just as a body. Is this fair? If you'll pardon a moment of undeserved familiarity, dude, there's no way to bitch about this and come off looking good. Call it fair turnaround for the assumption that if there's a hero, if you're picturing someone doing the beating? The assumption is that is also a guy. Women in action scenes or violence are, at this moment in time, always playing against type. Hence Laura Croft and River Tam stand out while the umpty-million Van Damme / Steven Segal characters we (aie, possibly showing my age here) were raised on can't even get a neuron to twitch when you try remembering their names.

So when women are put into violent situations, whether as hero or villian, yes, absolutely a choice has been made not to go 'gender neutral'. You are intended to notice the gender and take it into consideration when justifying / condemning the act. It's a thing. Like putting a guy into a romantic drama where the main characters are women - the male gets scrutinized because in the context of that story they are unusual.

Does this somehow invalidate the notion of gender equality as a worthy goal towards which societies ought to progress, regardless of moments of imperfection? I certainly don't think so.

Enough outta me for now. If you'd like to carry the conversation on, go to it. If you'd like to have the last word, even, just say as much in your post and I promise I'll not blather on. Peace and goodwill.

* er, feeling a bit obligated to cite my source. I don't just 'know' this stuff, it took a quick moment of research... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch-hunt#Modern_witch-hunts

AngelBlackChaos:
Honestly, I think that if a guy was placed in that, I would have liked it more. Purely for the fact that it would show that abuse happens both ways. I wish people would remember that.

That movie was called Disclosure, which sought to balance the scales but ended up being remembered for making Demi Moore look 1994 spank material, and for Hackers-style tech-ridiculosity.

Xelanath:
To clarify; you disapprove of the use of/portrayal of witches as female in all media then? If so, I have no quarrel with you. Don't get me wrong, I disagree with your conclusion, but I appreciate your line of reasoning.

Yes, yes I do. I in fact disapprove of fictional portrayals of anything that is completely one-gendered. If it's a historical portrayal, I can stomach it (but I will still probably not like it). If it's a fantasy/sci-fi/etc thing, I am very much against monogendered anything.

FelixG:

leviadragon99:
Huh... and now I can't unsee that uncomfortable mysoginist undertone...

It isnt misogynist though, Bob is just flat out wrong here.

Such is your opinion though, and no more irrefutably correct than Bob's own, it's just that he raised the possibility that regardless of intent, the historical context could make it uncomfortable viewing for some, wheras you are dealing in absolutes and seem all the more foolish for it. I know that I'd be bothered by it, and who are you to say someone's gut emotional reaction is simply wrong?

Darken12:
What? That makes no sense. How do you know I don't decry action movies elsewhere? Why should I bring up other types of movies when we're talking about this one in particular? This actually sounds more like a "shut up, men have it bad too so stop talking about how bad women have it" argument, which is exactly what always happens whenever someone tries to bring up sexism or any other ism or phobia. It doesn't work like that. Society still hasn't reached perfect equality, so there will still be sexism, and we are still justified in bringing it up. We are never going to reach equality if we keep shushing anybody who raises awareness of society's flaws.

And as for the reason I think it's "extra" creepy, I think that, for as long as society marginalises women, products made by men have to prove that they are trying to go out of their way to avoid being sexist in order to avoid being called sexist. For as long as sexism remains the default, I am going to keep assuming that works made by men are sexist by default.

My point wasn't to tell you to shut up, or to try and say "oh no, us poor men."

Equality has to start somewhere, even if it means in an action fantasy movie the bad guys are women, in a sea of movies where men are the bad guys. Yes, it is striking to see women as bad guys, but that's because we are used to seeing men as the villains in movies. That doesn't mean you should start throwing around "misogyny" because of it when it happens.

Elijah Newton:
Blue Ranger griped about this, too, and while I'm tempted to blow it off I don't feel right ignoring it. Here's my take :

When it's a guy being beaten, the body is just a placeholder. It doesn't read as a guy, just as a body. Is this fair? If you'll pardon a moment of undeserved familiarity, dude, there's no way to bitch about this and come off looking good. Call it fair turnaround for the assumption that if there's a hero, if you're picturing someone doing the beating? The assumption is that is also a guy. Women in action scenes or violence are, at this moment in time, always playing against type. Hence Laura Croft and River Tam stand out while the umpty-million Van Damme / Steven Segal characters we (aie, possibly showing my age here) were raised on can't even get a neuron to twitch when you try remembering their names.

So when women are put into violent situations, whether as hero or villian, yes, absolutely a choice has been made not to go 'gender neutral'. You are intended to notice the gender and take it into consideration when justifying / condemning the act. It's a thing. Like putting a guy into a romantic drama where the main characters are women - the male gets scrutinized because in the context of that story they are unusual.

Does this somehow invalidate the notion of gender equality as a worthy goal towards which societies ought to progress, regardless of moments of imperfection? I certainly don't think so.

Enough outta me for now. If you'd like to carry the conversation on, go to it. If you'd like to have the last word, even, just say as much in your post and I promise I'll not blather on. Peace and goodwill.

* er, feeling a bit obligated to cite my source. I don't just 'know' this stuff, it took a quick moment of research... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch-hunt#Modern_witch-hunts

Like I said in my previous post, you notice the change in gender in these movies because you are so used to the fact that the bad guys were always men. Choosing to have men as villains is no more gender-neutral than having all female villains.

Yes, when men are being beaten, they are used as a "placeholder", a.k.a. they are being de-humanized, and I find that rather disturbing that you use that to justify violence against men. That's hypocritical, plain and simple.

Started watching this.... got bored waiting for the MOVIE REVIEW to start and not movie bob talking about something stupid that no one cares about.

Tell us about the movie. You know... that thing you're reviewing... I don't care about the witch hunting back in the days.

....*sigh*

To join the conversation about the right to have punchable female antagonists and mooks for the heroes to kill, I am all for it.

As a female myself, I know the sociological impact and reasons why it could be seen as wrong very well. However, it creates a very strong sense of unfairness towards both women and men. First off, the idea that a woman cannot be a mook because of their gender is rather loaded in itself. It assumes that a woman is either incapable of being a follower that is nasty, or that each female is far more special than the male.

And that is not equality. If I were to commit a crime, the thought that I would get a very different or even a much better treatment than a guy would disturbs me. Not only does it belittle my crime because of my gender, it also means I am put above the guy automaticly. And that to me is far worse than a fictional hunter punching a fictional witch. Especially as the witch IS evil and therefore as much a danger as a male warlock would be. Also, the whole assumage that a female villain has to have a good reason to be a villain not only gives them an unfair excuse for being the way they are, it also belittles their threat.

Blue Ranger:

Yes, when men are being beaten, they are used as a "placeholder", a.k.a. they are being de-humanized,

Interesting. Here we are of one mind, yet...

Blue Ranger:

and I find that rather disturbing that you use that to justify violence against men. That's hypocritical, plain and simple.

...in the next breath we diverged. And my argument is called hypocritical. It wounds. But you are disturbed, which seems worse. It was never my intent to trouble you, O Gentle Soul. I cry pardon for my foul.

Ok, teasing aside, I think you and I have a difference of opinions on whether something can be gender neutral. We may just be at an impasse on this topic. If everything is gendered and if it is wrong to target a gender with violence then, yep, it is hypocritical to claim that violence against men is acceptible when violence against women is not. Gender neutrality side-steps this issue. It's your call whether you think gender neutrality exists.

Also, you know I'm not using 'gender equality' and 'gender neutrality' interchangeably, right? 'Cos that would confuse things considerably. I'm assuming you and I are on the same page regarding gender equality - that men and women both deserve the same rights in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, regardless of their gender.

Blue Ranger:

Like I said in my previous post, you notice the change in gender in these movies because you are so used to the fact that the bad guys were always men. Choosing to have men as villains is no more gender-neutral than having all female villains.

This was from earlier in your post but I mention it because I find it an interesting direction to have gone in - the vast majority of movies I've watched feature men as villians. If this has been a choice (as they could've cast women) has there then been some vast, misandristic bias in movies since the media has been developed? Or, predating that, in stories and myths? Does the Battle of Thermopylae not being empower men through the hero Leonidas but rather victimizes the gender through innumerable corpses?

I'm not sure I agree with it, but that's a pretty fascinating interpretation.

Anyway, hope this finds you well.

Blue Ranger:
My point wasn't to tell you to shut up, or to try and say "oh no, us poor men."

Equality has to start somewhere, even if it means in an action fantasy movie the bad guys are women, in a sea of movies where men are the bad guys. Yes, it is striking to see women as bad guys, but that's because we are used to seeing men as the villains in movies. That doesn't mean you should start throwing around "misogyny" because of it when it happens.

Yes, but we could start by A) Making movies with equal-gendered mooks/villains, and B) Stop making movies with all-male mooks/villains. That, to me, seems like a far less controversial step towards equality than making a movie about glorified violence with all-female mooks in an age where a shocking amount of women still suffer violence and abuse at the hands of men. I'm not saying such movies can never be made, but I think we're just not there yet.

anamizuki:
As a female myself, I know the sociological impact and reasons why it could be seen as wrong very well. However, it creates a very strong sense of unfairness towards both women and men. First off, the idea that a woman cannot be a mook because of their gender is rather loaded in itself. It assumes that a woman is either incapable of being a follower that is nasty, or that each female is far more special than the male.

Just to clarify, in case it was inspired by anything I said, I have absolutely no problem with female mooks or villains. My problem comes when A) All (or almost all) the villains/mooks are female, and B) The (main) person enacting violence on them is a male.

It's the absoluteness of the villains/mooks gender that makes me leery. It makes it very easy to conceal misogyny under the guise that "oh, it sure is convenient that all the people we're beating up and soundly defeating happen to be women." Now granted, I am sure it was done unintentionally, but I am not obliged to assume the best. If I want to put on my Distrust Goggles(TM), I don't even have to try at all, some premises (like this one) do it all for me.

anamizuki:
As a female myself, I know the sociological impact and reasons why it could be seen as wrong very well. However, it creates a very strong sense of unfairness towards both women and men. First off, the idea that a woman cannot be a mook because of their gender is rather loaded in itself. It assumes that a woman is either incapable of being a follower that is nasty, or that each female is far more special than the male.

Just to clarify, in case it was inspired by anything I said, I have absolutely no problem with female mooks or villains. My problem comes when A) All (or almost all) the villains/mooks are female, and B) The (main) person enacting violence on them is a male.

It's the absoluteness of the villains/mooks gender that makes me leery. It makes it very easy to conceal misogyny under the guise that "oh, it sure is convenient that all the people we're beating up and soundly defeating happen to be women." Now granted, I am sure it was done unintentionally, but I am not obliged to assume the best. If I want to put on my Distrust Goggles(TM), I don't even have to try at all, some premises (like this one) do it all for me.[/quote]

I actually have to disagree with this, at least at this point. There are benefits to all female villain cast that a mixed group could not have.

First off, think about if there was one male in the villain group. That male could easily become more special than any of the females, and could be seen as the 'master' of the witches. Even if it wasn't true, it would seem like that to a viewer.

Second, truly mixed groups raise another problem, inverse to your fears I'd say. Because there are male villains to kill, the violence towards female ones seems much more cruel, because we have been taught to accept males as the gender who just gets killed and females as the gender whose death always matters. By putting those two side by side, it makes the hero look worse, because he hits females while males would be near.

Having an all female villain group basically forces us to accept the fact that these villains are women, and they are to be treated like any other foe. By having no male villains there, there is no scapegoats to be had for the average viewer to 'blame' for thise women and so it is just easier to accept that women can be villains.

Your idea HAS merit, but I feel it is not yet the time for such groups. Once people had more readily accepted that there can be female villains who are equal to the males, then it would work.

Though, yes, if the hero is only a guy who beats these women, it IS problematic. That's why I was kind of hoping Geretel would lessen the blow.

I don't think Bob is mad about the violence against women per say but the context of it. It's like setting Jews as monsters in World War 2 or something. A lot of innocent people died at the hands of the witch hunters. This seems a little bit....off.

I don't have a problem with female villains about time really but the context...mmmneyh.

I heard rumours that the protagonist of Star Wars is going to be a female jedi. That's pretty much warmed me to the new films.

Jerome Renner (or whatever Hansel's name is) is not an action movie star!
Maybe it's because I grew up more familiar with him (just like Tom Cruise) in the "Dad" role in all the dumb family movies. But now he looks like a total douche trying to pull off the action movie star thing. At least Tom Cruise had all of that down before doing the dumb family movies.

This movie really sounds terrible and seems like its hated by most critics out there, it got a 17% on Rottentomatoes. But apparently the audiences seems to love it, strangely enough. Jeremy Renner is reason enough for me to ignore it, i really cant stand his "acting", hes just plain terrible. (or maybe bland is the right word, he always does the same non-expressive gaze whether hes supposed to be happy, bad-ass or angry, its like hes broken).

Yet again Moviebob proves to me that he is the absolute dregs of this website. You are so goddamn pretentious it hurts my head listening to you talk.

anamizuki:
I actually have to disagree with this, at least at this point. There are benefits to all female villain cast that a mixed group could not have.

First off, think about if there was one male in the villain group. That male could easily become more special than any of the females, and could be seen as the 'master' of the witches. Even if it wasn't true, it would seem like that to a viewer.

A very small minority of males doesn't make the group that much more different than an all-female one. If there had been a token male in the movie, I would have still made the points I made before. When I spoke of mixed gender groups, I was specifically aiming for a roughly equal gender ratio.

anamizuki:
Second, truly mixed groups raise another problem, inverse to your fears I'd say. Because there are male villains to kill, the violence towards female ones seems much more cruel, because we have been taught to accept males as the gender who just gets killed and females as the gender whose death always matters. By putting those two side by side, it makes the hero look worse, because he hits females while males would be near.

That's called Benevolent Sexism. Here's another take on it from a military perspective.

So long as the male hero doesn't use unnecessary violence/cruelty on the female mooks, the female mooks are to be treated like regular combatants.

Using sexism to justify sexism doesn't really get us anywhere in terms of progress.

anamizuki:
Having an all female villain group basically forces us to accept the fact that these villains are women, and they are to be treated like any other foe. By having no male villains there, there is no scapegoats to be had for the average viewer to 'blame' for thise women and so it is just easier to accept that women can be villains.

Nobody is arguing that females can't be villains. Society has long demonised women who stray out of gender roles as "bad women" (and therefore made villain fodder and deserving of punishment in the eyes of the patriarchy). Society already accepts that women who do X or Y are evil and must be punished (often, X and Y have nothing to do with ethics and are instead related to gaining control of their own sexuality, seeking power, rights or taking on certain male behaviours).

anamizuki:
Your idea HAS merit, but I feel it is not yet the time for such groups. Once people had more readily accepted that there can be female villains who are equal to the males, then it would work.

And that is exactly what I feel about all-female villain groups. It is not yet the time. Until we live in a sexism-free society, the entertainment industry has to go out of its way to prove that it's not being sexist because sexism is the default assumption. When I see a movie about a man beating up women, the default is to assume (inadvertent) misogyny.

anamizuki:
Though, yes, if the hero is only a guy who beats these women, it IS problematic. That's why I was kind of hoping Geretel would lessen the blow.

According to Bob, she doesn't. Which is par for the course, since she can't "upstage" the male hero. Again, always assume (accidental, if you wish) sexism.

Darken12:

And that is exactly what I feel about all-female villain groups. It is not yet the time. Until we live in a sexism-free society, the entertainment industry has to go out of its way to prove that it's not being sexist because sexism is the default assumption. When I see a movie about a man beating up women, the default is to assume (inadvertent) misogyny.
----------------------------------------------------
According to Bob, she doesn't. Which is par for the course, since she can't "upstage" the male hero. Again, always assume (accidental, if you wish) sexism.

I'm going to focus on this, because I think it is the crux of the matter. One reason why I rarely assume sexism, accidental or not, is because sexism in itself is such a wide variety of scenarios and different people have different takes on what is sexist and what is not. Let's take Gretel here for example, if she was an action hero that easily took every villain down and never showed weakness, she would be assumed to be like that because of the fear of appearing sexist, rather than because her character just was strong. And if anything bad should happen to her, like getting captured, lose to a villain or anything that might show weakness, it can also be seen as sexim. Same things could easily happen to Hansel, but nobody would doubt he is capable.

And that is the circular trap that calling sexism can cause. Of course there are legimately sexist movies out there, I won't deny it and I am not defending this movie. However, fiction featuring female characters often is under a much worse scrutinity than one featuring men. And while some of that is for a reason, just trying to make a femsle character that isn't seen as sexist in some way is hard. You possibly are aware of the trope Real Women Don't Wear Dresses, which penalises women for showing feminity by treating it as a weakness. That, and the above mentioned issues regarding how strong the character should be and should they even show weakness, are reasons why often having a female character be accepted is harder than with male character.

And that is why I don't want to assume sexism nor wait until the society is ready for all female villain groups. Because if we just wait and try to not seem sexist, we will never get there. The best method of writing a female character , in my opinion, is to not worry about sexist stereotypes or if the character would seem sexist. Rather, just write a human being and a situation. If we don't bring ideas like all female villain groups to the table now, we avoid far too much for the good of equality. Real human beings have weaknesses, and good characters have a place in the plot. If a female character is the sidekick to the male hero, the writer shouldn't try to constantly justify that they are equals.

Most of this isn't based upon your post, just something I have noticed about how female characters are received and how hard it can be to write them if you assume sexism easily. Nor do I think your opinions are flawed at all.

anamizuki:
I'm going to focus on this, because I think it is the crux of the matter. One reason why I rarely assume sexism, accidental or not, is because sexism in itself is such a wide variety of scenarios and different people have different takes on what is sexist and what is not. Let's take Gretel here for example, if she was an action hero that easily took every villain down and never showed weakness, she would be assumed to be like that because of the fear of appearing sexist, rather than because her character just was strong. And if anything bad should happen to her, like getting captured, lose to a villain or anything that might show weakness, it can also be seen as sexim. Same things could easily happen to Hansel, but nobody would doubt he is capable.

And that is the circular trap that calling sexism can cause. Of course there are legimately sexist movies out there, I won't deny it and I am not defending this movie. However, fiction featuring female characters often is under a much worse scrutinity than one featuring men. And while some of that is for a reason, just trying to make a femsle character that isn't seen as sexist in some way is hard. You possibly are aware of the trope Real Women Don't Wear Dresses, which penalises women for showing feminity by treating it as a weakness. That, and the above mentioned issues regarding how strong the character should be and should they even show weakness, are reasons why often having a female character be accepted is harder than with male character.

And that is why I don't want to assume sexism nor wait until the society is ready for all female villain groups. Because if we just wait and try to not seem sexist, we will never get there. The best method of writing a female character , in my opinion, is to not worry about sexist stereotypes or if the character would seem sexist. Rather, just write a human being and a situation. If we don't bring ideas like all female villain groups to the table now, we avoid far too much for the good of equality. Real human beings have weaknesses, and good characters have a place in the plot. If a female character is the sidekick to the male hero, the writer shouldn't try to constantly justify that they are equals.

Most of this isn't based upon your post, just something I have noticed about how female characters are received and how hard it can be to write them if you assume sexism easily. Nor do I think your opinions are flawed at all.

The problem is that our current societal conception of femininity is deeply steeped into patriarchy and does include a hefty amount of weakness (in order to keep women down). Parts of our conception of femininity are perfectly fine (for example, those that have to do with biological processes unique to women, such as menstruation, pregnancy and motherhood, are entirely neutral), but parts of it are actually detrimental to women as a whole and exist only to perpetuate the patriarchy's sexism (such as the idea that women are frail, dainty, emotional, naturally gravitate towards positions of service and submission instead of leadership, lack agency, aggressiveness or physical power, must orbit their lives around a male (or romantic love), must surrender their bodies to the continuation of the species and their lives to the ideal of family, must subject their sexuality to society's approval, are somehow incomplete or less feminine if they choose to be career women, and so on). Perpetuating those conceptions of femininity IS sexist, as it continues to perpetuate the patriarchy's hold on womanhood. Women have to redefine femininity on their own terms, sending a message to society that if a woman is a dress-wearing housewife, it's because that's what that woman in particular wants to be, and not because that's what she feels she must be in order to feel feminine or get society's approval.

The problem with what you're suggesting is that you assume that art (or entertainment) exists on a vacuum and artists (or entertainers/creators) are utterly disconnected from their societal contexts. Barring certain exceptions, a creator is a product of its society, and if you don't criticise art/entertainment, you are perpetuating the status quo (because the entertainment is going to reflect the entertainer's background and baggage, and then reinforce what already exists), and therefore nothing ever changes. While I support the idea that art and entertainment should be allowed to exist regardless of what they are (that is, I am against censorship), I am pro-criticism. I think that's the best way to balance the effect art and entertainment have on society. By constantly analysing and criticising what we're exposed to, we can encourage creators to step out of their comfort zone, to shake off their societal conditioning and to send something back to society that is different than what society has poured into them from birth. That's the best way to change society for the better.

I completely agree that female characters get scrutinised more than male ones, but the way to redress the balance isn't by scrutinising less, it's by scrutinising male characters more. We should be more critical of the way males are depicted in the media and stop accepting male as the default for human. We should be more critical of the media we consume and just overall analyse our surroundings more. Taking media as a drug that we take in a thoughtless haze is very harmful for our culture.

I don't disagree, intellectually, with your ultimate intentions. I do wish we could get to a point where artists and entertainers could portray female characters without thinking about sexism at all. That would be absolutely wonderful. But if you tell an artist who was raised in a sexist society that, he's going to make sexist portrayals because that's what society has been pouring into his brain all his life. If you want to tell a creator to just write instinctively and you expect a non-sexist result, then he must have been raised in a non-sexist society (or undergone severe social deprogramming).

Darken12:
Just to clarify, in case it was inspired by anything I said, I have absolutely no problem with female mooks or villains. My problem comes when A) All (or almost all) the villains/mooks are female, and B) The (main) person enacting violence on them is a male.

And what if the villains are all male, while the one enacting the violence is female? Do you have a problem with that, too?

Blue Ranger:

Darken12:
Just to clarify, in case it was inspired by anything I said, I have absolutely no problem with female mooks or villains. My problem comes when A) All (or almost all) the villains/mooks are female, and B) The (main) person enacting violence on them is a male.

And what if the villains are all male, while the one enacting the violence is female? Do you have a problem with that, too?

Yes, yes, I do. It perpetuates stereotypes that are harmful for the male gender (like being expendable, acceptable targets of violence regardless of context, devoid of worth, emotions or uniqueness, and so on).

Darken12:

Blue Ranger:

Darken12:
Just to clarify, in case it was inspired by anything I said, I have absolutely no problem with female mooks or villains. My problem comes when A) All (or almost all) the villains/mooks are female, and B) The (main) person enacting violence on them is a male.

And what if the villains are all male, while the one enacting the violence is female? Do you have a problem with that, too?

Yes, yes, I do. It perpetuates stereotypes that are harmful for the male gender (like being expendable, acceptable targets of violence regardless of context, devoid of worth, emotions or uniqueness, and so on).

So how should that movie have been made, in your opinion? How to create a character who isn't going to be offensive?

anamizuki:
So how should that movie have been made, in your opinion? How to create a character who isn't going to be offensive?

Which movie? Hansel and Gretel or a hypothetical movie with a female protagonist? If it's the former, then I wouldn't have made it a movie based on the spectacle of violence, to start with (as I don't think saying "witch hunts are awesome" is a good message to spew thoughtlessly for the sake of a Hollywood cash-grab), but at the very least I would have made the witches even-gendered and made Gretel just as competent and prone to heroics and injury as Hansel. If she gets beaten and nursed back to health, same thing happens to Hansel. If Hansel mows down a horde of witches with an anachronistic machine gun, Gretel finds a different way to achieve the same result. More or less, I would take care to make both genders as even as possible, both from the perspective of the villains and the heroes.

As for a movie with a female protagonist, I'd basically just hire a team of feminists (of as varying ideologies as possible, and preferably some with academic backgrounds) to tell me what to do. I trust they know a lot more than I do on how to portray female characters positively. Granted, they wouldn't agree on everything and compromises would have to be made, but I trust that the end result would be positive.

It blows my mind that you can even begin to compare JJ to Lucas.

Don't know if movie bob watched this all the way through they reveal in the later half that there are good witches.

Not to mention the crucial plot detail that

so its kind of misleading to make the movie seem like one big witch hunt where anyone who isn't a Christian is a drooling fanged villain...just mostly everyone.

MacNille:
Oh good. Another fucking Lens flare joke. It is like it was not played out in 2009....

Oh good, another re-captioned Batman panel taken out of context. It's not like that joke was played out in 2008...

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