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And why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles! » Blog Archive » Williams and Hansen FTC Thoughts

Williams and Hansen FTC Thoughts

I thought the first topic I would cover in my blog would be about my presentation from yesterday, as well as the 2.1 presentation.
I’ve been thinking about the “weepie” film that is mentioned in the Williams essay. Today when the question was posed about what movies are “weepie” that we have seen, I really couldn’t think of any. Yes, I’ve seen movies that I’ve shed tears, however I don’t think any movies have truly given me a good cry.
And, hold the phone. A “good cry” – alright, I don’t think I’ve ever really realized what exactly that is saying. I think we’ve all heard it before, in fact, many of us have said it – a good cry. It’s exactly what we were talking about in class today, it implies that the crying is a good thing, in some way pleasurable.
I agree with that. I remember someone saying today that it’s an emotional release, and I think that’s exactly what it is. It’s not necessarily welcome at all moments, but I know when, for example, I’ve had a particularly difficult day, I feel better after I cry. It doesn’t happen to me often, but I do know that it has happened. However I don’t think it’s pleasurable at all times. I think this is true for most things, but if you’re not in the mood for a certain activity, you’re not going to afford the same pleasure from it that you would at another time.
I have also been thinking a lot about the Hansen article. I have to be honest, and I believe I mentioned this in the presentation, I had to read it a few times before I really got the hang of it… and I can’t say with complete certainty that I’ve really picked up everything she had to say. I hope, however, I’ve done it justice.
First of all, the feminization of Rudolph Valentino’s characters. Hansen explains much of the Valentino phenomenon to be destabilizing to the previously upheld notions of masculinity—bringing in connotations of sexual ambiguity, social marginality, as well as racial/ethnic otherness.
This intrigues me, to say the least, so I thought I’d pick a clip on youtube and do a bit of a play-by-play on what I see. The first comment I have to make after viewing about a minute clip from “the rape scene” in Son of the Sheik is – he’s definitely not as feminine as Laurey was in the 1933 version of Little Women. I can definitely see the feminized aspects, his dress is elaborate, his face is perfected with what looks to be make-up, etc. The second thing that struck me about this clip is this line: “I may not be the first victim—but, by Allah, I shall be the one you’ll remember!” It should be noted that this entire time he is treating her roughly while she is begging for him to talk. Hello, sadomasochism, how are you today? Like I said, she is begging him to stop, but he is convinced that this is what she does, lures men and then takes advantage of them.
Continuing with my sort of play-by-play of this clip, at this point, about 3 minutes and 30 seconds, the woman character has switched facial expressions drastically. Before, she did not look like aggressor, but now, she most definitely does. It’s a tad bit unsettling… she “says”: “I hate you! I hate you!” Alright, to me, that’s not exactly what her face is showing. Yes, there is some hate in there, but it seems to also have a cloud of something else that is not exactly hate. After she says this he smiles and laughs, clearly enjoying this.
After this it gets pretty physical. She’s fighting him the entire time, but he’s very aggressive. Okay, so I have to admit – I was skeptical at first when Hansen talked about a 20’s movie being blatantly sadomasochistic. However, I definitely can see those elements in this. He is not striking her, but they’re struggling and she is hitting him. I’m not an expert in this field, but I think that qualifies as a sadomasochistic relationship.
Like Hansen explained, at the same time there is a man who is highly feminized exerting control over a woman, showing his masculine power. I know this is probably extremely redundant and obvious, but actually seeing this clip made me realize just how crazy, for lack of a better word, Valentino films were. They have the equivalent of a 20’s heartthrob to get women into the theatre, but what they’re watching up on the screen is a feminized male exerting his masculine dominance over the female character. I’m left asking myself the same questions that I presented in our presentation. What other ways is this dominance shown? Does this still exist? What are the implications for patriarchal relationships – for a society that, for the most part, says that the patriarchal ideals no longer apply to the same extent that they did in the 20’s? What if the roles were reversed? I’m going to think on this, and hopefully my next blog about this topic will be able to answer some of those questions. Okay maybe not answer, but at least take a shot in the dark.

Okay so, I forget how… orrr… never knew how… to post a youtube video in my blog. But here is the link:

I hope it works!


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