There are spoilers here, so move on if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book already.
Last night C, M, and I went to see Blindness. I had heard such great things about the book from both M and G, and the trailers looked promising. Everyone mysteriously goes blind except for one woman, and it focuses on a large group that has been quarantined. Sounds interesting!
First of all, this movie had some of the worst pacing. It was almost agonizing. And I understand that it was probably mimicking the pace of the book, but it just didn’t translate well to the screen. Some of the acting was a little over the top, and the whole thing just kept, on, going.
And then, and then, the rape scene. The extended, prolonged rape scene. One group has taken all the food and they are trading with other groups for it. Money doesn’t mean anything, possessions have already been bartered, what’s left? The women. And while in the context of the story, which is examining the degeneration of society, it makes sense . . . it was repulsive. It made me physically ill. I was more disturbed by that than most things I’ve seen in any other movie.
And I just couldn’t stop thinking about this. About all the issues it brings up. It’s a sad fact that the destruction of women’s bodies is a common war tactic. Rape the women to demoralize the men. In this instance, rape the women to feed the men. It at once brings women down to a commodity but also, it oddly highlights exactly what a women’s body is worth. And that worth is what seems to bring about the most punishment. This sounds strange, and maybe it is, but I almost wonder if . . . if women suddenly all realized this worth and used it, what could be accomplished? Is this what the second wave of feminism and “consciousness raising” was all about? My god, sometimes it is astonishing to realize the power that women hold. Which makes it all the more depressing to realize that it goes unused, ignored, or stolen.
Yeah, this is me having a feminist moment. I used to have a theory: It is a general rule that women have a higher pain tolerance than men. It may not seem so, but when it comes down to can’t-escape-it-no-getting-around-it-grit-your-teeth pain, women can last longer. Perhaps it’s a biological response to the pain of giving birth. My theory was that men know this, even on a subconscious level, and some are jealous. So jealous that they try to test the limits of what we can take.
I don’t know. But I know that I hated that movie for a whole bunch of reasons. I know that the rape scene was intended to be disturbing, to show how far they had fallen. I know that half the point is that the blindness is a blessing. The curse falls upon the one woman who can still see the atrocities around her. And I know that this movie is supposed to cause this kind of thinking. But I also know that watching that rape scene was like a punch to the gut and instead of making me feel angry and self-righteous (which is how I feel today) I felt a little scared and ashamed of being a woman. I felt nervous. I felt expendable. And that’s not what I want when I go out to see a damn movie.