Galen and I watched the second part of Kill Bill last night (yes, I’m always late watching movies…), and it was kind of weird for both of us. I was prepared to dismiss it as basically an idiotic pastiche of Tarantino’s favourite pop culture, but then I watched the “making of” bit in the special features. It amounted to all of the actors verbally fellating Q.T. for half an hour about his operatic scope and his ability to write better than Shakespeare did. Yow. I hope I never get myself into a position where no one will critique me to my face.
Really, I was enjoying the movie as a vacant piece of cool-looking entertainment until about the last 15 minutes, when…
… The Bride starts explaining why she ran away and her only story was that finding out she was pregnant changed her whole personality and made her quit her job. Add that to the insistent way that her unborn baby gets referred to as a person— repeatedly, during the entire two volumes— and I got a little creeped out by Tarantino’s take on reproductive rights. But, you know, oh well, artists have statements, the whole plot was minimalist, and the guy was probably just looking for some kind of primal, female motivation for his Amazonian lead. I can deal. I’m even pro-choice about the right to enjoy misogynist entertainment.
More annoying to me is that during the “let’s fellate the director” special feature, Uma and Quentin both make points about The Bride being so empowered, and about this movie featuring empowered women empowering themselves with power. Is this seriously what passes for empowerment among movie stars? Blond babes acting out the director’s girl-on-girl fantasies by kicking the shit out of each other? Chicks who are mortal enemies because they dated the same guy? Women who wimp out because of their uteruses? A main character who gets specifically attacked in her various woman parts— shot in the tits, rendered infertile, raped, manipulated through her child?
Presumably the celebrities consider these characters empowered because they can kick ass, but every time this prowess gets mentioned in the movie it is in the form “she’s pretty good… for a girl.” Top female assassin. Deadliest woman in the world. The chicks even refer to themselves that way, while they are killing some of your deadlier male assassins. That’s dumb, and distracting in a movie made since 1970.
When I rant like this, I get self-conscious about being a feminazi. This kind of rant doesn’t seem like an activist manifesto to me. My parents and almost everyone I know understands this stuff. I was raised in this context. A lot of my life plays out in a post-feminist context, if I may toss around some jargon for a moment. Ranting like this is sort of the same as complaining about an overpriced restaurant. You don’t have to go back there yourself so there’s no further action that needs to be taken, but you might as well warn your friends in case they care about the same things.