Nancy Allen’s Ann Lewis in the original Robocop was probably one of the best female characters in an 1980s movie. She is treated as an equal by everyone and never portrayed as a sex object. Hell, she saves Robocop twice!
Yeah, Blade Runner has especially not aged well on that front.
That was my exhibit A. For my wife it was Sixteen Candles.
Sixteen Candles has become problematic for a variety of reasons.
If you look at most romcoms objectively, the characters are pretty horrible.
It’s almost like they’re fictional people going through some personal change in order to find true love at the end of the story.
In Sixteen Candles anyway, the date rape stuff is the happy ending. It’s pretty bizarre actually.
I always looked in Blade Runner as Deckard desperately craving for love. Despite knowing Rachel is replicant, the latter unaware of it. That whole scene was almost taken from any Bond books. Still, it was a bit weird - “say, kiss me”.
The more disturbing I found in Sorcerer where during wedding scene, we see the bride with shimmer on her eye. Camera briefly zooms on her, albeit is very brief.
As for Sixteen Candles… Well, it’s John Hughes film. And characters there are no better or worse than in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Deckard is a borderline alcoholic, former-hit-man. Rachel is traumatised by finding out her true origins.
This is not a romcom.
Their sex scene is still pretty disturbing, but the question is; is it meant to be disturbing?
Now when I think about it, the 70s also had potentially risky situations. The two boldest examples came from Dario Argento and Clint Eastwood.
Dario Argento indeed had troubles back in the 70s, to prove he is not misogynist. But, who am I to argue; his fans are consisted mostly of women. Anyway, his Cat O’ Nine Tales has scene where protagonist (Carlo) is seducing a minor female character (Anna). Their conversation I copied from site dedicated to sex and sexuality in cinema.
Carlo: Do you know how many people are together right now making love at this very second?
Carlo: 780 on the average. Really. (pause) I don’t know if you’re aware of it or not, but that was an invitation.
Anna: I’m perfectly aware of it. I was just wondering what devious device you would think of now to get me to bed.
Carlo: The couch is very comfortable.
Then she takes her clothes off and the two have sex. It was pretty shocking to me when I saw it. But it’s nothing compared to when Clint Eastwood rapes a townswoman in High Plains Drifter.
Rape is also a common trope in romance novels. “Forced seduction” is part of the appeal of the novels. Primarily, the difference is that rape fantasy is not at all realistic. It’s part of the poetic or artistic division between reality and fantasy just as violence in movies and novels most often is meant to excite. It’s not promoting violence.
The characters are not real people and the story is not in the real world. No one is really getting raped or getting killed. No one is really cheating on their spouses or abusing their children. The story is supposed to incite an emotional response and the characters and action are tools used to help do that for us.
We obviously don’t want safe, inoffensive entertainment, and fiction is the best place for these imaginary dramatic actions to take place.
And Revenge of the Nerds. And Animal House.
Like which scenes? I’m interested… I mean I can’t recall many off the top of my head, but still…
I have noticed this, too.
Frequently, the sex scenes in older movies come off kind of rapey. I think that, with the mores of the time, fictional female characters had to be forced or coerced into sex in order to maintain their honor and not come off as slutty or wanton.
There’s also the case of 70s and 80s sex comedies (Animal House, Porky’s, The Cheerleaders, Revenge of the Nerds) where sexual assault, attempted rape, or even outright rape, are played for titillation and laughs. In this case, I often think that it appeals to an adolsecent idea of sexuality, where inexperienced and chaste young man (the target audience) where it’s seemingly essier to spy on girls showering in a locker room or pulling off a bikini top than it is cultivate an actual secual relationship.
To be fair the bulk of courtships before 1990 were most likely kind of rapey. Guys getting off with drunk girls, leaning in for a kiss at the disco, fumbling under clothes without asking, pressuring for sex. There wasn’t this age of freely having a conversation about what the rules were beforehand, or the more casual nature of casual sex, or indeed guys just being used to talking to girls or talking about this subject. Without texting or emails all interaction was using your voice, which makes people more hesitant and prone to not be clear. These days you get unsolicited dick pics and discuss before the date whether sex is on the menu.
There’s not much point judging the past by today’s standards except to see how far things have come.
I watched Robert Altman’s MASH not too long ago. It was very much of the time it was made (1970) and the era it portrayed (1951). It’s not a movie that holds up under a contemporary eye.
You could not get away with this scene today without a huge shitstorm:
It was tricking girls when they think they’re having sex with someone else.
That’s a different argument though. I suppose anyone can enjoy rape fiction if that’s what you’re into, and there’s obviously a lot of that going on in pornography and hentai and the like.
It’s a different thing when (borderline) sexual violence is depicted as something that is supposed to be normal in movies, and for the viewer to not be problematic but something he should happily accept the characters going. Times have definitely changed, and those scenes demonstrate that.
So anyways, I got a question for everyone in here… I’ve been hearing a new term a lot recently, “soy boy”, which might be, as far as I can tell that is, a replacement word for “gay” or the F one… in terms of usage intent at least.
So the question is, what do you think about a term like that? In terms of basically keeping the intent but changing the term to something non-offensive towards a specific group one? As in: it can target anyone, but it’s not associated to a specific group (like the word “gay” or the word “pussy”)…
Soy boy has very specific meaning that’s mired in the hard right/MR movement like cuck, beta or intel. It comes from the conspiracy theory that there are chemicals being added to soy to turn men gay.
Yeah okay whatever, that’s not the point or the question… replace “soy boy” by something else that is not one of those words associated with a specific group of people.
Also… I find it kid of funny that anything even remotely offensive is immediatly pegged to the right these days… like jeeeesus since when is “cuck” or “beta male” a right thing?