I saw something last night and it left me feeling really uncomfortable. I was watching a movie and the middle aged male protagonist was having a thing with a very young adult, or teenager girl actually. Now, I completely understand that this was written into the story; this was the story that this director had chosen to make into a movie, but it was the ‘how’ of it that really bothered me.
You see, the male actor was really very good. His performance was complicated, nuanced and layered. He delivered character and emotion and power and conflict and pain. She, on the other hand,Â was entirely gorgeous, and quite useless. We saw her gorgeous breasts before we got to know her, and we saw them again, a lot. It crossed my mind more than once that she was chosen for her velvet brown eyes, ripe body and sexy everything, and that the question of her lack of acting skill was overlooked. And I got squirmy. It felt a little bit like somebody behind the scenes was getting their rocks off. I started thinking about the actress and not the character. I couldn’t see the story any more because the creepiness was about the people who made the movie, and not the characters in the story. This interpretation totally objectified women, and turned them into a single sexual thing. And it became pornographic.
I know that these lines are terribly blurred, and there will be many who totally disagree with me. But I had that very creepy, pervy feeling. It’s not a ‘thing’ exactly, it is a notion, a sense, an intuition. I have had it before while watching certain Woody Allen movies (even though his creative genius has often saved the situation) and I have seen and sensed it in theatre productions, where straight directors have objectified women, and got them to do stuff on stage for them, and gay directors have left women invisible in order to explore the male sexuality between characters; often where it isn’t even there in the story.
I think that you male directors need to apply a lot more rigour to your work, and a lot more honesty and self-knowing. If you want to make a movie or play because you want to see beautiful young boys or girls without their clothes on, I don’t want to watch you do it.