I Googled Jacqueline O’Connor and couldn’t confirm whether she was a writer or critic or both but she had this to say about Stanley Kowalski’s rape of Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
“Blanche’s inability to conform to the sexual standards for women in her society, and she is punished for that shortcoming.”
“When he finally assaults her in the play’s climax,” Phillips said, “It is the action of a desperate man equipped with more brawn than brains to cope with a calculating creature who declared war on him when she first stepped across his threshold.”
Elia Kazan directed the 1951 movie version that won Oscars for Vivien Leigh (as Blanche) and supporting actors Karl Malden and Kim Hunter. Marlon Brando, in what is regarded as a landmark performance, lost the Best Actor statue to Jose Ferrer as Cyrano DeBergerac. Kazan said studio heads at the time had one basic rule when it came to casting the female lead.
“Do I want to fuck her?”
Kazan figured if the heads of MGM and Paramount said yes, then the male moviegoers would agree.
The man who won Oscars for “Gentleman’s Agreement” and “On the Waterfront” said this about the most controversial scene in his version of Streetcar.
“I will not have Stanley stop short of the rape. I don’t believe he would have, do you? Also, the rape is his final act in destroying her.”
I’m not going to play literary critic because I am not qualified to do so, in trying to figure out the intentions of Streetcar’s creator, Tennessee Williams.
But…punishment. Revenge. She deserved it. She had it coming. Does anything justify being destroyed?
THAT SHOWED HER!
Roger Ebert was one of my favourite movie critics. If Roger liked it, I usually did as well. He sat through many horrible films but, based on Ebert’s writings, I’d bet one of his most unsettling experiences occurred during a screening of the 1980 slasher flick, ‘I Spit on Your Grave.”
It’s a rape revenge tale that includes three separate scenes of the female lead being sexually assaulted.
“How did the audience react to all of this?” Ebert wrote. “Those who were vocal seemed to be eating it up. The middle-aged, white-haired man two seats down from me, for example, talked aloud, After the first rape: “That was a good one’! After the second: ‘That’ll show her!””
I’m 55. Never married. No kids (though after seeing me interact with my cousin’s children, my Mom has often said it’s too bad never became a Dad because I would have been a good one).
You must be picky. I’ve heard that dozens of times and yes, I am. Years ago a female friend (who I had tried to be more than friends with) answered one of those MySpace questionnaires and the finale one was, say something about the person that sent you this survey.
He knows what he wants, she typed.
Yes, I want to see the same desire in her eyes that I have for her. I’ve experienced that mutual appreciation a few times but sadly, it was short lived. Even so, I will always feel like Billy Crystal’s character in “When Harry Met Sally” who tells Sally that when you finally meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want it to start right now.
I’ve had several female friends post “Me Too” on Facebook, and it saddens me that so many of them have experienced some form of sexual abuse or harassment. Victims of males who joke that women are life support systems for vaginas.
Mom taught me to respect women and while I’ve done many stupid and immature things in the pursuit of women I think I’ve learned from them.
No means no.
No does not mean maybe.
Stop means stop. Now. She isn’t being playful or coy.
And, as my dear old Mother told me when I was a teenager, “If a girl likes you, she’ll let you know.”
WANNA SEE MY…
Creeps like Harvey Weinstein never seemed to catch on to that. Women became objects and play toys, no different than a sports car or yacht. You have money, power and influence, they don’t have to like you but you can still have them.
Have you made it this far?
Thanks for reading. Anyone writing about such a controversial topic is subject to criticism and if you think I’m off base, misguided or even clueless, so be it.
Can I, as a male, possibly understand what women have had to deal with at school or work? No. I’ve experienced unwanted attention, by phone and on Facebook, and it’s made me uncomfortable. But it was easily dealt with and I wasn’t threatened in any way.
“I’d rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with (or see you with) another man,”
You could argue that attitudes were different 50 or 60 years ago but it seems very little has changed.