Tuesday, 3 January 2012

It's in the treeeeees

Predator (1987)
The gun is not a gun.
The return of filmaday (with some new new rules but essentially same as before) and many of you will have heard me go on about this before but I feel it deserves a place here on my blog. 

A brief examination of the sexual politics of Predator.
The  1987 Science Fiction actioner is staple viewing. Endlessly quotable (Arnie's accent making it so much more fun), pacy and exciting. I watched this so many times on a version taped off the telly that when I finally bought it on video (yes, it was a while ago) found whole chunks had been missing (Carl Weathers arm being shot off still feels like a deleted extra to me).
What's interesting about Predator is just how scared it is of women. The whole thing is driven by the usual macho bullshit of course, guns being very obvious phallic analogues. Schwarzenegger asserts his place within the movies narrative by the film itself killing off anybody who could put claim to being more 'manly' (having a bigger gun).
The lone actual female is seen as of so little consequence the film can't even be arsed to kill her or indeed give her much to do (though of course the second, the very second, she picks up the artifact of male dominance it is swatted from her hands and she is barely seen from again).
One character reflects that he 'ain't got time to bleed' reinforcing an idea that men would not let things like menstrual cycles impact on them (though later he does have some time to bleed if only briefly and spectacularly).
The Predator itself represents Feminism. An invading force that tears apart the male power paradigm. It has an almost literal Vagina Dentata. To be defeated Arnie must shake off the shackles of femininity and to this end gives (re)birth to himself without the aid of woman/womb, coming out of the primordial mud which gives him the advantage he needs.
And the manner he crushes the threat? A giant phallus.
The Patriarchy is defended once again.

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