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Under the skin, the new thriller or science fiction, or whatever genre film you want to call it, is a fraud.
The director Jonathan Glazer is being praised by the critics as exploring the depths of humanity and making us see ourselves as humans in a new light…
The film has an interesting premise, an alien takes the form of Scarlett Johansson, and rides around in a big white van picking up men. Then she takes them back to her flat for the promise of sex, as she strips and beckons them to follow. The ultimate femme fatale. What a great feminist, empowering, girl power centered film right?
WRONG. This may be one of the most women hating films I’ve ever seen. It is a complete Bechdel Test fail for one. Also the film makes Scarlett the classic siren luring men to their death
-(Misogynist trope #1)
The men die by sinking into an obsidian colored soup that sucks their innards out and feeds it to a conveyer belt, their skin left floating in the goop like a sack.
Ok. So the tables are turned and this woman is stalking men and killing them. It’s not even sexual as no sex occurs.
However this female alien, or at least alien that has taken a female form to lure men has bosses. Her boss rides a motorcycle and is male. He inspects her in one scene, looking over her to see if she looks good enough to keep luring earth men.
Male boss scrutinizing his female employee physically
-(misogynist trope # 2 check)
During the film the alien Scarlett starts to become more human and takes pity on a man with elephantiasis she has lured to his death, and lets him go.
She apparently knows this will anger her male alien boss, so she goes on the run. This is where the femme fatale meets her normal end (which is always death, see Marilyn get hers)
Except Scarlett REALLY gets punished as a character for having the nerve to discover her sexual awakening (she realizes what sex is) and have a mind of her own and decide NOT to lure men to their deaths anymore. She had the nerve to develop a sense of agency.
SO Mr. glazer decides to punish her in the most gruesome way possible, she is almost brutally raped, and the rapist only stops when he discovers she’s an alien because he has ripped her skin off. Then he douses her in gasoline and sets her on fire…
Hmmm wonder what message Glazer is giving women? Seems like good old fashioned slut-shaming with some extra fun heterosexist rape fantasy thrown in. Ladies don’t enjoy sex, or have a mind of your own, the world will douse you in gasoline and burn you…
This is definitely a choice of Glazer, as the novel source material by Michel Faber ends differently. The female alien isn’t murdered by a man who tried to rape her. She decides her fate herself, based on her own reasons and motivations. In other words, Faber gives the female alien the power of agency. THAT is feminism. Glazer takes all her agency away, and punishes her for even thinking about it with that horrible old spectre of rape culture.
Boo Glazer. Boooooo!