Captivity billboardI’ve struggled a long time to write a good capsule to introduce this bit, but I can’t. Joss Whedon is about a billion times the writer I am. This is a tremendous rant, and I encourage you to read it. I was unable to edit it down to something concise; unable to provide the jist of the piece by selectively quoting. Here’s a teaser. Go read the rest.

Last month seventeen year old Dua Khalil was pulled into a crowd of young men, some of them (the instigators) family, who then kicked and stoned her to death. This is an example of the breath-taking oxymoron ?honor killing?, in which a family member (almost always female) is murdered for some religious or ethical transgression. Dua Khalil, who was of the Yazidi faith, had been seen in the company of a Sunni Muslim, and possibly suspected of having married him or converted. That she was torturously murdered for this is not, in fact, a particularly uncommon story. But now you can watch the action up close on CNN. Because as the girl was on the ground trying to get up, her face nothing but red, the few in the group of more than twenty men who were not busy kicking her and hurling stones at her were filming the event with their camera-phones.

There were security officers standing outside the area doing nothing, but the footage of the murder was taken ? by more than one phone ? from the front row. Which means whoever shot it did so not to record the horror of the event, but to commemorate it. To share it. Because it was cool.

I could start a rant about the level to which we have become desensitized to violence, about the evils of the voyeuristic digital world in which everything is shown and everything is game, but honestly, it?s been said. And I certainly have no jingoistic cultural agenda. I like to think that in America this would be considered unbearably appalling, that Kitty Genovese is still remembered, that we are more evolved. But coincidentally, right before I stumbled on this vid I watched the trailer for ?Captivity?.

A few of you may know that I took public exception to the billboard campaign for this film, which showed a concise narrative of the kidnapping, torture and murder of a sexy young woman. I wanted to see if the film was perhaps more substantial (especially given the fact that it was directed by ?The Killing Fields? Roland Joffe) than the exploitive ad campaign had painted it. The trailer resembles nothing so much as the CNN story on Dua Khalil. Pretty much all you learn is that Elisha Cuthbert is beautiful, then kidnapped, inventively, repeatedly and horrifically tortured, and that the first thing she screams is ?I?m sorry?.

?I?m sorry.?

What is wrong with women?

GO READ THE REST. HT to Pandagon. And my apologies for the length of this on the front page. I just couldn’t find a way to make it shorter.

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  • Like movies about killer bugs, I can’t imagine why people want to see let alone spend money to make this stuff. But thank you for sharing the original entry.

  • Someone explain to me how the hell we are going to export our brand of democracy and rule of law to those that would do this? I’ll remind you that police were present, so this is no insurgent criminal activity – this is normal. What responsibility does religion itself hold on events like this? She was SEEN with a Sunni man. Not married. Not converted, but SEEN.

    You might argue that these instances are mere perversions of religion, but I’d argue following any kind of dogma that requires you to dismiss or even develop a disdain (and possibly hatred) for that of others sets us up perfectly for such horrific episodes. We see it very often on much largers scales as well.

  • Last comment didn’t deal with the final question of the poster, and that is “what is wrong with women?”

    Maybe Cuthbert’s “I’m sorry” was an expression of regret, not that she bore any responsibility for what happened ,but that she is sorry anything like this could happen – that it could come to this. Hard to say without the context and I doubt I’ll ever know.

  • I don’t know the context of the “I’m sorry” quote either – I haven’t even seen the trailer. I doubt I’ll ever see the movie (the only horror movies I ever watch are vampire flicks, and the occasional zombie movie if I don’t feel like sleeping for a month).

    Whedon’s point, obviously, is that far too many women accept being subjugated. Like Joss, I’m pro-feminist, but am far from flawless – I enjoy looking at photographs of Marisa Miller, and I find slutty, trashy Halloween costumes very very hot. Not that I’m apologizing for being a biologically normal male, just acknowledging that it can be unfair towards women, if not approached properly.

    Perhaps more alarming is the fact that subjugation of women seems to be the one thing that most societies appear to agree on. The difference between stoning a woman to death for being seen with the wrong man and forcing a woman to not work and become a baby factory is – lets be honest here – a matter of degree. Both are violence against women. I’m not saying a woman (or man!) can’t be a stay-at-home mom (dad!). I’m saying that conditioning that to be the only acceptable option is wrong.

    Personally, I’m busy trying to get my wife to work more; to get a higher paid job. I have no qualms about becoming Mr. Mom, if we ever found ourselves in a situation where one of us had to stay home and she made more money than me, tho she’d probably be unhappy with the quality of my housework if I were doing all of it. She’s OCD that way.

    Why are so many women willing to say “I’m sorry”? To be sorry for being women? Don’t be. Don’t apologize for doing what you want to do. Don’t apologize for being female. If I ever have a daughter, I hope I teach her well enough to be an “angry liberal” and tell anyone who would dare tell her she “can’t” simply because of her gender to go straight to Hades.

    And that’s one of the reasons I’m a liberal. I can’t abide by the conservative position that women “can’t” simply because of their gender.

  • Without spending an inordiment amount of time on this, I believe that the I’m sorry impulse is connected to the media’s contributions re: what are women supposed to be like, supposed to do, supposed to look like, supposed to feel, be able to achieve – for themselves and everyone around them.

    Our culture sounds out so many damn mixed messages – to men as well as woman, but clearly the effect is more dramatic on women for reasons I’m not sure even I understand other than to give at least a nod to history.

    I can’t tell you how many times writers, and others, have said to me, don’t ever apologize for your opinion. Connie Schultz is actually one of the loudest, proudest proponents about this – as are many women who have columns or op-eds. And Eric, you may recall that when I give tips about writing LTEs or Opeds, I always say, don’t write “I think” or “I believe.” Just say it.

    But women have this thing – and some men too of course – for trying to be meek, to thinking that they have to be in order to be heard.

    It’s a complicated problem that everyone needs to pay attention to, not just women, not just men. But for sure – as with the way the media amplifies Mommy Wars, the way they amplify whether and how and why we should value women also has a hand in women saying “I’m sorry.”

  • Okay – that’s supposed to be inordinant. 🙂

  • I notice you didn’t apologize, Jill. 😀

    Does some of this go back to the “politeness” meme (aka, “liberals are angry, filthy bastards who curse too much”)? Now that you mention it, despite my willingness to be aggressive in my blogging I tend to be apologetically polite in Real Life. It should go without saying – which is unfortunately why it has to be said – refusing to apologize for being female is not the same thing as being impolite.

    Very interesting stuff. Thanks for your contributions, Jill.

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