Showing posts from February, 2021

Rape Revenge Fantasies and Male Entitlement

Revenge movies are nothing new. A staple of Hollywood throughout the decades, they run the gamut from Oscar-worthy ( Ben-Hur and Gladiator ) to cheap exploitation (no need to list specific titles here). There is something about vigilante justice that appeals to our nature, although the mileage of any given film will vary depending on how realistically, honestly, and/or cathartically it handles the topic. There is a subgenre of the revenge narrative that is especially ripe for exploitation: the rape-revenge film. Movies in this category often act as excuses for gratuitous displays of sex and violence. The victim/protagonist typically enacts vengeance on the perpetrator(s) by treating him/them the way she was treated—i.e., as an object of dehumanizing violence. Part of the fantasy, of course, is that an act of violence can actually negate or overcome or erase a previous act of violence. There’s a new movie in town, however, and it seeks to subvert the rape-revenge genre, replacing min