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Sucker Punch actress defends ‘sexist’ film

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Summary of story from Sydney Morning Herald, April 20, 2011

Zack Snyder’s latest film, Sucker Punch, has received mixed reviews from critics, with many of them labelling the film sexist.

The film stars Emily Browning as a girl called Baby Doll who is locked up in an asylum after she is accused of causing her sister’s death.

The hospital is later revealed to be a brothel as the lead character plots her escape in a series of imaginative dream sequences.

Ms Browning told the BBC “I find the idea that it’s sexist really bizarre. The sexism is within the story of the film.

“Within the brothel, the girls are being objectified but that doesn’t mean the film is doing the same. It’s really about these girls breaking free.”

WVoN comment: However, I tend to agree with the film magazine Variety, which branded it  as “fantasy fodder for 13-year-old guys” with the female cast dressed in “demeaning fetish gear”. The film simply eroticises violence against women and it is masked in faux feminism.

It is not ‘girls breaking free’. It is women chained to patriarchy in order to sell films.

  1. While the third reality layer (the fighting scenes) do feature outfits which could likely be described as ‘fodder for 13-year-old guys’ the outfits within the brothel layer make perfect sense given the environment. The choice of setting the second layer of reality in a brothel also makes a lot of sense because this allows Baby-doll to convince herself that she is not being abused or raped because her value within that layer to Blue is based on her value to the high roller as the new virgin girl.

    The story itself is one of female growth and companionship. Baby-doll realises from what she has seen that she can escape and punish Blue for the atrocities he has committed on the girls but to do so requires team work, and then self sacrifice to make it work. The work doesn’t eroticise violence against women, if anything it makes it clear that the abuse of the girls within the asylum is simply violence, it isn’t love, it isn’t anything pretty, it’s simply violence against the girls. Actually watching the film you don’t really notice the girls are wearing ‘demeaning fetish gear’ because you are focused on the plot and actually understanding what the writer meant by it all.

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