Saturday, 13 June 2009

Transformers: Misogyny

The older I get, the less inclined I am to laugh off the word 'bitch' as anything but loaded. There's an aggressive, possessive element to the remark that earmarks it as chattel language. It's an ugly word masquerading as minor curse. Cunt for kids. It's also a pretty boring word, lacking in any florid poetry. It's just a barbed click, usually spat at a perceived inferior. With that in mind: does it have any place in a children's film?

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
swaggers with a teen rating, and late-twenties nostalgia, but really its primary purpose is kiddy thrill. Fallen presents a tiny spy-bot called Wheelie as a notional child identifier. I stress notional, I'm sure children will gravitate towards the implacable boy-might of someone like Optimus Prime instead, the intent stands though. Wheelie is small, feeble, smart mouthed, but brave. Key components for Hollywood's idea of cool-kid reflections. He also transforms into a child's toy: a remote control car. Below is what I assume will be Wheelie's introductory sequence. The robot ambling about Megan Fox's garage, prat-falling and swearing before eventually being discovered. A brief battle ensues that ends with Wheelie being imprisoned, but not before he's called Fox a "crazy bitch".

Is that cool? Is it really necessary? Is that an idea that should be exported into fledgling minds? Also, isn't Fox's character marginalised quite enough as a slow-mo fantasy figure? Michael Bay wants little boys to hate women. I'm only half joking.


John Nada said...

It's only good for rapist characters and Benny Blanco to his henchman. "Pick up the goddam check bitch!"

I'm trying to think of times gangster characters have used it in Scorsese/Scorsese-like flicks, I'm seem to recall something like that making me laugh in Casino. All that springs to mind right now though is De Niro having enough of that yokel and and along with a stream of put downs ends it with "you fucking momo!".

John Nada said...

...oh, and "be a man, don't be a fucking pimp!"

I almost want that to be my motto for the rest of my life, even though it'd make no sense. The delivery is so good.

Anywayyyyyy...back on track, I agree with your feelings on bitch, except for when used in totally inappropriate places. Like someone calling someone else it who's like a fucking goliath or something...I don't know.

Reds said...

It's a complicated issue! The word can be hilarious! Just seems disasterously inappropriate to have a kid's toy saying it. Master of hypocrisy that I am, I'm quite happy to listen to it spill out of any mouth as long as that particular character isn't being sold as an action figure.

It doesn't help Bay's case that it's the cool toy talking to a character that is essentially designed as a nerd fetish figure. I think it'd help if I thougt there was any irony being it. That'd ease my lefty mind. It's Bay though. He just thinks it's FUCKING KILLER DUDE.

John Nada said...

Well 100% agreed, Bay thinks it's pimp and that it's giving him street cred yo!

I actually flat out hate him. I heard the new one is even more racist?

Reds said...

Heh. New one is pretty racist on a variety of levels. It's got about an hour and changes worth of pure awesome in a two and a half hour monster.

anna said...

You know, she was probably surfing the crimson wave... you know how those crazy b*tches get.

Disgusted from Leighton Buzzard.