Set off warning: This text incorporates references to sexual violence. Two weeks in the past, Blonde, the most recent biopic on Marilyn Monroe, was launched on Netflix. Not with a whisper however with a bang, the unfavorable evaluations poured in to pan its extraordinarily graphic depiction of the sexual violence the primary character experiences.
Directed by Andrew Dominik and based mostly on the novel of the identical identify by Joyce Carol Oates, the 2022 movie is a fictionalized tackle Marilyn Monroe’s life, although there are moments of fact woven all through. Many criticized its insensitive portrayal of a number of sexual assaults, compelled abortion, and its general lack of empathy in direction of an actual one that has already been repeatedly exploited by the leisure business. Others discovered points with the truth that the character of Monroe was painfully one-dimensional—outlined by her victimhood once we know Monroe was a lot greater than that.
Emily Ratajkowski referred to as the movie “one more film fetishizing feminine ache.” The New York Occasions titled its tackle the film: “Exploiting Marilyn Monroe for Previous Occasions’ Sake.” Twitter customers outraged in regards to the film referred to as for an finish to “letting misogynistic males attempt to make groundbreaking movies about ladies” which are “so anti-abortion, so sexist, so exploitative.” Chase Cassine, a psychotherapist who focuses on trauma and trauma-informed remedy, agrees with the sentiment of reviewers. “Blonde felt very darkish, very vile and lacked empathy and compassion for survivors of trauma. Marilyn Monroe was a sufferer of childhood sexual abuse and was out and in of foster care. Her mom had extreme psychological sickness. She escaped foster care by marrying her first husband at 17. These items occurred in actual life,” he tells StyleCaster. “It’s necessary to consider how we show these experiences as a result of as viewers we’re being taken into this individual’s world.”
Cassine is especially harsh on the film’s results on viewers who’ve survived sexual trauma. “Individuals can have their very own trauma. They could possibly be negatively impacted by watching this,” he says. For example, he cites the scene the place Monroe is sexually assaulted by a casting director and the act is depicted in graphic element. He explains how a survivor of sexual assault is likely to be negatively affected by being confronted by this second on-screen. “There’s no processing of what simply occurred. You actually see her auditioning, then this man places his hand on his shoulder to get down and he or she’s raped. She then walks out after which on to the subsequent factor! An individual who has skilled trauma goes to be triggered by that,” he explains. He thinks that’s it very inadvisable to dump a lot trauma on survivors of sexual violence with out taking the time to unpack it. “It takes time to course of these items. As a practitioner, I’ve all the time been about understanding, compassion and empathy. However there was no empathy, no compassion being displayed all through the film,” he says.
Rape is about energy and management. It’s not about intercourse. I used to be saddened to see how this film portrayed sexual violence with such a sexual spin.
The psychotherapist believes that the film may have been extra trauma-informed by placing a disclaimer originally to warn viewers of the presence of graphic sexual violence and by having consultations with specialists who work straight with survivors of sexual violence. “I consider find some sort of line between being sensational and bringing consciousness. We don’t wish to keep away from speaking about these points as a result of these are issues that truly occur. However let’s ensure that we discover a stability,” he says. He thinks that the abortion scene—which was criticized by Deliberate Parenthood as “anti-abortion propaganda”—may have been improved in the event that they didn’t show graphic photos of her legs being compelled into stirrups and if the narrative centered on Monroe’s emotions in regards to the process. “The filmmakers may have proven how she felt afterwards. Even when she was pressured, they might have proven her processing these completely different experiences, as we by no means actually obtained to listen to her standpoint. They’re exhibiting a standpoint, however it’s not hers,” he explains, including that the film’s perspective is male and heterosexual, regardless of that includes a lady as its protagonist. “Monroe had extreme endometriosis, and he or she didn’t wish to have her reproductive organs eliminated to handle her situation as a result of she desired to have a baby. Simply listening to about these various things from her perspective as this individual is extra trauma-informed by bringing a layer of empathy, understanding and compassion.”
Lindsay Lieberman, Esq., an lawyer who works with survivors of sexual violence in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island at her personal legislation agency, additionally believes in not sensationalizing sexual violence in media. In response to her, doing so would possibly glamorize it. “Rape is about energy and management. It’s not about intercourse. I used to be saddened to see how this film portrayed sexual violence with such a sexual spin. It was as if the film was making an attempt to objectify and sexualize the violations of Monroe’s physique and her objectification,” says Lieberman. “These items aren’t attractive or attention-grabbing – they’re devastating. Sexual assault and rape has devastating results on survivors. And it felt to me just like the film was making an attempt to make use of these items as instruments to make the film extra attention-grabbing or attractive to attraction to viewers.”
The lawyer is nervous in regards to the results of the film’s glamorization of sexual violence on younger viewers members who’re simply studying about consent. “This may be actually dangerous and will really put different individuals liable to changing into victims of rape and sexual assault,” Lieberman says, including that it may additionally retraumatize survivors of sexual violence. Because the founding father of a authorized providers and threat administration consulting agency specializing in sexual violence, she argues that by focusing completely on all of the violations Monroe skilled, the movie dehumanizes her. “She’s a complete individual and her victimization is only one small factor that defines her. Monroe was good and proficient and bold and humorous, and all of the film did was spotlight and concentrate on abuse, abuse, abuse,” she criticizes. “I believe that’d be actually onerous for a survivor to see. It might be troublesome for them to distance themselves from their sexual assault in the event that they select to take action and to concentrate on different elements of their individual and their story.”
If she had been requested to be a guide for the film, Lieberman would have modified many choices, digital camera angles, positioning of our bodies and clothes (or lack thereof). She discovered the fictionalized scene the place Monroe was compelled into having oral intercourse with President Kennedy notably troublesome. “The digital camera angle is from the President’s physique going through Marilyn Monroe’s face, and it’s so shut as much as her face, that the one potential clarification for why they selected to place the digital camera there may be to truly give the viewer the sensation as in the event that they’re receiving that oral intercourse,” she explains. “That might imply that the viewer is meant to expertise pleasure by receiving this compelled oral intercourse. That may be very offensive and dangerous for survivors! Had a trauma-informed skilled are available and labored with them, it might have been portrayed fairly otherwise.”
Blonde is out there to stream on Netflix.
Should you or somebody you already know has skilled sexual violence, please contact the Rape, Abuse & Incest Nationwide Community (RAINN) on 800-656-HOPE (4673) or chat on-line for twenty-four/7 confidential help.
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