Monday, 28 January 2008

Nazi torture of women film re-released after being banned

A film which graphically depicts the rape and torture of women in a concentration camp has been re-released according to reports last weekend.

There has been controversy over the SS Experiment Love Camp film, originally banned for being a 'Video Nastie' in the 70s, but now judged suitable to be viewed by the BBFC.

MP's have apparently questioned the decision and the general tolerance of violence in media products in society. The film apparently portrays the rape, torture and electrocution of female holocaust victims.

I haven't seen the film, but have seen and studied plenty of so-called 'video nasties' from the 1970s and 1980s. Violence and the portrayal of women as sexualised in their terror have always been a staple of the genre, and always criticised by feminist film theorists for obvious reasons.

However, I do think in that period of film history the independent low budget horror films like 'I spit on your grave' and even less shocking examples like 'Halloween' have a lot to say about culture.

The representation of women in these films highlight unconcious male fears of female sexuality in society. I would argue that these films can be seen as patriarchy's horrified response to the 2nd wave feminist movement and womens quest for sexual autonomy - to have control of their bodies through access to contraception, abortion and childcare.

So these films are useful in that they represent a cultural manifestation of these fears even though they are certainly distastful and anti feminist.

It's strange that people choose to insist such films should remain banned - although I agree they are definietly anti feminist - but not insist on the removal of soft porn which surrounds us in culture everyday. What is more worrying I think is that these harmful representations of women dominate in everything from newspapers, magazines and adverts on billbords to tv commercials, characters on soaps, films and women in music videos.

Wherever we look we are assaulted by half naked, sexualised images of women - hammering home the message to all of society that WOMEN ARE OBJECTS TO BE LOOKED AT AND JUDGED.

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