Misogyny hits the cinema

After not seeing a movie in the theater in what felt like forever (my wife and I are movie buffs), we finally saw two in one weekend—The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Hot Tub Time Machine. Both movies surprised me. The former surprised me with how serious, disturbing, and graphic it was. I knew it was a murder mystery, but I was thinking more Jane Marple. I guess in this age of Saw and Hostel, that was a bad assumption on my part. The latter surprised me for just being a terrible movie. It had gotten a lot of good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

I also had no idea how much misogyny was in both films. Later, I learned the original Swedish title for the book Dragon Tattoo was based on literally translates to men who hate women. And, after watching the movie (which I hear is pretty accurate to the book, except for leaving out whole plotlines that wouldn’t fit in a 2 1/2–hour time frame), I think that’s a far more fitting title. I guess the big difference between Tattoo and Hot Tub (apart from one being good, the other bad; and one being serious and the other intended to be funny) is that Tattoo makes it clear that misogyny is a bad thing. Hot Tub, on the other hand, celebrates it. Even though Tattoo is a bit too graphic in its depiction of rape and violence, it sends a clear message of “Men who hate women are bad people and should be punished.”

Hot Tub also sends a clear message—women are there to satisfy men sexually and… pretty much nothing else. In one scene, two men make bets with each other involving both money and sexual flavors. If one man wins, he says the other man’s wife needs to give him a blowjob. If the other man wins, he says the other man needs to give the other man’s male friend a blowjob. The wife says nothing. All she does is lick her lollipop suggestively. The male friend, however, protests furiously that he doesn’t like having his dick gambled with. So her mouth is okay to gamble with without consulting her… his dick, not so much? And, worse yet, the Black friend (whom we initially think is one of three best buddies, but it later turns out only the two White friends are best friends with each other…?) gets constantly ridiculed for hyphenating his name, as if that emasculates him. The only way to set it “right” is for him to keep his name. I’d love to see one of these raunch comedies make fun of woman for taking her husband’s name and then having everything be “right” when she goes back to her maiden name or, better yet, he takes her surname.


  1. “The girl with the dragon tattoo” (indeed better translated as “Men who hate women” as in most countries) is part 1 of the Millennium trilogy, and the whole trilogy is very obviously anti-misogynic. You could see that in the screenshots and poster already because the women in there are not Hollywood-fake but pretty real and not conformist. (I know 4 sure because I watched all three movies. :)) So, why are you surprised?

    I don’t even understand you go to a Swedish movie and expect it to be equally superficial as Hollywood.
    It is well known that investors in films are often male, so films that portray males as negative have a way harder time getting enough money.
    So with die-hard capitalist Hollywood, you can wait forever for your raunch movie making fun of men, to break the circle.
    Related to that statement, if you want a real serious drama anti-misogynic movie go rent Lilya-4-ever from Lukas Moodysson.

    The movies are based on the novel trilogy by Stieg Larsson who witnessed a rape of a same-aged girl when he was 15. Which left him, well, impressed.

  2. I’ve not seen either of these (and likely won’t, although I do love me some good horror and/or gore), but the whole last-name thing pisses me off so much that I think it deserves a whole post of its own. I worked for a newspaper that regularly published a “women’s” tabloid insert, filled with trite, awful fluff. One of its regular features was a “woman-on-the-street” interview, where they would ask inane questions. One month, that question was about whether or not all the fiancees featured planned to take their fiance’s last names, and why or why not. It wasn’t surprising that every single answer was “yes.” It was surprising that every single “reason” was “because I love my fiance.” Like what? Women who don’t take their men’s last names, or hyphenate, don’t love their men? Effing crikey.

  3. Yeah, I’m not getting how a man taking his wife’s name (or not even taking it—just hyphenating it) is being “pussy-whipped” (another godawful term), but a woman taking her husband’s name is “loving him.”

    If loving your spouse means taking that spouse’s last name, there must be a lot of men out there who don’t love their wives!

  4. But then, we know that “but I love him” means “I’m prepared to put up with #$&% that I wouldn’t tolerate in other circumstances.”

    Just ask any counsellor or social worker.

  5. I don’t know that loving someone is a reason for any choice really. I can love deeply, and make choices that compromise other values or not the two are independant if you think that way. They are related if you think that way.

    I figure that people take other names mostly to generate a sense of connection or ‘belonging with’ something they see as greater than who they are in themselves. That could be a lovers name, a religious name, or a corporate name.

    Is this a subconscious thought some have “Maybe if I take my sweet-hearts name, it is a sense of expressing my commitment to them, and the marriage will be fine that way..”

    I don’t know, but I do like the stimulation of thought – thanks for the great tips..

  6. I watched The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and have also started reading the book.

    I agree with you the violence in it was shocking. I was tempted to walk out. However I am glad I stayed because it was a wonderful movie. It showed such raw hatred, it was constantly confronting, was exhausting viewing. The very opposite of escapism.

    In regards to the woman hating element, it was refreshing to see it so frowned upon, however there was an element of man hating that was shown as justified, which I didn’t enjoy so much. The movie went out of its way to make sure the girl was a figure of empathy even while commiting atrocities.

  7. There are also those of us who take our husband’s last name because we want to be rid of the last name of our father. It’s not always a case of being a drone.

  8. How many husbands do you know who take their wife’s last name because they want to be rid of their own father’s last name? Not saying you’re a drone, but you don’t live in a cultural vacuum either.

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