I know it is hard for people to do certain things. Maybe for one it is telling the truth, for another it is confronting her sister for something she had done. Sometimes, it is stopping something bad that is happening in front of you. Because how can you believe that stuff right? That an evil thing is going on at that time and place wherever you are. And you are not doing anything about that. In Deadgirl (2008) this is what was happening with the teenager Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) and his friend JT (Noah Segan). When you google the movie title, what first greets you is this summary:
A nasty surprise awaits two teenage friends (Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan) who find a naked woman (Jenny Spain) in an abandoned mental hospital.
Darn right it was a nasty surprise.
While it was surprising that there had been a naked woman in an abandoned mental hospital, what was more surprising was how the boys reacted. While Rickie tried staying away, JT remained where they found what (or who?) they called Deadgirl (Jenny Spain).
At this point of the movie, everyone in the class is like “WHAT?!”
JT was practically living there at the hospital. And what was he doing? He was messing with Deadgirl. And by “messing” I meant… you know. He wanted Deadgirl as his sort of passive-aggressive sex slave. Here was another movie showing how boys can become something else when faced with a helpless girl. Yes, Deadgirl seemed like a zombie but at least for me, I can’t help but think she was there in the movie to represent girls who are held captive and have no choice but to be treated that way by men. Deadgirl seemed to be the monster at first, being the zombie in a mental hospital and all, but really the monster here were the boys. It wasn’t only JT who was using her for sexual pleasure, it was also his other friends (or not-friends) Wheeler (Eric Podnar), Johnny (Andrew DiPalma), and Dwyer (Nolan Gerard Funk). Even Rickie, who did nothing with her but let this go on for long anyway, had a role with objectifying a girl… a dead girl at that.
Deadgirl had literally been reduced to a dead girl’s body, an object. She was being used by the boys who were craving for something primal—sexual pleasure and satisfaction. The boys used Deadgirl as an object for their “needs.” Perhaps the “dead” in “Deadgirl” signified how she was not alive as a female—she was dead, an object to be used, her dignity as a human removed from her. What was worse was it was not just Deadgirl, but the other girls in the movie like Joann (Candice King) who were being set up as characters meant to do as what the boys wanted. Johnny was upset that Joann was not living up to his expectations or something so he went and used Deadgirl for that.
It is really sad how this fictional movie could translate to what is happening with our society up until today. Women are still being objectified everywhere, being objects of men’s need to satisfy or prove their masculinity. Women are forced to go into prostitution, they are catcalled everywhere, sexual crimes are the fault of the victims who are usually women. The male gaze does not only apply to the visual arts and literature. It is pretty much alive in the real world. Women were meant to be used by men. None of the characters in the movie, and a lot of the population of the real world are not set on eliminating this situation or doing anything. Rickie was passive, kept saying “stop it!” a million times but really, what did he do to stop it? Same as all the self-proclaimed feminists out there. They keep posting on social media or whatever preaching about this issue, that it must be stopped and women are humans too. While that is a noble cause, some people just stop at doing that. When faced with the issue face to face, for example a girl got catcalled on her way home and this person witnessed it but did not do anything but later on posted on Facebook about it, what exactly are you doing? Yes that dude might have been raising awareness for such a reality. But what I am saying is, do not stop at that, folks.
While awareness is important in fighting this sad situation, that is not all we should do. It is scary enough that objectification is happening largely upon women, but it’s even terrifying for us if people are aware of it and choose not to do something (like Rickie for the longest time). Guys, let’s do something about this. Start in our own little ways—perhaps telling catcallers off? Or checking your brother’s views on women? You tell me.
Wow, this horror film got me talking about feminism in a span of more than around 900 words. I would just like to end this by saying I liked this film because of how #woke it is and made me want to do something for us females of this world. It got me scared into action for all of us. A+ for this movie, y’all.