Bret Easton Ellis’ Apparent Sexism

I believed Bret Easton Ellis when he claimed American Psycho was created to be a feminist book. Notice my use of the past tense – this is only because I “got” it when I read the book & haven’t thought about it too much since. I wonder if I’d still agree. Anyway.

Some creators are dull when interviewed; not so Ellis. To boot:

There’s something about the medium of film itself that I think requires the male gaze. We’re watching, and we’re aroused by looking, whereas I don’t think women respond that way to films, just because of how they’re built. [They have a level of arousal] that’s not so stimulated by the visual.

He sounds like he’s given the subject a lot of thought. He also goes on to say that, based on 2010’s films, he’s rethinking his arguably biased opinion. Nevertheless, he raised the ire of nearly everyone who commented; true to form, I felt compelled to do likewise:

I offer that many of these commentators would be better off worrying less about the opinions of a man they dislike (some claim to have disliked him long before this interview) & focus more on the attitudes of the men around them.

Have you spent time in a town more than 50 miles outside a major metropolitan area? The metropolitan men I know tend to be fairer in their assessment of the intellect & creativity of women than their countryfolk brethren. Try working in a factory in a city of 200,000; do you know the “jokes” about being monthly, or about two black eyes? There are countless men who are serious when they say these things, & they’ve never cracked heavier literature than an Archie comic, let alone read Ellis or Mailer.

Like many intelligent men before him, Ellis has made an assumption based on a combination of his life experience & his view of the culture. Men used “logic” when they declared the Sun revolved around the Earth, that bleeding the sick was a good idea, that smaller penises indicated intellectual superiority.

Assumptions are the worst form of reasoning; at least Ellis claims to be rethinking things, based on new life experiences, where the filter is Ellis himself. Besides, if he’s talentless & has failed as a novelist since his first book, his words shouldn’t resonate in the culture’s consciousness, & so shouldn’t be thought of an influential spokesperson.

I was tempted to use “spokesman” as the last word, but thought better of it. This was based on an assumption of audience reaction, but it’s still an assumption, & assumptions are unacceptable.

As for my Archie crack…


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Filed under books, film, opinion

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