VIDEO: Sexism in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters?

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Josh responds to MovieBob’s review of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters that accuses the film of having misogynistic themes, and puts way too much thought into a movie about fighting two-headed witches.

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  • Magdalen

    This was a very thoughtful analysis. 🙂 We should remember though that movies like this don’t exist in a vacuum. It is a product of our time and culture- which is overrun with sexism and misogyny. So while you’re absolutely right within the context of the film- the film is symptomatic of a larger problem. Good job!

    • $36060516

      If it did exist in a vacuum it would be very hard to hear the movie!

      • Magdalen

        Science joke! HUR! *high five*

        • $36060516

          I agree with your serious point by the way — I should have mentioned that!

    • Is the film itself a symptom or the need of the discussion a symptom? That being said by someone who hasn’t seen the film. It just seems to me that the QUESTION is a symptom, whereas if there were no problem the film itself may or may not be any different than it actually is. Just a question I like to keep in mind ^_^

  • Jason Withrow

    It’s got a good deal to do with context, so I can’t say much without having seen the film, but I see you bring up MovieBob saying that Gretel is taken out and nursed back to health twice in the film, but never address it. I’d say that is taking out of the neutral portrayal of gender roles you claim at the end of the video. Gretel is taken from her position of empowerment and turned into a helpless damsel being protected by more powerful (and capable, since they avoided being similarly hurt, or so I presume from this scrap of plot detail) males.

    Likewise, when it comes to a scene of interrogation, you get a helpless female (if demonoid) character tied down and demeaned before a – in this case far more – powerful male being abusive towards her in a way highly reflective of unfortunately common real world and even, even more sadly, domestic situations, though again I haven’t seen the scene. Once something reflects a real world issue it goes far beyond “what would happen if the genders were swapped” because the arrangement presented has problematic issues attached to it that can’t be ignored by swapping things. A man beating up a helpless woman is more problematic not because of arbitrary gender roles but because _men beat up helpless women all the time_.

    Taken in this isolated context, it sounds like someone took what could have been a neutral gender portrayal throughout the film but let slip in not just one, which might have been harmless, but at least three full scenes (and judging by MovieBob’s reaction to the film, multiple other shorter incidents throughout the film) of typical male power and sexual dominant fantasy, scuttling any attempt at female empowerment or a neutral gender portrayal throughout.

    • John Wilson

      This the interrogation thing happens in a lot of movies. Look at Zero Dark 30,24 etc. Its just a thing. It just there a lot of females in this movie so it more noticeable. And about the girl getting hurt more thing. It makes sense because(contrary to what people think) women are more likely to get hurt in a situation, There are a lot of male on male and female on male attacks in movies. Look at the loved ones. Sometimes you have to let things go:).

      • Jason Withrow

        Then very presumption that women are more likely to get hurt in combat situations is itself part of the problem.

    • I probably should’ve cut out that part of the MovieBob recap. I didn’t address it because I never felt the need. I mean, what am I going to do, play Who Gets Knocked Out the Most with the two of them to decide if the film is sexist? The same thing happens to Hansel at least once, and it all three cases the scene serves the same function: to introduce a new character to their party. Lazy writing using that same tactic three times to be fair, but misogynist? Hardly. The reason Gretel gets two of them is because she’s written as the (comparatively) more friendly of the two, therefore the best choice to befriend and recruit supporting characters who approach her.

      As for the interrogation scene, the reason I feel it doesn’t qualify as misogynist is that it’s tone is no different from the standard “Batman holds a criminal off a roof” or “Jack Bauer tortures a terrorist” scene. Hansel’s doing the old “tell me what you know!” gruff hero routine, the witch is doing the old “bwahaha I’ll never talk” henchmen routine. The gender arrangement feels very coincidental, not like any kind’ve sexual dominance fantasy (I suppose you could take the Freudian argument & say that kind’ve scene already has an unspoken sexual element to it, but that might be reaching a bit). That’s really what I like about the movie: the fact that’s it’s not at all trying to be any kind’ve empowerment thing, but maybe sort’ve kind’ve becomes one by pure accident. They gender arrangement was just what they were stuck with by virtue of the fairy tale they were working from and by not letting that affect their formula fantasy action, they ended up with something kind’ve maybe unique.

      • Man

        “what am I going to do, play Who Gets Knocked Out the Most with the two of them to decide if the film is sexist?”
        Actually, yes, that’s exactly one thing you can do. If the woman, who is supposed to be a strong hero like her male partner, is getting knocked out of the game repeatedly and the guy isn’t, that’s questionable. The fact that you are now shoving away legitimate reasoning methods is another indication that you aren’t being genuine your assessment of this movie regarding misogyny (not really sexism). If one neighborhood is robbed once every 10 or so years, people don’t panic. If the neighborhood next door is robbed one a month, it’s a problem out of sheer frequency of occurrence. Frequency of the occurrence of bad things is one very legitimate assessment used to determine how major something is. Another is the magnitude of the “badness” that happened. Gretel getting beaten and nursed back to health twice isn’t misogynistic, but measuring the frequency (or number of magnitude,etc.) of things is a legitimate assessment tool.

        “As for the interrogation scene, the reason I feel it doesn’t qualify as misogynist is that it’s tone is no different from the standard”
        “Tone” is not what makes misogyny.

        “The gender arrangement feels very coincidental”
        “They gender arrangement was just what they were stuck with by virtue of the fairy tale.”
        The gender arrangement was not coincidental (and does not feel that way. The movie script is deliberate. Nothing is coincidental) nor was it what they were stuck with: Gretel was right there. She could have easily been the one punching the witch the hell up and interrogating her. But, anyway, it wasn’t misogynistic on it’s own (but it was still close) by the saving grace that it was a demon witch, even if it’s a demon woman witch. But the interrogation scene isn’t on it’s own. It’s part of a movie with a crapload of misogyny, and the scene only added to it.

        “The reason Gretel gets two of them is because she’s written as the (comparatively) more friendly of the two”
        No she’s not. Neither of them are very “friendly” in the stereotypical sense (they’re both “business” like), but by comparison, Hansel is friendlier. We see him flirting with a woman in the bar, and his relations with Mina showed a slightly friendly and more delicate side of him.

  • MichaelANovelli

    The way my mother raised me, was, “A gentleman never hits a lady, but hitting a man is not ladylike, so if she’s not going to be a lady, there’s no reason for you to be a gentleman.” Because we Novellis don’t start fights, we finish them! 🙂

    Maybe it’s just the unique circumstances I came up through, but I can’t wrap my mind around the idea of a “weak woman”. Most of the women I knew in the army were more than my equal, psychically, and I’ve seen plenty of females who were, in all but definition, alpha-males. The thing that struck me more about this film than its supposed hatred of women was the idea that we were supposed to be cheering on two protagonists throwing someone who was evil by virtue of being different in an oven. That’s just me, though.

    I also couldn’t buy into the idea that the movie promoted a negative view of witchcraft, as magic is not real…

    • Of course magic is real? What, you believe in that science-bullcrap?!

    • Man

      “Maybe it’s just the unique circumstances I came up through, but I can’t wrap my mind around the idea of a weak woman”
      This is not about women being weak. Women are not are weak, nor is any group of people.

      “Most of the women I
      knew in the army were more than my equal, psychically,”
      Unless you are a short guy and/or very thin, this is an untrue statement. Almost all men are physically stronger than women, bigger than women, taller than women, and have more muscle than women. The Army and the entire military knows this, and that is why men and women have different fitness and strength standards for fitness tests.

      • MichaelANovelli

        That may be, but I saw women in my unit who could bench more than I could ever imagine doing, myself. Granted, on of them was a former pro wrestler, but still…

  • FullofQuestions1

    I totally agree with this. My biggest problem with this issue: It undermines men who are assaulted by women.

    It’s always bothered me when, on TV or in movies, it’s totally okay and FUNNY when a woman hits a man, man hits a man, or a woman hits a woman. This reinforces the idea that a relationship is only abusive if the abuser is male and in a heterosexual relationship. Society can’t seem to grasp sometimes that same sex relationships can be abusive and that a heterosexual relationship is still abusive even when the abuser is a woman.
    There are multiple TV Tropes pages about this, it’s that big of a trend.

    This is why, with movies like this, I think people should try to imagine what their reactions would be if the genders were reversed. Then, they should make a judgment.

    • MephLord

      Young Justice, the DCU cartoon, has a surprising amount of gender fighting (as men vs women) for both heroes and villains. When Miss Martian gets hit by Sportsmaster it seems be a consequence of them fighting rather than just random violence or intentional torture for information. I think a lot of it has to be portrayed in a plausible way to make the action justifiable, because some women are as capable as men in hurting people (Look at Ronda Rousey and tell me she won’t beat most men in fights).

      Super Heroes are not a statement on the real world obviously as there should never be any violence that isn’t mutual combat (a real legal term), but if any person wishes to engage in combat they are willing to accept the consequences. I like shows that aren’t afraid to have the females do the same work as the men. And to quote Batgirl “If this were an all male team would you need to justify that?” Damn brilliant on you Young Justice.

      • Man

        “because some women are as capable as men in hurting people”

        Anyone is capable of hurting someone given the proper conditions, but few women are “as capable as men” in hurting people. Most stronger women are still below the strength of the average guy.

        “Look at Ronda Rousey and tell me she won’t beat most men in fights”
        She won’t. Ronda Rousey will not beat most men in fights. She is 5’6 and 135 lbs. The majority of guys already outweigh her and outmatch her in strength, most guys by a lot.

    • chromesthesia

      Well, yeah. Abuse has no place in ANY relationship whether it’s male on female, female on male, female on female or male on male. Unless people like being consensually hit for some reason I can’t understand. Then that is different.

    • Man

      You a right, to a point. And that point is that a woman cannot hurt a man who defends himself from her (and I mean defend, not fight), and instances where women do hurt men who do not defend themselves (maybe they didn’t see it coming) is very low. Bad things do happen, and women assaulting men happens at a very low rate, so with those two things combined, a woman hitting a guy on tv (which I don’t think it’s actually that common, and when it does happen the hit is not a violent hit) for comedic purposes is not such a major issue that you seem to think it is. But you are right it still should not be portrayed as something that is perfectly okay.

      BUT if you are able to understand that it’s wrong to make a point of showcasing women violence against men, then you should ALSO be able to understand that it’s wrong to make a point of showcasing male violence against women, and much more wrong because it’s much more frequent and it’s actually possible to accomplish whether or not she attempts to defend herself.

      “This is why, with movies like this, I think people should try to imagine what their reactions would be if the genders were reversed.”
      The reversal…..sometimes that leads to conclusions that things in the two situations should be the same, and other times it leads to conclusion that things in the two should in fact be different because the two situation are very different conditions. Everything is not the same. Sometimes things have different conditions and sometimes they have the same. For example, just because a 190lb guy was able to do it, does not mean an employer should assign a 130lb guy that same job which requires strength that he (the 130lb guy) isn’t’ capable of, especially for the duration needed to accomplish the job like the 190lb guy did. The conditions, things that matter and make a difference, were different, and require being handled differently. It’s the same with men and women, and many other things. An Indian man who is has the necessary merit should have the same opportunity as the Pacific Islander man to be the manager, because their ethnic difference is not a condition of the managerial position. Sometimes it’s the same, and sometimes it’s not.

  • If anyone tall or short, femmme or butch comes at you with a searing +5 Haiduken of death, it doesn’t matter if their in a wheelchair, it’s not un-chivalrous to defend yourself. If the 10 foot tall Xenomorph queen or whoever wants to eat you alive or lay eggs in your stomach, it’s not some sort of uber-coded-patriarchal-micro-aggression to defend yourself from a female villain.

    If you want to talk about how witches have been used as a way to associate “relatively independent possibly land owning, unmarried woman who may have a cat” with “always evil,” that’s actually got some real life context. There have been media that utilize witches, but make them sometimes male and/or sometimes good, Did this movie not do that? Did it have a compelling reason for not doing that?

    If you want to talk about how a supposedly capable female is routinely and unceremoniosly rendered vulnerable and fulfill some sad male protector fantasy (The Fifth Element *cough* *cough* ), then that’s a decent argument. Re-distressing the damsel lazily relies on cop-out essentialism to undermine what should be a character bad ass as any other. Hell, in the original story, wasn’t it Gretel who saved Hansel?

    If you want to talk about heroic torture scenes where the interrogator seems like an unsporting jerk who never gets called on their jerkiness, that’s compelling. Hell, I have that same issue with “Special Victims Unit” and “The Closer”, but those actually pretend to reference the real justice system, so maybe its just me.

    As for the “women should only be glowering action girls who receive constant streams of un-earned validation and always kick ass but never get hit back”, no, that’s not a compelling character. I don’t identify with that character. “Hero” status necessitates sacrifice, which means putting yourself at risk in some way. Having a frail character who would be severely screwed if they took a punch is fine; having a character who uses non-violent methods is fine. Resenting a character who takes a punch at your peaceful and/or frail hero is fine, but the “you lay one hair on her pretty little head…” mentality is the stuff of bad soap operas and romance novels, and it appalls me how many sexual ideologues exploit it to take pot shots at media they don’t like. And as for the whole “triggers” thing, it’s just replacing one sheltering patronizing excuse for another. If you have genuine psychological triggers over physical violence, go see a therapist before seeing an action movie. Assuming the bulk majority will mistake any boy / girl action fight for lurid Ryona or a domestic abuse scene in a bad Lifetime movie insults everyone.

    • $36060516

      “If the 10 foot tall Xenomorph queen or whoever wants to eat you alive
      or lay eggs in your stomach, it’s not some sort of
      uber-coded-patriarchal-micro-aggression to defend yourself from a female
      villain.”

      Certainly not in real life, though in the context of fiction it’s valid to hypothesize about what it might mean psychologically that the authors of the movie chose as their subject matter Xenomorph queens that lay eggs in your stomach. That can represent certain fears of the feminine. But a simplistic reading is of course not helpful.

  • Bouncy X

    regarding the interrogation, i didn’t realize that was a girl til they referenced it during the actual interrogation i think. but her introductory scene with Famke and the other witch…i remember thinking “cool, a male witch”. lol this isnt a knock against the actress, she just looked male with that uniform and short spiky hair and all.

    as for the “oh no, women are being hit by men” thing. it never even once crossed my mind when watching this. its just a movie, a fantasy/magic movie at that….its hard to take anything seriously or “offensive” when you have trolls and witches flying on brooms and using magic wands. speaking of witches…..there seriously are real life wiccans offended by this movie? wow……..i mean first off being offended by a movie is beyond pathetic and retarded but even more so in this case. it doesnt portay the “real wiccan lifestyle” in any shape or form, its pure fantasy….in fact its literally based on a fairy tale from 100’s of years ago.

    “society” complains about not having enough strong women in movies that aren’t victims and can handle themselves. but then when we do, they complain if the woman is treated like a male hero would be?

    • Man

      “society complains about not having enough strong women in movies that aren’t victims and can handle themselves. but then when we do, they complain if the woman is treated like a male hero would be?”

      Women heroes or action characters do not have to be treated “like a male hero would be”, whatever that is supposed to mean (because there’s no decently consistent theme in male heroes other than badass and beat the bad guy in the end). Women are not men. We surely don’t see men in an abundance “roles” usually reserved for
      women. The standard is not “like a male hero” or “like men.” The standard is “right.” And the complaint is not what you said here. If a female hero is used an excuse for that women to be beat up on an pummeled by men, it’s quite capable of misogynistic, or at the least, careless. Male characters (bad guys and good guys) traditionally had opponents who were also male, and today still usually have only male bad opponents that they fight, beat up, and get beaten up by. A woman hero doesn’t have to have male bad guys in every friggin movie, and she shouldn’t. And a woman hero shouldn’t be being beat the hell up in the movie, by male bad guys, while being portrayed as having no chance of overcoming that fight somehow. It’s like having the good guys always be white and the bad guys always be black. It’s a very big, wrong, and unsafe political statement. Women can and should be villains also (and that doesn’t mean flip the bad into having male heroes with all female villains in every movie). Resident Evil Retribution did a good job of this with Alice and Jill, especially with their fight at the end. If Jill was “James” in that fight, the end of the fight would have me and others raising eyebrows due to the fact that at that point it was no longer a “fight;” Alice was being physically beaten with no chance of winning. She was being pummeled by Jill, in the same manner of the (who you refer to as the “male hero”) hero who gets beaten up to the point that you think they might not prevail, and they do. And Alice did. So no, it’s not complaining that women heroes are being treated “like a male hero would be.”

  • msgundam2

    Every argument against Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is is total complete idiocy.

    • Man

      No every argument is not.

  • John Wilson

    I think a big part of female vs.male is just gender roles that have and will always be there. The male as a protector and female as the one that needs protected. For thousands of years this use to be the case. Then it slowly came to be not the case. As both roles started to equal out. There will be extreme views on both sides.
    But then we figure out something:).

  • Tanlee

    I think you overlooked the really troubling misogynistic bit where Gretel was molested by that fanboy character while she was asleep, and yet afterwards he’s still part of their gang and she’s okay with that.

    • Ok, a juvenile scene to be sure, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it misogynist. At the very least he’s portrayed as fairly impotent and shy about it and is immediately shamed by the clearly dominant female with the firm grip and don’t-fuck-with-me stare. And keep in mind, I never meant to imply that this movie is exactly PRO-feminist. I probably should have emphasized more in the review. My thinking was that by being slightly more gender-blind than normal (I said SLIGHTLY, I mean you can’t really help noticing that Gemma Arterton has an awesome rack) they might’ve inadvertently stumbled upon something interesting.

      • Man

        This is not about feminism, Joshua. The guy rubbing her breasts while
        she was sleep was not misogynistic by itself (it is with the rest of the
        crap I mentioned about the movie), it was irresponsible and non-violent
        sexual abuse and non-violent sexual harassment. The guy was just being
        silly but the presence of it in the movie at all, especially with
        everything else misogynistic about the movie, was incredibly bad. It
        doesn’t matter if she restrained him by grabbing his hand and
        death-stared him afterwards (good luck trying to pull that off girls who get molested), the molestation of a sleeping girl still happened in the movie.

    • Sounds like 90% of friendships between males and females that I’ve seen in which the mindset is one where they would enjoy action movies…

  • Torgeaux

    This is a total guy movie. It’s also about as real as Star Wars. Things are settled in a forthright physical manner and stuff is blown up. There’s a clearly teenage male protagonist with the hots for Gretel that the target audience is supposed to identify with. The bug hunt happens to be against the embodiment of evil which in this case is traditional European depictions of female witches. It could just as well have been killer shrews. There’s also a full arsenal of fantastic and mundane weaponry. This is NOT a documentary on Wiccan culture or the promotion of the physical abuse of women. I would argue that this movie is so far removed from reality that all the full force blows, falls and physical violence that occurs with no serious injury to the protagonists is clearly cartoon violence. Relax. Nobody is going to go out and start punching or burning women because of this movie. It’s also a seriously wrong choice for a date movie unless your female friend tells you she want’s to see it.

    • I’m not sure why males and females would have different taste in movies?

  • The_Stig

    Ok, Josh. I have to ask.

    Do you read Sutter Cane?

    • I’m not insane, you hear me! I’M NOT INSANE!

    • Jackie

      Yes.

  • I love the fact that you bring this up because Sursum Ursa and I were just having a discussion on this the other day. We were discussing a story written by a women, presumably for women (or at least, a genre popular with women, marketed more toward women) about a woman who gives a crap about things like misogyny (which should be self-evident, but I think I’ve reviewed novels that give evidence to the contrary). In the story, this woman happens to get the crap kicked out of her, several times, by a primarily male group of antagonists. I mentioned being a bit uncomfortable reading about that, and Ursa, identifying as physically closer to the protagonist than the antagonists, referenced the fact that it gave her more of an action film vibe- as some have said, the best action films show the protagonist getting the crap kicked out of them just as they’re kicking the crap out of everybody else. Both of these viewpoints are valid, and in fact it could easily be used to create a “Girl Power” story in which surviving getting the crap kicked out of you is the entire ideal. Ultimately, there’s no set way to discuss it- creator intent and audience reception become less important in such a debate than the way an individual perceives it. In this case, I feel the simple act of discussing it- creating videos such as the one I’m responding to- is the absolute best way to go about it. This way the absolute maximum number of view points can be expressed in a civil manner, nobody gets alienated for their viewpoint, and growth as a society regarding this ideal can be accomplished.

    • Man

      A girl getting the crap kicked out of her for an entire story by the hands of primarily men is not “girl powa” nor is empowering. It’s girl-beating and inherently misogynistic. It may have an action-vibe, in which it’s action-vibed girl beating by a group of men. The protagonist having the crap kicked out of them while kicking the crap out of their opponent does make for good film, but that’s not what you mentioned in this story. You said simply a girl getting the crap kicked out of her for the duration of the story with presumed little else and certainly nothing that can justify it (nothing can justify it). That is girl-beating. And still being alive just to get the crap kicked out of you some more later by a group of primarily men is not ideal “girl powa” or ideal anything except a f’ed misogynistic “see this girl get the crap kicked out of her for 1hr and 30min by a group of primarily men” girl-beating crap. In order what you’re mentioning to be empowering or anything other than girl-beating, the crap she takes can’t be “beating,” and it would have to be paced between periods of non-abuse where there is legitimate story and where she grows from her troubles and learns ways to overcome or avoid those things, maybe develop a team of comrades, she must become better at being in her situation, and the abuse she suffers at the hands of this group of primarily men must decrease significantly, and even be reversed to an extent or at some points, where she (and her hypothetical partners) becomes competent at ways to attack and possibly defeat some of her abusers. The comrades things is important, because if she’s getting the crap kicked out of her by a group of primarily men, then she needs an opposing force that can stand up at least decently to that. But the start of the story with a girl getting the crap kicked out of her by a group of primarily men is going to misogynistic and disgusting no matter what.

      “creator intent and audience reception become less important in such a debate than the way an individual perceives it.”
      no it doesn’t. the creator intent is extremely important, it’s just as important as audience (an individual is also an audience) perception. Creator intent is extremely important because the creator is the one who “creates” what the audience is going to be perceiving, therefor the creator must be very cognizant of what they are putting out there for mass consumption, and also ideally they need to be responsible when they create those things for mass consumption, yet many time they do the opposite and are intentionally irresponsible.

      “as some have said, the best action films show the protagonist getting the crap kicked out of them just as they’re kicking the crap out of everybody else. ”
      Most action films, including most of the best, action films have always had the guy dishing much more damage than he takes. Every action film have the protagonist dishing out more damage than they take. The Mission Impossibles, the Bournes, Universal Soldier, The Fast movies, even Harry Potter movies. That’s the point of being protagonist in an action movie, the fantasy of being a super duper badass. Sometimes the protagonist meet their “equivalent baddie” who is so tough that they beat the protagonist just as much or more than the protagonist beats them (sometimes to the point where it’s portrayed that the hero might not win), and the hero manages to prevail somehow.

  • Anon

    Honestly, it all depends on the individual woman in question.

    I’m a woman who has been in a real fight with a man, which resulted in me knocking out one of his teeth and breaking two of his ribs and I’ve never even done any real training. And he started it, I just finished it.

    So yeah, if the particular woman in question does happen to be not very strong or physically capable then it is wrong for either a man or a stronger woman to really hit her, if she’s attacking you, then you can just push her to the ground. But if the particular woman in question can handle herself just fine in a fight, then a man hitting her is no worse than him hitting another man and she’d be quite offended if he thought it was (I know I would be).
    Basically, don’t seriously hit someone weaker than you but don’t automatically assume someone is weaker purely because she is female. You want to fight me, you’d better fight me like you would fight a man or you’ve got no chance of winning.

    The witches in the film are dangerous creatures who can fight and hurt you and therefore it’s not wrong to fight back. Really, ALL violence is a bad thing but context is important and deciding who can safely fight whom should be based on more than just gender.

    • CaptainCalvinCat

      *signed*

    • Man

      Not signed.Sorry, your story is obviously fake as all get out. A man going out of his way to have an actual violent fight with a woman? Extremely unlikely. The woman beating him up and busting out his teeth and breaking his ribs in the process? Extremely unlikely. Nearing impossible. The strength required to bust someone’s teeth–no, I’ll stop there. You full of bologna. No, I do not have to fight a woman (not “you” because you are not a
      woman) like I would fight a man because a woman is not nearly as
      physically strong, quick, explosive energy-wise or aggressive as I am. The size of the gap in strength of men and woman is substantial. Men and women should not be seriously fighting, and everyone, men and women, with even a decent mind knows that. You are certainly not even a woman, as a woman would know better than to encourage a man to full out fight here on a false basis that she is equal to men in physical strength. She is smaller and physically weaker than 85% of men. Those aren’t “fight me with all your strength!” characteristics. You’re surely a man who’s pretending to be wonder woman to justify men fighting and beating women OR to justify the fighting in the film. The fighting and beating of the witches wasn’t misogynistic by itself.

  • drumstick00m

    Not sure if someone else made it already, but the only point that I want to contend Josh, may I call you that (?), is your question on whether violence against women is such an issue in the modern world. Not sure if you were being rhetorical or not, or just referring to it happening in films still being an issue or not. You raise good points about how the refusal to portray one on one physical violence against a women inflicted by a man, is a little self serving, and I would agree. There are however, more ways to do violence against a group of people than just literally hitting someone who happens to be a member.

    I you make a good case that in the world of the film (which I have yet to see, so take all this with a hefty does of salt), the context for the violence is decisively not misogynistic I think, however, that that makes the film one of the exceptions that proves the rule. The fact that it is one of the exceptions as oppose to the exception is good, but overall, I think we still have a long way to go because, well current events aside, objectification in movies and to get parts is still the reality for women, bechtel test is still purposefully failed a lot, and violence against women still gets fetishized too much.

  • Man

    The movie has an irrefutable misogyny problem, and I say this having watched the full, complete film (the Uncut film released on DVD), not the version shown in theaters, so many of the things I mention weren’t in the theatrical cut, or were toned down to some extent in the theatrical cut. Still, there was enough of a misogyny problem in the theatrical cut for it to gain recognition, but in the uncut the misogyny is intensely amplified. It’s entirely ridiculous and hateful, and it’s an intentional, wound-up slap in the face to the notion of “strong women in media,” but more specifically, it’s an intentional wound-up slap in the face to the notion of “strong woman in this movie.” As a side note, “strong women” is really just a shiny word for the much-needed portrays of women in roles that are heroic, brave, trilling, action-oriented, intellectual,even insightfully vulnerable, etc. instead of the portrayals that are weak or sexually exploited/objectified, or where women are marginalized. Hollywood, however, loves to use the appearance of “strong women” in movies just to insert gross misogyny in the same movie. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s that slap in the face. This practice goes way back, and it’s alive and well today, the same way as this movie has it. Anyway, the misogyny in this movie is not that women witches are being physically beaten and killed. No, that’s NOT it. The main misogyny can be summed up in four words: bitch, whore, rape, and “cumshot on her face.”

    Everyone (are rather, every guy and many gals) are aware of modern pornography and how it goes out of it’s way to degrade the women in the porn enormously, sometimes to the point where it’s outright hateful. One of the many ways this is done with the whole “cum all over her face” thing that done is virtually every porno. We have all guys watching this (and other women-degrading things in porn) and taking it in and talking about it and sometimes making rude references to it about girls, and so forth. In the movie there is a scene that takes place in a pub where a guy’s body explodes. Because of this, some blood gets on nearly everyone in the room, including Hansel, but GRETEL? Man, she got a face-full of blood that we get to see splattered all over her face in a no-so-subtle reference to porn, but more exaggerated, and then we get to see her stand there with the focus on her and the “cum” all over her face. Wonderful. In the beginning of the movie when young Gretel stabs the witch during her and Hansel’s first witch slaying, we again see blood squirting all over her face. Stabbing someone, especially someone dressed in layers of clothing, does not result in blood squirting out like a fountain. Again, this was done specifically to mimic and exaggerate porn “cumshots.” It was suggestive enough being that it was with a child (who was playing young Gretel) that it was cut out of the theatrical cut, and instead the theatrical cut shows young Gretel stabbing the witch, and then it shows Gretel with the blood already on her face, as opposed to the blood squirting all over her.

    The extremely derogatory and often hateful word “bitch” at this point in time is a misogynistic slur, along with words like slut and whore and cunt, etc. This is a misogynistic establishment to the point where it’s been normalized due to sheer frequency of usage (by comparison, “nigger” is disgusting and racist but it is not normalized in society like bitch, slut, and whore are as misogynistic slurs). It’s normalized to the point where you’d you might think girl/woman is becoming obsolete in favor of “bitch.” Women in the film are called “bitch” (and YES that includes the witches, who still are 100% woman-based in their visual form and appearance. They do look very similar to women physically. In fact, they look exactly like women except for the gray scaly skin when they’re in witch mode. Witches are women, even when they’re not “demons.” That’s how it goes. The first witch Hansel and Gretel killed when they were kids is the only witch that doesn’t look like a woman at all. The other witches are women) over, and over, and over, and over again all throughout the movie. Gretel is also called a bitch over and over again. No men in the movie are called bitch, btw, for comparison. That would at least show that they weren’t intentionally trying to be misogynistic with “bitch,” but they were.

    But THIS is the real kicker. THIS is the most misogynistic and disgusting part of this damn movie. Gretel is in the forest and she see’s something through and openings of some trees. It looks like something is hiding there, so she raises up her crossbow and goes over. She moves the tree limbs out of the way, and there is man there. Gretel is being hunted by the “mayor” and three of his henchmen from the town (because they blame her and Hansel for the real witches attacking their town), and all of them are there. The three men punch the shit out of her over and over again with big powerful walloping ass punches, and she gets two punches in (good, but her punches aren’t portrayed as powerful. Her punch knocks the guy away, but there was no theatrical “UMPH” with her punches like the guys punches. It looked very lame to see after the mega-punches she was getting. They could have put some theatrical “umph” in her punches), and after that she just gets punched over and over again and kicked repeatedly while she’s on the ground by the mayor, who says that he’s going to break her down to tame her. This, beating up your opponent, is not necessarily misogynistic on it’s own.They also call her a bitch during this (that is misogynistic). By this point she’s bloodied the hell up and she mumbles “Pathetic.” And then comes the disgusting misogynistic bullshit. The mayor decides that that it, he and his henchman are going to rape her right there. They’re going to “ruin her.” The guys starting ripping off her clothes while she goes from being “strong” and “resilient” to being a frantic bundle of flailing and screaming but she can’t get away because the other guy is holding her down. The mayor undos his pants and pulls them down and, because it’s apparently not fucking misogynistic enough yet, he tells his three henchman, who are all holding her down, that they can have her after he’s done with her “if there’s anything left of her.” This is a shocking thing to see, and that line was a shocking piece of misogyny to hear in a mainstream movie. And then a big troll comes out, squashes the guys, and saves her.

    Just fantastic. Fucking great. Sex is a weapon to hurt and possibly kill or destroy women. Specifically and especially with Gretel, Gang-rape is the “ultimate weapon” to break, ruin and possibly kill or destroy “strong women” and tame them and “put them back in their place,” that is if she doesn’t end up “dead” from it. Thought Gretel was one half of a bad ass team that is capable of kicking ass and hunting witches? Wanted to try and overlook the occasional misogynistic “bitch” in the theatrical cut and thought Gretel was a good team member and you wanted to get the DVD? Slap in your face on both counts. “Bitch” is multiplied times 10 on the full film on DVD, Gretel is a bitch, a human punching bag, and a thing to be gang-raped to the point of killing her. It’s also interesting to note that Gretel shows absolutely no sexual or romantic interest in men. By comparison, Hansel shows sexual and romantic interest in women and has sexual activity with women during the film. But Gretel doesn’t. Not that she has to, but it is noteworthy that Gretel’s only experience with anything sexual in the movie was being sexually assaulted, molested, and nearly gang-raped-to-die by four men in the forest, and being molested by a guy who was feeling on her breasts while she was unconscious. This is straight misogynistic garbage. It’s just another way to declare that sex is “for” men only (and capable of being weaponized and hatefully fatal), along with the hateful slurs of “slut” and “whore” for women who have “sex lives” of “their” own (and many times the slurs are used even if she doesn’t have much or any sex, just because of how she “dresses” or acts or just because she’s hot or just because she’s a girl.) All of this happened in the same movie, (and a lot of it in the same scene), so context makes it all misogynistic. Capturing and beating her didn’t have to be misogynistic, but it was made into misogyny by INCLUDING misogyny. The movie didn’t have to be misogynistic but it was made into misogyny because misogyny was INCLUDED, intentionally, all over the film.

    And because the disgusting women beating and gang-rape scene wasn’t misogynistic enough and they needed more misogyny in the film, right after that Hansel and Gretel go to the house they grew up in. This time the creators switched it up. This time it’s “whore.” There is a witch at the house who talk about Hansel and Gretel’s mother. “Your whore of a mother,” for no reason other than their mother is a woman.

    And it goes on and on. The movie contained a heavy, misogynistic, and wound-up slap in the face of the concept of “strong women.” Denying the misogyny in this movie at this point is dishonest, makes you
    a liar, and possibly someone who has derogatory feelings towards women altogether, because guys like that are frequently the types of guys that deny blatant misogyny (or try to justify it), often times while being blatantly misogynistic themselves in the moment, or in several other moments before and after denying that misogyny in question. But at the least, it makes you dishonest. “I’m tired of people complaining about misogyny (or anything similar),” is bullshit. You should be tired of the misogyny, and if you’re not tired of it and instead are tired of complaints about it, then you are a misogynist, or someone who shares similar feelings, or someone who just doesn’t care about it. And if you don’t care about it then you have no place to care (negatively) about people who do find it a problem, which it is.

    And fyi, because some people don’t seem to (conveniently pretend not to) understand this, men are much physically stronger than women, to the point that a woman cannot ever hope to beat a man in a brawl. Unless he is a dwarf, or is handicapped (and it needs to be a big handicap like bound to a wheelchair, not arm in a cast), or is very short and thin while she’s much taller and bigger, or unless he has some other significant physical impairment, a woman cannot beat a guy or even really damage him if they were really going at it in a fight (it wouldn’t be a “fight”, that’s why it’s called woman-beating, because it’s beating someone who cannot defend themselves against you). Aside from physical strength, women also don’t have the intense physical energy that men do when it comes to things like fighting, nor can they maintain their physical energy for as long as men can (and pointing out how you know one woman who is a runner who can run for a longer period of time than some guy who doesn’t change this). Women are also not nearly as physically quick as men are (things like how fast you can get punches out, etc.) This does not mean that women are physically weak, it means that men are physically much stronger. Pretending that men and women are the same or even close to the same in this way in order to try to justify beating or fighting a woman is bullshit. In movies it’s fine to have women fighting men and winning or men fighting women and winning if the fight is portrayed responsibly and done well. A man should be “fighting” a women in a film, it is best to refrain from a man “beating” a woman in what is supposed to be a fight, because of the reality that it is wrong to beat up on someone weaker than you (and fiction or fantasy is NOT separate from reality, it exists WITHIN and is spawned FROM reality, and the two are mutually influential, which is why people often critique fiction with a sense of reality, “that was so unrealistic” when someone slides down a long pole with their bare hands without burning them which would require them to let go and thus fall off). The fact that is wrong to fight and beat on someone weaker than you is exactly why certain “boundaries” exist when we fight or pretend to fight, ranging from “don’t hit girls,” to MMA and boxing and other fighting sports having weight classes, to even parents and older siblings who pretend to fight with their children/younger siblings. The older person doesn’t use all of their strength and often let’s the child win, exactly because it’s not possible for them to actually win.

    Anyway, the misogyny in this movie is “very there” and is ridiculous. You, Josh, are not genuine in your assertion that there is nothing at all to raise an eyebrow over in this movie about misogyny, because even in the theatrical cut Gretel was being called “bitch” multiple times.

    • Man

      “You, Josh, are not genuine in your assertion that there is nothing at
      all to raise an eyebrow over in this movie about misogyny, because even
      in the theatrical cut Gretel was being called “bitch” multiple times.”

      And they also still called Hansel and Gretal’s mother “your whore of a mother” in the theatrical cut.