Ever since I saw the first teaser for the new telling of Bonnie & Clyde which used a version of the song “BangBang” (about which I have repeatedly posted, once in October (CLICK HERE) and then again – just about the song – just last week (CLICK HERE) in ) I have been vibrating with an almost erotic anticipatory fever, waiting for the show. I have read many, many books about the depression era duo and seen the 1967 landmark film starring Warren Beatty & Faye Dunaway over and over and over and over.
SO, I watched last night. Of course. And, it was not good. Not for me. I’m not sure how you make the story of Bonnie & Clyde dull, but they managed. I’m not sure how you miss the connection between the pair and the cultural zeitgeist and economic collapse of the time, the resulting re-evaluation of morality and acceptable behavior, and why their story was so riveting. But they did.
Which is bad enough. But, okay. We all – we makers of art and storytellers – we sometimes with all good intentions miss the mark. What is NOT OKAY (at least not for me) is the sexist, misogynist way in which Bonnie is written and portrayed. According to THIS version, Bonnie was ambitious – she wanted to be famous – and that made her a BAD PERSON. According to THIS version, Bonnie had a healthy sexual appetite – and that made her a manipulative person with a moral failing. This Bonnie would do ANYTHING to become known and get laid. This Bonnie drove this apparently unable to control himself Clyde to do what she wanted, to his life of crime, controlling all his major organs – his brain and his heart, by manipulating his dick. We see Bonnie going down on Clyde in a car in broad daylight. We see Bonnie jacking Clyde off in a movie theatre. We see Bonnie torture-teasing Clyde by lingering in a bathroom and then emerging in her scanty lingerie, re-seducing him and – OH NO – perhaps NOT wanting a house full of children?
It was nearly unbearable for me. Ambition and sexual appetite are NOT moral failings. And it is patently ridiculous and blatantly sexist to make the motivation for Bonnie and Clyde’s crime spree seem to be dependent on Bonnie having been sex and fame starved. It is also evidence of a cultural anti-woman bias that this hasn’t been widely and loudly decried since last night’s showing – and WORSE – that NO ONE pointed it out to the writers, producers, director, etc as this was going on.
You know what – CONFESSION – I’ve gone down on a guy in a car in broad daylight and been gone down on in a car in broad daylight; I have mutually jacked off a guy in a movie theatre; I wanted to be famous and have a healthy sexual appetite and I NEVER ROBBED A FUCKING BANK NOR DID THE GUYS I WAS HAVING SEX WITH.
SURPRISE – Bonnie’s ambition and horniness were NOT responsible for Bonnie & Clyde.
Man I am sick of this shit. This has been a BAD weekend for people being idiots about such things and voicing their sadly bigoted opinions formed of cultural biases against women, minorities, body types, ages, etc. In the past few days I have had to hear about anti-President Obama and President Mandela hatreds CLEARLY born of racial bias – which people refused to admit. I have had to read anti-full-bodied crap from people who think having (or not having) a particular type of body is a moral failing. I have had to listen to ridiculous bullshit about the ages of people others were dating. And this anti-woman bias in Bonnie & Clyde …
Look, here’s the thing; I know a LOT of people who claim to be so open, so un-biased, so living loves in which they love people based on the content of their characters and the shape of their souls – BUT THEY ARE LYING. And I, too, have had to spend much time and energy watching myself and my biases: I have had size/body biases, sexuality biases, age biases, religious biases, political biases, and I TRULY measure almost every word I say and feeling I feel to see if I am being influenced by cultural biases I have been taught and not undone –
But there are still so many people think are okay – and they are not. So, I am having to protect myself from all this exposure to people’s “isms” – the sexism, the ageism, the bodyism, the politicalism, the religiousism, the Ismism – and so have been un-following folks on Twitter and making my world smaller and smaller –
I’m not sure where that is going to end up taking me – but I do know this – I can’t listen to (or read on Twitter) these easy hatreds and judgments people spew – we need to BeBetter …