March 28, 2017

Watch: Is Tarantino Feminist or Misogynist?

Are Quentin Tarantino's female characters empowered, or are they victims of brutality?

It's no secret that Quentin Tarantino is a fan of the excess. Many of his eight features reach borderline cartoonlike absurdity in the way they employ violence, gore, and even language. If you were to sit him down and ask him why this was the case, he would probably answer that it's for comic effect, or that it's all in good fun. 

But when does this violence start to become a problem? Is it okay to show a woman being repeatedly struck over the head by a shovel as long as she is "empowered"? By Tarantino's own admission, he doesn’t write different rules for his female characters on screen; they are maimed and abused just as their male counterparts.

"Does Tarantino lack empathy for women? Or just lack empathy, period?"

In his latest video essay for Fandor, Philip Brubaker explores whether feminism plays a role in Tarantino's decisions as a filmmaker and screenwriter, or whether his strong women are merely a consequence of his hyper-violent style. As Brubaker asks, "Does [Tarantino] lack empathy for women? Or just lack empathy, period?"

Tarantino's women are fearless and empowered. They are warriors and bosses. In many cases, these positions of power make them vulnerable to brutalization. This was recently brought to the public's attention in The Hateful Eight, in which the character of Daisy Domergue is subject to many a beating at the hands of her male captors. Despite being vicious and often frightening in her capacity for violence, Daisy remains petite, weak, and unable to defend herself.

As we see in an interview featured in the essay above, Tarantino wouldn’t call himself a feminist, but he accepts the statement and allows others to call him a feminist filmmaker.

What do you think? Is Tarantino a feminist?       

Your Comment

12 Comments

Everyone always cites The Bride, but it's important to remember that the Bride only becomes empowered after being repeatedly raped by the hospital orderly and other strangers, which is a HUGE misogynist trope in movies - that women can only actualize after they are raped.

My vote is that he's not trying to be, but his work is fairly misogynist much like a lot of Hollywood work is not trying to be racist but is fairly racist. Just my two cents.

March 28, 2017 at 1:26PM, Edited March 28, 1:26PM

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Marcelo Teson
Filmmaking Instructor/Sound Editor
288

Wait, so she wasn't empowered when she earned her moniker Black Mamba -- one of the world's most dangerous assassins -- years and years prior to ever being subjected to some greasy hospital orderly's rape business? She doesn't become 'empowered' because she's raped. She was empowered from the onset of the story.

I think Tarantino's females are just as complex and multidimensional as his men. Brutalization, within a Tarantino film, is not unique to his female characters. I'm curious to how you feel his work is misogynistic.

March 28, 2017 at 2:06PM

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Shhh don't say those words of rationality and logic to those who want to virtue signal their self-perceived sainthood to the whole audience of NFS. He obviously didn't really saw the movie properly and did not remembered the most important parts.... sucks to be a social justice warrior Sound Editor who just failed hard at trying to virtue signal!

March 29, 2017 at 1:55AM

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Kokles
161

Clicked it off after watching half of the clip because the beat downs of the female character in H8teful turned my stomach. Perhaps a feminist would view the female carnage as gender equality? Men and women are different, so their portrayals in film reflecting these differences are fine with me.

Tarantino's gratuitous depictions are what I expect from to someone who hasn't been in a fist fight as an
adult. It's portrayed in a nihilistic and cartoonish manner. He even chooses non-controversial targets (Nazi's & slave owners) as a moral justification for uber-violence. This clip served as a reminder of me of why I haven't seen a QT film in almost a decade.

March 28, 2017 at 2:16PM, Edited March 28, 2:19PM

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Marc B
Shooter & Editor
636

Your absurd sensitivity and your theatrical virtue signalling makes no difference to other people who can actually enjoy what they see on the movie screen if its any good. The female character in the Hateful eight was a really really bad person and last time I checked men are still the predominant group to be targeted by other violence (predominantly from other men). You are confusing domestic violence with actual criminal violence and stuff like inequal rights of women after the civil war.

March 29, 2017 at 1:52AM

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Kokles
161

Tarantino is better than a feminist. He's egalitarian in how he doesnt downplay threats of violence in his films- that would be sexist. It would be like G.I. Jane when the men are told in training to jump a wall but Moore's character is told to us a ladder.
The person who wrote this doesnt get tarantino, especially where they guessed what his response would be if questioned about the violence.

March 29, 2017 at 1:08AM

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Vincent Gortho
none
450

If you are a cis male artist, no matter how hard you try to create a female character, your work will have a misogynist bent. Innately Tarantino's work is misogynist. That is not to say his films are irrelevant to the world, because when he made these films, there were barely any female auteurs that had the voice and platform to share their perspectives. At the time, it was positive, but if Kill Bill was made today, I don't think it would be so accepted. This is why it's important for female writers and directors to share more of their work to counter balance the work of males, sharing their worldviews through characters of different sexes. When more perspectives are shared there is more understanding of the world.

March 29, 2017 at 1:13AM

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Blood is shooting from my eyes while reading your disgusting and filthy piece of comment. Every man a misogynist? Every heterosexual man a misogynist? How does one's sexuality define his hate and prejudice towards women? - that doesn't make any sense at all?? The last time I checked gays still hate lesbians and if you don't believe me you have never ever talked to an honest gay guy in a gay club. My cousin is gay and works in a gay club as a bouncer and oh boy the stories he can tell on this very topic. Anyway every man's work innately misogynist??? What do they put in the water where you live that you ended up so brainwashed?

March 29, 2017 at 1:43AM

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Kokles
161

So male filmmakers who don't want to make misogynist films should just retire?

March 29, 2017 at 2:09AM, Edited March 29, 2:11AM

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Gustavo Menezes de Andrade
Film student/Editor
8

Feminism = boys with vaginas. It has pretty nothing common with equality, just a stupid idea to create boys with vaginas. I want to see real women again in movies. Yes to equality, no to feminism & killing feminine energy. I feel lucky that I live in Poland & here a lot of women are still feminine, not like in the Western culture, where that energy is pretty much gone :/ Feminism is killing women.

About Tarantino - I find essays like this to be ridiculous. How can u say that someone is a feminist or misogynist because he created some movies? If I create a movie about fascism does it mean I'm a fascist? Ridiculous.

March 29, 2017 at 5:50PM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1282

He's a misogynist who thinks he's a feminist. And people say Nolan can't do female characters.

March 29, 2017 at 7:04PM

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Henry Barnill
Director of Photography
671

Excellent......
QT is a great film maker, one of my favorite. That's all I have to say :)

March 30, 2017 at 4:19AM, Edited March 30, 4:19AM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
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