Blade Runner 2049 (2017) is full of violence against women. It is also full of the objectification, sexualization and silencing of women. It is not a hopeful movie for women like Hidden Figures (2016), a movie in which women have a real voice, like in Suffragette (2015) and Wonder Woman (2017), or full of solidarity between women like The Help (2011). Indeed, Blade Runner 2049, which was written and directed by four men, excels at silencing women. For instance, the lead male’s girlfriend is not a real woman but rather a virtual woman who only says “everything you [men] want to hear,” according to the ads for these artificial intelligence products. These virtual women are named Joi (sic) and only speak flattering, loving, reassuring words to their male owners. Unlike real women they are incapable of voicing dissatisfaction, frustration, anger or expectations. The writers also silence women by killing them: the three lead female characters are murdered before the end of the movie and a fourth woman, whose appearance lasts only a few minutes, is also murdered by the god-like man who created her.
The violence against women in Blade Runner 2049 is graphic. A man chokes a woman to death while holding her under water to drown her. This scene is long and includes several closeups of her face. A woman stabs another to death and stamps out a third woman’s life, both before our eyes. A man cuts a woman open to kill her and shoots another in the head at close range for being unacceptable to him. In contrast men’s deaths are much less brutal. One is shot off screen and another dies a peaceful death, lying on snow covered steps under the prettily falling snow.
Women are also highly sexualized here. For example, viewers are shown to several giant naked holograms and statues of women. Also, of the women who have speaking lines three are prostitutes, one is a virtual girlfriend called Joi and another is a synthetic woman called Luv.
Apparently Blade Runner 2049's filmmakers like their women naked and subservient. They also seem to enjoy watching women being murdered. Few recent movies have managed to be as insulting to women. The female viewer may feel inclined, afterwards, to wash out her eyes and brain with a movie that empowers women, like Wonder Woman (2017) or 9 to 5 (1980).
© 2017 Alline Cormier