One of the dozens of things I keep track of in mainstream movies is the language used in reference to female characters. The Craft (1996), a fantasy horror written by Andrew Fleming and Peter Filardi and starring Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell and Rachel True, scores well for females’ presence and voice. The protagonists are four females. In some ways it is progressive. However, the language used in reference to teenage girls is regressive and worth examining.
Consider the following examples of things teenage boys call teenage girls or say of them: “Hey, scary b*tch alert”; “What is that snail trail over there saying about me?”; “the b*tches of Eastwick”; and “She’s a major slut”; “You’re a witch!” Teenage boys also say: “Oh, you mean, did I get laid? […] Oui, beaucoup des--Beaucoup de ‘laid’.” Also, John Kapelos says to Balk’s mother, “Her father’s the one who paid you the $50 for the quick bang in the back seat.” The way teenage girls speak to each other, too, is worth considering. They call each other: cow; b*tch; stupid b*tch; slut; and pieces of bleached-blond shit. They say to each other (and of each other): “They don’t think”; “She’s so pathetic!”; “God, if I was as pathetic as you are I would have killed myself ages ago. You should get on with it”; “You’re going to kill yourself tonight, my dear”; “Oh god, you’re so disgusting”; and “You b*tch! I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you!” Moreover, Balk, threatening Campbell with a knife, shouts at her, “Get your lazy ass up those stairs or I’ll slit your throat!” Not exactly a progressive pick for this Halloween. I am looking forward to sharing my findings about the language used in mainstream movies of the 20th and 21st centuries in my upcoming book.
© 2019 Alline Cormier