I was really eager to see the remake of Clash of the Titans, when it hit cinemas some years ago. I have since seen it many times, and I love it. However, there is one thing that makes me cringe. And surprisingly it is not the violence, or the make-up effects worn by certain characters.
While two heroes are driven across the river Styx in the ferry, they hear the tragic tale of how Medusa became a ‘monster’. Yet Perseus, later gives the instruction that no one “look this ‘B****’ in the eye”. I love the score, the costume, many of the actors, and the story in Clash of the Titans. But that line never fails to spoil my enjoyment.
We reacted to the music and film coming out of certain cultures with rage. We did not want the word to be used. It insulted us. It could not define us! And yet, it wasn’t long before we used it on each other. Even as I write this, I feel as though it’s an archaic argument that we’ve already lost. The word seems comfortably poised in the media, perhaps as an example of verisimilitude. We hear it all the time; we even use it in unguarded moments.
I was introduced to theories of feminism quite a few years ago, while my sister was at University. Later I studied these, both at school and for myself. While I am not known for confronting every perceived act of chauvinism or prejudice, I have voiced my position on certain behaviours to friends enough to have male friends offer apologies in advance, and acknowledge awareness of my displeasure without acting as though I am making the proverbial ‘mountain out of a molehill’- a small but valuable victory.
I’m okay with the fact that they don’t see things exactly the same way. I respect their opinions, and it gives me an opportunity to reassess my position or strengthen my arguments. It is a bitter experience that often makes them feel justified in throwing the B-word around.
But I will continue to question the use of the word- to ask whether there is a need. I give this word no power. But I believe that we need positive interaction, and clear communication. So we need to understand what slips past our lips and what we can do to make sure that we catch the things that will compromise our relationships.