If I’ve learned anything about women from television and movies,it’s that bitches be crazy. Specifically, bitches who’ve been wronged by their menfolk. You know, SCORNED. So the last thing we need from Hollywood is another “hell hath no fury” style movie, but that is exactly what we got with Mark Jones‘ Scorned. Scorned stars Annalynne McCord, whose boyfriend, played by Billy Zane (yes,that Billy Zane) cheats on her with her best friend (Viva Bianca).The movie was released on DVD and Blu Ray today, and it looks like an outright lady-revenge-porno.
The ensuing madness is what Jones calls “Misery meets Fatal Attraction,” and it got me thinking about the whole “scorned woman” phenomenon and how society tends to focus on female rage and emotions while simultaneously excusing or ignoring men’s.
Perhaps I’m looking too deeply into the issue. I mean, Scorned was produced by the same dude who did Leprechaun, what do I expect? But there are probably a hundred other, similar movies with the same theme, and I think the fact that angry women are portrayed again and again as manipulative, out of control bitches is very telling. Is it simply Hollywood being Hollywood and going for shock value and sex appeal, or society’s attitude as a whole? Probably a bit of both, in my opinion.
Scorned is just the newest in a plethora of similar movies. There’s even a TV Tropes page dedicated to the whole “woman scorned” thing. There’s also a television show of the same name that follows a similar theme (though at least ID Channel’ Scorned occasionally shows a scorned man or two). Why are we so fascinated with female outrage?
People are uncomfortable with female anger. Anger in a man is considered justifiable, but women are supposed to be people pleasers. When we get angry, we must be “PMSing,” or being overly emotional and irrational. You see it time and time again. When a male celebrity acts out, the excuses start flying. Look at the Chris Brown and Rihanna thing. Not even 24 hours after the incident and Chris Brown fans were on Twitter speculating about what Rihanna had done to deserve his attack. He almost KILLED her, but it’s totes okay, because she’s probably a bitch, amirite? No.
This theme is a popular one in Hollywood. There is a huge disparity between male driven and female driven revenge flicks. When writers sit down to write a man’s revenge tale, we get classics like Deathwish (Charles Bronson at his finest), Get Carter (The Michael Caine version, not the Stallone crapfest), and Mad Max (pre-antisemitism Mel Gibson). When writers write a woman’s revenge script we get Fatal Attraction (bunny boiling!),and Scorned. When a man is after revenge he’s a warrior. When a woman wants it she’s often portrayed as a psycho, a sex maniac or otherwise unbalanced.Why is this?
According to an article about gender and anger from the American Psychological Association, a lot of how we process anger stems from society’s gender expectations:
“Men have been encouraged to be more overt with their anger. If [boys] have a conflict on the playground, they act it out with their fists. Girls have been encouraged to keep their anger down. Indeed, anger in men is often viewed as “masculine”–it is seen as “manly” when men engage in fistfights or act their anger out physically… for girls, acting out in that way is not encouraged. Women usually get the message that anger is unpleasant and unfeminine.” Therefore, their anger may be misdirected in passive-aggressive maneuvers such as sulking or destructive gossip.”
Even in movies or TV shows where women are allowed to express their anger, there are problematic issues. Look at Kill Bill. Yeah, the Bride got to (SPOILER) exact her revenge and get her daughter back,but her journey is shown as a pilgrimage of sacrifice. A similar concept is seen on ABC’s Revenge. Yes, Emily Thorne gets her revenge time and time again, but we all know, at the every end, she won’t get the guy. Not in the same way the hero gets the girl in your typical revenge thrillers. I’m not suggesting that you need a man/woman in your life to be happy, but the hero walking away with his/her love interest at the end is supposed to signify a happy ending, something that is just not given to many heroines on the big or small screen.