Kill Bill, Volume 1: Purging the female stereotype in films
Kill Bill, Volume 1 was vital in the purging, even eradicating the female stereotype in films. “Wiggle your big toe.” The toe doesn’t move. “Wiggle your big toe.” (Tarantino) It doesn’t move. The Bride played by actress Uma Thurman is really Beatrix Kiddo, but is known as Black Mamba as well as Arlene Machiavelli; her real name is bleeped out during Kill Bill, Volume 1 as she recounts the situation which led her to being in the back of a vehicle in a hospital parking lot with her legs in a state of atrophy whispering, “wiggle your big toe.” As she begins recounting the story of Bill’s assassination attempt using the Deadly Viper Squad, being shot in the head by Bill, and waking to find that her pregnancy had been terminated, she finally wiggles her big toe. She makes a list of the members of the deadly Viper Squad with Bill’s name last; her intent is to exact her revenge on all of them. As the bride’s name is bleeped out, we are permitted to remain emotionally detached from her until we know her story. The bride becomes fully vulnerable to us as a woman and mother. Historically, classical Hollywood films don’t portray women as kicking butt and asking questions later heroines. For example, Rear Window was brought to cinemas in 1954. Our hero, Jeff, played by James Stewart, breaks his leg and is confined to a wheelchair. He becomes a voyeur from his window. The film is mainly shot from James Stewart’s vantage point. His view personifies the “male gaze” in Hollywood cinema. Film feminist theorist, Laura Mulvey set out to familiarize us with what she calls “the male gaze.” The male gaze is based on Sigmund Freud’s principles. She explains that in film, the audience is compelled to view characters from the perspective of the heterosexual male. She further asserts that “In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and...
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