When it Hurts to Watch

(Please note, in today’s article there are several links to show what I am referring to.  Personally, I wouldn’t watch them.  I’m making sure they are the correct scene, then closing them quick.  However, should you choose to see for yourself, well, that is up to you.)

The hot new comic book show these days is Jessica Jones. It is set in the same world as Daredevil, and one review I read claimed that the pilot was even better than its predecessor.

However, odds are that I will never watch it.

From what I gather, the television show will follow the comic book pretty closely. While I think that Brian Michael Bendis is a terrific writer, that story line was not one I felt compelled to read. In the series, called Alias, Jessica Jones is a retired superhero turned private investigator. She is a little different in that she has some emotional scars. A villain by the name of The Purple Man used his mental skills to force her to do whatever he wanted. Do not quote me on this, but I am pretty sure there was a sexual aspect to this as well. That sounds a bit too close to torture for me.

Trivia time: The reason that Jessica Jones has that title is to prevent confusion with J.J. Abrams’ show, Alias. (Also, Alias the television show and Alias the comic book came out around the same time. What.) Around season three, I told myself to stop watching Jennifer Garner’s show. The way of proving how strong a character was continuously involved torture (both inflicted on others and received).

Sometimes “I can’t take my eyes away” is a solid indicator that one should. That is the course I have taken over the last few years.

We have already covered The Americans in a post about females and rape, but rape and torture seem to be close branches on the family tree of abuse. Keri Russell comes across as a delightful woman. I like watching her work. I do not like watching her instructor rape her. I barely made it through the pilot episode; and I knew that was plenty.

I did not have a strong desire to watch 12 Years a Slave. Come now, that title just screams, “downer”. However, it received a string of accolades and acclaim. Quakers have a history of standing against slavery. I figured it was one of those films that were important to watch, even if there was an absence of happiness.

All in all, I think I survived the rather depressing film. That is, until the main character whips a fellow slave. A female, tied to a tree, is either going to be whipped by her keeper, or whipped by the main character. Voila, you see him whipping her. You see the blood. You see the anguish on both characters’ faces. And you can hear the woman moan and cry as she suffers. I tried to stomach it. Then I thought to myself, “Why?”, and skipped to the next scene.

There are many parts of the Harry Potter movies that make me uncomfortable. Smoky teenagers fondling each other in a dream, possessions; we could go on and on. But the only moment that made me leave the theater each and every time I ushered the movie was in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1. The bad guys get a hold of Hermoine. Not being the nicest of bad guys, they aim to get results.

I like Emma Watson. She seems like a classy woman, intelligent, attractive, a solid actor, and has a logical way about her that many in her profession do not. So why would I want to sit through a scene where she (quite convincingly) screams and cries in pain?

The same could be said for the most recent episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If the long moments of gunfire were not violent enough, there are at least two scenes where Jemma is tortured by two different guys determined to either get information from her, or upset her compatriot enough that her suffering will prompt him to cooperate.

In this area, I think I might be sexist. I think women are as smart as men, as capable, and probably more interesting. It is not that I think they are incapable of dealing with pain. (Hello childbirth.) It is that I do not think they should have to. The same goes to opening doors. Yes, they do possess the requisite skills to work a door, but if a guy is around they should not have to. I opt for politeness over gender status. (And one should open doors too. Ladies first, though.)

Perhaps that is why I own The Passion of the Christ and have no problem with it. It is historical, just like 12 Years a Slave. One person has pain inflicted upon him. The scene is upsetting, but not in the gut-wrenching way that 12 Years was. That being said, there are members of my family that will never see the movie. I have watched it three times over the years; not a huge amount. The rationale for that being that I do not enjoy watching others suffer; certainly not on a regular basis.

I root for creative license. I understand trying to invoke sympathy, pain, or simply the strength of a scene. But if I know torture is going to be employed, I will stay far away. It is why I will never see a Saw movie, or most horror films for that matter. I do not like violence. That goes even more so when women are involved. If I have to watch a male villain punch a female hero, I can accept that in the terms of action and conflict. But seeing or hearing a woman writhe in agony while she is pinned or tied up? Watching another take pleasure from someone else’s pain? I will not be an audience to that. No matter how “good” the show is supposed to be.

(Post note:  Apparently someone at MTV agrees with me.)

About Cosand

He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.
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