21st century politically correct feminist kiss projected into early 19th century England

LL (a female reader) writes:

Regarding Bright Star [discussed here] did you happen to notice the promotional poster for the movie? It confirms your observation—which had escaped my notice until you pointed it out—about women being the sexual aggressors/initiators in modern movies. Fanny Brawne is poised above John Keats, looking like she is ready to kiss him; while he looks weakly receptive. Perhaps the posture is simply meant to suggest obliquely Keats’ consumption, but it nonetheless supports your assertion.


LA replies:

I did not notice that poster, but it is weird, because the movie is not like that at all. She spends the movie longing for him, thinking about him. There’s no scene in the movie where she is hovering over him like that, kissing him from above

But, as you point out, this shows again how in liberal society everything must conform to certain liberal (dare I use the word?) stereotypes. In this case the stereotype is, as I’ve written, that in virtually ever single movie kiss or embrace for the last 15 years, the woman initiates it, or it starts with the woman above the man. And most people remain oblivious to this unnatural convention. They simply accept it as normal.

Further, as we see here, if the movie or other cultural expression does not itself conform to the liberal imperative, then its advertising and labeling must create the impression that it conforms.

Here is my favorite example of this phenomenon, discussed by me in a comment last year:

What Mencius says about conservative content hidden inside fashionable leftist packaging reminds me of an experience I’ve repeatedly had.

For example, about ten years ago, the Brooklyn Museum had an exhibit called something like “Multicultural Spanish America,” or “Colonial South America—the Multicutural Experience,” suggesting that early Spanish American art was “multicultural,” mixing the indigenous and the Spanish. Though I and a friend were put off by the multicultural theme, we were interested enough in the paintings to go see it anyway. The show had some very fine paintings and sculptures of a type we had never seen before, from Peru in particular. They were not dark and gloomy and death-obsessed, like Spanish and Mexican art, which I’ve never liked, but cheerful and friendly. For example, there was a big painting of Joseph’s work room with a boy Jesus there helping his father. The warm and wholesome family atmosphere made the painting totally unlike any Mexican Catholic painting I had seen. There was a sculpture of the Virgin of Quito that was magnificent. She was standing, as I remember, on the dragon, in her undaunted purity, conquering evil.

The exhibit represented a type of European, Catholic, Spanish art, transplanted to the New World, made by Spanish Catholic artists who had adopted a new and distinct style in their new land. There was nothing multicultural or Indian about these works. We realized the museum had given the exhibit the multicultural title because we live in an ideological society and all cultural events must reflect the prevailing multicultural ideology and be seen through a multicultural filter, regardless of their actual, non-multicultural content. If the exhibit had been called “Catholic Art of Colonial Spanish South America,” which was what it actually was, that would have been completely uncool, and perhaps opened the museum to charges of thoughtcrime.

September 24

Rose writes:

Though I have not seen “Bright Star” I do not think the poster necessarily modern. Keats once wrote in a love letter to Fanny Brawne that “You have absorb’d me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I were dissolving…. You have ravish’d me away by a power I cannot resist.” Perhaps the poster means to portray Fanny as Keats saw her, La Belle Dame sans Merci who will swallow him up.

LA replies:


But, again, the poster is not at all representative of the movie, and, second, when a Romantic poet spoke of a woman absorbing him or having him in thrall, it would not have been the contemporary image of a woman kissing a man beneath her with the man passively looking up at her.

Also, as I said in the initial entry, the movie does not show his passion for her. The movie is all about her feelings. Female-centric directors like Campion are no more capable of showing human reality than, say, Spike Lee, because they’re not looking at humanity in the round, they’re looking at humanity through the narrow lens of the one subgroup of humanity (women, blacks) that exclusively interests them.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 23, 2009 03:29 PM | Send

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