MissJackpots wrote:All I'm trying to say is that it is a bit much. Take actresses like Cate Blanchett. Pure class. She has never needed to "sex it up".
That's a pretty extreme example. Yes, I agree -- Blanchett, one of the top 5 most skilled actresses currently working in Hollywood (she played the most convincing Bob Dylan I've ever seen!), can get by solely on talent without compromising herself. But that's a rare exception. Film is a business driven by sex appeal. It's true for men too -- there's no way Chris Pratt would be on every cover on the magazine rack if he hadn't ditched the beer belly for a six-pack -- but it's unfortunately doubly a fact for women. Anyway, Bell isn't even really an actor, she's a musician, and I think the need to play up sex appeal for women is even more prevalent in that industry. It's tough to think of many successful post-MTV-era female performers who haven't incorporated sex appeal into their performances in one way or another (often in a subversive or ironic way). I guess Adele is one example of someone who's achieved huge success based solely on talent.
And let's face it: our beloved DKL (one of my favorite living artists) isn't helping things much in this regard. As AgentEcho noted, DKL made many of the choices here, certainly regarding the way Bell is shot through the "male gaze." While DKL has written/directed some of the most impressively three-dimensional female roles of the last 30 years (Lula, Audrey, Diane/Betty, whoever the hell Laura Dern was playing in IE), he also has a long history of objectifying women in his films. In a case like Lula in W@H, or Dorothy in BV, this actually serves as a mechanism to explore the strength and vulnerability of the character. However, in other cases, it's needless and occasionally uncomfortable (when anyone asks me what role DKL's wife played in IE, I find it's easiest to answer, "The woman who flashes her breasts for absolutely no reason"...people invariably know exactly the scene I'm referencing). Not to rob Bell of her agency, but I question whether I'd second-guess DKL if he was adamant that I walk a certain way.
I'll also confess that, as a straight male, I enjoyed the "male gaze" shot of Bell...and then was immediately repulsed by Albert and Gordon's cartoonish stares. While I don't think it was DKL's intent, the hypocrisy of my dual reactions forces me to confront a part of myself I'm not super proud of. If the same is true of others, maybe some good came of that unfortunate moment!