Our opening song is by Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars off of The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond. This is “Safe and Sound” which claims “Even if we’re six feet underground, I know that we’ll be safe and sound.” We’ll challenge even that “safety” for hunted girls in today’s program.
Kelly Oliver’s recent book, Hunting Girls, takes Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Hunt and Wild Animals (and virginity), as a kind of tutelary divinity.
Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games, Bella Swan of Twilight, Tris Prior of Divergent, and other strong and resourceful characters subvert the fairy tale archetype of the helpless girl waiting to be rescued. Giving as good as they get, these young women access reserves of aggression to liberate themselves—but who truly benefits? And by meeting violence with violence, do these depictions justify male retaliation, making victimization into entertainment?
Oliver examines how recent popular culture represents young women as predators and prey and the implication that violence—especially sexual violence—is an inevitable, perhaps even celebrated, part of a woman’s maturity.
Hunting Girls uses fairy tale templates like Sleeping Beauty to show how deeply the idea of rape is engrained as a kind of entitlement for the princely class. It’s not rape, it’s true love’s kiss. Rape has even been linguistically defanged morphing into nonconsensual sex and moments of “action” that ought not to have onerous consequences for the poor boys who cry victim. Further complicating the psychological aftermath of being raped is the seeming immortality of “objects” on social media–and the existence of even gang rape in moving pictures posted and shared among “friends”–further challenges us as forms of public acceptance of these attacks: it’s just a media goof and the harmless acts of boys who must of course, be boys.
We talk about what seems a kind of blowback at elite college campuses against “informed consent” requirements for sex partners. This leads us logically to the prominence of “creepshots” or nonconsensual photography and bystander rape videos.
We take a closer look at the “princess-victim” that is the template for the films The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Twilight. We also look at the ways the female, once aligned with nature, friend of the animal, is now instead a hunter and killer in an unnatural techno-nightmare.
Kelly Oliver is W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. Her many books include Women as Weapons of War: Iraq, Sex, and the Media (2007), Animal Lessons: How They Teach Us to Be Human (2009), Knock Me Up, Knock Me Down: Images of Pregnancy in Hollywood Films (2012), and Earth and World: Philosophy After the Apollo Missions (2015). And most recently the mystery novels Wolf and Coyote.
Hunting Girls: Patriarchal Fantasy or Feminist Progress? by Kelly Oliver
“Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift, featuring The Civil Wars
“Go All the Way (Into the Twilight)” by Perry Farrell
“Nothing to Remember” by Neko Case
“Daughters Lament” by The Carolina Chocolate Drops
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Assistant Producer: Rob Schoon
Board Engineer: Jennifer Brooks
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford