Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return

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4815162342
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby 4815162342 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:53 pm

Agent Earle wrote:
4815162342 wrote:
Agent Earle wrote:"Violence against women" ON FILM should be the key term here.

So every thing we say about the series should end with "...ON FILM"? What is the point of that exactly? I think the context is clear, this is dugpa.com.


Tell that to Jerry Falwells and Roger Eberts of our critical academia.

Speaking of political agendas...
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby musicaddict » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:55 pm

anthoto1 wrote:As always, SJW trying to take over and polluting the debate. That's very sad.

So glad someone finally said it.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Agent Earle » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:56 pm

4815162342 wrote:
Agent Earle wrote:
4815162342 wrote:So every thing we say about the series should end with "...ON FILM"? What is the point of that exactly? I think the context is clear, this is dugpa.com.


Tell that to Jerry Falwells and Roger Eberts of our critical academia.

Speaking of political agendas...


Sorry to've stepped on your tail.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby asmahan » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:57 pm

What is it about this particularepisode that somehow crosses the line though??? Seriously? Miriam's death wasn't handled in a particularly gratuitous manner, the Stephen/Becky scene was also not graphic, very brief and was meant to garner sympathy for Becky... Nothing remotely as violent as Spike's hit on Lorraine, for example. Undeniably, it's valid to analyze the gender politics of the series, whether or not Lynch/Frost are trying to "say something". Personally, I don't believe any of the scenes so far have been genuinely exploitative or gratuitous.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby musicaddict » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:58 pm

firefly2193 wrote:The irony in a group of people trying to shut down discussion about gender issues in TPTR by saying they are trying to 'stifle' (what?) debate is off the charts. The irony in a group of people thinking there is zero role for discussions of gender in a series who's core subject matter was the abuse of girl at the hands of a man is also off the charts. You're allowed and encouraged to disagree with people who have a different view on these matters, you're also allowed to ignore it completely.

The gender violence discussion was fine, the multiple pages of people arguing whether you should be allowed to talk about their feelings about the violence against women was very off-putting.

Great, have put you on ignore.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Ragnell » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:02 pm

musicaddict wrote:
firefly2193 wrote:The irony in a group of people trying to shut down discussion about gender issues in TPTR by saying they are trying to 'stifle' (what?) debate is off the charts. The irony in a group of people thinking there is zero role for discussions of gender in a series who's core subject matter was the abuse of girl at the hands of a man is also off the charts. You're allowed and encouraged to disagree with people who have a different view on these matters, you're also allowed to ignore it completely.

The gender violence discussion was fine, the multiple pages of people arguing whether you should be allowed to talk about their feelings about the violence against women was very off-putting.

Great, have put you on ignore.



There's an ignore function?
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby dustoff » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:05 pm

asmahan wrote:What is it about this particularepisode that somehow crosses the line though??? Seriously? Miriam's death wasn't handled in a particularly gratuitous manner, the Stephen/Becky scene was also not graphic, very brief and was meant to garner sympathy for Becky... Nothing remotely as violent as Spike's hit on Lorraine, for example. Undeniably, it's valid to analyze the gender politics of the series, whether or not Lynch/Frost are trying to "say something". Personally, I don't believe any of the scenes so far have been genuinely exploitative or gratuitous.


Don't forget Sylvia. That's three pretty brutal encounters within the span of a few minutes screen time. I don't want to speak for others, but I don't see anyone arguing that these scenes were (necessarily or unnecessarily) gratuitous. It just feels like this episode provided an opportunity to -- as you suggest -- examine the theme of gendered violence within the broader context of the show itself.

(And, to clarify, I'm not suggesting that these scenes "cross a line," just that they had a cumulative effect on some viewers' reactions.)
Last edited by dustoff on Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby anthoto1 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:05 pm

counterpaul wrote:The choice you're positing here, it seems to me, isn't between discussing it with or without potentially politicized elements, it's between discussing all the issues it brings up or not discussing it at all.


Not at all. The choice is between discussing art with a broader grid of analysis than gender or marxism, which, at least to me, tend to reduce art to a message (and, more often than not, deform the message).

Twin Peaks has never been a message centered work. It has few to none political ambition although Mark Frost is a non stop Trump opponent on Twitter.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby aldiboronti » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:07 pm

Lynch isn't showing violence against women as some sort of enticement to view. The world is an extremely dangerous place for women who are subject constantly to violence at the hands of men: their fathers, their husbands, their boyfriends, strangers. David Lynch has always been acutely aware of this male-on-female violence and has never shied away from showing it in his films. Should he hide it, underplay it? I am astonished that anyone purporting to be a Lynch fan should so misinterpret his work.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Ragnell » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:18 pm

asmahan wrote:What is it about this particularepisode that somehow crosses the line though??? Seriously? Miriam's death wasn't handled in a particularly gratuitous manner, the Stephen/Becky scene was also not graphic, very brief and was meant to garner sympathy for Becky... Nothing remotely as violent as Spike's hit on Lorraine, for example. Undeniably, it's valid to analyze the gender politics of the series, whether or not Lynch/Frost are trying to "say something". Personally, I don't believe any of the scenes so far have been genuinely exploitative or gratuitous.



Honestly, I didn't think so either. For me the introduction of Richard and him threatening that girl was the most upsetting scene when it came to women. But I think, for a lot of people, the line was Sylvia. Sylvia is an older woman, Richard's GRANDMOTHER, and he chokes her, yells at her, threatens her son, steals from her, and calls her the C-word. That's abusing a woman, abusing an elder, a step above abusing his mother, terrorizing her, and using foul gendered language. That scene is like a checklist of terrifying, abusive things and I can see how it was too much for some people. Especially when its preceded by introducing Sylvia as the caregiver for a now-injured son, and followed by that conversation with Ben that establishes she's a) divorced, and b) Ben is apparently (APPARENTLY, because maybe his ethics break will include being willing to use his influence to take measures against Richard now?) not able or willing to defend her.

All of this with the added trauma of watching poor Johnnie witness this, try desperately to help his mother and be restrained from it. (Which may be a metaphor for how the whole town, including Ben, is restrained by ethics, fear, or corrupt interference from stopping Richard.)

And it's Richard. We already saw Richard attack a woman and leave her for dead this ep. (And I was grateful we didn't actually see him attack Miriam in the trailer). Previously we've seen Richard threaten rape on two girls in the roadhouse, and run a young child over in the street. It's a distinct possibility that Richard is the result of the season villain raping the most popular female character on the show. We learned he has Chad interfering with attempts to bring him to justice.

Richard is just an upsetting character, and this was his most upsetting scene. This was the most upsetting scene in the ep for me (Johnnie put it over the top there.) I don't want just anyone to get Richard. I want COOPER to get Richard now.

Because Richard is a bully. Richard is afraid of Red, Richard is paying off the cops to keep the good guys off his tail, but Richard violently terrorizes, assaults, threatens, and kills woman, children, the elderly, and the disabled even if they are in his own family. And one of the reasons I love Cooper is he is immune to bullies, and disgusted by guys like Richard.

*Ahem* But anyway. Richard's basically a character that embodies the horror of misogyny, domestic abuse, and small scale tyranny. He's a wild, rich bully with no empathy. He probably tortured animals as a child. In a scene with violence against a woman, the effect is amplified when the perpetrator is a guy like Richard because you know the motive is he's trying to secure his own power by robbing that woman of hers. It's perfectly understandable that people find that upsetting, and that it may seem gratuitous since so far Richard isn't really involved or connected to the main Cooper plot. (Except, of course, by his first name and the possibility that the most popular female character from the original series was raped. Which is just more upsetting.)
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby counterpaul » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:25 pm

anthoto1 wrote:
counterpaul wrote:The choice you're positing here, it seems to me, isn't between discussing it with or without potentially politicized elements, it's between discussing all the issues it brings up or not discussing it at all.


Not at all. The choice is between discussing art with a broader grid of analysis than gender or marxism, which, at least to me, tend to reduce art to a message (and, more often than not, deform the message).


First, I don't think anyone is proposing that discussion of gender is the only lens with which to legitimately analyze the show. I'm certainly not, and I don't think the discussion above (before all the meta arguments broke out) implied so. Gender is one element very much worth discussing and I think any overall analysis is incomplete without taking it into account. The act of taking one specific analytical approach in a single post doesn't imply that it is the only way to properly view the show.

Second, I don't think diving into Twin Peaks's presentation of gender reduces it to a message delivery system. The reason it's good art (and I do think it's good art--great even) is that it's fundamentally about humans having subjective human experiences in this fucked up, gendered world we all live in. Discussing/contextualizing the characters' place in this world is often a prerequisite for getting at what's interesting about the art. It's all mixed up.

I don't think Twin Peaks is about delivering the message that gender is an inexorable, often deeply fucked up, aspect of human life. I think it's about (among other things) delving into the subjective, emotional reality of living with that fact. To discuss it coherently, as I said, you pretty much have to address this stuff in one way or another. It's baked in. It doesn't have to be "message-centered" art for political subjects to be relevant to the discussion.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby dustoff » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:27 pm

aldiboronti wrote:Lynch isn't showing violence against women as some sort of enticement to view. The world is an extremely dangerous place for women who are subject constantly to violence at the hands of men: their fathers, their husbands, their boyfriends, strangers. David Lynch has always been acutely aware of this male-on-female violence and has never shied away from showing it in his films. Should he hide it, underplay it? I am astonished that anyone purporting to be a Lynch fan should so misinterpret his work.


I hear you, but I'm not so sure about your first claim. Isn't such violence the very foundation of the narrative tension that keeps us watching, (or, to be more overtly cynical about it, that keeps us "entertained"?) Even if only in hopes for a resolution, or for "justice" to be served? I don't think that Lynch is gleefully rubbing his hands together, asking us to believe that violence against women is "fun," or that it is ever justified. Very far from it. Nonetheless, this is the way narrative pleasure is deployed: Stories without conflict are generally pretty boring.

And again, I don't hear anyone arguing that Lynch should "hide" or "underplay" the very elements that constitute what is arguably the core theme of his work.

(I've gotta hang this up soon, I'm getting a little tired of trying to redirect this conversation away from arguments that literally NO ONE IS MAKING.)
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby LateReg » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:27 pm

Cipher wrote:
Rhodes wrote:I am not denying the fact that there is violence in Lynch's work. And that this is sometimes directed at women.

But it is unbearable that so many viewers not only LIKE to see "empowered women" (etnic minorities, etc.), but also CRITICIZE the artist does not follow their preferences.

Too much focus is on the wrong questions: does he have a low opinion of women of a low opinion of men (who commit the violent acts after all)? Does he see women as weak? These are interesting question if they are disconnected from an appraisal of his work. But people are making this connection constantly! Even if Lynch WERE a sexist (which is of course totally unfounded), it still would not undermine the quality of his work the slightest.

(We see the same in Game of Thrones, by the way. "Oh, Sansa has to endure more male domination. Oh, she is raped! When will she finally be empowered????" But why wouldn't some characters be consistently dominated, weak and unhappy? This whole idea every character much go through a metamorphosis and there is justice in the end, is responsible for all kinds of Hollywood disasters)

You must have been reading different posts than I've been, because no one is denying Lynch his right to portray unflinching violence against women. I do, at this point, have reservations about how it's been presented in the new season versus his films though, and that's down entirely to matter of portrayal. I don't believe the man who wrote and directed his movies could possibly be sexist (and I'd hope this would be enormously evident if you'd bothered to read the posts you took such umbrage with a few pages back, as I directly stated as much), but I wonder if his fascination with the subject hasn't led to some lack of imagination this season about how women might be portrayed independently from violence, or how a darkness far expanded from the original scope of the series might be portrayed in other ways.

If that winds up being the case by the end of the season, it'll be because of an almost myopic fascination rather than a sense of malice. That happens. Artists are human. It won't diminish my feelings about his work or the parts of The Return I find successful. In the meantime, discussion has simply focused on how the season and episode operate in that manner, and how it may or may not be different from his films, etc., focusing on craft and portrayal. That's an important, worthwhile conversation, and it was minorly infuriating to see you take an entire post solely to dismiss the subject or to pretend those engaging in it either don't care about or understand art. Especially if you haven't read through the conversation you're targeting; ignore it or read through it to see if your concerns have been addressed.

This is expressly, entirely, a conversation about Lynch's art -- no vitriol; no hyperbole; just talking about how this stuff works -- and I don't assume anyone is posting on this board because they have largely negative feelings toward it.

You built in an interesting secondary proposition into that post, by the way: Can an artist's social views (sexism, etc.) diminish the quality of their work? I don't think Lynch falls anywhere close to this category, like, at all, but just to address that, I absolutely do enjoy the work of more than a few artists who, frequently because of their time and place, hold or held repugnant social views.

When those aren't seeped deep into a work, I don't think the quality is diminished whatsoever, and it's just one of those bits of humanity you have to take. If the views do affect a work to the point of emotional or intellectual dishonesty, that's an issue, but I probably wouldn't be a fan of them in the first place if that dominated their output.

(And again; Lynch isn't in that category; I think his fascination comes from a good place and is brilliantly executed in his films; it's just with the pattern of abuse dominating female characters in season 3 so wholly and with its more distanced lens, I wonder if it hasn't accidentally moved into a less honest place in its portrayal, and that is the sole issue I've been trying to lay out. Talking about how the art operates; not attacking the artist.)

EDIT -- And, yes, as sylvia_north points out below, analyzing Lynch's work doesn't mean you're seeking to censor or change it. It's a high compliment. Even in seeming missteps, I'm fascinated enough by Lynch to want to dive into how and why it operates. There ought to be no cognitive dissonance in saying, "I'm not sure season 3 is entirely successful in the way it handles gender" and "I love Lynch's work."


I 100% agree with Rhodes post that you've quoted here.

For the record, most of the posts on this board have been interested in analysis rather than condemnation, especially yours, Cipher. But, I can understand why some people are so instantly annoyed by these conversations, which is because outside of this forum there is a ridiculous amount of trashing the show (and other works of art) based on how it supposedly treats women. There's no analysis there, just condemnation. I've read numerous recaps that say things like "Minus two for violence against women, Twin Peaks." That kind of response to what is obviously a complicated aspect of an even more complicated show honestly disgusts me.

As much as I agree with the majority of your response to Rhodes, I do think that you, and a lot of other thoughtful posters here, are missing something, which is the question that I've brought up to you a couple times now, and which Rhodes addressed above. Why does it matter whether the women are eventually empowered, or if they have equally important roles as the men? I asked you earlier why it isn't enough to simply see the violence, to feel the violence itself, and let that challenge the viewer, demonstrating that the world hasn't changed even as our characters/actors have gotten older. You gracefully responded that there needs to be pathos, amongst other things. But to me that sounds like exactly what Rhodes is getting at above. Why does there need to be pathos? And in terms of pathos and making sense of everything why isn't "the glow is dying", which seems to me to carry all the weight needed, enough? Why do we demand to see the victims in a certain light for the art to be successful? It appears to me that you need certain aspects of The Return to elevate the more violent-towards-women aspects, which would make The Return a better work of art to you. But what Rhodes is saying is that these types of judgments needn't apply to the quality of the work. I know it's just your personal taste and that balance is usually good for art, but aren't you essentially saying its a misstep to not show both sides, to not have the women more empowered, to not explore their inner lives more, etc? Perhaps it's just me putting words in your mouth, but isn't any possible outcome that makes all of this aspect of The Return more worthwhile to you going to be something that has to do with giving women equal opportunity, so to speak? Why does the show have to "successfully" handle gender in the first place? (I remember a few critics docking points from There Will Be Blood for not having any real female characters; that very obviously has nothing to do with the quality of the movie as the movie pointedly has no need for female characters.) You've specifically said above that there might be a lack of imagination about how women might be portrayed independently from violence this season, so aren't you in essence making a judgment about the show's quality based on the lopsided fact that women have been mostly abused, and that you will only like this aspect of the show once they have a chance to speak for themselves, or to fight back? As Rhodes said, why does there need to be a metamorphosis? I just think this is a slippery slope that ultimately comes down to a yearning for some kind of balance that is based not just on themes of light and dark but also something ingrained in us about gender equality. I'm not sure if I made a lick of sense there, so apologies in advance.
Last edited by LateReg on Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby Deep Thought » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:28 pm

Awe darn, someone's pooped in the thread.

For like 15 pages. :lol:
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Re: Part 10 - Laura is the one (SPOILERS)

Postby BOB1 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:44 pm

dustoff wrote:I hear you, but I'm not so sure about your first claim. Isn't such violence the very foundation of the narrative tension that keeps us watching, (or, to be more overtly cynical about it, that keeps us "entertained"?)(...) Nonetheless, this is the way narrative pleasure is deployed: Stories without conflict are generally pretty boring.

First, someone before has stressed a huge difference between 'depicting' and 'gloryfying'. I find this difference essential.

Second, that's how film works, isn't it? Take war films. Violence is the foundation of the narrative tension, right? Yeah, it kind of 'keeps us entertained'. But I don't see any conclusion that should be drawn from this remark. Depicting, not gloryfying.
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