The release of Blade Runner 2049 in October 2017 was not met with universal acclaim. Across Twitter and numerous other blog posts and articles, it was decried for its misogyny.
Charlotte Gush pronounced the then-newly released film as “a misogynistic mess, and the most overrated movie of the year”.
Women are either literally prostitutes (including Mackenzie Davis as Mariette), holographic housewives like Joi (Ana de Armas) — a product that is marketed with the lines “Experience Joi,” “Everything you want to hear. Everything you want to see.” — or some slightly meaner, more violent boss women (Robin Wright as Lieutenant Joshi, and Sylvia Hoeks as Luv, also a ‘companion’ but one who can kick ass) who nevertheless meet gruesome deaths that we watch in horrifying detail. Men also get killed, of course, but we don’t watch their eyes bulge for tens of gratuitous seconds — they are blunt, noble deaths, not desperate fetishistic ones.
Sara Stewart, writing for the New York Post, said,
Female characters get the short end of the stick in this long-awaited dystopian sequel; they are drowned, knifed in the stomach, shot point-blank in the head and, in one instance, simply winked out of existence with the stomp of a boot. All, it must be said, with artful cinematic relish.
Anna Smith observed in The Guardian that the film’s defenders argue,
the film is set in a dystopian future – and that it is not our future, but the future of the Blade Runner universe, as set by the 1982 film based on Philip K Dick’s 1968 sci-fi novel.
However, she follows that concession by asking,
why not explore that world’s treatment of women, rather than have it as a decorative backdrop, huge breasts and ballet-dancing holograms included?
What are your opinions of the depiction of violence against women and misogyny in Blade Runner 2049? Does it have a place in “art”? Join us on Monday 4th December at the School of Optometry for our event on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? where, among other things, we will be discussing depictions of gender in Blade Runner 2049 and its predecessor with Dr. Lisa Stead.
The full articles quoted follow below:
- Charlotte Gush, Why Blade Runner 2049 is a Misogynistic Mess, Vice.com, 09/10/2017.
- Anna Smith, Is Blade Runner 2049 sexist – or a fair depiction of a dystopian future?, The Guardian, 09/10/2017.
- Sara Stewart, You’ll love the new ‘Blade Runner’ — unless you’re a woman, New York Post, 04/10/2017.