Saturday, March 17, 2007

Justin Timberlake video a misogynist throwback to Production Code times

If Will H. Hays were alive today, he would love Justin Timberlake. In Timberlake's video for "What Goes Around," Scarlett Johansson plays the love interest. Actually, she is with another man when Timberlake picks her up. They hook up, and later, Timberlake discovers her with the first man. He is physically violent with both of them, but Johansson--in true Hays Commission fashion--dies in a car crash. Such a death was common for film "bad women" (at least they called them "women" then) who "transgressed," usually by having sex.

The Production Code ruined, or almost ruined, several really good films. One that comes to mind is the great film (which many of us consider the great gay film) "Gilda," made in 1946, and starring Rita Hayworth. At the end of "Gilda," Hayworth was forced to go completely out of character and atone for her "sins" so that the film could be shown to American audiences.

No problem with "What Goes Around," though. The man goes all violent on the woman and the other man, and the woman gets a fitting punishment by dying a violent death.

7 Comments:

Movies are so full of symbolism. Like you can always tell now that the person smoking a cigarette is BAD.

Forty years ago a person with a cigarette was cool and sophisticated. A woman with a cigarette was maybe a little rebellious, sexy, and independent. But times change. On some things anyway. -L

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:58 PM  

It didn't start with the Production Code, as I'm learning in my Arthurian Literature class. Guinevere was to die by fire for her affair with Lancelot, while his punishment was...nothing. His chivalric feat of saving her from the fire resulted in another knight's death. Bad, bad Lancelot.

Not all of the tales were so misogynist, however. But I bet you never heard of Erec and Enide, in which SHE saves HIM.

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