Saturday, April 24, 2010

'Twas beauty killed the beast

Finished reading the short but wonderful King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes, author of the book Baise Moi and co-director of the controversial film adaptation. I had heard of the film as an undergrad in a Film Censorship course. We had to choose between writing on Despentes' film or the likewise controversial I Spit on Your Grave. I chose the latter because I thought it sounded more Tarantino-esque. Baise Moi was temporarily banned in France and Canada with its initial release, and it's still not easy to get a hold of now. Netflix has denied me, and I doubt it's at Blockbuster. Frowny face. I haven't read the original novel either, although it's now on my ever-growing wishlist.

BUT, I found Despentes' King Kong Theory a very empowering and inspiring read. It's one of those books you want to read when you're pissed off at the world (damn you, world!). So here are some snippets:

The character of the loser in the femininity stakes doesn't just appeal to me, she's essential to me. In the same way as is the social, economic or political loser. I prefer the guys who don't make the cut for the simple reason that I myself often don't make it. And because generally speaking humour and invention are to be found on our side: when you don't have what it takes to think highly of yourself, you tend to be more creative. As a girl, I am more King Kong than Kate Moss. I'm the kind of girl you don't get married to, the kind you don't have babies with. I am writing as a woman who is always too much of everything--too aggressive, too noisy, too fat, too rough, too hairy, always too masculine, I am told. And yet's it's my virile, masculine qualities that make me more than just any old social misfit. I owe to my very masculinity everything I like about my life, everything that has saved me.

It has never seemed obvious to me that good lookers are having all that great a time. I have always felt ugly. I put up with it and now I'm starting to appreciate it for having saved me from a crap life in the company of nice, dull, small-town guys who would have taken me nowhere fast. I like myself, as I am, more desiring than desireable.

...this ideal of the attractive but not whorish white woman, in a good marriage but not self-effacing, with a nice job but not so successful she outshines her man, slim but not neurotic over food, forever young without being disfigured by the surgeon's knife, a radiant mother not overwhelmed by nappies and homework, who manages her home beautifully without becoming a slave to housework, who knows a thing or two but less than a man, this happy white woman who is contantly shoved under our noses, this woman we are all supposed to work hard to resemble--nevermind that she seems to be running herself ragged for not much reward--I for one have never met her, not anywhere. My hunch is that she doesn't exist.
Oh she exists, alright. Don't you know June Cleaver?

Also, the premise behind the title of the book, a feminist look at King Kong (which I won't quote here, but it's very intriguing), kept reminding me for some reason of one of my favorite comedians, Sarah Silverman. But I didn't know why. Then I remembered:

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