Getting Under the Skin: The Body and Media Theory

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What happens then—Johansson seducing the men by slowly undressing, leading them deeper into a dark unknown—is another reason the first half of the film is so great. I keep calling her Scarlett Johansson.

Expertise. Insights. Illumination.

We are told she is an alien; we know that technically, she is an alien. We know that for all her flirtatious words she is cold in her execution. She looks like a young human woman, and the many close-ups and reflections we get of her face seem to emphasize this all the more. When we watch a young woman in acid-washed jeggings we do not see an alien, we see a young woman in acid-washed jeggings, which in some way actually makes her a woman in acid-washed jeggings.

Apologies for whatever media-studies theory I am no doubt butchering. Halfway through the movie, she essentially leaves her alien, skin-harvesting, soul-sucking duties behind and cuts out on her own. What accounts for this change? Certainly not that baby. Up until this point in the film, I had felt like I never knew what would come next. Now I found myself disappointed to find this refreshing female character turn on a dime, all because of a well-worn trope about people with disabilities—that they are somehow more pure and sympathetic simply because of their disability.

On a side note, Adam Pearson, the British actor who plays the man and who has neurofibromatosis, has written about characters with disabilities on screen.

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After that scene, she strikes out on her own, leaving her night rides behind. Instead of her indifferent gaze, she now just seems lonely. From this point on, the film follows a broken, confused something woman tramp around rural Scotland and relies on several familiar narratives. They go on walks in the countryside, he carries her across mud puddles, literally brings her to a castle, and of course, never lays a hand on her. But we do see her care about sex. But before they can do the deed she jerks out of bed, grabs a lamp and holds it to her crotch.

Regardless, my reading was that she becomes distraught that she cannot have penetrative sex with Prince Charming. What kind of feminist film is this? Is this what sets aliens off? Pity for the disabled and being unable to please your man? Now comes the really icky part of the movie. She awakes in a wilderness refuge to find unwanted hands on her body. My heart was pounding again, but not because I was watching a frightful, outer-space soul harvest, but because I was watching a young woman get sexually assaulted.

This is the climax of the film—an attempted rape. We now see just whose skin she is under. For some of us, there was nothing big about the big reveal. The film ends with ashes falling from the sky like snow. We see the Motorcycle Man pause mournfully and remove his helmet. We now understand that he was never trying to contain her—he only wanted to protect her.

Her face seems to register this fact, but nothing more—no panic, no fear. She coolly puts the van into drive and pulls forward, leaving them behind. This, for me, was the real feminist sci-fi.

Getting under the Skin: The Body and Media Theory by Bernadette Wegenstein

An escapist vision of a world where women can simply shift gears and drive away from violence and assault, unscathed and unfazed. Kjerstin Johnson rarely goes to the movies anymore, but when she does she has a lot of thoughts. She is the editor-in-chief of Bitch magazine. Kjerstin Johnson is a writer and editor in Portland, Oregon. She tweets at kajerstin.


  • Skin tags are trouble;
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  • 5.2 Diseases caused by parasites.
  • The Creative University.

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Book review: 'Getting under the skin: body and media theory', by Bernadette Wegenstein

She doesn't seem to see humans as any different from one another, kind of like how humans view animals. For example, if we see a group of penguins, we think that they look extremely alike and we do not realize their differences. Here, Johansson's character is lead to realize her human body when she looks in the mirror after capturing the disfigured man, and it is then that she sees a fly trying to get out of her abandoned house and has a moment of realization, leading her to let him go. Also, the thing about the climax of the film is that the attempted rape draws parallels to objectifications and death.

As Johansson's character becomes regarded as nothing but a helpless plaything, her growing humanity is literally stripped from her, and she is subsequently killed. There is a strong link shown between sexual objectification and death, and it is handled in a way that deals with the relationship between men and women in our world.

Earlier, the gender role is switched, showing men being lured into a void and being stripped of their humanity, whereas here, it switches back to bring the story back full circle and to lead the audience to think about men and women. I heard an interview with the director about the book the film was based on which he described as a satire of the meat industry and decided to read it before I saw the film. She is currently in post-production with two feature documentaries: The Good Breast working title , a feature documentary that interweaves the intimate stories of three breast cancer patients with the history and mythology of the breast.

The film is an immersion into the devotional culture around the yearly celebration of Saint Agatha in Catania, Sicily. In her book The Cosmetic Gaze she analyzes the body as a medium of the gaze. This medium is best exemplified in Reality TV makeover shows, such as The Swan where contestants are made over and revealed with drastic changes. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia's notability guideline for academics.

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Under The Skin - The Alien Lens

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