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Articles Erotic, Silent, Dead Below Shelly Duvall in The Shining (1980)

Erotic, Silent, Dead: The


concept of women in the
films of Stanley Kubrick

By Sabine Planka
sequent generations, be it because of the cho-
Keywords: Stanley Kubrick, sen themes, the novel techniques, or the fact
that Kubrick devised a new approach to every
women, gender roles, A genre he used.
Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Stanley Kubrick can be described as a genius,
Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut, as a pedantic genius who fastidiously choreo-
graphed every scene, and sometimes demanded
up to 95 repetitions of single takes which would
last only a few seconds in the final version of
the film. It is not difficult to imagine that this
drove his actors to the brink of insanity, and
Introductory remarks increased production costs many times over.
on Stanley Kubrick The films which eventually emerged, how-
ever, are distinguished by
Films and images which have a lasting effect
on the viewer, remaining engraved in his or her • great sophistication in terms of both
memory, raising but never answering questions, technique and content,
and sowing the seeds of doubt, but also of hope. • images of virtually unparalleled intensity,
This is certainly a possible description for the • and the fact that they never take an
cinema of director Stanley Kubrick. Though he explicit stance on the chosen theme, but
only made thirteen films in his lifetime, these leave the viewer perplexed and full of
films have had a considerable influence on sub- questions.

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Articles Erotic, Silent, Dead

Kubrick’s films provide food for thought; they In the context of violence, always captured on
point out conflicts and problems, highlight sen- film in its most extreme brutality, it is strik-
sitive issues with regard to society and social ing that women are, in sharp contrast, nearly
conditions, and denounce. Kubrick, however, always depicted as delicate, graceful figures.
always adroitly avoids taking sides, or taking a As a viewer, one often feels – in spite of one-
stance. He presents, reveals and confronts. self – the urge to intervene, to give a warning, to
protest at the filmic deployment of the female
The image of women body; and yet one is as helpless to change the
events on the screen as the women themselves,
in Kubrick’s films who are unable to defend themselves against
the circumstances in which they are trapped.
Both Kubrick’s characters in general and, in par-
ticular, the image of women which he repeat-
edly presents in his films, must be considered
The ‘deployment’ of
in the light of this background information. women in Kubrick’s films
The characters presented to us as viewers
seldom inspire our sympathy; quite the con- To give a more nuanced presentation of the image
trary: we often feel repelled by the protagonists, of women in the following discussion, I would like
who, incidentally, are virtually always men. to restrict myself to four of Kubrick’s films:
Kubrick shows the viewer how men fail in a
world which they themselves have constructed 1. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
and in which they hold sway. However differ- 2. The Shining
ent they may appear, the fates they succumb 3. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
to are strikingly similar, and become more so 4. Eyes Wide Shut
the further the film genres drift apart: they all
fall victim to their obsessions, their appetites,
their thirst for power. We might mention, for
A Clockwork Orange
example, Barry Lyndon (Barry Lyndon [1975]), Bill Taking a chronological approach, I will begin
Harford (Eyes Wide Shut [1999]), or the politicians with Kubrick’s work of 1971, A Clockwork Orange.
from Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Wor- Its title points to the symbiosis between nature
rying and Love the Bomb (1964). We witness their and technology, a symbiosis which, according
self-inflicted failure with horror, and follow to Donna Haraway’s essay ‘A Cyborg Manifesto’,
their deeds, which claim not only strangers but crosses boundaries and produces a cyborg.1
also their own family members as victims – for This concept, incidentally, includes the man
example in The Shining (1980). in the wheelchair often appearing in Kubrick’s
A similar picture emerges when it comes films, this being a man who is dependent on a
to the women Kubrick presents in his films. machine, who cannot live without his machine.
However different the women may seem at This defines the key question of this film, as
first glance – we will see a few examples of this well as others: to what extent is it possible and
shortly – they too all have similarities: permissible to manipulate a person’s nature
without damaging his or her individuality and
• they are victims in a world that is made, personality? Or to put it differently: what power
ruled and dominated by men; is the state permitted to exert over the individ-
• they are often reduced to their sexuality, ual, and how much is it allowed to invade the
presented as seductresses and – literally – individual’s private sphere in order to protect
as fair game; society? And when is a society worth protect-
• and again and again they are linked with ing?
violence, whether it be in war, in mar- Kubrick constructs the film around these
riage, on the street – women are always questions, yet once again offers no opinion
surrounded by violence, usually male- and leaves it up to the viewer to answer the
authored, and succumb or are in danger questions. Alex is the protagonist of a plot
of succumbing to it. constructed of two parts mirroring each other;
in the first part he is the perpetrator, leading

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Articles Erotic, Silent, Dead Figure 1: Korova Milk Bar.

his gang of droogs and inciting them to new deceive, mislead, or, as we say, “to have”’ (Bor-
crimes. The victims include a homeless man dieu 2001: 18, 19).3
and various women, who are reduced to their After this fight Alex and his droogs attack a
physicality and thus objectified, serving purely writer, Mr Alexander, and his wife, raping the
for sexual gratification. wife in front of the writer, then carry on and
Even in the opening sequence of the film we arrive at the house of the Cat Lady, a woman
see women becoming objects: in the Korova who shares her house with cats and porno-
Milk Bar, where Alex and his droogs are intro- graphic art.
duced to the viewer, the tables and milk dis- Unlike the previous women, who present
pensers are objectified female bodies made of themselves both to the viewer and to men
white plastic, with colourful wigs, whose artifi- as submissive and servile, the Cat Lady does
cial poses recall the bold Pop Art works of Andy not seem to be one of those gullible creatures
Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein. who see a relationship with a man as the only
The women in the bar are stiff, trapped in content of their lives. She lives alone, prac-
immobility, and are as unable to defend them- tises yoga, and seems to regard the world with
selves against abuse as Alex’s subsequent a suitable degree of scepticism. At least this is
female victims. ‘[In the bar, women] really have the impression she gives the viewer when she
become things, women, who can only be prey in refuses to open the door to Alex and his droogs,
the outside world.’2 who pretend to have had a car accident. But
The first plot development is a fight over a girl Alex gets in through the window and an inter-
between the droogs and the Billy Boys, another esting fight between the two of them ensues,
gang in this dystopian society. The fight ends ending with the Cat Lady’s death and Alex’s
in a ferocious brawl. Here, too, women are not arrest by the police.
women and individuals, but sexual objects of This fight is not just man against woman; the
men’s obscene lust and sexual gratification. most notable aspect is the weapons they both
Pierre Bourdieu’s opinion that ‘the sexual act use. Alex’s predilection for Beethoven’s Ninth
is itself conceived in terms of the principle of Symphony, which will be heard again and again
male primacy’ is illustrated very clearly here. in the film, is reduced to absurdity here: the Cat
‘To possess sexually […] is to dominate in the Lady seizes a bust of Beethoven to defend her-
sense of subjecting to one’s power, but also to self against Alex, who is attacking her with her
oversized sculpture of a phallus. Violence and

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Articles Erotic, Silent, Dead Figure 2: Alex vs. woman on the stage.

sexuality are united here, and manifest them- ing these scenes, one is instantly reminded of
selves in extremely violent form. Pavlov’s dog, conditioned to drool as soon as the
Alex and the Cat Lady insist on their taste in bell rang, without even seeing or smelling the
art, refuse to have ‘their’ art defiled, and try to food.
prevent their opponent from sullying their own When the conditioning is finished the suc-
preferred art forms. It is not surprising, then, cess of the therapy is demonstrated in front of
that this results in an attack on the personality, an audience, with Alex confronting violence in
the personal taste, and the personal preferences various theatrically staged situations. Alongside
of the opponent, and that the struggle starts to physical violence, which he can now neither
take on the character of psychological warfare. carry out nor defend himself against – this
It is a struggle between classical art and Pop eliminates human self-determination, bringing
Art, linked with the struggle between man and up one of the key questions of the film – Alex is
woman, which has negative consequences for confronted with a woman. Prior to his therapy,
both sides – and it shows that neither classical he would have seen her as an object, an outlet
art nor Pop Art seems to have justification for for his aggression, or as an instrument for his
existing in this society, and that art, like women, sexual gratification. Now Alex cannot touch the
is functionalized. Women who have the courage woman without being overcome by a terrible,
to rebel against male caprice and violence and nearly irresistible nausea.
defend themselves come to regret their cour- Aesthetically, the woman presented to the
age and often pay for it, like the Cat Lady, with viewer by Kubrick, and confronted by Alex,
their lives. She dies, and Alex, abandoned to the corresponds to the typical image of women
approaching police by his cowardly droogs, is deployed repeatedly by Kubrick in his films. She
accused of murder and put in prison. also bears a striking resemblance to the plastic
In prison, he volunteers for the so-called dolls in the Korova Milk Bar, as she wears a wig
Ludovico programme, intended to turn crimi- and strikes artificial poses, emphasizing the
nals back into respectable members of society. impression of a theatrical performance. Artifi-
The programme, its name another reference cial, cold blue light, and graceful, slow move-
to Ludwig van Beethoven, is anything but ments accentuate the staged depiction of the
humane: Alex is shown endless scenes of vio- situation, and place the woman in the spotlight
lence, accompanied by Beethoven’s Ninth, while of desire, of sexual gratification, showing that
taking medicine which induces nausea. View- women are not just deployed to satisfy men’s

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Articles Erotic, Silent, Dead

desires, but also to serve the voyeurism of the to Simone de Beauvoir: ‘And she is simply what
viewer – this, however, opens up an inexhaust- man decrees; thus she is called “the sex”, by
ible line of argument which would overstretch which is meant that she appears essentially to
the limits of this analysis. the male as a sexual being. For him she is sex –
Here, too, she is deployed as a victim, but absolute sex, no less’ (1997: 16).
one who suddenly rises to power since Alex is It is thus men’s drives which bring about
unable to act out his former predilections. What women’s downfall, but which at the same time
was once a source of pleasure now defeats him. keep manoeuvring men into dangerous situ-
This marks the turning point of the film and ations5 – according to Laura Mulvey: ‘[Their]
the transition to the second part: from now on erotic drives lead them into compromised situ-
Alex is no longer a perpetrator, but a victim, ations. The power to subject another person to
and can no longer carry out violence, but nor the will sadistically or to the gaze voyeuristi-
can he defend himself against attacks. As a cally is turned on to the woman as the object of
result, Alex’s former victims, whom he encoun- both’ (2011: 15).6
ters again in the mirror narrative of the second Both these things apply to Alex, who wishes to
part, take their revenge on him. Furthermore, force women into submission, and thus also sub-
a debate about human self-determination and jugates them to his gaze and therefore his power.
the power of the state flares up, fuelled by the At the same time Kubrick manages to sub-
media, the final result being that Alex’s condi- jugate women to the gaze of the viewer, since
tioning is reversed and he becomes his ‘old self’ the camera takes the point of view of one of the
again, as he stresses at the end of the film. intra-diegetic victims – Mr Alexander – who is
These words are given visual emphasis by condemned to watch by Alex.
Alex, who can now indulge his lust and desire
again and has sex with a woman, surrounded [Kubrick’s] skilful use of identification pro-
by spectators in Baroque clothing – an allusion cesses and liberal use of subjective camera
to Kubrick’s next film Barry Lyndon. from the point of view of the male protagonist
In contrast to the first part of the film, women draw the spectators deeply into his position,
do not feature in the second part, which shows making them share his uneasy gaze. The
Alex as a victim of society; apart from Alex’s audience is absorbed into a voyeuristic situ-
mother, they do not appear. One could even go ation within the screen scene and diegesis
so far as to offer the interpretation that Alex, in which parodies his own in cinema. (Mulvey
his helplessness and passivity, plays the female 2011: 15)7
role, representing the women who were unable to
avoid the role of victim in the first part of the film. The women are either available to Alex as objects
In the second part of the film Alex behaves like to satisfy his lust, or they are deployed as poten-
the women in the first part: he pleads, and begs tial victims in the context of state-sponsored
to be spared, but his pleas fall on deaf ears. He experiments, and thus also reduced to the status
now experiences first-hand the violence which he of an object. This has not only been described by
inflicted on his victims before his therapy.4 Laura Mulvey,8 but also pointed out by Simone
The film A Clockwork Orange shows women as de Beauvoir, when she constructs woman as ‘the
the victims of brutal male violence; either they other’ from the point of view of and as the coun-
cannot resist it, or they resist and their cour- terpart of man: ‘[She] stands before man not as
age costs them their lives. At the same time it is a subject but as an object paradoxically endued
noticeable that women are turned into victims, with subjectivity; she takes herself simultane-
then go on to inflict mental suffering on other ously as self and as other’ (1997: 727).
victims, generally their men, as happens here
in the confrontation between Alex and the
‘dancer’.
The women are victimized by men, are shown
The Shining
as having no will, or as losing the fight against In the majority of his films, Stanley Kubrick
men, as being at men’s disposal; while men depicted women as victims and decorative
see them as purely sexual beings – according accessories, exposed to men and their whims.

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The Shining is something of an exception, in that of the hotel, Jack has hallucinations; different
two images of women are presented here. time periods are increasingly intermingled, the
This film also – like A Clockwork Orange before past becomes the present, and the power of the
it – probes boundaries: what happens when hotel becomes overwhelming. Jack’s physical
people are left completely to themselves, with deterioration is reflected not only in his increas-
no direct human contact with the outside ingly lethargic/apathetic behaviour, but also in
world? How do the relationships between these changes in clothing: his clothes become more
people change? When does a person become and more colourless, until, after his death, he
insane, and how does he or she deal with unexpectedly reappears, beaming, in a black
insanity? and white photo dated 4 July 1921. The hotel
One of the women, Wendy, is present has triumphed over Jack and has well and truly
throughout the film, and undergoes a transfor- caught him in its spell for ever.
mation paralleling that of the protagonist, her Things are different with Wendy. Initially
husband Jack. Her transformation also culmi- reduced to the role of mother and housewife
nates in madness and hallucinations – so she is (Nelson 1984: 296) – clearly revealed at the
not just hysterical, as the viewer may have sus- beginning of the film, where Wendy sits in the
pected for a long time – and yet she manages kitchen with Danny – she is at pains to make
to flee with her son Danny, thus breaking away life in the hotel as comfortable as possible for
from her husband and, at the same time, from her family. As her husband’s condition dete-
the ‘all-powerful’ hotel. riorates, she takes over more and more of his
The other woman to be seen in the film cor- caretaker job, which he is no longer capable of
responds to the cliché of the sexually available carrying out. She looks after the heating sys-
woman, always ready and willing to fulfil the tem, checks pipes, and maintains radio contact
man’s desire, even encouraging him, through her with the outside world. And yet the hotel also
body language, to approach and possess her. takes its toll on her: in her case the power of
A short outline of the plot clarifies the posi- the hotel is manifested in increasingly ‘Indian’
tion of the two women. Wendy is the wife of clothing, reflecting the history of the hotel,
Jack, who takes a job as caretaker of the Over- which was built on an Indian burial site. This
look Hotel in the mountains during its winter opens another gateway for the irruption of the
closure. He is supposed to look after the hotel fantastic; like the allusion to cabin fever and
during this period so that it can be reopened in Wendy’s earlier allusion to the Donner Party,
the spring. At the same time he plans to devote who perished in the mountains, this constantly
himself to his writing and finish his novel. But points to death, which lurks in the hotel. Along-
the job is ill-omened, and Kubrick hints from side these three elements, hinting at the events
the beginning that the family as such will not which are to come, there is a fourth element
survive the film. The hotel manager recounts pointing to death: Danny’s ability to foresee
how the former caretaker Grady murdered his future events – he constantly sees streams of
family, the reason being so-called cabin fever, red blood spilling out of a lift. All in all, the fam-
caused by isolation and a lack of contact with ily’s stay in the hotel is ill-starred.
the outside world. The changes in Jack do not escape Wendy’s
These events will be repeated: armed with attention, and when Danny appears in the hotel
an axe, Jack will search for his wife and his son hall, injured, she thinks that Jack is the culprit.
Danny, and will try to kill them. Danny will have Like the Cat Lady, she defends herself: using a
to resort to a trick to outwit his father, leaving baseball bat, she keeps Jack at a distance then
him to freeze to death in the snow while the eventually knocks him down and locks him
boy flees with his mother. into the pantry. A highly symbolic act in two
All the protagonists increasingly come under respects, firstly because baseball is, alongside
the influence of the house as the plot pro- football, one of the Americans’ favourite sports,
gresses. The father, previously full of enthusi- secondly because the bat can be interpreted
asm at the prospect of being able to work on his as a phallus-like object, especially in the way
novel alongside the caretaker job, in this remote Wendy holds it in front of her. The phallus
location, deteriorates visibly. Caught in the spell which robs Jack of his masculine power in the

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Articles Erotic, Silent, Dead Figure 3: Jack in the forbidden room, number 237.

house and – at least for a short while – puts him Here the mirror seems to reveal the truth and
in a passive position.9 the depths of Jack’s psyche, which he has so far
Wendy defends herself and is briefly suc- been unable or unwilling to admit to himself.
cessful, like the Cat Lady. And yet she differs It is the mirror which first shows Jack in his
from her in one essential, but simple point: she entirety, and can thus be understood, borrow-
survives Jack’s madness, his violence, and his ing the terms of structural psychoanalysis, ‘as a
delusional idea of killing her and Danny to keep model for a theory of the subject which local-
them with him in the hotel forever. izes the ego outside itself, in the externalized
The other woman who seems to have sprung body image’.10 At this moment Jack ‘recognizes’
from the hotel (or Jack’s imagination – we do himself in his entirety in the mirror, with all the
not know) is a woman of the type we have black depths of his psyche which he has hith-
frequently encountered already: graceful, erto succeeded in blocking out.
lascivious and willing to give herself to the The beauty in his arms turns into a decaying
protagonist. As viewers, we are reminded of the corpse smeared with excrement, who rises from
theatrical performance in A Clockwork Orange, the bath and lies in Jack’s arms. Never have
serving solely to exhibit the protagonist and to life and death been closer than in this scene.11
show him his own misfortune. A picture of horror, and surely not the fantasy
Jack’s fantasy seems to be coming true: which Jack, in his greed, will have envisioned.
the vision before him is not Wendy, with her This also reveals the secret of the forbidden
constant nagging (as he sees it), but a silent room 237: it contains lust, temptation and
creature who is willing to give herself to him. death. And in this respect it also echoes the typ-
The price, however, is high: the mirror reveals ical horror motif of the gaze at the victim: Jack
to Jack that what he is holding in his arms is a becomes a monster simply through the gaze
decaying corpse. at the picture presented to him – the naked
Interestingly, the construction of the corpse is woman coming out of the bath (see Seeßlen
an exact reversal of Elisabeth Bronfen’s posi- and Jung 2006: 39).
tion: ‘For if any discussion of death involves Here Jack himself becomes the victim of his
masking the inevitability of human decompo- lust and his fantasy, and takes out his anger
sition, it does so by having recourse to beauty. over the thwarting of his desire on his wife and
We invest in images of wholeness, purity and son, who are planning their escape from the
the immaculate owing to our fear of dissolution hotel. At the same time, the destructive instinct
and decay’ (1992: 62). has gained the upper hand over Eros – but this

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Articles Erotic, Silent, Dead

cannot be discussed in any more detail here only refers to his soldiers as ‘ladies’ in one roll
(see Freud 1989: 17). call, but also refers to their weapons as women.
What is typical of the horror film, here, is
the man’s revenge on the women who have Tonight, you pukes will sleep with your rifles!
rejected him (see Seeßlen and Jung 2006: 39). You will give your rifle a girl’s name! Because
Now that the unknown beauty has metamor- this is the only pussy you people are going to
phosed into a walking corpse, and Wendy (in get! Your days of finger-banging old Mary Jane
Jack’s eyes) into a ‘nagging pest’ who wants to Rottencrotch through her pretty pink panties
leave the hotel – something Jack cannot allow are over! You’re married to this piece… this
to happen – the logic of the plot and the genre weapon of iron and wood! And you will be
dictate that Jack must want to take revenge and faithful!12
restore his honour.
Jack responds to the fact that he has, in the The weapon becomes a woman. A clever move
course of the action, lost his power over both on Kubrick’s part, as it foreshadows the second
his wife and the woman in room 237, with a part of the film, which shows the Vietnam War
burst of violence intended to re-establish his in the real world outside the training camp in
authority. But Kubrick’s law, according to which all its brutality, and in which a female sniper – a
men are always the losers in their self-created Vietnamese girl – mercilessly takes aim at the
universe, means that he is doomed to failure. seasoned soldiers, and shoots them one by one,
killing or wounding them.
The rifle as woman takes on a double connotation:
Full Metal Jacket • on the one hand, it remains a dangerous
The image of women offered to the viewer in weapon,
the film Full Metal Jacket, dramaturgically con- • on the other hand it becomes sexually
structed in two parts, appears indirectly in the charged and stylized as men’s con-
first part through the words of the soldiers and stant, willing companion. ‘The sex act
the instructor – and yet it is very much present. is replaced [in this respect] by a sexual
The action of the first half of the film plays charging of the act of killing’13 – carried
out entirely in a hermetically sealed – and out with the sexualized weapon.
thus, typically for Kubrick, isolated – space, the
training camp on Parris Island. There are no Drill instructor Hartman’s efforts are aimed at
women; Kubrick shows us a world full of men diverting the
who have lost their own individuality and are
being drilled into fighting machines. To reach libido of his protégés from women to the sex-
this end, all means are justified: uniformity ualized weapon: they have to take their rifles
is achieved by the same haircut, obedience is to bed with them […] and give them women’s
brought about by the psychological violence of names […]. In parallel, sex with women is
the drill instructor, Sergeant Hartmann (played, given negative connotations with the lyrics
incidentally, by the real Marine drill instruc- of the songs which the soldiers have to sing
tor R. Lee Ermey, whom Kubrick spontaneously while marching, for example, ‘I don’t know
cast in this role). Virtually no sense of commu- but I’ve been told, / Eskimo pussy is mighty
nity develops among the comrades-in-arms, cold. […] I don’t want no teenage queen, / I
the only communal action is the hate-inspired just want my M-14.’ Another strategic move
beating inflicted on an unathletic soldier who of Hartman’s is to have the recruits jog along,
later – as a kind of exploding fighting machine – singing together, as usual, but this time in
shoots his drill instructor and then himself. their underwear; they have to repeatedly grab
Optically, there is no place for women in the their crotch and intone: ‘This is my rifle, this
first part of the film – and yet they are there, is my gun. / This is for fighting, this is for fun.’
and not only in the words of the drill instructor The intention is not only to equate sex with
and the soldiers. Drill instructor Hartman not violence, but to have the recruits understand
their own bodies as weapons, so that they can

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Articles Erotic, Silent, Dead

no longer express their sexuality with any- boundary between the living and the dead, in
thing but acts of violence.14 such a way that masculinity is again called into
question.
The second part of the film plays out in the The film ends with images of the soldiers
real world of war and depicts the lives of the marching in step, holding their rifles in front
soldiers in combat after the completion of their of them, phallus-like, and singing the Mickey
training. Here Kubrick shows us what becomes Mouse song. A retrograde step for civilization in
of this combination of weapon and woman every respect, degraded to childish behaviour
which has been held up to the men as an ideal. and the acting out of primitive drives and feel-
In addition to the only woman to appear ings.
here as a prostitute, offered to the soldiers by It may be noted at this point that the women
her pimp, and thus again reduced to the status in Kubrick’s films are increasingly objectified
of object, serving solely for sexual gratifica- and linked with violence until finally, in this
tion, the men are confronted with a sniper who film, as part of their process of ‘disembodi-
kills them one by one. The presumed sniper ment’, they lose their status as subjects, and
turns out to be the combination of weapon are accorded the status of object.17 They merge
and woman which Kubrick had idealized for with the weapon itself and become the always-
the soldiers in the first part of the film. Except available object par excellence. This status as
that this time, the encounter is not erotically object can be equated with sexuality which is
exciting and sexually stimulating, but deadly. linked with violence – or to borrow the words of
‘The projections of the sexual and ethnic Other Tania Modleski: ‘In fantasies of war, sexuality is
coincide in the image of the female sniper, manifested in violence’ (Modleski 1991, cited in
culminating in a personification of the foreign- Greiner 1998: 171).
land-as-woman, [i.e.] as a [foreign] place where
the American soldier has to prove his masculin-
ity.’15
Kubrick makes the sniper not just a woman,
Eyes Wide Shut
but a Lolita-like, sexualized nymphet, combined Eyes Wide Shut, a film also constructed in two
with the sexually-charged, deadly weapon. parts, takes a less cautious approach to women
Kubrick constructed his film in such a way than the films discussed so far. No doubt this is
that the ‘soldierly man’ created in the first part partly to do with the literary work on which it is
of the film, whose deconstruction began even based, Arthur Schnitzler’s Dream Story (Traumno-
here, is carried on in the second part of the velle, 1925), which blurs the boundary between
film: ‘On Parris Island it became clear how the reality and dream. This is therefore about a
boundaries of the “soldierly body” were drawn; dream, a notion which gives the whole film a
in Vietnam we see who has to pay the price for special status.18
this drawing of boundaries.’16 This film also features two types of women,
The confrontation with the armed woman who can be linked with the previous female
plunges the men into conflicts which they roles. On the one hand there are the women
initially seem ill-equipped to deal with in the who seduce, who serve the men sexually, and
group. Shot and severely wounded, the girl begs satisfy their appetites and lusts. On the other
the soldiers to put an end to her misery, which, hand there are women who oppose the male-
after a lengthy hesitation, they do. But at what constructed and male-controlled system.
price? Is it a victory of man over woman? Are The central event of the plot, which revolves
they overcoming their own fears? Are they dis- around the doctor Bill Harford, is a sex orgy. The
engaging their consciences, or even crossing a sexual fantasies of his wife Alice, revealing the
final threshold of compassion? suppressed sexual desire existing alongside the
Kubrick breaks with typical film conventions love which he had thought to be secure, trigger
and does not show the viewer the dead girl. a maelstrom of jealousy and lust in Bill, plung-
This means that the men cannot define their ing him into a nocturnal odyssey which takes
role as soldiers by means of the dead body. The up the first part of the film. Meanwhile Alice
dead girl simply disappears, without drawing a

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Articles Erotic, Silent, Dead Figure 4: Start of the orgy

carries on with ‘her’ life, little suspecting what However one may answer this question, this
her confession has triggered. is obviously a place where women have to play
Love and desire are united in Alice, and the the roles that men have envisaged for them
fantasy she reveals turns the previously predict- – which, incidentally, ties in again with Bour-
able wife into an uncertain factor in Bill’s world, dieu’s concept of a society dominated by male
a world which he had thought of as secure. His control. The following picture expresses this
world order is called into question by his wife’s most clearly.
confession; it is she who causes Bill’s social as Characterized by monotony and unifor-
well as sexual powerlessness, and calls into mity, these gracefully depicted, almost other-
question his role as a man. worldly women – to be found again and again
Bill’s dream-like nocturnal odyssey is based in Kubrick’s films – follow a ritual choreogra-
on this confession, and is shaped by his con- phy and the rhythm set by the ‘leader’ of the
frontation with sexual temptations which orgy. The stick functions as a male instru-
exacerbate his obsessions and his ever-increas- ment of power, in the same way that the bone
ing emotional turmoil. Men’s instability is from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) turns into a
made very plain here: dreams and fantasies tool of domination, and the rifle in Full Metal
are enough to trigger crises, and to destabilize Jacket serves men. The axe in The Shining is also
the male system. We encountered something used by the man to compensate for his loss of
similar in Full Metal Jacket: the man who is able control. Women have to be controlled, and all
to withstand the pressure to a certain point and means to this end are justified.
then, for trivial reasons, becomes an exploding The submissive, ‘obedient’ behaviour of the
machine and turns ‘his’ woman, his weapon, women in Eyes Wide Shut continues as they fol-
against the representative of power, his drill low the command to choose men from among
instructor, and then against himself. the spectators and thus begin the orgy.
Under the influence of his wife’s fantasies, The depiction of this situation recalls the
Bill becomes entangled in his dreams and his scene shown earlier from A Clockwork Orange:
fear of losing control over his life and his drives. here too, women are embedded in a theatri-
The nocturnal orgy thus marks the climax cal situation, the artificial lighting casts an
of Bill’s odyssey, though its purpose remains almost supernatural light on the women. The
unclear: is it a real component of a world which music, with its sacred-religious overtones, adds
will remain closed to the protagonist – thus to this situation, and emphasizes their almost
indicating a social loss of power – because he is mechanical physicality, which is definitely the
not one of the chosen participants? Or was it a centre of attention. It is interesting to note that
performance put on just for Bill, to bring home Kubrick chose models to play the women in this
to him his powerlessness and his ignorance? scene, thus creating an almost unattainable

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image of femininity. Physical perfection thus against the system constructed and upheld by
turns out to be a construct embedded in Bill’s men, and sacrifices herself in contravention of
nocturnal odyssey, which seems to have ema- the rules, also faces an uncertain fate.
nated from a dream itself. The situation seems just as staged as the
The women’s individuality is unimportant: whole orgy. Bill, as the only person without a
wearing masks, their job is to satisfy men’s mask, has completely lost control. He is floating
drives and fulfil their wishes, in the system they in a void, his world has fallen apart completely,
have created. The film positively relishes the while others have taken control of him. Bour-
voyeuristic gaze of both the viewer within the dieu describes this type of man, who has lost
film and the viewer outside it: the women are control and power over his life – and not only
the centre of attention; the action is focused that: his masculinity, which is supposed to con-
on their status as objects. Women only become stitute his power, is no longer confirmed here
objects under the gaze of others, or rather of by other men. Normally, as Bourdieu explains,
men.19 women are associated with the private sphere,
But this also recalls the scene shown from The while men operate in the public sphere (see
Shining, given that it is once again unclothed Bourdieu 2001: 31, 49, 51, 57); it is only here that
women who are able to fulfil the desires of the – he becomes a real man. ‘A “real” man is some-
still – clothed men. one who feels the need to rise to the challenge
The orgy that follows this scene has nothing of the opportunities available to him to increase
to do with feelings, but only with the satisfac- his honour by pursuing glory and distinction in
tion of drives and the exercise of power and the public sphere’ (Bourdieu 2001: 51). Confir-
control, coupled with a considerable dose of mation of this can only come from other real
voyeurism. Men and women look on, almost men (51–52).
bored, as other couples have sex; everything It is therefore not surprising that Bill, who
seems artificial and constructed and yet men is, in public, a highly-regarded doctor, called
always have control over what is happening. It and consulted at all hours of the day and night,
is a men’s system, in which women’s job is to and invited to the parties of his patients, must
obey. Thus women are only accorded the role therefore fail in this private space, and is not
of decorative, functional accessories: they are able – indeed, not permitted – to receive any
attractive to look at, and have desirable bodies, acknowledgement. He has to fail here, so that
but under their masks, which direct attention to he can then be built up again in the private
their willing bodies, they remain silent, with no sphere – and thus in the second part of the film
will of their own, serve the men without hesita- – by his wife, who stays outside power games
tion, and do anything they are ordered to do. and therefore in the private sphere (Bourdieu
They are even prepared to sacrifice themselves 2001: 78–80).
and die for the men. The second part of the film, in contrast to the
But even in this context there is one woman first, takes place mainly during the day – a fur-
who dares to rebel against the system. Bill is ther indication of the dream-like nature of Bill’s
unmasked and exposed in front of all those nocturnal odyssey which he can escape during
involved in the orgy. But a masked, unknown the day, since he can, in a psychological sense,
woman sacrifices herself for him, puts herself control his drives (see Freud 1989). The women
and her body on display, and thus seems to be who have rebelled against the male system are
trying to carry out an act of ‘disembodiment’ now controlled again – for the benefit of men.
such as we have already seen in Full Metal Jacket. The daughter of the costume shop owner, who
Here too, a woman presents herself as a rebelled against her father sexually in the first
‘saviour’, opposing the power of men; in this part, is now ‘sold’ by him, the prostitute whom
she resembles the Cat Lady and Wendy, each Bill visited has disappeared, and the masked
of whom resists her personal adversary in her woman seems to be dead, so she has also been
own way. With varying degrees of success: the silenced. Women, the feminine, sexuality itself
Cat Lady’s courage costs her her life, Wendy is not only linked with violence and death, but
manages to flee, but is plagued by hallucina- is also subordinated to men’s power and con-
tions, and Bill’s masked saviour, who turns trol.

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Those controlling the orgy exploit their power And thirdly, women are at the same time incor-
to the full to make sure Bill is aware of his loss porated as objects into the narrative, with its
of control. His loss of power is complete when male-dominated concept of society.
he finds his mask on the pillow next to his This triple gaze has already been pointed
sleeping wife. out in Mulvey’s writings on film: ‘Traditionally,
Bill’s world is in pieces, and he confesses his the woman displayed has functioned on two
nocturnal excursion to Alice. Her reaction is levels: as erotic object for the characters within
not what the viewer might expect in the light the screen story, and as erotic object for the
of the female roles presented to us, and yet it spectator within the auditorium’ (Mulvey 2011:
fits in with the masquerades which Kubrick 11). According to Mulvey, the two levels can be
keeps showing us: it is Alice who tries to put united in the man, with whom the viewer – who
Bill’s world back together again, something he is construed as masculine – can identify.
is barely capable of himself. The heart-to-heart What emerges is that women increasingly
talk is held in a toy shop, but does not bring become objects – and above all objects of vio-
about the solution which they both desperately lence – in the course of Kubrick’s films, until
need. Wishes, desires and clarity are all sup- they merge with these objects and become
pressed in order to restore the image of the deadly weapons, machines, always available
happy family – at any price. and willing to serve men.20 In the last film,
Alice grants Bill this wish: she takes the Eyes Wide Shut, this mechanization of women
initiative – this is what makes her so remark- is overcome; instead, in a masculine fantasy,
able – and takes on the leadership role in the woman has now assumed both the role which
marriage for a time: she describes the events men want her to take, that of willing sexual
as an adventure, a dream, which they have suc- playmate, and that of the woman who saves the
cessfully overcome, and offers Bill the chance to man’s social existence and forgives him.
regain control over his own world – his family. At the same time, there is the fact that the
Alice thus differs to some extent from man sees himself as the subject, ruling on his
Kubrick’s previous women: she is able to restore own: ‘He is very well pleased to remain the sov-
the man’s world, even if the only role assigned ereign subject, the absolute superior, the essen-
to her in this world is that of the housewife – tial being; he refuses to accept his companion
which she seems to want to keep whatever the as an equal in any concrete way’ (Beauvoir 1997:
price. Alice is contrasted with Bill: the more Bill 726; see also Mulvey 2011: 12 [the man as ‘the
loses control, the more Alice gains ‘power’, until representative of power’]).
she is ultimately in a position to restore Bill’s It comes as no surprise then, that Kubrick has
world. In doing so she resumes her own ‘old’ rebellious women, or those revolting against
role in this framework, that of an object next to the social system constructed by men, silenced
the man who has regained his old position of in his films. Kubrick thus shows us not just
dominance. blueprints for society, but blueprints for the
relationship between men and women, which
Kubrick’s women in the are constituted as men’s fantasies of their ideal
woman. Against the backdrop of these con-
context of the gender structions of women, however, the men are
discourse and society also shown as victims of themselves, defeated
by their self-created standards, dreams and
Stanley Kubrick presents women to the viewer desires.
in their status as objects, which has various Perhaps one can even go so far as to say that
constituent elements. In the first instance it Kubrick plays with society’s ideas about men
is the voyeuristic gaze of the viewer which and women. There is no denying the fact that
reduces the female body to its status as object he always counterposes and contrasts men
and takes pleasure in its aesthetically portrayed and women, and points to the existing conflicts
physicality. But it is also the gaze of the direc- between the sexes, and their differing ideas and
tor himself, portraying women as objects, using concepts of life. On the contrary: if one looks
the camera to draw attention to them, and at Bill and Alice, they seem to be happy in their
capturing them on film with the camera lens. respective roles within the system, as long as

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The people shown within the films behave rather like rats
in a laboratory…
the system shows no cracks and can continue part of this analysis, but is definitely worth
to exist without attracting blame. quoting at this point: the little spaceship in the
Yet Kubrick keeps coming back to these pain- endless expanse of the universe – and human
ful issues and shows what happens when the beings right in the middle of it, with no way out.
cracks break open and the conflicts previously These people, no longer finding any ori-
concealed under the surface are exposed to the entation in the systems they are faced with,
light of day. become so unpredictable in their actions that
Both sexes find themselves vulnerable to the observing viewer never knows what will
processes which they are not equipped to deal happen next. Human beings are the object of
with, and within which they must come to new observation, and are confronted, by way of an
arrangements – or try with all their might to experiment, with their appetites and desires,
continue to perform the roles prescribed by but also with dangers.
society. This is also the context in which Kubrick
locates the feminine in his films. Women
Conclusion are instrumentalized, made into victims and
objects, and reduced to their sexuality. The goal:
Stanley Kubrick confronts us as viewers with a to satisfy the appetites and desires of men – as
veritable human zoo. He throws the actors into the references to Laura Mulvey have shown.
an experimental set-up, and leaves people to And if a woman, as object of desire, refuses
their own devices in a hostile environment. It is to satisfy these lusts, she is cold-bloodedly
up to them to work out how to deal with them- removed.
selves and their lives under hostile conditions, Women are thus surrounded by violence;
or at least conditions which are unfavourable to indeed they positively seem to trigger it – and
humans. Help is seldom at hand, and they are all that without suspecting a thing. They barely
frequently subjected to threats and attacks on realize what is happening to them; on the con-
their lives. trary, they declare themselves satisfied with the
Kubrick probes the limits of human life: what roles which are assigned to them. The theatri-
is a person able and permitted to do in society if cally staged scenes make it particularly clear
s/he wants to lead a self-determined life? When that women are pawns in a game set up by
is it permissible to give help? Can one leave men.
people to deal with their desires and appetites And as is often the case in a game, so it is
on their own? Or do we need a (state) authority here: women, as pawns, become stumbling
to protect people from themselves? And how blocks and bring about men’s downfall. Men
much would an authority of this kind be per- become victims of their obsessions, their
mitted to invade people’s privacy? drives – whether it be taking pleasure in acts of
Kubrick does not answer the questions, he violence (A Clockwork Orange), violence used to
leaves it up to the viewer to form a judgement restore their own authority and thus power (The
about the scenarios shown. The result – the fact Shining), pleasure in killing in war (Full Metal
that the viewer often assumes – indeed, has to Jacket) or the satisfaction of sexual lust (Eyes
assume – the position of voyeur in this process Wide Shut). Men must fail; they are rejected by
– is something Kubrick takes in his stride, in the the women whom they desire and wish to pos-
same neutral manner in which he created his sess and left to fend for themselves, and they
films. realize their own insufficiencies.
The people shown within the films behave For Kubrick’s men, women are objects of
rather like rats in a laboratory, imprisoned in desire, they can trigger the downfall which the
claustrophobic conditions and trapped in an men have chosen for themselves (A Clockwork
experimental set-up which they cannot escape. Orange). Increasingly, however, they put up a
Think of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was not fight (The Shining and Full Metal Jacket) and ulti-

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Haraway, Donna (1991), ‘A Cyborg Manifesto:


mately they have developed to a point where
Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism
they are able to restore a man’s system (Eyes
in the Late Twentieth Century’, Simians,
Wide Shut).
Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature,
In Kubrick’s films the game only ever involves
London/New York: Routledge, pp. 149–81
men who are in control of the system, or men
and women. A woman on her own is never per- Kroll, Renate (ed.) (2002a), Metzler Lexikon
mitted to explore and try out an experimental Gender Studies – Geschlechterforschung: Ansätze
set-up designed especially for her. – Personen – Grundbegriffe, Stuttgart/Weimar:
But that would probably not fit into Kubrick’s Metzler.
image of a world made and dominated by men,
Kroll, Renate (2002b), ‘Spiegel/
a world which he denounces, and in which
Spiegelstadium’, Metzler Lexikon Gender
women are granted the role of victim, or in any
Studies – Geschlechterforschung: Ansätze –
case a background role…
Personen – Grundbegriffe, Stuttgart/Weimar:
Metzler, p. 374.
Contributor’s details
Lacan, Jaques (2002), ‘The Mirror Stage as
Sabine Planka studied German Studies,
Formative of the I Function – as Revealed in
Comparative Studies and Art History at the
Psychoanalytic Experience’, in Écrits: A
University of Siegen. She wrote her MA thesis
Selection (trans. Bruce Fink; in collaboration
about James Bond title sequences and her
with Héloïse Fink and Russell Grigg), New
Ph.D. dissertation about oracles and the
York/London: W.W. Norton & Company, pp.
techniques of fortune tellers in film. She
3–9.
currently works at the University of Siegen.
Modleski, Tania (1991), Feminism Without
Women: Culture and Criticism in a ‘Postfeminist’
References
Age, London: Routledge.
Beauvoir, Simone de (1997), The Second Sex
Mulvey, Laura (2011), ‘Visual Pleasure and
(trans. and ed. H. M. Parshley), London:
Narrative Cinema’, Screen, http://www.screen.
Vintage Books.
oxfordjournals.org. Accessed 10 August 2011.
Bourdieu, Pierre (2001), Masculine Domination
Nelson, Thomas Allen (1984), Stanley Kubrick,
(trans. Richard Nice), Stanford, CA: Stanford
Munich: Heyne.
University Press.
Seeßlen, Georg and Jung, Fernand (2006),
Bronfen, Elisabeth (1992), Over her dead body:
Horror: Geschichte und Mythologie des
Death, femininity and the aesthetic, Manchester:
Horrorfilms, Marburg: Schüren.
Manchester University Press.
Seeßlen, Georg and Jung, Fernand (1999),
Burgess, Anthony (1996), A Clockwork Orange
Stanley Kubrick und seine Filme, Marburg:
(intro. Blake Morrison), London/New York, et
Schüren.
al.: Penguin, p. viii.
Freud, Sigmund (1989), ‘Dream-Interpretation
as an Illustration’, in James Strachey (ed. and
(Endnotes)
trans.), An Outline of Psycho-Analysis (intro.
Peter Gay), New York/London: W.W. Norton & 1 ‘A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid
Company, pp. 38–46. of machine and organism, a creature of
social reality as well as a creature of fiction’
Freud, Sigmund (1999), The Interpretation of
(Haraway 1991: 149). ‘Late twentieth-century
Dreams (trans. Joyce Crick; intro. Ritchie
machines have made thoroughly ambiguous
Robertson), Oxford: Oxford University Press.
the difference between natural and artificial,
Greiner, Wilhelm (1998), Kino macht Körper: mind and body, self-developing and
Konstruktionen von Körperlichkeit im neueren externally designed, and many other
Hollywood-Film, Alfeld/Leine: Coppi-Verlag. distinctions that used to apply to organisms
and machines’ (152).

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2 ‘[In der Bar] ist [die Frau] wirklich Ding possession, eroticized domination, and
geworden, die Frau, die in der Welt draußen female desire as the desire for masculine
nur Beute sein kann’ (Seeßlen and Jung 1999: domination, as eroticized subordination or
191). even, in the limiting case, as the eroticized
recognition of domination’ (21). The roles are
3 In the following Bourdieu explains, that
briefly reversed in The Shining: Wendy
‘[m]ale pleasure is, in part, enjoyment of
exercises power which she does not want to
female pleasure, of the power to give
have. She seems desperate and cries, her
pleasure’ (20).
behaviour can thus be interpreted as the
4 There are hints of this even in the first part desire for a strong man who fills the
of the film: Alex’s name can be seen as a traditional male role and guides her. At the
short form of either Alexander or Alexandra, same time, Jack has to experience first-hand
especially as Alexandra is also a typical what it is like to have his power taken away
Russian name and Burgess uses Russian in from him by a woman, one who seems
the novel as the basis for the Nadsat extremely unstable. Under no circumstances
language, which contains many Russian can he allow himself to be ‘emasculated’ and
loanwords (see Burgess 1996: viii). disempowered by her.

5 Here we can allow ourselves a brief glance 10 ‘[A]ls Modell für eine Subjekttheorie, die
forward to Eyes Wide Shut, since it is Bill who das Ich außerhalb seiner selbst, im
is eventually broken by his drives and externalisierten Körper-Bild lokalisiert’
appetites, and begs his wife for mercy. (‘Spiegel/Spiegelstadium’, in Kroll 2002b:
374). Jacques Lacan in particular, in his essay
6 Although Mulvey is referring to heroes
‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I
presented by Alfred Hitchcock in his movies
Function – as Revealed in Psychoanalytic
– ‘His heroes are exemplary of the symbolic
Experience’, addressed the role of the mirror
order and the law’ – working for example as
in the process of perceiving one’s own ego.
a policeman (2011: 15).
Through the fact that the child recognizes
7 Mulvey is actually referring to Hitchcock’s itself in the mirror, it constitutes itself as a
way of integrating the spectators into his subject, and situates itself in relation to the
movies, but his name can readily be replaced world around it. ‘It is this moment that
by Stanley Kubrick’s. The process is similar. decisively tips the whole of human
knowledge [savoir] into being mediated by
8 ‘Woman then stands in patriarchal culture
the other’s desire, constitutes its objects in
as signifier for the male other, bound by a
an abstract equivalence due to competition
symbolic order in which man can live out his
from other people, and turns the I into an
phantasies and obsessions through linguistic
apparatus to which every instinctual
command by imposing them on the silent
pressure constitutes a danger, even if it
image of woman still tied to her place as
corresponds to a natural maturation process’
bearer of meaning, not maker of meaning’
(Lacan 2002: 7).
(Mulvey 2011: 7). Women can clearly be
interpreted here as heteronomous objects; 11 Due to constraints of time and space, it is
they can hardly, if at all, escape the role unfortunately not possible to enlarge on the
allocated to them. close interlinking of the two drives Eros and
the death instinct. Both drives are well
9 See Bourdieu 2001: 19ff. According to
established in the theory of drives, and thus
Bourdieu: ‘If the sexual relation appears as a
connected to the id. According to Freud there
social relation of domination, this is because
are only these two instincts. ‘The aim of [the
it is constructed through the fundamental
Eros] is to establish ever greater unities and
principle of division between the active male
to preserve them thus – in short, to bind
and the passive female and because this
together’ (1989: 18). ‘[The] aim of the
principle creates, organizes, expresses and
[destructive instinct] is, on the contrary, to
directs desire – male desire as the desire for

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undo connections and so to destroy things. of war to free himself from any femininity’
In the case of the destructive instinct we may [‘die Kriegserfahrung [nutzt], um sich von
suppose that its final aim is to lead what is jeder Weiblichkeit zu lösen’] (Greiner 1998:
living into an inorganic state. For this reason 163), and to banish it from his life, so that he
we also call it the death instinct’ (18). can become a ‘soldierly man’ (174ff.). It thus
seems utterly logical that women’s subject
12 Full Metal Jacket, 00:09:36 – 00:10:10.
status is taken away from them.
13 ‘[A]n die Stelle des Sexualaktes tritt
18 The psychological aspect of the dream
[insofern] eine sexuelle Aufladung des
cannot be analyzed at this point. A reference
Tötungsaktes.’ (See Greiner 1998: 174.)
to Freud’s Dream Interpretation must suffice.
14 ‘Libido seiner Schützlinge von der Frau auf For further information see Freud’s ‘Dream-
die sexualisierte Waffe: Sie müssen ihre Interpretation as an Illustration’ (Freud 1989:
Gewehre mit ins Bett nehmen […] und ihnen 38–46) and also The Interpretation of Dreams
Frauennamen geben […]. Parallel dazu wird (Freud 1999).
Sex mit Frauen negativ konnotiert durch
19 The house of the orgy can be incorporated
Liedtexte, die die Soldaten beim Marschieren
into this nocturnal, dream-like context as a
singen müssen, zum Beispiel: “I don’t know
place that can be understood in
but I’ve been told, / Eskimo pussy is mighty
psychological terms as id, as a place where
cold. […] I don’t want no teenage queen, / I
the drives gain the upper hand and are
just want my M-14.” Ein anderer Schachzug
enjoyed without inhibitions. It is fitting that
Hartmans besteht darin, daß die Rekruten,
Bill seeks out the place of libido and self-
wie so oft, gemeinsam singend im Trab
indulgence at night, when the ego can no
laufen – diesmal aber in Unterwäsche; sie
longer play an intermediary, regulating role
müssen sich dabei wiederholt an die
between the superego and the id. For more
Genitalien greifen und immer intonieren:
on this see Freud 1989.
“This is my rifle, this is my gun. / This is for
fighting, this is for fun.” Nicht nur soll Sex 20 Moreover, Elisabeth Bronfen explains the
mit Gewalt gleichgesetzt werden, die connection between femininity, sexuality
Rekruten sollen vielmehr auch den eigenen and death by describing the present of life
Körper als Waffe begreifen, so daß sich ihre made by the mother as a present of death
Sexualität nur noch in Gewaltakten äußern (see Bronfen 1992; esp. p. 66).
kann.’ (See Greiner 1998: 176–77.)
15 ‘Im Bild der Scharfschützin fallen die
Projektionen des sexuell und des ethnisch
Anderen zusammen und kulminieren in
einer Verkörperung des fremden-Landes-als-
Frau, [also] als [fremder] Ort, wo der
amerikanische Soldat seine Männlichkeit
beweisen muß.’ (See Greiner 1998: 181.)
16 ‘Auf Parris Island wurde deutlich, wie die
Grenzen des ‘soldatischen Körpers’ gezogen
werden; in Vietnam sieht man, auf wessen
Kosten diese Grenzziehung geht.’ (See
Greiner 1998: 181.)
17 That women in war films are accorded the
status of object per se, since they can be
dangerous to the man, the soldier, as
subjects, is also shown in Platoon (1986),
where the protagonist ‘uses the experience

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