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Sexual Politics Loom Large in the SocialTerm Paper

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Sexual politics loom large in the social circumstances of any culture, the moors and taboos that revolve around such politics drive change and progress and also evolve with the associative context of human life. Every aspect of sociology is somehow affected by sexual politics and this can be seen in every postmodern representation of sexuality. Media is particularly dependant on sexual politics as a thematic representation and as a guiding force for human emotion. This is particularly true with regard to dramatic representations in film. Two movies, which pay particularly close attention to sexual politics, are Swept Away (the original 1974 and the newer 2002 versions) and Pulp Fiction, the first paying particular interest to social class / with an emphasis on sadomasochism

Shorts 74) and the second dealing with the inner workings of the sexual politics in a complicated subculture of sex, drugs and crime.

Dark irony -- the irreverent blend of irony and cynicism -- is the dominant sensibility in American popular culture. It combines the debunking style of the ironist with the cynical sense of life and death as profane fodder for amusement -- a genre aptly titled "pulp fiction." In the recent film by that name, for example, professional killers engage in trivial repartee as they load their weapons and head upstairs to do their work. Once inside, one of the killers (Samuel Jackson) admires the tastiness of a soon-to-be victim's fastfood burger and beverage, then immediately switches into the role of a dark prophet, reciting a passage about vengeance from the biblical book of Ezekiel before killing everyone in the room....The morality behind both Pulp Fiction...is...: death is funny, nothing is sacred, and everything is absurd. The thirst for meaning, order, and wholeness -- which marked the philosophical absurdity of Samuel Beckett and Albert Camus -- is gone. There are only fragments of sacred traditions, which are cut and pasted together with postmodern trivialities. There is no tragedy, because there is no longing for something better; there is only darkness, and the futile laughter of a trivializing culture.

Cohen 23)

The many definitions of postmodernism come to mind frequently when viewing the films from an academic perspective. According to a difficult consensus on the issue of post modernism it basically means that social history is no longer being made and that evolution, direction and progression have ended, leaving the world in a position of the beginning of the end where absolute truths can not be relied upon and relativity guides all social interactions. The films detailed in this work demonstrate countless examples of the darkness of the images of sexual politics in the postmodern world.

The cinematography and setting of Swept Away in both film versions detail the loneliness of man in a world where individuals and whole societies express love and longing through materialism and end courting with violent and absurd expressions of pain and pleasure. The film, is similar in tenor to Nine 1/2 Weeks (1986) another cult classic film dedicated to the idea of sexual politics driving personal relationships and leading to not real love but love that is expressed through dominance and possession as well as objectified bodies. Swept Away is the story of a snooty socialite who is unimpressed with everything; including the impromptu trip her husband has placed them on to the Caribbean. The film changes direction when the socialite and the first mate, whom she has verbally abused through the entire first part of the film as a way to lash back at her husband, are shipwrecked on a deserted island and begin a disturbing and objectified sexual tryst, filled with colorful and real representations of the power of the nature that has swallowed them up. (Wertmuller 1974) (Ritchie 2002) "The latter, a timely remake of a '70s-vintage Eurocommunist fairy tale about class struggle" ("Films That Go Thud;" B05)

The imagery of the film denotes the expression of the postmodern in that it indicates that these two people, as representatives of their class, and the division of society, the haves and the have nots are isolated by the power of nature. The sexual S&M comes into play as the two attempt to work out the rules of this new circumstance, where the rich has little if any skill in the world and the poor becomes the powerful as he represents those who have had to struggle in society to get by, and therefore develop survival skills. The message of the sexual politics are that the world is in a situation of contradiction, where those who are in charge no nothing of the need to survive, as they have always had someone or something (money) to do that for them. This passionate representation of sex as the manner in which the poor exerts power over the rich is fascinating, especially when one thinks about pornography in the modern world. The sexual politics of pornography express a world filled with individuals who are reduced to their lowest common denominator, the parts of their bodies, and specifically their genitals. In pornography sexual politics are clear, thought is eliminated and the body takes the lead, regardless of restrictions and social responsibility.

Kipnis 85)

In the film, Pulp Fiction there is a clear sense that sexual politics drive the social responsibility of the individuals within the film, to their dark underworld of crime, sex and drugs. The overall message being that sex and violence are one in the same and that the best way to get ahead in a mindless world is to shelter and hide as much as one can while openly stripping the world of humanity. Sex is used as a tool to express control and to get needs met, in much the same way that drugs and criminality are. "The electrodes had been applied to electric noir, and a beast was rising. Its fullest form to date is Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, a work so acclaimed, and so hysterically original that it proved postmodernism could actually be fun on film."

Hausladen, and Starrs) the idea of postmodernism being fun is clearly an oxymoron, though it is clear that the representations of it are often demonstrative of a complete lack of social responsibility, which is often interpreted by the mind as humorous.

The window of postmodernism is likely to expand a great deal in the next century and sexual politics will likely play a huge role in this expansion as the demands of the sexual lives of the individuals directed by relativism is essentially the driving force behind modern cinema. Film is an expression of what we cannot acceptably do within our lives, though people often challenge the acceptable through a reflection of art in life. Be they driven by such media representations and/or simply true natural instinct is left to the social scientists to determine, and will likely keep feeding debate for centuries.

Wood argues that the pandering sex and violence in certain commercial films have a radical potentiality that exceeds Hollywood's intentions. This, however, is debatable, and has nothing to do with Brougher's claims for commercial cinema in relation to art. The commercial cinema is seldom alternative and it is never avantgarde, by definition and by structural relations. If the Hollywood cinema in the '60s and '70s seemed to have let a new breed of artists into the halls of power, then (as B. Ruby Rich might put it) the breed was not really so new or the power must in fact have been elsewhere.

Green)

The old adage, sex sells is alive and well in the postmodern world, to such an extent that it makes the more refined mind wonder if the distilling of society to its most base instinct is the nature of postmodernism.

Sexual politics play a huge part in the social circumstances of all culture,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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