Art and Experience: Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has long trafficked in features that exalt — and often twist — the concept of the “strong female character,” from “Jackie Brown” to the “Kill Bill” franchise, “Django Unchained” to “Inglourious Basterds,” and the subject of his stance on feminism has shaped countless discussions about his work.
After the release of his “The Hateful Eight,” which featured Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character getting absolutely wrecked at the hands of a number of men, Tarantino’s treatment of his female characters again became prodigious fodder for the cultural zeitgeist. It’s that topic that is explored in a nifty new video essay, one that comes complete with some surprising answers and insights.
Over at Fandor, Philip Brubaker has released his latest video essay, entitled “Is Quentin Tarantino a Feminist?,” and it tackles the concept in a minimum of time and with a maximum of interesting examples.
As Brubaker notes in his opening essay, “Mining violence for comedic value is nothing new to Tarantino, so in that regard he does not discriminate between men and women. But film critics including Laura Bogart have caught wind of what she calls “hipster misogyny” in the treatment of Daisy. In an interview on The Spinoff, Tarantino speaks about how he doesn’t treat Daisy like a lady because in his eyes she’s just as big a scoundrel as all the other characters. In my video, I explore this claim, and—in general—agree with this conclusion.”
In the essay, Brubaker grapples with the seemingly disparate treatment of Tarantino’s women — women who are warriors, bosses, fearless and empowered just as often as they are, in Brubaker’s own words, “brutalized” — along with a deeper look at Tarantino’s general sense of empathy towards any of his creations.