I’m not exactly sure what it is about hot chicks and firearms that do it for me. It’s not a sexual thing. As much as I can appreciate Ms. Jovovich, and I most certainly do, as she both kicks major ass and designs the one and only lipstick I ever wear, I am more so resigned to the fact that if and when the Kinsey scale can be trusted, I’d probably rate somewhere between 0 and -67. It’s more of a, “I wish I could actually do something tangible to help the world and by Jove, exploding the shit out of the living dead (and those who’ve introduced them upon the world) is pretty much the closest thing you can get to achieving that aim.” Plus, I really, really do like tight black pants and knee-high boots. While I may bemoan the fact that my body is in fact ¾ legs to ¼ torso, I do know what looks good on these proportions.
Moreover, with closer examination, I think my attraction to the Resident Evil franchise, may have a deeper meaning that just OHMYGODGREATFASHION!
While the introduction of Alice in the first film may be dripping with gratuitous sexuality (she is found lying nude in a shower), the film quickly begins to explore the thematic conceits of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (watch for reoccurring references to Chess, as well as the overarching idea of madness, and the fact that the Umbrella corporation’s computer is named the “Red Queen.”)
Through her rebirth (by both literally and metaphorically falling down the rabbit hole) Alice learns not only that she is stronger and smarter than both her male counterparts, but also her male adversaries. The film’s depiction of patriarchal attitudes (embodied by Umbrella’s fierce dedication to the perfection of the T-virus and its never-ending number of faceless, male captains of industry) is unflatteringly relentless. It is a perfect representation of engrained social patriarchies and the supreme difficultly a lone female has in subverting this status quo. Alice is a violent, active agent in the fight against this historical institution, this machine.
Yesterday I went to see Resident Evil: Apocalypse with my husband. I turned to him mid film and asked, “Why do these idiots keep trying to perfect this virus if humanity is all but gone?” I didn’t understand why it would be so important to control something that no longer existed.
And then I realized that like the T-virus, certain socially proscribed narratives are consciously propagated and sustained every day, whether we think about them or not. More to the point, they continue to subsist even when we think they have been defeated (or at least convince ourselves that they have.) Dallas police chiefs, under the strain of skyrocketing rape cases, encourage women to stay together and watch their drinks, instead of just telling men to fuck off and stop raping. (P.S. Is that message really so hard to endorse? Parents, reach out to your children! Tell your boys JUST SAY NO TO RAPE.) I, unlike Alice, do not consistently fight against engrained sexism, and yet I rail against it whenever I am confronted with ugly and sometimes violent misogyny.
I may not be able to walk around with gigantic shotguns filled with quarters, but I can remember, can believe that I can make a difference as long, as I do remember. Resident Evil reminds me of this.