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Excerpts From My Feminist Reading of Gravity, Before I Have Seen it
“As Dr. Stone (Bullock) hurtles into darkness, Kowalsky’s (Clooney) panicked voice issues from the radio: “Houston, I’ve lost sight of Dr. Stone!” This is a desperate, impotent Kowalsky, stripped of one vestige of power man retains even in outer space—his gaze upon the female form.”
“This film’s imagery plays into stereotypical conceptions of the ‘flighty woman’—so without substance that she is literally weightless.”
“Dr. Stone scrambles to patch the tear in her space suit, visually encoding a fear of penetration—a desperate need to restore the metaphorical hymen. This indictment of female sexual autonomy takes place against the obvious backdrop of the destroyed shuttle. The wrecked vessel, probed too many times by thrusting space junk, is the very spectacle of ‘ruined woman.'”
“We are made to wonder if the vagina in space—a void within a void—can even meaningfully exist.”
“Finding her feminine shape obscured by a space suit’s bulk, the camera continues its search for voyeuristic pleasure. We next see Earth in the moon’s half-shadow, mimicking in shape a woman’s ample breast. The Earth-breast taunts our heroes with its distance, its ungropability.”
“Especially gratuitous is the love scene, with its sordid undertones and many logic problems. For instance, a trained astronaut’s answer to, ‘But how will I stay tethered to the shuttle?’ should never be to just smile down at his crotch.”
Previously: Dinner Theatre: David Byrne and Annie Clark
LE Correia is a writer and producer living in Los Angeles, where her boss is a TV.