Saturday, August 14, 2010

Girls' Night In and Teeth

The husband had to work two overnight shifts this week which meant one thing to me: Girls' Night!  As much as I love hanging with my girls and hubby, sometimes it's nice to just have some girl talk and breakfast for dinner (which the husband will not partake in).  Sadly, one of my girls is currently MIA and could not make it but all that means is another girls' night in the not-too-distant future!  Girls' Night also meant that I finally got to see Teeth which the husband is terrified of and refuses to watch with me even though I caved and watched Zombieland with him (sorry to everybody I am repeatedly spoiling this for, but why weren't any of the main characters eaten?!  I mean, come on now!).  Anyway.  Before I get to the movie… food!

Tofu scramble
(we didn't have zucchini on girls' night)
Old-fashioned Chelsea Waffles from Vegan Brunch

Breakfast for dinner is always the way to go, whether it be girls' night or any other day.  Our yummy selections for the evening were tofu scramble, grapefruit mimosas, strawberries, and waffles!  Yum!  This was quite a breakthrough for me because normally making waffles leaves me a crying lump on the couch while somebody else (the husband) cleans up the mess and picks up whatever I threw in a fit of rage (I wish I was kidding) but no more!  My usual mistake is forgetting to spray the iron between each and every waffle but I assigned my lady friends the task of watching me to make sure that such a mistake was not repeated and there was success!  Okay, they totally failed me once but fortunately I had over-sprayed for the previous waffle so the waffle just split apart but did not stick… we munched the pieces while waiting for the rest of the food to be done, so all was not lost!  I completely forgot to take pictures, but waffles and tofu scramble don't vary too much so the pictures are of waffle leftovers and previous tofu scrambles.  Stay tuned for my delicious tofu scramble recipe!

On to Teeth.  This movie is… disturbing.  Yeah yeah, vagina dentata, big deal.  That's really not what's so bothersome, largely because it's not real.  What is disturbing is how many times the main character is raped, molested, and sexually harassed.  Dawn O'Keefe, the main character of Teeth is a teen who speaks to her peers about abstinence and believes in purity.  Being human, she also has to deal with the sexual feelings that she can't help but experience and figure out how to deal with them.  In a moment of weakness, she kisses a crush of hers who immediately capitalizes on her weakness and rapes her.  This was incredibly disturbing, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Reflecting on it, I think that rape is generally alluded to or mentioned in movies or books but rarely shown or described in great detail.  The one exception that I know of is Lucky by Alice Sebold, a memoir; memoirs are probably the one genre that would contain more brutal descriptions of rape because that's often the point.  In Teeth though, there was no effort made to soften the blow.  Dawn is shown being overpowered, even as she screams "I'm saying no!" repeatedly until the man, in his brute force, bangs her head on a rock.  He seems remorseful for that, yet doesn't stop what he has begun until Dawn's vagina's teeth take control.  His penis chomped in half, he falls in the water and drowns (and I cheered).

Sadder still is Dawn's seeming belief that she is no longer pure, despite the fact that she was a victim.  I fear that there are people who would watch this and blame her - Well, she shouldn't have gone swimming alone with him and kissed him and pressed her body against his - she was clearly asking for it so it's her fault.  I can just hear people saying this and it's just so awful and terrible that they would, as though any sort of physical intimacy automatically implies sexual assent.  Poor Dawn seems to think it's her fault too and doesn't tell anybody what's happening to her - it's just lucky that she has her extra set of teeth to ensure justice.

The movie's not entirely depressing though.  I tend to take everything a bit more seriously than others, though how you could take a girl being raped and molested lightly I don't know.  It is a about vaginal teeth after all, implying a certain level of ridiculousness to go hand-in-hand with the heavy subject matter.  There's a lot of dark humor in it (like a crab climbing over a discarded penis head) which lightens the mood and kept me from becoming too emotional.

Teeth almost seemed like a cautionary tale though for whom I'm not sure.  Does it warn girls against the dangers of men?  Does is warn men against taking advantage of girls?  I have no idea but I think that it should be taken a little more seriously than it tends to be.  Vagina dentata might make you laugh but sexual assault is no joke no matter how much humor surrounds it.

I realize that I've moved away from reviewing and into speculation and sermonizing but that's okay.  Teeth is more than just a spectacle and despite what many people think, it's okay to think about what you watch instead of just taking it at face value (cough cough at everybody who yells at me for "over-thinking" Indiana Jones).  In fact, I think it's better to analyze everything we watch at some level - otherwise you might start believing that all historical artifacts really do belong in a museum or that rape is something laughable.  What you don't view critically, you may absorb and that is usually far from ideal.  What I'm saying is while you're enjoying your movies and TV shows, keep your brain on.  There's no reason you can't watch and think at the same time.

Anyway… yes, I recommend Teeth - upsetting yes, but it is enjoyable as well and definitely food for thought on the dangers that women can never quite seem to escape despite promises of our equality in this country.  Dawn does seem to harness her own power at the end though, leaving female views smug and happy that she can finally actively punish the horrible men in her life.  I'll warn you though - some of the mutilated penises are a bit gross but nowhere near as visually disturbing as some of the other aspects of the movie.


  1. "Teeth" was in fact epically disturbing and sometimes felt slightly surreal if I'm using the term properly. Nearly everyone in the movie seems to be in some strange form of denial over something. About sex, about purity, about other people. Even the dad, the only man not portrayed as completely twisted seemed to be in some kind of denial about his son and his behavior.

    I don't think you should turn your brain off when you watch TV or read books, but sometimes I do just like to enjoy things without thinking about why they're funny or scary or sad.

    And sometimes it's stuff that you definitely disapprove of because you take it more seriously than I do. You're definitely not the only person do that, though. My grandma used to tell me that watching "All That" with me made her sad because one of the girls was overweight. I think she was just worried for her health, but I just wanted to watch my show and laugh! At least you don't take things THAT seriously.

    I completely look forward to another girls night! Can we make that pesto pasta next time? Because I want to make it and could use some hand holding, even if it is easy to make. I'll pay for ingredients!

  2. I love girls night's in- they're so necessary sometimes. Not sure I fancy the film, Teeth though... :)

  3. Girls' night = your recipes included = yummy food = yay!