Film blogger ridiculed for sexist tweet suggesting The Revenant is too 'brutal' for women
In his new film The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio’s fur trapper Hugh Glass (based on the real-life 19th century frontiersman) is buried alive and left for dead after being mauled by a grizzly bear, survives horrific injuries, and sets out on an arduous 200-mile trek to take down the man who betrays him (played by Tom Hardy).
By all accounts the film, released in the UK in January, is pretty gory.
But a US-based film blogger named Jeffrey Wells has now courted controversy by declaring that, because of this, women should “forget” about seeing it.
“The Revenant is an unflinchingly brutal, you-are-there, raw-element immersion like something you've never seen. Forget women seeing this,” he wrote in a Twitter post on Tuesday, after attending an advance screening of the film.
His words quickly attracted a backlash, with film fans ridiculing the implication that women are too “delicate” for on-screen violence.
Some of Wells’s critics pointed out that, on a comparative endurance scale, watching an “unflinchingly brutal” movie probably isn’t anywhere near as difficult as actually giving birth – “most men couldn't stomach periods, let alone childbirth”.
"The Revenant" is an unflinchingly brutal, you-are-there, raw-element immersion like something you've never seen. Forget women seeing this.— Hollywood Elsewhere (@wellshwood) November 24, 2015
In doing so, they inadvertently recalled the words of the legendary horror actor Bela Lugosi, who famously stated (in a 1931 interview with the writer Gladys Hall) that women were naturally, “biologically” drawn to his films: because of the fact that they “bear the race in bloody agony...women are born with a predestination to horror”.
Technically speaking, both generalisations are probably a bit silly: irrespective of gender, some individuals relish violent movies, while others don't.
@wellshwood What should I call the female human sitting next to me who loved it?— Mike Hogan (@mike_hogan) November 24, 2015
Sadly, this rather obvious fact seem to have escaped Wells.
In a blog post defending his viewpoint, he pointed out that a female friend who accompanied him to the screening was “shielding her eyes” and “chirping like a chipmunk during the extra-violent or extra-gross scenes”, and noted that a fellow critics had told him that his wife “wouldn’t last five minutes” if she watched The Revenant.
@wellshwood Legitimately curious what this tweet means. Are you really implying that women can't or shouldn't see the film based on content?— Ted Geoghegan (@tedgeoghegan) November 24, 2015
"Twitter fascists will kill anyone who suggests there’s such a thing as movies with a gender-centric appeal because it argues with their non-denominational view of things in which everyone is everything and there are no gender-centric movies because it’s sexist to even use that term because 2015 is all about, you know, sexual fluidity and the coolest people being non-binary and all that," he wrote in the same post.
Wells has previously been criticised for making sexist and inappropriate comments in his film writing.
@wellshwood AHAHAHAHAHAHA... *files this dudes name under 'twat'.*— amanda abbington (@CHIMPSINSOCKS) November 25, 2015
Earlier this year, for instance, he described Trainwreck star Amy Schumer as “Jennifer Aniston’s somewhat heavier, not-as-lucky sister”.
And in 2012, in a post about the film The Hunger Games, he advised viewers to be "be wary of reviews by female critics, as they're probably more susceptible to the lore of this young-female-adult-propelled franchise than most".
@wellshwood never fear, good sir! I shall bring my smelling salts in case of an untimely swoon!!— Claudia Gray (@claudiagray) November 24, 2015
@wellshwood I'm amazed you found the time between ripping a tree out of the earth with your bare hands and discovering fire to see it.— Jo (@jo_bromilow) November 24, 2015