Posted by: philosopherouge | August 4, 2007

Analyzing Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Part 1: Women in Love


The way I see it, the interpretation of lesbians in the film is two sided, and I think depending on what you want to see, you can interprete it to suit your idelogy. First and foremost, their relationship is dealt with the most seriousness and sincerity in the entire film. All the others are a means a means of gain and satisfaction, while theirs is a loving and positive relationship. Even their sex scene, is so a-typically Meyers because it’s so erotic, rather than raunchy or funny. It’s not just a lustful fling, but as profound a connection that Meyer ever creates that approaches actually “making love”.

I think though, there are some detractors that lead to a more stereotypical, and “Hollywoodized” version of lesbians. First and foremost, the instigator of the relationship is viewed at first as something of a manipulator, taking advantage of the naive woman. This isn’t overplayed though, so I don’t think a good argument can be made of it.

If you don’t want major spoilers, I discourage continuing reading. The most significant moment in terms of their portrayal however is probably the fact that the woman who started the relationship is the first to die. In many ways she meets the fate of many if not most lesbians/gays of the screen during the 1960s/70s. On the surface it’s a “punishment” for her sinful ways, but in reality I think it’s something deeper than that because of the way she dies. Her lover had left the room while she was sleeping because she had heard a noise, meanwhile the murderor enters the room with his hand gun and puts it in her mouth. He begins moving it in and out, so in effect she’s eventually deep throating the gun before he pulls the trigger as she wakes up. I may be over analyzing what many people have labeled “smut” cinema but this for me is not a condemnation of the relationship by the filmmaker, but a patriarchal societal’s stiffling, murderous presence that won’t accept women can live happily without men. Add this to the rape earlier in the film, as well as the gender ambiguous murderor the film is really about the society’s view of same sex relationships (among other things), and how they are that they are not a problem until society “makes” them one.


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