Close
Date TimeAugust 02, 2019
VoiceWhen horrific scenes of rape and abuse are filmed by women, are they emulating misogynist male directors, or bringing empathy and new perspectives?
Does the female gaze make sexual violence on film any less repugnant?
About one hour into Holiday, the writing-directing debut of Swedish film-maker Isabella Eklöf, there’s a scene in which a young woman who has joined her drug dealing boyfriend and his entourage in a Turkish resort on the Aegean is subjected to harrowing sexual abuse. Another young woman is raped, twice, in the opening scenes of The Nightingale, second film from Australian writer-director Jennifer Kent, of The Babadook (2014) fame. In the last few years we’ve also seen the heroine of Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge (2017), violated and left for dead by her lover and his buddies, an art student sexually abused in Natalia Leite’s M.F.A. (2017), and a medical student raped in Jen and Sylvia Soska’s American Mary (2012).
What these films have in common is not just the sexual violence against female characters, but that they’re directed by women. What’s going on? Why can’t women make nice films about cookery, kittens, or quilting? Surely they’re not trying to beat men at their own game, by showing they can abuse their female characters just as horribly as any misogynistic male auteur? Are these scenes really necessary?

Related Stories
Meet The Man Walking 400 Miles From Glasgow To London To Protest NHS PrivatisationMeet The Man Walking 400 Miles From Glasgow To London To Protest NHS Privatisation
The Satanic Sex Cult Leader Who Loved Animal Sacrifices, Orgies, and MurderThe Satanic Sex Cult Leader Who Loved Animal Sacrifices, Orgies, and Murder
Trump Rants Against Rat Infestation While His Properties Are Health Code Horror ShowsTrump Rants Against Rat Infestation While His Properties Are Health Code Horror Shows
Husband of woman killed in mass shooting invites public to her funeral because he has no other familyHusband of woman killed in mass shooting invites public to her funeral because 'he has no other family'
From El Paso to Christchurch, a Racist Lie Is Fueling Terrorist AttacksFrom El Paso to Christchurch, a Racist Lie Is Fueling Terrorist Attacks
Phoebe Waller-Bridge lands gig hosting Saturday Night LivePhoebe Waller-Bridge lands gig hosting Saturday Night Live
Jeffrey Epstein kept painting of Bill Clinton in drag at his houseJeffrey Epstein kept painting of Bill Clinton in drag at his house
Where in the World Is Ghislaine Maxwell?Where in the World Is Ghislaine Maxwell?
U.S. Intel Officials Eye Disinformation Campaign Targeting John Bolton’s FamilyU.S. Intel Officials Eye Disinformation Campaign Targeting John Bolton’s Family
Trump Calls Hong Kong Protests ‘Riots,’ Adopting China RhetoricTrump Calls Hong Kong Protests ‘Riots,’ Adopting China Rhetoric
Latest News
White House says bin Laden son killed in US operationWhite House says bin Laden son killed in US operation
More than 2,000 foetal remains found at home of ‘prolific’ abortion doctorMore than 2,000 foetal remains found at home of ‘prolific’ abortion doctor
Zimbabwe doctors labour leader kidnapped during strikes: unionZimbabwe doctors' labour leader 'kidnapped' during strikes: union
The Latest: Source: GM offers new products for closed plantsThe Latest: Source: GM offers new products for closed plants
MIT Students and Alumni Call for President L. Rafael Reif to Step Down Over EpsteinMIT Students and Alumni Call for President L. Rafael Reif to Step Down Over Epstein
Watford v Arsenal: Premier League – live!Watford v Arsenal: Premier League – live!
Solheim Cup 2019: Europe v USA battle going to the wire – live!Solheim Cup 2019: Europe v USA battle going to the wire – live!
Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson fires double to sink lacklustre EvertonBournemouth’s Callum Wilson fires double to sink lacklustre Everton
Japan has one eye on the Olympics as it waits for Rugby World Cup kick-offJapan has one eye on the Olympics as it waits for Rugby World Cup kick-off
Marc Gasol adds World Cup to NBA title as Spain beat Argentina in finalMarc Gasol adds World Cup to NBA title as Spain beat Argentina in final
Celebrities
Selena-GomezSelena Gomez
American singer
Kim-KardashianKim Kardashian
American media personality
Ariana-GrandeAriana Grande
American singer
Lady-GagaLady Gaga
American singer-songwriter
Justin-BieberJustin Bieber
Canadian singer-songwriter
Jimmy-KimmelJimmy Kimmel
American television host
Taylor-SwiftTaylor Swift
American singer
Stephen-ColbertStephen Colbert
American comedian
Oprah-WinfreyOprah Winfrey
American executive
Miley-CyrusMiley Cyrus
American singer-songwriter
BeyoncéBeyoncé
American singer-songwriter
Jennifer-LopezJennifer Lopez
American singer
Khloe-KardashianKhloé Kardashian
American media personality
MadonnaMadonna
American singer-songwriter
Ellen-DeGeneresEllen DeGeneres
American comedian
Kylie-JennerKylie Jenner
American television personality
Jay_ZJay-Z
American rapper
Related Stories
Meet The Man Walking 400 Miles From Glasgow To London To Protest NHS PrivatisationMeet The Man Walking 400 Miles From Glasgow To London To Protest NHS Privatisation
The Satanic Sex Cult Leader Who Loved Animal Sacrifices, Orgies, and MurderThe Satanic Sex Cult Leader Who Loved Animal Sacrifices, Orgies, and Murder
Trump Rants Against Rat Infestation While His Properties Are Health Code Horror ShowsTrump Rants Against Rat Infestation While His Properties Are Health Code Horror Shows
Husband of woman killed in mass shooting invites public to her funeral because he has no other familyHusband of woman killed in mass shooting invites public to her funeral because 'he has no other family'
From El Paso to Christchurch, a Racist Lie Is Fueling Terrorist AttacksFrom El Paso to Christchurch, a Racist Lie Is Fueling Terrorist Attacks
Phoebe Waller-Bridge lands gig hosting Saturday Night LivePhoebe Waller-Bridge lands gig hosting Saturday Night Live
Jeffrey Epstein kept painting of Bill Clinton in drag at his houseJeffrey Epstein kept painting of Bill Clinton in drag at his house
Where in the World Is Ghislaine Maxwell?Where in the World Is Ghislaine Maxwell?
U.S. Intel Officials Eye Disinformation Campaign Targeting John Bolton’s FamilyU.S. Intel Officials Eye Disinformation Campaign Targeting John Bolton’s Family
Trump Calls Hong Kong Protests ‘Riots,’ Adopting China RhetoricTrump Calls Hong Kong Protests ‘Riots,’ Adopting China Rhetoric
Latest News
White House says bin Laden son killed in US operationWhite House says bin Laden son killed in US operation
More than 2,000 foetal remains found at home of ‘prolific’ abortion doctorMore than 2,000 foetal remains found at home of ‘prolific’ abortion doctor
Zimbabwe doctors labour leader kidnapped during strikes: unionZimbabwe doctors' labour leader 'kidnapped' during strikes: union
The Latest: Source: GM offers new products for closed plantsThe Latest: Source: GM offers new products for closed plants
MIT Students and Alumni Call for President L. Rafael Reif to Step Down Over EpsteinMIT Students and Alumni Call for President L. Rafael Reif to Step Down Over Epstein
Watford v Arsenal: Premier League – live!Watford v Arsenal: Premier League – live!
Solheim Cup 2019: Europe v USA battle going to the wire – live!Solheim Cup 2019: Europe v USA battle going to the wire – live!
Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson fires double to sink lacklustre EvertonBournemouth’s Callum Wilson fires double to sink lacklustre Everton
Japan has one eye on the Olympics as it waits for Rugby World Cup kick-offJapan has one eye on the Olympics as it waits for Rugby World Cup kick-off
Marc Gasol adds World Cup to NBA title as Spain beat Argentina in finalMarc Gasol adds World Cup to NBA title as Spain beat Argentina in final
Celebrities
Selena-GomezSelena Gomez
American singer
Kim-KardashianKim Kardashian
American media personality
Ariana-GrandeAriana Grande
American singer
Lady-GagaLady Gaga
American singer-songwriter
Justin-BieberJustin Bieber
Canadian singer-songwriter
Jimmy-KimmelJimmy Kimmel
American television host
Taylor-SwiftTaylor Swift
American singer
Stephen-ColbertStephen Colbert
American comedian
Oprah-WinfreyOprah Winfrey
American executive
Miley-CyrusMiley Cyrus
American singer-songwriter
BeyoncéBeyoncé
American singer-songwriter
Jennifer-LopezJennifer Lopez
American singer
Khloe-KardashianKhloé Kardashian
American media personality
MadonnaMadonna
American singer-songwriter
Ellen-DeGeneresEllen DeGeneres
American comedian
Kylie-JennerKylie Jenner
American television personality
Jay_ZJay-Z
American rapper
Tessa Thompson: Valkyrie’s real superpower is coming out on screen | Rebecca Nicholson
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – what we learned from the Vanity Fair special
Can Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt save Hollywood?
Film-maker DA Pennebaker dies aged 94
Disney, king of the box office, now primed to do battle with Netflix
Casey Affleck reveals 'ton of partying' on film set where harassment allegations were made
Oldboy review – a beautifully blood-spattered modern classic
Balance, Not Symmetry review – Biffy Clyro art-school drama topples into cliche
Do the Right Thing review – Spike Lee's towering, timeless tour de force
Une Femme Douce review – Bresson's transcendent reflection on marriage
The Angry Birds Movie 2 review – another fun-filled flutter
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw review – a fervently brainless delight
Animals review – Holliday Grainger paints poignant portrait of singledom
Holiday review – an unlovely sojourn around the twisted male psyche
Opus Zero review – Willem Dafoe's no Columbo in auteurist mystery
Kings review – Halle Berry and Daniel Craig fail to ignite baffling LA riots drama
Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood review - Tarantino's dazzling LA redemption song
China to boycott the Golden Horse awards, Taiwan's 'Chinese Oscars'
Stones Have Laws review – captivating stories of ancestors, forest gods and modern life
'It felt like a wonderful dream' – DA Pennebaker on making Monterey Pop
Nate Parker to premiere movie at Venice film festival after rape controversy
Apocalypse Now: Final Cut review – crazed exposé of the heart of darkness
Political ads are all over Facebook. But voters are in the dark about where they come from | Martin Moore
'Something resembling hell': how does the rest of the world view the UK?
Ask the StoryBots: a kids' TV show so good you will weep with gratitude
It’s time for tighter regulation of how Facebook and Google use our data | Peter Lewis
Paul Barker obituary
8chan: owner of extremist site lashes out as scrutiny intensifies
Met police seek access to journalists' material on Shamima Begum
New York Times changes front-page Trump headline after backlash
More Bodyguards and Love Islands needed as UK viewers desert TV
Bafta film and TV awards introduce new casting category
Monica Lewinsky to produce American Crime Story drama about Clinton scandal
Michael Buerk's fat-shaming is 'weak' – not the obese people he targets | Phoebe-Jane Boyd
Guardian broke even last year, parent company confirms
Ads for ultra-violent satire The Hunt pulled in wake of US mass shootings
Charles Jeffrey, Evan Dando, Lucinda Chambers and others on the outfit that made them
What does it meme? The rise and rise of the fashion viral
Call Me By Your Name's Luca Guadagnino on cinema's love affair with fashion
Look lively: fashion’s take on survivalist style – in pictures
Date dressing: how fashion in the age of MeToo redefined sex appeal
In a military fashion: spring/summer's best utilitarian looks - in pictures
Anna Wintour: a rare face-to-face with the most important woman in fashion
What we learned from the Trump family’s London vacation
How to wear: a bodysuit | Jess Cartner-Morley
Louis Vuitton's show stages brand's love affair with Paris
Dior artistic director Kim Jones uses past to fuel future
Paris fashion week: Bruno Sialelli channels the seaside in Lanvin debut
Hedi Slimane wows Paris fashion week with 70s-inspired collection
Paris men's fashion week: the key collections – in pictures
Dior designer wins fans by putting feminism above femininity
Viard displays quiet savoir-faire at first Chanel couture show
Men's summer style – in pictures
The edit... Swim shorts
The best men's shorts for all ages – in pictures
Hot desking: heatwave office dressing for men – in pictures
Boy with a pearl earring: Walter Raleigh is the new style icon for men
How to wear: a bucket hat | Priya Elan
High street crisis: Intu shares crash to record low as rent tumbles
Naomi Campbell says hotel turned her away because she is black
Next shrugs off soggy summer with sales rise
Sports Direct rescues Jack Wills and adds it to its high-street empire
Boohoo moves for Karen Millen and Coast but 1,100 jobs at risk
Style, performance, authenticity: what makes the perfect trainer?
Out of this world: the best space-inspired fashion – in pictures
The 10 best short-sleeved shirts for men – in pictures
The edit... Five ways to wear shirt dresses
The best tropical prints for all ages – in pictures
Get a grip: 10 hair slides for summer
What to wear in August: five looks for five days – in pictures
The best white pieces for all ages – in pictures
Barneys New York files for bankruptcy
Emma Watson and Claire Foy star as Juliet in Pirelli’s 2020 calendar
John Lewis and Mac Cosmetics cancel 'back to school' makeup class
Sequins and stardom: the fashion legacy of the Supremes
Jodie Foster: ‘I make movies to figure out who I am’
Samantha Fox on fame at 16, stalkers and David Cassidy: ‘I kneed him and told him where to go’
Ethan Hawke: ‘The most romantic thing I’ve done is have sex’
Griff Rhys Jones: ‘My best kiss? I kissed all the Spice Girls once’
Should I lend money to my financially frivolous boyfriend?
I feel lonely and ashamed that I don’t have any friends
How to wear crochet | Kenya Hunt
Is it worth hiking? Exercise review
What I’m really thinking: the secret smoker
The best hot hairbrush | Sali Hughes
A letter to… my hypocritical father
It’s a summer of sparkle, but can sequins be ‘green’ ?
Eco-chic and trouser suits: how Meghan Markle’s style reads the room
Marketing boss quits Victoria's Secret after first trans model hired
Why I love… SZA
The Supremes’ Mary Wilson: ‘We were one of the most fabulously dressed girl groups of all time’
How young is too young to wear makeup?
Members of the Uptighterati hate lateness: are we wrong? | Oliver Burkeman
Ayurvedic massage with sound therapy: ‘Is this how it feels to be a posh Pot Noodle?’
Experience: I had a double hand transplant
Why is my spaniel’s nose immune to stinging nettles?
The house painted with 'spiteful' smileys, and other emoji rows
Could you be charged on Earth for killing someone in outer space?
The hot pink emoji house and the problem of Airbnb neighbors from hell
Monsters, men and magic: why feminists turned to witchcraft to oppose Trump
How to make Windows 10 recognise an external hard drive
Thomasina Miers’ nectarine and raspberry sourdough pudding recipe | The Simple Fix
Is two weeks too soon to decide to get married?
Nigel Slater’s puffed rice with redcurrants and cucumber recipe
How to make the perfect no-churn ice-cream | Felicity Cloake
Books about ‘kick-ass’ women might be a pain in one – but we need to hear these wondrous stories
Chocolate and chilli penguins with orange-flavoured ganache
‘The plane is too heavy’ – and readers' other budget airline disasters
Why have Americans given so much money to restore Notre-Dame?
Spain road trip: Granada to Almería
Is a hotel for houseplants a good idea – or a sign of our impending doom?
Travellers’ tales: readers’ favourite holiday memories
Top of the pits: the rise of natural deodorants
The fashion concept store that is rethinking retail
From Rapunzel-length hair to the demise of double denim: this week’s fashion trends
We Asked People Who Want A No-Deal Brexit Why They Think It's A Good Idea
Migraine Sufferers Warned To Go Easy On The Coffee To Prevent Headaches
A Third Of Young Voters Now Believe The Army Should Run The Country
China surprises with best export growth since March, but imports remain weak
Modi's high-stakes gamble with Kashmir
Watch Samsung reveal the Galaxy Note 10 at its Unpacked event right here
Trump news: President heads to El Paso after attacking Dayton mayor and being met with protests in Ohio
Chinese foreign ministry slams U.S. 'interference' in Venezuela
Game Of Thrones Creators David Benioff And DB Weiss Sign Deal With Netflix
Trump: no political support for assault rifle controls
Pakistan Suspends Trade With India, Downgrades Diplomatic Ties
Researchers in Wisconsin are astonished to find loons raising a duckling as their own
90s Brown Lipstick Is Back – Here's How We're Wearing It In 2019
Aldi Vs. Jo Malone: How Does The Pear And Freesia Hand Wash Compare?
Do You Have A Sleep Disorder Or Just Bad Sleep Habits?
Pakistan expels Indian ambassador as Kashmir dispute escalates
China warns Hong Kong protesters of 'dangerous abyss'
Republicans Fear ‘Extinction in the Suburbs’ Over Gun Control
Hairstylist takes her salon on the road to give free haircuts to the homeless
32 busted in federal drug crackdown in San Francisco
Hannity, After Nutty de Blasio Interview, Tells Dems: Look, It’s Not So Bad!
Hundreds of poor migrant workers flee Kashmir under lockdown
Marianne Williamson Convinces Trevor Noah She’s ‘Pro-Vaccine’
Texas congressman who tweeted names of Trump donors accused of ‘encouraging violence’
Japan OKs key exports to S. Korea for first time under new rules
Seth Meyers mocks 'lunatics' on Fox News and their plans to stop mass shootings
Regime advances after scrapping northwest Syria truce: monitor
Man leads police on chase from Missouri to Tennessee after stealing car full of kittens
Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels
Gowdy: Mueller was the one who fired Strzok
Canadian man dials 911 by mistake, arrested on firearms charge
Trump words linked to more hate crime? Some experts think so
'More than 100' immigrants tear gassed by ICE in US detention centre
Turkish assault on Kurdish-held Syria averted after agreement with US on 'safezone'
Wife of disgraced Mexican politician 'living in 10k-a-month London flat' after UK fails to deport her
David Berman, Singer-Songwriter With Indie Band Silver Jews, Dies at 52
Man cooking in Walmart lot sets van on fire, killing girl
Three US tourists die in Caribbean drowning tragedy
Why Britain Is Stumbling Towards A No-Deal Brexit
Childhood Asthma Cases In Europe Could Be Caused By Air Pollution, Study Suggests
Conway: The president stands ready to act in wake of mass shootings
Trump ridicules Google boss after meeting him at White House: He ‘worked very hard to explain how much he liked me’
Rise in snakebites across US linked to climate crisis and sprawling suburbs
Kim says North Korean launches were warning to US, South
Peter Strzok sues FBI for firing him over anti-Trump texts
DRC medics arrested over murder of WHO Ebola doctor
Fox Alternative Boss Explains How the No-Host Emmys Will Work This Year
China, Pakistan slam India's move to change Kashmir's special status
Wild video shows a gang leader attempt a prison escape dressed up as his 19-year-old daughter
White House Circulates Executive Order to Combat Big Tech’s Alleged Anti-Conservative Bias
Bernie Sanders says he'll tell us if aliens exist if elected president
Ariana Grande ‘Shaking and Crying’ After Surprise Duet With Barbra Streisand (Watch)
Wesley Snipes Joins Eddie Murphy’s ‘Coming 2 America’
James Earl Jones, Kiki Layne Among ‘Coming 2 America’ Cast Additions
Supreme Court Weighs Second Amendment Showdown After Mass Shootings
War with Iran is the mother of all wars: Iran president
Fox Business Host Calls on Trump to Ban Assault Weapons, Battles Ex-NRA Spokeswoman
Canadian police say 2 bodies found, believed to be fugitives
China Summons Hong Kong Officials to Shenzhen to Discuss Unrest
Cummings: Leaders must stop 'hateful, incendiary comments'
Fox News host Tucker Carlson dismisses white supremacy as 'a hoax'
The Latest: Biden says Trump is 'fueling a literal carnage'
Peter Chadwick: Millionaire arrested over wife’s murder after four years on the run
Biden blasts Trump's 'low-energy, vacant-eyed' shooting response, prompting a real-time angry tweet
These Are The Foods You Might Not Be Able To Buy In A No-Deal Brexit Britain
Bernie Sanders Calls Democratic Presidential Debate Format ‘Demeaning’
Imran Khan predicts rise in suicide bombing in Kashmir as Pakistan's army issues dire warning
The Apple Card is so much more revolutionary than you think
China slams US for 'bullying' Venezuela
Protesters shout death threats at Sen. Mitch McConnell's home
British woman's lawyer resigns from Cyprus rape claim case
Correction: Ohio Shooting story
Backfiring motorcycles trigger chaos in Times Square as false alarms grip US in wake of mass shootings
Key figures in Manson case: Cult disciples, rich and famous
Two UAE-backed fighters dead in clashes with Yemen forces
3 Americans, including married couple, drown while vacationing with children in Turks and Caicos
Dayton shooter Connor Betts killed his 22-year-old sister during rampage outside bar: Police
Groundbreaking Beyoncé photo headed to Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Greek police find body while searching for astrophysicist missing after going for a run
Barry Coe, ‘Peyton Place’ and ‘Bonanza’ actor, dead at 84
Dominic Raab Says Donald Trump Has A 'Huge Appetite' For A UK Trade Deal Post-Brexit
Cyntoia Brown was released from prison today. Here are 4 things to know about her case
'I have never doubted my ability': Steve Smith on two centuries in opening Ashes Test
Tucker Carlson wrongly tells his viewers the country's white supremacy problem 'is a hoax'
Chicago gun violence leaves seven dead
Close