This is the fourth installment of a feature we call “Harpy Cinematical Society,” in which we watch a movie (new or old) en masse and then replicate for you our subsequent discussions about it.
I recently watched Teeth, the 2007 film written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein. The other Harpies have not seen it, but commenter bluebears just watched it the week before I did! So we wanted to discuss it with each other and all of you. The film is about high school student Dawn, who discovers she is a living example of the vagina dentata myth when she becomes the object of sexual violence.
SarahMC: So, I wasn’t crazy about the acting or the general pace of the story, but I was very pleased with some of the subversive messages. The film was women-positive and critical of patriarchy in a humorous, gory way. I found myself wishing women really did have an adaptation that protected us from sexual violence, or, more accurately, got revenge on the perpetrators.
bluebears: I totally agree that it was a critique of the patriarchy and that the acting and pacing were just so-so. I think the main thing I took away from that movie was how much different life for women would be (and would have been) if we were all equipped with a set of razor sharp teeth in our vaginas. It’s something that men clearly fear (or feared) as well because the legend of the Vagina Dentata appears in several cultures. The other thing that jumped out at me occurred during the rape scene. Tobey is attempting to rape her and screams in her face that he hasn’t even masturbated in months. It was a pretty telling critique of what the denial of normal sexual urges can do to an individual. Not to excuse his actions, but his sexual frustration was palpable.
SarahMC: I loved how the film lampooned the “purity movement.” The huge stickers over the female genitalia in the textbooks were priceless.
bluebears: I was worried that it would turn into a, poor repressed girl will never know sexual freedom meme, but it didn’t.
SarahMC: I was getting impatient waiting for her to have some sort of awakening. I was upset that Dawn felt so guilty after “biting” Tobey and the doctor. She was the one who’d been wronged and had no reason to feel guilty. From the first scene, I hoped/knew she’d get back at her perverted brother. LOVED when his dick fell out of her.
bluebears: And then the dog ate it?! I was relieved to find out that she had some control over her teeth. If was sexually aroused and enjoying herself she could have sex just like anyone else. I thought the last scene was pretty awesome as well; she was owning those teeth at that point. That’s sexual power!