Twin Peaks Usenet Archive

Subject: TP sexism
From: (Doug vanderVeen)
Date: 1990-11-16, 07:26

Before we decide if twin peaks is sexist we must answer a simple question.
(Forgive me if it does not have simple answers.)  Should television reflect
real life or influence it?  Yes, it's a "What came first, the chicken or
the egg?" problem.

My answer is that in this case art reflects life.  And, since Lynch/Frost
choose to reflect disturbing aspects of life, in this case it would be
sexist if they did not depict sexism, and the behaviors that lead to
sexism.  Using a broad definition of sexism (anything damaging to one of the
sexes) I think we have been exposed to quite a bit of disturbing sexism.
Leo beats Shelly.  Audrey learns to use sex as a weapon.  James appears
incapable of dealing with women who are not "sweet."  There are more;
the point is that TP is reflecting these disturbing realities, and not
in the usuall sanitized manner.  (Neither is it propaganda.)  To
paraphrase Agent Cooper, "In Twin Peaks death is not a faceless thing."

Likewise any disturbing facet of life is not a faceless thing.  While we
did not actually see Leo beat Shelly, the immediatly preceding scene was
one of the most disturbing in the series.

As a short asside, remember that a major theme of TP is that things are not
as they seem.  Laura started out as pure as new fallen snow.  (pun
recognized after the fact.)  If you're looking for female role models
your not likely to find them here, nor will you find a male role model.  It
just wouldn't last.  Everyone has tragic faults, and everyone has redeeming
qualities.  I believe that it is the play between them that is so interesting.
Doug van der Veen