Sexism is a terrible thing. Women have been oppressed by men all throughout history. While humanity has made fantastic progress in this respect, we still have a ways to go. This is evident, for example, in the world of film and television: women are often portrayed as the weak and the helpless, or else merely as sexual objects. The issue, however, can go both ways; while misogyny is the more pressing issue, it is equally wrong to hate or stereotype men. Misandry is not nearly as common, so I was surprised to see a real-life sexist-towards-men film: “Barracuda,” directed by Louisvillian Shane Woodson and written by Christy Oldham, who also stars.
“Barracuda” is the story of a phone sex operator named Summer (Oldham) who, through her work, encounters the most perverse men imaginable: men who admit to rape, men who fantasize about sexual acts with their daughters, men who have killed women in the throes of passion. Fed up, she takes matters into her own hands and pays each man a visit to obtain a taped confession and bring justice upon them.
This is a fair premise for a film. There are thousands of sickos out there, many of whom get away with their devious acts. However, Oldham and Woodson would have us believe that all men are perverts. Not some, not even most: all men. The film drives this message home pretty hard: every single man, if not a rapist or a pedophile, is at least a “panty-sniffer” who steals women’s underwear and uses it to pleasure himself. There are no exceptions: as we see, even the most harmless-looking family man is a bottom-dwelling deviant.
What makes this film especially baffling, however, are the blatant contradictions in the message. While Summer preaches tirelessly to her sister and her best friend about how all men are misogynists who only see women as sexual objects, she could not achieve her goal of justice without the help of these apparently evil beings: when it comes time to do the dirty work, men are called to take care of it, and ultimately, when her life is in danger, she needs the help of a man to survive - a man she then falls in love with. I couldn’t help but wonder how she justifies that; sure, he seems like a nice, sweet country boy - but aren’t all men evil, despite appearances?