Tomboys (2009)

In the UK a premier league football player has just been found guilty of sexual activity with a fifteen year old school girl, and is facing the prospect of up to ten years in prison. Adam Johnson, an over privileged and over paid sporting hero in my local area, used his status to take advantage of an impressionable teenager, got caught and his fall from grace has been spread all over the media. Every detail picked over, questioned and debated among those who have nothing to do but rake over old coals.
Now the law is clear on these matters, sexual activity with a minor is illegal. Not to mention the morality of a man in his twenties taking advantage of a girl who wasn’t even old enough to leave school, never mind anything else, but that’s another can of gummy worms. He’s going to face jail time most certainly, but how serious a sentence is yet to be determined.
Until then, his sister is protesting his innocence and trying to get his ‘fans’ (those who still remain) to change their social media profile pictures to those of the convicted paedophile, in a Paris attacks style ‘Je Suis Children’ kind of campaign, and ill fated as her attempts to gain support for her brother (including an attempt at a protest poem which was kindly put by this blogger, cringeworthy), there are some horrendous accusations about the victim being bandied about, by grown adults who have obviously never been the victims of assault or abuse.
Katie Hopkins, the UK’s answer to anthrax, Ebola and the bubonic plague combined; branded the victim a ”slag”, claiming Johnson was just stupid and undeserving of jail time. She’s been labelled a money grabber because she is going to take her abuser to court for compensation, something that she could get from Victim Support, but seeing as though Johnson is currently residing in a house worth point something million, then I say, why the hell shouldn’t he pay through the nose for the trauma he has caused?
Tease, whore, slut, prostitute and many other uninspiring insults are all words that have been used against this girl, and one woman actually commented that if she was her child she wouldn’t have allowed her to go ‘telling tales’ to the police. I mean, really. What kind of society do we live in where a child victim of sexual assault is branded with a scarlet letter and the male assailant is given some benefit of the doubt because he could kick a ball well?
The definition of a victim is someone who comes to harm, either physically or psychologically, as a result of an accident, crime, or event such as a tsunami or other disaster. A victim doesn’t ‘ask for it’, by dressing or acting a certain way, by flirting, by texting, by getting into a car with someone or any other supposed come on; a victim is a victim because there is a problem with the person who thinks it is OK to take advantage of someone, to inflict hurt or damage.
If someone is not old enough to legally give her consent, than a moral and law abiding person can not accept it. It is that cut and dry. Johnson even googled ‘age of consent’ while he was grooming the girl via text. Therefore he checked, found the answer and tried to get the under-age girl to have sex with him anyway.
He may have been stupid, but prison is full of stupid people, and that is no excuse for an over entitled, over paid man to use his position in society to ignore the law and think he can get away with it. He is not a victim in this scenario, but clearly he is still not fully aware of the gravity of his actions, as he’s been throwing huge all night parties at his luxury pad while he awaits his fate, which doesn’t really scream remorse; while his victim has, at her tender age had her life ruined, by both his actions and the case’s notoriety.
Tomboys is an Australian horror that explores the mentality that being a victim, or the stigma of that word can have on survivors of sexual assault. Five girls brought together by a shared theme, a couple of them by a shared attacker, take matters into their own hands in the pursuit of justice, while still trying to figure out what justice means to each of them in turn.
While an original spin on the rape/revenge theme, and with a dirty, gritty grindhouse vibe, Tomboys has such potential to be something great, but sadly fell flat just short of that in my eyes. From the very beginning I was interested in the characters, while still being intrigued of how far their journey of retribution would go; however the clunky nature of the script and some less than stellar performances from some of the women left me feeling more disappointed than anything else. The constant use of the term ‘sexual assault’ in place of the word rape felt clunky, annoying and out of place with these characters. Certain reactions to situations in the film were extremely artificial and just lacked any credibility in terms of human nature, and by the end of the film I was left feeling frustrated with the scripting completely.
That being said, it is a distinctly feminist film, and though there is an ongoing debate about sexism in horror, it is films like this that prove that it is still one of the only genres of film that empowered women reign supreme. Horror women are capable of being victims, but it is always possible for them to take back their power, to survive, and to be their own retribution. They don’t wait to be saved, because they are capable of saving themselves, and that is one of the best lessons any person can be taught.

This entry was posted in critique, feminist horror, fiction, film and media, horror, murder, opinion, paedophile, pop culture, psychological horror, rant, rape, rape and revenge, revenge, thriller, torture, Uncategorized, women's lib horror and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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