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#73990 - 01/12/03 05:49 AM Cinematic Depictions of Boyhood Sexual Victimization by Richard B. Gartner, Ph.D.
Wuamei Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Here is a portion of that article which can be found in its entirety in the articles section on the MS main page. This portion is of particular interest to me, and to many here, becuz we were abused by our mothers, or other female relatives:

Maternal Incest in Film
Virtually all films portraying incest involve a boy and a female relative, whether she is a mother (Fists in the Pocket, 1965; Night Games, 1966; The Damned, 1969; Luna, 1969; Murmur of the Heart, 1971; Spanking the Monkey, 1994), grandmother (Midnight Cowboy, 1968, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, 1985); or sister (Through a Glass Darkly, 1962). Father-son incest is alluded to in Primal Fear and its aftereffects are portrayed in The Celebration (see below for discussions of these movies), but otherwise male-male incest does not appear in any popular film I know of, even though it actually occurs more frequently in real life than female-male incest with male victims. Presumably, moviemakers believe audiences will not tolerate male-male incest in a film that is, of course, ultimately made to be profitable.

Mother-son incest is perhaps the most provocative and titillating incestuous relationship (Gartner, 1999). In coming-of-age movies like those discussed in the previous section, mother-son incest is presented symbolically in the relationships between older women and boys. Certainly the fascination and shock value of these stories is that the woman involved is old enough to be the boy's mother and is often in a position of power and trust in relation to him.

What do you think about what Richard says about these movies and how they depict maternal incest of boys?

Can you think of any other movies that portray such incestuous relationships, especially newer movies? How are they portrayed? What do you think of those portrayals?

Let's try to come up with some movies that portray such incest as negative as well as some that may portray it positively, if we can.


"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

#73991 - 01/21/03 07:28 PM Re: Cinematic Depictions of Boyhood Sexual Victimization by Richard B. Gartner, Ph.D.
RJD Offline

Registered: 02/18/01
Posts: 326
Loc: jefferson City, Mo,usa
I think for the most part what he says is true about the actual depiction. What movies I dont see him cover are movies that depict male survivors as haneous(did I spell that right) sociopaths. The earliest movie I remember seeing was Psycho and later Manhunt in the 80's.Here is what I recently wrote.

The Alfred Hitchcock film , Psycho was the nearest thing I had to a role model for how to deal with my traumas. It was a surreal life with a surreal mother and a surreal big brother/dad that I lived. As empathetic as I was to the character of Anthony Perkins, that was not me. The massive nuclear explosion of impossibly silent impotent rage was me.
The ?80’s the movie “Manhunt” was again another stereotyped film about childhood male victim of his mother’s sexual aggressions. as an adult male perpetrator he was portrayed as a driven sociopath commiting haneous rapes and murders.
I suppose if I look at these stereotypical characters and their behavior as expressive works that connote the anihilation of the humanity of the male child victim and the immensity of his rage, it works, for that purpose. It works much in the same way the title of L. Shengolds book title “Soul Murder” works by connoting the magnitude of the profound devastation that is caused by severe child abuse. However both examples are slightly misleading in that the subject of the Manhunt’s humanity is not destroyed, it is severely warped to where it is barely recognizeable. And the murdered soul that Shengold’s title suggests does not really die, though it may feel like it to the victim. It becomes deeply hidden for its own protection, in it’s state of frozen pain and terror that is hopefully able to thaw and be expressed in a safe, supportive therapeutic environment, and safe supportive. relationships.

I think the films depicting the actual abuse seem to reflect the refusal in our culture to see the devastation, that somehow it is important to minimizethe impact perhaps as a reaction to Psycho type movies. I could not see hor Rolling Stone Magazine could describe Spanking the Monkey ad a hillarious comedy. From the opening minutes, I was suffocating. That a father would deny a son the internship opportunity was just too intolerable. It was the kind of thing my mother would do to keep me home. Her high aspirations for me was for me to work in a factory and give her my paycheck for the rest of her life. I was wiped out by the movie and memories of old suicidal feelings surfaced.
Murmur of the heart showed a very sick family that aparently the director was unaware he was creating if he thought he was showing how harmless mother-son incest is. There was an almost uneventful superficial powerless quality to the dramatic happenings That belie what is going on in the psyche of each character.. Going to bed with my mother had a similar quality for me.

The sequel to Murmurs of the Heart would be where the effects of the many,many, many traumas would be played out in real life. The emotional abandonment of the boys and their narcisism was already playing out.

I remember “ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST” came out, and we saw the film during the time I was an inpatient, and out on pass. One of the characters committed or attempted suicide over his issues with some at least covert incest with his mother.

#73992 - 01/22/03 04:51 AM Re: Cinematic Depictions of Boyhood Sexual Victimization by Richard B. Gartner, Ph.D.
Wuamei Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...

Bro, all I was hoping for was for people to share openly their thots & feelings about any mother-son
incest depictions in movies. You certainly did that in a very powerful way. I empathize with you in that this surely was difficult for you to share
I hope you find it therapeutic in some way.

"I think the films depicting the actual abuse seem to reflect the refusal in our culture to see the devastation, that somehow it is important to minimize the impact perhaps as a reaction to Psycho type movies."

An excellent point. I think people often fear how much of the Psycho lies within them...

My wife & I were renting older videos Saturday, 5 for $5 for 5 days. I picked up "Spanking the Monkey" and thot about telling my wife what it was about & asking her if she wanted to see it with me. But we were both in a comedy mood, so instead we got "See Spot Run." From the kids section, something for Little Victor. Loved it!

Perhaps sometime I will be able to see "Spanking the Monkey"...

Take care


"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck


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