Why M. Night Shyamalan Made Me Angry

From the twitter stream of filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan:

MNightShyamalan: “Suspense is like a woman, the more room she leaves to the imagination, the greater the emotion and the expectation.” -Alfred Hitchcock.

Comparing a woman’s behavior to a method of achieving a quality required for good story-telling is offensive. It’s demeaning to women and it’s demeaning to writers. It objectifies women and tells us that our behavior matters only in its impact on the observer. A male observer.

Let’s not forget that Hitchcock was trading women’s careers for sexual favors, and the one woman who stood up to him never worked again in her chosen career.

If you want to be a good writer, or a good movie-maker, you might want to give some thought to whether you have internalized prejudices that demean and objectify 51% of the population. If you, as a writer, don’t find that offensive, then let me suggest that you are not reaching your entire audience and that maybe your definition of good art is fatally flawed.

Such a statement automatically omits cis-hetero women from this method of achieving suspense in writing. As a hetero-woman, it’s actually not my cup of tea to think of women in that sexualized way. But then, as a woman, I recognize how insulting and damaging it is whenever we reduce women to their sexual impact on men.

Shame on you, Mr. Shyamalan, for suggesting that this is a world view a writer should adopt.

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