On the feminism of Mel Brooks


I realized while my child and I were watching Young Frankenstein that I am comfortable with the way Mel Brooks portrays women.

More than that.

Let me explain. I’ll admit he has too few female characters, and they rarely talk to each other, and they are all beautiful. (Of course, they are all the same beautiful type because most of them were played by the incomparable Madeleine Kahn.)

What is wonderful is that the guy made a million and one movies about CONSENT. Like, way before that was a “thing.”

I used to feel sorry for Madeleine Kahn because she played a lot of the same oversexed woman. But, in this age of Twilight, I’ve revised my opinion. Kahn’s characters love sex. And they work to get what they want, exactly what they want. And Mel Brooks never has a man try to intimidate a woman who doesn’t want him into having sex, anyway. No, with Mel Brooks, sex only happens with enthusiastic, happy, let’s do this TOGETHER consent.

As a matter of fact, in History of the World, Part I, when Miriam, the sweet young thing the Mel Brooks character fancies, identifies herself as a Vestal Virgin, his character says he’s sorry to hear that but just goes on interacting with the character anyway.
This is huge!
In Young Frankenstein, the tension builds when it looks as though the creature is going to rape Elizabeth. But he doesn’t actually do anything until she changes her mind from fear to eagerness. (Whoof!)
Whether the sight of a monster dong would change my mind from fear to lust is doubtful. Still, the creature did nothing without her enthusiasm for it.

I was the right age when History of the World came out. I STILL want to be like Empress Nympho. A skilled negotiator. A good manager of people. Very much in touch with her lustiness. Respected for her management skills and desired for her kick-ass attitude.

Mel Brooks, feminist?

Who’da thought?


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