View Full Version : Were all women in the 60's this spineless & weak?!-OR-Mia has not aged well
08-17-2003, 09:29 AM
I watched the third member of the Catholic Horror Trio last night and, if I had a gun, I would have shot out the television in my frusteration at what a spineless, weak-willed, borderline retard* Rosemary was. She deserved to be the mother of the anti-christ just for being such a gutless wonder. When your friends react in unanimous shock and horror at the treatment your doctor is giving you, and then your husband berates you for wanting a second opinion, the time has come to pack a bag and spend a few days with one of your friends to get some perspective back. Ugh!
Of course, Satan may have chosen her for exactly her spineless character. But then again, would Satan really want to risk a child coming out with the temperment of a field mouse in a world of tigers? If Satan can't come up with a single strong willed, independent, leadership-oriented, devil worshiping woman to bear his son, can the forces of evil really be that much of a threat?!
08-17-2003, 11:12 AM
I think you haven't got into the mindset of the mid-1960's well. Some people nowdays think "Sixties - sexual liberation - so, must be feminism too." Well, no. Women's liberation was (as anything with large popularity) a movement of the early 1970's. There were sexual liberation movements in the sixties, but they were surprisingly sexist. And there were a lot of men in the late 1950's and early 1960's who (without remotely thinking about revolution or any sort of social change) who advocated sexual freedom for themselves and didn't even think about whether it applied to women. Let me take the obvious example - Mia Farrow's first husband, Frank Sinatra. Sinatra and his Rat Pack were pretty blatant about their womanizing, and yet they usually had a little woman at home waiting for them. They made a distinction: There were the good women at home, and then there were the broads that they screwed around with. ("Broads" was the exact word that Sinatra would use.)
But, in any case, I think that the point is that Rosemary is spineless. What Ira Levin was doing in his novel (and Roman Polanski was doing in the film) was showing what would happen to one of these 1960's stay-at-home worship-her-husband types if her husband betrayed her. Her husband was selling her to the devil to advance his career and she was so weak that she ignored the signs. Remember, part of the point of horror is that if we remain our ordinary trusting selves, we will be destroyed by whatever creatures are out there.
08-17-2003, 01:26 PM
I never saw the movie, but I did read the book. I don't know--I never really saw her as spineless. I saw it as completely normal...probably what I would do in the situation. I mean, does anyone really believe in witches, or in the whole Satan thing? Personally, I saw it as someone who was aware that bad things were going on, but who couldn't really accept them. No matter how many odd things go on in your house, you're not going to think it's haunted because these things don't happen to normal people. Rosemary probably just saw herself as an ordinary woman (albeit, living in an extraordinary, Dakota-esque house) and couldn't accept that the next door neighbors were actually witches. It's just something that takes a long time to permeate one's world, particularly if one is skeptical. Rosemary was Catholic as I recall--I'm guessing the supernatural wasn't a part of her life. Well, not up until she gave birth to a little Damien....
08-17-2003, 01:37 PM
I watched it too, and that struck me. Then, she has the knife, and is informed that she's given birth to Satan Jr. Um, hello, at that point, I would stab the little demon.
The funniest part is when her husband tries to appologize, "Oh, they told me you wouldn't be hurt, and you aren't, right?"
"Oh sure, honey. Sure. After all, you just let Satan rape me, knock me up, and now I'm the mother of the Antichrist. That's just super!"
The upside down cross on the cradle-um, no, that's a St. Peter's Cross. An upside down crucifix is what you want to show they're Satanists. D'uh!
And you know, you'd think that Satan's Servants would have better fashion sense.
But back to the OP-the worst was the pixie cut on Farrow-she looked like a cheap, overpainted clown doll.
And then she's at the doctor, the "good" doctor, and she's going into hysterics. Um, personally, why didn't the doctor commit her? (It's been a long time since I read the book, so I don't remember why he called her husband). Even if she wasn't believed, at least she'd be safe. So why not have herself committed?
And when she tries to flee from them by going back to their apartment? HELLO??? It's on the UPPER floors, dumbass!
Of course, Polanski isn't exactly known as a great feminist, to put it mildly.
08-18-2003, 07:29 AM
Originally posted by Guinastasia
And you know, you'd think that Satan's Servants would have better fashion sense.
And then she's at the doctor, the "good" doctor, and she's going into hysterics. Um, personally, why didn't the doctor commit her?
The way he reacted when she told him the name of her regular (satanic) doctor & the fact that he called him in with seeming haste made me wonder if he was supposed to be in on the deal. Sort of hinting that the satanic conspiracy goes so deep that there is "nothing" she can do about it. (Except call her friends and go to them, duh.)
08-18-2003, 07:44 AM
I wonder two things about the ending of this book:
Rosemary is due to give birth to her and Satan's baby any day now and she's wandering the streets of Manhattan. I know New Yorkers are blase, but they might notice if she suddenly gives birth to that in the middle of the street. Dr. Saperstein would have told her to go to bed for the last month in order to avoid that.
She wakes up after giving birth, is told the baby was born dead, and never asks to see the child or have a burial service for it? That is really, really lame (and ruins the whole book for me). After she gave birth, the coven should have put her in a magic-coma, revive her a year later, and have a grave for her. At the very least, Dr. Saperstein could have substitued a dead baby for Rosemary's, so she would have proof the baby died and not start questioning it.
Sometimes Devil worshippers can be really, really stupid, but it does advance the plot of the book. I won't go into all the "witch" references. It was a group Devil worshippers!
08-18-2003, 08:23 AM
Originally posted by Annie-Xmas
Is the book worth reading if the movie pissed me off that much? Is it good? Is the plot significantly different?
08-18-2003, 08:34 AM
Annie, I thought they wanted Rosemary to take care of the baby, and that's why they didn't go all the way with the stillborn thing. That was my take; but I only saw the movie.
As far as her being a weakling; I feel a combination of things. A) you would never want to or be able to believe things that horrible so it's probably pretty realistic and B) LOOK WHO DIRECTED THE MOVIE. A man who rapes little girls and can't relate to any female over the age of pubescence. I mean he has to have women who are easily controlled and childlike. Hence the haircut, the docility, etc. Can't speak for the book, of course.
I could have killed that damn doctor for calling the husband that way.
08-18-2003, 08:34 AM
You must also understand NYC a little bit.
That was a really nice apartment. Ok so the are satanists in the building, no apartment is perfect.
08-18-2003, 09:30 AM
Originally posted by Anniee
A) you would never want to or be able to believe things that horrible so it's probably pretty realistic....
Yeah, that's a good point. I thought about that when I was watching Stephen King's Storm of the Century this week. Would I at some point be able to adopt the working hypothesis that something totally unreal is going on?
Still, she seemed a little extra wimpy (I won't speculate on the Polanski connection to that, but it is an interesting point--the only strong women were the evil ones [what about her friends?]). I wonder how much explanatory subplot was there that the movie couldn't show. For example, she kept drinking the neighbor's "vitamin" drink instead of taking pills. I recall reading The Exorcist and the book made a pretty big deal about Ritalin and behavior problems, so some time was spent trying to deal with the kid as an ADD sufferer, thus creating a subtext (?) that kept the parent distracted from the real problem of demonic possession. While watching Rosemary's, I kept wondering if the book had a bigger thing going on about the evils of artifical stuff and whatnot that kept Rosemary more easily yoked vis-a-vis the vitamin drink.
Wendell Wagner's remark is interesting about the good subservient female figure being betrayed. It would make the movie an extremely feminist statement in that case, wouldn't it? Instead of the "good girl" being the one who prevails, it is her role as the stereotypical "traditional" housewife that brings about the end of the world, etc. Thoughts?
08-18-2003, 09:38 AM
The movie was remarkedly true to the book. If you didn't like the movie, you probably won't like the book. Don't blame Polanski, as he was being true to what Ira Levin wrote.
Women were treated like children in the early 60's. Notice that the only people who tell Rosemary she should see another doctor are a group of women and only when they are alone. One thing I've always wondered: Was Rosemary's pain in early pregnancy caused by the baby or by the coven. Was it a spell to keep her from other people? It conveniently disappears right before she is going to see the doctor who suspected something was wrong in the beginning.
Note that both director Roman Polanski and star Mia Farrow have had horrible things happen to them since the film: Polanski's wife Sharon Tate was eight months' pregnant when she was murdered by devil worshipping Charlie Manson's disciples, and Mia went through the whole Woody-Soon Yi thing affecting her children. And the Dakota, where the movie was shot, was the scene of John Lennon's movie.
08-18-2003, 10:13 AM
Just wanted to add that I can't read Ira Levin's work because of his clear misogyny. I see it throughout every thing he writes. He also wrote Sliver, which you may remember as a bad Sharon Stone movie... The characterization in the books are just as appalling as in Rosemary's Baby.
I've also banned John Updike from my library collection, for the same reason.
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