Thursday, May 6, 2010

King Kong Theory By Virginie Despentes


Punk feminist writer/film maker Virginie Despentes wrote King Kong theory, her manifesto in 2005, recently translated from french (w/help from Lydia Lunch!) and released on The Feminist Press.



Virginie is writing from a lower working class, socialized punk, post fame, post rape, post sex worker, 41 year old experience. She is pissed, into who she is and calls a lot of idiots out in this text. Virginie dissects pornography, sexuality, hetero-conditioning, rape...there is a whole lot covered in this little book. She writes about prostitution and how it can liberate/empower women, argues that prostitution threatens upper and middle class women and their financially dependent domestic partnerships and exposes how theses same classy women are making prostitution remain illegal and dangerous (which oppresses sex workers much more then prostitution itself).


Virginie Despentes shares her criticism of the over glorification of motherhood, describes how mothers can act like the ultimate police state, and exposes the trap of motherhood in which women are doomed to feel like failures due to impossible expectations and the dire state of society. She does this all while respecting women who chose motherhood.


One idea of Virgine's that won't stop knocking around in my head is her hypothesis that women who show cleavage/wear make up/uncomfortable shoes/act submissive/seductive (prostitutes excluded) are actually apologizing to men because they feel guilty that men lost (or more are threatened to lose) their macho unearned authority. still processing that idea, but I find it super interesting. King Kong Theory also sympathies for men up against redonkulous masculine ideals and Virginie includes her thoughts on how/why all that is problematic.


Despentes is best known for her rape revenge novel, Bosie-Moi. She also co-directed a film adaptation of her novel with the film's lead actress Coralie Trinh Thi, released in 2000.



killer read, check it out...

8 comments:

de la Cruz, Cathy said...

This book sounds amazing!

原秋 said...

I love readding, and thanks for your artical. ........................................

kanako said...

your welcome! I forgot to mention an important section of King Kong theory. Virginie attacks journalism/journalist and reports on their oppressive response to the female voice. Super tough and legit.

glad you all are excited about this read! xo k

the world fix my house said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CinemActivist said...

Now I have to buy this book this weekend. Thanks for the review Kanako! :)

Royce Icon said...

Sounds awesome! I love the film version of Bosie-Moi, never found a copy of the book in english. That's so awesome that lydia lunch was involved too... She rules.

deafen_the_satellites said...

Hey Kanako,

i read this book a couple months ago and was surprised i'd never heard of her - and was dying to talk about it with friends. I remember the thing that stunned me, and that i thought about for weeks afterwards, was this:

"Not a single woman who had been through the process of rape had taken to words to craft a novel out of her experience. No guide, no companionship. Rape wasn't allowed into the symbolic realm."

I think she might be right, and that just stuns me.....

--- Lisa D.

Who needs maps? said...

this is "baise moi", wich means "fuck me"
I think KK theory is the best book for both men and women, about women i've ever read...