Marilyn Manson’s “Running to the Edge of the World”


I actually wrote about one of Manson’s video as a response to my piece on bloodletting. His music video seemed to compliment the eroticism of blood that was similar to the fetish I discussed.

This new music video seems to address the same perversion, but this completely underscored as it shows brief footage of violence and assault against a young girl.

I actually heard about this music video through another blog. She spoke out about her extreme anger of this music video, and ones like it that glamourize female violence. What’s pretty interesting is that the link she provides takes you to a dead end; the video was removed from YouTube because of a violation of some sort. When I found the original video, the user still kept the scenes of violence in, which, for me, is pretty sweet; Otherwise this blog post would have been severely crippled.

My first thought when I saw this music video was how good it must feel to punch someone. I know, I know – it’s a woman and she’s being punched. And I should be angry… because he’s brutally hitting that woman for no good reason. And it makes me so angry I want to punch someone too… but since there’s no one around suitable enough for a sound beating, I have to watch the video… and then I feel better.

But, in Manson’s case we’re talking about punching a girl who does not retaliate until she’s dead and naked on his bathroom floor (incriminating panties around the ankles, and all).

If it’s a matter of offensiveness, then it certainly does deliver. If the brutal violence doesn’t make you feel uneasy, then the bloody body of this pale-skinned little lady might. But, what’s disappointing is because somehow this has become an acceptable form of offensiveness rather than, say, biting a baby’s head off or, um, Manson and three of his friends gang-raping a youthful looking girl on her way to a party.

Oooh, the latter feels too close to home, right?  Well, Manson’s music videos have always been obscene, but they’ve also always been stylized and slightly generalized so that it never truly ever offends anyone in a personal or imitating way (Please correct me, if I’m wrong – I have seen most of his videos but I might have missed something). All of his videos are for shock purposes, thus this particular image of a woman being punched to death is perceived as personal to women in general (or the women who are particularly offended by it) the same way that Christians get offended by the sight of Manson boasting himself as the Anti-Christ, but hardly speaks in any way to specific newsworthy incidents or events that one wouldn’t want to respectfully mock. And, to me, unless an artist is responding to a cultural event or global issue, then the videos and imagery they create is purely aesthetic (Domestic violence is considered a global issue; a girl getting punched in the face is not).

But, as many have already assumed (I suppose rightfully so), this video may have personal connections to Manson’s break up with actress Evan Rachel Wood (She’s blonde, white, and skinny… the model’s skinny, white, and blonde… OMG). And, if I had went through a pretty shitty break-up, I might want to hire a lookalike for my next video and kick the shit out of him too…

Question? So why should I be in such a huff over such a cliched angle as 1) gender violence (I guess) and 2) Cathartic vengeance when not one female artist out right now has produced or created any similar violent portrayals of vengeance or dominance against their male counterparts? Manson’s video may be offensive, but as we speak YouTube is erasing that smut from its pages, while, of course feminine sexuality in music videos (Whether exploited by male artists or the women themselves) are mainstays.

My point is one similarly made in another post: When male artists have an outlet to their “rage” (usually it’s a woman because these boys have obvious mommy issues), then why aren’t female artists producing violent responses to these videos? Are, more importantly, why aren’t female artists empowering their rage and aggression and demonstrating this in their music videos? If we, us, women, represent a victimized minority that has to feel continually threatened by images of violence because we’re made to feel victimized every day, then why do we not break the visual cycle by reclaiming our own strength and retaliation? Would anyone consider it sexist or misogynistic because we attack men?

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