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Precious Movie Stirs Controversy

Hat tip for video to: SoulfulBeauty.com

I was so disturbed by a recent review of “Precious” (which I haven’t seen yet), based on the book “Push” (which I haven’t read yet), that I wrote: “Disturbed by reviews of “Precious” that call it “melodrama.” Melodrama is what some of us survivors of child abuse call REAL LIFE.”
It seems like many of the people watching this movie, as the author Sapphire points out in the interview with Katie Couric filmed above, cannot cope with the idea that indeed there are mothers as horrible as Precious’s mother and there are even mothers that are much worse.
It’s these kinds of people that have asked me, “What did you do to your mother to deserve this kind of abuse?” or said “You should love your mother no matter what,” though they cannot even wrap their head around the abuse I have lived through, or even “How could your mother be this way?” as if to get me to explain how my mother could have turned into such a “monster,” a phrase I have never used to describe her but which has come up more than once when people read stories about the child abuse I endured.
I was even told that I had to write a less “heavy-handed” portrayal of my mother (read: less gritty, less blunt, less ugly) because no one is interested in reading “another book” about a parent abusing children. I was even told I had a “poor me” attitude when I wrote about growing up suicidal because of the abuse I lived through.
What I’m hearing is that it’s not okay (still not okay), not acceptable for stories like mine or that of Precious, to be told. Not because there is a problem neccessarily with the way we write them but because the people on the other end simply cannot handle that our stories can and should be told because they are true to our lives and the lives of many.
I get sick when I hear that there have been “too many” stories about the Holocaust, “too many” stories about cancer, “too many” stories about child abuse and so the stories of individuals become unimportant and unnecessary and horrifically silenced. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of movies about white teenagers coming of age by smoking up, getting drunk, going to prom and losing their virginities there…you know, the stories EVERYONE can relate to.
Read the Entertainment Weekly review (which I liked) and the New York Magazine review (which I didn’t and many DID NOT).
I am glad that someone is making a movie about child abuse.

3 thoughts on “Precious Movie Stirs Controversy

  1. This is ridiculous. To paraphrase the band, The Fray,”Mine is nothing new,but it is for me.” As long as humans exist, abuse will exist. What happened to you is horrific, but who am I to demand you not discuss it, or make plain your feelings? They are yours, and no one else's. To criticize someone because this movie dares to show how some people actually treat their children is unfair. Please discuss this issue,and give those of us who didn't have these experiences an eye-opening. Thank you for doing it, and don't apologize for your feelings toward your mom.

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  2. I subscribe to New York magazine and I didn't like the review of Precious either. Something about it really didn't sit well with me, and I wasn't sure what it was until I read the Jezebel posts about it. My girlfriend agrees.

    I didn't think that I'd be able to watch Precious, since I grew up experiencing a lot of emotional abuse, and I didn't think I'd want to watch something that dealt honestly with abuse, but after watching Katie Couric's interview with Sapphire, I think I might be able to. I feel like I should see it, as a Women's Studies major, but I'm also worried about my mental health post-viewing.

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  3. Thank you! I don't understand how people who have never experienced rape, abuse, or whatever else, can complain that this movie is “unrealistic,” “extreme,” or “melodramatic.” Ugghhh. I have been reading reviewers questioning the “realism” of the way Precious dissociates while her father abuses her and it's so frustrating. THAT IS HOW I REACTED. IT HAPPENS. IN REAL LIFE. REALLY.

    What I'm hearing is that it's not okay (still not okay), not acceptable for stories like mine or that of Precious, to be told. Not because there is a problem neccessarily with the way we write them but because the people on the other end simply cannot handle that our stories can and should be told because they are true to our lives and the lives of many.
    I get sick when I hear that there have been “too many” stories about the Holocaust, “too many” stories about cancer, “too many” stories about child abuse and so the stories of individuals become unimportant and unnecessary and horrifically silenced. But don't worry, there are still plenty of movies about white teenagers coming of age by smoking up, getting drunk, going to prom and losing their virginities there…you know, the stories EVERYONE can relate to.

    This.

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