Hurting Carrie Mathison

I am continuing to think about the betrayal of Carrie Mathison in the last episode of Homeland. There was no reason for the sister to demand custody. She still could have pitched in to care for Franny. The fight between the women, pointlessly pitched, produced female-suffering porn after thrilling us early in the season with Carrie’s destruction of a cyberstalker. Female-suffering porn is so much the air breathed in the culture, it often goes unnoticed as a thing or is given different names. The Handmaid’s Tale trades on female-suffering porn for its sense of suspense and titillation. How many ways can you show women at the mercy of men and other women? How many ways will their attempts to organize and free themselves be thwarted? This show and “Homeland” come at precisely the moment when in reality women have organized in MeToo and other mass forms of resistance. They have been the least passive, the most vocal in reaction to the sabotage of our country and legal systems. Female-suffering porn is not cautionary or prophetic. It’s the comfort zone of narratives that want women the old fashioned way: virtuous and deprived or gratified and dangerous (often murderous).


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