Tyler Perry’s latest film has been getting horrific reviews, not just for the sub-par film making and acting, but also for the incredibly problematic and offensive messages it implicitly sends.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!
Temptation tells the story of a woman who engages in a steamy, risky affair, and comes to suffer the consequences.
One of the more disturbing scenes is when the main character, Judith, is clearly raped by her over-the-top-evil suitor, Harley.
“No.” “Stop it.” “I don’t want to.” “Get off of me.” Judith does not want to have sex with Harley. (There’s another layer of nuance here—one reason Judith doesn’t want to have sex with Harley is that she’s deeply invested in Perry’s beloved gender roles. But the reason for her “no” is irrelevant. Her spiritual weakness betrays her, Harley can tell she wants it, and she’s punished for that weakness.)
He does not stop. He just tries harder. He knows what she really wants, no matter what her mouth and body are saying. She never says yes. He says, smugly, “Now you can say you resisted.” He has sex with her anyway. This is a rape scene. But, in Perry’s universe, Harley is right. She did secretly want it. And that’s the real problem.
Given the tremendous news coverage on Steubenville and Rick Ross’ lyrics, the media have been comparatively silent when it comes to the sexual assault in Tyler Perry’s latest film.
Meanwhile, Perry also finds the time to demonize people with HIV, using it to demark “sinners” from “non-sinners,” good people from bad people.
In Temptation, people with HIV are being justifiably punished for behavior deemed wicked in the eyes of god.
Three people in Temptation have HIV. One of them is literally the devil (see above), and the other two are black women who slept with the devil. That Perry would have the gall to use HIV as a punitive measure against black women who don’t fit his idea of “goodness”—black women, by the way, account for 2/3 of new HIV infections among women—betrays a frightening selfishness and lack of empathy. It echoes, very plainly, the old Fundamentalist rhetoric that AIDS is a punishment from god for the sins of the gays. Perry expands that rhetoric, sure—now dirty, filthy women can sin just like gays do!—but the message is the same. Casual sex is a sin and sinners deserve HIV. That. Is. Crazy.
Are you a fan of Tyler Perry? Have you seen Temptation?
Are you disturbed by the messages being sent by his films?
Sound off below!