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Dune: Part Two Explores Man’s Greatest Fears

Dune: Part Two Explores Man’s Greatest Fears


I was a divorce lawyer, and I usually take into consideration one of many extra thrilling days I had at work: the day a shopper messengered over an enormous binder of printouts of her soon-to-be ex-husband’s Reddit historical past. She had came upon he was an avowed pink piller, and I spent a really infuriating afternoon studying by way of each phrase of his misogynistic screed. My favourite half was a thread about how a lot he and different commenters hated feminine attorneys. The group concluded that feminine attorneys’ tendencies in the direction of goal considering, independence, and normal back-talk make them such aberrations of femininity that they’re–and I quote–”not human.” Essentially the most telling criticism? “They’re skilled to learn you.”

I used to be amazed at what number of males agreed with the insane sentiment that intelligence and instinct in a girl amounted to an unholy abomination. Sadly for me, I by no means received a shot at this man in courtroom (their divorce was settled rapidly provided that, predictably, this mouth-breathing ding dong didn’t care about getting custody of his child). Nevertheless, I did take away one strong piece of knowledge from the expertise: males hate nothing greater than a strong lady who can name them on their bullshit.

I noticed this identical phenomenon play out within the Dune films with the Bene Gesserit characters. For many who aren’t acquainted, Dune is a sci-fi story that begins as a political drama about who controls the provision of a sandworm-produced drug referred to as “spice” and ends with a straight-up jihad led by Timothée Chalamet. There are numerous totally different factions at play on this cosmic epic, however my favourite by far is the Bene Gesserit, an historic faculty of ladies who’ve undergone such {powerful} bodily and psychological conditioning that they basically have superhuman talents. They’re usually mischaracterized as witches, which is inaccurate for a number of causes: first, that is sci-fi, not fantasy, so there isn’t any magic concerned (sorry, nerd alert), and second, it’s dismissive of the extent of self-discipline and ability cultivated by the members of the sisterhood.

Males hate nothing greater than a strong lady who can name them on their bullshit.

They’re skilled to have intense emotional intelligence and observational abilities, to the extent that they’ll virtually at all times inform when somebody is mendacity. They’ve superior combating abilities and full management over their our bodies, together with their fertility, and are schooled in diplomacy, intelligence gathering, and {powerful} manipulation. Whereas they function underneath the guise of being in service of the Emperor, they’re truly enacting their very own millennia-long plans for the way forward for humanity, utilizing their powers to control interplanetary politics and a secret breeding program geared toward creating an omnipotent being underneath their management (which in the end results in the area jihad–oops!). In different phrases, the Bene Gesserit is what would occur if girls received collectively and utilized historically female abilities and capabilities to the aim of controlling humanity–aka the cishet patriarchy’s worst worry as a result of, as Dune demonstrates, it could completely work.

Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica In Dune: Part Two

Warner Bros. Footage

Denis Villeneuve’s current Dune films do a superb job of visually speaking the character of the Bene Gesserit’s powers by way of their costuming, spearheaded by costume designer Jacqueline West. Wholly female but unconcerned with the male gaze, the Bene Gesserit’s outfits are a fantastic steadiness of delicacy and power. If their gown or gown is modest and excessive protection, the fabric will then be silky, diaphanous, and form-hugging; if the supplies are thick and sturdy, it can even have strategically positioned cutouts or intricate beadwork and embroidery. Towering headdresses abound—an adjunct each {powerful} and modest, including peak and regality. Veils are additionally frequent, usually in martial supplies like steel, whereas jewellery is piled on and worn like armor.

Nothing higher channels female energy than Florence Pugh in what is basically a demure chainmail niqab. My favourite side of the veil motif is the emphasis on the eyes: the Bene Gesserit’s energy is of their notion, not in being perceived. Eyes with no face, they’re those who revenue from their sexual attraction–not males. Their modesty mixed with unabashed femininity clearly communicates that they’re those who learn–not those who’re learn.

The Bene Gesserit’s energy is of their notion, not in being perceived.

In contrast to most conventional “woman boss” heroines who can battle like a man and hold with the boys, the Bene Gesserit supply their energy from usually discounted feminine abilities and talents like communication, emotional intelligence, copy, and motherhood. Their power lies in self-control, communication, educating, and nurturing. They don’t have any qualms about utilizing the issues that the patriarchy has claimed are sacred and past exploitation, like feminine sexuality and motherhood (by no means thoughts the truth that males have at all times used intercourse as a weapon and bloodlines to claim energy).

They’re the wives and companions of {powerful} males, however their allegiance is at all times to the Bene Gesserit sisterhood and their schemes. It’s males’s fixed underestimation of them, borne out of nothing however sheer patriarchal hubris, that permits their success. For instance, probably the most {powerful} Bene Gesserit figures are Reverend Moms, who can entry the information and reminiscences of all of the Reverend Moms that got here earlier than them. When the male political world is pushed by individualistic quests for energy—that inevitably results in dying and the splintering of allegiances–it’s no surprise the Bene Gesserit, who share their information and assist one another over generations, so constantly have the higher hand. Certainly, the last word Holy Warfare that adjustments the Dune universe endlessly arises from, greater than something, a Bene Gesserit mom’s love for–and loving manipulation of–her son.

Lu00e9a Seydoux as Lady Margot Fenring in Dune: Part Two

Warner Bros. Footage

One in all my favourite strains from Dune: Half Two is uttered by Lea Seydoux’s Bene Gesserit sister Margot whereas contemplating how one can management Feyd Rautha, the psychotic inheritor to a strong Baron. A product of Bene Gesserit selective breeding himself, Feyd Rautha (performed to terrifying perfection by Austin Butler) is violent, expert, clever, and sadistic, with completely no love for or allegiance to anybody however himself. After watching him seem undefeatable in battle, Margot meets Feyd Rautha in individual and rapidly discerns his weaknesses: “Need and humiliation.” He’s each proud and sexual, and might thus be reliably managed by sexual needs and the will to guard his ego.

Margot’s evaluation brings to thoughts the well-known Margaret Atwood quote: “Males are afraid that girls will chuckle at them. Ladies are afraid that males will kill them.” When males’s fears are so comparatively banal, and ladies’s strengths and abilities have been solid within the crucible of actual bodily threats, why wouldn’t males be the extra simply manipulated gender?

What higher method to honor the Bene Gesserit than to speak their underestimated power by way of an oft-discounted medium?

I’ll endlessly love how considerate and evocative the costuming is in Villeneuve’s Dune movies, and relish the truth that the films are made a lot stronger by all the eye given to this historically feminine concern of “vogue.” What higher method to honor the Bene Gesserit than to speak their underestimated power by way of an oft-discounted medium? The morally grey Bene Gesserit are almost certainly writer Frank Herbert’s Freudian fears made manifest, given the tone with which they’re usually mentioned, however he nonetheless writes them as extraordinarily profitable. They’re maybe probably the most constantly {powerful} faction within the collection, which makes excellent sense to me. Their foes are of the gender who can really feel ~romantic~ in the direction of a worm-inspired popcorn bucket, who obtain the ranks of colonel and admiral, then do stuff like give out categorized navy data to girls they meet on relationship websites, their fragile egos not letting them suppose for a minute that they is likely to be getting manipulated. To me, the query will not be whether or not such a sisterhood would work, however why it doesn’t but exist.

Now for those who’ll excuse me, I’m off to observe Dune for the 59th time and fake that my Lexapro is spice and my mindfulness app is a Bene Gesserit coaching module.


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