13 February 2015

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: The Magdalene Sisters (2002)


There is no particular reason why I'm offering a mini-cycle on women and catholicism. That's how they've constellated in my to-publish list. No excuses.

The Magdalene Sisters (2002, Peter Mullan) unearths the horrifying tale of Irish Magdalene laundries well into XX century. This is one of those religion-tries-to-deal-with-human-sexuality tales that makes your hair stand up.

Want a recipe for complete disaster of human wellbeing? Organize a society where a group devoted to the belief that human sexuality is impure and sinful (and legitimized only by procreation inside the wedlock) has a lot of power. Then - making a reference to an old book of tribal myths from 2000 years ago - decide that only one half of each heterosexual couple is to bear the burden of stigma attached to "improper" sexual behaviour: the woman. Sum to that a parallel belief that sins can be paid of by hard work and being miserable. And then a sinister idea that there actually might be a profit to be made of the hard work of the sinners confined to closed spaces and completely controlled by (people pretending to be) religious fanatics.

That's the ugly story of the Magdalene laundries in a nutshell: "fallen" women disowned by their families and exploited by catholic orders... Watch the movie, do an advanced google search, read some books and/or articles on this very disgraceful page of catholic church! At least you'll know the dark side of the all-the-charity-work-the-religion-has-been-doing-for-women discourse.

The impact that the trauma had on the lives of those that managed to survive that living hell? I'll tell you next week which movie to watch for that bit of information... But you can start by reading this.

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