by Madeline Iva
In RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC Indy is one courageous guy–except for one thing–he hates snakes.
“Snakes, why’d it have to be snakes?” Indiana Jones says, before the evil guys trap him in a crypt covered in writhing cobras and vipers. Once he’s down in the snake pit he’s tossed a female companion by the Nazi’s. It’s his ex, Marion, who lands right into his arms.
This is where it all gets mighty symbolic, my friends. She happens to be wearing a white dress, and he immediately starts to tear it off her. To keep his torch lit. Seriously–that’s why he needs her dress, to wrap it around the torch so they have fire to keep the snakes away.
You might say that snakes and the temptation to sin go hand in hand in movies–with enough heavy handed metaphor use to club a seal puppy to death. Indy isn’t interested in love, erm, sex, until it’s tossed into his arms amidst the writhing symbolism all around him. He’s a purist–an idealist, an intellectual. He’s free from temptation–even towards all the young co-eds who lust for him at the university where he teaches.
Marion definitely represents a more worldly presence in Indy’s life. She’s all about pragmatism, impulse, and action. She landed into the snake pit out of greed, pursuing something she felt belonged to her, only to find she got a little bit more than she bargained for. The white dress is becoming on her, but also a little ironic. Indy’s the guy in the white hat (metaphorically speaking).
And that’s how it works with snakes. Marion isn’t the only girl in white who’s impulsive desire for experience gets her fed to the asps. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER has a great episode where Cassandra, ever the social climber, wants to date the more experienced college boys, only to land her and Buffy into the midst of a secret cult that feeds girls to a snake god in return for financial success later in life. Giles and Xander come to lend Buffy aid and once again sexual curiosity and the desire for experience on the part of women gets a big ole nasty smack down. Buffy’ll just have to get her fang on later with Angel.
Marion in Raiders of the Lost Arc is a good girl–she’s plucky. Buffy’s good too. Both women are represented as multi-layered. They have their curious side and are willing to flirt with the temptation to sin. In LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM, a super-campy horror film directed by Ken Russell, you have a more straightforward dichotomy of yer evil sexy snake lady (representing sin, natch)
and the girl in white (with an excellent spray tan) who’s literally a virgin—because we see ole snake lady check her out on the spot. Yes, it’s *that* kind of film. While I love this film, (see my post on Horror Sex Camp HERE) I much prefer my heroines more complicated.
Another film presenting us with a snake lady is BLADE RUNNER. She’s literally draped in a snake for her costume. She’s hiding from the law making her living dancing with the snake. The MC in the background presents her act by saying (cue the bad German accent) the audience will see her dance with “the snake who wants to hav his vay with her.” Here the symbolism is about her original state of being.
She’s a replicant–a kind of cyborg/android–born into sin as it were, since she’s not one of God’s creations, and by falling away from her job (she’s an off world “pleasure” model) she is breaking the law and needs to be executed. There’s much in this short sketch of a character that makes us understand the world of corruption she’s living in, to the point where she becomes like an animal–trying to survive, and trying to run, as she’s hunted down and killed.
A) Poor snakes. A snake is just a snake–reclusive in general, they’re much more like Greta Garbo–they just want to be alone. A lot of them are harmless, and a lot of them are just seeking a little warmth. Like the kind found in your house (helpless shudder). My friend’s sister recently found a five foot snake skin in her finished basement. Cue the screaming here. It was a black snake skin, from a perfectly harmless snake, but….Eeesh! Mostly, when it comes to snakes, we humans want to be left alone too.
B) What’s the deal with snake enthusiasts? Is keeping a snake for a pet some kind of symbolic act for them, representing their desire to be seen as decadent or bad-ass and sexy-sinful? While we may admire snakes from afar and their pretty skins–beyond the tiny garter snake that keeps the garden pest free, do we really want to encourage any other intereactions with them? I think not. I mean, that pet python always ends up growing too big and then tries to each the family dog. Or the baby. Or both. You’d think people would learn by now.
C) Are we ever going to get over slut shaming of women who want sex? I mean, yeah, young women need to exercise caution because bad things can happen out there in the big, mean world, but when are we ever going to see the slut shamers be the bad guys? I think it’s their turn.
Meanwhile, ELIZABETH SHORE has a new book out this week that’s got snakes galore. Hot Bayou Nights takes place in the swampy South at a snake research facility. The heroine has a “Why’d it have to be snakes?” approach to life, and must struggle to overcome her horror and disgust as her hero researches snakes to discover all the good their venom can do for our world. Buy it–read it–love it.
Meanwhile, you can slither your way right into our hearts by following us here at LadySmut. We never hiss when it comes to all things sexy.