Trauma and Sexuality in Crash and Blue Velvet

KYLE MACLACHLAN BLUE VELVET (1986)

TW: rape

Crash and Blue Velvet are intimately concerned with the link between trauma and sexuality, both consciously and unconsciously revealing the impact of traumatic sexuality on its participants, particularly women.

Two films that are often considered the most successful of their respective directors, their presentations of trauma and sexuality are also indicative of the flawed societies in which they are produced. Yet despite their shared preoccupation, David Cronenberg and David Lynch approach this relationship from inverse positions.

Whilst Cronenberg explores the erotic potential of traumatic events in Crash, Lynch’s Blue Velvet highlights the inherently traumatic origins and nature of sexuality through its Freudian themes.

Their respective examinations of traumatic sexuality disproportionately affect their female characters, with Cronenberg reinscribing misogynistic tropes within his supposedly liberating new form of sexuality, and Lynch’s visceral rape scenes complicating his otherwise progressive rejection of violence against women. Cronenberg’s and Lynch’s views of traumatic sexuality are complex, but both struggle, to varying degrees, with regressive attitudes towards female characters.

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