By Madeline Perez
Let’s get to the point. Indiana Jones makes me feel things. WAIT –HOLD ON–DON’T GO. I DIDN’T FINISH. Indiana Jones makes me feel things about familiar 80s tropes and their impact. More specifically, common romantic tropes. In clearer detail, romantic tropes where domineering men cross a few boundaries because their stubborn, perky love interests won’t stop playing coy and saying “no”. NOW WAIT JUST A SECOND. Hear me out. I SWEAR I’m not here to “cancel” Dr. Jones. I’m actually of the belief that the three Indiana Jones movies -YES THAT’S RIGHT. THREE.- are spectacular, near perfect even, if not for this one thing. (Granted, there’s also the artifact theft, tasteless depictions, and the cultural insensitivity that got that second movie banned from India, but who HASN’T been banned from India once or twice? ((Clone High moment)) Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, buddy.) My point is, I can fix him (him, of course, meaning the entire franchise) with just one teeeeeeny tiny little conceptual tweak: Indiana Jones needs to be a sub.
“Is this what societal degradation is coming to? The idealization of submissive traits in men?” you cry, shielding your firstborn’s eyes from this monumental horror. First of all: yes. Next question. Secondly: MAY I REMIND YOU OF WHAT HENRY “INDIANA” WALTON JONES JR. DID TO INVOKE MY SCRUTINY??
Part two: what Henry “Indiana” Walton Jones Jr. did to invoke my scrutiny
- Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
“I was a child!”
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
“If you think I’m going to Delhi with you or anyplace else after all the trouble you’ve gotten me into then think again, Buster! I’m going home to Missouri where they never feed you snakes before ripping your heart out and luring you into hot pits, THIS IS NOT MY IDEA OF A SWELL TIME.” *Runs off* *Indy whips her, capturing her* *Pulls her close to him* *almost kisses before getting squirted by elephant.*
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
“How dare you kiss me.”
Hmmm. What could these scenes have in common? Oh yeah, it’s Indiana presumptuously putting the “schmoves” on angry women after they reject him because “haha you know you like it.” Really a terrible reason. Also, discreet pedophilia. You see, the women in these movies, to avoid coming off as “too easy/vulnerable/desperate,” need to pretend they’re not attracted to Indy– maybe even hate him! Indiana, happy to call their bluff in this dumpster fire of a metaphorical tango, needs to be more aggressively ‘forward’ and initiate everything without consent in order to allow the women to properly express their emotions. Kind of like a never-ending cycle of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” except the dude captures you with his whip if you try to walk away. Kinky! If anything ‘belongs in a museum’ I’d say it’s THAT …outdated …cinematic trope? Better joke pending.
But to Indiana’s credit, it works! Each time– even when forcibly kissing an angry Nazi– his love interest is like “oh wait a second I change my mind, I actually really like this now,” which is a TERRIBLE message to send to anyone, much less a target audience of teenage boys frantically trying to find ways to, as they put it, “get some puss.” And that’s where the insidious danger lies; this and many other blockbuster flicks of its time, with heartbreaking, crime-fighting main characters (all hailed to be strong role models for men), hammered home the same message: even if she says no, rejects you, or acts uncomfortable, there’s a part of her that wants you. And it’s up to you to bring it out. But I mean, there’s no way I could PROVE that watching your idols time and time again ignore a woman’s silly little female words can, over time, in any way, influence how some people treat those around them. Is this a stretch? Maybe. Then again, maybe not?
These scenes were never held to criticism– much on the contrary: they were praised for being iconic and Indy was immortalized as a suave role model. But let me be perfectly clear: IF YOU TRY TO EMULATE INDIANA’S ROMANTIC PRACTICES YOU MAY BE JAILED. It only works for him because he’s a simple fictional character who couldn’t stop getting bitches if he tried.
Now by submissive, I don’t necessarily mean tied up and gagged and that kind of junk (though it’s still very much on the conceptual table). I mean it in a straightforward sense where his love interests are more in control of the general romantic path and Indy says “yes ma’am” and gets a Dum-Dum Pop if he does a good job. That IS how that works, right?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad to be dominant. Indiana was just never taught the intricacies of consent, and it’s safer to just have him take the metaphorical backseat on this one. He can have it back after time out, but ONLY if he’s learned his lesson.
Now, how would I go about enacting these changes, you may ask. Am I proposing a remake? Shut up, goddamn, they might hear you! If there’s one thing I hate more than sexual assault it’s unnecessary movie reboots. We can unpack that another day. No– I propose that we as a culture try to forget all the aforementioned scenes and reimagine them with Indiana Jones being a little less in charge and a little more…obedient? Not really sure how to frame this. It’s up to creative interpretation. Anyway, if we all did that at the same time, I think the clouds would part and God’s light would shine directly from heaven and there would be dancing and joyous feasts. ALSO, all disease would be cured and the rivers would run rife with gold and antidepressants would work and I would know how to end this weird article I’ve been writing.