Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Latest News News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology Videos World
Raw is a Gory Tale of Womanhood

            The horror genre has always been at the forefront of bringing up complicated societal subjects. Whether through hidden motifs or outright spoken, many horror films have pushed to display the faults in society’s attitude towards women, queer people, and people of color, as well as other marginalized groups. There is no shortage of horror genres to treat these subjects, from gore and body horror to more mild horror like slashers and supernatural horror. This article is going to discuss how horror uses cannibalism as a motif, specifically, taking a closer look at it in the 2016 film Raw.


In Julia Ducournau’s 2016 film Raw she explores themes of womanhood and the fragility of their sexuality. Not many films have ventured into cannibalism as the taboo topic is too uncomfortable for some to touch. But with Ducuornau’s film, she uses the taboo nature of it to her advantage. She was tying the sexual tendencies of the protagonist with her growing hunger.


The Status of Female Desire

The movie follows a vegetarian, Justine, as she transitions into vet school and partakes in a hazing ritual of eating a raw rabbit liver after the coaxing of older students. The plot center’s around Justine’s newfound hunger for meat after she first consumes it, and she soon delves into a gore-fest of bitten limbs and sexual desires. The film especially plays on the sexual desire aspect, as nearly every scene where Justine consumes flesh results from sexual tendencies. It plays on the idea of coming into womanhood and sexuality and that by delving into your sexuality, women often become labeled a whore. Their actions are sinful, and the gore of Justine’s cannibalistic urges displays women's struggle with desiring sex while wishing to retain their virtuousness.


Sensual Imagery Combined with Gore

The first moment when Justine allows herself to indulge by eating her sister’s finger is related to sex –not in the literal sense. The camera angles hold sexual indications with a shot between her legs propped up while her sister helps wax her. There are various scenes in the film where Alexia helps her in her woman-ness, whether shown literally or through cannibalism as a motif. It helps strengthen the sisterhood between the girls as it shows how both have struggled with the same affliction. This shared experience that extends to the mother, too, as revealed towards the end, connects the women of the film rather than creating this as a particular problem for Justine.


Sexual Experiences & Shame

            The other relationships Justine has been with men, mainly her roommate Adrien whom she is attracted to. The crucial part of her attraction to Adrien is that he is gay, yet she persists in pursuing him. Her behavior is almost deviant as she eventually ends up having sex with him twice, both times unable to retrain her desire to bite him. The second time is when we see the sensual nature of Justine at its peak, with Adrien lying dead next to her. A gory close-up of his mauled leg resulted from Justine and her sister. While she looks horrified at the sight, Alexia remains calm and collected, accepting of the situation. It’s a contrast that highlights two women in different stages, the latter having experienced this already and has since shed her shame. The other guy she interacts with in the film is unnamed but ultimately.


Pitted Against Each Other

Again, looking at sex as an animalistic act, Ducuornau uses cannibalism to visually display that, going as far as to show Justine later in the film drunkenly being treated like a wild animal as students film her in disgust. Especially vital in this scene is her sister inciting the incident and betraying her essentially. In a moment of vulnerability, Alexia entices her sister with a body from the morgue while her peers watch. She is drunk and on display while everyone watches her. Her actions become subject to the public, and they scrutinize her after. They were watching her eagerly. It goes back to the idea of women rejecting the label of the whore, which sometimes means that blaming another woman happens as a way to deflect attention. The two even come to blows at the climax of the film. Brawling in front of the school, the sisters fight and stare at each other as they bite each other’s hands. It is primal yet shows an understanding between them: they are the same, and no betrayal of the other can separate that fact.


The Shared Experience

This idea of tying women’s reputation with sex becomes further solidified in the ending with her father exposing that their mother harbors this carnal instinct too. Having this come from a man makes the reveal more grounded in the idea of women becoming subjected to labels of their sexual desires. The father reveals a personal and intimate detail about his wife and says “I’m sure you’ll find a solution,” pushing the idea that this is a problem for Justine and is something to reined in.


Ducuornau establishes the idea of womanhood with her usage of cannibalism, conveying the fine line women walk once engaging in their promiscuity. The act of sex for women is a taboo subject many often shy away from conversing about. Using cannibalism as a motif, she details the gory truth of womanhood and how quickly they become subject to judgment as they lose their naivety.

Share This Post On

Tags: sexuality film Julia Ducornau coming-of-age film analysis film opinion Raw womanhood french cinema


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in is a Global Media House Initiative by Socialnetic Infotainment Private Limited.

TheSocialTalks was founded in 2020 as an alternative to mainstream media which is fraught with misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. We have a strong dedication to publishing authentic news that abides by the principles and ethics of journalism. We are an organisation driven by a passion for truth and justice in society.

Our team of journalists and editors from all over the world work relentlessly to deliver real stories affecting our society. To keep our operations running, We need sponsors and subscribers to our news portal. Kindly sponsor or subscribe to make it possible for us to give free access to our portal and it will help writers and our cause. It will go a long way in running our operations and publishing real news and stories about issues affecting us.

Your contributions help us to expand our organisation, making our news accessible to more everyone and deepening our impact on the media.

Support fearless and fair journalism today.