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Why is it called Bad Girls Go To Hell? February 19, 2007

Posted by rachaelg in bad girls go..., rape.
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I was stumped by the title.  The main character, Meg, is dependent and child-like; she whines for her husband to stay home, needs to be carried back to bed, and he has to coax her into smiling.  She is naturally seductive, but I never saw her being “bad.”  I kept expecting her to become a prostitute or something just to make sense of the title.  The other women in the film weren’t “bad” either.  Della, Della’s cousin, and the old-woman semi-invalid all try to help “Ellen” with her troubles, while most of the men in the film are the “bad ones”.  So what’s up with the title?  Just something catchy to appeal to a particular audience?  Or maybe she’s a “bad girl” by default in the eyes of the men who try to rape her? 

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1. brittanysasser - February 19, 2007

My impression was that the title of the film refers to how Meg was portrayed in the first portion of the film as wanting and needing sexual pleasure from her husband. Thus the result of desiring these sexual pleasures was that she was damned to hell and subject to the evils of sexual pleasure – sexual abuse. Maybe this idea is too “old fashioned”, but that appeared to me as one possible meaning of the title. Otherwise, the title seems a bit elusive to me as well.

2. gina09 - February 19, 2007

I think the title, which stumped me as well, adds to the effect of it being a “camp” film. Ellen was never bad but seems more naive or helpless in most moments. I think the film was trying to point out how some people might still blame the victim for getting raped by making such statements as, “She might not have been raped if she didn’t go into the hall way in such revealing clothing,” etc… I did catch myself questioning why Ellen went out of her apartment dressed like that but shouldn’t women be allowed to wear what they want or does “being sexy” mean putting herself as a “sexual object” (as Joanna mentions) and calling unwanted attention?

3. kellyeng - February 20, 2007

I thought the title of the film was meant to be sarcastic or ironic. As Gina said, the rape victim often gets blamed, and Ellen even says that they’ll never believe she didn’t goto the janitor’s apartment willingly. It seems like the directer wanted to address how Ellen essentially did go through hell, and while many say only “bad girls” goto hell, Ellen is not a bad girl. She was essentially good, yet she is forced to undergo this ordeal. I think the director was also trying to get this across by using the throwback method. Yes, it was easier to see and believe in a context that the audience believed to be very different from their own, yet I think she expected women to be able to identify with Ellen, demonstrating that despite all the progress we believe has been made in women’s rights, there is still this very real threat. I think that both the title and the throwback imply the universality of the threat and experience, whether you’re a good girl or a bad girl, a woman from the 50s or 60s or even from contemporary times, you live with the threat of rape.


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