Chi-Raq| Women (Dis)Empowerment

The portrayal of women in Chi-Raq for me was pretty disconcerting. Though Lee tries to portray women as strong and independent, he reduces them to sexual objects. While he affords them the main role as the catalyst for change, he simultaneously suggests the women have nothing to offer besides sex. Sex is also often repeatedly talked about as only fulfilling for the men and the strike suggests they are entitled to having women please them. Much of Lysistrata’s motivation for the sex strike is also to keep the men safe, “… you wanna lose your man to a drive by?”(29:00)Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.36.53 PM.png

Even as both Lysistrata and Indigo’s men demean them and verbalize how easy it would be to replace them, they stand firm in their relationships with them. They are steadfast in these relationships with fairly verbally abusive men. The women are continually portrayed as nothing more than sexual objects for the man in their life and that seems to be reflected in not only how the men speak about them, but how the women talk to each other and about each other, referring to other women as “thots”, “whores”, etc. They are objectified and reducing themselves to having a single function, “No Peace, No Pussy.” They stay locked away with chastity belts for about 3 months leaving us to wonder if they have any other responsibilities in life. Do they have jobs? Does anyone go to school? What about the mothers? Is their only role as girlfriends or wives? Aren’t they bored??

Did anyone else share these concerns or feel that the portrayal of women in Chi-Raq was outrageous and demeaning?



Chiraq: No Peace, No Pussy

When the black and brown women take the armory, they set themselves up in formation. It is as if they are preparing for warfare, but their goal is peace. The alternating wide angle and close-up shots of the unified ritual gives the perception that there are more women in the room than there are, giving them a sense of grandiosity in the viewers’ eyes. The women stand in a large room where every sound (slapping their butts, snapping) is heard loudly. This amplifies each move that they do, creating a loud booming sound. Form informs content in this instance because their bodies become the mechanism for sound and communication, and their bodies physically are what gives them power over the men and society at large, hence why their sexualization can be read as empowerment and reclamation. The women make themselves the subject, not the object.


-rebeccah18, graceanjela, ssy, mattbuon