A couple of days ago I went to see the movie “Taken” with a few of my friends. I’m a fan of action movies, and I went to see this one with a particular curiosity. I’d heard it was about a father rescuing his daughter who was kidnapped by a sex trafficking ring while vacationing in Europe. Since I had written a 20 page research paper on sex trafficking last semester, I had a lot more thought and emotion invested in the movie than I normally would.
That the father takes down a highly sophisticated sex trafficking ring singlehandedly was a bit of a stretch. However, the content of the movie confirmed much of what I had researched with realistic accuracy, opening the eyes of the public to a variety of horrific brutalities associated with the sex slave trade. After the movie, it was interesting to note the differences in attitudes that the males held versus the females in our group. Identifying themselves with the hero of the show, the guys were energized and talked animatedly about the explosions, car chases, shoot-outs and hand-to-hand combat we had just witnessed. The girls, on the other hand, seemed a little more withdrawn and reflective. Although they agreed with the guys that it was a good movie, it had left them with much deeper thoughts than the chivalry of blowing things up and wiping out bad guys. They identified themselves with the females in the show and were disturbed—almost agitated—comprehending the nightmarish reality of the sex slave trade on a far more personal level than did the guys. Part of their disconcertion came from the fact that the guys could not possibly view the movie with the same perspective as they themselves had.
I was led to reflect on my own feelings. While doing research I actually had had nightmares, especially after reading detailed articles of the atrocities of the sex slave trade. I often thought to myself, “That could easily have been me,” and pondered on the multiplicity of damages suffered by victims of the sex slave trade. I thought of the guys who had watched the movie with us. I wished for there to be a way that they could relate to the story as did the girls and therefore be impassioned and fully converted to the abolition of sexual slavery, or at least be recommitted to the better treatment of women in general. In the end, the theme of sex trafficking made an exquisite nightmare for Hollywood to exploit, and I had to recognize the fact that movies are generally meant more to entertain than to inform or evoke emotion.
While the movie did expose the ills and evils of the sex slave trade to some extent, it was only the females in my group who seemed truly disturbed and angered by it. I know if my father were to see the movie, he would be frustrated and saddened as well (he already sits uneasy with my un-chaperoned world travels). Men who have daughters are often the greatest advocates for women. But what about the youthful men of my own generation? What does it take for them to feel that way? I wonder if most of them will have to wait until they are fathers of daughters for those emotions to be stirred—to have a deeper love and concern for the females in their lives…?