Book Review: Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

foul

They picked the wrong girl.

Release Date: February 18, 2020

Pre-Order on Amazon!

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Price: $18.99 (hardcover)

Plot Summary:

Jade and her friends Jenny, Mads, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Jade’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Jade as their next target.
Sworn to vengeance, Jade transfers to St. Andrew’s Prep. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Grade: A+

Review:

I’m not a fan of the book’s cover (something about the colours just throws me off). But that’s the only downside.

If you ever wondered what a crossover between Heathers and Kill Bill with a Macbeth edge to it would look like, then you’ll understand what sort of book Foul is Fair aims to be. It’s the ultimate revenge fantasy. It’s bloody and violent in the best ways possible. It’s a feminist manifesto of a girl who wants to show the golden boys who raped her that they simply fucked with the wrong girl.

Just like I Spit on Your Grave, you can’t help but cheer Jade on her mission to destroy the boys of St. Andrews. You’ll want their blood just as much as Jade does. But beneath all the blood and gore stands a book that displays the horror of rape and exalts the strong bonds of female friendships. You don’t need a boyfriend when your friends will help you devise a plan to destroy the boys who did you wrong.

The prose is violent, aggressive, and unapologetic, as it should be. I loved every second of this bloody thrilling ride. There aren’t enough heart emojis in the world for me to properly explain how much I loved this book. It really spoke to my black vindictive heart. I’m sure Jade and I would be buds.

I know they see it –
for just a second –
–our fangs and our claws.

If you’re going to read just one book in 2020, then make sure to make this be the one. It’s raw and cuts you the bone, but you’ll be better off afterwards.

 

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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6 Feminist Horror Movies

Horror movies aren’t always generous to women. Usually, women in horror movies are depicted as the victims, and if they aren’t such, they’re usually the final girls who survived (only barely) to a number of acts of violence. But there are some horror movies that turn the tables and have the women be in charge. These women aren’t weak. These women aren’t victims. These women are dangerous and make the men in the movies quake in their shoes.

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Dawn goes from cursed to strong in Teeth

Teeth (2007)

Dawn O’Keefe (Jess Weixler) looks like your typical teenager on the outside. She’s a spokesperson for a Christian abstinence group and is an all around good girl. But when one of the boy’s from her abstinence group tries to assault her, she soon finds out that she’s not like all the other girls. In fact, her vagina has teeth, the infamous “vagina dentata.” At first, Dawn sees her teethed vagina as a curse, but before the movie ends, she realizes that her curse is actually her strength and how no man will ever take advantage of her again.

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Sometimes being a teen girl can be a bloodbath as Ginger soon finds out.

Ginger Snaps (2000)

In Bailey Downs, a rash of dog killings have been occurring. Two teenage sisters, Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger Fitzgerald (Katharine Isabelle) are obsessed with death and take macabre photos depicting various deaths. On the night of Ginger’s first period, she is attacked by seems to be a rapid oversized dog. The creature wounds and bites Ginger, and her sister rescues her. In the days that follow, Ginger’s wounds heal quickly. But the fast healing wounds isn’t the only change that takes place in her. Soon she undergoes both physical and mental transformations. Ginger begins to act aggressively, as hair grows from her wounds, heavily menstruates, and eventually grows a tail. This film juxtaposes the act of becoming a woman with becoming a werewolf.

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Jennifer shows her rapists that they messed with the wrong girl.

I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

Despite the movie being controversial for depicting a 30-minute gang rape, but the fact that the protagonist Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton) decides to execute revenge towards her rapists is what makes this movie, not your usual horror film. Jennifer kills her rapists in the most savage ways, allowing any rape victim to feel somewhat vindicated in seeing a victim rise above her abuse and take charge.

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The Girl shows no mercy to abusive men. 

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)

A young girl (Sheila Vand) wearing a chador stalks the streets at night. She seduces men who were known to be abusive towards women and brutally kills them. This progressive Iranian movie directed by Ana Lily Amirpour gave the world a feminist vampire that was much needed in the horror genre.

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Eli isn’t your typical little girl. She can kick your ass or kill you. 

Let The Right One In (2008)

In this chilling snow infested film, Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is a young Scandinavian boy who is constantly bullied at school. But when he befriends Eli (Lina Leandersson) he begins to feel uplifted by this new friend. But Eli isn’t like all the other girls. She doesn’t suffer the cold (as she’s able to walk barefoot in the snow) and tells Oskar to stand up to his bullies and if he can’t do it, she will. Oskar soon finds out that Eli is actually quite strong because she’s a vampire. And when the bullies decide to attack Oskar once again, he soon finds out just how ruthless his friend and crush can really be.

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Asami looks disarming but she’s brutal to the men she encounters.

Audition (1999)

“Where are all the good girls?” Aoyama’s friend asks him. Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) is a widow who is planning on remarrying, but he doesn’t know how to meet young women. So Aoyama and his friend devise a plan where they decide to pretend that they’re auditioning young women for a movie when in reality it’s just a way for Aoyama to meet women in a safe environment. He is quickly enchanted by the delicate beauty of Asami Yamazaki (Eihi Shiina). But Asami harbors a dark secret, a former abused child, she has grown up to take revenge on men by maiming and dismembering them through hideous forms of torture. This movie will make men think twice about lying to a woman.

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Asia Argento: “Jimmy Bennett raped me.”

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Asia Argento and former child star Jimmy Bennett

The saga between Asia Argento and Jimmy Bennett seems to be one of those train wrecks that we can’t bring ourselves to look away from. One of the reasons is because every day new allegations and discoveries are made that the truth is slowly getting muddied up in drama.

To recap, Jimmy Bennett claims that Asia Argento sexually assaulted him when he was seventeen and for several months had been extorting her for money (which the late Anthony Bourdain gave in hopes of keeping him quiet and from disclosing a very incriminating photo).

The photo was recently disclosed which depicted Argento in bed with Bennett, both of them looking blissful, basking in the afterglow of their recent romp.

GENTE ASIA  ARGENTO  Y  JIMMY BENNET FOTO TMZ

This photo discredited Argento’s claim that she hadn’t had sex with Bennett at all (which even if consensual could still be seen as statutory rape because he was 17 at the time, and she was 37, and the age of consent in California is 18).

To also discredit Argento’s claim was non-binary model Rain Dove’s leak of their texts where Dove asked Argento if she had sex with the minor and she replied with, “Yes, it felt weird. I didn’t know he was a minor till the shakedown letter.” This was enough proof for Italy’s X-Factor to fire Argento from her judge role and for CNN to pull any episodes of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown where the actress appears.

Rose McGowan, who is dating Dove, has distanced herself from her former friend and urged her to tell the truth and act the way she wished disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein should’ve acted. Argento and McGowan are no longer on speaking terms.

In retaliation, Argento called Dove a “monster” for selling her private texts to TMZ, and McGowan a “liar.”

Now, Argento’s attorney is claiming that the actress was actually the one to be sexually assaulted by Bennett (which is something she DID say to Dove in the leaked texts where she wrote, “The horny kid jumped me,”). Although when Dove questioned to clarify in the texts if Argento had been raped she wrote back, “It wasn’t rape but I was frozen. He was on top of me. After, he told me that I had been his sexual fantasy since (he) was 12.”

A note written to Argento by Bennett using the hotel’s stationery from the day of the infamous encounter reads: Asia, I love you with all my heart. So glad we met again and I’m so glad your in my life. – Jimmy (ending with a smiley)

The saga gets even more intricate when recent discoveries have been made where Bennett’s ex-girlfriend had issued a restraining order against him in July 2015 due to stalking. His ex-girlfriend hadn’t gone to the police just for the stalking, but also because she wanted to press charges against Bennett for having sex with a minor (she was 17, and he 18) and child pornography. She explained that Bennett had talked her into having sex with him and that he had manipulated her into sending nude photos of herself in which she stated, “Caused me emotional harm by leaking them via Snapchat.” The ex also confirmed that she feared for her safety when she got back with her ex-boyfriend because Bennett threatened to “get back at her,” if she did.

Bennett who blames Argento for his lack of employment due to the trauma that she caused him by having sex with him, probably doesn’t want to acknowledge the simple truth that as a child actor transitioning into adulthood, like many others before him, he probably just didn’t make the cut.

So what can we learn from said train wreck of a saga? That Argento most likely did get raped by Weinstein. That Bourdain did pay Bennett to keep him quiet because he didn’t want a scandal to erupt. That Argento and Bennett did have sex. That Argento denied having sex. That most likely said sex was consensual between the two parties, but Argento being the adult in the situation shouldn’t have partaken in any sexual activities with a minor no matter how much he may have seemed consensual at the time. That Bennett was facing harsh economic issues due to his parents having spent most of his child acting money and now blames Argento for his lack of adulthood success.

Maybe if both parties would begin to say the truth then perhaps this mess could actually get resolved. But as it stands, this scandal is going to keep on piling on nuances worthy of the best soap opera.

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Asia Argento: When The Victim becomes the Perpetrator

asia5An obliterating bomb exploded last Sunday when The New York Times published a piece about Asia Argento claiming that the Italian actress reportedly paid $380K to former child star and co-star Jimmy Bennett for an incident that occurred at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Marina Del Rey, CA in May 2013. The young actor was 17 at the time of the alleged sexual assault by Argento, who was then 37.

The two first met when Argento cast Bennett as the young version of Jeremiah for her movie adaptation of JT Leroy’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. Throughout the years the two had remained close and would be seen interacting with one another on Twitter and Instagram.

On May 9, of 2013, the two agreed to meet up in Marina Del Rey, CA, their meeting was captured by a series of photos that the actress posted on Instagram where the two looked visibly happy to be in the company of one another.

However, Bennett claims that Argento had him drink alcohol for then to have her perform oral sex on him, which later lead to sex. Bennett at the time this incident was 17. The age of consent in California is 18. Long after this encounter, the two were seen interacting on social media, similarly to how she remained still in contact with her own abuser, Harvey Weinstein.

 

So what does this all mean in light of the #MeToo movement? I don’t think the actions of one individual should be used as a way to discredit the work that many of the other survivors have been doing in the past few months. It also doesn’t change the fact that Argento herself was a victim of rape, however, it also doesn’t give her a free pass to essentially assault minors. And that’s where the problem lies, because whether or not Bennett at the time of the incident had either consented or not (he hasn’t
come out with a statement in regards to these accusations), he was still a minor at the time of the incident and that in itself is legally a crime.

The #MeToo movement was initially started to help women of color who had been sexually assaulted and turned into a worldwide movement when actresses Rose McGowan, Rosanna Arquette, and Argento herself became the most prominent voices behind the movement in light of the Harvey Weinstein rape scandal.

Now, many are distancing themselves from Argento, whilst her friends McGowan and Arquette are showing their support. But this double standard can be harmful to the movement, making people erroneously believe that such a movement is riddled with hypocrisy. But that can only cause harm to victims if we’re going to discredit a movement simply because one individual’s actions were appalling.

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A photo of Bennette that Argento took on May 9, 2013, the day of the alleged assault at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Rey, CA

The bottom line is: adults should never use their position of power to coerce or persuade a minor into sex, no matter what their history or relationship with that person may be.

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*At the point of publication of this post, Argento was said to have told freelance journalist Yashar Ali that she had “Never had any sexual relationship with Bennett,” and was “deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false.”

The actress also went to point out that Bennett was “undergoing severe economic problems,” and that he knew that her boyfriend, TV chef Anthony Bourdain, “was of great perceived wealth.”

The New York Times story was based on documents that they received from an unidentified source via encrypted email.

What does this all mean? That clearly this case is going to have more twists and turns so keep your seatbelts on.

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The Best Books & Films to Support Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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In light of the #metoo movement, April has been declared as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and to help celebrate and bring awareness to Sexual Assault, I wish to share some films and books that depict sexual assault in a realistic manner instead of glorifying rape culture. The books and films selected below focus on the psychological, emotional, and physical scars that one carries when they’re a victim of sexual assault. These books and films don’t solely focus on women getting revenge (ala I Spit On Your Grave) or being too crippled to rise up, but rather they explore the complexities of the aftermath of a sexual assault and the road to healing.

Books:

undone

She’s Come Undone – Wally Lamb

Dolores Price’s life is never the same after her rape. She begins to use food as a way to comfort her pain, and so she spends her days in front of the TV devouring Mallomars and other junk food till she reaches the hefty weight of 257 pounds. But Dolores wishes to live life, despite the fact that her actions would indicate otherwise. Dolores’ journey is both heartbreaking and inspiring.

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Speak – Laurie Halse Andersen

There’s a reason why this YA was a National Book Award Finalist, Melinda’s frightening assault at a party where she ends up calling the police (and thus making her the school pariah for being considered a snitch) is utterly relatable to any teenager who has ever had to look out for themselves at a party. Melinda’s assault causes her to lose her will to speak. She’s friendless and lonely, but slowly she begins to heal and with healing, she finds her voice and the courage to name her assaulter.

the way l was

The Way I Used To Be – Amber Smith

What happens when the older boy you have a crush on rapes you? Eden’s journey of how assault affects her future relationships, her friendships, and her relationship with her family is heartbreaking and poignant. This novel shows how the effects of trauma can last a lifetime, and only when she has the courage to confront her rapist does she finally get the inner peace she’s been lacking since that fateful night.

Films:

Precious

Hard Candy

Boys Don’t Cry

What books or films have you seen on sexual assault that you think was done right? Do you agree with this list? Comment below!

If you or anyone you know is a victim of sexual assault please refer to the following hotlines for help:

Safe Horizon – 212-227-300

https://hotline.rainn.org – To call or chat with a professional

DoD Safe Helpline (for military members and spouses) – https://www.safehelpline.org/

By: Azzurra Nox

Asia Argento: From Victim to Whore

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Despite the fact that the majority of people are appalled over the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Asia Argento seems to be getting the short stick of solidarity in her own home country, Italy. After Ronan Farrow’s lengthy article about the movie mogul for The New Yorker went viral, most people reached out in support of the victims. The opposite effect happened to Asia Argento in Italy. Not only was she victim blamed and ridiculed, but major Italian newspapers ran articles with titles such as, “First they gave it away, and twenty years later they whine,” (referring to all the actresses that had been sexually harassed and/or raped). If that alone doesn’t make your skin crawl with anger, you must not have a heart or conscience.

The Italian public has always seemed to have an unspoken dislike for actress Asia Argento since the very beginning of her career. I don’t know if it has to do with bearing an important last name (her father is the famed master of horror, director Dario Argento) that has led to the hate, but it’s always been there. For years people questioned her talent, stating that she was only getting roles because of her famous dad (despite the fact that she’s won TWO Davide di Donatello awards, the Italian equivalent of an Academy Award). There’s always been a certain jealousy surrounding her because her father wasn’t just famous in Italy, but worked with many actors in America and was considered a huge influence on the horror genre worldwide.

Another reason the Italian public has always had issues with her is because she’s always been open about her sexuality (and somehow in a patriarchal society, that is frightening). And I don’t think her public image ever truly recovered from the time actor Sergio Rubini pursued her whilst still married to Italy’s beloved actress Margherita Buy.

Are all these reasons valid to drag Asia Argento into the mud for actually speaking up on a harrowing incident? NO. And yet, the likes of Selvaggia Lucarelli (famous Italian journalist) and Vladimir Luxuria (famous transgender member of the Communist Refoundation Party and LGBT activist) have ruthlessly attacked, bullied, and ridiculed the actress for speaking up, ultimately trying to pass her off as an attention whore, or just plain whore.

Both Selvaggia Lucarelli and Vladimir Luxuria should be ashamed for shaming a rape victim. The violent backlash that Asia has had is sickening and proves time and time again exactly WHY women often don’t report rape or sexual harassment.

Rape is rape.

And Asia Argento is a victim of rape and as such should be applauded for her courage, not demeaned.

By: Azzurra Nox