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Daily Helping for April 4th, 2021 – Locker Room – Greta Nash

A photo still of actress Bridie Noonan in a scene from Locker Room where she is walking down an outdoor path, earphones in, looking off camera.

Locker Room, written and directed by Greta Nash, is not an easy film to watch. But it is a necessary addition to the growing list of artworks that delve deep into the complicated and messy world of sexuality, consent, toxic masculinity, harassment, and sexual assault. And somehow, this film manages to touch on all of these issues in less than 14 minutes. It’s very pointed and not particularly subtle at times, but as far as I’m concerned that’s a good thing. Current events keep reminding us of the dangers women face every day, in every country, so subtly is not what we need right now. Especially since these dangers start so young.

Locker Room tells the story of a teenaged girl, Carla, who is friends with a group of teenaged boys. They are all athletes, and it is borderline painful watching the lengths Carla goes through just to be seen as one of the guys. But when she discovers their secret group chat, and the horrifying messages contained within, she has to reconsider her relationship with them all.

As I said at the top, this is not an easy film to watch. For me, the hardest part comes near the end when the boys realize they’ve been found out. Watching them turn on her, their supposed friend, the second they realize that they are no longer in a position of power is absolutely terrifying. Because this happens all the time. It’s happened to every woman I know. It’s happened to me more times than I can count. And it’s happened with men I thought were close friends as well as with complete strangers. The moment a man does not hear what they want to hear from a woman, the switch that can flip within them is terrifying. Mostly because more often than not, when that switch gets flipped, the man gets violent.

In this case, the final confrontation of the film is sadly all too predictable. Carla tries to apologize in order to smooth things over, but the boys, one in particular, lash out anyway. Carla is eventually comforted by another female student, which was a poignant beat to end on. However, as the credits roll, you know that even though Carla did the right thing, she will still be the one to suffer the most consequences. Because that’s the world we live in. It’s changing, slowly, but that doesn’t make these stories any less painful to watch.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!