Few household names bring to mind the story of a man’s dismembered genitals like the one of Lorena Bobbit. The Ecuadorian-born woman, best known for severing her husband’s penis with a kitchen knife while he slept, emerged as an appalling headline emblematic of the dichotomy of the perspectives of the sexes. One point of view saw her as a symbol of female resistance in the face of brutal and abusive male toxicity. The other, as a maniacal and sex-obsessed Latina who chopped off her husband’s penis in a bout of jealous rage. Director and producer Jordan Peele sets out to explore the sensational scandal that captured our country’s attention in the summer of 1993 and continues to spark shock, awe, and debate.
“Lorena” is a four-part docuseries directed by Joshua Rofé and distributed by Amazon. This week, its trailer dropped stirring a mass of excitement and anticipation online.
In the trailer, Bobbitt, the lawyers part of the trial, and those who watched it play out examine the media firestorm twenty-six years later.
— Amazon Prime Video (@PrimeVideo) January 8, 2019
Unlike true crime series as of late, “Lorena” promises not only to examine the actual crime and actions of its criminals and victims but to also review the events of the story within the context of other significant sex scandals of the nineties. Scenes from the trailer recall major moments. Flashes of Anita Hill testifying about pubic hairs and coke cans for the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas and bits of the Bill Clinton sex scandal bring to mind a time in the early 90s when two genders clashed extensively. As one interviewee in the series trailer notes “it’s still going on.” It’s an utterance that highlights the relevance of the Lorena Bobbitt story in our modern era where the conversation on equality and treatment feels like a rerun of the discussions and debates taking place a quarter of a century ago. Is it possible that Bill Cosby and his former intern popped up in headlines related to #MeToo and that our country watched another man accused of sexual harassment was sworn into the Supreme Court because we failed to make just judgments the first time? Rofé’s revisitation of the trial leads one to expect that it will do its best to do so while reflecting on our past and current conversations related to abuse of power and gender dynamics.