Pasolini’s Salo, or a 120 Days - a veritable twilight of seduction. All reversibility has been abolished in accordance with an implacable logic. Everything is irreversibly masculine and dead. Even the complicity, the promiscuity between executioners and victims has disappeared: inanimate torture, perpetrated without emotion, a cold machination. (Here one perceives that sexual gratification is truly the industrial usufruct of the body, and the opposite of all seduction: it is a product of extraction, a technological product of a machinery of bodies, a logistics of pleasure which goes straight to its objective, only to find its object dead).
The film illustrates the truth that in a dominant masculine system, and in every dominant system (which thereby becomes masculine), it is femininity that incarnates reversibility, the possibility of play and symbolic involvement. Salo is a universe completely sanitized of that minimum of seduction that provides the stakes not just of sex, but of every relation, including death and the exchange of death (this is expressed in Salo, as in Sade, by the predominance of sodomy). It is here that it becomes apparent that the feminine is not a sex (opposed to the other), but what counters the sex that alone has full rights and the full exercise of these rights, the sex that holds a monopoly on sex: the masculine, itself haunted by the fear of something other, of which sex is but the disenchanted form: seduction. The latter is a game, sex is a function. Seduction supposes a ritual order, sex and desire a natural order. It is these two fundamental forms that confront each other in the male and female, and not some biological difference or some naive rivalry of power.
Jean Baudrillard. Seduction (1979)