FIGHTING FEMALES: EMPOWERMENT OR FETISHISM?

Snow White in Armor

Bones

Role model or harmful trend?


There’s a modern trend in movies and television regarding women which I wanted to comment on. Over the past decade or two, it seems that most movie and TV writers/producers can’t conceive of the idea of a strong woman who isn’t physically powerful and a great fighter. Is this trend challenging obsolete gender roles or is it a reinforcement of traditional macho male roles as the only acceptable way to be strong and independent?

Now don’t get me wrong. I love strong, smart, independent female characters. Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) on the X-Files; Chief of Staff C.J. Craig (Allison Janney) from The West Wing; M (Judy Dench) from the James Bond films; Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) on House, MD; Even young Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) from the Harry Potter stories. Formidable females are fun.

What annoys me is that most females in modern drama/sci-fi TV shows and films, all seem to be portrayed as super-tough fighters. It’s become an all-too-common cliché of modern times that a woman needs to be able to physically dominate those around her in order to be a strong woman. Some people may say that this is female empowerment. But is it really a good message to send to young girls that if you really want to be empowered, you have to be able to physically beat people up? Do women have to become like men and overpower them hand-to-hand to be on equal footing? Where are all the female role models who show that strength is more than just punching and kicking?

Yes, sometimes it does make sense, plotwise, to have a super-strong, butt-kicking leading lady; For instance, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Sarah Michelle Geller); Xena Warrior Princess (Lucy Lawless); Emma Peel from The Avengers (Dina Rigg); Wonder Woman (Linda Carter); the Bionic Woman (Lindsey Wagner) are all examples of women who logically needed to be able to outfight their opponents. I loved all these ladies.


However, more often than not these days, it’s just an unnecessary cliché that shows the limitations of a writer’s or producer’s ability to write a woman as strong and independent without being a female Rambo. It reflects the industries inability to evolve enough to understand and reflect the genuine changes in women’s roles in society.

Look at the women on TV. In the Battlestar Galactica remake, it wasn’t enough that Starbuck (Katie Sackhoff) is the best pilot and strategic thinker of the crew. She can also get into the boxing ring and easily out-punch men twice her size and weight. In Smallville, Clark Kent’s paramour Lois Lane isn’t just the best reporter in Metropolis; she’s also a kick-boxing gal gladiator. And it’s not just an American phenomenon. In the recent BBC version of Robin Hood, Maid Marion adopts the sword-swinging identity of ‘the Knight Watchman’ to battle the Sheriff and his men. Let’s look at the new Dr. Who, which is about a pacifistic male hero who out-thinks his opponents, but in a recent episode, the Doctor’s young, petite sidekick Amy—who never used a sword before—grabs a cutlass and fights off a whole group of pirates, while the Doctor just stands and watches her.


On TV, even nerdy women are great fighters. Nerdy men on TV are always portrayed as wimps who are easily intimidated and get beaten up. But female nerds are powerful. Take the female protagonist of Bones, Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel). Being a beautiful and brilliant anthropologist, forensic expert and author wasn’t enough for this character. (That should be enough for anyone.) Our brainy leading lady can also do martial arts and shoot guns well. All her male lab co-workers (Hodgens, Zack, Sweets) are harmless dorks.


Look at films: In the Robert Downey version of Sherlock Holmes, Irene Addler (Rachel McAdams) is no longer just shrewd and cunning, as in the original stories. The film makers are no longer satisfied with the fact that Irene was the only person to outwit Sherlock Holmes. Here, she is able to easily outfight two large thugs who harass her. Being smart apparently isn’t enough without being a great fighter, too.


Look at recent revisionist interpretations of female fable or storybook characters. Tim Burton’s Alice in wonderland gave us a sword-wielding Alice leading an army against the forces of the Red Queen. In the last remake of King Arthur, Guinevere was a Xena-type warrior Princess. The latest Robin Hood film had Lady Marion riding into battle on horseback. The new 3 Musketeers film gives us the once-wily Lady De Winter leaping around, sword-in-hand, doing Crouching Tiger style stunts. Previews for the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman show us an armor-clad Snow White in battle. The new TV show Once Upon a Time portrays Snow White as a Robin Hood type forest vigilante fighting the forces of the evil Queen.

I think young males tend to respond to this image of the battling bad-girl even more than young women do. There is a fetishization of these action girls because they combine hyper-masculine tendencies of violence with feminine beauty. Males prefer Laura Croft over the Ghost Whisperer. It can be argued that the sexualization of violence through these fist-fighting, gun toting, sword-swinging super-girls can undermine the potential for portraying new models of female autonomy.

So the question is...Is this movement toward hyper-aggressive females a positive challenge to the male oriented genres of action films and TV, or is it subconsciously reinforcing traditionally male behavior as the only way for women to achieve a sense of cultural autonomy?



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Comments 71 comments

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

The Downey Jr. film messed with Holmes in a lot of ways from what I have heard (I refused to see it.) I don't watch a lot of current television, so I can't comment on most of the recent shows you mention. The TV shows I do watch tend to be crime films where the characters are cops and would have to be physically tough (eg. CSI franchise), so again you expect that for the plot line. I guess I need to know who the audience is for these shows. Are there mostly male viewers, or both female and male viewers? I adore Diana Rigg. I loved what she died. but as you say, this fit because she was a spy. I think this might be more of a reflection of a love for violence on TV in our culture than anything else, and that is a problem.


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Excellent hub! So interesting and it should spark some great critical discourse! (Voted up, etc.) To answer your question, I don't know if I would call it fetishism...I think that the dominate females in these aggressive roles are not empowering women. They are simply taking on male roles, making them dominate. The problem with the gender bias is that men are strong, women are weak.

The fact that we associate "strong" or "powerful" with the male gender is the problem. I think Scully is a great example of a powerful female that is not portrayed as male. She gets pregnant with an alien baby. There's nothing male about that.

Anyway, my point is that maybe men like to see strong women in these types of roles, but it is because they are over sexualized, like Lara Croft and violence reminds the mind of sex in a way. We should strive to have powerful females in film that are not objectified, but are leaders none the less. Great hub and I am look forward to reading more of your work!


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

That should read "I love what she did." Sigh.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Flora: I think it's a question of drawing a line between tough, independent women, and females who are basically beautiful men. There's nothing wrong with a tough girl but the female traits shouldn't be overshadowed by hyper-masculine tendencies like shooting and punching. I think most action shows and sci-fi shows, and to a lesser extent cop shows, have a strongly male viewership. Do most males want to watch a cerebral female crime fighter like "the Profiler" or would they prefer Le Femme Nikita?

Food for thought;

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Brittany; I think you are completely correct that the sexualization of violence in films and TV is a big part of why these warrior women are so popular.

It is possible to show strength without having the fists flying. I think of Francis McDormand's character from "Fargo" as a stronger female role model than the 'Bride' from "Kill Bill".

Thanks for the great comments, Britanny;

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Flora; I knew what you meant.

Rob


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Oh, yes. McDormand's character is a great example. She is very female, but she is still strong. (Now, I want to watch Fargo again.) I agree with your (first) comment addressed to Flora too. You definitely found the words I was searching for. Again, great hub!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Britanny; We're in agreement. And I love McDormand in "Fargo", too. (I feel like watching it again, too.)

Thanks for stopping by my hub,

rob


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Robwrite, you bring up an excellent point in the audience for these shows. A lot of the network shows are geared towards men with hi-tech gadgets and scientific terms but have a woman to make it seem like there's balance when there really isn't. I think a female character has strength when she's unapologetic about who she is and what she does but doesn't need to express that in a physical or sexual way. Awesome hub!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

In my own way I think I wrestle with some of these questions myself in my own portrayals of female characters.Sarah the newspaper publisher in the Carbons Creek stories I have tried to portray as tough but sometimes vulnerable with a bit of tongue in cheek portrayal.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Alecia; You're right, it's a false attempt at creating balance but it's often geared toward a male audience, who don't care about balance. I'd love to see more female characters who are unapologetic about not showing their strength through violence or sexuality.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Dahoglund; I think the best writers find a way not to make females too weak nor too unrealistc in their toughness. It's all about balance.

Thanks for coming by,

Rob


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

An excellent well thought out hub. You are 100% correct about how movies have changed over the last twenty years. I think it goes back to Terminator 2....Linda Hamilton in the first Terminator movie was just your average girl next door..who survives a horrible couple of days with the help of Kyle Reese....in the second Terminator she was a lean mean fighting machine....and female characters have not been the same since. Thanks for a thought provoking hub.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi cogerson; Sarah Conner was one of the first of the new trend of shoot-em-up ladies. Ellen Ripley was another. Ripley began in the first film as a clever, resourceful woman who kept her head and thought her way out of things, but as the series progressed, she evolved (or maybe devolved) into a gun-toting superwoman.

Glad to have your views,

Rob


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

Good point. I'd love to see a movie where the woman wins because of her more feminine qualities, and has the power of the Goddess behind her; the power of Mother Earth.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Paradise; I agree with that. I'd like to see more women who use their feminine qualities to succeed. Take a character like Deanna Troi on "Star Trek: the Next Generation" who's 'super power' is empathy,or Melinda on "the Ghost Whisperer" who saves people with the power of her compassion for them. Look at the females in Hayao Miyazaki's films, who win the day through peaceful, loving acts. These are all wonderful female heroes who don't shoot anybody.

Thanks for stopping by,

Rob


izettl profile image

izettl 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

you give some great examples and honestly I never thought of all this before. I noticed that women were acting more like men concerning relationships in movies but never thought about being physically strong like men too. I like the Xena type of woman when it's portrayed as fictional, but the sci/fi/dramas etc on TV drive me nuts with how masculine the women are and fighting all the time.

Yes, I bet more men watched Tomb Raider than Ghost Whisperer, but I loved that show and thought her character was feminine yet intelligent and savvy. I kind of liked Legally Blonde too- yes, she was over the top feminine but she used her brains and was feminine about it. I liked how everyone underestimated her because she was overly feminine. The latest pirates of the caribbean with a fighting Penelope Cruz was nothing like a more feminine Kiera Knightly.

Lots of good stuff to think about here and such a keen eye you have. My personal opinion is I think the very fictional types like Buffy or Xena are fun and we know not based in reality, but the fact that it is a trend we're seeing more often makes it more permeable to our society and might be unrealistic expectations for girls. I don't like the touhg fighting woman type on many shows, it's silly to me, but could have very real consequences for women. i think your onto somehting and only time will tell.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Izetti; I'm glad to get your views on this because you always have such good insight on this type of subject. The masculine interpretation of women in modern films and TV annoys me, too. I'm one of those rare guys who prefers watching Ghost Whisperer instead of Tomb Raider.

I didn't see the most recent 'Pirates' film, but I'm not surprised that the female lead acts less femle than the previous lead. Every year, it seems to become more and more the trend for women on screen to out-macho the men.

I wonder what effect this will have. With these aggressive-warrior role models being held up as the standard for female behavior, it does seem like a whole generation of girls is being set up for unrealistic expectations of how power and equality is balanced in the world today.

Thanks for your comments. Your opinion is very welcome.

Rob


jeanine 5 years ago

It could be deeper than what you are seeing... violence is the last frontier that women must over come... no matter how strong a woman is in real life, is the violence that all men have within them...if she is married to a man who is unable to get his way... or articulate what he is trying to say or do... there is always anger on his part, some erupts into violence against her and the only thing stopping her from responding in some cases is his strength... so I believe the writers are just reflecting what they can sell... also there are paramount implications of how sexuality is changing in our culture...

you are correct in that these characters look a lot like very beautiful men... think about the release that has in the writing... the appeal is huge... you have small girls wishing they could kick little johnnies ass... grown women who have been in a weak position before and like seeing her kick the guys butt, triggering her response silently saying I wished I could have kicked hubbies butt like that the last time he acted up... I admit the first time the husband got angry, I said to myself "I must not make him mad, it must have been something I did" when in reality it's nothing any of us do... it's he's a boy and he's been brought up to idolize violence... last but not least these strong women or masculine women or beautiful men as you called them... offer a long awaited homosexual dream for men who have been taught from an early age that they should never look upon another man as beautiful... which is totally wrong but ask your husband if he will watch an all male dance class with you sometime... some may, but most won't... with strong female characters, men can enjoy the beauty of the male body for the first time in this country anyway... the Greeks had a handle on that but the puritans did not... lol... so I say all of this to conclude it's all about the write... Husbands gets to loosen up a bit, women get to fantasize about kicking his butt, little girls get to dream about being so powerful and beautiful and I almost forgot... little boys already see their mom's as this hero anyway... enjoyed the read... very nice take...


Lapse profile image

Lapse 5 years ago from East Coast Rules

I wonder if these warrior women are merely just a trend that is running its course in movies/TV these days. There is obviously a demand or why would they make so many titles with this as a central aspect? I happen to agree with you in not being a great fan of it all. Simply because the choreography/acting is more often than not pretty bad IMHO. NOT because women don't beat men up.

Empowerment or Fetishism? Its definitely both. And that's not necessarily a bad thing is it? In my experience I don't know any women who really fear men in any real way. I think this is a primary reason America is one of the greatest nations on earth. Americans DO empower females as well as almost any given nation on Earth. Are we where we completely evolved on the equality of the sexes, of course not, but I believe its still going on. The opposite of course are the Islamic theocratic nations in the Middle East but of course that's another issue.

So to answer the question at the end of the hub, I say it is POSITIVE because its nothing more than a natural event where the system is trying to find equilibrium in the whole "social equation." I wonder if the real focus should be in breaking gender roles. Remember Mr. Mom. If a woman can kick ass can't a guy be a stay at home dad??? Lol...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hello Jeanine; Thanks for such a detailed response. You make some good points. Certainly, there is an element of wish-fulfillment in the dipiction of the new warrior women, wherein a young girl can imagine herself thrashing the daylights out of a male oppressor. It's much like the way young boys play violent video-games and probably imagine themselves shooting the school bully.

You mention a homo-erotic aspect of it which I didn't consider. It may be a way for young males to release the latent feelings of attraction they have toward other males by seeing beautiful women acting in a hyper-manly way.

Thanks for adding a lot of interesting thoughts to the discussion.

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Lapse; It's true there is certainly a demand for seeing these type of females on TV and in film. I just wonder if the demand is from men or from women. Do the super girls of "Sucker Punch" in their sexy schoolgirl oufits appeal to young, female viewers or are they a male fantasy?

America is certainly better at having equality of the sexes than most other countries, and it's good to see that reflected on the big screen and on the small screen. I just can't help wondering if attributing the same violence-as-a-solution mentality to girls as we have long taught to boys will take the next generation down the right road.

I guess we'll have to wait and see what, if any, effect this has on girls as they become women.

Thanks for commenting,

Rob


Lapse profile image

Lapse 5 years ago from East Coast Rules

Rob! Glad you mentioned the "violence-as-a-solution mentality!" That's one of the reasons I don't like many of these shows on today. As you mentioned Battlestar Gallactica. I'm sure you remember that it wasn't just Starbuck that truly lacked creativity and seemed to resort to solving all the problems she could with her fists, it was almost every character! I've been in the military and its COMPLETELY unrealistic for that much disrespect for authority to happen! I don't care if its war or peacetime. While I'm on that rant I HAVE to include Lost. Yes Lost! I got REALLY tired seeing Matthew Fox trying to punch out Sawyer and almost every other guy that opposed him. If anyone doesn't remember Jack doing this, go back and watch it. He HAD to average more than a fight an episode. I HOPE I'm not alone there in thinking this is REALLY lazy story writing.

Honestly where did Hollywood get the idea that people solved their problems like that??? Its not realistic in my world. Is it like Hockey? The NHL refuses to take the fighting out of it because they believe fans want it? Film/show makers think viewers want to see all that hand to hand problem solving? Its frikkin' ignorant and for me its NOT what I want to see on the small or big screen. Maybe its just me? I'd like to think not.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Lapse; I agree with you. I guess Hollywood and the TV medium keep giving us those aggressive, violence-first characters because there's a demand for them. I assume that demand comes mostly from males but I had higher hopes for females. The world from that perspective seems like an extended version of professional wrestling. I would like more of a balance. As much fun as Dirty Harry" is, I prefer "Columbo".

Jack's character on "Lost" was always inconsistent. He'd say 'we have to live together or die alone' but he seemed to have trouble getting along with people.

Starbuck to me was the perfect example of a woman written as a man (or a beautiful man, as I call them) She hung out with the guys, fought like them, smoked cigars, gambled, got into drunken brawls, cursed, boxed...she had no female qualities at all. Why did they even bother to change the character from a male (In the original, Dirk Bennidict played Starbuck) to a female if she had no female qualities? Is it just a faux display of balance; an attempt at female empowerment; or was it to appeal to a mostly male sci-fi audience by having the kind of kick-ass, hyper-aggressive woman who is popular with young males?

Rob


Jeanine 5 years ago

I really do think it's just cowboys and Indians for you guys...lol... girls growing up today are not impressed with the pic you guys are painting... they are a product of years and years of the womens movement putting a new face on feminine... and it is working actually... women are fifty percent of the work force now... and are much more educated than the men usually now... 28% make more than their husbands and this kind of character does give balance to females... they look at it just as you do Rob and say... oh my... that rock em sock em girl is just like a wrestler... and I'm definitely not going to be that... so you are right but also wrong in that it will never go back or never really be anything but the Macho girl in shows like you are mentioning... besides those shows are for guys just like yourselves... I don't think many girls watch any of those types... lol... love hearing your masculine ideas though...


Lapse profile image

Lapse 5 years ago from East Coast Rules

If its an action movie I think its fine. Gender is irrelevant. Just make the violence make sense. Unlike these shows we mentioned here...

But Jeanine, it SEEMS like there's a new growing breed of FEMALE geeks to go with the MALE geeks that love these shows. Yes I'm a bit of a geek but that's not the point.

:-) Now since I actually don't know any of them are they just a myth??? I see them on TV and in movies all the time. Lol...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Jeanine; It's true that 52% of middle management positions and 60% of college graduates today are women. I'm hoping this new equality leads to a new paradigm of female identity and autonomy that is neither a duplicate of men, nor a fallback to the days of weak damsels.

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Lapse; Super hero films and shows have their own internal logic, so I don't mind the action heroines like Catwoman or the Black Widow who beat 10 guys up because that's the type of film it is. The anime "Sailor Moon" about a team of super powered teen girl heroes strikes a nice balance between super strong and feminine.

Males who like sci-fi prefer Aeon Flux or Tomb Raider, while female sci-fi fans prefer Twilight, where the lead female is not a super woman. I think that's significant.

Rob


Jeanine 5 years ago

Rob I believe you are correct that the new super heroine is normal in some ways... I still like the woman in "Bridges over Madison county" but I must admit the Twilight is quite romantic... oo la la...lol... I love the idea that one might avoid a duplicate male...lol... and I'm fine with damsels... just not in distress...lol... I need more realization that woman is coming of age... and I am so glad to meet more and more men who are wishing and hoping more for her.... I appreciate that... in the both of you...we are all geeks in our own ways... so no offense intended Lapse... and you are right about the twilight series has all the girls...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi; I haven't seen "Bridges of Madison County", but I know women love "Twilight". Guys tend to lean more toward the space stuff, like "Star Wars", although Padme had a lot of feminine qualities.

I hoping to see more of less cliched women.


Lapse profile image

Lapse 5 years ago from East Coast Rules

I think Clarice Starling was a good one. Twilight wouldn't count either because vampires are "superhuman" right? Or are you counting Bella who seems to want to live in the superhuman world as a weak human? Seems Jeanine is certainly into the "chick flick." Lol...

To be clear though Jeanine, what will it look like when women "come of age?" To use your phrase.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I must be in the minority regarding what women tend to watch as well as what my age watches as I think of vampires as being scary-at least that is what they should be. the Twlight series never occurred to me to be something I would watch. When I think of vampires I think of Nosferatu.


Jeanine 5 years ago

Lapse, you are funny... I'm not sure what she looks like, except she looks good...lol... the day she does realize she is no longer living in a mans world but living in her own, will be a scary day for all of us... for then she decides what she will do with her new found freedom and power... will she retaliate for the years of abuse from man or be compassionate on him and forgive... I am into this chick flick, however not like you think, I love the music in "Bridges over Madison county" because Clint Eastwood wrote it... it moves me inside... to answer the question... I think the new woman looks a lot like the best young version of our mothers, whatever that was to you... she looks beautiful yet powerful, steadfast yet fully in charge of her emotional state, compassionate in that she is alive and well and willing to help others, not overtly stern but comfortable in her power to decide, not overwhelmed with the angst and pressure of making a living, the angst I do see in so many men today...I hate to see these beautiful men toiling for a living. I see no desire for war in her because she knows the child she raised and does not want to send he or her off to a pointless fight, yet I see her strong in her decisions to take care of her family and yes that would be the family of God, which would includes all of us... I see her as loving and kind to all of man and womankind... and yes 'they say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one"... John Lennon...

Rob you would love "Bridges" it's so romantic, I sigh even now...lol... love your hub...

Flora... your picture of vampires is an old one... kinda like these guys pic of what woman looks like...lol... but hey, these are two sweet guys, they want the best for women... and there will be many more like them in the future, men unafraid for women to take a rightful equal place... thank God for men who are understanding... thank you both...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Lapse; I count the non-super powered characters in sci-fi/fantasy among this category. Lois Lane from "Smallville" and Bella from "Twilight" are two opposite examples. Lois has been reimagined in "Smallville" as being a monster-truck loving, beer-bong drinking kick-boxer who can outfight men in a fight club; whereas Bella is in the model of the classic romantic heroine, whose 'power' is that she brings out the best and worst in the people around her. One of my favorite shows was "Beauty & the Beast" with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton. Catherine (Linda Hamilton)was a great example of a strong, smart, independent woman who was still very feminine, kind, compassionate and forgiving.

It's interesting to me that series like "Twilight" and "B&tB" have predominantly female followings, even though the female leads are not She-Rambos. I'd be happy with a screen full of women such as Catherine or Scully or Hermione or the like.

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Flora; I've always liked the clasic vampires like Dracula, too. But the new interpretation of vampires is a more romanticized image of a brooding immortal lover, which started with Anne Rice. Angel from "Buffy" was another example of that, and today we have "Vampire Diaries" and "Twilight".

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Jeanine; I like your description. I wish I there were more women like that on TV and film. In fact, I'd like to meet more of them in my daily life.

I'll have to try to catch "the Bridges of Madison County" one day. I'm a big Clint fan, and Meryl is always great.

Rob


Lapse profile image

Lapse 5 years ago from East Coast Rules

First the easy topic... I think Twilight is so popular with females but not males is that it turns guy vampires into the PERFECT guy in the truest sense of the trashiest romance novel but puts a mainstream spin on it all to hide the trashiness. I mean now vampires SPARKLE in the sun??? Really??? And now there's a goody goody group of vampires that are 1,000 % monogamous for EVER??? A woman would have to a serial killer type of schizo not to like that on so many levels. Whether they admit it or not. I'm going on so long here it needs to be another Hub!!! I'm gonna shut up...

To bring it back to the point of Rob's Hub though this is no more than the latest movie in the continuing development or evolution of movies with popular female leads. I see no real controversial or ground breaking aspects to this movie as far as reaching "Women's Coming Of Age according to jeanine." But I'm a guy so what do I know. :-)

I am going to coin that new term!!! For short I will refer to it as: The "WCOAj"

- Please note the lowercase "j" as jeanine does not capitalize her name.


Lapse profile image

Lapse 5 years ago from East Coast Rules

Second the more serious topic...

jeanine, why haven't we reached the WCOAj??? All of this stuff you describe is here... for the self-confident educated woman.

It seems to me no person HAS to live in a world defined by another. History is full of examples of heroic people that stood up for the right thing. NOT saying its easy because its frequently not.

And why would it be scary? Wouldn't this WCOAj be a place that everyone lives in, wants to be in? I guess you mean men that feel their position threatened by women sharing power? Those kinds of men aren't good people anyway. Don't understand you mentioning retaliation. That would seem like its NOT the place we want ANYONE to be in.

Love that image you have of "The best young version of our mothers." That's awesome. Sounds like the image we have of our mothers when we're 5 or something like that. In that one She WOULD look "good" and beautiful and all that description as you said. I would only change the fact that EVERYONE has angst from the pressure of making a living. That's just part of the deal. Unless your definition of "toiling" for a living is different than mine there's no shame in toiling.

Don't know why you put no desire for war in there when there should be no desire for war in anyone. When you get down to it isn't war simply the inability to communicate and compromise in its worst form? War is bad period.


jeanine 5 years ago

Well thx Lapse.. the reality is, that is very sweet of you... and don't read anything into the lower case j... I'm not saying any of the movies are ground breaking, just saying that "NOW" has been successful in changing the perspectives of women... that's all... young women at least have something to hold on to now... it's really up to them to change it into what they want to see... men often do this... they get tired of watching so much violence that it begins to birth a new thing and that's all I'm saying... young girls and boys are affected by these shallow movies and I know that's what you guys are saying... I just wanted to express the other side... I am in agreement that we have such a long way to go... but you have to get through the bad ones to get to the good ones... or that worked back in the dating game days, so hopefully it will work as woman is starting to grow.... look you have to remember there were great women in film also... Hepburn, was such a great influence on our mothers... and many others, so there does need to be that ground breaker and I think that's Angelina for most of the girls now... is is tomb raider but she is also... the very strong yet vunerable woman in "The tourist", her character is very strong yet compassionate..."WCOAj" is very important... I know for men it was hundreds of years ago... you must remember, it's only been a few decades for woman... so be patient... she learned to cook didn't she... she'll get this also, given the time and sound judgement from the man in her life...


jeanine 5 years ago

Lapse, I think we have reached some of it and woman is continuing to move forward... the resistance is with men that do not want this to happen... and he are correct, those are not good men, but they do exist in high places.. woman is steady and uses her mind where men have used both strength and mind for years... she is behind in some ways, but socialized way beyond man... more women are in collage now than men... women do live in a world that is defined by man, and don't get me wrong I love this world you have created... I don't like the pay at 69 cents on the dollar to every man getting a dollar on the dollar... and there is where some of the anger comes from... that's not right and you know it and so do I... I'm not sure you want to live in a world where women have all the power, for a few years at least... because there is a lot of anger out here, and the man you ignores that, is not the man I want to know... no offense intended with my remark... retaliation does happen and will happen, because of what you mentioned about some men in power are abusers... what's not funny to woman is men's definition of what abuse is or can be and womens definition is different... thx for the comment about our mom's... men grow up listening to their mom's and then they stop somewhere along the way... that has to be hard on a young boy and that's the angst I'm talking about... when a young man is unable to achieve what he wants to as a man, sometimes in the heat of the moment, when she is not the perfect wife and maybe nagging for the first time in his life... he may lash out at her, not meaning to but, some young men strike their wives at this point... and that's what I'm talking about toiling... you are talking about hard work and every woman loves to watch a man sweat whether she will admit it or not... it is in her DNA to watch him and there is an actual sigh inside, so all of you men who work outside or break a sweat are very interesting...lol... oh my did I say that out loud...lol... you are a very wise man if you know how nasty war really is... and yes you are correct in that no one wants it, but with men we seem to always get it... women are geared to talk things out so I am very hopeful for a woman to make it to the white house...


jeanine 5 years ago

Robwrite, there are a lot of very good women out here... some of them have been wounded, so you as men must help them over come... they are a good bunch... and love to laugh... my partner is with me mostly because of the laughter... so many times men hurt women and never know it... she must learn to tell him without causing the angst that I mentioned... the beautiful picture that all of womankind is told is very fleeting in some womens lives... I do wished men were not so angry... especially young men with young wives and children... we all make stupid mistakes when we are young... the challenge is to not hurt her in a way she holds it for a long time... hurt makes the heart grow cold... and cold hearts make for poor relationships... poor relations do not nurture children properly and so on the story goes... love really is the answer but each of us have a different expectation from love... it's as if love is only ours, and I love that about the emotion... "asked... how many emotions are there.... she smiled, said one... Love.... everything else is a derivative... hate is the lack of... compassion the presence of... joy an abundance of... sadness the lost of... smiling she whispered... understand... she held me... I felt one".... enjoyed the read and the comments... thanks so much for allowing me to express myself...


Lapse profile image

Lapse 5 years ago from East Coast Rules

j- whoa that was a lot.... :-)

Women are socialized way beyond men? I don't see that in the younger generations, but I see this "world that is defined by man" you mention as something that is fading into the past. - - - And I TOTALLY think that while maybe the majority of the face may have been shaped by males, but maybe more of the guts were made by women. What do you think of that? Comes from these moms we talked about that raised almost all of us boys and girls.

Maybe I'm an idealist but I see equal pay for equal work also coming. The inequality is fading into the past as these guys from the Old Boys Club go extinct. They have less and less places to hide as women infiltrate the upper ranks of the 1 Percenters.

Peruse this list at your leisure:

http://www.forbes.com/wealth/power-women#p_1_s_ara...

A woman is the leader of Germany the 4th most powerful country in the world (according to this list)? That is pretty good isn't it???

On the other hand what are you talking about when you say a world where woman have all the power??? Huh??? That sounds like a cool science fiction story. :-)

I thought the WCOAj is a place where women just receive equal recognition based on their actions and their gender is irrelevant? Correct me if I'm wrong...

Hey this reminds me of a novel I read long ago. I REALLY REALLY REALLY think you'd enjoy "The Shore of Women" by Pamela Sergent. Here's the Summary:

Women rule the world in this suspenseful love story set in a postnuclear future. Having expelled men from their vast walled cities to a lower-class wilderness, the women in this futuristic universe dictate policy and chart the future through control of scientific and technological advances. Among their laws are the rules for reproductive engagement, an act now viewed as a means of procreation rather than an act of love. In this rigidly defined environment, a chance meeting between a woman exiled from the female world and a wilderness man triggers a series of feelings, actions, and events that ultimately threaten the fabric of the women's constricted society. Trying to evade the ever-threatening female forces and the savage wilderness men, the two lovers struggle to find a safe haven and reconcile the teachings of their upbringings with their newly awakened feelings.


jeanine 5 years ago

Lapse ... very cool about the read and I'll try to find it... you are correct in that "WCOAj is a place where women just receive equal recognition based on their actions and their gender is irrelevant"... gender is a very close place for me... and I am constantly reminded of it... I do appreciate your kindness in speaking with me about things that are very important to me... and I agree, it is the women who raised us who instilled the good in you and me... my mother was absolutely the best and my dad was the most non judgmental man I ever met... they treated me so fairly that it was years into my marriage before I realized I had what the world considered a problem... they had convinced me early on, that I was just special... very good parents... so I didn't have the emotional guilt in my bags... and although my life is different than everyone else, I still lead a productive life and have a wonderful family... a marriage for over forty years... I am loved and that makes me weep...

I am so glad that there is a woman in charge in Germany... I think there will come a day when man no longer sees himself as a perfect fit for leading others... countries I mean... I pray there is a time for him to spend within himself... I found myself through the tears of a woman... and found I was just as strong when I was myself as when those around me said be someone else... I chose to be true to myself... and although I am as strange as they come... I find I have a real opinion when others seem to go with the flow... thx to you and Bob for opening this discussion and allowing me the opportunity to express

Oh My... the book sounds readable... I like fiction... it sounds like someone wrote down the rigid confines of our own society... and that I do know about... but that would be another story entirely... lol... thx for the goodness in your heart...thx.. to you also Bob...


jeanine 5 years ago

Oh I loved the listed... of women...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Wow, this discussion has gotten a lot deeper and is covering a lot more ground than I thought it would when i started it. Thank you Jeanine and Lapse for such great comments and observations.

Rob


jeanine 5 years ago

Sorry Rob, I didn't mean to get to heavy... I have enjoyed you both though and I appreciate you letting me comment... thx again...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Please don't apologize, Jeanine. I'm enjoying both your views and Lapse's. It's all very interesting. My hubs rarely get this many comments.

Rob


jeanine 5 years ago

good... I do enjoy an honest discourse... so many women need to be encouraged and there are a lot of men who know this... I am seeing more and more men trying to genuinely help, and that's a great hing... we are coming to a new place with men and women... I see many men enjoying their time with their families and that's a wonderful site for women... in the fact I think there are many women who will readily work and bring home the bacon so to speak just to see their husbands show that kind of love to his family... we are all growing and that's a good thing...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Jeanine, I always enjoy an open, honest, intelligent discussion, too. And I agree, we are growing as a society. The times they are a'changing, and that's good.

Now if only Hollywood was growing up, too.

Thanks for a lively conversation,

Rob


jeanine 5 years ago

no thank you... I have a different perspective so I may have made the car veer off into the ditch here and for that I am sorry... but hey I liked the drive...lol... and yes Hollywood has their heads us their a&&^$ sometimes...oh my did I say that out loud...lol... they are just writing to fill the bill or pay them at least... are you a Dylan fan...I am... I have a friend in California who was with him for the Jesus years... hope you have a good day...


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Who isn't a Dylan fan?


jeanine 5 years ago

lol... true... what are you writing lately...I love this hub pages thing...


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Robwrite as always a superb and interesting hun which ended in a question very well asked.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Thank you, H.H. It's always a pleasure to get feedback from my longest ever hub follower.

Rob


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..tight for time today Sir Rob but you are definitely one of my favorite writers here at the HUB - saw an interesting film called Hanna with two very strong female leads in it - and as you know Tarrintino always writes good parts for women in films like Kill Bill and Jackie Brown - gotta go to work - see ya later buddy lake erie time 3:54pm


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Epigram; Yes, I've seen"Hanna". I wrote a review on it. Not a bad film. That one had a teenage girl fighting and killing lots of people. Good performances.

Thanks, as always, for the kind words,

Rob


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..yes you're right - not a bad film but I thought Cate Blanchette is such a grand and versatile actress and the score by the Chemical brothers was excellent

lake erie time ontario canada 4:43am just arrived home from night shift


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Epi; Cate Blanchett is always great, even in bad films like "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." (Poor girl probably thought she was signing onto a winner when she agreed to do the new Indy movie. Oh well.)

Rob


John 4 years ago

No pleasing women is there, it's not enough that more often than not women portrayed in tv & movies both outwit & out fight men twice their size, & as you yourself said a lot of men even some of the heroes are apparently no match for the female in the programs, & most of the other men protrayed are pathetic dim losers, no that doesn't satisfy you, you have moan that when they(& by they I bet you mean men) portraying women like that might be sexist. No the simple truth of that matter is men are trying to give women strong roles in order to satisfy all the moaning feminist out there, & that they sometime's portray men as weak because WE don't moan as much as you do simply put.


John 4 years ago

Also one other thing you didn't is the realism element, firstly most super heroes women look like they have just been in a salon to have their hair & makeup & nails done, which wouldn't have give them the time to woop all that ass as they say in the US.Second no way is a slightly built slim women gonna whip guy's twice as big with huge muscles even if they were fit & good fighters they would still get tired after the first 10 men they beat up.Thirdly if their really were butt kicking babes where are they in the REAL world, why do we hear so many cases of women being raped or beat up by the husband if it were in any way true,why are men still dominating the world if women were really that physicaly & mently strong.

The anwser like it or not is that most women arnt.


Sertorius 4 years ago

This ass-kicking female thing is NOT female-empowerment and far from it. This is titillation for male viewers. It was common in comic books before making it to movies and while it's somewhat an improvement over sterotypical female characters of the past (doe-eyed damsels in distress or doe eyed love interest waiting for the caveman to come home). The fact is, women can in fact do amazing things athletically and properly trained and/or experience a woman can beat up a man. BUT that woman will not be a 99 pound waif in a push up bra who just got out of a hail salon. That woman will in fact look very masculine in appearance. Those type of a woman - that body type and in fact REAL lesbians and or 'masculine' women are invisible in movies. To be fair, the gym rat/shaved chest/perfumed action hero these days wouldn't do much better in an actual fight than Kristen Stewart. Its ironic that modern movies over-represent the 'gay' or metrosexual male-look while under-representing the actual gay female-look while at the same time reversing the traditional action-movie roles. Just don;'t call it female empowerment. Call it what it is - live action comic book fantasy.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hello Sertorius; Very well stated. You make many good points and I completely agree with you. It's not empowerment for ggirls, its an adolescent fantasy for young males.

Thanks for the thoughtful comments;

Rob


mason 4 years ago

The x files was the last tv show with a male acting like a male, A female acting like a female, and equals! Both strong in their own rite, and unstoppable together!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Mason; X-Files is one of my favorite shows. I loved Scully. She was strong and smart without beating large men up all the time. The series creater/writer Chris Carter knew how to write strong women realistically.

Thanks for coming by to comment;

Rob


psychicdog.net profile image

psychicdog.net 4 years ago

Awesome point Robwrite - this is another form of stereotyping and annoying - based on what the PC crowd dictate - we will only really be FREE when we can be whoever we like to be as individuals! You are sooo right. Although the PC crowd revealed new roles and gender possibilities, when everyone follows a stereotype, and writes everything to suit the PC crowd we are still being sheep!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

True Psychicdog; It is a reverse stereotype. It's overcompensating from the old stereotypes to create a new but equally irritating cliché of how woman act. In usual PC fashion, they went from one extreme to the other.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


limpet profile image

limpet 2 years ago from London England

I didn't see the name Modesty Blaise mentioned so far. I'm old enough to recall that She was a fore runner in Women using martial arts and being in control of situations although there were isolated instaces prior to this. Modesty's main claim is making Women (and girls) aware that they are not just a pretty face but can overcome obstacles and achieve objectives A pity Modesty Blaise was 'killed off' in Her prime. I would like to have seen Modesty have at least three daughters whom She trained to become not only Ladies but empowered Women


Lantokey 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

The most fascinating attribute of Modesty Blaise herself was an amazing fashion consciousness of 1960s syle. That was the era ushering in the mini skirt, high heeled boots and the famous bee hive coiffure. M.B. was always elegantly manicured and eye line tinted and with fully rouged lips. M.B. must have surely had an extensive wardrobe. Secondly she had command and control over men. With Willie Garvin as her right hand man and Weng as her manservant, they were never her equals and they men who breifed her on the next caper were always obsequous to her.

the gadfly


limpet profile image

limpet 12 months ago from London England

With the release of 'Suffragette' which premiered last month starring Helena Bonham-Carter and new comer to the screen Carey Mulligan with a special guest appearance by Meryl Streep. Suffragette faithfully follows the rise and aftermath of the struggle for the women'rights to vote, circa early 20th century Great Britain. There is a level of violence in the film and quite rightly demonstrates how formidable a force the women's movement can become in order to advance their cause. Academian and social commentator Professor Germaine Greer has indicated mixed feelings in some of her interviews and newspaper articles.


Lantokey 6 months ago from Olde London Towne

Initially i intended further comment on my previous Modesty Blaise remarks however i just recalled all of the motor cycle gang movie genre of the late 60's early 70's. Titles such as Truck stop women, The wild angels etc. One recently and little known to be re released was Bury me an angel. In it a woman alone and unassisted takes on an entire motor cycle gang for the killing of her brother. And she does it, tracking each member down extracting her revenge.


limpet profile image

limpet 2 months ago from London England

Let us face the facts, women can fight! The demure Chinese actresses have been doing it for decades with kung fu and some not using stunt doubles, now the Bollywood deva's are following suit with their forms of martial arts.

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