Where Did All The Warrior Women Go?
I was watching a clip in which Quentin Tarantino defended 'Kill Bill' as a movie suitable for children age 12 and up because it depicted women as being strong warriors who lived and died by a code, rather than silly little twits baring their midriffs and dancing about in an obvious plea for attention and permission to perhaps maybe kick ass a little bit if nobody minded too much.
Women have always been pressured to be 'feminine' a word that has come to mean dainty and servile and pretty and alluring. If I use the word 'feminine' in describing something, it is unlikely that the reading audience will take it that I mean something is strong and bold and honorable. Instead, it will nigh mean the opposite, weak and shy and easily lead astray. That, in and of itself, is exceptionally telling.
Whether you like Kill Bill or Tarantino or not, he raises a good point in his defense of Kill Bill. We have come to accept and adore ruthless, violent male characters as part of our psyche. But for a female to be ruthless and violent is only acceptable if she experiences some kind of victim hood first.
It is interesting that in pre-Islamic arabia, there were many warrior queens, including one by the name of Zenobia who was, by all accounts, about as ass kicking as any woman can be, but in the modern world, a world in which women are supposed to ostensibly be more equal than they ever have been before, women still, on the whole, take a back seat. Depictions of women in the media are still as passive objects of beauty. Aside from Ellen DeGeneres, it's hard to think of a red carpet event that doesn't effectively deteriorate into a 'who is the prettiest girl' contest, whilst the men mill about comfortably in their suits leering at the sea of cleavage laid out before them.
The same is true for female role models for younger women. Miley Cyrus, Jamie-Lynn Spears and their ilk are hardly strong figures. They're silly, giggly girls who were both pushed into adult roles before their time.
I can think of some strong female role models in perhaps, Xena Warrior Princess and La Femme Nikita, but many people have never heard of La Femme Nikita, which starred Peta Wilson, and it has been many years since Xena or anything remotely like it was made. In the last few years, there has been a considerable dearth of strong female characters and portrayal of strong femininity in the mass media.
We're pushing women back into petty, servile roles and we're doing it at a speed which is, quite frankly, mind boggling. The question is, why?