The Double Edged Sword of Women in Film: Part 2


“A Hymn to Him” from My Fair Lady:

Women are irrational, that’s all there is to that!

Their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags!

They’re nothing but exasperating, irritating,

vacillating, calculating, agitating,

maddening and infuriating hags!

Pickering, why can’t a woman be more like a man?

I love how far the ladies have come in movies, regarding roles and representation, which have improved, although my lists spotlight Caucasian actors simply because they have the numbers on their side and therefore more examples to draw from. And, amazingly, white washing is still a common occurrence, for the roles of both men and women.

But Professor Higgins called it, and now, to a large extent, he’s got it: women are now much more like men.  Which hits exactly dead center on cinema’s latest trend and a serious pet peeve of mine.

As someone who obviously has never read the book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus—Irritating? Calculating? Infuriating? I’m sorry, Professor, but have you met Mitch McConnell??—I still think Higgins would succumb to cardiac arrest the first time he witnessed Scarlett Johansson flinging her thighs around a man’s neck and then corkscrewing him violently to the ground.

black widow

I have no problem with physical strength in anybody, women included. The more power to them! I’ve always been fairly muscular and never had a problem with it. And I can see that Hollywood’s doing what they do best: mining a largely ignored resource (the female ego) and continuing their clichéd exploitation until interest in the resource diminishes due to their over-saturated and hackneyed representations of it.

Cue: Daisy Ridley in Star Wars,  Gemma Arterton in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft, Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road, Halle Berry in the third John Wick.


Although a good run and gun can be exciting as hell, this is still my question: since when did “strength” translate to “violence” for women? Especially unbelievable violence involving immense power sans physical bearing and/or apparent training?

For someone who’s been trudging through desert sand and sifting through junk for most of her life, Daisy Ridley’s Rey might have strong legs and a supple back, but when did the sword-fighting lessons happen, exactly? How does she, with those tiny arms, block a male counterpart’s downward thrust with apparent ease and notable skill? Is it really just “the Force” within her?


I also don’t believe it when Angelina Jolie does anything physical in any movie. And that goes for Scarlett, too, the poster child for the thigh-neck-corkscrew move. Have either of them done one pushup or one deadlift their entire lives? And yes, their bodies are fine, great, in and of themselves, without bent over rows or lateral raises. Fodder for much jealousy. But if you’re gonna be in action movies…


One might argue that many men take on action roles without being in great shape or even age-appropriate sometimes.

Cue Sean Connery in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Bruce Willis in the fifth Die Hard, Wesley Snipes in the third Blade, Harrison Ford in the last Indiana Jones movie, The Do Over with Adam Sandler (albeit, a comedy).


But do women really need to follow in their footsteps? I’m not sure Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman needed to shave their heads in order to distance themselves symbolically from (at least one perception) of femininity in order to appear…stronger. But at least they both had brains, in Mad Max and V for Vendetta, respectively. And maybe Natalie’s shaved head was canon from the comic books.


I realize Gina Carano is an anomaly, being an ex-MMA fighter, and conversely, while she’s believable whenever she engages in fisticuffs, she also could do with an acting class or two.

But convincing examples of this new era of “fighting” women can be seen, in my opinion, in Hanna (trained from youth and also DNA-enhanced), Terminator II (Sarah is now thin and cut and mean, but there’s been an evolution) Edge of Tomorrow (Emily Blunt, a tough solider, but also enhanced by her armor and, for a while, precognition), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (physically slight Michelle Yeoh undergoes extensive training most of her life), La Femme Nikita (trained later in life, but during her missions she does nothing over-the-top), and, of course Kill Bill.


It is a conundrum, though, because if I’m being honest, Scarlett’s Marvel character has had life-long training too, as much as Michelle Yeoh. So does she really need to be cut while Michelle floats on the wind, so tiny and insubstantial-looking? Maybe it’s cultural bias: the strength of Michelle’s character is supported by centuries of belief systems. But then wouldn’t that train of thought also include Star Wars Rey? Maybe. But she still “feels” like a Mary Sue to me.

Per Mary Sue is a term used to describe a fictional character, usually female, who is seen as too perfect and almost boring for lack of flaws, originally written as an idealized version of an author in fanfiction.

Even though Uma is fairly tall and willowy with nary a muscle in sight, she WAS trained by a master who could balance on the tip of a sword, so….yeah. There’s that.


When Zoe Zaldana’s standing on top of a storage container in The Losers, aiming a rocket launcher at the enemy, Chris Evans says, “That’s so hot.” But why is it hot? And…is it really hot? What happened to strong female roles where the women had brains and balls, but their balls were made out of their brains?

Isn’t that a lot hotter than shooting off a shoulder-fired missile, no matter how cool Zoe looks?


Cue: Pat and Mike, Okja, Legally Blonde, Thelma & Louise, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Dead Calm, Working Girl, Arrival, In the Time of Butterflies, 9-5, Silence of the Lambs, Hidden Figures (although overly Hollywoodized) Real Women Have Curves, Silkwood, Norma Rae, Star Trek (Michelle Nichols), Zero Dark Thirty.

Remember the ladies that figured out all the bad things that were going on in their companies, that started unions, that revolutionized their offices to include flexible hours and daycare?



Speaking of brains, on a side note, Jayne Mansfield’s IQ was 149-163, she spoke five languages, played the violin and piano, and had once been destined for Carnegie Hall. When she passed away in 1967, Roger Ebert wrote that she couldn’t act and had always been in Marilyn Monroe’s shadow.

Can you say that in German, please, Mr. Ebert?


Why Jayne felt the need to dumb herself down and didn’t continue on to Carnegie Hall and an entirely different life would take more research, but stories like these are always disheartening, including the fact that Hattie McDaniel often came under attack, labeled an “Uncle Tom,” a person who was “willing to advance personally by perpetuating racial stereotypes or being an agreeable agent of offensive racial restrictions.”

She reportedly responded, “Why should I complain about making $700 a week playing a maid? If I didn’t, I’d be making $7 a week being one.”

Even so, she was unable to attend the premiere of Gone with the Wind in Atlanta because it was held at a whites-only theater. At the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles, she sat at a segregated table at the side of the room. So Hattie, and others like her, were getting it from both sides, sadly.


Despite all this, we’ve come far, and notwithstanding any distances still to be traveled, one might be surprised to realize how some of our favorite actors from various movies, some now classics, provided enduring roles for interesting, maddening, emotionally powerful, vacillating, courageous, calculating, intelligent, and dearly beloved female characters.

Star Wars

The Joy Luck Club

The Piano



The Sound of Music

Jackie Brown

Miracle on 34th Street

The Matrix

Monster’s Ball

The Wizard of Oz




54 thoughts on “The Double Edged Sword of Women in Film: Part 2

  1. Could not agree more with your misgivings regarding the credibility of Angelina Jolie in physical roles. When she played the title role in Aussie director Philip Noyce’s 2010 film SALT she was stick thin. Her karate-kicking and hammer-fisting away multiple bad guys was beyond laughable.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow—thanks so much Neil. COMPLETELY FORGOT about The Miracle Worker. What a great example. I know I probably left some really great ones out. Too huge and broad a topic. I never saw P.N. in Hud, tho. Gotta check it out. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Sorry–looks like you left this comment a while back. I never saw it in notifications. Just happened to stumble upon it last night. How weird. PS: Agree on Edge of Tomorrow. That was a REALLY nice surprise.


  2. Supporting women in film is a passion of mine but that stats as they are even today can make me both angry and confused at the same time. How is anyone telling complete stories if so few characters are female, and even fewer have speaking parts? Never mind what goes on behind the camera.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear ya and I feel ya. There’s been progress but I guess the stats are still abyssal. And my personal passion is people telling Black stories that are actually interesting, not the same old “rising above poverty” or “quiet dignity of the butler-type-person” or, God forbid, the challenges/pitfalls of drug dealing. There are at least FOUR BLACK SHOWS that I caption at work–titles withheld–that are about ALL those cliches and use the N-word liberally. I once counted at least 25 times in one episode. The cliches for women AND ethnic folk can be nauseating.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m going to throw another name into the ring while we’re all on the subject – and that name is Jane Fonda.
    In 1971 she played the role of a New York City sex worker caught in the middle of a missing persons case. The film, labelled a neo-noir crime thriller, was KLUTE. Fonda won the first of her six Best Actress Oscars for playing the character Bree Daniels.

    Here again we are faced with the duplicity of seemingly conflicting ways to view this. On the one hand, women depicted as prostitutes (often under the control of a male pimp) are more often than not the very definition of female exploitation and enslavement. But the nuanced way Jane Fonda played the role brought power, strength and intelligence to the part.

    Fonda wrote in her 2005 memoir MY LIFE SO FAR – “I’d begun to wonder if it wasn’t politically incorrect to play a call girl. Would a real feminist do that? A real feminist wouldn’t have to ask herself such a question,” She sought advice from her friend Barbara Dane, a singer and activist, who said: “Jane, if you think you have room in this script to create a complex, multifaceted character, you should do it. It doesn’t matter that she’s a call girl, as long as she’s real.”

    This clip is a scene where Bree is talking to her psychiatrist. It’s well-done to the extent that in some moments it almost feels unscripted –

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent clip, Glen, and excellent point. For one thing, prostitution, as they say, is the oldest profession in the world. What’s the issue? It’s a job, like anything else, and a hard job at that. It’s only looked down on due to puritanical shortcomings. And yeah, I’d think a woman could play any role, no matter society’s perceptions, as long as they brought the character to life, whoever it was, and even if we couldn’t identify, we could empathize, or really hate them, in some way. The generation of any strong emotions in any audience would be complete success for any actor.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmm…where do I begin? When I was a child I loved Tarzan movies. I loved the way he swung from tree to tree by vines, the way he communed with animals and how he wrestled (and killed) crocodiles with his huge hunting knife. I would often pretend to be Tarzan, my dad even carved a wooden knife for me. Never once did I consider playing Jane. Why would I? She was boring. She couldn’t do much of anything except teach Tarzan to talk, cook for him and get saved by him.
    Little by little, year by year, I grew into femininity, into my womanliness and was pleased with it, proud of it. And I began to ask, what is wrong with being a woman? Why do we have to act like men? Why must we shoot rocket launchers and wrestle crocodiles in figure hugging costumes to be counted relevant or deemed worthy to have films, yes, abundant films of all genres built around us? I fear that it is because men will not relate to, or tolerate a heroine unless she is a deliciously sexy badass goddess. Sad that after all these many, many years we still are measured by their ideas and fantasies of us. There are exceptions to this “rule,” there always have been, but they are still are too few and too far between.
    Sorry to go on and on, but your thoughtful post provoked me. Ha!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love it when people go on and on in comments! Thanks a lot for your response, Pam! I was exactly like you when I was growing up–quite the tomboy. Tarzan DID have more fun than Jane, didn’t he? Yeah, perceptions are changing slowly. I just wish some of the representations of physically strong females was more believable. But I guess it’s better than being barefoot and pregnant. Which, of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s definitely not the ONLY thing women can do.
      Hey….! Do you think you’d have any time to whip up a “first love” essay for October or November…………..?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Right. I agree. Like you, I thought Charlize Theron was a more realistic depiction of a feminine badass in Mad Max what ever it is called…good movie…great actually, I thought, and I didn’t mind the shaved head, because I thought, yeah, that’s something the character might do because she’s too badass to worry about a flowing mane. All well and good, but if you’ve ever been at the mercy of a guy–like I was one time when my brother and I got into a fight and he had a lot of pent up hostility from me whipping his ass for years and he wanted me to know that if he wanted to he could break my neck–then you realize how ridiculous all this women whipping men’s asses really is. It’s Hollywood. Yes, there are exceptions. There are some women who can really whip ass…naturally super strong, or they’re trained commandos, but it’s not like in the movies.
        Anyway…yeah, of course I could whip up a post on “first love.” I’m honored that you would ask me. Just let me know the perimeters.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for the tip-off on this Pam.

        Apparently on October 15, 2019, Ron Ely’s wife (former Miss Florida USA 1981) Valerie was found stabbed to death at the Hope Ranch residential community along the Santa Barbara coast where the couple lived; Ron was unharmed.
        The couple’s 30-year-old son Cameron was believed to be the killer and was shot dead (22 times) by police at the scene. In a twist, Ron Ely unsuccessfully attempted to sue the Santa Barbara sheriff’s office over the death of his son.

        The link below is to a DAILY MAIL news article on the story that includes (if you scroll down) a video of police body cam footage of the moment police locate Ron Ely’s deceased wife and (a little later) the moment the son is shot dead by deputies.

        On a lighter note I will add I used to love this TARZAN tv series and watched it most afternoons on re-run here in Australia after school.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I must not have my alerts set up right–I didn’t even know this conversation was going on, lol !!!
        But this does sound like a Pam sleuth job if I ever heard one. Thanks to Glen for the pre-sleuthing. I used to watch that show too. Definitely wanted to be a female Tarzan and NOT Jane, just like Pam.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Yeah, in a microcosm, I had to include Charlize’s shaved head as an example in the “masculinization” of women.
    But in the bigger picture………yeah, no. Mad Max: Fury Road is one of my favorite movies ever, and her appearance didn’t bother me at all. And, in fact, I’ve been a long-time nemesis of Charlize due to her apparent origins in the movie business, but I thought she did a great job in this movie. One of her best!
    Ha ha ha. How sweet of your brother to lay out the law for you…in a gentle, brotherly fashion. Must have been an eye-opening moment!
    I’ll email you later about the post. Not that I have that many perimeters–if any.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very insightful article. Enjoyed reading that however I’m a bit scared to write a comment as I’m bound to say the wrong thing. Like, I’ve always wondered what it might be like to be taken out by the thighs of Xenia Onatopp. But I will keep that to myself! Doh!
    Jackie Brown might be the/my quintessential lady. Tough, street smart and full of beautiful class. Then I flash back to the delightful Foxy Brown beating me up with her lucky charms. Damn it I can’t help myself. Sorry…

    So pleased you mentioned Gina Carano. I thought she was so good as the Shock Trooper Cara Dune (acting aside) and very believable kicking man butt. An example of Hollywood getting it perfectly right was on the final battle of The Mandalorian season 2. Four ladies go in and truly kick ass and it didn’t once feel unbelievable or force fed to you unlike that infamous final battle on Avengers End Game that was very icky. Wish she’d kept off twitter as I’d of loved to have seen more of her in the star wars universe.

    Me and my wife always comment on the fact that Arnold Schwarzeneggar often has strong leading ladies in his films, Rachel Ticotin (Total Recall) Elpidia Carrillo (Predator) Maria Conchita Alonso (Running Man) Linda Hamilton (T2) Himself (Junior) lol…

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know, I know. In this brave new world–or I could think of a lot of other words for it–one must walk on egg shells, mustn’t one? A little scary, I think. Self-censorship gone too far.
      But…ooh! thank you SO much for mentioning that ridiculous scene in Avengers End Game. I’ve just given up on Marvel in general. It’s in its own world and I’m just gonna leave it there.
      Also, great point about Arnie! He really did do ladies justice quite a bit of the time, didn’t he? Good for him! He really does love women, I think…a little TOO much, according to his ex-wife, lol.
      And who could blame any guy for wondering what it would be like to be taken out by ANY of those ladies’ thighs? That’s just natural, I think, hahahaha.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Well, I can add my two cents, from a different perspective, I enjoyed a lot My Fair Lady, as a child, now seems eons ago, when our mores, and customs where for today standards totally politically not correct, still I find it a charming movie, some twenty five years ago, seeing some young roommates, renting video crap, I took them to Netflix and pick a selection of great movies, who of course because their age, they have miss, My Fair Lady directed by Cukor, and a few from David Lean, and others, that I considered good movies, and they were amazed!
    The movie industry always in search for new trends, on this new Aquarius age, remember Milos Forman’s Hair?
    Well, Aquarius are two parallel lines, meanwhile the old age now gone Pisces, two fish pulling on different directions,
    Which it means women equality to men, as opposed to the old age, on the Bible you can find a 100, or more examples:
    To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
    Genesis 3:16
    Well, when I first begun to train a Martial Art, there were two ladies who already had a black belt at my Dojo, and they could whip my ass easily, as a first kyu (white belt) it took me years to be able to deal with them, strength only take you so far, if you lack learned skills.
    And movies, will be movies, always trying to set trends, and bringing the new, by showing us the latest on hip culture, as untruthful it may be, or just not very likely, for an average person, male or female independently of what sort of values, and views on many issues they may have, like I do not agree with the popular use of violence, but through my life watching movies I can dismiss it, knowing many people enjoy watching violent movies, and say: “Its just a movie.”
    Remember this song?
    By the way, today I only watch a movie occasionally, on my computer, if tired of reading, or writing, unlike years ago when going to the movies was my favorite entertainment, remember when young keeping the stubs of the ticket, and keep them on a jar, to count them at the end of the year, to figure how many movies I had watched. Today I have not go to a theater, at least three years ago, when my daughter would take me, she moved out of town since.
    “So you want to jump out your trick bag
    And ease on into a hip bag
    But you ain’t just exactly sure what’s hip
    So you start to let your hair grow
    Spend big bucks to cop you a wardrobe
    But somehow you know there’s much more to the trip
    What is hip?
    Tell me, tell me if you think you know
    What is hip?
    If you was really hip
    The passing years would show
    You into a hip trip
    Maybe hipper than hip
    But what is hip?
    So you became part of the new breed
    Been smokin’ only the best weed
    Been hangin’ out on the so-called hippest set
    Being seen at all the right places
    Being seen with just the right faces
    You should be satisfied
    Still it ain’t quite right
    What is hip?
    Tell me, tell me if you think you know
    What is hip?
    If you was really hip
    The passing years would show
    You into a hip trip
    Maybe hipper than hip
    But what is hip?
    Hipness, what it is!
    Hipness, what it is!
    Hipness, what it is!
    And sometimes hipness is
    What it ain’t!
    You done even went and found you a guru
    In your effort to find you a new you
    And maybe even managed
    To raise your conscious level
    As you striving to find the right road
    There’s one thing you should know
    What’s hip today
    Might become passe.”

    Nice post, I enjoyed it very much, thank you!😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you dropped by, thank you, BH.
      You know, I don’t remember that song offhand, and when I tried to play it in YouTube, YouTube kept playing one ad after another and wouldn’t get to the song!!!
      But the lyrics say it all anyway, especially the end: What’s hip today might become passe.
      And it will, for sure.
      I’m glad you showed the youngsters some good cinema! We try to do that, too, for people from a different generation who are only used to the crap that’s made today.
      And I enjoyed My Fair Lady too, BH. I even read the book when I was around 11 or 12. And it IS from a more innocent time and very charming in its own way, even when, at the end, the professor is asking Eliza to do some domestic thing for him, he’s asking very gently and with extreme affection.
      But I still stand that the lyrics from “A Hymn to Him” describing women fit Mitch McConnell MUCH better than any women that I know personally, lol !!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Great post 🙂 As for myself, labeling a film in thematic ways (in this case, feminist) only works on the surface, because at the center, it is all subjective. Every single woman seems to have a different definition of what they consider to be feminist. This is just based on the opinions of read of many different women. Speaking of Jayne Mansfield, watch her comedies (the ones directed by Frank Tashlin) and you may realize that her characters are only “dumb” on the surface. At the center, it is the men depicted in those films (subtly or not-so-subtly) who come off as the idiots. As for your reference to the late Roger Ebert, I too think he sold her short. As with the late Andrew Sarris, Ebert was as right (he wrote a book about one of my many favorite directors), as he was wrong. I think you may have inspired me to do a future blog entry on great female film directors – I have not written it yet, but my thoughts are too numerous here. As for Mad Max: Fury Road, I loved that one so much that I saw it 4 times at the movie theater when it came out 🙂 As for Gone With the Wind, it was good, but I will take 1938’s Jezebel over that one on any day – this is in regards to then Hollywood portrayals of Southern Belle protagonists amid the Old South (pre or during the Civil War). As with Pam, I am rambling on an on and I apologize 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi, John. Ramble away, lol !! It’s fun. And this is a topic a lot of us love–movies–so it’s easy to keep talking.
    I’d love to see the lady directors post from you. But, yeah, these subjects are really extensive and I can only even touch the tip of the iceberg. There’s also a paradoxical aspect to many of the examples I gave, like why does Charlize have to shave her head in Mad Max, but conversely, I’m with you: it’s one of my favorite movies ever, and she actually was really good in that role. And like I told B.H., My Fair Lady, if taken with a light heart and setting today’s concerns aside, is sweet and fun.
    I agree about Roger Ebert, too. He did sell Jayne short. On top of which, she’s in Marilyn’s shadow and can’t act? Who said Marilyn could act? I know she went to the Actors Studio for a while and was intent on improving her acting, but for me, Marilyn always came off as forced.
    Anyway, let’s see the lady directors! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, as much as I love Mad Max: Fury Road, I could never understand why Charlize Theron’s Furiosa had a shaved head? As for My Fair Lady, I was always a bigger fan of Pygmalion, which MFL was based on.

      Nevertheless, I disagree with you on Marilyn Monroe, as I thought she was a natural. As a star, she was deservedly iconic and praiseworthy and as an actress, I think she was underrated. Undoubtedly, she still had a long way to go to achieve that, because it wasn’t perfect, but I personally think that she gave everything she had into all of her performances. I also think that she was a talented screen comedienne, and as with Jayne Mansfield in her Frank Tashlin directed comedies, she was always playing dumb in subtle ways whereas the guys she attracted came off as buffoons 🙂 As for my favorite female film directors, I can’t give them all here, but I will drop you a few: Chantal Akerman, Kathryn Bigelow, Jane Campion, Elaine May, Kelly Reichardt and Agnes Varda to name just six 🙂 Let us continue this wonderful conversation 🙂

      P.S. I left a comment on part on your previous blog entry regarding women in film 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I admittedly would have to watch more Marilyn movies to have a conclusive opinion about her. For now I shall acquiesce to your more far-reaching expertise on her abilities. I definitely agree that she had comic timing. Some Like It Hot was hilarious. And I give her a lot of props for even getting training, unlike SO MANY actors I can think of today who would benefit from training.
    Furiosa and Mad Max. Hmm. I don’t know. I think, along with the missing arm, it was just part of the aesthetic. Like Pam said above, just her bad-ass persona. You know, with all the black paint on her face too. I thought her fight with Tom Hardy was pretty realistic, too. She didn’t do anything ridiculously unbeleivable, so it looked pretty “real.”
    As for the directors, yes, I see a few of my faves in there–Bigelow, Campion, and May. I’ll have to look the other ones up–I may know them. I’m terrible with names!
    But Campion, oh, man. The Piano. Talk about a great role for a woman, right? AND the guys. What a great film. So unusual!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally agree with you on The Piano and one wonders how Holly Hunter achieved that complex performance without a scratch? I mean she was just amazing and totally deserving of that Oscar for Best Actress 🙂 Same sentiment applies to Anna Paquin, who joined the ranks of Tatum O’Neal as the youngest actress to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress 🙂 And yes, Sam Neill and Harvey Keitel were strong as well 🙂 Speaking of Campion, her new film The Power of the Dog will come to Netflix here in the US on November 17 🙂 Here is a youtube video link below to it’s trailer 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi, John. I mean, I have my notifications checked off–no idea why I missed this one! Thanks a lot for that clip. Ms. Campion’s new film looks goooooood ! Atmospheric and full of actors I enjoy. Jeez, can’t believe you left this almost a month ago, lol. Arrrrghhhh !!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I agree that women are more like men nowadays, but as with many things, it means taking the bad with the good. For example, I don’t consider being OVER-agressive / macho to be a good thing in a man OR a woman…but isn’t that the world we live in now (and is the worse for it, in the sense that equality has come to include woman’s taking on some of man’s worse qualities)?

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Exactly, mistermuse. It doesn’t seem like anyone’s stopping to ask “How far does equality go?” Why WOULD you want to take on some of men’s worst qualities? How does that make you better or make the world better? I think people confuse strength with aggression. They’re two completely different things. But it IS the world today…. for the time being….

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Do you know what the real problem is? Even movies that revolve around female characters are usually written by men. I have long complained that big franchises like Star Trek or Star Wars have never had a female writer, which explains why Princess Leia, Uhura and even Riley feel like pseudo-feminism. What we are constantly getting is a man’s idea of female power. Not that men can’t write good female-oriented stories — Autumn Sonata, An Unmarried Woman, etc. — but I think it is important to allow women to tell their own stories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That makes sense to me. Yeah, I guess we can tell when a voice is false. It just doesn’t ring true. The same is true for women who don’t write men well or even, sadly, ethnicity, which, I hate to beat the dead horse, but a lot of white writers try to write black, or others, and it’s just bad. I was captioning a show a few years ago where the script said some black kids were playing in some tall grass, running around with sticks…”as if they were prowling through the Savannah of deepest, darkest Africa.” That was actually in the description! My mouth dropped open. And, of course, the show is terrible. So….yeah, more authenticity for origination would be wonderful, wouldn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think a woman would have never turned the mistress into a “boogeyman” (and the cheating husband into a hero) in Fatal Attraction (What do you think?). You can tell that Kramer vs Kramer and A Marriage Story, two movies about divorce, were written by men. In both movies, the wife is blamed for the divorce.

        Experience does matter. For example, I wouldn’t be able to write something like Boys in the Hood. What do I know about growing up black? I think The Godfather is great because Coppola had an Italian background. There are exceptions, but for the most part, you can tell when the storyteller is faking it. I’m Hispanic, and as much as I like West Side Story, I have to admit that it is artificial and cliched — it’s definitely a white person’s interpretation of Hispanic culture.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Oh, man, yeah, you’re making me think of all those movies now. There’s so man! I’ve never seen A Marriage Story, but Kramer vs Kramer and Fatal Attraction…jeez, so true.
    The entertainment business is awash in so many levels of inauthenticity, isn’t it, from women to men to race to religion and physical challenges and gender identification.
    I know exactly how you feel, too, seeing the obvious flaws in West Side Story from your personal point of view, because that’s mine with the show I mentioned and the black kids, because I’m mixed race from a black culture. So I just roll my eyes at those shows. And even movies like Hidden Figures, which is trying to tell better stories than The Butler and Precious, has ridiculous scenes in it that just make one’s heart constrict. Why couldn’t Hidden Figures have been as epic as Lawrence of Arabia or as amazing as There Will Be Blood?
    It’s been an eye-opening year, though. I think there is a sea change happening….. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well-reasoned and balanced essay, Stacey. I understand where you are coming from with what I consider the hyperbole of the superkiller strong action figures that are trending for females. Maybe the original My Fair Lady was also a hyperbole of what the patriarchy was trying to brainwash us with as well? You’ve articulated why this is irritating in that it is overlooking our genuine strength that has always been with women. I look at the exaggerations, especially in cinema, like Kabuki theater. It’s entertaining and it is taking us to the polar opposite of how women have been depicted. I see the same trends for the depictions of people who are non-white. When I read where Hattie couldn’t attend the opening, it makes my blood boil. Not sure if you’ve had a chance to see, “Lovecraft Country” yet or not? I would highly recommend it. I don’t think we are anywhere near where we need to be in cinema but I do think we are in a process heading in the right direction.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Yeah, Li, agree with everything you said. There’s so many examples of “right” and “wrong” and in between, and then one has to take “entertainment” into consideration….BUT I did feel like, in thinking about the topic, there is progress in the right direction, like you said. Better than nothing, right?
    RE: Lovecraft Country, yes, I have seen some episodes, and while I have my personal criticisms, overall it’s definitely a change, something different, unusual perspective, all wrapped up in the supernatural enchilada–so who could resist? A for effort !


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