I think too many movies get tough, spunky women wrong

Discussion in 'Misc. Films' started by doobie, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. doobie Registered

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    I was watching re-runs of Lois and Clark and Desperate Housewives the other day, and they both had lots of scenes where a female character supposed to be tough and ball-busting punched a man and knocked him over, every time with humorous slapstick music.

    On the surface it looked quite strong and "empowering" ...But I was thinking, the very fact that they play it as a joke, with the comedy music, shows that they see the idea of the woman being tougher than the man as unrealistic. It's the same as when they show a little kid outwitting an adult in comedy films. It's funny cause they are not in power in real life. So it is kind of "back handed" feminism.

    Also, I watched that Moby Dick with Dragons film, and they had a female team member who was meant to be really tough and able to beat all the men up. But the way she was acting, constantly being aggressive and trying to start on everyone, real tough male actors don't act like that in films. IE ones played by Stone Cold Austin etc, they are calm and silent. The male equivalent to how she acted was Joe Pesci in the Scorcese films, and he was meant to be a weak, insecure character.

    I know the examples are old shows and B Movies and obviously good films like Terminator, Aliens, Hunger Games went beyond that. I wanted to get it out though and see if anyone agreed.
     
  2. Tacit Ronin Registered

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    You are not wrong in the sense that many movies and TV shows patronize women further in the guise of making them stronger and better. There's also the pitfall of making them simply men with a set of boobies. I despise both attempts vehemently.
     
  3. Teelie Jokerface

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    It is hard for Hollywood and writers to make a tough, competent female character who is not basically just a man with boobs like Excelsior said. There are plenty of theories ranging from men being incapable of writing empowering female characters to not enough female writers out there to write them (though Joss Whedon can and Theresa Rebeck who wrote Catwoman says otherwise to female writers being the only solution).

    I don't buy that personally. I think they are afraid to do so because the concept is still (to them) a foreign idea that will throw off the audience and fail to make a profit.

    That is changing though and for the better. I like a broad range of characters and I'm partial to those who can buck a stereotype without becoming a mockery themselves.
     
  4. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    Well men on average are a lot tougher, or at least physically stronger.

    With rare exception, when you see a woman kicking a man's ass on television or in film it's unrealistic.

    Unless of course she has a gun. The great equalizer.
     
  5. Teelie Jokerface

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    Brute strength isn't always the winner. If you can manage to get someone else, even a bigger, stronger opponent in the right position, you can bring them down. Obviously I don't mean River from Firefly taking on some behemoth like Bane from Batman but there is a fair middle ground of skill and talent overcoming muscle.
     
  6. Tacit Ronin Registered

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    So is one adult man taking down six adult men.
     
  7. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    Well, River is excusable since she's got freaky powers. But when you've got a woman who's less than a 150 pounds, beating the crap out of trained male goons, that's just unrealistic.

    And it doesn't really bother me unless it gets outright ridiculous.
     
  8. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    No, that happens in real life. It's not common. But it happens.

    I've seen that. Well, more like four vs one.
     
  9. Tacit Ronin Registered

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    A woman taking down a man happens even more in real life.
     
  10. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    It sure does, but they rarely look like the ladies we see kicking ass in movies. Plus, probably not a half dozen men.

    Our idea of physical beauty does not exactly equate ass kicking abilities.

    There are of course women who could take on half a dozen men, but you probably wouldn't want to see them in a catsuit.
     
  11. I SEE SPIDEY Registered

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    Thankyou!
     
  12. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    Did you get beat up by six men or something?
     
  13. Pink Ranger The North Remembers

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    Law of conservation of ninjitsu.

    Actually, Terry Pratchett gave a pretty good explanation of how this works in real life. 6 guys against 1 guy who has nothing to lose; unless all 6 guys are particularly motivated, they are each going to progressively put in slightly less effort than the guy next to them, because of collective risk aversion.
     
  14. Tacit Ronin Registered

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    And the men that can take down multiple men in real life look like movie stars?
     
  15. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    Since leading males are generally buff, yes.

    Also, you said one woman taking on six men. The woman is obviously at disadvantage, even if she is fighting only one man.

    However, if it was one woman vs six women, then obviously her odds would be much better for her than fighting six men, as they are for the man fighting six men.

    I recall reading somewhere (probably Wikipedia) that the sexes have a difference of 40-50% in upper body strength. The difference is less extreme in the lower body, but still significant. That's a big difference in a fight.

    Course, I guess she could just kick them in the 'nads, but that rarely seems to come up in shows and movies.
     
  16. Silvermoth Krakoan native

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    None of these films are real you know. Do you really think Arnold Schwarzenegger can run around beating up people with his fists and not getting shot.

    It's escapism. I don't know why people only take a reality check when it's an female action hero
     
  17. Gianakin_ SW Prequels Defender

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    Film Critic Hulk said it best: You write a badass (or whatever) role for a guy... and then change the role's gender to a woman. Voila.
     
  18. Thundercrack85 Registered

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    I don't think that works very well in practice.

    Male and female aren't interchangeable.

    I'd be curious to hear what a feminist would think of that approach.
     
  19. Octoberist point blank

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    When you're writing for a tough female, you got to utilize the advantages that a woman has that a man may lack.
     
  20. dark_b Registered

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    when a director respects women there is no problem. and they always find a way to writte good characters

    Cameron,Whedon,Besson,Scott,...

    there are like 90% of male members on SHH and this is SHH. superherohype. which means that a lot would like men with big muscles,tight suits, boots and debating if they digitally changed his penis. this thread will get ugly.
     
    #20 dark_b, Jun 5, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  21. chamber-music Infinity Ammo

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    Ripley in Alien was originally written as a man and then cast as a women.

    Sarah Conner in Terminator 2 was badass without losing her femininity.

    I don't think its that hard to write a physically or emotionally tough female character.
     
  22. doobie Registered

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    I loved Elektra in the Daredevil movies, even if the movies themselves werent that great.
     
  23. <(o_o)> Evangeline Is My Hero!

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    Is that what Paul W.S. Anderson did with Milla Jovovich in the Resident Evil movies? If you didn't know that Alice was a character in the game you could have just as easily changed the role to a male & it would have been just as bad ass but it was so much better seeing Milla doing all the ass kicking.
     
  24. Sentinel X optical illusion

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    Here are a few female characters action characters that are believable:

    Ellen Ripley
    Sarah Connor
    Trinity
    Mystique
    Clarice Starling
    Princess Leia
    The Bride (Kill Bill)
    Neytiri
    Katniss Everdeen
    Lisbeth Salander (The girl with the dragon tattoo)
    Eli (Let the Right one in)

    So, its clear to see there is no set formula since all of these female characters vary so greatly. However, I think most will agree that the majority of characters are good to great characters. So, its not that females are not believable as action stars, its that horrible writers think that cheesy gimmicky writing will make their female characters seem tough. In reality the same principles apply to male characters. There are so many male characters that are overlooked when in fact they do not come across as believable at all. For example.
    Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator and Predator = Belivable
    Arnold Schwrzenegger in Commando = Ridiculous

    It has more to do with the writing and context of the story if anything. Sex seem to be nearly irrelevant when it comes to the believability of an action star
     
  25. Gianakin_ SW Prequels Defender

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    Obviously the man was oversimplifying to make a point.
     

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