Heroine Worship

9 Dec

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This past year in movies has arguably been a great one for women. From Snow White and the Huntsman, Brave, and the Hunger Games, movies introduced young brave women who aren’t afraid to kick some ass.

Not everyone’s happy about it though. Movie critic, Frank Parlato, recently quit his job because he disapproves of the roles these women are given in movies. “I don’t want to publish reviews of films where women are alpha and men are beta,” he wrote. “Where women are heroes and villains and men are just lesser versions or shadows of females.”

One movie he used as an example was Snow White and the Huntsman, which showed Snow White overcoming vulnerability, donning armor, and charging into war against the evil queen. This, Parlato claims, is “a Hollywood agenda of glorifying degenerate power women and promoting as natural the weakling, hyena-like men, cum eunuchs.”

Why does his opinion matter? According to an article from the New York Times, it matters because Hollywood is known for over-sexualizing and degrading women, and it’s surprising that in this day and age some positive portrayal of strong women in movies can be so threatening.

Hollywood is arguably one of the most sexist industies, argues the article. Smart well-rounded characters, like Hermione Granger, are only the sidekicks. Women aren’t heroes unless it’s in a ‘chick-flick’ which, of course, men would not want to see anyway. Who want’s to see a woman be the hero?

Even in comedies women aren’t funny, men are. Katherine Hiegl made Hollywood universally angry when she called Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, sexist. She argued that the movie is “a little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. … I had a hard time with it, on some days. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy?”

Hiegl was right, frankly, it doen’t matter how deeply immature a guy is, hot girls are gonna sleep with them anyway. And those girls are gonna be bitches and the guys are gonna be goofy and adorable. If the girl is funny, it’s because she’s dumb. That’s how comedy’s framed.

Any female heroes stereotypically are obsessed with their love lives. The chick-flick is basically a love lusting woman looking for a perfect man. Movies featuring heroines like Katniss Everdeen should be a breath of fresh air, proving that a female hero can focus on other things beyond her love life.

Hollywood, luckily, is beginning to move past gender roles for heroines. Supporting movies like the Hunger Games can make this progress more permanent. I hope we see a lot more Katniss Everdeen types of heroines in the future!!!

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3 Responses to “Heroine Worship”

  1. amandalovesmovies December 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    We’re also starting to see STRONG women characters instead of STRONG WOMEN characters. There are so many female characters who are defined solely by their fact of femininity and that is supposed to mean their awesome but we’re getting heroines with more complexity. Anyone who doesn’t like it can suck it 😉

  2. clairekochmer December 9, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    Omgsh I love this post! It is so true that there are so many great movies out with strong heroine leads. I never thought about Knocked Up being sexist before, but not that I read this, its hard to ignore. From what we learned from Miss Representation, it doesn’t surprise me that Knocked Up is always showing on that channel either. I don’t want knocked up to be sexist because I really like Judd Apatow and his work, this really disappoints me.

  3. cassiedebolt December 10, 2012 at 4:05 am #

    I cannot describe how much I despise that man now. Not all men are threatened by a strong woman and it is the kind of role models we want to be showing our children. He needs to come out of the 1950s and learn where were going today. Men no longer rule our world and I don’t know about the rest of the women but I am not going to be the lesser person in a relationship. I completely agree with women being obsessed with their love lives in movies and it’s definitely something that needs to stop. How are we supposed to raise daughters to be independent if their life revolved around finding a man?

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