Categories
misogyny MRA oppressed men the spearhead

>Female action heroes: An abomination

>

Most 12-year-old girls are not superheroines.
One of my favorite dopey complaints from the Men’s Rights crowd is that action movies featuring ass-kicking women are “unrealistic” because real women are too dainty to do all that ass-kicking shit. On The Spearhead today, W.F. Price aims his withering contempt at the new film Hanna: 
The ass-kicking chick flicks are getting more and more ridiculous as time goes on. In “Hanna” a girl is raised by her father to be a vicious killer somewhere in the arctic. Hanna is played by Saoirse Ronan, an Irish girl with a sweet smile who looks about as tough as a bunny rabbit. Nevertheless, we are supposed to suspend disbelief and accept that this waif is capable of breaking necks with a single blow.
Even worse, in the trailer for the film, young Miss Ronan is depicted doing … pull-ups!  “In general, women can’t do pull-ups,” Price complains, “and the vanishingly few who can don’t look much like Saoirse Ronan.”
Price does have a point. Real women can’t do the things that female action heroes do in films. Angelina Jolie may be a deeply scary woman, but I’m pretty sure she can’t take out entire boats full of trained assassins by herself, or jump from truck to truck on the highway to escape pursuers in cars, as she did as super seekret double (triple?) agent Evelyn Salt. Also, to the best of my knowledge, Sarah Michelle Gellar has never really slain even a single vampire. And there is no such thing as an indestructible cheerleader.
But here’s the thing, guys: All that crazy shit that male action stars do? Real men can’t do that either. Matt Damon is pretty buff, and I’m pretty sure he could take Angelina Jolie in a fight, but he’s not actually Jason Bourne. Christian Bale doesn’t put on a batsuit at night and run around town taking out baddies with his bare – well, gloved — hands. Toby Maguire can’t swing from building to building, or stick to walls; if he were bitten by a radioactive spider, he’d need to go to the hospital. Arnold is not the Terminator.
Also, and I hate to be the one who has to break this to you, guys: professional wrestling is fake.
I know it might be tough to take all this in, guys, so here’s Captain Kirk fighting a very slow-moving alien monster on planet Not-Very-Far-From-The-Studio. Kirk has a little trouble with this one but in real life, I’m pretty sure William Shatner could take down an alien monster, provided it moved as slowly as this one.

If you enjoyed this post, would you kindly* use the “Share This” or one of the other buttons below to share it on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or wherever else you want. I appreciate it.

*Yes, that was a Bioshock reference.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

160 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
*THASF*
9 years ago

>I said "average audience", not society at large. By average audience, I meant naive, average folks who would walk out of a theatrical showing of a Saw sequel with their crying kids in tow. In most of those TV shows, the murders are off-screen or otherwise non-graphic. If you're willing to include horror films, avant-garde movies or exploitation flicks that cater to people's sick fetishes, heck, anything's possible.Also, we're talking about two completely different things. I was talking about female action heroines who name themselves among the main roster of protagonists. You mentioned victims that may not even be part of the supporting cast. The writers always treat these two archetypes differently from each other. While some side characters may indeed suffer horrid deaths at the hands of some villain or another, the female protagonists-of-action – if present at all – are often given a heavy-handed, patronizing treatment that sees them effortlessly doing things that a male hero would really have to put themselves out for.Again, this is the double standard at work. Can you imagine Jet Li's character in Unleashed as a female character? How about John McClane from Die Hard? Have you ever seen a typical action heroine get beaten up that badly and manage to pull out ahead in a fight?While female victims in fiction are common, and action heroines are still in the process of gaining ground, rare indeed is the action heroine who actually gets socked in the face a few times, or hit by a car, or reduced to a blood-streaked pulp and – get this – still manages to claim victory in the end. It gets especially strange when they have superpowers like regeneration or nigh-invulnerability and the author still coddles them just the same.Neil Marshall is one of the only directors I can think of in recent memory whose works would count as an exception to this rule. Rhona Mitra's character in Doomsday got smacked around a bit and still managed to kick some ass. Now that's cool.

Ion
Ion
9 years ago

>This is why I like those old Cynthia Rothrock beat-em-up movies. First, she's an actual martial artist, so no fakery there, and second, although she eventually dealt with the bad guys, she also got her butt kicked from time to time. In other words she wasn't some invincible super-hero, she was human, and I think it made her more sympathetic and a better character.It's funny that in action movies the creators wouldn't want to see women get hurt, whereas in a genre like horror, they seem to have no qualms about it, even taking it to excess in some cases. Different audience or something.

ginmar
9 years ago

>So let me get this straight. YOu don't find the cheap use of 'anonymous' unimportant female victims being bashed, ogled, tortured, and murdered—-and oh, sometimes subtly slut bashed by the other characters, or found in such compromising positions that it's implied—-to be as important as the fact that you just can't beat up a dame on screen?

*THASF*
9 years ago

>It's not that they aren't important, it's that they're beyond the scope of the discussion. We're talking specifically about female action heroes. As in not-victims. Mostly, anyway.I'm not talking about victims in slasher movies. What I'm talking about is the double standard that perpetuates tropes such as this or this. What I'm talking about is the kind of writing and choreographic sense that leads to your average action heroine in looking less like Jason Bourne and more like Silk Spectre during a fight. I don't want to see a neverending stream of unopposed parries and high kicks from action girls. I want to see them take nearly as much damage as they dish out. I want to see them using parts of the scenery as weapons. There's honestly nothing empowering about handing victories to a female action hero on a silver platter. If you ask me, it's better to make it look as though they've actually earned those victories.Oh, and Ion, I'm with you there on the Cynthia Rothrock thing. It's kinda silly that they have anorexics like Jolie doing those exact same kinds of roles (don't get me wrong; she looked fine in the Tomb Raider movies, but she's lost too much weight since then). Why can't they cast ACTUAL badasses like Lucia Rijker in more movies?

David Futrelle
9 years ago

>Have you ever seen a typical action heroine get beaten up that badly and manage to pull out ahead in a fight?All the female "action heroines" (and villains) get beat up pretty badly in the Kill Bill movies. Also, I'm not quite sure why you've declared horror films (which frequently feature female victims-turned-heroines getting pretty badly harmed) somehow off limits here. the line between horror and action is often hard to draw, and in any case lots and lots of people watch horror films.

*THASF*
9 years ago

>Yeah, I was about to mention Kill Bill, but it's been a while since I've seen it, so I don't really remember exactly how a lot of the action sequences went. Okay, so we've got Quentin Tarantino, Neil Marshall, and who else? I think I can name the number of directors that employ that sort of action on one hand.By the way, I never said that horror films were off-limits, Dave (LOL, my name's David too. Yay for all the Davids out there!). Rather, I was merely trying to keep the discussion focused on action heroines. That is, female characters that are placed into roles similar to your average hero played by the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bruce Willis. You're also spot on about the blending between action and horror. Aliens and Predator are two classic examples. Heck, the second Alien movie itself is a perfect example of the double standard in action. IIRC, only the marine dudes actually get seriously injured or killed on-screen. The dropship pilot's death was off-screen, and Newt and Ripley barely get a scratch on them. It's almost like a rule that you don't show it, like how classic sculpture omits detailed female genitalia. Weird, huh?

ginmar
9 years ago

>Yeah…..Marines? Duh? Any stab at portraying Marins in battle would include a fair amount of injuries. Newt and Ripley were in the rear. Newt's character was depicted as eight. Far from being th3e favoritism shown to women that you imply, this is simply an attempt at realism. You don't want an eight-year-old kid and a civilian mucking up your battle. "Aliens" wasn't marketed as horror, but in horror, the torture and rape-like actions inflicted on women form the basic plot for the genre.

*THASF*
9 years ago

>Oh, and Vasquez too. She and Gorman go out by committing suicide with a hand grenade. We don't even really see anything at all. It seems that whenever the ladies are introduced into an action scene, things usually go a little strange. Very often, an action girl not only avoids virtually all damage in a fight, but avoids dealing lethal damage to her opponents as well, as if she's a pacifist by default. When she hits, it's bloodless. Usually a high kick or karate chop to some weak point that renders the opponent instantly unconscious. When she gets hit, it's often just as bloodless.Everything else aside, can you think of any movie in recent memory where a female that fits the Action Girl archetype gets teeth knocked out, bruises, broken bones, scars, loses an eye, et cetera, while doing the same sort of damage to her opponents and staying alive to the end? In such a case, the violence is used to emphasize the masculinity of the character and her triumph in the face of adversity.Note that this sort of character stands in total contrast to a female victim in a horror movie who gets her head lopped off with a chainsaw. In that case, the violence is used to emphasize her femininity and vulnerability, and her death ultimately spares her any suffering or any further character development at all. One of the few exceptions to this rule that I can think of is in Japanese animation, movies and comics – or Asian films in general. Just look at Battle Angel Alita, Cynthia the Mission, Claymore, Black Lagoon or Battle Royale. Little wonder that a few of the Spearhead's members took part in a spot of anime-bashing. Surprisingly – or perhaps not-so-surprisingly, given the proclivities of a depressingly large number of anime fans – a lot of the comments are defensive in tone. But, to be honest, I think they didn't cover the issue properly. That guy's main complaint was against this trope, which is a slapstick device and has next to nothing to do with female empowerment or action girls in particular. If anything, it's used in a sexist manner to emphasize the "weirdness" or "otherness" of femininity. I wonder how half of those folks commenting on that article would've felt if they'd stumbled across Black Lagoon and seen that part where Revy and Roberta duke it out until they can't even stand, and the guys on the sidelines don't interfere because they're rightly fearful of getting injured.

chocolatejeebus
chocolatejeebus
5 years ago

I don’t think you know what misogyny is.

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
4 years ago

You do know that Angelina Jolie’s vehicle ‘Salt’ was actually written for a man, dont you?