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"Why did it the main character have to be a girl?" and other tough questions about modern cinema

ScarJo as Lucy: Apparently, if you're really really smart, you can grow another hand
ScarJo as Lucy: Apparently, if you’re really really smart, you can grow another hand

So the other night I watched Lucy, a highly entertaining movie with an incredibly silly premise: Scarlett Johansson develops superpowers after a drug enables her to use more than the standard 10% of her brain. (Yes, I know, and the film’s director knows, that the idea we use only 10% of our brains is a myth. And that being super smart wouldn’t give you power over the laws of physics.)

Anyway, after watching the film I took a peek at the IMDb message boards to see if anyone had a way to explain one particularly baffling plot point. Someone did. But I also encountered this charming fellow, who started two separate topics in order to express his extreme displeasure that the main character was … a woman:

 I don't like how a woman can take out so many guys so easily.. image for user Comment-Here by Comment-Here » 2 days ago (Fri Feb 27 2015 07:42:13) Flag ▼ | Reply | IMDb member since September 2012 This never happens in real life, so why is it in so many movies? I find it hard to believe that an average size girl can beat up an average sized male.. ive never seen it happen.. why is that trope so popular?

 Why did it the main character have to be a girl? image for user Comment-Here by Comment-Here » 2 days ago (Fri Feb 27 2015 07:37:31) Flag ▼ | Reply | IMDb member since September 2012 I am tired of the movie industry trying to shove girl power down our throats.. most women dont even watch action movies.. it would be like making a chick flick that caters to only men.. wth?

Bear in mind that this is a science fiction film. In it, Lucy does many things that would be impossible for any human being to do, regardless of gender: she [SPOILER ALERT] causes a dozen men to collapse on the ground with a wave of her hand; she learns a language by overhearing three conversations on the street; she travels through time and meets the original prehistoric Lucy; she grows an extra hand just for the hell of it; and, oh yeah, she turns herself into a tiny computer with a USB plug.

Movie heroes and superheroes, most of them male, do impossible things in action movies all of the time. But somehow I never see any of these guys complaining that Superman can fly or lift cars off the ground or turn an entire lake into ice with his breath.

Even those movie heroes who don’t have superpowers regularly do things that would be impossible for any real human being to do. I mean, have you seen the Crank movies? Or, I dunno, Rambo? Or any of the other gazillion action movies out there with male stars?

Somehow Mr. Comment-Here — and all the other guys who put forward this complaint — have no trouble suspending their disbelief when it comes to male characters doing impossible things. But the idea that a mere “girl” could win a fight with a guy — something that isn’t impossible in real life —  breaks their brains.

When another commenter responded to Mr. Comment-Here with a snarky putdown, he offered this odd retort

 Re: Why did it the main character have to be a girl? image for user Comment-Here by Comment-Here » 1 day ago (Fri Feb 27 2015 19:04:15) Flag ▼ | Reply | IMDb member since September 2012 Post Edited: Fri Feb 27 2015 19:04:45 Omg.. I make a good point and you just sweep it under the rug.. you are the one with issues if you ask me  you probably let a woman take charge of your body, coward Re: Why did it the main character have to be a girl? image for user harveythepooka by harveythepooka » 1 day ago (Fri Feb 27 2015 19:27:37) Flag ▼ | Reply | IMDb member since July 2006 You are so overtly sexist there is no point in talking to you. If you don't want to watch a movie with a female protagonist that is your own issue, not the issue of the movie industry.  And why is the main character a woman? Why not? It doesn't matter either way who played the role just from the script and Lucy did nothing that a man or woman wouldn't have done in the same situation. Re: Why did it the main character have to be a girl? image for user Comment-Here by Comment-Here » 1 day ago (Fri Feb 27 2015 23:16:01) Flag ▼ | Reply | IMDb member since September 2012 Well like I said before, men are the ones who mostly watch this.. you can't really get into it if it is a girl... It seems so backwards to me.. are they trying to get more women to watch action movies (to make more money)? I hear it worked for making women play more video games

Looking back through Comment-Here’s previous contributions to the IMDb message boards, I discovered another, er, injustice he seems to care about a lot. In the forum devoted to the 1997 version of Lolita, he wrote:

 If Men can't sex Girls.. Then neither should Boys, end of discussion! image for user Comment-Here by Comment-Here » Thu Feb 5 2015 19:27:21 Flag ▼ | Reply | IMDb member since September 2012 It is illegal for underagers to send each other nude pics  Why is sex any different? It should be illegal for underagers to have sex with each others..  If I can't have sex with underaged girls then neither should boys, end of discussion!

Evidently the Men’s Rights movement is leaking. .

 

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Falconer
5 years ago

I have to admit that I got a bit disgusted with Law & Order when they had an episode a couple years after 9/11 in which there was a throw-away line from one of the detectives that said (paraphrasing), NAMBLA operated in cells, you know, “like Al Qaeda.”

I thought that was a bit cheaty. You should be able to make a case against their claims without resorting to the bugaboo du jour.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

One of my best childhood friends was dating a 24 year old when she was 14. They had sex too. He knew he was committing a crime too. He had her hide the relationship from adults and wouldn’t even meet her friends. Ick. I was squicked out by it at the but as an adult, I’m even more disgusted.

I wish I had done something, but I don’t know what I could have done. Her mother meant well but didn’t have any parenting skills and was sort of benignly neglectful. Her dad wasn’t in her life. We went to different schools so talking to a teacher or school counselor about it wouldn’t have done anything.

The whole thing was really sad. She had the misfortune of being from a low income household and in a vulnerable situation and she developed early and was very pretty. Just the sort of person predators seek.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
5 years ago

NAMBLA: “it was a real group of actual men who thought it was their right to have sex with children.”
http://38.media.tumblr.com/ea2f3b79c459fac32e5668d3fdd48925/tumblr_mhsfgotTU21rn6052o1_500.gif
WWTH
That is very sad and awful. Have you heard from her recently? If you don’t mind me asking.

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
5 years ago

Kootiepatra sez:

And also, don’t make him change diapers; he thinks it’s really gross.

There’s a bonus contradiction in that one: Women would never fight to be sanitation workers or fish packers or whatever because that’s really gross work.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Jenora Feuer sez:

Somebody needs to point them to Tomoe Gozen, a storied female samurai from twelfth century Japan who later likely became a nun.

She was in the excerpt we read from Heike Monogatari in my Classical Japanese class. Her lord, Kiso, was a sexist jerkbag and chased her off at the last moment because he thought it would detract from his honor to have a chick around when he died in battle. Ironically, she went on to kick some serious ass (without superpowers!) before retiring and he got himself killed in a hilariously embarrassing way.

Dawn Incognito
Dawn Incognito
5 years ago

fruitloopsie, I can’t stop watching that Chihiro #nope .gif! Thank you, it made me smile.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

Fruitloopsie,
We’ve drifted apart in adulthood but I see her every couple of years. Last I heard she was doing okay.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
5 years ago

Dawn Incognito
More Chihiro Gifs!
http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/793/200/165.gifcomment image
WWTH
That’s good. I know that feeling like you really want to help but you don’t know what to do it’s truly a terrible feeling. You are a good person and I hope she does get the help she needs.

Olive O'Sudden
Olive O'Sudden
5 years ago

This is what I hear:
“But how can I enjoy a movie if I can’t identify with the main character as a fellow penis-haver? And it isn’t because I’m an imagination-less dudebro–it’s simply a fact that guys can’t identify with a female character in literature or film the way that girls can with male characters because the perspective and experiences of male characters are universal!”

katz
5 years ago

So speaking of women fighting and such, does anyone know who this is?

http://i.imgur.com/CCqezOQ.jpg

Catalpa
Catalpa
5 years ago

Google image search gave the results for this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onna-bugeisha

Though that appears to be a page about a class of warrior women, and not a specific lady. Maybe some of the other results might bring up more enlightening things…

Dvärghundspossen
5 years ago

Men have the advantage in brute physical force and upper-body strength, but lower-body strength wise, men and women are about the same.

Not quite true – men, on average, have stronger legs than women of the same size as well, but the difference in lower body strength is much smaller than the difference in upper body strength. My personal trainer once speculated that the smaller difference we see in lower body strength is the difference that’s actually due to testosteron levels, whereas the greater difference in upper body strength have cultural explanations. Zie speculated thus, because there’s really nothing about the hormone testosteron that could explain why muscles in the upper part of the body would develop more than those in the lower part.

Anyway, I read this online mag about bodybuilding and weight-lifting, and they once listed all the known difference between men and women that are relevant to these sports. There’s no point in me linking to the article since it’s in Swedish, but one interesting fact that I had not previously known is that women on average can do twice as many reps with a dumbell or bar weighing half as much as what they can maximally lift. If me and a man were to do this test with bicepscurls and dumbells, for instance, and I manage to curl a 10-kilo-dumbell once and he manages to curl a 15-kilo-dumbell once, then I get a 5-kilo-dumbell for this exercise and he gets a 7,5-kilo-dumbell, so it’s relative to the person’s strength in this way. But women can, on average, do about 60 reps this way and men only about 30. I think that’s pretty interesting – and it’s also interesting that there’s not a single sport that measures this ability….

contrapangloss
5 years ago

Hm….

That’s interesting, Dvarg! Maybe it might explain why. I usually won the envelopment wars that one dude in fencing club kept trying…

Side-note for non fencers: the envelopment is a move where you capture your opponents blade. The appropriate counter is to relax and go with the envelopment until the moment is just right, then return the envelopment with their own momentum. Then they counter by going along with the envelopment and returning it, and you, then they… Until one of you either screws up by tensing up (which lets the envelopment succeed) or you feint out at the exact right time and retreat.

Envelopment wars can be fun to watch and fun to do, but there’s only so much you can take.

10knives
10knives
5 years ago

Besides, one of the most important factors in deciding how a REAL fight (close quarters or over a distance) goes is whenever one takes the other by surprise, or makes a good first move.

Forget strength – what about stealth?

ParadoxicalIntention
5 years ago

A. Noyd | March 2, 2015 at 9:46 pm

There’s a bonus contradiction in that one: Women would never fight to be sanitation workers or fish packers or whatever because that’s really gross work.

I despise this argument considering there are so many feminist manifestos aimed at sanitation work and coal mining in particular. Some women want to do these jobs. Just like some women want to do white collar work. Women are as diverse when it comes to their skill sets as men, but try telling that to an MRA. They’d probably look at you like you grew a second head that only speaks Russian.

10knives | March 3, 2015 at 4:14 am

Besides, one of the most important factors in deciding how a REAL fight (close quarters or over a distance) goes is whenever one takes the other by surprise, or makes a good first move.

Forget strength – what about stealth?

Ah, RPGs…where I do quite a lot of misandring. I got into Tolkiencraft 2 for Minecraft today (sucks that you can only play one map, but it’s a nice map and there’s a good balance of mods), and there’s an option for you to be a female who only dates other females! :D

gilshalos
5 years ago

I…have an issue with Dragon Age:Inquisition.
Now, I love this game..I’ve played it pretty much non-stop for the last 3 months but….
Yesterday, I came to the point of sex in a relationship with Iron Bull with one pc.
Now, I expected it to be BDSM from other games. However, the pc in question did not have that knowledge.
And Iron Bull did say he didn’t think that the PC knew enough to sleep with him, but he never said why.
Then in a later scene there was discussion about consent and safe words…but, not before they slept together.
This..freaked me out. I deleted the pc in question.
I am not a member of the BDSM scene, though I have experimented mildly with one partner, but…this seemed to me to be abusive.
Am I wrong ?

Luzbelitx
5 years ago

I can’t help seeing the question “Why did it the main character have to be a girl?” as a sort of prelude to some witty punchline, in a “why-the-chicken-crossed-the-road” way.

Except the only punchline I can think of is “to piss off misogynists LOL”

Luzbelitx
5 years ago

Also, hi LBT! I’m glad to see you again!

lith
lith
5 years ago

Some women want to do these jobs. Just like some women want to do white collar work. Women are as diverse when it comes to their skill sets as men, but try telling that to an MRA.

In one thread that contained such nonsense I argued that nurses have traditionally been women and involves such things as help a patient clear their constipation. I made the mistake of describing this as demeaning, which naturally became the focus of the rant (caring for people isn’t demeaning*, said the anti-feminist convinced that women hate doing ‘man things’) – I guess when your argument is made of nonsense you’ll take any opportunity to change the subject.

Why can’t these people stop basing all of their opinions on outdated stereotypes?

*I should have said ‘unpleasant’, which is what I really meant.

Arctic Ape
Arctic Ape
5 years ago

LBT:

(Also seriously katz, Colon Man’s tag line could be, “YOU’LL SHIT BRICKS.”)

This reminds me of one famous line in a Finnish WWII novel, of a drunk macho soldier boasting about himself:

“Koskela from Finland, eats iron and shits chain!”

It sounds catchier in the original, but you could it substitute with

“Colon Man, eats rock and shits bricks!”

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
5 years ago

Since we were talking about female warriors I thought I might share this. It’s awesome!
http://defence.pk/threads/world-greatest-pirate-a-cantonese-chinese-women.311003/

omniavincit
omniavincit
5 years ago

@Sarah I remember getting knocked on my ass by a female member of the class at a jitsu session – I must have had a good 6″ in height and at least 50 pounds in weight over her, but down I went.

ahsanaamir
5 years ago

Reblogged this on .

evrything
evrything
5 years ago

They’re talking about that movie where a woman gets these amazing superpowers but at the end she doesn’t know what to do and has to ask to Morgan Freeman because no amount of ubiquity can make up for the lack of a penis?

43-TQ-ZYX
43-TQ-ZYX
5 years ago

Reminds me of this, except this is 4 real.