‘Strong Women’ characters

I haven’t seen the new Ghostbusters movie yet.  I want to, but having read so much about it already I fear that at this point I’m more motivated to see it as some sort of statement than just to enjoy the movie.  Which is fine, I guess, except that the whole point of the statement I would be making is that it’s perfectly normal and good to have a movie featuring lots of women and nothing to make a big deal about.  So basically, making a big deal of the fact that it’s not a big deal.  Got it.

Purely co-incidentally, I watched Tank Girl last night for possibly the first time since the actual 90’s.  It’s an awesome movie.  There’s plenty of female characters; good, evil, and middling, and there are also plenty of male characters of all kinds.  The main character is (obviously) a woman, and while it has a healthy helping of ‘sexy’ shots, there’s also many where she’s awkward, undignified, and particularly unladylike.

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By the time it ended I was left wondering what had gone wrong since then.  It was made (say it quietly) over twenty years ago.  Think for a moment about how much has changed since then.  In the mid nineties, the internet was barely a thing for many people, and although what would come to be called the ‘first smartphone’ had just been released, it looked like the item you see to the right.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment before I get to the next point.

Growing up, I heard all the time that the ‘battle of the sexes’ was over; equality had been achieved, nothing to see here, you can now get on with your lives like real human beings.  It was only when I left home, got a job, and had to deal with people who had been around a bit longer that I realised that this was not the world I had been promised.

I’m still not entirely clear on whether it simply stalled, or actually reversed direction.  I think I was in my twenties before I discovered that society can (and often does) move in the direction opposite to the one that I had learned to call progress.  There are currents that are actively trying to separate gender roles, to reduce individual expression, and to limit personal freedoms.  I found that profoundly disturbing, and I still do.

I know my younger, more militant self would be appalled by the extent to which I’ve kowtowed to social norms.  These days, I wear a wedding ring, and most of my clothes come from the ‘ladies’ department.  The blatant activism has been worn out of me, a little piece at a time.  But there’s still a spark that wants to make a difference, and bend the world into the shape I was promised it would be.  It’s not much of a statement, but I guess I’ll start by going to the cinema.

 

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