I understand the struggle to find something to write about. I can't read/review a book a day, so I know how hard it is to think of something that isn't just plain filler. But is it okay to check your critical thinking skills at the door?
Now I might be a little more sensitive to the male vs. female thing that sometimes pops up in regard to action films. I don't like to think of myself as someone who automatically takes a feminist view on things because frankly I don't agree with much of what passes for feminism these days. But that doesn't mean I buy into strawman arguments either.
Every time an action movie debuts with a female lead we begin the discussion anew over whether women are credible as action heroes and, given the success of films featuring the likes of Angelina Jolie and Uma Thurman, I'd say that most audience goers are buying into the notion that women can, on film at least, throw down with the men. But does that mean that young women are going to start trying to karate chop their way through the real world?
According to the Denver Post it does.
In a recent article titled Beauty meets brute force: Are tough screen heroines empowering or do they send a dangerous message? the publication attempts to argue that big screen portrayals of tough women will lead to foolish risk-taking among young women.
Is watching U.S. Marshal Annie Frost [Chase]— of the startling blue eyes and set jaw — take down a fugitive after a helluva battle empowering or delusional, dangerous or inspiring?
Should these images carry a warning — like Cesar Millan's "Dog Whisperer" or Johnny Knoxville's "Jackass" stunt outings? "Ladies, do not try these kick-butt maneuvers in a dark alley faced with a real assailant."
"I'm concerned about teenage girls who go and see 'Salt' or go and see Lisbeth ["The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"] in action and then think they too have that kind of prowess," says Merin, an admitted "dyed-in-the- wool pacifist."
Okay, I'm just going to say it. Are these people really this stupid?
What bothers me most about this article is that they try to set up an argument based on the fact that men and women are different-- and then assume that young women are going to respond to these on-screen portrayals the exact same way a young man would.
I'm not saying that women are smarter than men-- far from it-- but we are not as likely as men to watch a movie like "Salt" and think we're going approach the world as kung fu-kicking dynamos. Let's face it, we're more likely to add collagen to our lips in an effort to look like Angelina Jolie.
There was good reason shows like "Jackass" had to have disclaimers on them. Young men watched the show and attempted to perform all kinds of stupidity just like the stunts they saw on the show. The success of YouTube has only hastened that kind of idiocy as people the world over desperately look for their fifteen minutes of fame. But young men have historically owned that kind of behavior.
Young women, on the other hand, are much more likely to emulate the less masculine behavior of the women they see on shows like "Sex and the City" and end up in a "Girls Gone Wild" video-- which scares me a heck of a lot more than the idea that my little girl might be encouraged to fight off a rapist despite the horror of the "dyed in the wool pacifist" interviewed for the article I quoted above.
There have always been growing pains between the sexes and entertainment is the perfect foil for such battles. It's pretty natural that women are going to elbow their way into action films in an attempt to declare their equality in all things-- but can we get real for a moment? Unless we main-line steroids and do some heavy duty weight lifting we're not going to be on an even playing field with most men physically. And that statement comes from a woman who holds a black-belt. I've spent too many years watching women come in and out of the karate studio only looking for a good workout and a cool belt to think that my gender is going to suddenly develop a masculine level of aggressiveness. And despite the alarming trend of the metrosexual, I don't think most men obsess over what color to highlight their hair.
Reasonably intelligent people know that men and women each have their own brand of stupidity. When women decide to dress up as Alice from "Resident Evil" or Lara Croft, we're really not worried about the accuracy of the weaponry. Mostly, we're hoping we look hot.