Dear Feminist Hollywood: Stop Trying to Make Female Action Heroes a Thing...
Is it a bird, is it a plane, or is it a feminist whining again about fairness and the patriarchy? Seems like each and every time an action movie dawns some feminist somewhere starts harping about how we need more female heroes. Why should men have all the fun, they ask? Why is it just MEN who are saving the day? Why do MEN get to be the crushing skulls? Feminists will insist WOMEN should be doing these things too. Because equality and "strong women role models." And women are awesome badasses who can totally cream a dude and fight crime with their fists and girl kicks.
Hey, who doesn't love girl kicks? They're fun, right? The above scene from Serenity is one of my favorites, mostly because I love violence and kicking. Realistically, though, this slight female would've been taken out by any number of these guys, for though her technique is fancy, she's a wispy waif who probably buys double zero size leggings in the junior section. Probably can't even squat 150 lbs. Sorry, chicky.
Here's about the time women, some of whom aren't even feminists, are making their "resting bitch face" an active one. You're scowling at me from behind your glowing screen. You're judging me. How dare I say women make lousy action heroes. What about Ripley from Alien? Sarah Connor from Terminator? Or the Mary Sue of Mary Sues Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Heck, what about that chick in the last Mission Impossible movie who was, let's admit it, pretty cool? WHY CAN'T WOMEN BE ACTION HEROES!!!???
Because men were action heroes first, and women insisting they do it too, for the sake of "equality" is pathetic copying. It's actual gender appropriation. By insisting women should do what men did first, for the simple reason of just... "we want to do it to because the men did it" undermines the base idea of feminism. Bear with me for a second and allow me to explain with more of my words.
Do I think women shouldn't be heroic? Of course not. Women are heroes. But they're heroic in their own ways. They don't need to copy men to be heroes. Allow me time to lay out my case.
Most women aren't as physically strong as most men. Therein lies the greatest reason women cannot be credible, believable action heroes. ACTION HEROES. As in being heroes via their action through their raw, physical strength and a capacity for swift violence. All of which are prerequisites for action hero status. To you feminists who want to make women action heroes: stop it. You're actually doing women a great disservice and reinforcing a horrible and unattainable goal -- in order for a woman to be "heroic" and a "strong woman" she has to have the physical strength of a man and exact physical violence on men. Cropping your hair short and wearing men's clothes isn't the same thing.
Simply stated, Hollywood's formula: strong women=manly women.
See a problem here? The idea that in order to be heroic a woman needs to be manly. The notion reinforces the stereotype that in order to be elite and noteworthy, in order to be great, a woman should have superior physical strength. The physically dominating badass woman who destroys men with roundhouse kicks and right hooks, while entertaining to watch, is also the model female action heroes are based upon. Which kind of undercuts the entire feminist agenda in one sweeping motion, doesn't it?
In trying to make women more "heroic" and "strong" a bunch of MEN sitting at their desks and writing these "strong women" have made their chicks more like dudes. In strength alone. You'll notice many of these super strong women are still petite and girly, with small waists and giant knockers. Know why? Their first role isn't to be "heroic." It's to be a sex symbol. They serve as a male fantasy.
A basic requirement of action heroes is their hero-complex, the need to save people. Be rescuers. Charge into danger and save the day. Sorry not sorry, but men more naturally fit for that role than women.
OMG, HOW DARE YOU! WOMEN ARE HEROES TOO. SHUT UP!!!
I know, the nerve of me to say women aren't as physically strong as men and most do not have the desire to rush into danger to save people. I suck at life and I'll quit all the things.
Just kidding, no.
I'm not saying a woman can't save the day or rescue someone, but women are heroic in other ways besides the physical, and to insist women must save people the exact same way MEN save people is still reinforcing the idea women should be more like men. And you feminists who cut your hair and dress like men? Yeah, you're also guilty. It's a rejection of femininity in favor of masculinity.
See the theme?
Worth noting, women are more able to fight off the villains with guns...
Here's another manly hammer drop on you. Men like saving women. Women like being saved by men. Men do not like being physically saved by women. Women do not like being physically saved by women. You may not like that truth. You may hate the idea that men get to be physical action heroes. But I'm not alone here. The market, on the whole, has rejected the idea of female action heroes in staring roles. Female action heroes are only marketable if they're part of an ensemble surrounded by men (see Avengers above), not when they're sold as the sole protagonist (see the failing Supergirl numbers).
Social justice warrior agendas cannot trump human nature. As much as they'd like to.
Storybooks have been hitting this tale for hundreds of years, and recently feminists have been trying to cut this one down like they cut their boxy man hairdos. MEN are the ones who dash into danger and save. They're physically more capable and mentally more wired to do so. Fire-fighters, police officers and soldiers are male-dominated for those aforementioned facts. I know you feminists are out there throwing tantrums because I dare suggest women aren't physically as strong and men like to be heroes. Exceptions to every rule? Sure, but we're not talking exceptions here, we're talking the rule. Just like there are some feminists who shave their armpits.
The great irony of the modern feminist movement is this: they're trying their darnedest to do exactly what men have already done. By wanting to be something which has been dominated by men (action heroes) feminists are pathetically saying "ME TOO, I WANT THAT TOO!" rather than forging their own heroic paths. They're copying. Worst of all, they're copying men -- usually strong, white men, the biggest of cardinal sins to the feminist left.
Look at all these male heroes. Women should be superheroes too. Let's copy the men and call it EQUALITY.
Sameness. It's what's for dinner, served up cold and moldy by feminists to the rest of the world (read Why Modern 'Feminism' Sucks, and I'm not One of Them).
The dirty little secret though is I'm right. Men make better action heroes for all the reasons already listed, and audiences prefer to see men as heroes saving the day. Call it gender roles, call it sexism, call it whatever you like. Angelina Jolie may think she's a badass woman, but she's too small to beat up other women, much less other men. Our suspension of disbelief has its limits.
Could some women beat up men? Sure. Some women. But even a physically strong woman, who might weigh upwards of 160 pounds, still couldn't out muscle a 220 pound man. See the difference?
Thus ends my explanation on why women make crappy action heroes. But here's a different angle for those of you screaming at me for daring to say something true. Women can be heroes, but not in the same way men are heroes. Because men and women are different! To suggest the only way to be heroic is to be physical is, well, sexist. Which was my entire point. You feminists are being sexist against women and their innate abilities if you think women should be heroes by being like men!
Strong women exist, they're real, but they're not like men. Women have incredible instincts to protect, to nurture and defend. Women are fearless when protecting something or someone they love. They're passionate about just causes. They champion for justice. Women are cunning and sly. Heck, look no further than the original feminists of yore (not the modern feminists of blue armpit hair) to find brave women who advocated for positive change. Without roundhouse kicks.
Who are some of these fictional female heroes who excel at saving without cracking skulls? Karen Page from Netflix's Daredevil for one. She's brave, smart, gutsy. She's strong-willed. She is a hero through resourcefulness, cleverness, and provides the hero (Daredevil or The Punisher) with information required to take the enemies out.
She also has zero problem speaking her mind to the men.
A similar hero is Harry Potter's Hermione Granger for much of the same reasons. She relies on knowledge and logic to solve problems. Through her cleverness, strong will, and learned skills, she saves the hero, sometimes from himself, through all seven books.
If you're paying attention, if you're willing to see past the obvious, male action heroes we all know and love turn to WOMEN in their moments of weakness. They turn to WOMEN for much needed guidance and support on how to save the day. These big tough men who save, who dash into danger, need women with gumption and strength of character, to save them.
Action hero saves world => woman saves action hero. I'm pretty okay with that.
~Written by Courtney Kirchoff