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Women are Once Again Kicking Ass
by Tim Josephs

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I watch a lot of old movies. Because most movies today aren't terribly interesting to me, I find myself adding a lot of 30-year-old-plus films to my Netflix queue. I particularly like 70s exploitation films, the ones with low budgets, not great acting, violence, and gratuitous T & A. The quality of most of these films isn't great by any means, but they are fun and entertaining, the two most important aspects of a film, in my opinion.

A commonality in a lot of those films is that they often feature strong female characters. And these women are usually kicking ass. No one epitomizes that more than Pam Grier. Playing a tough chick in movies like COFFY and FOXY BROWN, Grier could match wits, as well as fists, with anyone, male or female, and look great doing it.

After the 70s, women as action heroes seemed to wane. Sure, we had Ripley and Sarah Conner, Lara Croft and Beatrice Kiddo, but they were few and far between.

In the last 10 years or so, however, there appears to be a bit of a renaissance when it comes to tough female movie characters. In fact, lately they are everywhere. The obvious one is Katniss Everdeen in THE HUNGER GAMES.

Katniss is smart, resourceful, and deadly with a bow and arrow. Though somewhat of a love story has been tacked on (it was teen lit, after all), you get the feeling that Katniss would be just fine without a man.

Another recent female character who would truly be fine without a man is Lisbeth Salander from THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and two sequels. Lisbeth is extremely
intelligent and probably more than a little crazy. She's also one of the best and most interesting movie heroines ever.

One reason why Game of Thrones has such a great story is because of all the powerful women. In fact, women control (or will control) a good portion of Westeros as well as the men who think they are actually in power.

As for the women warriors, Arya Stark, though she be little, isn't afraid to tangle with anyone. Brienne of Tarth is probably as strong as any man. And of course, Daenerys Targaryen is just as fearless and strong as anyone (though having dragons as pets does help.)

And although for some odd reason Hollywood won't make a Wonder Woman movie, women characters are gradually appearing in superhero movies, and not just as
love interests for the lead.

The X-MEN films feature a lot of formidable women like Raven, Storm, and Rogue. Black Widow, the sole female in THE AVENGERS, proved that she could fight alongside the boys.

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote a column about how female characters in the movies and on TV seemed to be embracing more of a historically feminine role, meaning that there were several examples of women cooks and chefs.

I thought this trend was a good thing, not regressive or sexist, but woman embracing their homemaker identity and not just for their men or children, but for themselves. However, the trend, if it was in fact a trend, for the most part appears to be over.

Women are now out of the kitchen and kicking some major ass, and that too, is a good thing.

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Dec 6, 2013 11:55 AM
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So now that women are out of the kitchen kicking ass, I guess it's up to the men to become the homemakers, putting on the aprons and taking care of the dirty dishes. What do you think? Someone's got to do it, right?
Dec 8, 2013 5:09 PM
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That's right, and there's nothing wrong with that.

If Foxy Brown wants dinner on the table when she gets home, I'd gladly have it there with a smile.

Dec 12, 2013 9:06 AM
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I like strong, tough women who can balance their lives. They keep us on our toes. I keep my house clean. My marriage is a partnership. Women in movies have always been great characters. Nothing's changed.

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Movie Musings
Every other Tuesday

Thoughts, observations, conjectures, complaints about movies and mostly how they relate to me personally. If you're looking for something a little broader, try Ebert.

Other Columns
Other columns by Tim Josephs:

So Long 2013, and MatchFlickers!

The Season for Peace, Presents, & Puncture Wounds

Chewing the Scenery

The Greatest President We Never Had

Comparing Two of the Best Horror Movies Ever Made

All Columns

Tim Josephs
Born to write (literally much to the displeasure of his mother, he emerged with a pencil clutched in one tiny fist), Tim spends most of his days crafting epic monosyllabic poems, new comical titles to his favorite Beatles' songs (Hey, Dude), and angry letters to local businesses that have wronged him in some way. He's really an okay guy once you get to know him.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Tim Josephs by clicking here.

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