December 8, 2012

NYT: Is Hollywood finally ending its War on Women by sending women to war?

In December of each year, the New York Times film critics, like film critics everywhere, write Deep Think pieces about what patterns in the movies released in the current year tell us about Trends in the Big Issues. The annual answer ought to be: Virtually nothing, because what gets released in a single year is a close to a random sample of projects that had been in the works for years and happened to come to fruition now. But that never stops the critics from pontificating on 2012: The Meaning of It All.

Not surprisingly, they are still using Obama Campaign talking points.

A.O Scott starts out by recounting that some nobody in some nowheresville (Buffalo?) complained about Snow White and the Huntsman being yet another Butt-Kicking Babe movie in which a 105 pound starlet whomps on bad guys in hand-to-hand combat.
The picture’s apparent reversal of gender norms — this Snow White wears armor, wields a sword and leads an army into battle — struck Parlato (who does not seem to have seen it) as emblematic of “a Hollywood agenda of glorifying degenerate power women and promoting as natural the weakling, hyena-like men, cum eunuchs.”

Neither the NYT scribe nor the nobody in Buffalo seem to notice that the main audience for Butt-Kicking Babe movies are nerdier guys who wish women would be interested in the kind of stuff they are interested in: weapons, fighting, quests, and so forth.
A Hollywood agenda of glorifying powerful women — now that is news. Granting that Parlato’s rant seemed to emanate from the same zone of the culture-war id that undid a few Republican Senate candidacies this year, you might still be inclined to wonder if, in sensing a shift in the portrayal of women, he was onto something — or for that matter to hope that he might have been.

In reality, Snow White and the Huntsman was least interesting for its Butt-Kicking Babe aspect -- pothead Kristen Stewart's under-energized Snow White has been dropped from any sequel, with Chris Hemsworth's Huntsman more likely to carry. And it was most interesting for Charlize Theron's Wicked Witch, because evil women characters, such as that Golden Age of Hollywood mainstay, the femme fatale, have largely disappeared due to a combination of feminism and movies being aimed at younger, more innocent males who are more idealistic about girls.
After all, the contrary complaint — that Hollywood is a swamp of testosterone, turning out entertainment that marginalizes or condescends to women when it does not ignore them entirely — has been around much longer, and has, to say the least, a much stronger grounding in reality. Have things really changed that much?

Movies are more masculine than advertising-funded media because they are largely paid for by ticket-buyers, and, on average, males pay for movie tickets more than females. There are plenty of roles for actresses of a certain age solving murder mysteries on TV, because advertisers love the women's market, because women spend more than men, because men turn more of their income over to women than vice-versa.
There is a smattering of evidence to support the impression that they have, because 2012 was, all in all, a pretty good year for movies and also a pretty good year for female heroism. In addition to “Snow White and the Huntsman,” there was “Brave,” whose flame-haired heroine, Merida, combined Disney-princess pluck with Pixar’s visual ingenuity; “The Hunger Games,” which drew on young-adult literature to find, in the resourceful person of Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence), a new archetype of survivalist girl power; ...And we should not forget the culmination of the “Twilight” saga, speaking of Kristen Stewart, whose Bella Swan, grown from a sulky, indecisive teenager into a fiercely protective vampire mother, fought alongside her in-laws against the supernatural forces of evil. Forget about Team Jacob and Team Edward: it was Team Renesmee that triumphed in the end. 
Of course it would be silly to proclaim, on the basis of a handful of movies, that some kind of grand role reversal has taken place, that cultural power has shifted toward women, or even that 2012 is yet another “year of the woman,” a wishful phrase that surfaces periodically in movies as it does in politics.

Let me focus on Twilight, Brave, and The Hunger Games, because those are coming from farther right in the cultural landscape than normally makes it into movies. Twilight is a woozy Mormon fantasy, Brave comes from Pixar (which long ago set itself up in Northern California to stay out of the Hollywood cultural orbit), and The Hunger Games novels were written by a woman trying to channel her military historian father. 

The big innovation in Brave and The Hunger Games in the Butt-Kicking Babe genre is that the heroine does not fight with her fists or feet, a gun, or a sword, but with the more culturally traditional bow. Of course, this is an ancient trope, going back to Diana/Artemis. Archery was extremely fashionable among mid-Victorian maidens because it gave them an excuse to show off their legs in Robin Hood-style tunics and tights. (One contemporary complaint was that because archery was so fashionable, girls wouldn't wear their glasses while shooting, and thus many couldn't even see the target or perhaps even the bale of hay the target was pinned to.)

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

Last year's big video game Skyrim, featured women fighters capable of the same skill and combat power that men had. It is seriously distracting.

Anonymous said...

Please send Sandra Fluke to war.

Anonymous said...

"Office Space" creator Mike Judge shooting new HBO parody of Silicon Valley

http://www.deadline.com/2012/12/hbo-greenlights-live-action-comedy-pilot-from-mike-judge-king-of-the-hill-writers/

Anonymous said...

If anyone is interested in seeing a well-acted, well-shot, funny, and delicious, yet horrible movie with a female heroine, checkout Sucker Punch.

It's a technically well made movie with an interesting plot imo, but doesn't come together at all. Received horrible reviews, as it should, but I was recovering from surgery and enjoyed it for, if nothing else, the visuals.

Target audience: ?

DirkY said...

In the ancient world, archery took 15 years or more of practice to fully master. This put tribes with future time orientation at a big competitive advantage. It also allowed older weaker or partially crippled men to be utilized effectively in war.

There is no record of women archers ever being used in war I am aware of.

Anonymous said...

Sucker Punch

Hot teenaged girls, guns, katanas, dragons, samurais, rape, murder, robots, an insane asylum, a whore house, tanks, blimps, and much, much, more... What's not to like? Lol.

Trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3EcvKXH9zY

Whiskey said...

Steve, Twilight is the typical female longing (even Mormon housewives) for the real, Alpha A-hole male. Hunger Games, a longing for dystopia absent those icky Beta Males where a substitute foster family is constructed (ala Twilight) and where two Alpha males fight over some chick, who is also a media superstar. Ick.

The most revolutionary, stunning, brilliant film was DREDD. I did not see the Three D version, but the regular one was simply stunning. A chilling and weak (blood-crazy) female villain, Lena Heady from "300," Karl Urban as Dredd, the fascistic urge writ large and having to be writ large in a city of 800 million people, and Olivia Thirlby who is both tough and vulnerable at the same time. Indeed it's Thirlby as Judge Anderson using both compassion and psychic powers at the same time is a "pass" in what Dredd terms "its all a deep end."

DREDD the movie is just (like the sci-fi comic book) a stunning indictment of urbanism writ large, "diversity," and the fascistic lengths needed to preserve urbanism, where Judges are executioners on the spot as well as cops. Forget the awful Stallone movie, this one beats District 9 to hell and gone.

Brilliant insight on the TV/Movie dichotomy.

Anonymous said...

Hunger Games: A Story of Archery, of Love

Anonymous said...

@Steve Sailer

"Neither the NYT scribe nor the nobody in Buffalo seem to notice that the main audience for Butt-Kicking Babe movies are nerdier guys who wish women would be interested in the kind of stuff they are interested in: weapons, fighting, quests, and so forth."

Just out out curiosity, what kind of male to you is NOT a nerd? I mean, the pejorative word "nerd" is often associated with people who display a combination of intellectuality with obsessivness, like guys who are fascinated by internal combustion engines, computer language and mathematics. People who are obsessive but not intellectualy are usuallly called quirky or weirdos.

But if guys who are into fighting, guns and things like that are also nerds according to you, then who exactly is left? You are including roughly 90% of all males in the neds category.

Look at the guys who like to watch boxing and MMA matches live, and they don't strike me exactly as Pointdexter types. But they could be(I don't know).

So what males to you are not nerds if you put in that category not only obsessive intellectuals but also guys who like combat sports, weapons, etc. That is the overwhelming majority of males. And if that is so, then isn't being a nerd just the nornal condition of men?

Marlowe said...

Back in the '60s the left claimed that the political & social dominance of women would end war not enhance it. Women as peacemakers still seemed prominent as a theme during the '80s with the Greenham Common wimmen/womyn protesting the deployment of Cruise missiles. The left seemed distinctly unhappy when Margaret Thatcher took a strong line on this matter and on fighting the Argentine over the Falklands. OTOH the hard left of the Soviet Union found a place for women in battle (starting in 1917 with Kerensky & his provisional government who dispatched the Woman's Battalion of Death to the German front) and of course the IDF (quite socialist during the early years of Israel). After the end of the Cold War, during the early '90s, the peacenik Western Left folded its tents following the Persian Gulf War victory and only occasionally appears today for special reunions (e.g. the Iraq war). Instead we have the sight of Hillary Clinton cheering on the USAF bombers.

Jefferson said...

In Hollywood movies and television shows, women are always physically stronger than men because of the politically correct environment that we live in, where it is considered sexist to see women in positions of weakness.

A recent example of this is "The Walking Dead".

There is a Black woman on that show named Michonne, who has super Human strength.

Every White guy who has tried to fight her, has either gotten their butts kicked by her or their heads chopped off by her.

Hollywood loves to portray all women as being as tough as John Rambo and Dirty Harry.



Anonymous said...

The Hunger Games film and book series are the only politically interesting pieces of popular culture to come to my attention in the last year. I live a kind of sheltered existence but my guess is the pickings really are that slim. Still, the author of The Hunger Games series deserves a prize for being able to get such anti-globalist and paleo-conservative ideas out there. The books and film are almost Gaullist when you think about it. The Capital is glitzy, greedy and domineering America and the main character is a new Joan of Arc.

As for the other girl power films; isn't if funny how the mainstream media so often celebrates that Hollywood is "finally starting to make films that show" what films have been showing for at least a decade or more? GI Jane was made in 1997 for starters.

DaveinHackensack said...

"If anyone is interested in seeing a well-acted, well-shot, funny, and delicious, yet horrible movie with a female heroine, checkout Sucker Punch."

I think this crowd might appreciate Super, which was sort of a more cynical version of Kick-Ass. Ellen Page plays Robin to Rainn Wilson's half-assed Batman. Whiskey might like this too, as Rainn Wilson's character epitomizes beta male rage. Brutal film.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Last year's big video game Skyrim, featured women fighters capable of the same skill and combat power that men had. It is seriously distracting."

Nothing new about that. Mortal Kombat had that female character who fought with the stick, and was played by a lovely Puerto Rican actress in the execrable film version of the mid-90s.

TGGP said...

Northern California as in the Bay Area? That's one of the few places in America that can claim to be to the left of Hollywood.

TGGP said...

"The Hunger Games" is also rather provincialist. Hardy miner folk from the boonies are the good guys, decadent elites in the Capitol are the bad guys. An easier sell than trying to persuade an audience that Peter Wiggin really should be hegemon.

Marlowe said...

The discussion of woman's abilities vis a vis man's reminds me of the nerdy debates I and my pals had back in the early '80s over whether woman characters could have the same range of statistics in role playing games such as Advanced D & D. Obviously, a woman could not attain 18(00) strength (the human maximum). Some unkind souls suggested lower IQ as well, compensated of course by higher Charisma. A noted feminist lobby in the rpg world demanded full statistical equality. I think these guys won although, in another sense, we all lost.

gumm said...

Original butt-kicking babe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAnU9zT87j4

Anonymous said...

Ann Coulter blogged that it would be good for someone to start a conservative movie studio. Steve, pls consider blogging on the plausibility or implausibility of that scenario.

Corn said...

Re: Sucker Punch

No, it's not Oscar material, but I enjoyed it. IMO Jena Malone is beautiful and Scott Glenn is a fine actor.

Anonymous said...

Tom and Jerry cartoons 'empowered' the mouse against the cat, but cats still eat tons of mice.
Bugs Bunny cartoons 'empowered' the rabbit over the hunter, but hunters still kill millions of rabbits.
Hollywood movies 'empowered' the little guy over the corporate bosses, but corporations still rule.

So, how's that working out for ya, you mice, rabbits, and little guys?

Anonymous said...

If movies 'empower', make a movie where everyone has a million bucks. They'll have it for sure.

Sounds like the Ownership Society idea.

Anonymous said...

Who was the first butt-kicking babe in modern pop culture?

Wonderwoman?

In movies?

Angela Mao?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzP4S1md64s

Anonymous said...

Butt-kicking babes or butt-shaking babes?

beowulf said...

The big problem with Snow White is that casting didn't think about the inherent implausibility of Charlize Theron NOT being the fairest of them all. Kristen Stewart's best movie was In the Land of Women. Perhaps the most inaccurately marketed movie of all time. Check out the poster.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b4/In_the_land_of_women.jpg

Looks all the world like a date movie, right? I saw it on a cross-country flight not even half interested. 20something guy from The OC show moves in across the street from Meg Ryan and her teenage daughter. It slowly dawned on me what was going on. I looked the middle aged black guy sitting next to me, "If this guy nails the mom AND the daughter, this is the greatest movie ever made!" He was hooked too, "Uh Huh!". Sometimes I wonder how many teenager girls went to see that and were horrified when it turned out to not be the date movie they bargained for. Good times. :o)

ironrailsironweights said...

In the ancient world, archery took 15 years or more of practice to fully master. This put tribes with future time orientation at a big competitive advantage. It also allowed older weaker or partially crippled men to be utilized effectively in war.

The English longbow of the late Middle Ages was an exception, as it required great strength to draw.

Anonymous said...

Fighting with a bow is even harder on your body than fighting with a sword and shield. Developing the strength to pull a longbow took medieval English archers years and years; we can recognize their skeletons today by characteristic deformations (hairline cracks and bone spurs) associated with pulling and loosing a 100-lb bow for years.

Today virtually no bow-hunters use bows with such a heavy pull; 60 lb is more usual. Note that even a 60-lb pull is beyond almost all women.

Fantasies about women in combat are the most common among people who have no idea what the bodily reality of combat is like. There's really no combat situation where slowness and weakness isn't a crippling disadvantage, no matter how smart and skillful you imagine yourself to be.

-bbtp

Steve Sailer said...

"Ann Coulter blogged that it would be good for someone to start a conservative movie studio."

John Lassetter already did.

But don't tell anybody.

irishfan87 said...

It's like in descendents who cheats on George Clooney with Matthew "shaggy from Scooby Do" Lillard. Although now that i think about Lillard stole Freddie Prinze's girl in She's All That too. There's a taki mag articile right there, how come Lillard gets to cuckhold so many people.

Anonymous said...

Pixar ends each of their movie credits with a list of "production babies"--babies born to or adopted by people who worked on the film during its production. And it's always a hugely long list. It's not often that you see that kind of an expression of upper middle class pro-natalism in our culture.

Anonyia said...

"Today virtually no bow-hunters use bows with such a heavy pull; 60 lb is more usual. Note that even a 60-lb pull is beyond almost all women.

Fantasies about women in combat are the most common among people who have no idea what the bodily reality of combat is like. There's really no combat situation where slowness and weakness isn't a crippling disadvantage, no matter how smart and skillful you imagine yourself to be."

A 40-50 pound draw weight is appropriate for most women who are in decent physical shape.

The only time it was realistic for women en masse to participate in any measure of combat was in a siege type situation, on the defensive side, from the safety of city walls. In fact most instances of women taking up arms prior to the invention of guns were in such scenarios.

Steve Sailer said...

"It's not often that you see that kind of an expression of upper middle class pro-natalism in our culture."

Right.

Derek Brown said...

It's like how in Troy Charlize wasnt Helen of Troy. Totally ruined the realism of one of history's greatest battles. Made it seem more like a myth or fairy tale.

Also Mel Gibson made Satan a woman too so even Mel isn't exempt from PC.

Anonymous said...

"Also Mel Gibson made Satan a woman too so even Mel isn't exempt from PC."

Given his recent romantic past, that seems like not so much PC as lived experience.

Auntie Analogue said...


Anonymous 4:44 PM asked: "Who was the first butt-kicking babe in modern pop culture?"

No doubt about that one, it was skin-tight jumpsuit-clad Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in 'The Avengers.'

Anonymous said...

A librarian mentioned the movie "Battle Royale" from 2000 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0266308/). I saw this before I saw Hunger Games. BR is a FAR more entertaining movie I must say. As for kickass babes going to war, I've seen a quadriplegic young woman in a wheelchair that I would guess was blasted by an IED. Nothing more stupid than sending women into direct combat no matter what the powers that be and opinion molders claim.

Anonymous said...

DirkY said...

In the ancient world, archery took 15 years or more of practice to fully master. This put tribes with future time orientation at a big competitive advantage. It also allowed older weaker or partially crippled men to be utilized effectively in war.

There is no record of women archers ever being used in war I am aware of.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarmatian

Hippocrates [12] explicitly classes them as Scythian and describes their warlike women and their customs:

Their women, so long as they are virgins, ride, shoot, throw the javelin while mounted, and fight with their enemies. They do not lay aside their virginity until they have killed three of their enemies, and they do not marry before they have performed the traditional sacred rites. A woman who takes to herself a husband no longer rides, unless she is compelled to do so by a general expedition. They have no right breast; for while they are yet babies their mothers make red-hot a bronze instrument constructed for this very purpose and apply it to the right breast and cauterize it, so that its growth is arrested, and all its strength and bulk are diverted to the right shoulder and right arm.

Anonymous said...

If you want to boost birth rates among college educated whites (and Asians), don't study Utah, Texas, or France, study Pixar. Yes, they have a French-style set of pro-natalist policies in place (generous family leave, day care, etc.) but the biggest thing that makes that company a giant incubator is simply that the culture of the place makes having children seem cool. From the bosses on down (John Lasseter has 5 kids, Brad Bird & Lee Unkrich 3, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter & the late Joe Ranft 2,) the whole culture of the place sends the message that being a parent is part of being a complete, creatively fulfilled human being.

And for college-educated people (despite their protestations of independence), feeling like they're one of the cool people is intensely important.

Look at the messages in Pixar's best films. The Incredibles is about how being fulfilled in your work lets you be a better husband and father (which flies in the face of the usual Hollywood family film that bashes the workaholic dad who provides for the family). Up presents Carl's childlessness as a tragedy that's only redeemed by his surrogate parenting of a lonely boy from a broken home. And Finding Nemo is about finding the balance between protecting your child and letting him experience the world and all of its dangers and wonders.

Anonymous said...

Fantasies about women in combat are the most common among people who have no idea what the bodily reality of combat is like. There's really no combat situation where slowness and weakness isn't a crippling disadvantage, no matter how smart and skillful you imagine yourself to be.

Ohhh, nooooo! You have forgotten the mad skillz of womyn power, which will overcome! And if that fails, they will nag their enemies to death.

Glaivester said...

"“a Hollywood agenda of glorifying degenerate power women and promoting as natural the weakling, hyena-like men, cum eunuchs.”

Wow. Those last two words you usually don't think of as going together.

Sword said...

Steve quotes A.O. Scott, who wrote:
---
The picture’s apparent reversal of gender norms — this Snow White wears armor, wields a sword and leads an army into battle — struck Parlato (who does not seem to have seen it) as emblematic of “a Hollywood agenda of glorifying degenerate power women and promoting as natural the weakling, hyena-like men, cum eunuchs.”
------
That has got to be the first time the words "cum" and "eunuchs" have been juxtaposed in written language.

Rev. Right said...

The New York Times has been waging a War Against the 1950's since, well, the 1950's. Hollywood has been steadfastly promoting "some kind of grand role reversal" for decades now. How could a film critic not have noticed that the vast majority of major action movies over the past 15 years have featured female protagonists?

Movies featuring men who can single handedly defeat scores of enemies are ridiculous fantasy; how much more absurd is it when 105 lb. hotties do it? The interesting question is why it is that there is so much money to be made in peddling these particular fantasies, and why the New York Times film critic pretends not to have recognized this fact.

Anonymous said...

longbowmen also have to be relatively tall, which works out to be another strike against most women, but really there is zero evolutionary fitness gain from women going out to fight, so most if not all of the ones that genuinely wanted to, and were genuinely able to were weeded out.

Anonymous said...

'...most instances of women taking up arms prior to the invention of guns. ..'


That was then, guns are here now. Women can shoot a .223 M-16. And chicks shift emotional gears faster; they are more labile: they can assassinate. TV shows about wildly romanticized police spies have worse lapses in realism than when they show a gal with a Glock.



It's true that no 105-lb mammal can shoulder a pack of 200-lb mammals aside. Female shoulders versus male, forsooth. It's true that Buffy's high kicks were only good for the leg show-(WHY did that girl ever wear pants? High kicks go with miniskirts like alcohol goes with firearms). It's true that female infantry troops are a gross command failure. It's true that a 50% USN pregnancy rate is a command failure. It's true that the post-60s Democrats are leftist enough to support a weaker US military because they are America's internal enemies.

Anonymous said...

Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) has been mentioned already but The Avengers was never meant to be rooted in reality.

For me the first of the modern butt-kicking babes is Ripley (Sigourney Weaver). Her character lives in a more 'realistic' world.

Its not just the butt-kicking that has become routine. Its the regular portrayal of women in leadership roles, command roles, taking the tough decisions, shooting zombies in the head while (white) men dither and cry and drop their guns, over and over again.

ray said...

Neither the NYT scribe nor the nobody in Buffalo seem to notice that the main audience for Butt-Kicking Babe movies are nerdier guys who wish women would be interested in the kind of stuff they are interested in: weapons, fighting, quests, and so forth.



perceptive

yes, guys who never really became men in feminist western cultures

the next best option is to swallow holyrood's Asskicking Girl nonsense, submit to female dominance, and survive the matriarchy

also, spot-on with the Hunger Games/Diana link

it's nothing but the Rites at Ephesus brought up to date

back in the Groves at Nemi, again, forever! the Empire never ended

we live in cultures ruled by women, like much of the ancient world

the subtext to Hunger Games is obvious mass-conditioning toward a further Feminist State: yes, sigh, the Goddess kills . . . but only unwillingly, only in self-defense, only in the service of goodness and Love

the conditioning doesnt set with a single exposure/film, but forms by accretion, eventually creating the desired legal/cultural "opinion" and personal psychology

Anonymous said...

They have no right breast; for while they are yet babies their mothers make red-hot a bronze instrument constructed for this very purpose and apply it to the right breast and cauterize it, so that its growth is arrested, and all its strength and bulk are diverted to the right shoulder and right arm.

Any mummies or skeletons ever been found that show evidence of this?

Anonymous said...

Archery was extremely fashionable among mid-Victorian maidens

The Fair Toxoplasmosis

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYOWDRnwdoo

butt-kicked babes

Anonymous said...

the male privilege of winning war medals and hero worship are over!

"After all, the contrary complaint — that Hollywood is a swamp of testosterone, turning out entertainment that marginalizes or condescends to women when it does not ignore them entirely — has been around much longer, and has, to say the least, a much stronger grounding in reality. Have things really changed that much?"

unless one believes that it is estrogen that drives womanly butt-kicking then no, testosterone still reigns supreme.


"Back in the '60s the left claimed that the political & social dominance of women would end war not enhance it."

LOL anthony ludovici had this to say about a war fought before the 2nd wavers:

Again, with their usual intrepid mendacity, the Suffragettes repeatedly assured us that, when once women acquired political power, we should, amid other untold blessings, enjoy perpetual peace. Olive Schreiner, for instance, in 1911, exclaimed emotionally, "On that day, when woman takes her place beside man in the governance and arrangement of the external affairs of the race, will also be that day that heralds the death of war as a means of arranging human affairs." (WOMAN AND LABOUR, Chap. IV).
This utterly insincere claim, taken up by a chorus of women's voices, was repeated even as recently as 1936 by the authoress, S. Frumkin (A WOMAN'S PARTY, Chaps. 17 & 18). Indeed, as Lord Winterton has said, the advocates of Female Suffrage claimed "that the grant of votes for women . . . would usher in an era of peace and prosperity such as the world has never seen" (op. cit., Chap. V.).
Yet, within three years of Olive Schreiner's empty boast, women were showing such frenzied enthusiasm for World War I that they caused some consternation among onlookers.


http://www.anthonymludovici.com/womans.htm

Anonymous said...

and like the 'no war when women are in charge', the claim of wives being 'unpaid servant' was repeated as well despite authors like belfort bax making a mincemeat of it with the suffragetes.
Maybe Lenore Weitzman's study showing how women's standard of living dropped 70% after a divorce finally disputed that claim from within the feminist camp.
Or maybe not.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT0aZzWonFE

In recent memory, the most realistic depiction of what happens when a strong independent woman provokes a violent(male) thug.

Not rape(thankfully) but still hard to watch
from 00:58

But then again its based on a true story


Women usually play a more cheerleader role when it came to war.Was it Tacitus or Livy who informed us that the German women would egg on their men fighting the Romans by flashing their breasts from the sidelines.
One sees echoes of this in the contemporary sports drenched in militarism such as the NFL.

In a somber vein ,there is the Tamil poem about a mother who tore her breast out when her son retreated from war like a coward and its only when he returned to the battlefield and died a heroes death that she find peace.

In the painting by Delacroix we have a bare breasted Liberty leading the mob to victory.
What is it with tits and war?

During the wars against Carthage ,after the massacre of Cannae(where more than 50000 Romans perished in a single-more than all the Americans fatalities in Vietnam), Roman women were planning for the long haul-those who were widowed mated with their slaves so that their sons could continue the war in due time.


I think in the cases of WWII Soviet Union and the early days of Israel, women were employed only because manpower was at a premium and one required an all hands on deck approach.

The current drive to place women in combat therefore is absolutely nonsensical at best, dangerous at worst.

Anonymous said...

Artemisia in Herodotus
Translation and notes copyright 2001 Caroline L. Falkner; all rights reserved.

The following excerpts from Herodotus, Books 7 and 8, tell the story of Artemisia, queen of Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, a city which was said to be the birthplace of Herodotus himself. In 480 Artemisia led a small squadron of eastern Greek ships in Xerxes' invasion force against the Greek mainland states. Herodotus presents her as a remarkable woman and the shrewdest of Xerxes' commanders.

The translation is based on the Oxford Classical Text (1962), edited by C. Hude.

There is no reason for me to mention any of the other commanders, except for Artemisia. I consider her to be a particular object of admiration because she was a woman who played a part in the war against Greece. She took power on the death of her husband, as she had a son who was still a youth. Because of her courage and spirit she went to war although she had no need to do so. Her name was Artemisia; she was the daughter of Lygdamis, and was of Halicarnassian stock on her father's side and Cretan on her mother's. She led the forces of Halicarnassos, Cos, Nisyros and Calyndos, and supplied five ships. The ships she brought had the best reputation in the whole fleet, next to the ones from Sidon, and of all the allies she gave the king the best advice. I have listed the cities that she led; I have evidence that they all belong to the Dorian group, as the people of Halicarnassos come from Troizen, and the rest from Epidauros. (Herodotus 7.99)
[87] In fact, as to the rest I cannot say exactly how each of them, barbarian or Greek, played his part in the battle. This is what happened in the case of Artemisia, and, as a result of it, she stood even higher in the king's estimation. The king's forces were disordered, and at this critical point Artemisia's ship was being chased by an Athenian vessel. She had no way of escape, for in front of her were other ships on the Persian side, and she was very close to the enemy. This is what she decided to do, and it turned out well for her. Pursued by the Athenian vessel she made for a friendly ship and rammed it. The ship was manned by Calyndians and was commanded by their king, Damasithymos. Whether she had some ongoing quarrel with him from the time they were in the Hellespont, whether she planned the action, or whether the Calyndian ship chanced to sail in her way, I cannot say. She rammed it and sank it, and created from the opportunity a double benefit for herself. For when the captain on the Athenian ship saw her attacking an enemy vessel, he supposed Artemisia's ship was either Greek or was a deserter from the enemy cause who was fighting for the Greeks. He changed course and made for the rest of the enemy ships.

[88] Such an outcome benefited Artemisia in that she escaped without harm, and at the same time as she weakened the Persian cause, she increased her standing enormously with Xerxes. For, according to the story, the king was watching and saw that it was her ship that made the attack. What is more, one of the people with him said, " Master, do you see how well Artemisia is fighting? She has sunk an enemy ship." When the king asked whether it was really Artemisia who had done so, they confirmed it was because they recognised her vessel's flag clearly and assumed that she had sunk an enemy ship. As far as the rest of the story goes, the incident turned out to her advantage because no one from the Calyndian ship survived to bring a charge against her. Xerxes is said to have replied to the news, "My men have become women and my women, men." This, they say, was the king's response.

Marlowe said...

No doubt about that one, it was skin-tight jumpsuit-clad Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in 'The Avengers.'

Honor Blackman (Pussy Galore in 1964's Goldfinger) preceded Rigg in the Avengers and established the type.

The '60s and '70s also featured a lot of rock chick groupies along for nothing more than sex with band members (even independent artist Yoko Ono turned into Lennon's procurer and household manager) so the commentator who cites Weaver in the Cameron Aliens flick as the modern inspiration no doubt has it right. The idea came out of the '60s radical counterculture but didn't find proper expression until 20 years later.

It's worth remembering that a significant sub group of heterosexual men have always found tough gals who dominate them sexually exciting. I think porn mags of the '50s catered to this and the femme fatale type plays on it as well.

Anonymous said...

If you look at competitive archery, women aren't too far behind men, at least at shorter distances. Some have pointed out that a woman can't handle an English longbow, but there's more to life than English longbows. Compare the results of the Olympics and you'll see what I mean.

And the best female archers in the world are tiny little Korean women, not big ol' bull dykes.

The bottom line is that good female archers are plausible. Neither the chick from The Hunger Games or Brave ever kicked anybody's butt except with a bow and arrow, so it's plausible - at least it's about as plausible as any other Hollywood fantasy of impossible marksmanship feats that involve splitting the other guys arrow on the target, etc.

If women weren't used in combat in the past, it's because a woman's proper role is to create the next generation, which only they can do. Any country that sent women into combat instead would find itself dying out in a few generations. Ours not excepted.

irishfan87 said...

"Archery was extremely fashionable among mid-Victorian maidens

The Fair Toxoplasmosis"




Very interesting I always wondered why one of the Penguin Classic covers for a Trollope novel had a woman shooting a bow on it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:16, you forgot the zombie Nazis!

a woman said...

"Please send Sandra Fluke to war."

yes, please put her on the front lines and make sure the men around her treat her no differently than they'd treat any other comrade-in-arms.

i can't think of another woman in the news who disgusts me more.

Anonymous said...

"Neither the NYT scribe nor the nobody in Buffalo seem to notice that the main audience for Butt-Kicking Babe movies are nerdier guys ...".

You've said this before but where's the proof? I think it is more a case of finding a way of getting nubile young women major screen time in what would normally be an all male casting plot. Nubile women having to move their body parts all around as they fight the bad guys.

AllanF said...

On topic, and coming across the transom just today:
href="http://boingboing.net/2012/12/08/schooling-a-reader-who-doesn.html">http://boingboing.net/2012/12/08/schooling-a-reader-who-doesn.html

Moral: Never call out a hack on his home turf for engaging in shameless fanboy-baiting.

Anonyia said...


"The bottom line is that good female archers are plausible. Neither the chick from The Hunger Games or Brave ever kicked anybody's butt except with a bow and arrow, so it's plausible - at least it's about as plausible as any other Hollywood fantasy of impossible marksmanship feats that involve splitting the other guys arrow on the target, etc."

Indeed- there are plenty of medieval engravings with women bow-hunting.

Anonymous said...

"You've said this before but where's the proof?"

One thing for sure, most creators of butt-kicking babe stuff are male dorks.

Anonymous said...

If we do have Women in Combat, rich feminists will hog all the credit for 'equality and justice' while almost all the dying and maiming will happen to lower class women.

bdoran said...

"My men have become women and my women, men." - Xerxes , King of Persia.

The first trick is easy, be a coward.
The second feat is much harder.

Anon 250 is hysterical: "If we do have Women in Combat, rich feminists will hog all the credit for 'equality and justice' while almost all the dying and maiming will happen to lower class women."

Yep.

Modern Abraham said...


Just out out curiosity, what kind of male to you is NOT a nerd? If guys who are into fighting, guns and things like that are also nerds according to you, then who exactly is left? You are including roughly 90% of all males in the neds category.


Two words: Dale Gribble (shi-sha!)
Two more words: Dwight Schrute

Guys into "guns and fighting" with no real physical experience of either are nerds. That is why War Nerd (a non-military professional obsessed with the history and current state of warfare) styles himself a nerd, after all. Guys who do have some physical experience of either (say, belong to a gun club, or have a green belt in a martial art) are simply dorks- a slight step up.

Males who are truly proficient in combat technique are either instructors or professionals who spend their free time as far away from the stuff as possible (it's dangerous, after all!).

So yeah, this hobby is a definite chick-repellent, as it involves a subject that is boring (at best) to the vast majority of women, and also signals weakness and underconfidence in the male (why the obsession with kicking other people's butts if deep down they're not afraid they'll be more often than not on the receiving end?)

Josh Whedon (Buffy creator, etc.) has probably involuntarily sterilized more men than Dr. Mengele.

wren said...

I just watched an interesting movie and am still trying to figure it out.

Baytown Outlaws.

Some good old boys in Alabama fight a gang of bad ass whore assasins and kick their butts, (and kill them in the process).

Next up, a gang of road warrior type black highway pirates. They also get killed.

Finally, they have to battle an Indian motorcycle gang, out to scalp them. The good ole boys take them out as well, just barely. One gets dragged behind a motorcycle by an arrow shot through his leg.

They do all this, by the way, to help a diabled boy reunite with his mom, since drug dealer Carlos kidnpped him or something.

Amazing.

They are at one point rescued by an illegal immigrant nurse, however.

Where did this movie came from?

I was shocked.

Anonymous said...

@Modern Abraham

"as it involves a subject that is boring (at best) to the vast majority of women~

But EVERYTHING that is interesting to men is boring to women, from computers and astronomy to sports and rule-based games. Going by this argument, only gay men are non-boring, since they are the only ones who like stuff that women like.

BB said...

The only possible exlanation for butt-kicking babes is a variety of masochism among "incels" (involuntary celibate nerds). Their fantasies are ripe with women doing nasty things to them (as Albertosaurus would put it).
Another variant of the same phenomenom (low self-esteem, pedestalizing women who ignore lesser men) could be cuckold fantasies.
The same losers who complain about women not giving them the time of the day fantasize about having their butt kicked by these same women or seeing them mate with sexy alpha males.
It´s all about humiliation and hurt.

Anonymous said...

Feminism has been a disaster for most men and worked against the best long-term interests of most women in my view, whatever shorter term gains women have obtained in employment.

eh said...

Wasn't archery a staple of high school P.E. programs up until about the early 1980's?