As annoyed as I am by the hyper-sexualization of female comic book characters, I am also irritated by the myth that the world would be a better place if run by women. This is a fairly recent and erroneous idea in culture because if anyone bothered to study history then they would realize that matriarchal societies are no different in practice than patriarchal. Cleopatra, anyone? Writer Brian K. Vaughn explores that very conceit in his DC Vertigo comic book series Y - The Last Man, the story of the last man on earth in a world of females. Here's a heads-up for anyone who wants to read the series...a female-led world isn't the fanboy's paradise you might think it is.
In commercials for household products men are often portrayed as bumbling clowns who don't know what toilet paper is. This is because those ads are aimed primarily at a woman who is presumed to be a homemaker. There is a reason why catch phrases such as Choosy Mothers Choose Jif or Mother Tested, Kid Approved are mom-centric. Traditionally, the media sees the woman in a household as the wise, responsible decision-maker (at least when it comes to food and cleaning supplies) even though there certainly are men who do all the shopping. Oddly, in a sort of reverse sexism, advertising routinely portrays men that are smart enough to have a career that earns enough cash for a house, a couple of SUV's and lots of nice things, who nonetheless are helpless at home and require a woman to show them how to make their whites bright and clean.
Like in advertising, there is also some sort of a perverse arrogance seen in drama and action films. Often the female character is shown to be a logical mediator and spiritual force of good, someone that has a special connection with the universe because they can bear children and because of it have a unique insight (This not the positive message some may think it is because it portrays women in a way that grants them value only if treated as breeding creches).
When chaos and conflict erupt it is often given to the woman to scold the warring males, shaming them with harsh yet kind words of tough-love as if she were, somehow, transformed in that moment from flawed human being to faultless Saint! I call this the Sarah Connor Syndrome.
A good example of the woman-as-creative-force conceit was in an awkward scene from Terminator 2: Judgement Day. After failing to ambush and murder a scientist in front of his family, paranoid urban-guerrilla Sarah Connor (and the audience) misses the irony and denounces the world of men by shoving her uterus in the faces of everyone present. She decries what men accomplish, sermonizing that all of man's work is nothing in comparison to giving birth.
As much as I enjoyed T2 for it's kickassery and awesome special effects that scene rang hollow and bothered me when I first saw it years ago in the theatre. It still annoys me enough that even now when watching T2 on DVD I use the fast forward button to skip through the offending scene.
So today when I watched T2 for the hundredth time I decided it was time to show the world how the Sarah Connor scene should have actually played out. Originally, Sarah Connor nags everyone and her son asks her to be quiet.
If I had directed T2 instead of James Cameron, it would have played something like this:
"What about crack babies?"
"CREATORS OF DEEEAAATHHH....uhm, what?"
"Babies. Born addicted to crack and suffering permanent disabilities because their mothers were abusing drugs while pregnant."
"Women who supposedly have this unique perspective and empathy about life yet who willfully harms their unborn, developing baby by repeatedly smoking meth doesn't seem very 'creative' to me."
"Er...MENNNNNNNN! MEEEEEEEENNNNNNN! CREATORS OF DEAAAAAAAATH!"
"Damn. That bitch is crazy."
See? Entirely free of any feminazi propaganda the scene is more realistic and even-handed. The movie would have been all the better for my version.
Tags: Terminator 2 Feminism Movies Science Fiction