A friend of mine went to the movies recently, and saw a trailer for another movie. I've been trying to find out the name of it all day, but when I finally got in touch with my friend and found out the name (Haywire), I realized it didn't much matter. You know the movie. Beautiful Girl is betrayed in some way, Beautiful Girl gets revenge by blowing things up, driving fast cars, and beating up mean boys...all while wearing tight outfits and looking amazing. The end.
It brought up an old question for my friend, and she posted it to me. Are movies like these a way for Hollywood to say to us "Women are strong and powerful only when they are strong and powerful in the same way men are (stereo-typically) strong and powerful."? She wondered if movies like Haywire, Lara Croft, and Colombiana seek to blur the lines between genders, and even instill some confusion in young men about how they should treat women. We tell our sons, "Never hit a girl." Maybe we should add, "Well, unless she does something that makes you think she's about to throw you out of a window."
Is it all just a master plan to degrade men? Women can bring home the bacon by killing the pig with a machine gun, and still pick up the kids from daycare. Or save them from the Russian spies, or the edge of a volcano, or the French kidnappers. All without smearing her red, red lipstick or bursting a seam on that snug leather catsuit. Who needs a man?
My friend's husband says it isn't a big deal. Lara isn't real, neither is Nikita. He's content with the knowledge that his wife probably won't go vigilante on their daughter's mean ol' teacher, and he's fairly happy with the fact that she probably won't blow up some guy's car if her parking spot gets taken. He would, however, probably be ok with her wearing a snug leather catsuit, at least at home.
So my question to you is, what is feminine strength and power? What are you teaching your daughter about what a strong woman looks like? If we ever have an alien invasion, I'll wish for Sigourney Weaver's Officer Ripley by my side. If I ever need to get back my stolen ancient artifacts from a tomb, I'll be the first to hire Lara Croft. But for now, I prefer to look to REAL beautiful, strong women.
Oh, look, here's one now!
Debbie is strong and powerful. She's one of those friends that I don't see very often, but through the 'magic' of Facebook I draw inspiration from her.
Debbie is a pastor's wife, which takes a powerful patience. She's almost finished raising four amazing children, which takes a powerful perseverance. She's a teacher, which takes powerful compassion. She's an adventurer, which takes a powerful courage and love of living. She's a deployed soldier's mother, which takes a powerful faith.
Debbie is a very Beautiful Girl. But unlike those tough girls in the movies, she's not alone. She has a partner in adventure, her husband, Bruce. Bruce and Debbie go through it all together, and she makes sure his role in their marriage doesn't ever get degraded. That makes Debbie even MORE beautiful.
In fact, I've changed my mind. If we have an alien invasion or the zombies finally get themselves organized or my ancient artifacts get stolen, I'm going to call Debbie. AND Bruce. Maybe they'll even wear matching snug leather catsuits?