“As a society, we encourage girls and women to be emotionally accessible, and in touch with their feelings; we say that it’s an innately feminine trait. We say it, that is, until they have feelings that make us uncomfortable, at which point we recast them as melodramatic harpies, shrieking banshees, and basket cases”
In the media women who defy common restrictions and conventions have been labeled words like "crazy" "psycho", "bitch", "dragon lady", "harpie", "bossy", "ice queen", "dyke", "pushy", and "menstrual". I can't count how many times I've stood up for myself and someone has asked me if I'm PMSing. No honey, this isn't because I've got a hormonal imbalance this is because I've had enough of your shit.
In movies especially the "crazy" woman is the brown haired antagonist and she is usually poised opposite a pure, docile, blonde haired, innocent who just wants to bake cookies and be a good woman to her man.
Team Jolie, baby!
The dark haired girl (of which 60% of the worlds population is) is poised as being a seducer, a witch, a Jezebel and is consistently thought of as being crafty and underhanded. How are we supposed to deal with that kind of horse shit?? Brunettes are by no way superior to blondes but theirs more of us so we shouldn't still have this stereotype running around.
I'm looking you Taylor "Public Enemy #1" Swift
This brunette/blonde dynamic doesn't follow every example but in pop music the woman that dresses differently or is trying to do something dynamic is labeled as being crazy as well.
America's Sweetheart #2
I'd like to argue that these "crazy" women are just misunderstood and really determined and passionate in a world that forces women to choose to be likable instead of aggressive and direct. When I was a child I wanted to be Ursula because she had power and wasn't throwing away and risking so much to get with some guy she didn't even know. I liked Cruella deVille because she owned her own business, had some killer style and drove a bad ass car. When I see a movie I am 95% of the time attracted to the tough, brunette, bad ass who goes after what she wants and doesn't take anyone's shit. Unfortunately she is usually also the bad guy.
HBIC's right here
Lets take a look at some of my favorite femme fatales from movies!
- "May" - May is a bisexual veterinarian surgery assistant who has some social anxiety issues. She has a hard time adjusting to the disappointments that dealing with people can bring and comes to the conclusion, if you can't find a good friend, make one! That's what I call determination!
- "Misery" - Annie Wilkes finds her favorite writer abandoned in the snow and rescues him. Her isolation and loneliness gives her a bad case of separation anxiety. She is a character that represents obsession and the fear that creative types (including creator Stephen King) face, when they become very famous. Female fans have been known to go above and beyond what a normal person would call "healthy" behavior but are mostly harmless. There is definitely a fear in society of the power of female passion and love.
- "Audition" - Asami Yamzaki is by far my favorite on this list. For those who haven't seen the movie, it is a sort of twisted fable about the search for perfection and the consequences that brings. Asami is seemingly the perfect Japanese woman, docile, sweet, feminine, obedient and young, but there is something else laying under her perfect veneer. Asami is a typical movie monster, she inhabits the space of the protagonist (his emotional state) and psychologically torments him before things reach their climax. In a culture where men have tried to push the "perfect woman" type onto girls sometimes by physical means (in Asami's case a sexually abusive manner), how long before women react in an equally violent way? Is it hard to imagine a violent society making violent victims?
- "Sunset Boulevard - Norma Desmond is, hands down, my life's ambition. Who can forget "I am big! Its the pictures that got small!" or "I'm ready for my close-up Mr. Deville"??? Norma was a former silent film screen actress forgotten because of her age and irrelevance in a new film era (but mostly for her age, lets be real). Norma is the embodiment of a real fear most women in Hollywood and really the world face, that of aging and being thrown away. Is a woman no good once she gets past the age of 40? Useless once her dewy skin turns into wrinkled lines of sophistication? Norma was driven mad by a society that values women for their looks instead of their talent and wisdom.
- "Snow White and the Huntsman" - The Evil Queen, as played by Charlize Theron, in this movie was given the most characterization that I've even seen given to this story book villain. The Evil Queen is a clear representation of vanity. That uniquely female sin of not only loving too much but loving ourselves too much. But in this movie TEQ is given a motivation, if a girl is raised to believe she has no power in life and must be used by the whims of men (unable to be financially independent or educated) the only power she does have is her looks, then her whole identity becomes wrapped up in how beautiful she is. This is real life for many girls. TEQ is a victim of her time and if she had been raised today she might have become a CEO or editor of a major fashion magazine.
- "The Devil Wears Prada" - Miranda Priestly is the not so subtle guise for Vogue America editor in chief, Anna "Nuclear Winter" Wintours. Anna Wintours is another inspiration for my life, criticized heavily for being "cold", "scary", "emotionally distant" and "intimidating" but come on! She's the head of the THE top fashion magazine in the world. Vogue isn't just some penny saver given away at your grocery store, Vogue makes or breaks careers, lives, trends, bank accounts and Anna is in charge of all of that. You want her to smile? You want her to say please? Make jokes and make you comfortable? HELL NO. Anna has shit to do and making you comfortable is not one of them. Miranda, just like Anna is a woman burdened by intense pressure and responsibility. How many times have we criticized a male executive of not being "warm"? Exactly.
- "Kill Bill vol: 1"- Gogo Yubari is a Japanese assassin who has not lost her penchant for being kawaii and I admire that in a girl. If you got to kill people, don't forget to be moe girl! Gogo has an encounter with a drunk businessman who wants to have sex with her, she plays coy with him, before violently disemboweling him. She delivers a great line "Do you still want to penetrate me? Or is it I who have penetrated you?", a poignant line about sexual dominance and violence against girls. Gogo responds, similarly to Asami, to a society that coerces girls into being passive and sexually submissive in such an aggressive way and yet feels shocked when these women become aggressive themselves. Gogo maybe a sadistic, meteor hammer wielding school girl with a never ending taste for blood, but people still respond to her sexually. A remark that no matter what a girl does, no matter how loud our cries for help, all society responds with is "yeah but is she hot?"
The common thread in this is that these women usually suffer from some sort of psychological break or emotional deficiency that makes them react violently. In other movies male killers are just that, killers, they enjoy murder and kill for killings sake. Maybe the difference is that society can't accept a woman that is evil for evils sake and must find an excuse for her behavior Also most of these women were killed or caught at the end of the movie, where as male killers often make it to the sequel (and the inevitable franchise) and society is restored back to a balance.
My belief is that everyone woman needs a little bit of both. The "psycho" woman is not a dark side to be turned away, rejected or killed, but embraced and utilized when you need a bitch to get shit done. And every woman has times where she has to be a bitch to get shit done.
Here is a song from one of my favorite "psycho bitches" Shirley Manson. #1 Crush by Garbage.
Labels: movies, things i love