Hellllo! Madeline here. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to become an action heroine. You know, one of those awesome sexy action ladies of film, TV, and comics. Obviously being one of these action figures requires having a figure, i.e. I need to hit the gym. I know a whole heap o’ chocolate is headed my way towards the end of the this week, so while it’s tempting to lay about on the couch in advance of the giant sugar high I’ll be riding through the weekend, I must not succumb to inertia. Because I like fitting into my pants, if nothing else.
When were women finally allowed to get a little Boot To The Head? Did it all start back in 1961 with Emma Peel on The Avengers? Let’s say it did. Previous women such as Annie Oakley and Amelia Earheart were always fighting to prove they were feminine–wearing skirts, designing clothes, etc. Dame Emma took out the bad boys with no fuss, no muss–and no apologizing. Then along came Charlie’s Angels in 1976. The angels will probably be seen as a sideways step on the path of feminism. The reboot of Charlie’s Angels knew this and took an even bigger Mother-May-I? step into in the world of camp.
In the post-Charlie years, you had the first Alien movie (1979). Some described Alien as a haunted house in space. True. Signorney Weaver had to strip down in her undies towards the end of the film as was expected of a good slasher 70′s horror film. On the other hand, Ripley was a smarty-pants. She defeated the Alien and saved the cat without the help of any man. She provided a new benchmark for the future of action heroines.
In 1984 along came Linda Hamilton, and everyone’s jaws dropped as she transformed from 80′s L.A. chick into badass single mother. A few years later Aliens brought Sigourney Weaver back but this time there was no woman-alone-undressing-for-no-reason kind of moment. This time Sigourney was ready to fight a queen alien bitch and take out an entire planet on her way of stomping the bugs into oblivion.
Almost ten years later we were riding the third wave feminism thang and Riot Grrrls were afoot everywhere demanding their tutus and nail polish along with all other marks of feminist respect. Tank Girl (1996) was birthed from this very moment in time. A subversive, campy film–camp punk you might call it–it stood a concept like Charlie’s Angels on it’s head, gave it a tattoo, and then set it on fire. The heroine ends up living happily ever after with her kangaroo mutant boyfriend, while her side kick was played by a I’m-so-nervous-because-I-need-to-get-some Naomi Watts with a bad hair dye job.
Moving on! Alias crested the millenium, as Sydney Bristow started solving every single problem by first putting on a kicky outfit. (To this day I still get really dressed up every time I had to go to a meeting I dread.) Sydney was followed by Kill Bill, which was followed by the Underworld Franchise aka Kate Beckinsale Looking Pissed, and we end on the following note:
Haywire was a low-budget indie film (with Channing Tatum — yum) staring a woman who wasn’t an actress at all. Gina Carano is an actual ultimate fighter world champion. The film was not amazing, but she actually looks like someone who could hurt you, instead of one of the super-skinnies from the waif nation of Hollywood. Meanwhile, The Hunger Games is vastly popular now, and at this year’s Oscars we’ll have Zero Dark Thirty out there to represent.
ZDT is based on the work of a real female CIA officer –still active–who works under cover. In the movie she is the one who (with a lot of coordinating efforts) finally figures out where Osama Bin Laden is hiding, and then applies pressure to the U.S. government to act on this information.
Unlike Alias, Kill Bill, Aliens, etc. Jessica Chastain’s character has no daughter figure, no husband, no parents, no sister to protect. She doesn’t even have a cat. She has a best friend. For awhile. She’s also doesn’t do the physical stuff. Not because she’s dainty, but because in the real world it’s actually pretty easy to find muscle, so she’s got soldiers who do the dirty work during interrogations at her command. Yes, she’s the one in charge. She’s the loner, and she’s very, very smart. She’s looks good too. I must admit, I was definitely motivated to put in face time at the gym after I saw this film.
Well, peeps, time to go sweat a little. I’ll keep images of Gina Carano in my mind as feel my strong heart pumping and ignoring whatever jiggles.
Stay warm. Shovel that snow–it’s a great workout. I hope on Thursday you’re dreaming of hearts and chocolates and not cursing cupid’s name. :)