Kicking A** & Taking Numbers

11 Feb

Emma Peel AvengersHellllo! 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.  CA uploadedThen 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.

AlienIn 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.

Linda HamiltonIn 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.

I go commando these days.

I go commando these days.

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.

Villain: "Say it, say it! I win." Tank Girl "Okay. I win."

Malcolm McDowell: “Say I win.”
Tank Girl: “Okay. ‘I win’. “
Malcolm McDowell: “NO! Say I win–iiiii win!”
Tank Girl (imitating his accent): “Oy win!”

Unknown-1Moving 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:

Jennifer Garner

I’m CIA, but not really. Oh, but I AM actually CIA. My dad is also CIA, but not really, but actually, no, he really is. You following this?

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.

Jessica Chastain

Why hello, Mr. Oscar.

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.


In real life, I’d kick Channing’s a**, no question.

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.  🙂

8 Responses to “Kicking A** & Taking Numbers”

  1. cmkempe February 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm #



    • cmkempe February 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      And Xena, too — how few of the warrior women would be fixtures now without the massive success of that show.


  2. LizEverly February 12, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    I loved Zena, too. I tried to get my daughters interested in that show. But no dice.


  3. madelineiva February 11, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    Wished I coulda slipped a pic of her into the post. When I was in college all the lesbians sighed over her. ;>


  4. Elizabeth Shore February 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Gotta give a shout-out to one of my favorite bad-asses, Xena, Warrior Princess! I love bad-ass women, mainly because 1) I’m not a bad-ass myself; and 2) I’d really like to be one. Ah, fantasy! Anyway, loved the post, Madeline.


  5. madelineiva February 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm #



  6. Sofie Couch February 11, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    All right already! I’m gettin’ my butt to the gym. (I’m Linda Hamilton – in my fantasy world.)


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