Summer movies are upon us and with their arrival comes the unfortunate role of women in blockbusters. As the mercury rises and the grass turns brown, female characters are once again relegated to simpering on the sidelines or stuffing themselves into small bathing suits (or cat suits) to enjoy sexual innuendo and banter, while the men go off to save civilization. Or they spring to life on the big screen as jovial bar whores, as in the upcoming remake of the “The Lone Ranger.”
“Star Trek Into Darkness” got off to a good beginning when it allowed a young Lt. Uhura to join a landing party to confront the Klingon warriors. Sadly, her bravery was fleeting. She was quickly sidelined, so the men could begin their fight sequences. A brilliant weapons scientist who joins the Enterprise’s mission turns out to be the admiral’s daughter. That might have been be OK as she was prepared to stand up to her war-mongering papa, but not before she’s put in a scene in which she must be ogled by Capt. Kirk as she stands in nothing but a bra and panties.
If aliens were to really land on this planet, they’d be forgiven for mistaking women as feeble creatures unable to do more than pout about their relationship status while their superhero boyfriends break the sound barrier.
This folklore gets worse in today’s popular fiction, where women, it seems, just want to be tied up or rendered useless in a sexual haze by rock stars, underground boxers and other assorted bad boys.
Which leads me to ask, where are the interesting women in popular entertainment?
I wrote Women King as a direct result of my disgust with the way women are marginalized in the course of doing their work. I wanted to create a story where a strong female character could develop, without having to become a cliché. And I wanted her to have a life that resonated with women like me: educated, professionals who enjoy fantasy and fiction, but don’t enjoy dithering female characters, whose only successes seem to be making men fall in love with them.
So tell me, whom do you admire? Send me a note and I will write another blog post with my responses.