How many action heroes are female? In the past, there were not many. But just as the visibility and power of women has increased in societal, political and economic areas, the same change is happening in media today. In his essay, “Go Ahead, Make Her Day”, author Richard Corliss states, “Flick on the TV, and see women – young women, almost always- kicking and thinking and winking at both the old notion of femininity and the aging precepts of feminism” (45). Historically, women have been portrayed in the media as passive and weak victims, waiting to be saved by men.
If women did exhibit physical or mental strength, it was at the expense of their sexual appeal. The increase of roles for women in the media portrayed as self-sufficient heroines who are both strong and sexy challenges more traditional notions of both femininity and feminism. This represents a positive change as it offers stronger role models for society. Historically women were generally portrayed in the media as passive and sexually attractive or strong and unattractive, but not both. Most people understand the cultural concept of the “damsel in distress.
This notion is embedded into society, along with the idea of a male hero who aids the distressed female and saves the day. Consider all the examples of females who are rescued by males: Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and countless other Disney heroines are saved by a Prince, Lois Lane is rescued by Superman, the current Bond girl is regularly saved by James Bond, etc. As Corliss observes in his essay, “It used to be the heroine’s job to get in trouble and the hero’s job to get her out of it” (Corliss 45).
The females were typically illustrated as beautiful, passive characters who waited for the stronger, active males to save them. Female roles that illustrated any type of physical or mental strength were generally unattractive or nonsexual. For example consider two Disney villainesses, Cruella DeVille from 101 Dalmatians and Ursula, from The Little Mermaid are both powerful, evil, and of course, physically unattractive. Thus, the historical representations of women usually portrayed them as beautiful and passive victims, or strong but unattractive.
New powerful roles for women challenge traditional notions of the feminine. Feminine traditionally described for a women, as sensitivity or gentleness. “You’ve come a long way, baby,”(45) Women of the 21st century are very well respected. Acting and Performing with there heads up high, Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox are just the few actresses causing men to drool and wanting their sexual appearance unlike the Female of 17th century where they were booed and unwanted.
As for Megan fox the co-star of Transformers is portrayed as a strong, Physically attractive and equally treated as a male character with the strength of rescuing “Sam WitWikey”(Shia Labouf). With Movies and entertainment the female are actually treated as an equal or even stronger then the male character at times “The cartoon networks, Power Puff Girls The Most Elite Kindergarten Crime Fighting force ever assembled”(Corliss 45) New female roles also challenge accepted notion of feminism. Feminism is the idea that women are equals with men and deserve the same rights.
In the past, most people thought women were not supposed to work outside the home. Instead, they were supposed to cook, clean and look after children. Feminism changed all that. Now women can, and do, work in almost all the same jobs as men. The “Charlie’s” Is a tribute to today’s women: able, independent and cute- not so much feminist as femi-nice. ” (Corliss 46). As Corliss mentioned Barrymore, “We wanted the angels to be strong, but not masculine” (46). Usually in movies women are not strong, not independent or able but cute an helpless. The shift in female