The Rise Of Female Vengeance

Well, sweet sincere reflection has me thinking: what is the reason behind the current surge of films about feminism ruling and even killing to keep the success going? Stories are simply that of the reflection of broken people. As I have talked a little bit in Human Mess And Pain If Fuel. It seems to me that we will always be trying to write characters that hit some vein close to a relationship that is real, or could be real. In the last couple of years I have been noticing some films that are renewing the titles for the new women. I was completely thrown aloof after watching Hanna. The story of a young-girl in the woods of wherever who is trained by handsome man, Eric Bana, to be a ruthless assassin. After years of training in the wilderness it becomes time to let it out. Hanna gets trapped in prison but graciously escapes but not really; she kills to escape, literally. I left this film not edified and filled with speculation over the character of the women in film and where it seems to be going. Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, which I never saw, looked all to horrific in grit but all through the lends of a girl. Trapped in some revenge kick or just plan violence she becomes the centerpiece of redefining women in film. And most recently, Columbiana with that all together Zoe Saldana girl who seems to be fitting the mold for the new James Bond or Jason Bourne for women. The film follows one long trail of what the subtitle says in capslock: REVENGE IS BEAUTIFUL. As if the Moby Dick of the 18th century is calling out again for a second pondering to take place.

The women is getting more and more powerful but ruthlessly and with very little character. Films like Bad Teacher or Young Adult seem to be showing the passive defiance of the women struggling to survive and confront one’s weakness. I do appreciate the nuance in what seems to be different and not done before. I haven’t seen these two films but from articles about this reviewers seems to be taking a new liking to the women seen differently. But why revenge and violence? Perhaps the voices of Mott and Stanton are getting silenced by the endless mirage of the man taking the rightful place. We have always turned our fallen conception of masculinity in James Bond. The secret agent spy with a gnack for solving the perfect crimes with all the best toys and gadgets to do so but even in the last 2 James Bond Paul Haggis has gone darker then before. Bond now is a ruthless killer more like Jason Bourne, except not with amnesia. It seems to me that we have left out the class of the women and because of scandalizing them as objects of affection and sex the women has lost her voice. What has happened now has become an over slaughter of the passive 50’s mom from Leave It To Beaver. The women now is tough, gritty and unafraid of her opponents. The women is the new Bond and with much more fiercness to her frame. She is no longer just a pretty girl who likes boys rather she gets what she wants when she wants it. As if we have silenced the women to a place of sertitude and oppression. What I am seeing is that the women is taking her rightful place again but in a twisted perverted way. I do agree that we should give women equal rights and women are treated much better now then they were years ago. History has given us a brutal look at how man’s misogony has created much complexity. But I don’t think revenge is the answer. I think we are showing people that if you are in pain, like all of us, you need to do all it takes to seek recompense for that pain. If your pain is a motivation then you should do all you can do to confront and get rid of the pain. As Johnny Cash sings, “I focus on the pain, it’s the only thing that is real.” But later He looks in the mirror and tells us, “what have I become?”

Yes, pain is fuel. How many times do I have to say it and in fact, write it too. But I still have to be careful that I don’t take pain and suffering and glorify it to a place of worship and reluctant gratitude, wishing it stays that way. If I was always living in my pain then I would be very hopeless and bitter. I would live very shut down and trapped all the time. Pain has to have a solution and a remedy. It seems that in a desperation to be satisfied and free men and women seek vengance to replace notions of an upset life. We live without that confrontation taking place. We live stuffing down and repressing the pain so that we don’t have to feel it. Movies like Crash and The Descendents force us to stay connected to the controversial interuptions of reality. These are usually my favorite pieces. Rachel Getting Married is the ultimate family confrontation of self and family. Anne Hathaway painfully has to face her drug addiction and self-hatred for letting her brother die. Meanwhile, she is surrounded by a painful reality of her family not caring and disconnecting from her battle to be free from her past. Her sister, Rachel, doesn’t want her to be maid of honor for fear of abandonment. The dialogue is so rigid and fluid full of polarizing the crowd with brutal honesty. So, there is always room for expression of hurting but revenge and murder only leads to more destruction and eventually one’s own death. If there is anything to learn from the slew of gritty crime movies that come out all the time its one simple principle: don’t get involved in this business, you will die! And most end their lives with money and greed that gets them a giant target from more greedy and jealous people. Its so sad and depressing  but sort of true. No one is ever satisfied and few survive. Robery De Niro being one of them.

2 thoughts on “The Rise Of Female Vengeance

  1. Interestingly, the films you mention,Columbiana, Hanna, Bad Teacher, Sucker Punch were all written and directed by men. Perhaps if more opportunities were given to women in the film industry, we would see more dynamic and developed female characters. But the fact is, that a lot of powerful male execs don’t want to give credit where credit is due when it comes to female writers. That’s not to say men can’t write women, there are plenty of great examples of well developed female characters written by men, but there are far more under-developed, one dimensional female characters that take a backseat to the main character, who is usually male. This view of female “vengence” seems to be one widely held by men, not women. (most) Women don’t want revenge, we want equality and to be represented in films as more than helpless victims, princesses, eye candy, or nagging wives. Had you seen sucker punch you would be in a position to judge the story- which was about a girl trapped in a mental institution by her abusive father, escaping into an alternate reality to formulate a plan to escape the sexual abuse experienced in the institution. Even though the story is pretty powerful and the imagery amazing, her character is still creepily childlike and sexualized which objectifies her and IMO takes away from the story.

  2. Well said. Yeah my mention of Sucker Punch was ignorance. I feel there are way more examples then what I mentioned in this post of probably much better films that women have been portrayed. But I do agree that men have had the spotlight and that has been corrupted as well.

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