Women in Action Movies

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Women in old westerns mainly played distressed, helpless, feminine roles; however, women commonly appear in fighting roles in modern day action movies. Today, movies starring provocative, strong women characters seem to sell more than movies featuring helpless women characters for the simple reason that sex sells. One of the main stereotypical female characters in present day action movies represents beauty and promiscuity, for example the character of Lara Croft in the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. The other major stereotypical action film female role disguises a woman as a man, for instance in the story of Mulan. Recent action films tease females by recognizing their strength, with the conditions that the character possesses a perfect figure and pretty face, or depicts the female hero as a male. Action films stereotype women as weak, powerless homemakers. Women are inferior to men in society, which Hollywood reinforces by giving men the leadership and military roles. For instance, in war movies, women play either the damsel in distress or the nurturing mother and wife caring for the soldiers. It seems only when a woman dresses as a man is she able to take the role of a soldier. However, times are changing. In the past decade, many screenwriters wrote action films where independent, scantily clad women fight crime with style, class, and many powerful weapons. An article on female action heroes called Make Her Day, found in Entertainment Weekly explains, “the studios aren't as concerned with striking a blow for feminism as they are in tapping into a potentially lucrative crossover market”(Hruska 62). Therefore, writers do not concern themselves in being politically correct, but rather create a character an audience finds entertaining. Moss 2

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, a movie based on the 1996 video game (Inness 22) is about a woman on a mission to find halves of a triangle that gives the finder the power to rule time hidden deep inside a tomb. Angelina Jolie,...
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