Acts Like a Man


The discussion about women as protagonists continues here…

So this idea that a woman acts as a lone wolf feeds into characterization of a female protagonist who thinks like a man and acts like a man, exemplified by the Laura Croft character. She is trained for weapons and hand-to-hand combat.  She has analytical skills and adequate financial resources to put her ideas into action. She is equal to the men in a chase scene or a mono-a-mono contest.

Where are her sisters?  Where are her students or a mentor (besides Daddy) or women of equal strength and ambition? The men in the Tomb Raider stories all travel in groups. Why does she have no support system besides a computer geek who lives (apparently) in the lobby of her mansion?

Amazingly, the movie industry still debates whether the public will attend an action movie with a female lead, and this topic came up again with the Angelina Jolie movie Salt or Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart.

Another classic lone-woman-acts-like-a-man story is the Alien series with Sigourney Weaver. She has no kids or support group of women, but she has knowledge of weapons and electronics, and she solves problems the men also try to solve by using similar reasoning. The only true female in that series was the monster that was busy laying eggs where they might mature and expanding its species.

When I ask these questions, I’m often accused of looking at details that are peripheral to the story. The plot is about the actions of the hero to solve the problem presented in the inciting event and gain revenge on the bad guy. Nobody cares how his sister gets the laundry done.  One reviewer told me that nobody cares what the characters wear and I should stop describing wardrobe in detail.  I suppose that’s why the men in these stories all dress alike and never get clean.

Indiana Jones’s fedora in not an essential element of his character? Jones Junior’s leather jacket (homage to The Wild One with a young Marlon Brando) was not a conscience choice?

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