Power Structures

Women as protagonists is under discussion for this thread…

Understanding power structures is an essential element for how women negotiate the world. Finding the solution to the problem, even developing a track record of solving cases, does not lead to status among the men. Look at The Closer for an example where members of the major cases squad only grew into loyalty to Dep. Chief Johnson when she showed them that she could save their jobs.

There’s an old Elvis Presley movie titled Follow that Dream where a country boy travels with his prospective father-in-law and the daughter (played by Ann Helm) who serves them meals and keeps them clean. Whenever they must solve a new problem in the plot, the two men sit at a table and discuss the issue until the girl in service offers the solution. 

They embrace the solution but give no credit and no status to the girl. She is acting, after all, to preserve the two men who provide security. They will act to implement her ideas, that aren’t called her ideas, so she must remain in the background.

A story wherein the female protagonist solves problems by her own wits and resources must include a depiction of power relations and how her voice is not heard in the public square. How does the female protagonist solve problems without this speechifying element so often present in adventure stories, such as the talk between Josey Wales and Ten Bears near the end of that movie?

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