Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fighting Like A Girl

The movie poster
By Meghan B

Kick ass women in costumes. This has been the driving force behind many of my obsessions. Do I even dare tell you of the shameful depths of my Sailor Moon obsession when I was at the tender age of 11? It involved paperdolls, my first ever internet community, and it was not pretty.

I think that obsession, instilled at such an impressionable, young age might be behind my drooling intense need for the movie, Sucker Punch. A new trailer for the film was released today and it left me a flailing, all capital letters typing, giddy little fangirl. It comes out on March 25 to regular and IMAX screens and it looks mindboggingly awesome.

The movie looks slick and stylized, the trailer even features a song by The Silversun Pickups. It begins in a mental institution and goes on to involve dragons, giant mechs, samurai, robots, Nazis... you name it, they got it. There's even going to be singing! It's the brainchild of Mr. Watchman, Zack Snyder, so it has the potential to be awesome but also the potential to be awful.

The movie follows Babydoll, a wide-eyed blonde ingénue played by Emily Browning. She's sent to a mental institution to be lobotomized after being abused and nearly raped by a relative. She's joined by a small group of other girls in the institution who long to be free and together they use the power of their imagination to escape the torment dealt to them. They also happen to do this in skimpy leather clothes and a school girl outfit.

A lot can be said for how degrading it is to make girl characters fight in matching outfits or stylized stereotype "hot girl" outfits. At first, all I could think was "ugh, really?" when I saw the lead character prance around in a cut off school girl outfit. It's going to be another one of THOSE movies, I thought to myself. Another movie for the male gaze, all knee socks and spandex. I was proved wrong, because Babydoll kicks so much ass that my jaw was left dangling perilously close to the floor.

Sisters are doin' it for themselves!

Is it wrong to want to kick loads of ass and also look awesome doing so? Do you have to wear pants and not look sexy to make it feminist? Does wearing a school girl outfit yet killing dragons somehow negate how cool it is? Much has been said in the blogosphere about what the girls are wearing and less about what they are doing. They are kicking ass and taking names, and that is brilliant.

I can't say for sure if it's going to be unfeminist. Zack Snyder's track record is interesting on the matter. It's hard to wager. Some are writing it off as a movie made for D&D playing comic nerds, featuring unattainable women they'll be buying resin statutes of at the next Comic-Con. I say don't write the comic nerds off too soon. Comic books have given us interesting female characters and, dare I say it, role models, for decades. I can't be the only little girl who wanted to grow up to be Wonder Woman or Jean Gray. I'd be lying if I said I didn't go out on Halloween as Catwoman or Velma from Scooby Doo.

I don't think dressing up and fighting is a rare idea. If Sailor Moon can do it in an altered school girl outfit, so can Babydoll. It doesn't make them more or less of a woman. Wonder Woman can fight crime in both her spangled leotard as well as a pair of jeans, so why does it matter which it is? She's still fighting crime, she's still being a strong woman. The clothes don't make the woman a badass, her actions do. Would any of you go up to Buffy Summers and tell her she wasn't a badass because she worse a halter top?

In your imagination, are you saving the world in your sweatpants or are you doing it looking fierce in whatever awesome thing your brain can come up with?

While the jury may be out on Sucker Punch, I'm not. I can not wait for the film and I keep my fingers crossed hoping I'm not let down. I've been burned before, Synder! Expect a full report after I see the film and many gasped breaths in the weeks leading up to it. For now, here is the trailer so you can see what I mean. I hope I leave the theater saying the movie was epic, and not an epic mess.

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1 comment:

  1. I've been waiting for this one since I 1st heard about it months ago - I think it's the dirigible going nose-first into the ground that caught my eye but youre so right, women don't just fight, they fight *gracefully*

    it's the best part about chinese films, you would think that every woman in china can beat back at least 3 guys at the same time on any given day :) the new nikita is no slouch either!