Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FTT Off-Topic: A Brief And Obvious Point About True Equality

Equal Opportunity
Not sports, yada yada, it's summer, I'm making it up as I go along.

The woman to the right of this copy is the German actress Antje Traue, who has a role as the mean muscle in the new Superman movie that you could not pay me to watch. The reason why you could not pay me to watch it is that I'm 44, bored beyond words with superhero movies, and care as much about Superman as I do about the Stanley Cup. Just not my cup of mass market; I get that it is for many, and you're not wrong, and neither am I. Let's get back to the point.

The sole interesting point about the latest movie, and Traue here, is that I'm told that she's a villain without any of the usual baggage that girls usually have to take on to be bad. A man did not do her wrong, she isn't avenging a murdered husband, wasn't made that way by Bad Old Dad, doesn't try to use her Feminine Wiles because she's a tiresome rapacious sexual beast, and just happens to be female because bad people just happen to be female sometimes. Especially in superhero movies, where you need bad people, otherwise the movie is even more dull than usual.

Since Traue isn't unattractive or made up to be unattractive, you notice her, which is to say, she's in a movie. There's no reason why her character, I am told, needs to be female, other than if she's not, the movie misses an opportunity to cash in on some very small novelty, much the way that movies with all-white casts are missing out on an opportunity to make something that's more like, well, reality in most major metro areas. (You can't really make her black, by the way, since the story line is that the baddies are master race types. Gotta go German for that.)

I was also dancing around the dial tonight, and caught a minute or two of WWE. (It's a weakness; I enjoy crap.) Tonight, a brunette heel was delighting in her win of a title belt, only to be chastised by the female management figure as to how, if she is to be a true champion, she needs to stop playing to the stereotype of tearing down other women. At which point I kind of lost how the heel was the heel.

No one ever has, or ever will, tell a male pro wrestler that he needs to stop tearing down other men, because that would be plainly and utterly absurd. It's also absurd for women, but not so much as to get the speech laughed out of the room by the WWE's writers. But that's because, unlike movies, the WWE is a lot further away from equality for women, and feels compelled to toss in '70s/'80s style first wave feminism to the mix. That's the stuff where women have to be better than men, because otherwise we're just contributing to negative stereotypes.

Well, screw that.

If you want women to be equal to men, they've got to take on some of the bad stuff, too. They have to get antagonist roles that are cast without gender being the driver or excusing factor. Older and fatter actresses have to get parts, just the same as old and fat men. Some of the roles have to be minor and perfunctory. Many of the jobs have to be tedious and bureaucratic, or forgettable and background. They get to be as present, and ordinary, as men.

They also get to take a superhero punch, or betray and manipulate others before a comeuppance without learning a valuable lesson, putting on a skirt and making less severe wardrobe choices before shunting off to have redeeming meals and/or babies.

And if you don't want to live in a world like that, or think that entertainment that doesn't go that way is somehow degrading and demeaning and dehumanizing, well... I've only got two questions for you.

Who, exactly, are you protecting? And why do you want so many less women to get work?

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