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hail HYDRA | by maryann johanson

Hit Girl hysteria…

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…where are the women at Cannes, the politics of hair, and more.

Yes, it’s The Week in Women — or, rather, last week’s Week in Women, finally — my regular column over at the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. Enjoy.


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  • http://bit.ly/by1OK2 Squashua

    I called Hit Girl hysteria a while back, referencing the Disney purchase of Marvel:

    http://bit.ly/by1OK2

  • gensing

    When I read the NYT headline “Unshaven Women – Free Spirits or Unkempt?” my first reaction was “are those the only two choices? Really??”

    How about this… “Shaven Women – Self-mutilators or Obsessive-Compulsives?”

  • Mo

    The limitations of how female human beings are depicted onscreen gets thrown into even sharper relief when we consider why some women fans of the genre like Hit Girl: She’s a strong character who hasn’t been sexualized, they say. Hasn’t been sexualized? She’s 11! If the only way a female character in such a role can escape overt sexualization is to be prepubescent, then we’re in even worse shape than I thought we were.

    Oh, it’s that bad and far, far worse in a way that does my head in: some critics who have been bashing her have been doing so specifically because they feel it sexualizes her. *coughDailyMailcough*

    And I quote:

    The movie’s writers want us to see Hit-Girl not only as cool, but also sexy, like an even younger version of the baby- faced Oriental assassin in Tarantino’s Kill Bill 1. Paedophiles are going to adore her…As if that isn’t exploitative enough, she’s also shown in a classic schoolgirl pose, in a short plaid-skirt with her hair in bunches, but carrying a big gun.

    The message is, if you’re a girl and you want to dress up like a superhero (or a schoolgirl), however modestly, you are automatically sexualized by your role, no matter what age you are. So that is why little boys are “allowed” to be superheroes but not little girls.

    Thank goodness no one told me or my sister that back in the days when we had to wear school uniforms and weren’t above playing with toy guns. Apparently the mere act of holding a toy gun would have made us pedophile bait because girls can’t hold a gun without it being sexualized.

    Wow. I really hate the world today.

  • http://paulliver.livejournal.com/ Paul

    It’s the creeping towards “ick” factor. They had 25 year old actresses, but then a 22 year old came along and men drooled so we have a lot of 22 year olds, then a 20 year old comes along and men drool so we get a lot more twenty year olds, then an 18 year old, then a 16 year old …

    It’s the same way with men and muscles. The heroes of black and white films don’t look all that kick ass, really. But the next guy comes along looking a little more kick ass, then a little more kick ass, until eventually I suspect the action hero actors probably spend more time lifting weights than memorizing lines.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    When I read the NYT headline “Unshaven Women – Free Spirits or Unkempt?” my first reaction was “are those the only two choices? Really??”

    How about this… “Shaven Women – Self-mutilators or Obsessive-Compulsives?”

    Ironically, that second headline promotes the notion that this aspect of a woman’s appearance is anyone’s business save that of the woman herself as much as the original headline does.

    How about this: “Professional Journalists Reveal Bizarre Obsession with Women’s Body Hair.” Now there’s a headline I’d like to see.

    It’s the creeping towards “ick” factor. They had 25 year old actresses, but then a 22 year old came along and men drooled so we have a lot of 22 year olds, then a 20 year old comes along and men drool so we get a lot more twenty year olds, then an 18 year old, then a 16 year old …

    Actually, I suspect there was never some magic golden age when men didn’t drool over young women of a less than respectable age–just times when people were less prone to call attention to it.

    Indeed, it’s surprising to note how many of the cute dancing-girl routines in old movies were performed by women who look like adults to most untrained eyes but were actually teenagers at the time of filming. Betty Gable first got her start in musicals when she was still a teenager and Paula Goddard played Charlie Chaplin’s love interest in Modern Times when she was still in her mid-teens.

    But, yes, we can all agree that attempting to sexualize eleven-year-old girls is indeed pushing it.

    And yet I can’t help wondering how many objections are being written by the same people who considered the final dance routine of Little Miss Sunshine to be oh so cute. Didn’t that scene involve sexualizing an under-age actress? Or did it not count because so many critics considered it funny?

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