March 27, 2014

The Bimbo & The Bad Guy

So much progress has been made regarding the roles for women in action film.  Thirty years ago it was rare that a woman would even play a lead in an action film.  Still, there is one role for women that I keep seeing in action movies and quite frankly in my opinion, it needs to go.

I call it:  “The Bimbo and the Bad Guy”.

We’ve all seen this in action films…the villain has a voluptuous ditzy female hanging off his arm who serves no purpose in the film accept to deliver a squeal of horror, giggle for no apparent reason, or just “look good”.  For some reason, she finds this villain attractive and is almost submissive to his every command.  I remember in the movie The Dark Knight, the villain Maroni brings his mistress to a noisy bar. When she complains that she wanted to go someplace quieter where they could talk, Maroni replies “What makes you think I want to listen to you talk?”. I have also seen action movies where the bad guy has more than one submissive girlfriend (fantasy much?).  Maybe this type of female character serves to boost the macho image of the villain but aren’t there other ways to do this? Ever hear of Bonnie & Clyde?  There is no reason why a villain’s “woman” can’t be just as sick, smart and twisted as he is.  And she can still “look good”.

I realize this may strike a nerve with some who will defend this type of role as purely entertaining and caters to a predominantly male audience.  But do we want to keep the action genre aimed primarily at men?  Isn’t it reasonable that we if we want to grow the audience for the action genre we include everyone?   If that is the case, gender issues should come up in the discussion.  Let’s not be afraid to talk about more empowering roles for women in action film.  I think the issue here is not that women hate being portrayed as sexual on film, but they do hate being portrayed as brainless.

About the Author

I'm just a girl who would rather watch stuff get blown up, shot up, or jacked up than sit in a theatre and cry. Action movies are my passion and I want to see this genre thrive again.



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