On Sugared Snips and Spiced Snails
(Warning: In this post I am rather harsher than I usually come across)
I've always hated this movie--but not for the reason you think
Turnabout is fair play, aye? After I wrote last Sunday's post on the ultimate meaninglessness of empowering girls by trying to make them more like boys, I wondered whether there was an equivalent for boys. "Is there a group of grown men," I asked myself, "who are trying to level the playing field for boys by encouraging them to be more like girls?"
Then it hit me: THERE IS!
Still not the reason you think
A friend of mine likes to say that Harry Potter isn't a realistic character because he is not like a real boy. He is, however, a telling character, because he is what J.K. Rowling believes a real boy is like. (My friend was not surprised to learn that when Rowling was writing the first books in the series, she was a single mother of a daughter.) I could say the exact same thing about "kick-butt" heroines: they are what their creators believe boys are really like--and of course, all those creators happen to be women.
So you see how it all falls apart if it turns out that boys aren't really like that, right?
"A good novel tells us the truth about its hero, but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author," said G.K. Chesterton, author of a lot of bad novels. LOL! (But seriously, he must know something about it then, aye?) What these stories with "kick-butt" heroines tell us is that their authors blame the restraints of culture and society for holding women back. Why else would they base their girl protagonists on not just any boys, but on boys who defy their own restraints: the rebels, the iconoclasts, the dirty fighters, the rakes, the bastards? And why else would the vast majority of these stories be set in pseudo-medieval or dystopian worlds where restraints can be easily demonised?
Now, my point is not to say that certain restraints don't exist or that they are all good. It is to say that "kick-butt" characters are as inaccurate as any Hollywood "yellowface" performance.
And the plot thickens because, as I hinted earlier, somewhere in the world there are male writers who are basing their own "alpha" heroes on what they think women are really like. They honestly believe that women have smashed through all the aforementioned restraints and have revealed their true selves to be amoral, shallow, flighty, heartless, backbiting, gold-digging "girls gone wild." And they think that in order for a man to make it in what has become a woman's world, he must beat his oppressors at their own game.
So they produce a body of literature which is as ultimately meaningless as the "kick-butt" canon, but the especially ugly manner in which they go about it emphasises what you may not have seen in the first bunch of books: they're all based on envy.
Basically, if you think that the opposite sex has all the power--and has it at your expense--then you are envy's little bitch.
(I use a female metaphor to be as gender inclusive as possible. =P)
Image Sources: Breakfast at Tiffany's images