The Shoat Statements

Random musings by the multiple voices inside my head.

This is written partly in response to what one (and my only) reader had commented on re: the AFI listing & Hollywood, and partly as a reaction to what seems to be a common sentiment.

What is a hero? Is a hero really just someone who fights against evil or an enemy? After all, an enemy is a rather subjective word. Han Solo and Darth Vader both fights against enemies. But Han Solo gains our admiration not for merely fighting against an enemy (an entire army does that). He gains our admiration for his courage, for his character and for what he achieves. Atticus Finch more than anyone else is number one on that list for being a person of character. He is not so much fighting an enemy as much as he is fighting a legion of prejudices. T. E Lawrence? Much the same story. Basically, a hero is someone who is admired for his or her strength, achievements and qualities.

Why is it that people still think that a female heroine should be a soft, maternal figure who comes to the rescue of her family first and foremost? AFI certainly didn’t think so – Clarice Starling, Ellen Ripley, Thelma & Louise - none of them had anything to do with home & hearth. Plus, they were successful heroines in successful movies.
To set the record straight, a good, heroic person is NOT a masculine character. Goodness & heroism are not gender-based or gender-sensitive words. They are words that describe any good creature; be it man, woman or dog. Thus, heroism is not a masculine quality. Women who portray (or indeed, are) heroes need not strive to be ‘more like men’. All they have to do is strive to be a good person.

At the end of the day, people who want to see women only in soft, homely, traditional roles falls into either of two categories – chauvinists or those who are terrified of change, be it good or bad. I mean – what exactly is this tradition or society that wants women to be ‘soft’? If you look into times gone by, women were just as strong as men. From Athena to Artemis to Kali & Durga to Joan-of-Arc, women were strong characters who stood for (so-called) ‘masculine’ ideals. Home & hearth were certainly far from their minds. And yet hundreds of people, men & women alike, followed them.

These traditional roles, ‘motherly’ and ‘soft’ feminine creatures of today are not roles that can be traced back to time immemorial. These are not the only avtaras that women are supposed to take. These are roles that men are comfortable to have women slotted in.
Society doesn’t need to learn to appreciate the motherly familial aspect of women. What it needs to do is to open its eyes and see that women are capable of doing a hell of a lot more than sacrificing all to keep the home-front happy. They can be strong & courageous for reasons wholly unrelated to their families.

And if for all the men out there who wants women to be the soft and familial creature, my words to you:
"Your ignorance is encyclopedic"
(with due respect & apologies to Abba Eban (1915-2002))

1 comments:

Well my dear Shoatie, you are right. I overlooked those characteristics protrayed by women such as Clarice when writing my previous comment. In that case I want to mention that Hollywood may not contain as many good and decent female actors as male actors who can actually stand up to powerful roles that embody strength, charisma and moral fiber.

This brings us to the point that maybe there are fewer women able to embody such characterisitics. The majority of women may opt to take the extremist path and wave the feminist flag without taking action. This seems to always be the easier path.

Now that society is changing (slowly tho' some might add), women have a greater chance in showing their 'moral fiber'. Let us see how many women stand up to their philosophies and deliver their actions impartially.

As for Hollywood, it might just be a lack of talent.

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