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caress
I watched Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines a few days ago. It's REALLY good and I highly recommend it. They spend a bit of time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but of course most of the focus is on Wonder Woman. I loved the tv show. I think they were showing reruns when I was six and we never missed an episode. Like so many I've been waiting for a Wonder Woman movie. Plus, lots of interviews with Gloria Steinem!

I've been thinking a lot about it these past few days, and several points it made really resonated with me. One was about sacrifice, and how female characters in the action/adventure genre tend to sacrifice their life for people. I've seen this trope a lot, and on the one hand while there is something romantic about the idea of loving someone so much you would give your life for them, there's something disturbing about it to. And as the documentary pointed out, basically when a woman sacrifices her life for someone, she is saying "the world is better off without me."



Even Buffy did this, though she came back and wrecked havoc with the idea. Here's the thing. In Buffy's case, the world would really have been better off if Dawn died. Another slayer would not be able to be called until Faith died, and as she's in jail, well, evil runs amok. And as we saw, the Scoobies had a hard time keeping things together in her absence. The world would have been better off with Dawn dead rather than Buffy.

In most cases (Matrix I'm glaring at you!), this really isn't the case. Mask of Zorro. Going outside of America, Angel Sanctuary. And then there's Lily Potter, which is really hard to fault, but it's there all the same. A woman is sacrificing herself for a man who can save the world or humanity or whatever.

And while I've been wracking my brain these past few days to think of an instance where a man sacrifices himself for a woman, and all I can think of is Marcus from Babylon 5, mostly all I can think of is men who sacrifice their lives to save the world or large groups of people. And they're all really crappy movies, too. Armaggedon. Deep Impact. Data in Nemesis. The only instance where I can think of a woman sacrificing her life to save the world is Ripley in Aliens 3.

No grand final thoughts on this, it just got me thinking.

The other thing that interested me was the point about how women are depicted as having too much power and it becoming a bad thing to the point where the heroine believes that she would be better off dead, the prime example being Jean Grey. I started thinking back to an amazing presentation about the history of the witch I'd seen at A-Kon (oh A-Kon, I am going to have to sit out on you this year, too) and how the idea of the witch arouse because men were uncomfortable with the idea of women being powerful. And the lecturer was a rather amazing man.

He also said that a good witch should be one bad day away from destroying the world. And, ladies and gentleman, I give you Willow Rosenberg and Lina Inverse.

That aside, it did make me think about how extremely powerful women are portrayed. Some are distressed by their power. A lot of the X-Men heroines seem to fall into this camp. Others are comfortable with it, while people in their lives aren't (Willow). In season 3 and 4 of Buffy I really had a hard time understanding where the people criticizing Willow's use of too much magic too soon came from. Could it have been that people were simply uncomfortable with her having so much power?

Anyway, good docu, lots of thoughts, watch and enjoy!

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
dqbunny
Apr. 21st, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
He also said that a good witch should be one bad day away from destroying the world. And, ladies and gentleman, I give you Willow Rosenberg and Lina Inverse.

I'd lump River Song into this as well, because River (and not Melody Pond) had developed into a good witch who then broke the universe to save the man that she loved. It was actually the Lina/Gourry parallels in "The Wedding of River Song" that elevated Eleven/River to OTP status for me.

Technically, Gourry sacrifices his life to save Lina in the anime when he follows Lina into the Sea of Chaos, so I'd throw him up there with Marcus. Likewise, several regenerations of the Doctor (Five and Nine especially) sacrificed themselves to save a woman (Peri and Rose) rather than a group of people. Ten kind of counts as well, because he gave up his life to save Wilf (after a lot of bitching and moaning).
alexeia_drae
Apr. 22nd, 2013 01:36 am (UTC)
I'd lump River Song into this as well, because River (and not Melody Pond) had developed into a good witch who then broke the universe to save the man that she loved.

I went back and forth on whether to include her, namely because I wasn't sure if she technically qualified as a witch or just fit into the extremely powerful women category, tough either way it's likely splitting hairs on my part :-)

Technically, Gourry sacrifices his life to save Lina in the anime when he follows Lina into the Sea of Chaos, so I'd throw him up there with Marcus.

For this I was thinking of people who were successful in their sacrifice, meaning that they didn't come back to life (granted Buffy came back so I just shot my own foot there...but she came back WRONG! And I guess Marcus didn't technically die but he wasn't exactly living his life either). Otherwise I would have included things like Lina taking a shot for Sylphiel (which can really lead to some interesting questions of whose life is worth more...) Likewise with the Doctor...he's still alive and going strong, just a different face with different eccentricities. Though, yes, then intent is there. You know, now I'm thinking I didn't think this through nearly as much as I thought I did.
engarian
Apr. 21st, 2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
I have always believed that persecution of women living alone as "witches" was egged on by men who saw these women as having too much power because no man owned them.

- Erulisse (one L)
alexeia_drae
Apr. 22nd, 2013 01:41 am (UTC)
Yes, that's pretty much what the panel was about. Independent women who lived without men were threatening so they were demonized as witches. Then The Wizard of Oz introduced the concept of the Good Witch. And L. Frank Baum was married to the daughter of the famous suffragist, Matilda Gage, and considered himself a feminist and feminist themes pervade the series. Then in the 19-whatevers Bewitched aired and you started seeing some different takes on witches. Fascinating.
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