Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sucker Punch, sexism and feminism today

Feminism  is really lost at the moment. Of course it was (and remains) a "broad church" - as its proponents invariably say whenever the ideology's glaring inconsistencies are pointed out. But it would be heartening to know that it actually stood for something.

The biggest internal contradiction nowadays surely has to do with Islam. While some feminists have finally started catching up to conservatives and openly condemned the religion for its institutionalized sexism, most have wussed out completely. Sadly, many feminists still seem to think that blonde jokes are more oppressive to women than the Taliban.

You can see just how irrelevant and silly feminism has become in our popular culture as well. Because of the relentless nagging by feminists over the last several decades, women routinely have "empowering" (that is, masculine) roles in movies and television. Actually, it's quite rare to see any featured female character behaving in a feminine way. She's got to be a brilliant nuclear scientist who's also an expert in tae kwon do - or a witheringly witty wisecracker at the very least. Needless to say, because of commercial constraints, she's also got to be no older than thirty and look like a million dollars.

Nowhere is this syndrome more pronounced than in the action, sci-fi and fantasy film genres. The movie Sucker Punch is a perfect example. It's got a bunch of slinky young sexpots all dolled up like porn starlets running around blowing the bejesus out of anything that moves. Talk about having it both ways!

Not surprisingly some people think the movie is deeply sexist because it objectifies women. Then there are those, including at least one of the movie's female stars, who sincerely believe it's an empowering feminist statement.

Call me old fashioned, but I think this is just hilarious. At least as these questions pertain to popular culture, does anybody know what feminism means anymore - and does anybody really care? I think the answer to both is a resounding "nope!".

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