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In essays on the subject of centricity, I've most often used the image of a geometrical circle, which, as I explained here,  owes someth...

Monday, March 9, 2009


OK, so contrary to my last post this one isn't about literary modes after all, thanks to Heidi McDonald's 3-9-09 post which says:

"Suffice to say that the days of female badasses like Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hamilton, and Lucy Lawless are long over in the movies."

Putting aside the quibble that Lawless was only a big star on the small screen, "bigness" of the physical kind seems to be the reason Heidi makes this claim, with reference to WATCHMEN's only female hero, Silk Spectre.

"And then there’s Silk Spectre. Malin Ackerman wasn’t quite as bad as I had been warned but casting yet another willowy ex-model instead of a potential tough guy makes her character more a refugee from America’s Next Top Model than a crimefighter."

That Ackerman is indeed willowy cannot be denied. She's also not especially tough-looking though the cinematic character does get a lot more kickass-scenes than the GN original received. But still, I wouldn't be so quick to proclaim the demise of the badass babe.

True, as others beside myself have pointed out, they do somewhat better as lead or at least co-lead characters on the small screen than the big one. Still, regarding the two actresses Heidi names who made their bones in multiplexes, I'm not sure that Sigourney "ALIENS" Weaver and Linda "T2" Hamilton are a dying breed.

Granted, I haven't yet found any action-actresses who are quite as tall as Weaver and Lawless (both 5'11''), but on television CHUCK's Yvonne Strahovski comes close at 5'9", and though she's a glamorpuss she's not by any means "willowy." Indeed, though the action on CHUCK can be supplied by one of two agents guarding the titular character-- Strahovski and Adam Baldwin-- Strahovski clearly gets the lion's share of fight-scenes on the show, both against men and other women.

Similar caveats abound for current actresses like Kate Beckinsale (5'7"), who originated the kickass Selene role on two UNDERWORLD films, and for Rhona Mitra (same height), who took over Selene in the last film in that series. I can't comment on said last film as I've not seen it but Mitra was a good badass babe in the earlier DOOMSDAY-- as believable, I'd say, as Linda Hamilton in T2 (who is one inch shorter).

Yes, today's badass babe does have to live down CATWOMAN. But even in the 90s heyday of Weaver and Hamilton, they had to put up with the ignominy of this guy's films.

Compared to these, even CATWOMAN starts to look a little better.


jfla said...

Don't forget that Uma Thurman, whose 6 ft.

OK, so Lucy Lawless wasn't in any movies re: Xena, but she's so good that she had to be mentioned anyway.

Gene Phillips said...

I got no problem with mentioning Xena, but if you're gonna bring in TV you have to be aware that TV's still a little more friendly to action-heroines these days.

Good point re: Thurman.