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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Violence is Power

Often in film and literature, female characters must be violent in order to be powerful. Because violence is typically viewed as a masculine characteristic, does this mean women must be masculinized before they are considered powerful characters? This essay redefines power through analyses of feminist science fiction.

"...These women, whom Yvonne Tasker calls "Rambolinas," may be tough, they may be powerful, but they may or may not "be women" for, as some people might think, if "woman"= feminine and the definition of feminine is the opposite of tough and powerful, how can tough women be women in our culture's limiting, dichotomous understanding? These tough women are often theorized as being symbolically male, especially if, as with Ripley, Sarah, and Charly, their bodies are also muscular and if other gender signifiers (such as how they dress, how they act, how they talk, how they wear their hair) suggest that they are masculine or, according to Tasker, "musculine"."

I'm sure we can all think of examples of powerful nonviolent female characters (for example, women may draw power through their sexuality) but I think this essay presents interesting arguments in light of a this recent feministe post
and this study which suggest female bloggers need to take on the male norm in order to be noticed.