Stu Presents, Men & Women Of Action: When Genre & Gender Collide!

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Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
But I don't think it's fair to take away what an audience likes, and then call them racist, misogynist, etc. I remember when Terminator: Dark Fate came out and the director said it would "scare the g$%k out of internet trolls" to quote the director. But I don't think the story of The Terminator is suppose to do that. When Cameron first invented The Terminator, I don't think his intention was to scare trolls, so to speak.

But also, to say that inventing new franchises is too hard, and you need therefore hijack old ones, that comes off as cheating to me. Instead of doing the work, and creating something new, you best change franchises and betray what fans like, to try to get ahead... It just feels like cheating, and that they are hijacking in order to get ahead.

Why not just put in the ground work. And saying that you succeeded because you changed the icon, even if it was a financial failure does not count as a success to me.



"How tall is King Kong ?"
And we have seen endless depictions of the 90 pound wonder-chick beating the ever-loving crap out of large hulking male baddies.
Not only chicks. Action movies are full of men beating bigger baddies and stronger brutes (think Bond vs Oddjob or Jaws, but also Butch Cassidy, Terence Hill, Jackie Chan probably -I'm not much into martial arts-), through combat expertise, speed, flexibility, cunning and savviness. I'm certain that I can get the snot beaten out of me by women and men bigger and smaller than me. Gender has little to do with that. Any olympic athlete -which heroes tend to be more often than baddies- can defeat the immense majority of humans in their field, independently from gender.

In fact it was a staple of what I call the cloak-and-dagger approach of action movies (60s to 80s ?), although it was progressively replaced by the opposite trend : replacing the Roger Moore by the Richard Kiel (and sentient sportcars by sentient SUVs), and praising brute force heroes ŕ la Craig or Vin Diesel. In that regard, the opening of Casino Royale is very telling. Hopping gracefully over a fence used to be the hero's trademark, and crushing through it the baddies. We're in the age of Goliath vs David. I expect these to keep swapping roles in the long term.

But in a David vs Goliath age (cloack-and-daggery), women aren't out of place. Actually, if they're out of place in the Goliath vs David era, it's merely because big women are disapproved of, by principle (by cultural value). Technically, you could have, a gain, large women overpowering the vast majority of men by brute force, but they automatically wouldn't be deemed attractive enough for self-identification (I'd say the closest we got was with Gina Carano, but she lost the right to play fictional roles due to being dumb in real life, because that's how it works now apparently).

[Edit : Not to mention that, if you go by mass rationality, in equal expertise and training one hero would never be able to beat two baddies.]


There is thus an erasure of whiteness, but particularly maleness in this fantasy space
I really, really don't believe in that. There's quite a solid margin, when it comes to white hetero male representation in cinema. But I think that until we come to -and get used to- representation percentages that reflect real life (for instance, looking at US cinema and tv heroes, you wouldn't believe that "white" people are only 60% of the population), each adjustment in that direction would be perceived as an omg omg total replacement of everything ever.


The thing I don't like is women replacing James Bond or John Connor for example.
But you have no problem with John Connor replacing Sarah Connor.
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Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
But you have no problem with John Connor replacing Sarah Connor.
John Connor replacing Sarah was part of the original story though, because in the first movie, it was said that Sarah will raise a son that is going to fight a war. So that was already set up from the first movie, or so I felt.



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Not only chicks. Action movies are full of men beating bigger baddies and stronger brutes (think Bond vs Oddjob or Jaws, but also Butch Cassidy, Terence Hill, Jackie Chan probably -I'm not much into martial arts-), through combat expertise, speed, flexibility, cunning and savviness.
We're already in agreement on this point. No "but" necessary here.

It's all unrealistic and serves the emotional needs of the audience. When people, however, get the bad idea that they can do what they see in movies in real life (or should be able to), when the fantastical emotional release is rather seen as an aspirational norm (See, you really could take on three dudes at once!), derangements can follow (e.g., the tabula rasa conception of human bio-mechanics).

I'm certain that I can get the snot beaten out of me by women and men bigger and smaller than me. Gender has little to do with that.
An average man will have a significant advantage over an average female. It is what it is. What you can do is on you. That there are outliers is irrelevant (i.e., the average is still the average). Movies are made for average people.

Any olympic athlete -which heroes tend to be more often than baddies- can defeat the immense majority of humans in their field, independently from gender.
Cinematic uber chicks do not typically beat on average dudes as the main course. Rather they fight large, menacing, males who, by weight advantage alone, would pose a serious threat.

It's all ridiculous and childish. It comes from a place of fear and frustration. Our heroes do what we cannot. It's just that it is a little more ridiculous when your protagonist is giving up an extra hundred pound to the opponent.

We're in the age of Goliath vs David.
This is not a mere age. This is the psychological position of the center mass of any audience. People are, on average, are Davids and not Goliaths. David vs. Goliath is a popular tale, because it suggests any of us might succeed against long odds. Rooting for the underdog is to be expected when serving the needs of the bungled and the botched.

I expect these to keep swapping roles in the long term.
The general pattern will remain the same. Who the preferred "David" is will switch with politics and audience demographics.

women aren't out of place.
Of course not. Any portion of the population which must face the terrors of "martial action" (and women are now facing selective service and feminism recoils from the prospects of "male protection") will have need of such psychological releases (as reality will remind us, most of us are not cut out for it). If anything, there may be a greater psychological need for powerful female characters kicking ass. And so long as are heroines are wearing short skirts and tight jeans, the male portion of the audience will applaud this sort of feminism (Kick him again! Do that jiggle flip!).

Big women are disapproved of, by principle (by cultural value).
It would be great to see some Helga's get to flex. I'd love for Wonder Woman to look more like a German power lifter than Aphrodite.

The sad truth, however, is that we (all of us) wish to be sexually desirable AND powerful. This means our feminine heroes will be contradictory bundles of neotony and physical capacity.

[quote=Flicker;2238050Technically, you could have, a gain, large women overpowering the vast majority of men by brute force, but they automatically wouldn't be deemed attractive enough for self-identification [/quote]

Yep, I think we're on the same page.

I really, really don't believe in that. There's quite a solid margin, when it comes to white hetero male representation in cinema.
The coding has changed, thus the representation has changed. It's not just that we're getting more non-white and female protags, but the messaging surrounding our protags is changing.

I'll grant that white liberalism has the problem of needing to project self-deprecation while still being in charge. "No, it's still my fault! Allow me to heroically throw myself on my sword... ...again." It's kind of like a silly death scene where the protagonist never really dies (e.g., Deadpool). A Hollywood film with no white power or privilege, has no opportunity for white atonement either. Thus, we are always catching the changing of the guard, kind of like how every movie puts us just at the end of a class period.

But I think that until we come to -and get used to- representation percentages that reflect real life (for instance, looking at US cinema and tv heroes, you wouldn't believe that "white" people are only 60% of the population),
Again, it's not just about "who" happens to be the protag, but the message surrounding the protag. Who are the baddies? What are we fighting? What do "typical" people of group "X" do and say. It is the replacement of McQueen with Ramirez, Craig with Lynch, the symbolic replacement, in existing franchises, that signals change. It is not that new heroes are coming up alongside old one, but that Natalie Portman is now THOR. It's the coding.

each adjustment in that direction would be perceived as an omg omg total replacement of everything ever.
But it is much more than that.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
I am all for a push for women's action movies, but it seems like there is a hate for past male action movies, almost a misaundry for them pretty much, when people try to throw in terms like 'toxic masculinity' on them. Unless I am wrong?



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I am all for a push for women's action movies, but it seems like there is a hate for past male action movies, almost a misaundry for them pretty much, when people try to throw in terms like 'toxic masculinity' on them. Unless I am wrong?
We should remember that there was a time when whites would shrug at complaints that non-whites were depicted in unsavory roles and when men would shrug at complaints of misogyny. Why should we expect today's audiences to be aware of their own short-comings?

It's hard not to cringe when Animal House features a 14-year-old girl hooking up with a college boy or Revenge of the Nerds which features what we now recognize as a rape scene framed as a seduction. Or how about Sixteen Candles when one boy basically hands off his drunk passed out girlfriend to another boy as a sort of prize. There were feminists complaining about this content, but nothing much changed at the time, right?

In my estimation, it is much more likely that we will always find some groups getting the short end of the stick, rather than arriving at some egalitarian age in which everything is justly depicted in quality and quantity.

This is NOT to say that some moments in the arts are not more or less egalitarian, but rather to say that we should resist the chronocentric tendency to view ourselves to have "arrived" and to see all prior ages of failed experiments in which people didn't quite "get it."

We live in a time when Coca-Cola is assigning training asking people to "Be Less White," when feminists have been banished for contesting the ever-expanding borders of gender, and, as for masculinity, we've seen the APA enter into the fray to state,
Traits of so-called “traditional masculinity,” like suppressing emotions & masking distress, often start early in life & have been linked to less willingness by boys & men to seek help, more risk-taking & aggression -- possibly harming themselves & those with whom they interact.
— American Psychological Association (@APA) ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw" target="_blank">January 7, 2019
In short, being a typical, traditional, straight-ahead male is bad. As is the case with all times, our time is one of transition. Are times a changin'? Absolutely. We must remember, however, that films are not just made for us and that culture will not always favor our own demographic. Men and whites are not special, they're just "next" as our cultural conversation moves on to re-imagining itself.



Oh okay. Well my favorite action movie with female leads is Set It Off (1996) if that counts. However, it seems it has never gotten better than that, and no female action movie has measured up to that one so far, in my opinion.
What about Aliens, Kill Bill, or Fury Road?
The action genre (and tales of heroes, in general) has historically helped males manage the terror of being male. Look at the long history of the world's many many wars. What proportion of them was fought by men? Which proportion of the population is more likely to rob, or rape, or kill? As offender or defender, men have a biological advantage (weight, strength, size, speed) which translates to "action." Also, men have testosterone, which has a causal relationship to violence. At any moment, as a male, you might be called to go fight in some king's war for no better reason that you are a subject, or you may be placed, by honor or physical or necessity, in combat when someone offers a grave insult or when something goes bump in the night. The male, imagining himself as strong man, an action hero, momentarily has a release from such fears in being able dominate, rather than be dominated. This makes sense as this terror-tory has historical been the province of men.

Women kicking ass has to do with shifting gender roles and gender perceptions. A women without a protector (and in the age of "don't need a man" this is valorized), face the same terrors that beset men. Having to settle things with violence, increasingly has become the province of women. And we have seen endless depictions of the 90 pound wonder-chick beating the ever-loving crap out of large hulking male baddies.

Of course, in the real world, these fantasies should still be recognized as fantasies. Equity in film does not create equity in reality. A 90 pound woman will be much better off with a conceal carry piece or run or travel in safe company than to engage in fisticuffs with a 215 pound man. Likewise, most men are better advised to use caution and cunning in the real world, because they are not bad ass (very few of us are competent with violence in the real world), and even "winning" a fight can send you to jail. Fantasies are great as a release, but kids tend to think that action films show realities (e.g., I should raise my hand and note the stupid conversations I had with my friends in the 80's about the reality of efficacy of Ninjitsu complete with Shiruken for personal defense, LOL). Thus, we should ask questions about the messages we're sending (e.g., these never-ending idiotic superhero films where proto-fascists solve their problems with their fists and mutant powers).

Increasingly, we're seeing the baton handed off in film. Lighting McQueen hands off dominance to Cruze Ramirez. Old man Logan hands the baton to X-13. The savior of the Terminator franchise shifts from John Connor is replaced by Dani Ramos. The coding in each of these cases is white male replaced by hispanic female. In the UK, the coding is a little different and it appears that Mr. Bond will be replaced by a black female. There is thus an erasure of whiteness, but particularly maleness in this fantasy space (e.g., He-man supplanted by Teela). There is, of course, enough of an audience left for stupid male action films to remain (and hey, you can always play the bad guy, fellas). The pattern is never perfect or complete, but we can see a definite shift in the coding of these films. Whether is good or bad is a different question.
You make some good points, and as for the question about the shift in coding we're seeing in movies, I think it depends on the way you look at it; in just a general sense, I'd say it's a positive trend, since the increased representation obviously contributes to greater equality in art, but it can become a negative when looking at the specific details of such representation. For example, while not strictly Action movies, I'd say that Captain Marvel represents a fairly mindless expression of "gurl power!", in the way it portrays the greater participation of women in the US Air Force as an overall positive development (while ignoring the way those women just become another cog in the machine of American imperialism in the process), while Black Panther, although still worthy of some criticism in this department, presents a much better example of representation in modern movies, since it both felt authentically informed by African-American culture, and also had something to say about the inequality of the "Black experience" on the whole, much more so than you'd expect from any other Marvel movie (or just Hollywood blockbusters in general), IMO.



Registered User
You make some good points, and as for the question about the shift in coding we're seeing in movies, I think it depends on the way you look at it; in just a general sense, I'd say it's a positive trend, since the increased representation obviously contributes to greater equality in art,
Sounds fair enough, but I don't really know what "equality" means. Does this mean representation proportional to the population? If so, leading roles for black males should be no more than about 7% of films, as that is there proportion in American society. Or does it mean a perfect rainbow of skin tones and sexual identities that over-represents certain groups to tick off the right boxes? Or is "equality" rather a sort of "correction" that normalizes certain ideologies and identities to shift the balance "more equitably in favor of the oppressed" - if so, we might have a pronounced shift in massive over-representation so as to "course correct" the sins of history.

Myself, I like the idea of a proportional representation that simply reflects actual societal demographics (a reflector rather than a director). That stated, if one wants to make an all-gay movie or all-black movie or all-male movie, I have no brief against that, in such case that it fits thematically and/or historically. In the main, however, I think the rule of thumb should be to hold up a mirror to the demography of the society depicted (e.g., it's OK for Chinese films to feature predominantly Chinese people).

but it can become a negative when looking at the specific details of such representation. For example, while not strictly Action movies, I'd say that Captain Marvel represents a fairly mindless expression of "gurl power!", in the way it portrays the greater participation of women in the US Air Force as an overall positive development (while ignoring the way those women just become another cog in the machine of American imperialism in the process),
One of my qualms with "girl power" feminism is that it is a rather unthinking repetition of masculine form (or other forms, as you note with imperialism). Part of the problem of re-purposing franchises like James Bond is that they simply re-inscribe a pattern. Our new 007 will undoubtedly have a license to kill and use it while uttering callous quips. In this sense, it cannot function as a substantive critique. It's old wine in new bottles (e.g., I don't think that the CIA has changed its spots in its new "woke" recruiting ads).

while Black Panther, although still worthy of some criticism in this department, presents a much better example of representation in modern movies, since it both felt authentically informed by African-American culture, and also had something to say about the inequality of the "Black experience" on the whole, much more so than you'd expect from any other Marvel movie (or just Hollywood blockbusters in general), IMO.
I'm a bit skeptical about looking for authentic blackness in the media. Nothing has been more commodified than the "authentic black experience." We've been selling that in exploitation films and historical dramas and music and comedy for many decades. Eddie Murphy was successful, in part, not simply because he was black or because he invoked his blackness in his comedy, but rather because he had a charm that had invited everyone into his brand of blackness. He did it in a way that made people feel welcome and authentically engaged. Such images filter into society, so young black people have, to some extent, been "sold" an image of themselves as it is depicted in various media. Where the authentic experience begins and the commodification ends is not an easy thing to sort. Nevertheless, black authenticity is considered terribly vital, as it there is a special spirit (i.e., "soul") associated with "the real thing." Of course, this is a consequence of being denied identity for centuries and living under white norms -- making the question "Who are we, really?" feel especially salient. Unless we cling to racial essentialism, however, the best answer is "Whoever you want to be." The best inclusion is probably just to be included and not to worry quite so much about the essence of blackness. If the political statement comes organically or is part of the story, then by all means make it, but don't force "Dr. Blackman" to be stereotypically black in some way or to sidetrack a story into obligatory pieties.

Personally, I found Black Panther's Wakanda to be closer to the Disney's The Lion King and Paramount's Zamunda than to any actual African nation. There was a disturbing naivete to it all (think Team America: World Police showing us how Americans imagine France).

I do like that it is a movie with a black hero in the lead with his own identity, rather than a re-purposed preexisting one (e.g., such as the Falcon becoming Captain America). I like the idea of a film that is unapologetically black, but also not entirely obsessed with the premise of being black as an obligatory overriding theme. Most important, I like that it "proved" what we already knew (i.e., that big black films can succeed). That's cool.



The thing I don't like is women replacing James Bond or John Connor for example. I wish they would just make original female action franchises rather than hijack exist franchises. I love a good female action movie, but I still like James Bond too. It's like how sometimes I am in the mood for Japanese Food, sometimes I am in the mood for Mexican. But I don't want all the Mexican restaurants to be taken overy by Japanese cuisine. Can't we just have both, and go back and forth to whatever we are in the mood for? This is why I prefer the idea of original female action franchises.
But I think that line of thinking is making the assumption that some indispensable element of the character or series will be lost if they make Bond a woman, which just isn't true; of course, there was a core of the sexism left over from Fleming's novels in the earlier entries, but besides that being a negative aspect of the character, it's also been increasingly erased over time, and doing so hasn't affected the quality of the movies for the worse (if anything, it's just made them better). The characterization of Bond has already changed anyway, even though he's obviously still been a man this whole time, and Ian Fleming thought that the casting of the Scottish Connery in the first place was a betrayal of the character he created in the books (before he changed that character because he was proven wrong), so why not make a female Bond? I mean, can't you imagine an actress as suave as Kate Beckinsale in the same role, with the films still able to provide the same thrills it's known for anyway?
But I don't think it's fair to take away what an audience likes, and then call them racist, misogynist, etc. I remember when Terminator: Dark Fate came out and the director said it would "scare the g$%k out of internet trolls" to quote the director. But I don't think the story of The Terminator is suppose to do that. When Cameron first invented The Terminator, I don't think his intention was to scare trolls, so to speak.

But also, to say that inventing new franchises is too hard, and you need therefore hijack old ones, that comes off as cheating to me. Instead of doing the work, and creating something new, you best change franchises and betray what fans like, to try to get ahead... It just feels like cheating, and that they are hijacking in order to get ahead.

Why not just put in the ground work. And saying that you succeeded because you changed the icon, even if it was a financial failure does not count as a success to me.
It's always fair to criticize a movie that happens to star women or people of color if you have legit reasons, the same as any other movie ever made, and sometimes such representation is mindlessly used as a shield against legit criticism (like when I recently saw "woke trolls" on Twitter randomly accusing someone of being racist against Asian people just because they didn't like Shang-Chi; give me a break), but that goes the other way too, and if people automatically have a problem with just the idea of familiar protagonists no longer being white men, before they've even seen the final product, then that strikes me as a lower-level expression of the discrimination that's held back greater representation for women and people of color over the years in the first place.

I mean, people liking James Bond overall as he is isn't necessarily a problem, but no one should be so stuck on him the way he is that they refuse to give a different version of him a chance, just because it isn't the same as what came before, because doing so can help the series enter into a conversation with itself when it comes to the more problematic aspects of its past (which is something that's already happened to a certain extent), which holds far more possibilities than just trying to keep him frozen in time, which would be an ill-advised direction, because there's nothing about the heightened reality of the Bond films that "requires" him to be a man, so there's also nothing that prevents him from being a woman either.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
Well the thing about the idea of Bond being a woman, is my problem with giving that a chance is that, one of my key favorite things about Bond is his promisicuity. It's just entertaining to watch an action hero, get a lot of sex from mulitples in a series. But if they were to make Bond a female, they would cut out the promiscuity, and that is my problem with it.

They wouldn't be willing to keep the promiscuity and own it, because society is afraid of promiscuous female characters in fiction, unless they are villains. I am all for a female action hero that is like Bond, and would sleep with two or more men per movie. But society wouldn't accept that. So that is my problem with it, is that people say they want a female Bond, yet they would cringe at her having Bond's characteristics like that. It just feels hypocritical like they won't be able to put their money where their mouths are on it, if that makes sense.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
What about Aliens, Kill Bill, or Fury Road
Those are pretty good too, I just like Set It Off the best, and felt it hasn't gotten better than that as far as female action thrillers go.



Movie Forums Squirrel Jumper
We should remember that there was a time when whites would shrug at complaints that non-whites were depicted in unsavory roles and when men would shrug at complaints of misogyny. Why should we expect today's audiences to be aware of their own short-comings?

It's hard not to cringe when Animal House features a 14-year-old girl hooking up with a college boy or Revenge of the Nerds which features what we now recognize as a rape scene framed as a seduction. Or how about Sixteen Candles when one boy basically hands off his drunk passed out girlfriend to another boy as a sort of prize. There were feminists complaining about this content, but nothing much changed at the time, right?

In my estimation, it is much more likely that we will always find some groups getting the short end of the stick, rather than arriving at some egalitarian age in which everything is justly depicted in quality and quantity.

This is NOT to say that some moments in the arts are not more or less egalitarian, but rather to say that we should resist the chronocentric tendency to view ourselves to have "arrived" and to see all prior ages of failed experiments in which people didn't quite "get it."

We live in a time when Coca-Cola is assigning training asking people to "Be Less White," when feminists have been banished for contesting the ever-expanding borders of gender, and, as for masculinity, we've seen the APA enter into the fray to state,
Traits of so-called “traditional masculinity,” like suppressing emotions & masking distress, often start early in life & have been linked to less willingness by boys & men to seek help, more risk-taking & aggression -- possibly harming themselves & those with whom they interact.
— American Psychological Association (@APA) ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw" target="_blank">January 7, 2019
In short, being a typical, traditional, straight-ahead male is bad. As is the case with all times, our time is one of transition. Are times a changin'? Absolutely. We must remember, however, that films are not just made for us and that culture will not always favor our own demographic. Men and whites are not special, they're just "next" as our cultural conversation moves on to re-imagining itself.
Do you think when it comes to these sexual situations in comedies like Revenge of the Nerds or Animal House though, that maybe we take them too seriously when they are just supposed to be over the top dumb comedies? I can't speak for 16 Candles because I do not remember that one well.

When Horrible Bosses came out (2011), I was bothered by the idea of the man being rendered unconscious by his female boss, and the female boss, took pictures of him and her naked together, and did who knows what else with him. I felt it was wrong and in bad taste perhaps.

But now watching it again not too long ago, maybe I was taking it too seriously and I should have just appreciated it as a dumb comedy? If it were the other the way around and a man knocked out a female subordinate and took naked pictures of him and her to blackmail her, people would be in an uproar, but maybe I should just accept the double standard, and laugh and not take the movie seriously, along with these other dumb comedies with bad sex situations? What do you think?



It's all unrealistic and serves the emotional needs of the audience. When people, however, get the bad idea that they can do what they see in movies in real life (or should be able to), when the fantastical emotional release is rather seen as an aspirational norm (See, you really could take on three dudes at once!), derangements can follow (e.g., the tabula rasa conception of human bio-mechanics).

Cinematic uber chicks do not typically beat on average dudes as the main course. Rather they fight large, menacing, males who, by weight advantage alone, would pose a serious threat.

It's all ridiculous and childish. It comes from a place of fear and frustration. Our heroes do what we cannot. It's just that it is a little more ridiculous when your protagonist is giving up an extra hundred pound to the opponent.

This is not a mere age. This is the psychological position of the center mass of any audience. People are, on average, are Davids and not Goliaths. David vs. Goliath is a popular tale, because it suggests any of us might succeed against long odds. Rooting for the underdog is to be expected when serving the needs of the bungled and the botched.

The general pattern will remain the same. Who the preferred "David" is will switch with politics and audience demographics.

Of course not. Any portion of the population which must face the terrors of "martial action" (and women are now facing selective service and feminism recoils from the prospects of "male protection") will have need of such psychological releases (as reality will remind us, most of us are not cut out for it). If anything, there may be a greater psychological need for powerful female characters kicking ass. And so long as are heroines are wearing short skirts and tight jeans, the male portion of the audience will applaud this sort of feminism (Kick him again! Do that jiggle flip!).

It would be great to see some Helga's get to flex. I'd love for Wonder Woman to look more like a German power lifter than Aphrodite.

The sad truth, however, is that we (all of us) wish to be sexually desirable AND powerful. This means our feminine heroes will be contradictory bundles of neotony and physical capacity.
I agree that a lot of men and women of action in movies are indeed unrealistic power fantasies to a certain extent, regardless of the gender dynamics involved, whether it's Death Wish having a fifty-something architect able to take on gangs of muggers multiple times and win (granted, he was played by Charles Bronson), or Batman Returns having a meek secretary suddenly able to fight like a champion kickboxer (since Kathy Long herself was Pfeiffer's stunt double) through the sheer force of her feminist rage after her sexist boss tried to kill her:



But, while both scenarios make more emotional sense than logical, the key difference with the former is that it's empowering a member of the social group that's already dominant (which is reflected in the fast that Paul only confronts other men throughout his movie), while the latter is quite the opposite, which I find more interesting to look at in an intellectual sense, since it's fascinating the way that movies can help us imagine the world in different ways, whether it's realistic to aspire to that in the real world or not.

Anyway, as for your point about objectification of women of action in general, while I feel that Hollywood's gotten better at doing this less in recent years (especially when compared to the early 2000's, which I detailed in this post on another forum in the middle of an exchange on the portrayal of women in Lord Of The Rings, if you're interested), there's still something of a double standard, where, while leading men are generally expected to be handsome, leading women often still have to have the unattainable glamour of being one of the world's most beautiful women, whether it's Margot Robbie, Gal Gadot, or Scarlett Johansson, like the airport scene in Captain America: Civil War (which is a very good movie, don't get me wrong), where Black Widow apparently took the time to apply her eye makeup and made sure her hair was perfectly feathered before the fight began; c'mon.



"How tall is King Kong ?"
John Connor replacing Sarah was part of the original story though, because in the first movie, it was said that Sarah will raise a son that is going to fight a war. So that was already set up from the first movie, or so I felt.
It's still a focus away from the original movie's (rare female) main character, towards a more (commonplace male character), for a part of the story that, in my opinion, would have better been left abstractly evoked (just like the acquisition of the Death Star's plans, the origin of Darth Vader, the kobayashi maru test, or the reason of Indiana Jones' fear of snakes). I think it's a typical example of double standards : we're so used to white male protagonists as default that we notice -and find artificial, loaded or jarring- only the shift to females or minorities.


An average man will have a significant advantage over an average female. It is what it is. What you can do is on you. That there are outliers is irrelevant (i.e., the average is still the average). Movies are made for average people.
But action movies aren't about average people. Or at least they seldom are (a few action movies are about hitchcockian heroes suddenly becoming hardened sharpshooters, fencers and brawlers when the circumstances demand it). They usually imply that, unlike the goons he faces, the super agent spec op military spy cop archaeologist hero spends -or has spent before retirement- all his time training in all kinds of combat discipline as well as diving and driving and horseback riding and helicopter jet plane space shuttle piloting (and also guitar, because the Hong Kong Cavaliers won't sing a cappella). A few of them just going for semi-supernatural gifts, depending on how serious they pretend to be (I have a fondness for Trinita movies where the hero, the fastest and most accurate gun in the west, as well as its most agile gymnast, while simultaneously being its laziest and perpetually idle cowboy), but most rationalize the hero's expertise and abilities. And his difference from you and me.

Now whether the public takes cues from it, and infers from the movie that they can improvise a roundkick, smash headfirst through a window and dive into a waterfall is a broader question. The sum of fiction-fueled misconceptions are infinite, be them medical, historical, geopolitical, social, psychological, astronomical, etc. Mythbusters only scratch the (physics) surface.

But you seem to argue that combat training makes zero difference in outcomes simply predetermined by corporal mass. That you or I would defeat anyone smaller or lighter than us (male or female, no reason to focus on gender), no matter their rank in no matter which combat discipline. That would sure spare law enforcement and military institutions some time and money. In my eyes, that's just as naive as what you pretend to denounce. Think about it that way : if you agree that, at equivalent mass, an overly trained killer would beat you by a large margin, than you can assume that a smaller overly trained killed would beat you by a lesser margin. Or do you think that the efficiency differential is nullified by the slightest milligram of difference ? Because, from then on, the fiction's fantasy is just a matter of expertise level. What apples compensates what oranges, knowing that some compensate some.

Now, i'm not an expert at the art of harming people (an art I have a significant disdain for), but as far as I know, the human body is covered with enough vulnerabilities (genitals are genitals, a nose is a nose, a carotid is a carotid) to ensure mutual destruction past a certain applicable force, given enough howto and abilities.

This is not a mere age. This is the psychological position of the center mass of any audience. People are, on average, are Davids and not Goliaths. David vs. Goliath is a popular tale, because it suggests any of us might succeed against long odds. Rooting for the underdog is to be expected when serving the needs of the bungled and the botched.
No, there are movies meant for the public to take pleasure in identifying themselves to the goliath. That's a different power fantasy. Take all the classic bar scenes where some tiny guy provokes the Seagal/Schwarzenegger-built hero.

And of course, many stories mix them, making the heroes themselves a couple of David and Goliath (Asterix and Obelix, Hill and Spencer, cake and eat it). And, to complexify things, davidness and goliathness can apply to different abilities, different fields in which the spectator's thrill doesn't come from identifying to an over-performing underdog, but to an obvious power's very obviously expectable crushing of his very obviously lesser opponent. People also like to identify to unambiguously dominant power. Economically, "people" love poetically satisfied paupers, love rising self-made men, and love established aristocrats. People are all over the place, with fluctuations through epochs and parallel subcultures, and art -like politics- reflects this. People cheer and vote for smug, dominant powers just as easily, if not more, than for the underdogs that resemble them.


Again, it's not just about "who" happens to be the protag, but the message surrounding the protag. Who are the baddies? What are we fighting? What do "typical" people of group "X" do and say. It is the replacement of McQueen with Ramirez, Craig with Lynch, the symbolic replacement, in existing franchises, that signals change. It is not that new heroes are coming up alongside old one, but that Natalie Portman is now THOR. It's the coding.
I'm not certain in what sense you use the notion of "coding" here, it sounds very essentialist. In fact I see reductionism in all the subjects of this discussion. There is -as ever- an evolution of values, but no culture is homogeneous. Of course, good guys and bad guys fluctuate with trends : Bad guys used to be savage natives, then genocidary colonists. They used to be commies, then corporate capitalists. During the Gulf War (which France was critically reluctant to join), US's baddies were suddenly french in addition to arabic. Fictions mirror, illustrate and reinforce cultural values and social concerns (the reds, the atom, the yellows, the genes, the computers, us, them). And a moment's dominant scandal. And nowadays, baddies are often rapey white males (that used to be heroes). "Often".

But it's always mixed, it always overlaps. The current imbecile "culture war" making everything over-sensitive, the slightest fluctuation is perceived as some total radical global apocalyptic inversion. There are always fictions where the overreaching State is the enemy, and fictions where the heroes are governmental agents. Stories with kings to protect (save the status quo!) and also to overthrow (save the revolution!). And the examples of male/white heroes being replaced by females/minorities are still more marginal than their dramatic publicizing -positive and negative- makes it look like. That's still how many white male action heroes, for how many female/minority ones ? Does it reverse the over-representations yet ? Are white males factually as crushed/replaced/excluded as the masculinist moral panic makes it sound like ? "But but 100% of Thors are now female", yeah but what proportion of Avengers ? What proportion of superheroes ? What proportion of action heroes ? Of movie main characters ? Compared to actual society ?

There is not one signal, or one "coding". That's my main issue with such kind of analyses. It feels great to summarize society, culture, or cinema production in one sentence, one narrative, one causality and one effect. But that is not how culture functions. Contradictory models coexist, remotely and closely. Virilism (the "real manhood" that is so dear to some forumers around here) is alive and kicking (Fast and Furiously) and simultaneously derided in various movies (and series, and comics, and games) of various genres - sometimes within the same movie, consciously or not. Because all of it is the product of a self-contradictory collectivity. There is no hegemony. People just freak out about different currents in a wide sea. Exactly like religious/secular people freak out about society being totally secular/religious.

People confuse situations with trends, and also exaggerate the trends. Arrows go up and down (or left and right, depending on your metaphors), but they're just arrows. Just "gained ground", on limited territorial fluctuations. But somehow, people love to see the whole world in them. The thing is :

I am all for a push for women's action movies, but it seems like there is a hate for past male action movies, almost a misandry for them pretty much, when people try to throw in terms like 'toxic masculinity' on them. Unless I am wrong?
What there is, is :

- An affectionate irony towards old sexist movies that are seen as clumsy and naive nowadays. Usually by people who grew up uncritically appreciating them, and look back with detachment and amusement.

- A hateful wrath towards old sexist movies seen as the tools of cultural reproduction that explain how society stayed or stays as sexist. Usually by people who never liked these movies in the first place.

- An defensive or denialist anger about the criticism of these movies, seen as blasphemy towards beloved icons, usually by people who loved them and are unwilling to spoil their fond memories of them.

- A terror about the shift of dominant values, by people who fully embrace the worldviews of these older movies and consider that society falls apart if it drifts away from their promoted models.

- A destructive glee by people who love the idea of representing an avant-garde elite, and fueling their superiority by being the first to publicly shame aspects that are still mainstream. Also to channel righteous violence towards exhilarating symbolic targets.

- Studies about the stakes and the implicit values and discourses of cultural productions, for the sake of analysis and self-awareness, which are usually hijacked (and sometimes implicitly motivated) by movements of public outrages of the different above descriptions.

- A lot of other things.

There is no homogeneity, there is no hegemony. There's very noisy, very angry public discourses. And there's very different (and very self-contradictory) movies, of very different qualities. Excellent and very bad old school ones, excellent and very bad modernist ones, plus those that cleverly use winkwink self-awareness to play on all registers. Proportions fluctuate a bit. Modernist takes, or pseudo-modernist takes (because "strong female characters" are very ambivalent), are generally on the rise, but no genre and no public is going anywhere.

My point is : there is everything (there is also racism, and antiracism, etc). As a presence. But many sentences about "there is" blow it out of proportion - helped by the wonky prisms of social medias.



Registered User
But action movies aren't about average people.
Of course they are bout average people. We require heroes with whom we can identify, with whom we feel at home. Our heroes are just inflated images of ourselves. If I was rich. If I was daring. If I were strong. If I were a little more gifted.

We see Conan's village get pillaged. See the child. He is pale and thin, he wears a thin and ragged linen shirt. His father worships Crom. He was born in an age of high adventure. We see Conan taken to the great wheel and see him brutally trained and imagine ourself reliving our own childhood in such stark conditions. We are the child. Conan is the lion that roars in the breast of every man.

We've run so far with such imagining today that some people actually believe that they're cats or vampires, (or even kitty vamps as I recall from a furball in this forum a while back, cough, cough). There were some people who so strongly identified with Avatar that they wanted to become blue cat people and live on Pandora. Remember that?

Or at least they seldom are (a few action movies are about hitchcockian heroes suddenly becoming hardened sharpshooters, fencers and brawlers when the circumstances demand it). They usually imply that, unlike the goons he faces, the super agent spec op military spy cop archaeologist hero spends -or has spent before retirement- all his time training in all kinds of combat discipline as well as diving and driving and horseback riding and helicopter jet plane space shuttle piloting (and also guitar, because the Hong Kong Cavaliers won't sing a cappella). A few of them just going for semi-supernatural gifts, depending on how serious they pretend to be (I have a fondness for Trinita movies where the hero, the fastest and most accurate gun in the west, as well as its most agile gymnast, while simultaneously being its laziest and perpetually idle cowboy), but most rationalize the hero's expertise and abilities. And his difference from you and me.
The difference is not substantive. You are Buckaroo Bonzai. You are the poor capitalist who believes he is a temporarily frustrated millionaire. What is crucial is that you identify with that hero so that you may have the emotional release of that difference (i.e., to actually be a hero yourself, when, in fact, you suck like the rest of us).

Now whether the public takes cues from it, and infers from the movie that they can improvise a roundkick, smash headfirst through a window and dive into a waterfall is a broader question. The sum of fiction-fueled misconceptions are infinite, be them medical, historical, geopolitical, social, psychological, astronomical, etc. Mythbusters only scratch the (physics) surface.
Oh, but they do take cues from it. The public stupidly thinks that silencers make firearms whisper silent (because they've seen it in the movies). They think that the purpose of a defibrillator is to restart a "stopped" heart (because they've seen it in the movies). They think that the police are required to give you exactly ONE phone call when you are taken to jail. Even Ronald Reagan asked to see the "War Room" after he was sworn in.

People see it. It looks real. It is raw visual experience, so on some level, the is processed as reality (I saw it). An when "facts" are shared, we may conflate this with common knowledge, or worse, fall into the belief that writers really do their homework. Cinema is a kind of magic in this regard.

But you seem to argue that combat training makes zero difference in outcomes simply predetermined by corporal mass. That you or I would defeat anyone smaller or lighter than us (male or female, no reason to focus on gender), no matter their rank in no matter which combat discipline.
And you seem to be enamored of strawmen. Again, we're speaking of the average person. The average person is not trained nor are they a physical outlier. They're just average. And an average man will have an advantage over an average woman. This advantage is so great that we have very few battered men's shelters and very many battered women's shelters.

That would sure spare law enforcement and military institutions some time and money. In my eyes, that's just as naive as what you pretend to denounce.
And if I actually claimed that, I suppose you'd have a point. Shrugs...

Think about it that way : if you agree that, at equivalent mass, an overly trained killer would beat you by a large margin, than you can assume that a smaller overly trained killed would beat you by a lesser margin. Or do you think that the efficiency differential is nullified by the slightest milligram of difference ?
It depends. An average man would be slaughtered by Serena Williams on the tennis court. Then again, she would not even rank on the top 200 for male players. The world's best female gymnast can tumble and run and perform miraculous feats. But there are many millions of adult males who will be able to bench press more.

We're not talking milligrams (LOL). In the U.S. men outweigh women by thirteen kilograms on average. If weight didn't matter we wouldn't have weight classes in boxing and wrestling.

And we should remember that our wonder-chicks tend to be smaller than the average American female and that they are pitted against similarly trained foes, usually several at a time. Again, it is all ridiculous. It's just that some conceits are more ridiculous than others (e.g., Bond's "laser watch" is complete horse s--t, where it is entirely possible to make an old British sports car disappear in a cloud of smoke as it travels down the road--in fact they do this quite naturally).

Because, from then on, the fiction's fantasy is just a matter of expertise level. What apples compensates what oranges, knowing that some compensate some.
You could be the most theoretically expert person on the planet with regard to the game of soccer, but that doesn't mean that you will ever be able to play the game at a high level.

Physical attributes do enter into the picture.

Now, i'm not an expert at the art of harming people
Are you sure? Because your posts are giving me cancer.

Sorry, bad joke.

(an art I have a significant disdain for),
And yet you seem prepared to fight for the death of an equalitarian vision of women as death-dealers in our fantasy space of cinema. Isn't that just a little curious?

but as far as I know, the human body is covered with enough vulnerabilities (genitals are genitals, a nose is a nose, a carotid is a carotid) to ensure mutual destruction past a certain applicable force, given enough howto and abilities.
Tell you what. You raise an army of women. I'll raise an army of men. When the dust clears, we can revisit your hypothesis of mutually assured destruction as an equalizer for those with enough expertise.

No, there are movies meant for the public to take pleasure in identifying themselves to the goliath.
Indeed, we are puppies who lie to imagine ourselves as wolves. For David to beat a Goliath, however, is to grow a little in stature. Moreover, our Goliath heroes are themselves dwarfed by their opponents (Dutch fights the Predator) and constrained by their morality (Dutch protests that he is operating a rescue squad and not a murder squad to Dillon).

That's a different power fantasy.
Different branches of the same tree.

Take all the classic bar scenes where some tiny guy provokes the Seagal/Schwarzenegger-built hero.
The guy is rarely tiny. And there are usually several guys who threaten our hero. For Arnold to kick the crap out of a fifteen-year-old wouldn't really be manly would it? Our baddie must be big enough, use an unfair tool (e.g., a knife), and will probably attack in a pack. Otherwise, it's like watching an NFL team play against a high school team.

And of course, many stories mix them, making the heroes themselves a couple of David and Goliath (Asterix and Obelix, Hill and Spencer, cake and eat it). And, to complexify things, davidness and goliathness can apply to different abilities, different fields in which the spectator's thrill doesn't come from identifying to an over-performing underdog, but to an obvious power's very obviously expectable crushing of his very obviously lesser opponent. People also like to identify to unambiguously dominant power. Economically, "people" love poetically satisfied paupers, love rising self-made men, and love established aristocrats. People are all over the place, with fluctuations through epochs and parallel subcultures, and art -like politics- reflects this. People cheer and vote for smug, dominant powers just as easily, if not more, than for the underdogs that resemble them.
People identify with many things, true. However, they must still identify with them.

I'm not certain in what sense you use the notion of "coding" here, it sounds very essentialist.
Norming at a cultural level. The attempted writing and re-writing of our collective conscience through art.

In fact I see reductionism in all the subjects of this discussion.
All explanation is reductive.

There is -as ever- an evolution of values, but no culture is homogeneous. Of course, good guys and bad guys fluctuate with trends : Bad guys used to be savage natives, then genocidary colonists. They used to be commies, then corporate capitalists. During the Gulf War (which France was critically reluctant to join), US's baddies were suddenly french in addition to arabic. Fictions mirror, illustrate and reinforce cultural values and social concerns (the reds, the atom, the yellows, the genes, the computers, us, them). And a moment's dominant scandal. And nowadays, baddies are often rapey white males (that used to be heroes). "Often".
I think I've said as much in this thread.

But it's always mixed, it always overlaps.
But there are also dominant trends that can be identified as such. Again, we're speaking of what is typical. You seem to want to use the atypical a disproof of the typical, the edges to disprove the average.

The current imbecile "culture war" making everything over-sensitive,
Imbecilic or not, it is quite real. Jussie Smollett faked an attack on himself to fight what he thought was the good fight in battling this war.

the slightest fluctuation is perceived as some total radical global apocalyptic inversion.
What can I tell you? There was a time when feminist concerns were dismissed for the same reasons. This is just hysterical. You go too far. It's not as bad as all that. You're just over-sensitive. It's just a movie.

There are always fictions where the overreaching State is the enemy,
Is that really a fiction? What year is it, again?

And the examples of male/white heroes being replaced by females/minorities are still more marginal
On the contrary, they are quite typical. To say otherwise is to deny what is patently obvious, especially as regards this genre.

I remember a few years back when concerns about "wokeness" were dismissed with the claim that "It's just wacky students on college campuses. It won't spill out into society." Fast forward, and we're reintroducing segregation and racial essentialism. Turns out it wasn't just a marginal thing, but an emerging trend. So no, I will no longer pretend that this is not happening or that it is not significant. It was a noteworthy trend with people of color and women were suppressed in art. The inversion is also worth noting, whether it be for good or ill.

than their dramatic publicizing -positive and negative- makes it look like. That's still how many white male action heroes, for how many female/minority ones ? Does it reverse the over-representations yet ? Are white males factually as crushed/replaced/excluded as the masculinist moral panic makes it sound like ? "But but 100% of Thors are now female", yeah but what proportion of Avengers ? What proportion of superheroes ? What proportion of action heroes ? Of movie main characters ? Compared to actual society ?
It's enough to be a pronounced trend. It is too easy now to summon examples off of the top of one's head.

Why deny it? Why dimiss it as mere masculinist moral panic?

Why are not even willing to consider it?

There is not one signal, or one "coding".
Again, we're in agreement. But that does not mean that there are not codes or that some codes take up a lot more bandwidth than others.

That's my main issue with such kind of analyses. It feels great to summarize society, culture, or cinema production in one sentence, one narrative, one causality and one effect. But that is not how culture functions.
Well, the body certainly depends on its vital organs to survive, but that does not mean that a vital organ is not necessary to life. To be an expert in hear health is to be an expert in something important. And it would be ridiculous to pooh-pooh such expertise from the armchair of general systems.

We can observe, more or less, discrete trends in society and culture. They exist. We may comment on them.

Contradictory models coexist, remotely and closely.
Very often in the same artwork.

Virilism (the "real manhood" that is so dear to some forumers around here) is alive and kicking (Fast and Furiously) and simultaneously derided in various movies (and series, and comics, and games) of various genres - sometimes within the same movie, consciously or not.
Another attack on masculinity. Curious. This time couple with a subtle ad hominem on fellow posters. Those cavemen and they virile fantasies! If you cannot deny that it is happening, perhaps you can justify the notion that this is "a time for change?" Alas, you would have to reverse course and admit that the trend.

Alas, I am sure that the feminist was once told that movies were not all that misogynistic, but also the femininity needs to be put in it's place.

Because all of it is the product of a self-contradictory collectivity. There is no hegemony.
And yet there are dominant trends. Times do change, do they not? By your analysis they cannot and do not, because "Hey, everything is always simultaneously true and there are all these contradictions, and who can really say what is happening in society?" And yet times do indeed change.

People just freak out about different currents in a wide sea.
If you were ever on a ship in the ocean, tossed around in a storm like a toy, you would better appreciate the magnitude of your own metaphor.

Exactly like religious/secular people freak out about society being totally secular/religious.
Sometimes they are right to do so. But you insist on deprecating this as a "freakout" an "irrationality, a "hysteria."

People confuse situations with trends, and also exaggerate the trends.
People also confuse trends with mere situations (the Titanic is merely taking on water, don't worry, this ship is unsinkable!) and underestimate trends (e.g., stock market collapses). The sword cuts in both directions. That there is one sort of bias does not really prove anything.



"How tall is King Kong ?"
Alas, you would have to reverse course and admit that the trend.
It's a trend towards vague rebalancing, that is far from being achieved but already perceived as a dramatic reversal. There's no contradiction in acknowledging one and denying the other. The other which is quite telling of the implicit worldview underlying all the other positions. Starting with it would have spared us some waste of time.

There will probably be tempests in a couple more teacups. From your perspective, brace for a few more biblical floods, I guess.



Registered User
It's a trend towards vague rebalancing, that is far from being achieved but already perceived as a dramatic reversal. There's no contradiction in acknowledging one and denying the other. The other which is quite telling of the implicit worldview underlying all the other positions. Starting with it would have spared us some waste of time.

There will probably be tempests in a couple more teacups. From your perspective, brace for a few more biblical floods, I guess.
Good convo. I fear I am hijacking this thread and will leave off of it for a few days, at least.

I think we agree about some important details. We can always revisit disagreements later, if it pleases you.



"How tall is King Kong ?"
Good convo. I fear I am hijacking this thread and will leave off of it for a few days, at least.

I think we agree about some important details. We can always revisit disagreements later, if it pleases you.
I don't think so. We disagree on too important premises and most of them have nothing to do with cinema (so, they're off topic here, not to mention their political implications). What's related to cinema is your perception of a reversal, and this perception is determined by a "cultural/political moment" (inducing a higher visibility of adjustments, akin to the media high visibility of crime or terrorism that paint "the street" or "muslims" in a frightful light), and, given its implicitly conflictual stakes, this will only be resolved by the next decade's retrospective realization that no, the gender imbalance will not have been "reversed". Till then, it stays speculative. Other causes of disagreements are methodological (you apply to sociology the logic of basic physics, but precisely, societies and cultures cannot be modeled through "center of gravity", or else you'd have institutions excluding all families that have more or less than 1.93 children), a reductionism that sounds mathematically rational to you but an important and commonplace source of sociological (and culturalist) fallacies. An issue that distorts your views of each different aspect of the discussion, from your strict average-versus-average or top-versus-top gender differentials to your reduction of all scenes and movies to identifications to the David. And then, your bias leads you to oscillate around the same contradictions (action heroes having to be "regular people", or "over-achieving people" that "regular people" project themselves onto while still somehow retaining their regular-ness, which really blurs the very point of bigger-than-life heroes achieving precisely what the spectator couldn't). I don't think a discussion can be nudged out of this.

In other words, we've identified the implicit roots of our disagreements, and they're located far from the superficial matters that are discussed on movie forums. Making the cinema disagreements and arguments rather moot. I don't think the latter are worth the energy. I don't think the former should be addressed on that forum. And I don't think they can be addressed with so many identity stakes underlying them.

It's all just too internetty. In my experience, this media -and this epoch- preclude such discussion's required depth and seriousness. So, better delineate the unattainable parts, assess the "where coming from", and take the consequences as they come. Investigating the premises up to the point where they diverge in interesting in itself, but, beyond that, arguing to mend them is illusory, at least online.



Registered User
I don't think so. We disagree on too important premises and most of them have nothing to do with cinema (so, they're off topic here, not to mention their political implications). What's related to cinema is your perception of a reversal, and this perception is determined by a "cultural/political moment" (inducing a higher visibility of adjustments, akin to the media high visibility of crime or terrorism that paint "the street" or "muslims" in a frightful light), and, given its implicitly conflictual stakes, this will only be resolved by the next decade's retrospective realization that no, the gender imbalance will not have been "reversed". Till then, it stays speculative. Other causes of disagreements are methodological (you apply to sociology the logic of basic physics, but precisely, societies and cultures cannot be modeled through "center of gravity", or else you'd have institutions excluding all families that have more or less than 1.93 children), a reductionism that sounds mathematically rational to you but an important and commonplace source of sociological (and culturalist) fallacies. An issue that distorts your views of each different aspect of the discussion, from your strict average-versus-average or top-versus-top gender differentials to your reduction of all scenes and movies to identifications to the David. And then, your bias leads you to oscillate around the same contradictions (action heroes having to be "regular people", or "over-achieving people" that "regular people" project themselves onto while still somehow retaining their regular-ness, which really blurs the very point of bigger-than-life heroes achieving precisely what the spectator couldn't). I don't think a discussion can be nudged out of this.

In other words, we've identified the implicit roots of our disagreements, and they're located far from the superficial matters that are discussed on movie forums. Making the cinema disagreements and arguments rather moot. I don't think the latter are worth the energy. I don't think the former should be addressed on that forum. And I don't think they can be addressed with so many identity stakes underlying them.

It's all just too internetty. In my experience, this media -and this epoch- preclude such discussion's required depth and seriousness. So, better delineate the unattainable parts, assess the "where coming from", and take the consequences as they come. Investigating the premises up to the point where they diverge in interesting in itself, but, beyond that, arguing to mend them is illusory, at least online.
Have it your way, then.

If I am beneath your conversation, then might I humbly suggest you do not reply to my posts in the future?



I am all for a push for women's action movies, but it seems like there is a hate for past male action movies, almost a misandry for them pretty much, when people try to throw in terms like 'toxic masculinity' on them. Unless I am wrong?
It's not automatically misandry to either note or criticize the misogynistic undertones of the earlier Bond films or certain Peckinpah movies, though, and it especially isn't misandrist to point out certain characters in Action movies as being explicitly portrayed as misogynists, like Maggott in The Dirty Dozen, since that was part of the movie characterizing him as an unstable "time bomb", and the movie wasn't automatically sexist just for having a character be so; it was a reflection of reality, not an endorsement. That being said though, even when that masculinity's not explicitly toxic within the films themselves, it's still not completely off target to find the fetishization of masculinity within the larger context of the genre (and the film industry as a whole) to be a bit excessive at times, and I think it's a worthwhile endeavor to scutinize that just a little more.