Action movies are a kind of manifestation of society’s desires. And to an extent, I get it. We all want some level of perfection in a mate even though it is entirely unlikely to happen.
I might watch The Avengers with some dude and he might wish that I had Scarlett Johansson’s giant rack and confidence in zippered leather. But perhaps this is in the same way that after watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall I will always be a little disappointed that the men in my life can’t play songs from the Muppets on the piano like Jason Segel.
Is it surprising that some dude would look over at his girlfriend sitting in the theater next to him eating her junior mints and wish she was able to kill men between her thighs whilst preparing him a balanced meal? (When really he should be so lucky to be with a woman who cares about him enough to go see a movie that revolves around bad CGI’d explosions and crappy one-liners.) I’m not sure. I do know that after watching Vin Diesel take down a room full of thugs I don’t feel negatively about the men I care about (with the exception of their taste in movies.)
I suppose that is the major difference. A man could learn to play a song on the piano were he so committed to the task, whereas I could not learn my boobs into double D’s or my lips into pillowy lines of determination nor could I coax my personality into that of an assassin (not that women don’t try for perfection with all of our gym memberships and juice fasts and plastic surgery.)
Last month, The Atlantic rather redundantly pointed out that women still couldn’t have it all.
To which most of us answered with a resounding, “No shit.”
As a genre, action movies show society that, yes, women are capable of being everything to everyone, but they also make it clear that —just like many aspects of being a woman—“having it all” is not really even something we do for our own benefit.
If I told the man I was with I wanted him to sing me the Rainbow Connection he could refuse, and nobody would feel like he was doing me a disservice. But women let themselves believe that being the thing those men want will make our lives nicer as well. We think things will be better if we are a perfect and impossible female composite of tough, nurturing, sexy and most men are happy to let us keep on believing that should be a goal, because lets face it, it’s way less work for them.
But men don’t get to have it all either. You win some, you lose some in life and Lara Croft is only as dangerous as she is real. If we as women don’t believe in her (and we shouldn’t as she technically does not exist), than her visage ceases to have as much power over us, and how we live our lives. And hopefully, if we stop having ridiculous expectations of ourselves, then they will be less likely to be placed on us by men as well. Or maybe we’re all just screwed.
Personally I don’t need to have “it all.” I’m happy just having some: the use of my limbs, a few jiu jitsu lessons, a catsuit, and Jason Segel.