• Posted: Mar 04, 2013 10:07:25
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When the above image was made, women were well into the second wave of the feminist movement, a.k.a. at the time: Women's Lib. The primary issue was gender equality. Women railed against bigoted sexist behavior and sexual stereotyping. Women were to be seen and treated as something more than objects, child rearers, and house maids. They were to be seen as citizens of standing equal to anyone, with talent and potential to be and do anything they wished. It was a time when if they decided to go out on the town unescorted, to theatre or a movie or even dinner, they did, and did so proudly and defiantly.
Still, at the same time, a common ploy in B movies and TV dramas was to introduce a scene wherein an attractive women is seen standing alone at night, perhaps waiting for a taxi or puttering in her own apartment. As voyeurs, the audience watches, listens, and waits. She is, not a confident, comfortable fellow human being enjoying the evening in relaxing rejuvenating solitude, but bait, a mouthwateringly vulnerable victim about to endure some unspeakable bloody horror. Convenient for dramatists wishing to advance an attention getting story. But for women seeking their due as fellow human beings, yet more of the same exploitation and victimization. And the essential cultural stereotype remains in use today, in B movie after B movie after B movie, continuing to fortify the false belief that women are something lesser than men to be patronized, abused, or exploited in any way we see fit. There needs to be an end to this. But there isn't. Why?
Undeniably, women are different from men. Not as different as an apple or a tree. But they are different. On average they do not have the body mass and strength of a male. Yet, their stamina can be quite on par or even better. Their brains and bodies are arranged a bit differently, but on average their nutritional and environmental requirements are the same. While men tend to view the world in terms of status and dominance, women tend to view the world in terms of ways to cooperate. And it may be that last contrast that provides foundation for the frustratingly inextinguishable stereotype of the vulnerable woman. If we didn't have guys forever driven to secure dominance and mastery, we wouldn't have women forever conflicted over whether or not to cooperate. It's a biological contrast that may never find mutually comfortable resolution. And so, we likely will continue to see B movie scripts draw us into yet further explorations of how men and women do, don't, or maybe could get along. And, unfortunately, more news stories of right there in the flesh women enduring very real bigotry, violence, and abuse.
May this month of women's history further inspire and enlighten us in this regard. We need to find an end to this.
Saturday, September 4th, 1971