Marvel-ous Movies and Modesty

My son wanted to go on a date with his parents for his birthday instead of a party (don't know how long that will last), so we did. As a parent, it gave me satisfaction to know he wanted to share my company over his friends. And the boy was so sweet, too. He opened my car door, asked me what I thought about the movie and walked next to me -- none of the "my mom is so embarrassing" stuff. I was tickled to see my child acting so courteous and kind. When I am out with all the children, he must have some inner need to start stuff and be irritating to his siblings so I normally don't get to enjoy this side of my nearly-grown up, little boy.

We went to see Captain America and I have to say it is my FAVORITE marvel hero movie to date. They combined the new and the old in the most creative ways. I loved the 1940's nostalgia. I won't want to say too much so I do not spoil anything with it being so new. Although I will share that they were able to blast the audience into the past while keeping it real without subjecting us to borderline porn like many of the comic book movies tend to do. It was utterly refreshing. I enjoy watching this movie genre, but feel conflicted about the body image and modesty agendas that are oftentimes pushed to the limit in these movies.


I clearly identified this inner conflict when my BFF, my BFF once removed and I went to see XMen: First Class. While the movie was action-packed and had gobs of fun connections to the other Xmen films, it was a disappointment. I was disappointed in how the female characters were so graphically exposed. Especially the high profile, extra powerful women. And you might say that comic books are like that so I should expect it, but I always hope for women to be more respected and revered because maybe they will respect themselves more and demand to be less revealed.

It would take creativity, but I believe the girls could be made to look appealing without compromising modesty to such degrees. Impressionable minds are being taught that a woman's power depends upon her body--and even more so--how much of it she will show others.

The comics were written by and for men and boys for the most part. Hence, I have heard the arguments that men are visual, it is only fantasy, it is just a movie, it isn't real. I say the women are real. And those real women getting paid to be in the movies could stand up for something better. I believe that if more of the sexy, hot babe sort of actresses would push for a less women-are-objects position, there could be a shift in what is put in these movies.

Moreover, the argument that men are visual and so that draws them in might be true, but it remains a load of garbage nonetheless. Sure, men are visual and the movie makers make a grip of money, but they could recognize that every female ever born is someone's daughter, sister, aunt, mother, cousin, girlfriend, and/or wife and choose to bridle that tendency out of love and respect. The women could remember who they are, what they are worth,and work toward some middle ground.

I seriously doubt the makers of Captain America were thinking along on these lines when they created it, but this film stands as proof that you can make a fabulous movie, with beautiful women in it, and not pimp them out to the millions of movie goers around the world.

And the very best part is that I could sit next to my son and not feel embarrassed.
totally priceless.

related links:
all things purple: Women are Amazing
all things purple: Another Fleck of Brillancy
all things purple: Straight Talk on Modesty

6 comments:

  1. You are so right! I did enjoy not having to see everything hanging out, and the heroine was beautiful without having to compromise her standards.

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  2. If you find this article an interesting read, please share it! It has not been widely discovered as of yet and I truly hope to share the message with the world and get some healthy discussions started...

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  3. The unfortunate reality is that most 20th heroines and females villans have always been sex symbols. Once you add the ideas of female superiority (extreme femanism) and that sex can be a powerful weapon it is no wonder that females characters are portrayed as they are.

    It is the characters we need to upset with and not how they are put into the films. When I watch a movie with well known characters I want to see them portrayed as expected. Sure the White Queen character from XMen:First Class was very provactive but to be honest that was the character. I would have been upset if they didn't portray her that way. The same way I would have been upset it they dress Betty up in a sexy nighty when she tries to calm down hulk.

    I think the offense with the movie makers is being placed in the wrong sphere. The offense should be with the comic book authors. Even that is a bit hard to justify. While women still use sex as a weapon authors will still portray villians using that weapon.

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  4. @Jon: you hit the nail on the head! The movies are replicating literature that is faulty. Since not ALL women use their sexuality as a weapon, I believe that the possibility of having villains and heroines being ultra super through other means is real-- just not explored due to the several points mentioned above as well as the fact that many comic book authors are men and LIKE to portray strong women with such a weak catalyst for their power.
    and for the record, it could be done less graphically. it would just take some outside-of-the-box thinking to make it "like the book"

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  5. I think expecting multi-dimensional characters from comic book and movie authors is a tall order. Unfortuantely the quality of writing sucks in thse arenas which is why most women in movies (and comics) are either a clone of a "Lifetime movie" victim or a sexy what-ever. You'll find that good authors generally portray women much better because the actually turn them into real characters.

    I agree that there are clever and artistic ways to avoid graphically upsetting subjects. For instance in the "Into the Woods" musical I'm paticipating in the extraction of Little Red from the wolf is done behind a screen.

    When I start thinking about this my peronal feeling here are that the PG-13 rating should be done away with. Something is either ok or not ok for children (teen agers included). When I go see a rated R movie I should know that I may see extreme violence or sexuality. If I go see a PG movie I should expect not to see those things. PG-13 is some nebulous region where the rules are blurred to ridiculousness. For instance showing a sex scene is ok if the characters are clothed, or full nudity is allowed if it isn't if the person is not having sex, or saying the f-word three times or less is allowed. Why have this rating where no one is really sure if this an acceptable movie or not?

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  6. I completely agree with Jon. I just started a book series "Monster Blood Tattoo" and the Heroine in that series is not made up as a sex symbol. She is strong, vibrant, and easily stands up for herself. What we lack nowadays is women who have that character for the comic book world to emulate. What they see in the spotlight is all the sex and unclothed women. Face it sex sells. It sadly is the world we in which we live.

    As Jon says they are either "Lifetime" copies, where they have been abused and the man is to blame, or they are "Baywatch" babes needing to get their goodies on the screen. Nothing makes an actress more money than if they flash their stuff on the big screen. The film makers know that people will go see the raunchy.

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