Today’s media sexually objectifies women to sell anything and everything. Our acceptance and tolerance of this behavior is the result of a sad truth that women are seen as “parts” while men are seen as “whole people.” This mentality has been ingrained in our minds so much that we sometimes miss or unconsciously accept these portrayals. The following heroine roles are meant to empower females, but do they? These leading ladies exemplify five sexist stereotypes commonly placed on women.
The Cold-Hearted Shrew
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)
Katniss Everdeen is a breath of fresh air to moviegoers who have longed for a female character who can kick ass. But don’t get too excited—Katniss shares the spotlight with her two love interests: Gayle and Peeta. While author Suzanne Collin, wrote Katniss as an independent and capable person, the movie audience can’t help but to get a different vibe. Katniss often comes off as cold, distant and sometimes mean. We constantly find ourselves thinking “poor Gayle” or “poor Peeta” when they’re met with her indifference. Would the movie being directed by a male have anything to do with it?
The Damsel in Distress
Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Divergent)
After Tris and her hunky love interest Four have escaped from the oppression of the faction system, the movie “Divergent” ends with the two hopping onto a train and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. Though Tris demonstrates her guts and becomes a fighter throughout the movie, once she has escaped with the love of her life, she was little else to worry about but the comfort of her man’s arms. This demonstrates the dominating stereotype in movies that men can star in movies and do well on their own, but heroines must always have a strong man as a co-star and love interest to guide them in their quest.
The Eye Candy
“Hercules” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson features the legendary Hercules and his loyal fighting team as they save city after city. The character of Atalanta is handy with a bow (is this becoming the only acceptable weapon for girls?) but from the breast plates, to the crop top, to the mini skirt (essential battle gear), the character of Atalanta embodies the stereotype that women in action movies must always be eye candy.
The Promiscuous Girl
Black Widow (Captain America 2)
In Marvel’s “Captain America 2,” Black Widow never fails to shoot a flirty eye at Captain America in between crime fighting. The intense fighting sequences are almost always interrupted by witty remarks from Black Widow about getting Captain America a date. This sends the message that a heroine can kick butt, but all she’s thinking about is how cute the hero looks in his costume.
The Prize Tauriel
(The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)
As if we needed any more examples of a women being treated as a prize to be won, the character of Tauriel in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” was created solely for the movie to be the object of a love triangle between her, Legolas the elf and Kíli the dwarf. The love triangle contributes little to the plot besides accentuating the existing hate between elves and dwarves. What better way to depict rivalry to audiences than for them to see guys fighting over a girl?