10 Comments

Butt-Kicking Chicks: Love Series Part 7

From a guy’s point of view, a pretty girl beating the crap out of the bad guys is a wonderful sight, but if that’s all there was to these women, their charm would’ve faded long ago.

Way before the butt-kicking chick became popular, I was into them because I’m a big horror movie fan.  Particularly the slasher genre, it was during the 80’s after all.  A big staple of the slasher movie was Final Girl.  She’s the last one left standing to face and defeat the monster.  Frequently these girls are portrayed early on as the goody-two shoes of the group and seem to be the most timid.  Once we get to the movie’s climax, we realize they possess great strength and are actually the smartest and most resourceful, which is why they survive.

One of the best Final Girls was Laurie Strode of the Halloween series.  Be prepared for spoilers.  She’s a babysitter, shy around boys, modest, in short as sweet and delicate as a flower.  But when the monster comes after her and flight is no longer an option, she fights and she fights well.  If you want to be technical, a guy does show up at the very end to save her, but she still qualifies as Final Girl to me because she’s the only one able to fight off the monster long enough for help to arrive.  No one else in the movie doesn’t last a minute against him.

Now we fast-forward to the 90’s when we’re introduced to this cheerleader named Buffy.  Even though the idea for Buffy didn’t come from Final Girl, the best parts of those girls were used for Buffy and taken to the next level.  She wasn’t only strong in the face of danger, she was strong all the time.  In some cases, stronger than her male counterparts.  But why not Bobby the Vampire Slayer?  Why was gender so significant?

At the risk of sounding sexist, I still believe we live in a man’s world.  Yes, I know if you look in any profession, you will find strong and powerful women, but I think there’s a stigma attached to their accomplishments.  As if anything they’ve done was some amazing feat because of gender and not personal attributes.  It’s unfortunate because as those Final Girls showed, women have much more strength in them than they’re given credit for.  That’s why I gravitate toward strong women in fiction and in life because they have just a little more to overcome than a guy in the same situations.  They’re like the underdogs of life.  My specialty.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman, but I know how it feels to have something to prove.  To be staring up at the mountain I’m about to climb and wonder how I’m going to get to the top.  The main character in my WIP may be a guy, but I’m throwing him in a hole so deep, when he climbs out I want readers to feel like I do when I’m watching a chick kick butt.  It’s not nearly as inspiring when a guy’s doing it.

Info Stuff- Follow my ROW80 progress every Wednesday and Sunday and for the month of February, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be devoted to my Love series.  Eight loves that have shaped me into the writer I am.

10 comments on “Butt-Kicking Chicks: Love Series Part 7

  1. Great post Andrew! And you’re totally right. We do still live in a man’s world where often a woman’s compliments are thought to be in spite of her gender. I challenge any man to last a week in our shoes. I think part of the appeal to the butt kicking chick is that it’s a different kind of strength or an unexpected one. Nobody is shocked when Arnold shows up and starts kicking butt. When a little bitty cheerleader hands those vamps their asses, it’s more unexpected and gratifying. And I think too, that they’re fun and relatable characters because mixed in with the strength is vulnerability too. Guys aren’t allowed that or they’re not considered macho or whatever. But a woman like that proves that you can still be sensitive/emotional/vulnerable and still be strong. And the dichotomy is really fascinating.

    • Great point about guys not being able to be vulnerable. Many times it’s a quick, private moment shaken off in order to return to machoville. Girls definitely get the luxury of playing in both worlds in a way guys “shouldn’t”.

  2. I keep working on a theory about heroes vs. heroines, and I haven’t managed to articulate it well enough yet to publish it, but I think the classic hero journey doesn’t work quite the same way for heroines. You kind of hint at some of my thoughts–there’s something different about the way women approach the conflicts they are given, and I haven’t worked it out well enough yet to say what I mean… 🙂

    I like kick butt heroines, too, and I sort of have one in “Ravenmarked,” though she doesn’t start out that way. But there are three very different women in my novel who use different strengths in different ways. The princess is a schemer and uses her beauty and wits to get what she wants. The queen is a powerful woman who uses magic and a little bullying to get what she wants. And the heir is a “what you see is what you get” innocent girl who learns to physically fight by the end of the story.

    Anyway… It’s an interesting discussion. Thanks for making me think about it again. One of these days, I’ll sit down and write out my thoughts more completely….

  3. Should be an interesting post. Just the thought pattern of a guy vs. a girl could be a whole post. Me thinks you need a series. The Heroes Journey Through Two Sets of Eyes

  4. Good interesting point. I dont think a horror flick would be too thrilling if you threw a man at the end, woman seem more vulnerable and i think that is why alot of flicks went that direction. (no im not sexist or Andrew Dice Clay) Its what sells in hollywood. Now the tough chicks (sucker punch, charlies angels) are more popular in ass kicking blowing up shit roles.

  5. I was never a fan of the slasher genre–too many wimpy women going to investigate that strange noise by themselves then getting slashed or hacked to death. Dumb. Dumb. Sad. At the end of Full Dark, No Stars, Stephen King mentions that he’s interested in ‘ordinary people in extraordinary situations’. I think that’s what’s interesting about seeing a woman find her inner strength and ‘bring it’ to a situation where even the toughest guy might sometimes fold. My protagonist starts out in high heels and before long, she’s blowing the heads off zombies. Doesn’t that make you smile? 🙂

  6. Yeah, the kids in those slasher movies never were too bright, but that’s what you were getting into when you bought your ticket. For me, in was part of the fun and what made the “rules for surviving a scary movie” scene in Scream so funny.

    I could believe that about Stephen King. Every book of his I’ve read has that basic premise of an ordinary person in an extraordinary situation. I love those stories.

    And yes, a nice looking lady blowing off zombie heads makes me smile all toothy.

  7. Gee, I thought the reason you liked good looking girls that kick ass is cause you have such admiration for your sister. I figure that the environment you grow up in shapes who you are and what you like and dislike. Make sense, don’t you think?

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