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Essay on Strength is In the Eye of the Beholder

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In my quest to create a well rounded and A+ worthy essay about Shakespeare's As You Like It, I came upon key elements of popular culture pertaining to feminism and the rhetoric used to describe it. Of course, “strong female character” is a term thrown around plenty now days, however, I never took a moment to contemplate what it meant. Unfortunately, my research dredged up a plethora of unsettling ideas about what traits strong females posses, and has led me to think films should no longer portray what is now classically called “strong” and instead produce more realistic female characters, thus redefining a more positive representation of women. Without this awareness, young adults will continue to believe that a strong woman falls into three categories; abnormally smart, irrevocably sexy, and unquestionably strong.

I should clarify I don't mean that female characters cannot be blessed with one, two, or even three of the characteristics at once, but that the disproportionate amount of film and TV women are nearly super human with these traits. A perfect example is Angelina Jolie's portrayal of Mrs. Smith in the film Mr. & Mrs. Smith. She is wickedly smart & has sex appeal that is off the charts, and runs around wielding machine guns fending off enemies with every turn killing and leaving destruction without skipping a heartbeat. Her character seems fake and I have no reason to think anything of her but 'how does she go through everything and not get a hangnail?' Shallow, but honest, and sadly I see her only as carrying the quality of “bad-ass” not true strength. I wish I could write that Mrs. Smith is alone or just a single instance of this false durability, however these types of tough females are popping up in films left and r...


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...s speaks of a serious cultural disconnect where many people cannot handle the idea of woman who encompasses femininity and tenacity in equal parts, and therefore must rely on a fantasy image of a woman that is demeaning, yet shrouded in overtly cosmetic power that is so subversive even feminists do not realize that this type of character is far weaker and lacking than the helpless maiden. This type of character shows the flaws in current societal thinking; the idea that people are not ready to see a woman as more than a sex object especially if she is stronger or smarter than a man. In a way, a barrage of these characters is truly a mockery of females in a sense that if a woman decides not to be in need of rescue by a man, she can no longer be viewed as human, and therefore must transcend reality to avoid destroying notions of failing masculinity in popular culture.


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