First things first, a disclaimer: I am talking very specifically about female characters in movies. I am not talking about real women (though movie characters are, I should hope, played by real women). This entire post is talking about fictional representations of women in the movies.
Now that that’s out of the way, I would like to pose a question preceded by a discussion.
It seems odd to me that so many action-oriented movies (and in this sense, I mean movies in which the plot, characters, and scenery are all active, such as might be common in, say, a horror or action movie) represent women as being unholy wielders of absurdly exaggerated key-blobs (for that is what they are, when you get right down to it). The oddity of this comes in the form of a familiar re-occurrence: every time you see a woman running from another person, specifically to escape, and they have one of these key-blobs, there is always a frantic moment at the very end where she proceeds to get caught precisely because she can’t find the right key for the *insert object here* (typically a door or a car, or both). This is not at all like what is more typical of every other character with moderately accentuated key-blobs; in such moments such characters may be caught simply because fear overwhelmed them and they couldn’t put the key correctly into the appropriate hole.
Curiously enough, female characters haven’t learned their lesson. They continue to have these key-blobs, something that is generally not true of male characters; in fact, if ever there is a moment where a male character fails to escape due to a key failure, it is because of the innuendo implied above, not because they couldn’t find the appropriate key. Evolution, I’m afraid, does not apply to female movie characters, for whatever reason.
And all of the above leads me to my question: if we are to take out the obvious answer of “misogyny” (or a more “friendly” term might be “gender stereotyping”), how are we to account for female representation in film where habits that historically have proven to be disastrous are still held? One must assume, for this question, that disastrous implies death (or, at the very least, a sound beating that one would not want to remember in the end).
How, I ask you, how?