Opinion: What calls to boycott ‘The Woman King’ are really saying?
‘The Woman King’ is the latest romantic comedy to be produced by A-list Hollywood talent such as Jennifer Lopez (with whom she has a child), Kevin Hart, and Robert De Niro, who has a history of producing films. Though ‘The Woman King’ received mixed reviews from critics this week, it is not the second time in a row that the film has been accused of promoting a certain stereotype: the ‘bad-ass-female heroine’.
In the past, a number of critics have claimed that the film perpetuates an extremely negative stereotype of the “bad-ass-female” archetype by showing the character as tough and in control in the end. These critics believe that a woman that is in full control at the end of a film promotes power and violence for women. However, this criticism actually reveals the most common problem with the idea that “bad-ass” female characters are the only ones that can be in control, rather than a problem with the very concept of “bad-ass” female characters. To see this, one only needs to examine the nature of male and female aggression, because women are not supposed to be aggressive in the same way as men.
The only way that a woman can be “in control” is if that woman controls herself. When a woman is in complete control, she can control her body, her mind, and her actions. She does not have to be the “bad-ass” woman that male characters are supposed to be at the end to prove that she is “in control.”
In one of the earliest films in which the “bad-ass” female has come into being, namely in “Diva!”, the character of a dominatrix, played by Bette Davis, is portrayed as “in control.” It is important to point out that the character in “Diva!” was not a violent woman that the audience could “control” by slapping, punching, or kicking her. In fact, the character in “Diva!” is the antithesis of the “bad-ass female” heroine. Rather than being in control of her actions, the