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March 2000, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 12 Mar 2000 16:44:02 -0500
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i don't much like raining on the parade,  but i'm beginning to find
the whole "evil women" game that everyone's having so
much fun playing not only fatuous but also more than a little
offensive . . .

finding evil women in mainstream film is about as difficult as
finding hay in a hay-stack . . . in the mythology of western
civilization [which is to say the mythology of men] women have
ALWAYS been evil, starting with the very first one, eve, and
continuing in an unbroken line to tomorrow's movies . . .

a MUCH more interesting question, i think,  has to do with
evil men . . . of course there's no lack of heinous villains
in the stories we tell each other, but these guys are almost
always marginalized relative to some heroic male figure
whose job it is to defeat the baddie . . . this is very different
from the kind of evil women who have been mentioned in the
various contributions to this thread . . .

. . .  for the most striking thing about the discussion so far is how
often it is precisely the main female character is a story who is
evil . . .  a figure we might call the evil heroine/protagonist
. . . if that's the case then it would be a good idea for us to
see if we can find instances of stories [movies or otherwise]
built around  evil heroes,  male protagonists who
carry the burden of the story despite major moral
failings . . .   or is the self-confidence of men so shaky that we
cannot tell any stories with central male figures unless we
represent those figures as ultimately noble . . .

at a quick guess, we'll find many fewer evil heroes than
evil heroines . . . and if that's the case it ought to tell us
something about ourselves that we need -- but don't want
to -- know . . .

mike frank

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