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November 1995, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
ladd kimberly a <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 6 Nov 1995 10:21:34 -0600
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Ulf Dalquist states that in _Terminator 2_, "Sarah isn't locked up
without reason.  The pressure of knowing about the coming end of the
world as we know it and the fact that she's the only one who could
stop it, has definitely turned her into a psychotic (or whatever the
clinical diagnosis would be)."
Ulf has hit upon precisely the reason that the Sarah Connor character
was (and is) so attractive to many young feminists.  This film gives
the audience a female heroine--or more strictly speaking, a female
*hero*.  Sarah Connor acts in exactly the same way that other, male,
film action heroes act.  Why is that considered "psychotic?"
Admittedly, Sarah's single-mindedness in pursuit of her objective
could be argued to be symptoms of less-than-utter-sanity, but again,
a male character in this position would (probably) be taken for
granted as "normal," whatever that means when the entire world is
resting on your shoulders.  And just why would a female character in
this position be an example of "moral ambiguity" if an equivalent
male character would not?
For that matter, one could just as easily say that *male* action
heroes are all psychotic.  Or are they not psychotic when they *are*
psychotic?  The character of Martin Riggs in the first _Lethal
Weapon_ film comes to mind.
Just my way of saying that the subject of "moral ambiguity and female
characters in film" deserves some further interrogation in terms of
its gender role assumptions, if any.
Kimberly Ladd
American Studies
The College of William & Mary
Williamsburg, VA
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