Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Women Scorned: The Position of Women in X-Men

Perhaps at a glance you might think that in X-men: The Last Stand, women are finally given some credit as capable figures, movers and shakers. Phoenix is the most powerful of the Mutants, Storm is the new headmaster of Xavier’s school, and female Mutants generally can get things done just as well as the males. But you can also see that a significant part of their portrayal involves proneness to unplanned emotional impetus and to the influence of male leads.

Jean Grey is completely emotionally unstable; whenever anything makes her upset she goes on a destructive rampage. She ends up disintegrating her beloved boyfriend, immediately tries to have sex with another guy, and asks him to kill her when he says no. She disintegrates her mentor and joins forces with her ideological adversary, and ends up needing that other guy to go ahead and help her suicide. Not the strongest of
characters after all.

When Mystique gets abandoned by the man she’s devoted herself to, she goes and gets arrested by her ideological enemies just so she can betray him. Cunning Magneto anticipates this reaction and outsmarts her.

Even Storm, seemingly the most authoritative of the women in this film, acts largely on a reactionary basis. Her initial plans for the school she inherited were to close it, since she didn’t feel confident without Xavier. Only because a needy youth serendipitously walked in right at decision time did she decide not to just give up.

Females on the battlefield, at least, seem to be equally competent as their male counterparts (not to mention present at all) – a big step up from being a worried pregnant fiancĂ© who isn’t even present in the action. Kitty beat blockheaded Juggernaut and saved the little kid!


1 comment:

  1. I particularly like your analysis of women's roles. It is interesting to note that this is the only film we have watched in which women have power. However, like you mentioned, they must have certain flaws in order to not appear superior to men. As the films we have watched have progressed, we have seen an evolution of gender roles. Earlier films gave women little power but now they are slowly edging closer to men in status. Perhaps in the future they will one day be seen as equals.