Where’s that Power coming from? March 27, 2007Posted by erinsull in bodies.
We talked a lot in class about how the men in the movie often controlled Nikita but as the end shows with her feminine wiles (pardon the ridiculous phrase) she was actually able to have control over them. Here sit these two men, staring at each other, both in love with Nikita but neither able to hang on to her. I found myself asking what is it about Nikita that makes her so enticing? It brought me back to the discussion we were having about the new idealized female body. Even though the Hollywood ideal is no longer the big breasts, big ass curvaceous sexpot the new celebrated body is still very feminine. Even though it is athletic the body is very feminine in its smallness. You see Nikita in contrast to the males around her and she is still very petite despite her ripped back. The contrast in Buffy is even more noticeable, especially because she is a 5’2 wisp fighting hand to hand with men (well vampires but still). Even Sydney Bristow looks obviously smaller then the men she takes down so easily. What is also common between these women is that the constantly have men falling for them who are also in awe of their power and strength (Vaughn, Will, Xander, Spike, Bob)
So why is this important? I think that smallness is the new voluptuousness in some ways. These women are so hot and enticing because their ability to overpower men is unexpected. Yes they are often ripped, which makes their strength more believable, but they never appear physically more powerful then men at first glance. I think that is the clear line. It is only hot for a girl to be kicking ass if when dressed up it does not appear like she could. The hotness lies in the contrast, in the ability for the women to exceed her small stature. I think Bob fell so heavily for Nikita because he was entranced by the power and energy she held in that small body. So even though it is interesting that the athletic body is now embraced, it is a very specific lean athletic body, one that is not too obvious and can still surprise with its power.
Just one last jump, this made me think of the phenomenon of guys liking to watch girls fight. Why is this so danm hot? Of course I think it is only a big deal when the girls are small or feminine looking (which of course are not mutually exclusive). I believe that a lot of the appeal here to lies in the unexpected, that out of this obviously feminine body could come this rage and power (it helps to that girls are touching each other a lot but that is a matter for another day).