Why does there always have to be a boyfriend? April 11, 2007Posted by kelly in bound, female relationships, G.I. Jane, Girlfight, La Femme Nikita, Set it off, Thelma and Louise, Tomb Raider 2.
I’ve noticed a pattern in the past few movies we’ve watched – every powerful woman has to have a love interest. In Working Girl, Thelma and Louise, La Femme Nikita, Tomb Raider 2, Set it Off, Bound, Girlfight, and G.I. Jane, there is a love interest for the main female character(s).
It seems like the boyfriends need to be there in order to assure the audience that these women aren’t as “hard” or unemotional as they seem to be. Underneath their tough exterior, they still fit perfectly into the heterosexual power dynamic where they are delicate and sensitive in the arms of men.
No matter how powerful these women are, they remain unthreatening because they would never use this power for evil. If they could, they would prefer to live “normal” lives because they are content with just having the love of a man (I don’t agree with this, but perhaps this is what writers hope the romantic interests will accomplish). In G.I. Jane, Jordan remains tough and resilient until the moment she sees her boyfriend. At this moment, she crumbles in his arms and cries – alas, she is still a woman!
Although in Tomb Raider 2, Lara Croft is able to rise above this requirement for a boyfriend, we get the sense that if Gerard Butler’s character were more trustworthy, then Ms. Croft would also find herself with a mate.
In Girlfight, Michelle Rodriguez’s character only seems weak when she sees her love interest with another woman. The film even ends with them finally ending up together, making it seem as though finding love is the ultimate goal for a woman. Even though the character has accomplished her dream of winning a boxing title, the film ends with her kissing a man, as if this is the ultimate reward – this is actually what will make her happy.
Even in Bound, where we see a relationship between two women, we all stated how we expected one to kill the other (that’s how it would have worked in a movie with men). But as they are both women, love is more important to them than having all the money and power to themselves, and so they blindly trust each other because they value their relationship so much.
While the concept is much more complex than I have made it out to be, one does have to wonder why a story about a woman always seems to need a love interest in order for it to be complete. Why does a woman always have to be emotionally attached to someone, especially someone who often makes her question or compromise her goals (as in the case of Tomb Raider 2 and Set it Off)? In class some people spoke of how certain characters were “masculine” because they didn’t cry when they killed others. Does a woman have to show emotion in order to be a woman? Is a story so unbelievable if a woman acts purely out of selfish desires and never considers others? Male protagonists seem to function perfectly without love interests, yet, from what I’ve seen, female protagonists are rarely given the chance.