As I watched the buff and scantily clad Brad Pitt and Eric Banna fight each other in the movie Troy the other day, I found my mind wandering to the Chicago based “Babes with Blades,” self described as “a company of women wielding weapons.”
At first I thought, “Oy, I’m old that this is what I think of when staring at Brad Pitt,” but then I realized that wasn’t the point (no pun intended or probably even noticed).
It was that as Helen and Polydora languished and looked beautiful, the men fought to protect their honor and virtue. They were completely helpless in and of their own right.
The movie was I imagine historically accurate, and women’s roles in both life and movies have thankfully expanded over the years.
And that’s the connection…In Chicago, it’s the “Babes with Blades” who are best known for choreographing awesome fights with swords, knives, and other sundry weapons.
We defy society’s limitations of women’s roles, including the preconception that strength and power are inappropriate in women. We challenge the traditional definition of femininity and shatter divisive stereotypes…
And while they do it locally, women actors continue to push the boundaries in film as well, with Uma Thurman, Halle Berry, and Angelina Jolie among Parade’s list of the Top 10 Female Action Stars.
In the world of Intercultural Communications, perhaps unconsciously I was registering the overwhelming stereotyping of gender roles in the film, and countering it with strong vibrant images. Or maybe it’s just that as a strong vibrant woman, I can’t imagine sitting around pining if the person fighting on my behalf (aka Orlando Bloom as Paris) was doing so poorly.
Nothing wrong with a little well-placed “I am woman, Hear me roar!”
Photo credit Broadway World Chicago, from Babes with Blades’ All Female Macbeth.