Since the 70’s till the modern age, women have been portrayed in many different roles- the housewife and gentle caring mother to the more modern businesswomen. Films have provided an everlasting capture of the gradual change. Films such as the groundbreaking Star Wars, (in which the main female character- Princess Leia a unorthodox stereotypical women of the 70’s era shows what women could do if given power.
) The Terminator, 2 the gripping sequel to the extremely popular prequel, ( Sarah Connor, a mother, who has to protect her son from imminent danger).And finally the visually pioneering Matrix, this time the female lead is a passionate love interest who is prepared to give her life for the man she loves. These three films represent their respective times and the change in attitude towards women is clear.
Firstly, representation of women has never been the same for two decades. The 70’s, this era was the dark ages for women. Never in any power, they were expected to be housewives and to bear children. They had few opportunities in the world and many had no real education.The 80’s, a closer fit to today’s women, they had now the power and confidence to challenge the sexual incrimination that still occurred frequently in their jobs. They also held more powerful jobs.
The 90’s was a major leap as women now earned nearly as much as men, they were more liberal and even more confident . Unfortunately overall they were paid less then men. The film representing the 70’s is Star Wars and Princess Leia being the associated character. The film is classically good against bad. Good being the Rebels and bad the Republic. It is set in space time and has the, now signature, Star Wars theme.
Princess Leia is at first a damsel in distress, her first scene is in a surrounded space craft in which she gets captured. Her second is the escape from the Rebel’s ship, where she then helps her rescuers escape by blowing a hole in the side of a ship. ( Ironically they end up in a waste disposal unit and are about to be crushed, but that’s another story. ) Leia is a confident and uncompromising character she detests being rescued, unless by her own account.
Leia also interacts with other characters, mainly Luke Skywalker. Luke is her, at first, love interest.They interact in a formal manner as Leia is still a princess but the love is clearly apparent.
Leia at her time was a major role model to young women, her dress style influenced many design ideas and her confident role in the film made women think that maybe they were equal to men. Her dress style in Star Wars is unique. The full white can be a connotation to be pure and innocence. The pureness is easily reflected in the characters emotions and the innocence is seen in her action in the film. She is, however, nearly always portrayed as the damsel in distress.She has to be rescued at the start of the movie and through the movie has to rescued (by male characters) a few other times. Overall I think that Princess Leia was a major stepping stone for the women’s rights and a beginning of a major change in attitude towards women.
Leia influenced many young women and at her time she was a revolutionary character that lead the way for others like her. Another film that portrays women in a unique light is The Terminator 2. A sequel to The Terminator, in which Sarah Connors defends her life from a innate metal killing machine- The Terminator.The second in the trilogy is set about 13 years later and this time Sarah Connors has a son, and the Terminator is sent back to “Terminate” him. The Terminator was made in the 90’s but it reflects 80’s attitudes. The basic plot is that in the future there is machine-human war and the machines create technology to send an object thru time.
They cant defeat the last of the humans in that time so they decide to send a Terminator back in time to kill the rebel leader- John Connor. The prequel is the same but they send a Terminator back for Sarah Connor instead.Sarah Connor is , at the beginning, in a mental institute where the Doctors believe that she suffer from a form of hallucinations. Them being of a crazed metal machine after to kill.
She seen to be recovering but a sudden outburst when denied leave gets her sent into seclusion, although it takes several men to hold her down. She then escapes right at the moment the Terminator is about to kill her. She is not only physically strong but also mentally as she has the self control to take a hostage to aid in her escape.