For too long, summer at the cinema has been a testosterone filled boys club. Be them superheroes, gangsters, pirates or spies, all been the big names at the box office have been male.
Finally though, the tide might just be changing. Might.
This week see’s two enormous blockbusters slugging it out for your wallet fodder, Snow White and The Huntsman and Prometheus. On the surface, they couldn’t be more different, but they both have one important element in common. A strong female lead.
With Snow White being turned into a quasi-Joan of Arc and Prometheus boasting Noomi Rapace leading the line in Ridley Scott’s opus, these aren’t just the typical love interest roles that women usually have to settle for in blockbusters.
They’re not on their own either. This year alone we’ve had Haywire, Underworld: Awakening, The Hunger Games, the admittedly dross Gone as well as the upcoming Pixar animation Brave all boasting women taking the lead without even mentioning a broken heel or chipped nail.
Of course, female lead action films are not a completely foreign concept. The Alien films, La Femme Nikita, Tank Girl, Kill Bill and The Long Kiss Goodnight stand with more recent fair like Salt, Hanna, Columbiana and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but these are still very much a novelty compared to the male-lead actioners that litter the multiplexes every year.
But try to name one woman who’s made their name as a gun-toting bad-ass in the same way Schwarzenegger, Willis or Cruise have.
Thankfully, we’re also moving closer to actually having female characters in bigger films that are more than just a short skirt and a giggle for the audience to lust over.
While not leading The Avengers, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow was simply a brutal, whip-smart secret agent that more than held her own in a fire fight. In Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Paula Patton’s Agent Carter was more comfortable with breaking wrists than batting eyelashes.
Television is doing its part too, with imports The Killing, The Bridge and Homeland boasting strong, mainly un-sexualised female leads.
Joss Whedon already stating that any Avengers sequels will bring more women into the fight is encouraging news.
Last year, we had Bridemaids prove that girls can tell dirty jokes too. Hopefully seeing Kristen Stewart leading an army, Katniss Everdeen fire off arrows and Gina Carano in Haywire beating seven bells out of everyone might just have the same effect.
While the guys might still have a hold on the biggest popcorn munching blockbusters, maybe girl power’s becoming more and more viable every day.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith