In this essay, I will be looking at the representation of women in the action film genre and study the social messages that are constructed and conveyed by the media. The two media texts I will be comparing from are The Raiders of the Lost Ark and Tomb Raider. The female lead in Raiders of the Lost Ark is Marion Ravenwood who is played by Karen Allen and the male lead; Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones. In Tomb Raider Angelina Jolie plays the female lead, Lara Croft.
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Marion Ravenwood is seen as a typical action heroine. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Marion unveils different characteristics about herself; for example Marion tends to be quite feisty. She displays this in the beginning, when we see Indy walking into her bar. Acknowledging that they had a past and that Indy left her, instead of being quiet, she goes and slaps him. Another scene is when she’s trying to escape after she’s been kidnapped and this opens another idea that she does not give up. This suggests that women, however stereotypically gentle and calm, can be zestful. However courageous, Marion also has her female traits.
For example, when she’s in the Well of Souls and there are dangerous creatures lurking at each angle, she screams and complains. This different portrayal of Marion suggests that she as well as being tough, she can also be a female who’s frightened and needs a man (Indiana Jones) in this case to protect her. She is smart and uses whatever she can find, for example the frying pan, to protect herself and her man with. But at the same time, she’s also always getting into trouble because of her zesty self, for example when she refuses to give the gold medallion to the Nazis and nearly getting killed. Lara Croft is seen more as an unconventional action heroine. In Tomb Raider, Lara plays a British Aristocrat and is seen as a woman who likes to live on the edge and can seem as a quite stonehearted woman as she is very focused in what she does. The fact that she does martial arts propose of Lara Croft to be of a manly character by carrying and applying traits that are mostly used by successful.
When Lara’s butler tries to get her to put on a dress, she drops her towel to reveal herself, which portrays her a sexual character. I believethat the media wants to convey that women can be seen equal to men and although usually underestimated, they can do a lot more than men can. On the other hand, Lara also is very emotional and we see that this is a great weakness of her, which is used against her. Lara is emotionally unstable by her father’s death and tries to take a big risk in order to fulfill her desire of meeting him once more. We see this when Mr. Powell emotionally blackmails her and offers her By this, we can see that Lara has a very emotional aspect in her, which is mostly seen as a womanly trait is the strongest and only thing which is stopping her to become a man. Lara can be seen as a positive character in the fact that she’s self reliant and successful in it, which Marion doesn’t prove to be.
Looking at Marion Ravenwood and Lara Croft, we can see that there have been some major changes in the Representation of Women in the Action Film Genre. In both films, the female character is portrayed in a different way. For example, Raiders of The Lost Ark which is a film that was set in the 1936’s showed Marion as a side heroine who was dependent on the Male Lead. On the other hand, Tomb Raider which is much more modern movie depicted Lara to be the main star and was independent and even though had a past, didn’t necessarily need a man. As a common stereotype created for them, females were shown as smart but by using their brains – Marion, for example when trying to get Belloq drunk so that she could escape while he’d gone unconscious. In modern times, however women are also shown to be using their physicality and brainpower – Lara Croft could be used as an example as she was known to figure out the correct area to place the triangle and defeated the creatures that came her way. Female leads were much more believable back then as they mostly stuck to the stereotype built for them, however Female leads now are not as believable as they showcase more male stereotypical characteristics, one of them being physical strength.
This As times have changed so have women’s roles in society, and accordingly their representation in the media. The representation of women has improved as they have moved forward into a more equal society. Hollywood is a reflection of real life, and the point that the representation has improved because of society views, making it easier for the audience to relate in general, has proved this. Also, if an Action film has a male lead, chances are that the majority would be male audience as women are mostly not interested. But if an Action film has a female lead, there’s more possibility of both gender audiences, as it would contain a bit of emotional drama that women would enjoy and the female lead would have to be attractive, appealing to the male gaze. This shows that Hollywood imitates what has been going on in the natural world. In conclusion, I believe that women in action films are positive role models if we’re looking only at Marion and Lara.
Marion and Lara are both very different placed because of the timings