Are We Ever Surprised?

Suzanne Reisman has a post up at BlogHer about 300 and Sin City. You should definitely read her entire post, but the part that caught my eye was her take on the role of Queen Gorgo in 300 and the evolution of that role. According to an article in Entertainment Weekly, Frank Miller objected at first to having the Queen’s role expanded for the film because 300 is “a boy’s movie.”

I was actually surprised to hear the role had been expanded. I was hoping to see any hint of heroine content in the trailer for 300, but I was sadly disappointed. Cody then asked why I didn’t want to see the film, and I responded with something like “Because it looks fucking sexist!” His response? “It’s Frank Miller!” (With a bit of an eyeroll, and I think his hands were raised momentarily as if beseeching the heavens.) I couldn’t really tell if he thought I was surprised, or just annoying for stating the obvious.

It reminded me of another incident, though, in which my friend UnwiredBen drew attention to Grace’s review of My Super Ex-Girlfriend in a comment on a LiveJournal post that I cannot currently locate. He basically said “hey, my friends reviewed it from a feminist perspective and thought it was really sexist!” Another commenter replied “Were they surprised?”

Hell no. And was I surprised when Frank Miller made that comment about 300, or that it looks sexist? No. But while I’m already aware that Frank Miller (and our society) reliably produces art that treats women poorly, and I expect him (and our society) to continue doing that, I don’t see that as a reason for me to keep quiet when it happens again. It’s still a bad thing, no matter how tired and predictable.

Suzanne isn’t one to keep quiet either, thank goodness, so she goes on to ask:

Why can a “boys’ movie” not have a strong woman character in it? Do boys really dislike women that much that we are utterly useless and peripheral to their entertainment, other than serving as sexy fantasy objects? […] Perhaps Miller is wrong about what boys want: CityMama reports that the audience – filled mostly with teenage boys – cheered most when Queen Gorgo actually picked up a sword and got into the action.

Good question, Suzanne!

This post was originally published on Heroine Content, a feminist and anti-racist movie blog that ran from July 2006 to May 2012.

4 thoughts on “Are We Ever Surprised?

  1. Grace

    Well, it looks as if my arm is going to be twisted into seeing 300 this very weekend, boys’ movie or not, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about it next week. I’m glad to hear there is at least the possibility of heroine content–I didn’t see any in the trailer either.

  2. April

    I just reviewed this film, and honestly, it wasn’t bad. I gave it 3 stars. The 1 female role that existed — she was very strong. I was pleasantly surprised, and ended up screaming and clapping during one scene because I was so pleased.

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