MOVIE: The Princess Bride (released in 1983)
I chose the movie media item to be The Princess Bride, because it shows in somewhat recent media, that the stereotype of women being the damsel in distress, and having to be “rescued” by the heroic male to escape harm’s way. The story of The Princess Bride revolves around a classic fairy tale involving a young and beautiful woman named Buttercup, who was captured and reluctantly chose to being betrothed to the evil Prince Humperdinck. The hero of the story, a male who is skilled at weaponry and stealth, heads towards the kingdom and falls in love with the captured Buttercup. Throughout the story the princess remains quite passive and practically defenseless within her surroundings. She is also treated with such delicacy and protection that may or may not be unnecessary. While most of the battling ensues, she is nowhere to be seen until she is found and it is time to flee the castle. The hero contributes to the majority of the fighting, with help from his partners along the way. The princess is being protected and does not participate in any sort of fighting because it would be unladylike.
The concept of female stereotyping found within this movie is directly related to some of the comic book covers we have viewed in class. A few of the comic book covers concern a Caucasian male seeming to save a beautiful damsel in distress from evil, in these cases the minorities of either African American or Asian descent. Through the majority of history, it was believed that the male was supposed to do most of the work and bring in money for the household. The women were supposed to stay back in the household, do chores around the house and take care of the children if there were any in the family at the time. This shows that men were viewed as the dominant gender, whilst females were the recessive gender, staying in the background and bowing to the will of her husband. In this film, though it is not as extreme as it was back in history, it is still interesting to see certain women, such as Buttercup in the movie, being portrayed as helpless, unable to escape by herself, and needing to depend on the male hero in order to be free.
Even within today’s society, there are seldom gender stereotypes that still exist. Thankfully they are not as bad as it was back then, and women nowadays do have more equal rights. Also, women are now able to work jobs that used to be deemed as a male only job. Though having the female being the damsel in distress in fairy tales, and having to have the male hero come in and save the day may just be a crucial part of the storyline, it sociologically gives off a message to young children that women tend to be the weaker gender within the culture. This is one of the reasons why slight cases of sexism still exists within our society, among other reasons dealing with sociological observations concerning a child and gender roles of his or her mother and father. Besides that, I believe women should at least be portrayed to be able to defend themselves in given situations, and not be presumed helpless. Even though this is true in today’s society, having the female stereotype of being dependent on males still exists, as shown in this movie.