Marie Brennan has a wonderful post up at SF Novelist entitled Emasculation Not Required. It’s about gender in media, and how, unfortunately, in many male/female relationships presented in movies, TV, and books, the loss of the archetypal male protagonist who runs roughshod over the plot and gets the useless (but attractive) babe at the end has been replaced not by men and women working together as friends and equals, but instead it has been replaced by shrill women who assert their power over newly useless or dumb males.
This sucks, obviously. Brennan’s point is that this new trope does nothing to level the playing field and does everything to create frustration and annoyance on the part of women and men alike.
To wit: I love Princess Leia from the original Star Wars movies, but I always want her to. . . I dunno. Chill a little. Be the same bad-ass laser-gun-weilding bun-head (hell, be the same space-concubine on a leash) but at the same time, be less terrier-like, please! That said, Leia is infinitely preferable to Queen Backlash or whatever her name was in the new Star Wars movies. Queen Backlash is not, if I recall correctly, shrewish. . . but she also is critically deficient in moxie, so much so that she appears to die of sad, like some sort of weird throwback to Genji Monogatari or something.
We’ll see what happens with the Red Sonja remake in the works. I cannot imagine how that movie could be worse than the original, but I will be majorly disappointed if the new Sonja takes its cues from the original, which I believe was an hour and a half of:
Red Sonja: I don’t need a MAN to help me!
Not-Conan: Yes you do!