Friend Zone

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Friend Zone

Hmm…”Men who complain about being friendzoned”. But doesn’t this imply that the act of being “friendzoned” is solely done to heterosexual males by heterosexual females? This person (https://silversly80.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/how-i-survive-the-gay-friend-zone/) would seem to disagree with such a proposition, as would this person (http://90datelessdays.com/), along with these people (http://www.loveshack.org/forums/romantic/dating/176927-do-guys-ever-really-friendzone-girls).

So now that we’ve recognized that this “friend zone” can exist in any type of relationship, I suppose it’s important to consider what the “friendzone” is.

Now, if we took the position of this memegenerator image posted by Feminist India, it’s a land where a woman enjoys a man’s company but is considered a bad person for not wanting to have sex with a man. To me, this sounds like the friendzone is somehow a sexual concept, a place where a man goes when a woman doesn’t want to have sex with him. However, I would say that, from both my experiences and the experiences of others that I happen to be familiar with, the friendzone is more about romantic interest.

So I guess we could look at the friendzone as a sexual term or a romantic term. I would say anyone saying they’ve been friendzoned because someone doesn’t want to have sex with them definitely has some entitlement issues. I don’t think many would argue with this conclusion, though I would be welcome to discussing it.

For me though, I’m more interested in the use of the term in what I consider the more important practice in that of being friendzoned romantically. It’s hard for one to come up with a rigorous definition for a term with so many people using it in their own ways for their own reasons. So instead of trying to create a definition that will be applicable to every use of the word, I suppose I will create a pseudo-definition based on my perspective.

For me, being friendzoned is when one romantically pursues a partner, where said partner candidate, consciously or otherwise, is aware of this fact and uses it to receive the benefits of a romantic relationship without giving a romantic relationship. It is important to note that, given the awareness of this by the partner candidate, to act on one’s feelings in a responsible way would need take said awareness into account. When one is young, they may accidentally friendzone someone because they’re simply inexperienced, so as long as both parties are sorry, then no harm done and I think then being friends should be considered.

On the other hand, there has to be at least one person out there that has friendzoned someone on purpose. Knowingly accepting the company of one who is romantically interested in them while simultaneously knowing they will never, even when able, accept that romantic relationship. I feel as though the responsible thing to do when one wishes to be friends with one who is romantically interested in them, but this feeling isn’t reciprocated, is to make clear your lack of intentions for any reciprocation. Now, this opens up a whole ‘nother can of worms, worthy of discussion, albeit elsewhere, about the socioeconomic, power, cultural, etc aspects of a given “friendzone scenario”. Also, it can be quite awkward to simply assume that one has a friend in which romantic intentions exist. One needs a certain level of intimacy present, as well as some solid evidence to be in a place to acknowledge the whole situation.

The only other thing I feel worthy of mentioning is perhaps how to know you’ve been friendzoned. Unfortunately I feel as though until one’s romantic intentions have been fully acknowledged or confronted, one is more stuck in the fog of the friendzone, unaware whether they will end up out of the fog on the path of having been friendzoned, or some other path. However I believe from experience one important thing will occur when one is truly (on the hand of the individual “friendzoning”) friendzoned: you and the person who friendzoned you will no longer be friends. If one is simply your friend because of all of the romantic benefits they receive, then once they stop receiving them, they’ll leave to go off to find other such people to “friendzone”. Being an emotionally intelligent individual, I’ve seen this happen before, where someone is a repeat offender of the friendzone process. Part of me wishes to believe that they simply were unable to confront the people they were “friendzoning” because of their social abilities, but unfortunately the majority of me believes, through looking at their other relationships, they simply chose not to. They were able, but not willing.

But I don’t mean to make this into some sort of personal anecdote. :P In writing this, I’ve began to think about how some of the issues of the friendzone exist because of the way we conduct our relationships today. There seems to be very few who both can and will be accepted by being upfront and saying they’re not interested. They could be called a bitch or a tease, despite just not wishing to take their relationship to such a level. What do you guys think and what are your personal stories with the friendzone?

Realistic View on Women in Action: What My Parents Taught Me

Three women are hanging onto a helicopter that’s flying towards a beach house, ready to fire a heat-seeking missile. The women appear to be in their mid-twenties, their hair is gracefully blowing in the wind, and they’re maneuvering themselves around the helicopter in skin-tight pants, heeled leather boots, and red lipstick. They’re on a mission to protect their boss, as well as mankind. Earlier they were dancing in lederhosen and driving a speed boat in gold bikinis. No, this is not the plot of a 1970s pornographic movie. This is a film about Charlie’s Angels, the sexy, unflawed trio that stops at nothing to bring down the bad guy. A young, action-enthralled audience may enjoy this kind of sexualized plot. The question is, however, not what the 13-year-old kids in the movie theater think, while they’re sipping on their Cherry Coke and popping Buncha Crunch in their mouths, but rather how would parents interpret this portrayal of women?

In order to give some insight as to what some parents think about their children being exposed to movies such as Charlie’s Angels, I will take the opportunity to use my own experiences and my parents’ points of view. I was about 10-years-old when I went to the movie theater with my sister and my dad to see Charlie’s Angels 2: Full Throttle. My sister wanted to see the movie, I tagged along with her, and we needed a parent to take us. My mom didn’t seem to care much about the film, but she had no objections about her daughters going to see it. The movie started off as a stereotypical Hollywood film; a lot of green-screen magic, unrealistic disguises, and fast-paced getaways. The worst parts, to me, were the scenes when the Angels had to distract their male targets with sexy dances and flashy costumes. I wasn’t offended or disgusted by these scenes; I was uncomfortable because my dad was right next to me. Imagine going to a burlesque show with your dad.

It seems that a lot of women in the media believe these portrayals of women to be dangerous to younger girls. They highly believe that these sexualized women, or “fighting fuck toys” (coined by Occidental College assistant professor Caroline Heldman), are going to be looked up to, and viewed as powerful role models. However, as a 10-year-old girl at the time of viewing Full Throttle, and as a 19-year-old at the time of watching to the first Charlie’s Angels, I declare that I don’t regard the Angels as my role models. Sure, they may fight bad guys, show their love for Charlie, know how to take a punch without sweating off make-up, and expose men who will drool for a leather-clad piece of ass, but they have not impacted me enough to look up to them. Ever since I started going to the movie theater, I was well aware of the fact that nothing on screen is accurate to reality. I can say the same for my 21-year-old sister, who enjoys a wide range of movies (including fighting fuck toy films from time to time) but decides to focus more on getting her college degree. As for my dad, he didn’t think much of the movie, but he didn’t try to talk us out of wanting to see it. He has often told us that he wants us to be able to speak and think for ourselves, and that we shouldn’t need a certain image to mold our way of behaving.

Another film I would like to briefly discuss is Miss Representation, from which I first heard the term “fighting fuck toy.” Many film critics and feminists have expressed praise and admiration after the recent film’s release. I, on the other hand, have an objection to one of the main points. Jennifer Newsom focuses around the quote “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Let’s just agree with this for the sake of analysis. “I can’t be what I can’t see.” If I decide right now that this is the mantra by which I choose to live, then I want to only look up to the people who exactly fit my image of success. I see women politicians, but wait, it’s not my own dream to go into politics. Well, I also see fighting fuck toys on screen. Again, not exactly my own dream come true (plus I don’t look like those women, and I probably won’t grow up looking like Cameron Diaz). I don’t see women in the media who are exactly like the way I imagine myself in the future. So, I guess I can’t be what I want? Is my own imagination not powerful enough to decide how successful I will be? Is my only option to seek out another woman who will show me her secrets to success, like monkey see, monkey do? The film stresses that women need role models. The people in the film talk about young girls as though they are so malleable and naive that they are doomed from the moment they come into this world as females. Sure, some of the people in Miss Representation are parents, but I don’t feel like they instill a lot of trust in their children’s imaginations.

Sure, a female fighting fuck toy is pretty popular in the media. It’s hard to miss her over-sized breasts and sculpted hardbody. Going off of what I have learned from my parents, I decide for myself how I will behave, and how I will view women in the media. I have seen and heard the way a lot of people tend to dismiss certain movies, just because they have the potential to be offensive, or seeming to send the “wrong” message to girls. But a person shouldn’t watch a movie about a fuck toy and expect it to be real. They should instead be aware that there will probably be a lot of stereotypes throughout the film, and that women outside Hollywood don’t perform that way. I mean, it seems quite unrealistic to be inspired by a woman while she’s straddling a missile that’s about to blow up.

The Context of Production: a not so Feminist Beginnings

One of the important aspects useful in the analysis of a film is its context of production. The context of production essentially represents who made it, why they made it, and for whom they made it. For the film Charlie’s Angels, the 3 most important people to look at are one of the films star actresses and producer, Drew Barrymore; one of televisions most active producer, Aaron Spelling; and the more or less then up and coming director, McG. To begin with, Drew Barrymore is likely the most unpredictable of the three I chose to discuss. She’s portrayed herself as being very sexual and wild in what most would consider very institutionalized or accepted ways, such as modeling for jeans and being in a nude photo shoot for Playboy. However, she also has her own production company, Flower Films, which may be considered empowering, especially when considering how successful it has been (its films grossing over $870 million dollars to date). In the eyes of MissRepresentation, thanks to Drew Barrymore, young girls and women will feel comfortable trying to claw their way through the Hollywood production ladder and establishing themselves by founding their own companies. However, I don’t buy that. The films Drew Barrymore is in are almost set in place with a realist style, typical of Hollywood productions. Said films also typically feature her in lead roles, not branching out and trying to bring up as many young actresses who haven’t been given chances by “the man”. Finally, these films also tend to follow the similar tropes and trite situations of traditional Hollywood fare: The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates revolve around Adam Sandler’s characters saving her or validating her in some way, Never Been Kissed follows a woman too pathetic to get over her childhood bullying, only to end up reliving it for a newspaper assignment, and Drew Barrymore must have been a fan of Charlie’s Angels as a child because all of the recent work on the franchise has been by her. As such, I lay down the claim that Drew Barrymore may seem to some like a strong, powerful woman, and therefore a good role model for women, but to me, she seems like the same Hollywood producer/actor wrapped up in a feminine body, rather than a masculine one.

The next person of importance would be executive producer Aaron Spelling: the definition of Old Rich White Man. He’s been producing television shows since at least the 1960s and built the largest single-family dwelling in Hollywood, meaning he’s loaded. Power: check.  Money: check.  White/man: check.  He’s been influential in television up until his death in 2006, with his final two series being Charmed and 7th Heaven, both of which characterize the sexualized nature of some of his shows and the safe, family-values nature of his other shows, respectively. Funny enough, part of the reason he was involved with the film in question is because he was involved in the original Charlie’s Angels. Perhaps it’s because I’m peering through the past with my own modern lens of judgment, but the original Charlie’s Angels seemed less trope-laden and steeped in gender and racial stereotypes (I’ll leave anyone who’s seen the Charlie’s Angels film to recognize these), with the original Angels seeming more authentic and having more agency (or as much agency as you can have when you’re grammatically possessed by someone). The racing sequence in the movie compared to those in the show seemed more cartoony and less realistic, lending Cameron Diaz’s character to be more of a cartoon character, or those opposite her being stupid, lessening her role in their defeat.

Finally, we look at McG, a then up and coming director who Drew Barrymore hand picked because she was a fan of his music videos. His background includes the aforementioned music videos, but also advertisements for Coca-cola, the MLB, and the gap, along with other companies. Sounds like the model archetype of a feminist director, no? It’s also important to note he’s produced The O.C., Nikita, Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious, Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll, and Sorority Forever, none of which exactly scream progress for women on screen, or at all. Of course, he’s more a product of Drew Barrymore, in that she chose him more than he chose to seek out her and her film project.

As an added note before I finish, I’d like to note Cameron Diaz, one of the “Angels”, on her first role ever in She’s No Angel: Starring Cameron Diaz, a softcore bondage flick. It’s important to note how there’s definitely nothing wrong a woman enjoying bondage, or any sexual desire. However, by starring in a softcore pornography picture, rather than being interested in it, some feminist scholars would claim that she’s doing women no favors. Of course, some may offer up alternative opinions, which is why I decided to merely include this as a note of interest, and not a supporting or expository point.

As I have clearly laid out, those who had the most influence on this film aren’t exactly aiming to advance women in anyway. At best, Charlie’s Angels is a “softcore feminist” piece aimed at the tween to teen female demographic, along with the entire drooling male demographic, blasting the misconceived notion of “girl-power” for all to hear. At worst, it’s just another example of hegemonic bombardment of ideas that are counter-intuitive, and possibly destructive, towards the ideas of feminism.

Run Lola Run (Context of Representation)

The main character of the 1998 German film Run Lola Run by director Tom Tykwer is a young, heterosexual, Caucasian woman named “Lola.”  Though this film subtly acknowledges gender stereotypes prevalent in Hollywood, Lola is different in being a female protagonist who is strong, resourceful, and independent.  The theme of the film is primarily of life’s general fate and determinism, but Lola’s strength and her lack of sexual exhibition distinguishes this work from Hollywood films which overwhelmingly portray white males as the heroes; women being complementary trophy mates.  Unlike the few female heroes in Hollywood films (e.g. Charlie’s Angels and Tomb Raider), who are portrayed very sexually (as if that is their primary source of power), Lola is undeniably the greatest source of physical and mental strength and resolve in this story.

Lola makes three separate runs, all with slightly different beginnings that all alter future developments; however, they all follow her boyfriend Manni tearfully begging her to save his life.  We see that the female protagonist is viewed by her boyfriend as being capable of rectifying his mistakes, as he cries and pleads for Lola to help him come up with someone else’s 100,000 marks that he lost on the subway.  The woman did not make the mistake, but rather the white male clumsily left the bag of money behind.  Though he blames her for forcing him to take the subway (because her moped was stolen) he also describes himself as having screwed up.  From this common starting point we have a premise in which the white man made the mistake; the woman, on the other hand, could not control being unable to pick him up.  Moreover, she is the only one who can save him.  Desperate to return the money, Manni unscrupulously threatens to rob a store if Lola does not come up with the money quickly.  From this premise of the male’s reliance on the woman and cowardly resort to weapon use, various series of developments are shown.  Throughout each run though, Lola is a physically strong and determined savior of a white man.

Despite having a very feminine name, Lola is not provocatively dressed- throughout the film she constantly wears a tank top with her midriff showing (but not in sexual way) and bra strap visible that sometimes slips off her shoulder- seemingly only because she runs so much.  Her outfit is certainly not something that men would wear, but not revealing of feminine traits.  In contrast with her boyfriend who is prepared to rob a store, Lola’s conscience leads her even to refuse a man trying to sell her a stolen bike, opting to run on foot instead (hence the title of the film).  She capably comes up with the money herself in two of the runs; the only time she fails to, she only reluctantly stands by her man out of love and robs the store with him (ultimately getting shot to death as she flees).  So, the female hero not only has the strength to run endlessly, but the morality of a tragic hero.
One run very symbolically juxtaposes stereotypical female roles with Lola’s character; she accidentally bumps into a mother pushing a baby around in a stroller, who yells at her “fucking bitch.”  This distinguishes Lola from the conventional stereotypes of women as nurturers.  Soon afterwards, she runs through a crowd of nuns to symbolize her rebellion from conventional female conservatism.

In another scene, a guard condescendingly calls her a “princess” and advises “courtesy and composure are the queen’s jewels”- Lola stares him down as she enters the elevator, visibly irritated.  The viewer empathizes with her after the belittling treatment.

In another run, the dichotomy of female roles in this film and typical Hollywood films is portrayed as Lola robs her selfish, adulterous father and exits the building to dozens of male cops; they all assume a female cannot possibly be the robber and comically proceed to rescue her.  This scene represents female independence and capability as well as their often being underestimated by naive men.

Lola is not so much a fuck toy but rather she possesses the typical positive qualities of Hollywood’s white male heroes.  Though not perfect, she is scrupulous, resourceful, tough, and independent. She has the physical stamina and strength to run endlessly.  Though attractive, she is not objectified for gaze.  And though her name is Lola, she is not a very effeminate girl like the name often conjures.  The movie is primarily about contingency and the butterfly effect, but Lola is a positive representation of (especially young and heterosexual) white females that feminists everywhere should applaud.

Hahn Chiu

Charlie’s Angels (Representation of the Fighting Fuck Toy)

In the film, Miss Representation, they discuss the different ways in which women are misrepresented in the media today. The representation we will be focusing on is “the fighting fuck toy” where movies make female protagonists into action heroes but have them super sexualized. The Hollywood film, Charlie’s Angel, does a great job in making the main female characters as heroes and protagonists but makes sure the girls are seen as sexual objects.

The opening scene of each of the three angels is very provocative. Cameron Diaz’s character, Natalie, enters the movie with a skimpy, flesh-colored bikini and almost looks like she is naked. Lucy Liu’s character, Alex, takes off her helmet and whips her hair while the camera captures it in slow motion. Drew Barrymore’s character, Dylan, is seen lying naked on a bed while the camera slowly rides up her body. Throughout the entire movie, the camera does a lot of slow motion shots and zooms in on certain body parts. This technique forces the audience to view the female heroes as sexual objects.

The costuming of the female characters is highly sexual as well. The angels are seen with very low-cut tops or tight-fitting outfits throughout the entire movie. In the scenes that require the angels to retrieve information from men, the angels are always using their sexuality to seduce them. The movie sends the message that the only power of a woman is her sexuality. You can see this clearly near the end of the movie when Dylan is tied up to a chair. She spreads her legs open and grabs the attention of the men who are trying to kill her. They all stop and listen as she controls them with her sexuality.

The film also heavily focuses on fetishism. There are several scenes of the bad guy ripping off pieces of women’s hair and sniffing it in a very creepy manner. There are also many scenes of close-up body shots and slow motion shots of men looking at the women…desiring them. By zooming into specific parts of the female body, it displaces the sexual desire from the person to an object.

The movie really reinforces the gendered ways of seeing. As John Berger puts it, “Men dream of women. Women dream of themselves being dreamt of…” In the movie, Natalie dreams about being on stage where she is the spectacle and she is being looked at and desired by the men around her. Berger also states, “From early childhood, a woman is taught to survey herself continually. She has to survey everything she is and everything she does because how she appears to others, and particularly how she appears to men, is of crucial importance for what is normally thought of as the success of her life.” We can see this during the last scene of the film where the angels are about to enter a house and see their commander, Charlie. Right before they walk in, the girls are looking nervous and Dylan asks, “Do I look okay?” as they quickly fix themselves up. The female characters are seen worrying over their physical appearance and making sure they are presentable for Charlie.

Female action heroes in movies may be somewhat refreshing by having women in roles that are traditionally reserved for men. These movies make it seem like the women are diegetic on screen by placing them as the protagonists and having them fight crime. However, we can still see how the films blatantly produce the women as iconic on screen by presenting them as objects of beauty. Charlie’s Angels gives the sense of girl power, but really, they are all just fighting fuck toys catering to the fantasies of men.

By Sue Lee

Contexts of Reception/Representation ( Charlie’s Angels vs. Run Lola Run) Fuck Toy style

Female Fuck Toys – Contexts of Reception/Representation

Charlie’s Angels vs. Run Lola Run

Chloe Choe

WMS 25

The 2001 version of “Charlie’s Angels” generates a new era of “girl power” to young female audiences. As a trio of attractive female detectives employed by the Charles Townsend Agency go on and fight crime, the Angels are identified as women who use their gender and sexuality to overcome obstacles in a “man’s world”. As a viewer, this film is written and filmed from the eyes of a male director of how he would perceive women fighting crime. The sexual innuendos that the Angels have upon the emotionally and physically vulnerable men are quite apparent throughout the film. Thus, I would say the Angels epitomize the Hollywood version of a female “fuck toy” representation through their provocative actions and attire. Viewers from various ranges of age and demographics would find this film thrilling and action-packed. But because of its ample usage of action and sexual overtones, I would assume that this film is geared towards the young audience. For young female audience, they would consider this movie as a “girl power” film where they would get inspired by the characters’ glamorous, crime-fighting skills and disregard the erotic messages of the film. On the other hand, the heterosexual, male audience would be lured in on the action-packed violence and the female sexual innuendos of the movie. Both responses from the young audience reflect how commercially induced the Hollywood industry is. The director has done a successful job on delivering a message of female empowerment through the male perspective. But for the viewers who question the connection between femininity and a male’s perception of femininity can be quite troubling to find the fine line between those two themes. The representations of each angel might imply that she is intelligent, independent, and physically fit, but the way the director depicted each character through sexual visuals might leave the audience questioning the true intentions of the film itself. Are these depictions benefiting gender equality or ruining it?

Run Lola Run

Although “Run Lola Run” was created by a male director, the film abandon’s all mainstream representations of how Hollywood media would portray a female fighting fuck toy. The interesting aspect of this movie is that the gender roles have been switched. The story plot goes against the traditional love story film where the female character plays a hero while her boyfriend plays a damsel in distress. Unlike the signature “girl power” film where it focuses on empowering femininity, but restricts itself to the patriarchal confines, the director of “Run Lola Run” neglects the female role and neutralizes her character through a more androgynous clothing attire and role. The movie is intended for a various range of viewers, where each episode of the movie offers a different outcome resulting from a different story plot approach to the conflict within gender roles. From the three different episode, the viewer has the option to choose which episode provided the most rational outcome, yet with a satisfying story plot. The final segment of the movie delivers a message to the audience a sense of resolution within the gender equality, with a possible narrative that abstains from the stereotypical gender roles. The director did a fine job depicting a balance between male and female characteristics within Lola and her boyfriend, that enables the viewer to watch the movie not from a certain gender perspective, but from a perspective of the general viewer. The representation of Lola is not like the typical Hollywood style version of a “female fuck toy” but rather unravels a quality to the depiction that “female fuck toys” do not always have to be visually sexual or be restricted to a certain look in order to entertain and lure the audience.

Fighting Fucktoys: An Introduction

Femme. Faux-independence. Fetishized object. Fucktoy.

These are the main qualities used to describe female action heroes in the media. Though in modern day they’re featured as the alpha character in most mediums, they’re still depicted as sexual objects, something to be desired by men. Yes, they fight crimes like badasses, but they’re physical appearance, body type and wardrobe – the huge bust size, small waist and little (or see-through) clothing they wear that leaves nothing to the imagination – are mainly the qualities that hook people in (especially the men).

Though there are numerous sexy, seductive, in-combat females featured in films, most of these “fighting fucktoy” characters originated in other mediums, such as video games/RPGs, comic books, television shows, etc. Well-known examples are characters such as Catwoman, Wonder Woman, the Angels on Charlie’s Angels (the 1976 TV show) and Lara Croft from Tomb Raider.

Now here’s a fun fact:

Lara Croft’s famous bust was a complete accident. Artist Toby Gard was toying around with the dimensions of the character. When he got finally got to setting the dimensions of her chest, his mouse slipped and as a result, he increased her breast region by an unrealistic 150 percent.

Though a huge mistake, the rest of the male crew voted to keep it, solidifying a kind of stereotyping that not only video gamers were guilty of, but also the filmmakers, directors, writers, etc. that all let it carry into the medium of cinema. Sure enough, Lara Croft’s physical appearance didn’t change once it hit the big screen, as evidenced by Angelina Jolie’s enormous bust size. To quote the Tomb Raider crew, the unfortunate truth is that “Gard’s accidental ‘one-fifty’ design made picking out a marketing strategy remarkably easy.”

With the release of Tomb Raider in 1996, Lara Croft and, of course, her blockbuster hit featuring Angelina Jolie, paved the way for other female game characters. She was, and still is, considered the first video game sex symbol and is often used as a prototype for other female characters.

What’s even more unfortunate is the fact that Lara Croft was considered a progressive female character for her time. The featured female characters before her time either fulfilled the role of hostages or weren’t present at all. So though the backstory of the creation of Lara Croft’s physical appearance is a prime example of blatant misogyny, it was still a step up from before.

However, Lara Croft wasn’t the first hyper-sexualized female character to make it big. Long before the creation of Lara Croft (and her breasts), two little birdies named Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg decided to create one of the most iconic television shows to date in the mid-70s. Believing the television shows on air at the time to be too grim, Spelling and Goldberg sought out to create something flashy and glamorous. In an effort to stray away from the male-dominated world of television (and as a way to compete with the escalating number of series featuring women as the protagonists), Spelling and Goldberg came up with the idea of featuring three female detectives who fought crime while still looking drop-dead gorgeous. Thus, came the birth of Charlie’s Angels (1976).

The show quickly became known as “Jiggle TV” and “T&A TV” (a.k.a. “Tits and Ass television”) by critics because many believed that the show had no real depth or substance and was solely focused on attracting viewers through the exploitation of the scantily clad Angels, whom donned different sexy undercover outfits almost in every episode (ex. beauty pageant contestants, female prisoners or just plain bikini-clad). Though, the show was cancelled after only 115 episodes, it was able to make a comeback through its cinematic equivalent of the same title, Charlie’s Angels (2000), which faithfully kept to the essence of the show, featuring women as the erotically appealing action heroes.

There’s almost a paradox to these types of heroines as these female characters are supposed to be strong, independent and kickass, but their only “strong”, “independent” and “kickass” under the terms and conditions of the phallocentric world as they are still scrutinized under the male gaze. In short, these women fight crime, but they still have to be erotically pleasing to the men, thus, dubbing these female heroines as “fighting fucktoys”.

By Audrey Shih