As mentioned throughout our blog, a Fighting Fuck Toy is a hyper-sexualized woman hero in a film. In American cinematography, some famous Fighting Fuck Toys are Natalie, Dylan, and Alex in Charlie’s Angels (2000), played by Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, respectively, and Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill (2003), performed by Uma Thurman. I interviewed two high school seniors, one an 18 year old young man named Marcus and a 17 year old young lady named Priya, who reflected on their interpretations and perspectives on these female characters in Hollywood. It was interesting to learn their insights on the subject and their responses varied incredibly.
After explaining and giving some examples of these types of provocative female roles, I initially asked the two interviewees about their interpretations of these seductive-crime-fighting heroes. Their responses were quite interesting. Marcus said that he was “intrigued” by the sight of having a woman play the hero role in the film, claiming that it was “natural” for men to take on the hero role in films, not women. Priya, on the other hand, looked at it in more of a context of production point of view. She believes that the image of a Fighting Fuck Toy is something “spun up by the media” and that it is “unrealistic that these perfect bodied women are out in the world fighting crime; it’s entertainment.” She then goes on to say that Hollywood “would never pick thick bodied women, the real women who do that stuff,” because that’s not what people want to see. She claims that Hollywood picks stick-thin actresses to play these roles in order to cater to what people want to see, rather than what is realistic; in order for Hollywood to bring in as much money as possible. I found it quite interesting to see that Marcus, the boy interviewee, responded in a manner that answered the question in a stereotypical and patriarchal manner, while Priya responded in the realm of aesthetics and the appearance of these characters.
This led me to my next question, whether they believed if the Fighting Fuck Toy character misrepresented women. Marcus thought this image did not represent women well because these characters only showed the seductive and sexual side of women, rather than all the dynamics women have as a real person. Priya was in accordance with him; she thought this image distorted the real image women hold in the world. There are not a lot of women who have the slim, muscular, or seductive physique as the women in the Fighting Fuck Toy roles. In addition to their representation to society, Priya believes that the Fighting Fuck Toy women are stereotyped as women who are strong, but still have a weakness or issue that they need external help from someone else to resolve, like a romantic encounter. She claims that even though a woman may be the hero in the story, she also has to have a flaw or personal issues; the Fighting Fuck Toy cannot be just a hero, but also someone who has problems too. Neither of my interviewees believes that the Fighting Fuck Toy character represent women well.
I explained the term “to-be-looked-at-ness” to Marcus and Priya and asked them to whom the films with this specific role were catering. Marcus believes that these roles were solely created for men to watch. He thinks that women watching movies with these types of characters would either find the characters hilarious, because their roles are so distant from the real roles women play in real life society, or women viewers would get offended and ashamed of women being misrepresented into something that they’re not. Priya had the same response, saying that these roles were primarily catered to men viewers.
She also said that perhaps the reason directors put women in this powerful role is to take women out of the stereotypical homemaker role and into something else. She says that this could be symbolic of “change in times that women are capable of doing a lot more.” Women in the Fighting Fuck Toy roles definitely do not fit in with the stereotypical housewife roles typically seen in movies, but are changed into something they wouldn’t traditionally be.
It was interesting to gain insight in the opinions of two young high school students and how their opinions differed on the subject of a Fighting Fuck Toy, just by being a different gender. It is apparent that men have become accustomed to seeing strong patriarchal heroes in film. Although women are slowly getting lead roles in film as heroes, they are still being represented in an overly sexualized manner, where their appearance seems more important than their actions. High school students had varying opinions on the Fighting Fuck Toys character and it is curious to see how people of other age groups have responded to this misrepresentation.
By Michelle Yee