While I'm on the subject of post-apocalyptic worlds with exciting new possibilities for women, let's give a shout out to:
No. 3: Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica has restored my faith in not only television, but media in general. Much has been written on how great Battlestar Galactica is, so I don't have to go into much detail here. Suffice it to say that if you're not watching it, you're a moron. (I can only say this because my friend who was a television critic for the New York Times bugged me for weeks to check it out, and I hemmed and hawed, complained that it sounded dumb and cheesy, not interested, and then when I finally did watch it, I was mad at myself for having waited so long.)
Now, there's nothing expressly gay about Battlestar Galactica, except that Starbuck is a woman (in the original series, Starbuck was a man), and she's the baddest ass lady on TV. The actress playing Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff), a fighter pilot, has such an awesome lesbianic vibe that it almost makes up for the fact that she sleeps with a lot of guys. Now, she's as straight as the day is long (the character and actress) but I'm telling you, it doesn't matter. She's just such a great character, she's like an honorary dyke â€” in the best possible sense.
The Cylon ladies are pretty frickin' awesome, too. (I would say â€œfrakingâ€ but I'm not going to be that much of a dork.) Come to think of it, the whole series is based on strong, badass women running things, including Mary McDonnell as the president, which is why I'm including it in my lezzie column under the category, â€œThings So Awesome, It's OK They're Not Gay.â€
Next up, No. 4: The Descent
The Descent is a movie (released in the United States this past summer) that scared the bejesus out of me. The premise: Five women friends get together to go on a spelunking trip in Appalachia to bond and spiritually recover from a tragedy that occurred a few years earlier. For those of you who don't know what spelunking is, it's a version of rock climbing where you use ropes to descend into dark scary caves and go exploring. Apparently people do this for fun.
Anyway, the ladies go into a big scary cave and surprise, surprise, before you know it, they're trapped inside and have to find a way out. That's when the scary killer things come in. I'm not going to say more because that would be spoiling the surprise. Suffice to say, it gets pretty gnarly, and there's this one image near the end of the movie that should go down in the Badass Women Iconography Hall of Fame. It involves a lady, covered in blood, holding a large bone as a weapon in one hand and a flaming torch in the other. That's some good movie shit.
The great thing about The Descent is that it's British, so you don't recognize any of the stars of the film. (At least I didn't. I suppose if you live in Britain it might be a different story.) Because it doesn't have any recognizable teen queens running away from sadistic slasher killers, it has a semi-vÃ©ritÃ© feeling of authenticity, kind of like Blair Witch. Only one of the characters is American, and she is the leader of the expedition.
(As a side note, my friend gave me a hilarious and possibly accurate reading of the movie. She saw it as a parable of the Iraq war, where the American leads the British into a dangerous situation with the promise that it will be fun and easy, and instead they get trapped and slaughtered by an unseen enemy and can't figure a way to get out. I'm not sure if this was the filmmaker's intention, but it definitely works.)
Also, it's great to see a movie where all the women are badass in a real way (spelunkers), and it's just part of the movie, not a big deal. They're not superheroes; they're athletic, adventurous women experiencing the outdoors and being hunted down one by one and killed. How much more progressive can you get?
No. 5: South of Nowhere
Lastly, I hope everybody is watching South of Nowhere on The N. It's not badass in the action sense of the word; I just think it's so awesome I want to support it. (And, come to think of it, Ashley and Madison do have some pretty fierce catfights.) There's South of Nowhere stuff all over this site, so you can check out what it's about, but it is definitely worth your time. If you don't get The N for some reason, I usually download it on iTunes. Super easy. Figure it out; support the show.
Last season rocked, and this season is pretty good so far, although they could juice it up if they send the girls spelunking or maybe off on a spaceship fleeing an evil, rebellious group of cyborgs â€¦ SON writers, take note.
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