Editorials and Opinions

Resurgence of empowered women bittersweet

By Helen Holmes
Published: June 2010

Strong women are making a comeback. They are dominating the Billboard charts, movie theaters, and fashion magazines.

They’re also throwing American pop culture for a loop that it hasn’t seen for decades.

This re-emergence of cool, tough women has come seemingly out of the blue, though they’ve been around for decades.

There is Beatrix Kiddo from the Kill Bill movies, Joan Jett, a.k.a Buffy the Vampire slayer just to name a few.

However, only a few years ago the most popular act on tour was Britney Spears and I know I am not mistaken when I say that everyone packed into movie theaters to see Clueless.

So, why the sudden change?

The appeal of strong women has been around for generations and another of the kind could be the catalyst to get the ball rolling again.

Though the damsel-in-distress way of doing things has been the status quo for women since the dawn of time, what seems to be socially acceptable now is being capable of taking care of oneself.

For example, though Sarah Palin is a controversial figure, part of her appeal is her image of a hard-working hockey mom wielding a shotgun.

Palin is undoubtedly a strong woman that knows how to take charge in her life.

This blatantly take-no-prisoners mentality is what got so many women (and men) to flock to her during the Presidential campaign.

She is widely known as being a force to be reckoned with and to many women, this image is comforting.

Confident women, besides being more common these days, are also downright cool.

After all, who wouldn’t want date a woman who views herself as large in charge?

At least a woman who is sure of herself and comfortable in her own skin would be perfectly fair.

Young women in the public eye have turned in droves towards music, more specifically by starting their own bands.

Savvy Norman, a former South sophomore, said she and her band Plumbean are “all like a little family.

She counts Kurt Cobain, Fiona Apple, and Layne Staley as her musical influences.

On the celebrity spectrum, Taylor Momsen, star of the popular show Gossip Girl, has recently formed her own band called The Pretty Reckless.

Of the group, Momsen states that she “writes all the music, writes all the songs, and sings. It’s rock, man.

Momsen is not the only one who’s into the hard-core sound of rock these days.

Demi Lovato, Disney Queen and star of the so-sweet-it’s-nauseating show Sonny With a Chance, counts death metal bands such as Dimmu Borgir and Job for a Cowboy as her favorites.

Female rock stars are also showing up in pop music, such as in the hit “Airplanes by B.o.B ft. Eninem.

The song features Hayley Williams from the alternative band Paramore and is a hit on the airwaves.

The fact that she has been asked by rap/pop/R&B artsit to be in a song with him and renowned rapper Eminem is a truly revolutionizing one.

Need more proof that rock chicks are definitely back in music? I highly doubt it. But, take some anyway.

Courtney Love, lead singer of the rock band Hole (and the widow of Kurt Cobain), has recently released her first album in years.

Also, Gwen Stefani has abandoned her ventures into pop and has returned to her band No Doubt.

The band No Doubt is where she first made it big.

As a result, in choosing to return to her band, in which she is the lead singer, with men playing instruments in her background, she is reinstating the fact that woman can easily take charge.

Cat Power, Neko Case, Florence + the Machine, Karen O: the list goes on and on.

No longer are women leaving the instrumentals to the guys in the studio.

They’re picking up a Gibson Les Paul and doing it themselves.

The revolution of strong women doesn’t end on the music charts: they’re becoming more and more present in movie theaters as well.

Take the character Hit Girl, from the recently released movie Kick-Ass.

According to the New York Times, Hit Girl has become the film’s most “persuasive ambassador, beating bad guys to a pulp and uttering words that “little girls are definitely not supposed to say.

The actress Chloe Moretz who plays ‘ËœHit Girl’, is a deadly thirteen-year-old assassin with a penchant for butterfly knives and blood-n’-guts. Sweet, right?

The heroines we see in films today are no longer delicate flowers waiting for someone to save them – they are independent women, ready for anything.

“Just give me some Christian Louboutin shoes and a gun, Moretz said.

Here, perhaps, lies the problem with the movement of the strong woman: to keep up.

Many young girls might be growing up too fast.

The previously mentioned Taylor Momsen has been photographed smoking in public, as has well as virtually the entire cast of Twilight.
Many of the stars are too young to being doing this.

The number of tattooed stars has risen as well: everyone from Hayden Panettiere to Miley Cyrus has gotten inked.

So, is the revolution of the strong woman a good thing?

Overall, more woman wanting to become independent and confident is definitely a good thing, but at some point we must learn to draw the line between being authentic and being trendy – if you really have a passion for something, whether it be rock and roll, karate, or gung-ho politics, go for it!

But, if you’re just in it for the cheap thrills of a tattoo you might not want when you’re eighty, or blackened lungs at the age of 35, I just might have to set Hit Girl on you.

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