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Women in Post Apocalyptic movies

(47 Posts)
davina25 Sun 13-Oct-13 16:34:58


I am writing a paper on the role and negative view of women in Post Apocalyptic movies.

I will mainly be focusing on how often the fall of modern society leads to a strictly patriarchal world in which a woman's only role is often reduced to being traded for sex, or cleaning blood off the husbands rags after a day of hunting in the deserted wastelands (I exaggerate but not by much).
I will be looking at many films including 'The Book of Eli', '28 days later', 'Children of Men', 'The Road' and several others (some of which support and some that contradict reduced female roles in in A-P world)

I was hoping to hear some opinions and listen to what people think on the subject. Do A-P films take a step backwards on the progress made by women in a world of patriarchal cinema?
Any links or references would be a great help.

Many thanks smile

Coffeenowplease Wed 23-Oct-13 19:37:23

Theres the TV series Revolution if you are stretching into TV...

Some good and bad in that. Second season is better female character wise but they have also killed off a very strong female lead which I dont like.

Sausageeggbacon Tue 22-Oct-13 18:41:34

If you look at the resident evil films Alice is completely kick ass.

Bunnylion Tue 22-Oct-13 12:01:16

Post apocalyptic films are sci-fi/fantasy, sci-fi/fantasy films core audience are young men and so film scripts for this genre are generally written for young men. Hollywood does not take risks. TV sci-fi on the other hand is more often targeted at a female audience as tv shows are financed by advertising and women are more often at home.

Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley were characters written just after the period of heavy exploitation cinema, making them refreshing and engaging new characters to the genre but they are anomalies. As a side note, Ripley was originally scripted as a man but the creative decision was made by Fox to make her a woman.

What would actually happen in a post apocalyptic scenario is irrelevant to how films are scripted and green lit. It's all about the audience when it comes to commercial film making and the studio system. Unfortunately the audience are generally not feminists who place much value in women, but they do enjoy seeing them sexualised and watching things blow up.

sashh Tue 22-Oct-13 11:27:32

But the young boy is still portrayed as more capable than most of the adult women.

I think he is being shown as a minime of his father (I still can't get my head round Egg being a .................).

Only seen the 1st episode of season four but he echos his dad in dad ttells him not to name the animals, he tells the other kids not to name the zombies. In season three when he leads Tyreese's group into the prison but locks them up he is a minime.

Carol's character goes from a 1950s housewife beaten up by her husband to a strong capable woman and a potential love interest.

Back to you OP not sure if there is scope in your paper, and we have not faced a true apocalypse, but could you also at look how women have fared in real life semi apocalyptic situations such as Syria, Libya, the former Yugoslavia, women are raped at an alarming rate.

WMittens Mon 21-Oct-13 19:49:54

If not already on your list, have a look at Resident Evil, Aeon Flux, The Matrix, Dredd and District 13.

middleagedwoman Thu 17-Oct-13 23:03:36

Yes she is eminently sensible. A great character

noddingoff Thu 17-Oct-13 22:07:08

Please put Liz out of Shaun of the Dead in your paper!

NotDead Thu 17-Oct-13 21:27:38

has anyone mentioned Sarah Connor?

NotDead Thu 17-Oct-13 21:26:42

I do think it is time that a post apocalyptic film is created where a team of collaborative female mediators invite a representative cross-section of the zombie hoard to discuss ways of moving forward in a way that is mutually beneficial and takes account of the differing f physical social and emotional needs of the majority of participants.

YoniMatopoeia Thu 17-Oct-13 21:21:48

DH offers the following:-

Good - Resident evil series
Bad - Cyborg

davina25 Thu 17-Oct-13 12:09:37

Thanks for all of your responses; there is a lot here to chew through. I appreciate all of your opinions on the subject and glad so many of you found it of interest.

Thanks also for the suggested films, books and TV shows (They might not be the focus of what i'm writing but I can certainly reference them in wider context of the issues raised).

VerySmallSqueak Wed 16-Oct-13 00:14:34

I think that the two good female roles that stick out in my mind from movies are the female soldier in 28 weeks later,and the midwife in Children of Men.
They showed immense courage in sacrificing their lives in the protection of the children/unborn babies. (Although,granted,in 28 weeks there was also the issue of a possible cure).
It's interesting that in both cases there was the aspect of the nurturing role for women - the sacrifice for the protection of the children.

I think there are lot of post apocalyptic films where women are portrayed as very capable and able survivors. But,as strong as they are,they are so often still overshadowed by the men.

I think in The Road it was very much to do with the father - son bond,so the loss of the mother is quite secondary in my mind.It could as easily been about the mother - daughter bond.

SoWhatSoWhatSoWhat Tue 15-Oct-13 11:50:45

..Meanwhile Series 2 of Survivors Mark 1 (yes, I could talk about Survivors all day) looks at the practicalities of day-to-day community life, which includes fertility and contraception issues.

Charles, who makes a brief appearance in Series 1 as a slightly odd bod who's attempting to increase the post-Death population all by himself, calms down a bit and re-appears in Series 2 as the visionary leader of the new community. A young woman accidentally becomes pregnant while using the rhythm method and purposely induces a miscarriage. Doctor Ruth supports the woman's choice, and informs a disappointed Charles that on her travels round the various communities, the most common thing she's asked for by women is help with contraception, and Charles has to realise that women won't be used as brood mares to re-populate the planet, however urgent that need may appear to him.

Preciousbane Tue 15-Oct-13 11:39:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Preciousbane Tue 15-Oct-13 11:38:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

overmydeadbody Tue 15-Oct-13 11:19:19

Shame it is movies you are focusing on, and not books.

There are some brilliant post apocalyptic books with females as the lead characters, portrayed as strong survivors.

Mara and Dann by Doris Lessing. Best book ever written.

The Hunger Games.

The Angels are the Reapers.

I'm sure there are more...

SoWhatSoWhatSoWhat Tue 15-Oct-13 11:15:32

Would your remit cover television series? If so, step forward Series One of the original Survivors tv programme (1975), whose leading character was Abby Grant (played by Carolyn Seymour). Abby got to be leader of her group by having a brain, being a good leader and organiser - and perhaps because she was an upper middle class person at a time when such people were naturally deferred to.

Having a woman in a leading role was very unusual in the 1970s - one of the reasons it must have a appealed to me when I watched it as a child! Sadly Carolyn only appeared in the first series of the three. Apparently the director had difficulties dealing with a strong woman, and Carolyn herself realised she had a nascent drink problem. So she went off to sort that out, then moved to Hollywood where she enjoyed a fruitful career playing female psychopaths and the like.

Survivors Mark 1 had its problems - it's very middle class (the writers seemed to view the post-Death world as one where middle class people would sit about philosophising about the future), the villains all had working class accents and looked a bit shifty, the remaining population was overwhelmingly white, everyone's clothes were always terribly clean (easier for continuity when filming apparently) and the womens' hair/makeup was rarely out of place. But in the end I preferred it to Survivors Mark 2 (2008). Mark 2 had its points. It was written as an adventure story rather than emphasising the self sufficiency angle that was fashionable in the 70s, but sometimes it seemed that the main characters did little else than drink and shag, and the Mark 2 Abby Grant was a bit wet sometimes.

Here's a link to the Wikipedia entry. There's loads on the internet about the Cult of Survivors if you're interested, and the series is available on DVD/Youtube/etc.

PumpkinGuts Mon 14-Oct-13 19:38:35

I have been over thinking this since reading the Op yesterday..and I actually think in a post apocalypse world the militaries would be the ones to generally have best chances of survival. Sexual abuse in the military (at least in the states) is rife..and there are by far more men in the military than women.. So women would be few and far between and would be seen for procreation and fuckability just like they are now but we have a few laws to try and stop it

specialsubject Mon 14-Oct-13 19:26:00

try some movies made earlier than the last 20 years, post-apocalypse fiction is not new. The older ones without sex will widen your outlook on science fiction.

When Worlds Collide
On the Beach (immensely powerful as a book BTW)
Soylent Green (much better as 'Make Room! Make Room!')
or even Waterworld!

OptimisticPessimist Mon 14-Oct-13 17:28:19

I agree Pirates - while there are some issues with perhaps too much of a focus on the male characters, I think the portrayal of women is mostly positive. Carol (who is my total favourite) has had great character development, and the other female characters are diverse and interesting which is the most important thing for me.

I can't remember Carl ever going on a run tbh - in S2 he goes with Rick and Shane when they continue looking for Sophia (but that one's a pretty obvious plot device to land them at the farm - again if you gender-swapped the character I don't think it would change) and at the start of S3 he helps with the house clearing, but a lot of the time that Carl goes off doing stuff it's specifically against the instructions of his parents.

PiratesLifeForMe Mon 14-Oct-13 17:05:57

Oop, cross post!

PiratesLifeForMe Mon 14-Oct-13 17:05:12

Ok well I guess we're coming from different places on this one but to be fair, Andrea, Maggie and Michonne are all getting out there on raids which only really leaves Carol & the younger girl back at base, often along with the boy.

I think there are plenty of films & series where women come off as weak & helpless, I was pleased to see that (in my opinion) walking dead had a good balance - appreciate that that's only my perception of course! smile

PiratesLifeForMe Mon 14-Oct-13 17:04:43

Ok well I guess we're coming from different places on this one but to be fair, Andrea, Maggie and Michonne are all getting out there on raids which only really leaves Carol & the younger girl back at base, often along with the boy.

I think there are plenty of films & series where women come off as weak & helpless, I was pleased to see that (in my opinion) walking dead had a good balance - appreciate that that's only my perception of course! smile

coldwinter Mon 14-Oct-13 16:58:28

Perhaps it is better in Series 3. I haven't seen that. It isn't the case in Series one and two.

OptimisticPessimist Mon 14-Oct-13 16:57:19

It's a fairly even split going out on raids I'd say - Maggie goes on them all the time. And plenty of people die on TWD when they "should" have been able to get away - male and female. It only takes one misstep and you can get bitten, it's basically the premise of the show. We never see exactly what happens to Sophia - she may well have run into another walker while running from the first.

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