I'm excited to see Sucker Punch, but it also makes me nervous. And I'll tell you why...
The movie looks to be all about female empowerment, ladies kicking tail and taking charge. But we also know it's a fantasy film, some elements are real while others are not. The previews tell us that the leading lady in the movie retreats to her imagination to help her get through a tough reality. So I wonder, if it's her imagination, why is she wearing thigh highs, a belly shirt, and a skirt that barely covers her business?
I'm sure the film will address this. It HAS to address this. So I am choosing to believe that it will. Because I want to love it. There must be a good reason why all of the women are costumed in some pretty blatant and overt fetishistic outfits. If they were empowering themselves, why would they be dressing like they're in a strip club? I mean, honestly, it's not even practical fighting gear? (I've covered this before in an op/ed from Geek Monthly about why you can't kick tail as effectively dressed like a hooker.)
Of course, as I always have to defend myself on this after the now infamous "slave Leia bikini" article that nearly saw my fangirl card revoked by hundreds of angry slave-Leias everywhere, I have to say I'm not anti-sexy. (You can't imagine the scathing emails and comments I got for months after that...I still get the stink eye sometimes at conventions.) I love the movie Chicago and it's plum full of women in revealing outfits. But they are also in control, clearly choosing what they are wearing and why, when and how. I recognize that there's not one required "look" for strong female characters. There's no right way to be an action heroine. They can be feminine or plain, short hair, long hair, belly shirt...whatever...but it has to feel authentic and there has to be a good reason for the costuming.
But Sucker Punch's little sailor girl outfits that reek of anime exploitation...well, like I said, they make me nervous. I want strong leading ladies who are strong for their own sake, not just to be eye candy to fulfill these modern sculpted straight male fantasies that have become run of the mill. (That frequently involve a creepy child-like/underaged school girl uniform in some incarnation...ick.)
Anyway, I could go on and on about this subject. I'm just saying, I hope this movie is the real deal. I hope it's for me and not just for male audiences. I hope it's got layers of well thought out meaning and that it's not just a fetishistic music video masquerading as some revolution in female strength. It's such a very thin, very fine line between empowerment and exploitation nowadays. Don't you think?
I get the feeling I'll know very quickly when I sit down to watch.