I was watching Castle a couple of weeks ago, when Michael Trucco came on the scene and had a great fight with Beckett. That same week Chuck and Sarah got into a fight (not with each other) and Chuck said he couldn’t hit a girl. So, later when I was watching Zoe Saldana and Jeffrey Dean Morgan knock each other around in The Losers it got me thinking…
When I was growing up guys didn’t hit girls. In real life or movies or otherwise. It just was not ok. Didn’t matter how badly they were provoked. Didn’t matter if she hit him first. Guys never hit a girl.
And I think that’s mostly still true in real life, though I’ve never been in a kickboxing ring, so I’m not 100% sure about that. But I know it’s changed in the media. So, of course, I started wondering when and how did it become ok for guys to fight girls? When did a cat fight become a real fight?
Sarah Connor and Ripley both fought with guns which is a different thing.
So, of course, I make the leap to the next girl action hero I know of. And Buffy fought with her hands. Ok, yes with a wooden stake, but also with punches and kicks and the bad guys fought back. They hit her and a part of her strength was that she knew how to take a hit and keep fighting. It was brutal and it hurt because they weren’t sparring or playing nicely. It was supposed to hurt.
But I don’t think Buffy can take all the credit. As much as JJ Abrams says that Sydney Bristow was Felicity as a spy, Alias was really Buffy for the mainstream. It was seen by more people and it opened with Sydney bloody and being tortured. It was supposed to be shocking and also intriguing because we still weren’t used to seeing a woman not only take a hit like that, but to incite torture and pain. So, I think you have to say that Alias made it ok to hit a girl almost more than Buffy did.
For both women this was their job and their life and they had to take a punch as well as they threw one.
Fighting has progressed from there and in some ways it’s prettier and sexier and more like dancing then beating each other up.
But it isn’t jarring or shocking really any more. Women spar. They get in fights. Apollo clocks Starbuck and it’s this quintessential moment in their relationship. Though Katee Sackoff has always been great at taking a hit, even fiercely enduring the brutality of Jack Bauer.
And as odd as it may seem, I don’t know that this is a bad thing. There’s something powerfully sexy about a woman who knows how to fight well. There’s something indominant about a woman who can take a hit. We’re acquainted with pain and suffering but so often that strength is portrayed as an internal strength. I think it’s good to see it externally, physically, in a good fight. To see a power that is not just in our hearts but in our arms and legs. That grace is not just for dancing it’s for balance and force and a good fight.