Laugh At These Ridiculous Decisions Movie Heroines Make
With so many expectations thrust upon us, it can be hard to keep our wits about us. Not only do we have to maintain the responsibilities of our work and home lives — we’re expected to look flawless while doing so. So, it makes sense when we finally do find a modicum of spare time that we’ll want to spend it winding down, many times with a movie.
Only, we don’t always get that luxury. Often, I find myself turning on a film and becoming more wound up when seeing the laughable decisions made by the female characters. You know, decisions no sensible woman would make in real life. Here is a list of the most ridiculous decisions all too commonly made by movie heroines:
1Wearing Heels in Dangerous Situations
This is a trope that has been rightly called out in recent years, especially in connection with Bryce Dallas Howard’s character in Jurassic World. Because yes, who in their right mind would wear high heels to a job where you work around the corner from a T-Rex? Not to mention, it’s completely unbelievable that she even made it through the movie in one piece while wearing them. I can barely make it through a day in heels without getting taken out by an errant crack in the sidewalk, nevermind running for my life through a jungle being chased by dinosaurs.
But, it’s not just Jurassic World that has fallen into this trap of a trope. I recently watched the Pierce Brosnan James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, where Bond girl Wai Lin (played by the incomparable Michelle Yeoh), a spy, sneaks into a hidden area to gain intel while wearing ridiculously high heels. Never mind the fact that high heels are extremely unwieldy especially in death-defying situations, they are also one of the loudest creations of humankind. She may as well break into the villain’s lair wearing tap shoes. It’s no surprise that later in the movie, when Yeoh has her impressive fight scene where she squares off against a half-dozen men, she is in sneakers. So, why would she wear heels to do her spy work in the first place? Sure, she’d probably roll her ankle when confronted with an enemy, but maybe they really complemented her outfit … *insert eyeroll here.*
It’s completely understandable to scream when one is surprised by something scary, like Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode in Halloween. Or, in the case of Shelley Duvall’s Wendy Torrance being terrorized by her husband in The Shining — I’d scream if Jack Nicholson were breaking in on me in the bathroom, too. However, some movie heroines take it to a grating and unbelievable level. Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, I’m looking at you. In one of the most embarrassing representations of women ever put on screen, Willie spends the entire movie screaming when she should be helping, whether she’s scared, annoyed, or, I dunno … hungry? Considering she was the successor to Marion (Karen Allen) from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, a character introduced while beating a man in a drinking contest in the bar she owns and runs by herself, you’d think she’d be able to contribute something to the movie other than incessant noise.
In the original Night of the Living Dead, Barbara (Judith O’Dea), who is admittedly having a bad day, falls right into the hysterical woman trope. While fellow zombie attack survivor Ben (Duane Jones) is trying to fortify the house against the zombies, Barbara not only refuses to help, but begins insisting Ben go out to help her brother, whose death she already witnessed. She starts screaming at the top of her lungs and physically attacking Ben, without a care that the noise is most definitely attracting more zombie action. If you’re not going to help fortify the house, Babs, at least don’t distract those who are.
How many times have you watched a horror flick and found yourself yelling at the screen, “Stop screaming! The killer will hear you!”? Of course, then any companion I have during said horror movie viewing is irritated at me for my screaming, thus completing a cyclical round of irony and annoyance. Life imitating art indeed.
3Wearing Their Hair Loose at Inopportune Times
As someone with long hair, this is a major pet peeve of mine. From Natasha Romanoff taking her hair out of an updo to fight a whole cadre of henchman at the end of Iron Man 2 to pretty much every fight scene in 2000’s Charlie’s Angels remake, our screens are filled with women running into dangerous situations made all the more perilous by their long, loose hair. It’s a wonder these heroines don’t leave these fight sequences with bald patches or lose the fight entirely when they end up entangled with the nearest object. Seriously, I’ve found myself losing a tussle with a doorknob that’s caught my hair when trying to leave the house in a rush. I can barely sit on a couch next to someone without having to say, “Ouch, you’re on my hair,” so I can’t even imagine running into battle with my locks in my face, obstructing my vision. It’s like offering your enemy a handle for your head. Any real-life woman with long hair knows that when things start going down, a bun is your best friend.
4Dropping Their Weapon Mid-Fight
I can’t stand it when I see a movie heroine drop her weapon too soon. Typically, it will be after she thinks she’s won the fight and she drops her guard thinking she’s finally safe. This is one my girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) falls victim to in Halloween. Honey, you’ve been running from and fighting with this guy the whole movie. Do you really need to leave yourself vulnerable now? Take a second and double check that he’s really down.
And it’s not just a tool filmmakers use at the end of a movie for extra tension, either. There are numerous scenes in films where the heroine will use a weapon for one quick whack and then drop it and run. Why are you doing him a favor and disarming yourself? You got him with the weapon once, take it with you — or, better yet, keep fighting — you’re winning! Too often we’ll see our ladies get the drop on their assailant only to immediately lose their advantage by choice. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) in Scream is one of the only movie heroines who subverts this trope, in one of the self-referential horror-movie skewers that the movie specializes in. Good for you, girl.
5Dating the Worst Person Possible
I understand this trope is often used as a plot point to demonstrate our leading lady’s growth throughout the movie or to introduce conflict. But, I find myself wanting to shout, “He doesn’t love you!” When Mollie (Kirstie Alley) gets pregnant by her married boss in Look Who’s Talking, it’s hard to feel sorry for her when she eventually figures out he’s not going to leave his wife for her. Girl, even if he did, would you really want to be with a man like that? Is anyone surprised when it turns out Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) was lying to and cheating on Bridget (Renée Zellweger) in Bridget Jones’s Diary? When Ray (Greg Kinnear) stands up Jane (Ashley Judd) after cruelly breaking up with her earlier in Someone Like You?
These movies are usually about strong, independent women, yet these ladies make choices in their love lives that make you question their judgment. It’s hard to relate to someone who is so willing to humiliate herself all for the love of an unworthy man yet is supposed to be intelligent enough to have worked her way into a six-figure job. Of course you shouldn’t date your sleazy boss/a married man/a demonstrably bad person. I could have told you that 90 minutes ago and saved us both the trouble.
Female representation in the media has come a long way. However, it has not come far enough. We need more female writers, directors, creators, and more to make sure our stories are told well and accurately. Until then, we’ll keep seeing movie heroines who think it makes sense to wear stilettos to a bank heist. Good look making a getaway in those, girlfriend.