Monday, April 10, 2017

Batman And Gender Norms, A Love Story

Image result for batman saving rachel

Batman Begins is the first movie in the batman trilogy. It came out in 2005 and included stars such as Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Michael Caine and Katie Holmes. It focuses around the origins of Bruce Wayne and his backstory on becoming Batman and his take down of the mob. This movie perpetuates gender norms and tropes such as male individualism, the damsel in distress, and women seen as distractions and not important characters. It does this by showing batman as extremely individualistic, having one of the few important woman characters as a person who always needs to be saved, and showing all the women characters as unimportant who are always in the way.

Batman Begins constructs gender by showing batman as an extremely individualistic person who doesn’t need help from the outside world. While Batman has to be by himself to evade the law, he prefers not to work with others. He helps the police, but even then he is elusive and doesn’t trust anyone. This perpetuates the idea that men need to take care of themselves with no help from others. This is very destructive to men because it discourages them from getting help when they need it. This contributes to the mental health crisis in America. Men don’t want to get help for their problems because they have made up idea that men need to be strong all the time, and a real man doesn’t get help for his problems.

A common trope in superhero movies is the damsel in distress trope. This is when a female character is in a terrible situation and needs a man to save her. This is extremely common in superhero movies, being in almost every one. In Batman Begins Rachel Dawes plays the Damsel. Rachel Dawes is portrayed as a smart, successful, powerful lady, who despite her incredible accomplishments gets abducted multiple times throughout the movie. She is first abducted by Dr. Crane when she goes to investigate the Arkham Asylum. After she is drugged, Batman, the big strong man, swoops in and saves the day by bringing her to his house and saving her. This helps construct gender because it reinforces the idea that women have to be saved. She is the most accomplished person in the entire movie and still has to be rescued.

Rachel throughout the movie is nothing more than a distraction to batman. She is prize rather than a aid. She is constantly in need of Batman's help, and doesn’t actually do very much. She is a common example of the seductress trope in film. Her power in the movie is less as a District Attorney and more of an important object for batman. Bruce Wayne is in love with Rachel, and while she doesn’t know he is batman for a lot of the movie, her power over him is through his love for her. Without being extremely good looking, she would have no power of Batman. This shows the shallowness of the film in terms of feminism.

This movie perpetuates gender norms and tropes such as male individualism, the damsel in distress, and women seen as distractions and not important characters. Unfortunately, these gender roles and tropes are far too common in movies. Batman Begins is actually more of a feminist movie in terms of stereotypes of women than most. Batman is simply one of many movies that constructs gender, and perpetuates stereotypes. Movies and entertainment as a whole represent America in many ways. They tell the stories of the people, they control how we think and view culture. This is why it is so important to make sure that entertainment reflects how we as a society actually is, rather than how the patriarchal society constructs it.

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