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Old 29th July 2011   #1
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 175
Default ''Feminine, full-figured and graceful''

Before I say anything else, let me stipulate that I'm not an avid viewer of comic-book films. I have enjoyed the Dark Knight movies because they seem more mature than most of the films in this genre, and although I'm in the minority, I appreciated the cosmic-fantasy aspects of Green Lantern (which also had a great character in the aristocratic Sinestro). But I never liked any of the X-Men or Spider-Man or Iron Man or whatever other flicks of the kind have been out there. They all seemed childishly cartoonish, and the "action" scenes dragged on forever.

I will probably give Captain America a pass as well, but I stumbled across a review of the film that I thought was worth sharing on this forum. I disagree with some of its points (e.g., the philosophy of the villain, Red Skull, sounds more like communism than national socialism - and, as historian Niall Ferguson has written, the communists actually were the greatest menace in WWII, as subsequent history showed), but this comment about the leading lady is interesting.

Another example is Captain America’s love interest, Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). A UK military liaison, she is part of the team that brings in Rogers for his training. Carter is an enigma in modern movies. Most female characters today – heck, nearly all of them – are only shown as “strong” through unrealistic hand-to-hand fight scenes with men twice their size or through, pardon me, being a b*tch. And if that fails, they take off their clothes to get what they want.

None of these are Carter...She’s beautiful, but she’s not a stick figure with sallow cheeks. She looked like the women of her period – feminine, full-figured and graceful. She doesn’t use her body to get her way, she doesn’t use force to intimidate. But she doesn’t take any crap, either. She simply does what she knows – or sometimes, guesses – is the right thing to do...I don’t think she even raised her voice once. She is just plain classy. More of this, please, Hollywood.

Now, for someone to say that a Hollywood actress is "full-figured" really means "skinny, just not a size-0 anorexic." Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter is still underweight.

But I like the fact that a reviewer actually zeroed in on a fuller female figure being (a) more truthful to the period and (b) more attractive than modern emaciation, slamming "stick figures with sallow cheeks." Applause.

I also appreciate the fact that the reviewer praises this character for being genuinely ladylike, in a way that as true to the period as are her curves. She praises the character for being "feminine" and "graceful," for not using force, for being "classy," even for not raising her voice, and most important of all, for not being shown implausibly beating up men twice her size (which basic physics makes impossible, though Hollywood keeps trotting out this absurdity).

Given the fact that Hollywood usually pushes feminist ideology at every turn, it's encouraging to hear of a film that depicts a ladylike character, that doesn't rewrite the past according to a feminist paradigm, and it's also refreshing to find a review where such a character's traditional, feminine qualities are praised.

Here are a few pictures of Hayley Atwell. As I said, she is only "Hollywood curvy," which means not even faux-plus, let alone full-figured. But at least she doesn't have disgusting, gym-fabricated muscles or bones sticking out of every angle of her frame.

Very sensual dress:

At the Captain America premiere:

In period dress:

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