I had someone tell me recently that they were having trouble understanding my column. They didn’t understand why it was called Movie Bad Girl of the Week yet they were seeing characters like Sue Snell from “Carrie”, Riff Randell from “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School” or Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex and the City.” So I figured I would give a little refresher course in Movie Bad Girls. This will be short and sweet and I hope you enjoy the lesson…there will be a surprise pop-quiz later. What is a Movie Bad Girl? A Movie Bad Girl is a female character that has qualities or traits that give her self-empowerment. She then uses that self-empowerment however she feels she needs to. This doesn’t mean she is evil or a villain. It doesn’t mean she is tough and can kick ass. It means that she is strong enough in herself and her abilities to do incredible things in the movies we watch. This spills over into television and books as well and I plan to take you to those places as well. They are females who have ideals and hopes and dreams. They have emotions and the capacity to love or hate. They most of all are able to show us qualities that we can use in our own lives. Some of these characters don’t have the empowerment and will find it along the way like the ladies of “The Walking Dead” did when they are suddenly thrust into a world where the new norm is fight and kill or die.
She may already be someone who kicks major ass like the ladies of the “Kill Bill” movies. 3 of those ladies are villains, one is not. I would not want to get in a fight with any one of them. Those ladies are tough as nails and practically pick their teeth with the bones of those they’ve killed. They might kick butt in other ways like Erin Brockovich, a woman who saw a huge corporation make people in the town of Hinkley very sick with hexavalent chromium in the ground water. This woman through dedication and a strong sense of right and wrong helped bring a multi-billion dollar company to it’s knees.
In turn she could be a mother. So many stories are about mothers and how far their love of their family, especially the children, will take them. We have Donna Trenton in “Cujo” and Chris MacNeil in “The Exorcist” just to name a couple. On the flip side the character could still be a child themselves like Rhoda Penmark (the most evil child on film) in “The Bad Seed” or Charlene “Charlie” McGee in “Firestarter.”
In the world outside of movies there are some real life Movie Bad Girls like Theresa Saldana who appeared in movies like “Raging Bull.” In 1982 an obsessed fan committed a brutal attack attempting to murder Ms. Saldana. She survived and this is when she became a real life Bad Girl.* Following her long recovery, Saldana founded the Victims for Victims organization and participated in lobbying for the 1990 anti-stalking law and the 1994 Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, both of which came into being partly as a consequence of the attack. The experience also inspired Saldana to play herself in the television movie Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story, and she authored the book Beyond Survival, a memoir of her experiences after being attacked.
This also applies to novels as well and when I come across an exceptional heroine in a book like Rose Daniels in Stephen King’s tour-de-force novel “Rose Madder” (She will be a subject of this column in the near future) or Elphaba in Gregory Maguire’s “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.”
The fact is that these Bad Girls can be found everywhere. We can learn from each and every one of them. In 2014 it may be time to change the name of the column to “Bad Girl of the Week” and drop “movie” out of the title altogether. This will open the parameters just a bit and maybe cause a little less confusion. One other thing, each and every one of you reading this is a Bad Girl too! (This also applies to you boys out there, I have done a column on Atticus Finch from “To Kill A Mockingbird” You don’t have to be a girl, you just need to find that power) Find your self-empowerment because it is there. Then use it! We have wonderful traits and qualities in all of us. Now go out and see if someone can learn something from you. See you next week!