Nov 21, 2009

Female Empowerment (and Fashion) in Quentin Tarantino's Deathproof.

I started thinking about the idea of female empowerment in Tarantino flicks when I was watching Death Proof.  I know I know, it is a little bit late in the timeline of Tarantino films, Mia is pretty empowered, Jackie Brown, Beatrix Kiddo, obviously kick ass ladies.  But those women, are women amongst groups of fast talking, action taking men; or in Black Mamba's case, a solitary women on a mission.   

Death Proof is the 'girls club' version of an ultra violent, fast car driving, jaegermiester shooting lot of characters.  These ladies can talk and drink like the boys but I think that Tarantino actually went out of his way to have them one up the boys making the male characters whiney bitches. For example, the guy that Vanessa Ferlito's character Arlene occasionally makes out with in the first half of the movie literally whines at her when she lays down her intimacy rules.  And Kurt Russell's character Stuntman Mike begs for mercy when Zoe Bell beats the shit out of him after he tries knocking her off the hood of that white 1970 Dodge Charger.

You're probably wondering what the heck all of this has to do with fashion.  Well, specifically there is a scene in the movie, the very scene that got me writing this post, where Rosario Dawson's character, Abernathy, is in a convenience store, and she purchases a copy of Allure Magazine because Lee (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is featured in it.  The clerk lets her know that he has "other" fashion magazines behind the counter.  Now I was thinking that that was some sort of dirty innuendo, as did Abernathy.  But, as she's about to open the door to leave, he says "I've got this month's Italian Vogue." Ahh, the sweet sounds of an ethnicity before that wonderful word, style, en francaise.  Abernathy returns to the car and giddily tells Lee about the precious copy of Italian Vogue which would otherwise be unattainable in eastkabumbfuck Mexico, or wherever the hell they were.  They decide to split the $27.00 fee for the clerk's personal copy of Italian Vogue in the name of current international fashion enlightenment.  And so the movie continues with more kicking of asses and taking of names.

The camaraderie of these ladies provides the frame for that little snippet of fashion cultural capital and actually reminded me of the fashion blogging community.  The fashion blogging community is a place where we encourage and apprise each other on more than just fashion.  From The Demoiselles 'getting healthy' highlights of courageous ladies facing body issues head on, to Ashe Mischief's big sisterly advice at Dramatis Personae on coping with major life changes, we've created a virtual crew of Jungle Julias and Zoe Bells.

I myself am usually one of the boys and markedly so judging by my intense love for all things sport.  But, as in the movie, I've discovered that boyish hobbies and sex appeal/glamour do not have to be mutually exclusive.  And if Quentin Tarantino is saying it then you know that the boys will agree.  Just cause I'm kickin it with the guys doesn't mean that I can't "kick it" in three inch wedged leopard print boots.


Ashe Mischief said...

I am so very, very honored to be compared to the kick ass ladies in Deathproof. This is an unusual comparison, but you're definitely on to something. The fashion blogosphere does have its girl gang mentality, and really is a cluster of women who CAN challenge the boys, be glam & gritty, and have amazing identities, careers, interests, and hobbies too.

Steff Metal said...

Agreed Ashe, that's what I love about this particular blogging community. Nowhere else can I find a group of talented woman who look good, love to talk fashion, but can love the same things I love - heavy metal, medieval swordfighting and telling it like it is \m/

Alice said...

I can't agree more! I am so glad that I am part of IFB, I always felt a bit isolated as I didn't know many fashion bloggers and it is great that IFB addesses so many common "blogger fears".

Yes, there is something amazing about the scene you described in your post -it gives fashion a more profound meaning. Fashion is more than just clothes and accessories, it is also about who you are and who you want to be. Or just simply the joy of life :)

Claire said...

This was an interesting post.. It gave me food for thought, certainly! I wouldn't have looked to Tarantino for this sort of stuff (basically because.. I tend to find his movies supremely annoying), so thanks for the heads-up!

Fashion Wh0re said...

Grea Post and i Love this Blog

m. said...

awesome post, I too was inspired by the girls in Death Proof and Planet Terror as well (Cherry Darling in particular)!

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