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Feminist and Furious

Gloria Robinson

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The blaring sound of engines entered my ears as the camera directed me up a woman’s skirt as she shot a gun for the car race to start. “Fast and Furious 7” was an action- packed film filled with mini-skirts, action stunts, and a meager plot line. For the first 15 minutes, I was immersed in the scorching desert with women dressed in bikinis, crop tops, and short skirts and men, who wore the casual attire of  jeans and t-shirts. When I saw this representation, two things crossed my mind: Is this a porn film or did a sexist man direct this production? Even though the Fast and Furious franchise has purposefully attracted the male population, women like myself still see the film too. As a human being, I was disgusted to see women portrayed as sex objects. From a realistic standpoint, who wears swim attire, like a bikini, to a car race in the desert?

After seeing several close shots of a women’s bottom or cleavage, it was obvious the film was directed by a man, James Wan. If the plot is about Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) seeking vengeance on Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his team for killing his brother, what’s the relevance of having half-naked women used as props in the background? For example, I was appalled to see women in the backdrop literally half dressed soaking in the sun as the Toretto team goes to Abu Dhabi, a city located in the United Arab Emirates an Islamic country, . The men were dressed in boat shorts and collared shirts as they lounged on the beach.

The other aversion I had to the film was the stereotype of women. Even though there are two female supporting roles in the main cast, Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) who both possess resilient qualities, other women in the film were portrayed as people to take care of the kids and show no motivation to move forward in life. For example, it had to be a woman to look after Luke Hobbs’ daughter while he was injured. Another instance of this stereotype was Brian’s wife, Mia Toretto taking care of their kid.  (Jordana Brewster). Her only purpose in the plot, it seems to be, is to help display Brian’s character showing the slightest endearment.

It’s fine to create a character with nurturing qualities in the plot. What I disagree with is having that character solely portrayed by a woman, while men are portrayed as aggressive and heroic. Quite frankly, it endorses the traditional image that only a woman can play that role. Overall, the movie exemplified typical stereotypes of masculine men taking on the triumphant actions and women cheering from the sidelines.

Another distasteful quality was the amount of attention the camera spent on the women’s bodies. Ramsey plays the role of an intelligent computer hacker, but this is only introduced after the camera closely displayed five minutes of her walking in a bikini. Later in the film, she takes on the heroic action of fighting the guards to capture the “god’s eye” while a large slit appears on her dress. If the character Ramsey was portrayed by a man, would they be dressed in clothes to display their six-pack?

After seeing this film, I was reminded how women are portrayed in the media and I remain disappointed. What concerns me is that our society is being influenced by a gender stereotyped film, like “Fast and Furious 7” making assumptions of women’s role in society and portraying them as overly sexualized. The Fast and Furious franchise has the reputation of catering to males. Rolling up women’s skirts until we can practically see their bottom and cropping their tops in many scenes when it’s not practical only proves this movie is targeted at males. According to CNN Money, “Fast and Furious has been consistently popular with women.” If this franchise generates a balanced viewing among the genders, it should be more suitable for women.

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