I was looking at the official poster for the adventure film "Divergent" (2014) and the pose of the female heroine, played by Shailene Woodley, reminded me of the way Summer Glau's Cameron was shown in some of the promo photos for Terminator: The Sarah Conor Chronicles. You'll notice Lena Headey's character is much less sexualized than Cameron (which is also reflected in the clothing).
Check it out for yourself.
Fans of action/superhero movies have noticed a trend in promotional materials: female characters are often shown in uncomfortable positions seemingly designed only to highlight their (spandex-covered) bottoms and breast at the same time.
I guess the studios find that these kind of shots attract the demographic they are targeting, namely young men, who also happen to be avid comic books readers.
Find a few examples of the Strong Female Character Pose below.
And don't get us wrong, male super-heros in tights are also sexualized with their impossibly muscled chest, biceps and abs. All these photos do is over-exaggerate the characteristics of each gender for marketing purposes.
Cartoonist Kevin Bolk drew a parody of an early movie poster for "The Avengers" in which he reversed the poses of male and female characters. Here's what he had to say about the way male and female superheroes are objectified:
I often hear the counterargument that 'Oh, well, men are objectified just as much as women because they are muscular and wear tights.' But that idea ignores that A) these characters aren't contorting to constantly show off their elaborately rendered sexy parts (as the ‘Avengers booty’ piece demonstrates) and B) they are meant to appeal to a male power fantasy, not necessarily to arouse women.
Check out Bolk's bootylicious 'Avengers' movie poster below alongside the original:
Do you think Summer Glau could play in the future a character that will get the Strong Female Character Pose treatment as it was the case for Cameron in Terminator: The Sarah Conor Chronicles?
And while the Knights of Badassdom poster and DVD cover art don't show an objectified image of Summer's character Gwen, don't you think the "Summer Glau: Hottie Montage" included in the Blu-ray extras suggests the focus will be on Gwen's looks instead on her bravery?
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Message #2 | PurpleHayes | 20 Mar 2014, 02:10 GMT
I've heard about this before its a comical observation and there are similarly many others that can be made about conventions and stereotypes in promo material, such as the pervasive use of the Teal/Orange contrast which has been pointed out by numerous commentators.
I'd say that the 'Divergent' poster isn't as guilty of this as most of the others due to the lighting, or rather shadows in the picture permitting a little more modesty for Shailene, but I agree the trope is evident there.
Summer could play all sorts of characters in the future having proven herself capable of a diverse range of roles in the past, but I think in the end the type of character she plays isn't especially relevant to whether the advertising teams responsible for designing promotional material decide to include her in said pose to maximise appeal to a male target audience.
Having said that, Summer is kind of an ideal candidate for this pose since besides having her curves in all the right places, she has a habit as many have observed of landing roles in the perfect sphere for taking advantage of her sex appeal in this way, in that she's played a few ass-kicking sci-fi females, where the primary market for sci-fi is indeed male, so I conclude it is highly likely that we will see Summer 'watching her back' once again just like in all those pics from TSCC.
As for the Hottie Montage, it sure sounds like it! But I for one don't think there's anything wrong with seeing more material with a clear focus on how gorgeous she was in that costume for Knights of Badassdom, it kind of felt like the main reason she was in the movie to begin with since there are like 2 other female characters in the whole film, neither of whom really take on the 'hot girl' role in any way, and such a role HAD to exist in a film like this at least that is my belief if only to satisfy cinematic conventions and stereotypes.
The real truth of it is though, that as much as Summer's 'Top 100' league looks may increase both her own success and that of the TV and movies she takes roles in, it's clear she can bring much more to the table with her talent as an actress than so many other eye-candy girls in the business.