Tag Archives: women

Badass women

Not much to add to this supercut of completely nails action heroines, except that I love it when a film can feature a badass character who just happens to be female, rather than making it all about “femme fatale” cliches. This compilation features some of the greatest action figures eva (IMHO) from Alien‘s Ripley to Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. The women all expressing fury, skill and fierceness (not in the Drag Race/ANTM way) in a way that’s exhilarating and liberating (not in the women’s lib way)  through a brutal kind of physicality that women rarely get to express .

via The Mary Sue

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Peggy’s progress

Check out this great supercut from New York Magazine celebrating the rise of one of the most nuanced characters (and my favourite) on Mad Men, Peggy Olson. She works her way up from a secretary to chief copywriter, with plenty of battles and some triumphs along the way – she’s a rare character, not just for the 60s but any old time.

As m’regular readers may know, I’m always interested in screen representations of women in the workplace, and the progress of Peggy in the testosterone- and Jim Beam-fuelled days of early Madison Avenue is a simultaneously inspiring and frustrating journey. In spite of the heartbreaks and late nights and sidelining, Peggy’s a secret badass and she gets through things the hard way, which makes her story far more powerful than some Pollyanna media-dream-career-romcom nonsense.

The sixth series of Mad Men has just finished, so i’ll be spending the “summer” working my way back through the show from series 1, to prevent withdrawal.

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What Would Tess McGill Do?

80s-women-in-business films are an underrated genre, I think. Films like Baby Boom, Working Girl, Nine To Five  and even Big Business were among my favourites when I was little (how the limited selection of Hollywood Video has influenced my outlook on life!) and seemed to offer a blueprint on what the workplace is like for women. All those shots of women bustling through the streets in blouses and Reebok hi-tops seemed so exciting and empowering. Obviously, the reality is rather different, but the gumption and energy and resourcefulness and wit of these women set high standards for me in the working world.

Working Girl is perhaps the most influential of this genre for me. When Emma and I were building the Global Blue media empire, Tess McGill (protagonist of Working Girl, as if you didn’t know) was a guiding light for us, and we judged the interns based on their knowledge of the film (i never said it was a benevolent empire) and what they thought it said about women in the workplace. I lent a copy of the DVD to our assistant, who had never seen it, so that we could perform the McGill Personality Test. When questioned, she said that the message of the film was to “sleep with your boss’s boyfriend and steal her job”. An abject failure on the McGill scale, it turned out she was lazy, vain and dishonest – the kind of character flaws neatly revealed by the McGill test.

But aside from the litmus-test nature of the film, it’s also an exhortation of confidence – many’s the time I tell myself “Gumption, Miss McGill!” before a worrisome encounter, and the “What Would Tess McGill Do?” code has helped to many of my friends when starting new jobs or tackling difficult clients – especially when it comes to choosing jackets. In fact, i could probably do a whole rambling post on the way these women dress – from the silk kimono jacket Violet dons in the office in Nine To Five, to Tess’s purloined Chanel suits, to JC Wiatt’s sharp-shouldered cream coatdress or her nipped-in oversized tweed jackets in Baby Boom – and what it says about their self-command and sass, but that’s for another time…

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