From more recent shows like Stranger Things and the Logan film to cartoons like The Powerpuff Girls there is something hugely appealing about little girls having the power to destroy everyone and everything in their paths. The question is, why? What is it about these petite powerhouses that draws audiences across gender lines and generations?
In the previous post I described some various ways in which tough women inevitably have traumatic pasts, but so what? I mean, sure, that’s strange and all, but there are lots of tropes out there in the pop culture world. True…but not all of them indicate a key issue that still plagues the world of entertainment and beyond. Inequality.
It takes a special kind of woman to be as tough as the men and in pop culture it takes one with a traumatic past. Something that’s hardened her enough to hang with the guys, do a “man’s” job, and perform those tasks most often considered masculine in nature. The trauma itself is not always the same – domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape, the death of a parent at a very early age – but the results are. Someone tough and determined enough to live and succeed in a male-dominated world, but never without some terribly painful past that underlines she’s still the “softer” sex.