Posts Tagged ‘alice’

Alice – Chivalry Gone Wrong: I guess a bloody nose is manly

December 14, 2009 2 comments

Alice is the new miniseries on Syfy from the makes of Tin Man. As the name suggests, it is a ‘bold re-imagining’ of the Alice in Wonderland stories. What this means is that it does not bear much similarity to the source material beyond character and location names.

Now, I won’t be reviewing Alice over all, at least not today, but I will say this:

It was both better and worse than Tin Man, in different ways. I do think 4 hours (with commercials) was a bit excessive. Also, I am still not sure how I feel about all the male characters, so I won’t be discussing that today. However, there is one aspect of Alice which I would like to talk about. It is not something unique to Alice, but it is quite present.

What I speak of is chivalry (in the modern sense). That oh-so-cliched code of conduct which guides the behavior of gentlemanly behavior. Many of the old traditions of chivalry have fallen by the wayside with the march of feminism, which is a good thing in my opinion. However, a few of these old traditions of special treatment for women still persist. One which has always been a great annoyance to me is the concept that violence should not be used against women.

It has traditionally been the view point that men are the ones who should do the fighting, take the beating and absorb the pain. This was once due to the belief that women were weaker than men, but that concept of feminine frailty has supposedly been discarded by modern feminism. By that same theory, both men and women should be seen as able to take and dish out the same kind of beating.

No such luck, I’m afraid. Our society still seems to view men as the disposable sex, responsible for taking physical harm while women remain protected. Not that men get any special privlidge for that responsibility.

In Alice we see a fair about of hand-to-hand combat. It is primarily fought by two of the leads: Alice and the Hatter, each with respectable combat prowess. Each takes down numerous thugs with punches, flips and face slams.  However, there is something of a discrepancy in regards to the about of abuse the heroes take. The hatter is kicked, thrown, punched in the face, shot and even electrocuted. On the other hand we have Alice, the extent of whose bodily harm amounts to getting grabbed by a thug (she swiftly repels him).

Despite close to three decades of full-steam feminism, we still have this cultural sense that it is wrong to harm women and that men are capable of and duty bound to take abuse for them. However, this doesn’t match up with the ‘equality’ called for by feminism. The end result is a sense that men and women can do anything, but women should be given special treatment to make sure they remain safe.

This made some sense in a world where men received extra status for taking on the duties of protecting women, but those have been stripped. This leaves a prime example of how media often portrays men and women as equal, but women being more equal, safe in the assurance that they will be protected while still demanding to do anything and everything they like, with full respect. Men are left to feel equal (at best) but also disposable.

In the past, men who did not face down danger and risk were called cowards.

What do you call someone who doesn’t face danger but still demands full respect as if they had? Besides a female soldier. That one’s easy.