The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Friday Nerd Blogging

July 8, 2011

minor spoiler alert

Besides some time on the paintball field, one thing my son and I did this week before my trip with his sister was watch the latest installment in one of our favorite sci-fi series. What it lacks in character development and plot, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon certainly makes up for with some of the most intense techno-masculine violence ever to land in a PG-13 film.

But what struck both of us (“Mom, why haven’t her heels fallen off by now?”) was the gender imagery. I mean, when a hero’s girlfriend can survive a collapsing skyscraper with her high heels on, looking unrumpled, only to play a decisive role in the denouement of a 63-minute urban battle by – wait for it – insulting a Decepticon’s masculine pride, you know it’s all downhill for women in action films.

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Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights
Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.