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Pissed Off: When Did Playing Evil Women Become a Rite of Passage for Oscar Winning Actresses?

Women and Hollywood By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood May 9, 2013 at 12:00PM

You know I hate all the princess shit that we see everywhere. The film business has up it ass that boys get to be superheroes and girls get to be princesses. The boys save the girls and the girls need to be saved. Like anyone believes that shit anymore.
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angelina as maleficent

You know I hate all the princess shit that we see everywhere.  The film business has up it ass that boys get to be superheroes and girls get to be princesses.  The boys save the girls and the girls need to be saved.  Like anyone believes that shit anymore.

I let most of the things that I read about Hollywood pass me by, but yesterday the story about the new live action Cinderella movie pissed me off.  The release comes into my box that Richard Madden has been cast as Cinderella's Prince.  Of course I have no idea who Richard Madden is until I read that he plays Robb Stark in Game of Thrones and then I can totally see it.  And then I keep reading the story and it says that the film is being directed by Kenneth Branagh and the wicked stepmother will be played by Cate Blanchett.

Now I get pissed.  First, because I am reading another story about another princessy movie being made that will cost a fortune.  Maybe it will have a little teeth since the Devil Wears Prada writer Aline Brosh McKenna wrote the first draft, but it is still a story about a girl who needs to be saved by her prince and quite frankly, I am sick of those.

But it was reading about Cate Blanchett that really pissed me off.  Cate has been busy of late taking some time off from the big screen to run a prestigious theatre company in Sydney.  We, or I, have clearly missed her because sadly, there are so few women with her talent in her age range.  So then I read that she will be playing the evil stepmother in Cinderella and I think What the Fuck?  Why is she playing evil?  Why is she a supporting character? And why is she in a princess movie?   

If this were an isolated incident I could let it pass by with little remark, but note, recently both Charlize Theron and Julia Roberts took on playing evil queens or stepmonsters, and we also have Angelina Jolie about to scare the hell out of us in the upcoming Maleficent, a character who is elevated to the star of her own film after being Sleeping Beauty's nemesis.  It's not that I;m not going to see Maleficent.  I will.  It seems to have a strong female lead.   And it seems that the evil women are the more interesting ones onscreen.

Do you see a pattern here?  Why are the better and more interesting roles about women who are evil?  It's not just one or even two, this is four, and I'm sure I am missing some other films.  These are four of our finest actresses.  I know they are discerning in picking parts.  I know that "playing evil" is probably fun and gives you more freedom.  But I am guessing that since they are the top tier actresses who get offered all the best scripts that these are the best parts out there for women of their age.  Now that just sucks.  I will completely throw in the towel if I see Reese Witherspoon take a part like this.  

I don't blame the actresses.  They gotta work.  It just makes me sad.  These movies just hammer us over the head with the stereotype that boys and men get to be the heroes, and girls and women get to be evil women who cause young damsels to be in distress so the prince needs to save them.  That trope is just so tired.

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This article is related to: Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, Charlize Theron