I’m a big fan of the US nerd fest that is Big Bang Theory. Very much late to the party, I only discovered the show last year and have been happily catching up on it ever since. Last week I saw an episode featuring Summer Glau who played Cameron Phillips in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles about four years ago - again a series I enjoyed but I did struggle with Glau’s casting. Don’t get me wrong, she’s an excellent actress and played the role of the emotion-free Phillips very well. But – and it’s a big but(t) if you’ll excuse the pun – how can a woman as slim as Summer Glau accomplish all the physical feats carried out by her Terminator character? She has to beat up/subdue/kill all sorts of baddies, something which she manages to do with relative ease but with little muscle to help her.
I must ask – how?
This honestly isn’t the case of curvy women good, slim ones bad (regular readers of this blog will be aware of what I think about the ‘real women’ tag; all women are real, for God’s sake) but a question of believability.
I know Cameron Phillips is a cyborg – part machine – which lets the show off the hook but it got me thinking – female heroes (super or cyborg) in the present day border on catwalk model slim, when the ones from my childhood and teenage years were full figured. My heroines were more than capable of taking the bad guys on and showing them who was boss.
Take Wonder Woman, my own personal favourite. In 1975-79 she was played by Lynda Carter in the American TV show.
Of course Wonder Woman had wonderful aids in the form of bullet proof bracelets, Lasso of Truth (I always hankered after one of those) and a tiara she could throw at people but the character is physically strong, highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and based on the Amazons from Greek mythology.
Someone small boned with slender muscles couldn’t play the role realistically – which is why Lynda Carter was just the right person with her statuesque build, curvy hips and full figure.
Would someone similar to Carter be cast as Wonder Woman now?
Would she wear those magnificent big knickers? That tremendous basque?
Probably not, sadly. We’d probably be looking at someone younger, thinner and unrealistic.
I wanted to be like Wonder Woman when I was growing up. She wasn’t girlish, never needed rescuing and could handle herself. Above all, she was curvy – and as sexy as hell. Who wouldn’t want to be like that?
I’d really love to see more lead female action roles on the telly, but above all played by women who look like they can do the job.
With a Lasso of Truth in hand, or not.