The recent passing of Tura Satana got me thinking about my celluloid heroines, those bad-ass women who take no prisoners. A woman with a good left hook will always find a place in my heart.
Too often, we allow ourselves to believe that the world is a civilized place. It is not. I have always been inspired by heroines who defy the stereotype of frail femininity. At a subconscious level, they tell us that it is OK to hit back, to defend ourselves.
There is an ancient proverb that says “every rose has its thorns.” Generally, this is interpreted to mean that even things (or people) which appear to be perfect also have flaws, only I don’t agree that the thorn is a flaw. The thorn performs the vital function of protecting the rose. We women need to find our thorns.
When my stepdaughters were little, we showed them the martial arts film The Heroic Trio starring three kick-ass women. When my daughter was 12, we watched Tura Satana in Faster Pussycat Kill, Kill. When my elderly aunt came to visit me from Mexico, we watched The Long Kiss Goodnight with Geena Davis in the role of a lethal assassin named Charlie Baltimore. These experiences are memorable for me because I had the feeling that we had shared in an unspoken conspiracy sparked by the guilty pleasure of watching the girl beat the guys, for once. The women in those movies are bad-ass, physically strong and unapologetically aggressive. They are roses who have found their thorns.
This month, I’d like to share my unabashed love for these heroines, fictional and real. Here’s the first stem in a Valentine's bouquet of my favorite roses.
Rest in peace, Tura Satana.