Ok – so I was dragged kicking and screaming to see the movie “300” by my Gerard-Butler-obsessed friend Kelli. Blood-and-guts movies do not interest me, especially when the plot has anything to do with ancient history. I lose interest in these types of films quickly and most often I turn to a book or play games on my palm to pass the remainder of the time. As we showed up at the IMAX in Chicago this past weekend to see “300”, I had a book in my hand and a fully charged palm TX in my pocket. However, within the first 10 minutes of “300” I started noticing that the Spartan women had some really good lines and the Spartan men (at least in the movie) were showing utmost respect for them. It was not your typical “women are here for the sex scenes” war movie.
I will try not to spoil the entire film in case you haven’t seen it, but I do want to highlight three scenes that were rather surprising and empowering for the women in the movie. The first one is the opening scene in which a Persian messenger arrives in Sparta to deliver a message to King Leonidas (Gerard Butler). During the dialog, the Queen Gorgo (played by Lena Headey) speaks up. The messenger looks sternly at Leonidas and says “Why does this woman think she can speak amongst men?” Rather than waiting for Leonidas to defend her, she steps forward and answers “because only Spartan women give birth to real men.” Yeah, she went there.
I will not describe the second most-memorable scene because it gives too much away, but let’s just say that Spartan women know how to handle a sword and leave it at that. And just as she runs him through, she turns his words against him with “This will not be quick, you will not enjoy this, and I am not your Queen!” You will just have to see the movie to understand what that means.
The third scene doesn’t even involve a single female actress, but it speaks volumes about the respect that the men supposedly held for the ladies. King Xerxes and King Leonidas are face-to-face and Xerxes is threatening to make the Spartan women into slaves. Xerxes threatens “Consider the fate of your women” to which Leonidas responds “Clearly you don’t know our women” and goes on to muse that he could have brought 300 Spartan women into battle and still kicked their butts.
So who knows if this “respect for women” was even real or if Hollywood just added it in to make us lady-folk tolerant of another estrogen-challenged movie. Of course given the time frame of history here, I would be willing to bet that said “respect” toward women was a creation of the movie-makers. Either way, it was refreshing and at least held my interest even though it showed a lot of dismemberment and killing. If you can get past that, it’s a halfway decent film.
I really wanted to find a photo of Queen Gorgo and the “sword incident” but I had no such luck. If anyone knows where I can find that particular shot, please post the link. Thanks!
Update: Thanks to Carms for linking me to this pic. Not the exact shot I want, but pretty sweet anyway!
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