While flipping through the mental crates for the fashion track I present to you today — homo-predicting obsessions of my youth — I noticed a disturbing trend: Blondes with Guns.
WTF. Well, I guess it kinda makes sense. There aren’t a shit ton of images of for-real bad-ass women in the main-stream media. Mostly women are only allowed to hold guns if they are also naked and blond and wearing heeled shoes. And of course bad-assedness can only be exhibited via a
phallus approximation weapon. At any rate, it makes sense that a young girl in search of bad-assedness would eat-up those images, fully unaware she was feasting on crumbs. And ok, not that being dissatisfied with gender-normative images in the media makes you gay – pretty much all women would be gay if that were true — WAIT A MINUTE…
Anyway, I have always felt personally that my fascination with strong (or what passed for strong in a sea of waifs drowning in pink chiffon) female characters did have something to do with my gayness, whether that’s true for others or not.
The first blonde-with-a-gun (BWAG) I ever loved was Jane Fonda as Cat Ballou. My mother had it on VHS.
I was probably about 10 or 11 when I started watching this movie over and over after school. I love the shirt Cat Ballou is wearing in this poster — It is a man’s shirt tailored for a woman, as opposed to a woman’s shirt. So it’s not all prissy and girly but it isn’t boxy and unflattering either. WIN.
In the movie, Fonda as Ballou leads a train robbery and rides a horse and shoots a gun! Sometimes I am amazed at how a hungerin for a break in gender norms can lead to cheering for criminal and dangerous behavior — racism even! As in the case of BWAG #2: Doris day as Calamity Jane:
The titular heroine in Calamity Jane is an Indian Killer and is celebrated for being one. NOT OK. None the less, as a little brown gayby, Calamity Jane was as gay as anything I could get my hot little hands on.
This chick set up house in the wilderness with another lady, who was much more ladylike than she was. Then she built fires and shot animals for food while the ladylike lady kept house. Of course in the end Calamity gets a feminine makeover and marries a dude BOOOOOOOO!
And OH YEAH this is a fashion blog: Check out the jauntily-tied kercheif. This accessory, like the faux-hawk, is gay no matter what gender dons it.
Check out the REAL Calamity Jane, who the movie is based on. I bet you anything she did not go for the feminine makeover IRL.
Also, feel free to scowl and scorn in disgust at this land-theif and war criminal. She doesn’t deserve to wear what looks like a lovingly hand-embroidered vest, perfectly somber bowler hat, and brass-studded chaps. Someone who did not participate in Indian genocide should get to wear them instead.
And oh yeah CHAPS! They go in category GAY-regardless-of-gender with the kercheif and the faux-hawk. We’re starting to get enough items for a Jepoardy category here!
BWAG #3: Juliette Lewis as Mallory Knox
I didn’t discover the movie Party Girl until my senior year in highschool, which meant for the first three years I watched Natural Born Killers everyday after school. Then I fell asleep to the soundtrack every night. (I see angels Mickey. They’re comin down for us from heaven…) In the movie two crazy mother fuckers have a sick co-dependant affair and violently murder dozens of people.
How I became a functional adult and not a drugged out whoring serial killer after seeing this movie hundreds of times and blaring it’s soundtrack into my subconscious I’ll never know — especially since I wanted to be Mallory Knox!! I actually thought not giving a fuck and shooting people because you were “in love” was fucking cool!! Phew.
OH YEAH fashion blog, right right: This haircut is hipster-before-hipster-existed — actually, this haircut might even be the haircut that STARTED hipster. Quentin Tarantino (who wrote the movie) and his whole “nothing is sacred” philosophy of life and art likely laid the foundation for the whole “everything is kitscsh and appropriatable” hipster way of life. REVELATION.
FASHION, right, yes: I would call Mallory’s look bohobadass and would rock it 100% minus the burners. By which I mean firearms, not denizens of a temporary dessert city. Fringe and soft florals paired with tough leather and grommets makes for a hippie-gone-renegade look that speaks to me. It’s like Aunty Entity barfed all over a Free People catalog. I fucking love it.
BWAG #4: Peta Wilson as La Femme Nikita
So, while I was laying in bed listening the NBK soundtrack, I was staring up at posters of Peta Wilson as La Femme Nikita on my ceiling. I went to boarding school, and when my mom came to visit and saw the posters on my ceiling, she said, “Is there anything you want to tell me about yourself?” I had no idea what she was referring to. True Story.
In this promo shot, Nikita is wearing a tight slutty outfit, but in the show, she was always wearing all-black military outfits with cargo pants and boots and lots of little loops to attach grenades to. More like this:
…but even this shot is sexed up for promotion. Usually it was long-sleeves and her hair all tucked up in a black beanie while she stalked Russian arms dealers in Siberia through a rifle scope. Also, in one episode, Nikita has a hot affair with a black woman. I thought I was going to DIE. Of course the black lesbian is portrayed as a sexually aggressive criminal. But remember, we are talking pre-Audre Lorde exposure here. Feast of Crumbs!!
BWAG#5: Kathleen Turner as VI Warshawski
In high school I read every single VI Warshawski novel Sarah Peretsky had written up to that time. Let’s hear it for airport fiction!! VI went by her initials instead of her feminine name, carried pick-locks and a gun, got in fist fights with dudes, and contrary to this portrayal for the movie based on the books, rarely wore a skirt.
She also had deep friendships with women and only brief fleeting romances with men that were rather prudish, if you compare them to scenarios in the romance novels that are mostly where you find female leads when it comes to airport fiction.
While it pisses me off that the movie version of VI was decidely more feminine than the book version, one thing I am NEVER mad about is 80s power dressing! Ok, the movie was made in 91 but we really hadn’t grown out of that strong-shoulder/lots of pleats/belted waist thing that was the hallmark of the late 80s yet.
Also, please note the large wristwatch in the above left photograph. GAY.
BWAG#6: Geena Davis as Charlie Baltimore
Geena Davis as Charlie Baltimore in A Long Kiss Goodnight was actually not so gay. She was bad-ass and aggressive and stuff, but I dunno, she just reeks of straightness somehow. Maybe it’s because the whole plot-line revolves around her struggle to reconcile her spy-life with her uber-straight domestic life.
Am I a Mom or an Assassin?!?!
None the less, this too is a movie I watched over and over, blissfully unaware until this very day that it was just another link in my tawdry chain of BWAG obsession.
BWAG #7: Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor
So, I actually had never seen Terminator II until a few months ago. I never saw it as a kid and once the Governator was elected I couldn’t bring myself to watch, much less enjoy, anything he’d starred in. It just felt like I’d be swallowing a whole economy-sized bottle of bluepills, you know?
But holy shitballs that bitch is hella gay-looking and hella hot in that movie!! Whaaaaat?! And you really can’t have a BWAG post and not include Linda Hamilton. It would be like leaving Sinatra out of a post on the Rat Pack, or Gwen Stefani out of a post on really irritating people with good shoe design skills.
Incidentally, Hamilton’s cargo pants look was all the rage for S/S 2010 on the runways, which means it is likley all the rage right now at your local Forever 21. That is not a dig on Forever 21 btw. Most things on the runway come from ideas that trickle UP from teenagers who shop at Forever 21 anyway, so I have no problem with being “last season” as long as I dig the look. And I DIG this look.
Whoa, I just used “dig” as both a pejorative and a positive term in that last paragraph. I’m going to apply to the Lupe Fiasco school of MC.
Looking back, it seems kind of obvious that I was gonna turn out to be a giant lesbian, based on my predilection for what passes for a bad-ass woman in the patriarchal culture of power. Maybe my mom being man-less and having a Billy Idol haircut and stocking the house full of VHS tapes of westerns with female leads had something to do with it too — Nah!
Lastly, just so you don’t feel sad about poor little brown queermo Carrie being bombarded with images of bright white blondes with guns, I leave you with this:
Queen Latifah as Cleopatra Sims in Set it Off:
“Shit, we ain’t robbin stagecoaches man!! We need somethin to set it off with!!”
Take that, Cat Ballou! In your face, Calamity Jane!!