29 July 2019

Monday Musing...The Influence of Barbarian/Warrior Women

Growing up, my mother was very liberal about what I was allowed to watch on television. Her
explanation was she’d rather be asked questions about what was happening, rather than going behind her back. Yeah, not too sure what that meant, but she allowed me to watch all types of rated R movies. One of my favorite genres back then were “barbarian” films. Like Conan and Red Sonja. I didn’t know why I liked watching them, but back then I really didn’t think too much about it.

We didn’t have Netflix or the internet, so I had to rely on HBO and renting VHS videos. Movies like Barbarian Queen, Hearts and Armour, Deathstalker, and Beast Master. Perhaps it was the sweeping vistas, or the fantasy saga of the journeys…whatever it was, I loved them.

Flash forward to the 90’s and Hercules The Legendary Journey films debuted on the Universal channel for their Action Pack series. By this time, I was in my 20s. The films led to the tv show, which led to a spin-off of Xena Warrior Princess, and this was my absolute favorite show of all times. I couldn’t get enough of it. I’d record the shows on a VHS and rewatch them. And I completely HATED the ending! To this day, I still don’t accept the Xena’s fate. (LOL!!)

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I was in my bedroom looking at the movies on Tubi, when I came across Barbarian Queen (again), and started watching it. Yes, the acting is horrible. Yes, the plot is wonky. Yes, the special effects are terrible. I get all that. But I still loved it. This time, however, I had an epiphany. As I watched the late great Lana Clarkson (murdered by Phil Spector), I realized why I liked this types of movie…the women in these films were all badass warriors. Females weren’t the
helpless ninnies in these shows. In Hearts and Armour, Bradamante is a woman who dons armor to save the man she loves. In Xena, she carries a sword and a round chakram. These women fight and win battles, and as a young girl, this was a powerful message, even if I didn’t recognize it when I was a teenager. Without even realizing it, I had positive role models to look up to, to aspire, even though those concepts had gone over my head.

In my own writing, I always write about the female who might start out weak and hopeless, but rises to become a powerful woman. And now I know that journey is a directed inspiration of the women I watched in fantasy and barbarian movies, who rise above every hardship, to become a warrior.

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