I did finally go out and see Return of the King yesterday. I have to say that I would thoroughly moved by it and Peter Jackson did indeed save the best for last. There were quite a few scenes that stuck in my mind, but one in particular made me think of a post by Ms. Lauren.
Don't read on if you don't want a spoiler...
There is a scene in the movie where Eowyn comes face to face with one of the dead, dragon riding kings that is about to kill her father. At a point, the dead king says to her "No man can kill me." Eowyn takes off her helm and says "I am no man" and dispatches the evil.
As she said this and killed the dead king, you could hear the women in the theater clapping, or saying "yeah!" etc... I couldn't help but to smile because it has reminded me of so many times in other movies where a woman has gotten the better of a man or a situation and you can just feel the smiles and appreciation of the females in the audience. It's great but it is sad also that such a response occurs. Why should a woman feel like she is "liberated" or "validated" by seeing a femme on the silver screen get the upper hand? You really don't see this happen when I guy gets in a really good punch in a movie. Why is there such a cry of "hell yeah" in movies like Kill Bill and something I remember from my childhood The Color Purple. The only way to explain this would be if somewhere women still do feel somewhat repressed in day to day life. They still feel like maybe they cannot be the female hero's that shine on the silver screen. Just as being a mother and nurturer is important, there are some women who want to fight and shine and do all the cool, brave, "macho" things that their male accolades have experienced for years.
Even when we are in this time when there is supposedly much more freedom and choices for women, women still feel somewhat stifled in competitive situations. They still feel that because maybe they don't extrude the machismo of their male counterparts, their voices aren't heard as loudly... And they are perhaps correct in this regard.