I’ve always been moved by the image of the damsel in distress tied to the railroad tracks. Seemingly helpless, she daintily struggles to escape her bonds and scans the horizon for a hero who might save her before the train comes barreling down the track.
The iconic trope is viscerally revolting to me, but not for the evil villain, the violence, or for the possibility of the damsel’s gruesome demise.
What repulses me most is the damsel.
I don’t understand how she came to find herself in that situation in the first place. It angers me that she doesn’t fight the villain harder and that she doesn’t struggle more to escape her bonds. It disgusts me when I suspect she exerts more effort craning her neck to see if a hero is coming than she does in trying to free herself.
I hate that after she is saved, the woman’s relief seems to stem more from having been rescued than it does from having survived.
When I see her struggle on celluloid or frozen in peril on book covers, I can’t help but want to scream at her.
Get the fuck up, bitch.
Fight. Struggle. Figure it out and save yourself.
Quit waiting for someone to save you. Even if a hero comes to rescue you, expending precious energy looking around for him isn’t going to make it happen any faster.
If you’re unable or unwilling to fight, if you’ve resigned yourself to your fate, I hope you get what’s coming to you and I hope it’s not the hero.
Some part of me hopes you get the train.