The Fast and the Furious
From Imperator Furiosa to Letty Ortiz, strong and knowledgeable female characters crop up in car movies. The women who used to be relegated to flag girls and objectified as hood ornaments are now being introduced as main characters with their own plot points and story developments.
Masculinity is a pervasive concept in our culture, setting the tone for our entertainment, our politics, and our interpersonal lives. This is because masculinity itself traditionally belongs to men who are, to quote blogger Twisty Faster of ‘I Blame the Patriarchy’, “the default human.”
Michelle Rodriguez, famous for her roles in “Girlfight”, “The Fast and the Furious” series, and TV series “Lost”, is a cinematic conundrum. Much like most Latina actresses, Rodriguez is typecast. Unlike those Latina actresses who are typecast as extremely feminine and sensual, Rodriguez is typecast as the smoldering, independent bad girl who doesn’t take shit from men. In her roles, Rodriguez embodies many traditionally coded masculine traits (she’s strong, aggressive, mechanically inclined, independent, physical, etc). Despite this perceived masculinity, she is not depicted as a lesbian, and her butch attributes are actually designed to accentuate her sexual appeal.