Black Mamba: The Female Badass Essay

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What defines a real “Badass?” Most will agree that this label applies to a tough and rebellious individual who follows his own path. However, this term is inherently masculine as it involves rough qualities associated with a powerful male. In Jack Katz’s analysis in “Ways of the Badass,” he refers only to males when he deconstructs the persona of this strong character. Despite this imbedded conception, can a female be considered a badass if she possesses the associated qualities? In Quentin Tarantino’s action film Kill Bill Volume 1, the main character seeking revenge through many brutal murders is not a man, but a strong and dominant female. Using Katz’s three levels of the ways of a badass, this female badass persona can be proven …show more content…
This pivotal scene in the hospital is where “the bride” changes to her alternative badass persona “Black Mamba.” By making the choice to fight instead of tolerate her situation, she puts herself in a typically male gender role, as typical females characters are comparatively submissive. This is also the point at which one-on-one fighting takes place increasingly often as the audience follows her on her brutal journey. In engaging the audience with the switch in roles from vulnerable bride to “kickass” assassin, the film further emphasizes her role as a badass. Toughness is one of the essential qualities of Katz’s “badass” and a major quality that Tarantino’s main character portrays. While every aspect of her character engages this trait, her famous attire in her final fight scenes perhaps most adequately symbolizes the idea of toughness. Katz notes that being tough “… may be accomplished by using symbols and practical devices that suggest an impenetrable self” (550). The yellow leather tracksuit that she wears at the climax of the movie is the same tracksuit that the martial arts legend Bruce Lee wore in his final martial arts film. Bruce Lee, recognized in pop culture as one of the toughest fighters of all time, symbolizes strength and sheer power. Through wearing the same impenetrable leather attire as the well-respected and skilled

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