Queerly Not Straight: ‘Birds of Prey’ Proving That Older (and Queer) Women Can Still Kick Ass!

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Queerly Not Straight: 'Birds of Prey' Proving That Older (and Queer) Women Can Still Kick Ass!

In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx/WOC community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.


I have shocking news to share with you. Something that you might have not realized until Rosie Perez was cast as Renee Montoya on the Birds of Prey movie. Ready? Women…GET OLDER! I know, shocking. But hold my hand. There’s more. Superheroes, who just so happen to be women,…GET OLDER TOO! I know, I know. You’re world is slowly falling apart around you and your eyes are being opened to the reality of all the badassery that has been stolen from us.

But wait…

It hasn’t been stolen from us…

Why?

Because Hollywood thinks that women don’t get A) older and B) can still kick ass.

Think back to every superhero movie you’ve ever watched. I’ll wait. Ok, ready? Let’s commence. The leading roles, the badass females in all of the movies we love and cherish, have a serious problem. Most of them are young. Yes, the young pave the way for the future. But what happens after they’re not young anymore? Do they just put their mantel down, become housewives, or the people behind the scenes? No.

THEY KEEP FIGHTING!

We see plenty of male superheroes who are pushing 40’s and 50’s kicking ass and taking names until the cows come home or until they need a hip replacement because of the toll that has taken on their body. But a female? Oh no. Unless you are young enough to fit into tight suits (or god created beings like the Amazons) and look physically capable of doing all sorts of flips and kicks with your wirey frame…you’re done for, put out to pasture, and forgotten.

Birds of Prey, no matter how you feel about Margot Robbie or the Suicide Squad madness that came before it, is paving the way and exposing us to something that people keep ignoring: WOMEN CONTINUE BEING BADASSES! Long after the spandex doesn’t fit the same way around their asses, they continue to fight! Long after their bodies start to ache and crows feet appear on their faces, they continue to fight!

 

That’s why I’m so excited to see Rosie Perez play Renee Montoya. Perez is in her 50’s, is Latinx, and will be playing a queer superhero in a major film! And I know, because I’m a woman as well, that Perez knows how important this is to women. The older you get as a woman, the more it seems like your story doesn’t matter unless it’s progressing the young female protagonists story. Sorry to tell you this Katniss, Tris, and every other teen hero, but you get older. And just because you do, doesn’t mean that you have to give up your heart or become a grouch that looks down on all the youngins trying to make change.

That right there is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to older women on TV.

Once you’re older, there’s nothing you can do or play besides a grouch, a woman on the verge of a mental breakdown, or someone having trouble with her kids. Nothing against moms, but not everyone has kids. And nothing against people who have actual mental breakdowns later on in life. It happens and we are so proud of you for still continuing to fight. *hug* My problem is that people think that’s the only thing that a woman is capable of when we include older women in the stories we write.

As women, we continue fighting our entire lives for what we believe in. Just because the counter goes up and we push 30, 40, or 50 doesn’t mean that we simply fade away. We still know how to throw a punch, we still fall in love, and we still go on wild rides where we are capable of discovering ourselves again and again. You think Hermione Granger gave up fighting after Harry Potter ended or when her kids went to school? No. You think Supergirl is going to hang up her cape when her hair turns white and things start sagging? Nope! Our lives continue flourishing and we still continue fighting, no matter what age we are.

Rosie Perez’s inclusion in Birds of Prey as Renee Montoya is that wakeup call to people in Hollywood that think we don’t want older woman, who just so happen to be queer and Latina, to play the badass heroes. We want them. We need them. And for fucks sake, if Tom Cruise can keep playing the hero well into his 50’s, you BETTER believe that we can have more heroes like Rosie Perez’s Renee Montoya lighting up the screen and saving the day!


Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)

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