The LOTR Movie Site
December 1, 2000

Necessary Sexism
Jose Van der H.

I've been going through the articles rather casually, but apparently some people seem to be afraid that the Mother of all Movies (the one that should bind us all) is not going to be politically correct. Of course, the idea that Sam and Frodo might be going at it seems too "rainbow" to be true, and Simone de Beauvoir herself might be resurrected in approval of the change into "The Sisterhood of the Ring", but I do believe that all of this is neither here nor there.

The reason for all this writing clever little articles and essays is the simple fact that we're all longing to see a decent adaptation of TLotR for the big screen, because we have been in love (I have been, anyway) with the story as Tolkien intended and wrote it. If anyone feels like "transsexualizing" the characters, why not write an entirely new novel ? I don't believe, moreover, that there's anything wrong with some good oldfashioned stereotyping. Just as in fairy tales, it has this comfortable romantic notion to it. After all, who wants to tell her/his children the tale of Cinderellus, who has to conquer bad junkie-friends, the police etc. in order to start a fairly promising LAT-relationship with a highly emancipated princess (or vice-president) ? It may seem like some kind of gender-Uttopia, but it doesn't sound very "magic". And that's by far (I think) the strongest reason why we have devoured TLotR : to be absorbed as adults into a world that might have been perfectly acceptable in our childhood fantasies.

Adding to this very personal idea also this thought : we cannot expect Tolkien to have had types of men and women in mind as we see them today. In most of his stories, women can be very strongminded, important and influential individuals (physically brave if necessary), stimulating the men around them into "mere" heroism. After all, it's easier to look for adventure and to fight than to take active responsibility for the course of events. And there's an abundance of strong women in TLotR : Galadriel, Goldberry, Eowyn, Gollum's ancient grandmother (a "matriarch"!), Lobelia, ...  I suggest we don't try to change too much in the story : the filmmakers will do so at any rate.

Reader-viewer's vote : I'd like to propose Catherine Deneuve for the role of Galadriel. She's the sort of well-maintained ice-queen that would do justice to the sort of woman Galadriel is.