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Zero Dark Thirty: Female Heroism and the Futility of War

*Spoiler Alert*

I did not want to see Zero Dark Thirty. Generally, Hollywood depictions of war efforts strike me as propaganda. If I’m going to sit through two hours of indoctrination, I want it to be because I’ve been given the truth or at least a view of reality in the terms that I hold true. That is, not the one-sided story of war heroes and national victory. The truth is, soldiers are used and abused when they’re not committing the abuses themselves, and the final act is never truly victorious for anyone.

Also, typically, war is about men. Men leading, men saving. Men, men, men. I agree that men can be heroes and have been heroes, but in cinema they’re always the heroes, and that feels a little sad for me, as a woman. A little like I’m less likely to be a hero, because I’m a woman. (You know, and probably am just in the way, or crying rape back at base camp.) Alas, I personally will never, ever be a war hero. But that’s because I have no desire to be a soldier or a CIA agent or a leader in the Pentagon. However, if I wanted to, I could be. So I’d like more widespread acknowledgement of the fact that women are smart enough and tough enough to be the hero and just as likely to be the hero as a man is; war movies have just barely stepped in line ...