Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Femme-spiration: Jane Fonda as Barbarella

I'd always vaguely known about Jane Fonda's role in the 1968 sci-fi sexploitation flick Barbarella and assumed it would offer some decent eye candy, but when K. and I decided to watch it on Netflix a few weeks ago, I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as a did. It was actually more feminist in its depiction of female sexuality than I anticipated; at one point, strapped to a giant torture device designed to induce unbearable pleasure, the unapologetic heroine actually breaks the machine. "It couldn’t keep up with you!" the villain screams in shock and dismay, "What kind of girl are you? Have you no shame?” Fonda, who is really charming and entertaining as the eponymous character, became instant femme-spiration—especially because of the hair. I've since been scouring the internet for the perfect Barbarella wig. Surprisingly, given the movie's cult status, I've had zero luck in locating the sci-fi sexpot locks of my dreams. Suggestions and tips welcome.

Perhaps I'm initially commenting on hair more than wardrobe because none of Barbarella's costumes manage to stay on her body for very long—something always conveniently tears them to shreds before her next amorous adventure, which the movie has a great sense of humor about. But who wouldn't want to prance about in shiny white boots and furs all day long?

 Also Barbarella's spacecraft, entirely lined in faux fur/shag carpeting, is like some kind of bizarre campy femme dream.

It's still a sexploitation flick, with all the problematic tendencies that come along with the genre, but I can't really help admiring the femme fantasy perfection of Jane Fonda in this film. So this week, I salute you, Barbarella! Thanks for saving...the universe or something...from that weapon...and that guy (Yeah, plot really isn't the movie's strongest suit), and for looking so smokin' while doing it. 

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