My little go-girl Avatar article on the Womanity – no longer live, created by MSN for Thierry Mugler – has been riding the rough and tumble wave of controversy surrounding James Cameron’s film sensation. My editorial of the movie gained over 500 likes/love votes due to the strong emotional bond its audience attaches to the movie. The opinions are polarized; people hate it or they defend it like a mother bear protecting her cubs. Since feedback that gets shared is statistically fated to be negative, the article has inspired a rather motley crew of comments – oddly enough, mostly from men. Created for the fashion giant, Thierry Mugler, Womanity, if the name doesn’t tip you off,  is a site that strategically targeted women. Its beautiful and very imaginative design had an artistically crafted look and feel that you navigate via your mood. It’s so femme, it’s not even gay. Although I support androgyny – no high heels for this girl – Womanity’s feminist orientation is hormonally off topic for men, hence the tone of my article. Not that no boys are allowed, but it’s like a guy wandering into an aromatherapy-infused woman’s empowerment seminar.  Therefore, I offer this space to read the article and continue the discussion if so moved.  My comment: the article’s illustration by Andrea Ventura is stunning. I thank her. – Char Easter

Women Rule Pandora:  The Heroin’s Journey

By Char Easter

Given Avatar’s techno-tree theme, I can see how my female friends were won over. Well, most of them. So what is amiss? The movie is about saving the planet and communication, after all, two feminine directives. And for a scientific spin, the Na’vi talk to the trees in a data download of electrochemical communication. The tree roots form an energy network like synapses between neurons. How cool is that? Visually, these good forest vibes turn the planet of Pandora into a woodsy rave in black light; all the better in 3D.

And there are the tough chicks, Mother Nature’s bodyguards – a pilot (Michelle Rodriquez as Trudy), a scientist (Sigourney Weaver as Grace), and a shaman warrior (Zoe Saldana as Neytiri) who work together to oppose the evil villains, a corporate pin head backed by an abominable military fanatic, who join forces on a strip-mining mission. As the story goes, the Sky People’s attempt to bulldoze the Na’vi culture for profit is foiled by a mystical Mother Nature played by a psychedelic jungle. The swashbuckling, climatic battle reminded me of a cross between Xbox’s Halo 3 and Snow White when the woodland animals rallied to fight off the evil witch.

But the heart-warming animal army is not the only fairytale theme in this movie. Like all good prince and princess stories, Sully, our magical hero boy, conquers the dragon (literally) and saves Pandora. Sully gets his avatar on and the prince and princess live happily ever after, or until the sequel when the bad guys return with advanced, viperwolf-proof AMP suites.

But what is wrong with this picture? Cameron has a legacy of strong women characters in his stories, and Avatar is no exception. But Sully’s triumphant upstaging at the end is questionable. He did transform enough to respect the Na’vi culture and be reborn as a Na’vi. And he served as a bridge between the two worlds so we, the audience, could superimpose ourselves over a human as the hero. But an oppressor turned savior is still an aggressive stance.

Imagine Neytiri in a Hollywood story meeting with James Cameron. After he reads her the Avatar script she crosses her elegant blue arms across her strategically constructed chest and narrows her big gold eyes at him and says, “Let me get this straight… James. A Human, a child who knows nothing of our ways, comes in to our tribe, and my mother decides I should be his teacher! He wins me over as a spy for his people who are planning to crush us. Then he becomes my husband and our mightiest warrior and leads the fight to save our people from his Humans?  No way. Women rule Pandora.”

There is a Neytiri out there now writing a script that will transform the Hollywood formula into a heroine’s journey. And when she does, James Cameron, look out.



  1. Adam Easter says:

    How can I get back to Earth! People’s obsession with Pandora is utterly pathetic. Of course the movie was about corporate greed and how evil corporations are, I have seen this before! Can Hollywood come up with a fresh and more imaginative bad guy, isn’t that they’re job. Second, fictitious Pandora is stuck and frozen in time, is this what the people want? A world devoid of progress. Would it be utopia if the world was all some primitive pagan peasantry!? Be realistic! There is a reason that society has developed into what it is, and it’s not done. Imagine 100 years in the future on earth: we settle on Mars, space travel, solar cars, devolving third world countries, a cure for cancer, a more tolerant and accepting global society. Think of 100 years in the future on Pandora: nothing! A limited interaction with humans. In case anyone has forgotten, isolation hasn’t worked for Japan, China, or Burma, it won’t on Pandora. Avatar was a revolutionary movie and I liked it a lot. I have been put off with “Avatar mania” and the glorification of this fake, dead planet. Get some perspective and a life for all those Pandora huggers.

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