I was watching "Before Sunset" today and thinking about male fantasies. Not just the typical "I never thought this would happen to me, with two cheerleaders, in an ice cream truck" kind of fantasies, but the kind that are articulated in a subtle way in the majority of films, TV, and literature, which have always been of course totally male-dominated arenas. The fantasy in "Before Sunset" is something along the lines of, "A self-involved leering geek meets a really smart socially conscious woman who flirtatiously pours her heart out to him for hours while he replies with banal small talk." Julie Delpy's character is a kind of muse who inspires men with her wit and openness, but it's hard to see whether she gets any inspiration in return.
...I'm guilty of this too. Most movies and books are written by men, most "really strong female characters" are written by men, and men tend to use their artistic license to create an idealized female character from time to time, someone to foil, transform, or otherwise reward the male subject, whether by helpful wisdom, charming eccentricity, or sheer babeliciousness. As hetero-male fantasists, we indulge the option to create that woman who we'd really like to meet and hang out with who would maybe save our soul in the process. So we get characters like Buffy, or Clarice Starling, or the Bride, or pretty much anyone Lucy Liu has ever played. Characters who may be loved by women and men alike, and whose only fault is that they may be just a little too awesome.
...So my question is, what is a typically female fantasy? If you watch enough softcore HBO specials, you might get the idea that most females fantasize about barbarians and whips and chains and wolf masks and stuff. The skeptic in me thinks this is just women internalizing the society-imposed passive/submissive role, which is not dissimilar from the male fantasy expressed in "Before Sunset," that is, You Won't Have To Do Too Much. The Fantasy Object will be so cool she will take care of all the conversation and sexual initiation for you. Basically, at heart, neither gender wants to work too hard, which is cool.
...Or I could be wrong. I mean, I really don't know. It's easy to find a few examples of female-authored fantasy figures in books or movies, and just as easy to find in them some embarrassing concession to the male gaze. Is it only possible for a woman to get to an authorship position if she embraces the female chauvinist pig within her? Or is Ethan Hawke REALLY the ultimate babe that every modern woman secretly dreams about and it's just my problem that I can't see it?
(....this is the part where the blogger arrogantly poses a big open-ended question, with the blind presumption that the blog has some sort of readership, and that readership will feel so stimulated by the blogger's deep thoughts that they will have no recourse but to respond.)