It's a question I ask myself frequently. We've had about 40 years of emancipation and still most heroes are male. What for, honestly?
Admittedly, I can live without a female substitute for Bruce Willis in "Die Hard" (whatever part of it). And there's other action heroes I won't deny them their place either, but where's the women in this business? There are some, but not many. "Dark Angel" was one of them, "Buffy" too, of course. Lara Croft still is (although, looking at Angelina Jolie's current body, I don't really want to see her as Lara Croft in a new movie). But for everyone of them there's five or even ten male heroes.
And most women in the action movies? Either they're strong and evil, but always fall for the hero (how's that - does the male villain fall for a female hero?) or they're in dire need of help. And, sometimes, there's the female specialist who's basically neutral anyway, because her only job is to give the hero information or some gadgets.
Where do women play a leading role? Usually in romance or melodrama. They are in love (unhappily at the beginning, usually) with some good-looking guy and he gets to impress them with something (once he's fallen in love with the heroine, too). Sorry, if I make it sound too easy, but I'm usually too bored by love stories to watch them for a long time. And melodramas aren't much better. They start out horrible and get worse from there. One of those can you make want to cut your wrists on a fine summer day. Yes, I'm not exactly one for those stories either, although I can stand them as long as they're not going all the way (meaning the heroine leaves the hospital after she's been cured from cancer just to be driven over by a truck or something).
What does that tell the audience? Anything that requires strength and/or intelligence also requires a 'true man'. And everything that centers around emotion is the right thing for women. Admittedly, I probably wouldn't like a love story any more if the protagonist was a man. (Well, if there were two men in the story and there was more than just two hours of 'I love you' to it, we can talk about it.) But sometimes I wonder why so many women love those movies. Then, on the other hand, that might have something to do with the title of my blog.
We've spent years fighting for our rights and trying to be treated equally (which hasn't completely happened yet, but we're on our way). But on screen, at least in most movies, the women are mainly portrayed the same way as they were before the whole emancipation started.
As long as the movie-bosses think people don't want to see a strong woman who doesn't get 'punished' in the end, we're not truly equal.