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Violence in Western Movie Genre Essay


The Western movie genre, the main characteristics of which are guns, horses, and cactuses, presents violence that also relates to women and minorities and affects their portrayal in various films. In many senses, females and minorities are victims of gangsters and are treated as objects having no chance to protect themselves. Even though some films are rather brutal and bloody, their consideration helps to understand the life of those times as well as how violence influenced the depiction of the identified populations.

Considering the general brutal atmosphere of the Western movie genre, females and minorities were depicted specifically. Namely, the typical female image may be identified as follows: a saloon girl who handles guns quite well and is quite aggressive sexually. It seems that to protect themselves many women had to act in such a way. At the same time, the mentioned description helps male characters in designing their actions and making decisions by using the marginal roles of women. For example, Helen Ramirez in High Noon is a vivid representative of such women who had to exist at the fringes of society as victims of violence. Another example that is quite essential to point out refers to Dallas in Stagecoach characterized as a blond prostitute. Here it is possible to note an inversion the director of the film creates to convey his message to the public. In particular, since Dallas moves to the other city to start a better life and helps the woman to give birth to her baby, the viewers empathize with her. Thus, the film shows that despite being a prostitute and rather harsh conditions, a female may change her life in the West.

The violence regarding women and minorities was primarily used to promote the fake ideals of manhood and subdue the mentioned populations. In the film McLintock!, there is the theme of domestic violence when the husband punishes his wife corporally in response to her request for divorce. A similar approach of men towards women can be observed in Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and High Plains Drifter. In particular, there are knight fights and sexual innuendo towards women. Furthermore, male neglect towards females may be traced in Paint Your Wagon where Pardner shares a woman with his friend just to have some fun. Thus, it is possible to understand that women and minorities were perceived by males as something belonging to the lower class that is clearly reflected in the mentioned films. Perhaps, the most violent film in the given field is The Wild Bunch where violence is in every sequence as a symbol of survival. Here the gangsters shoot and treat women and minorities as objects, thus following their own way of life.

As for the minorities in the Western genre films, one considers Native Americans and African Americans as such, yet other minorities are also presented. For example, in Colorado Territory, Wes McQueen, the main character, meets the accomplices of the future robbery of the train, among which is Colorado Carson, a runaway part-Indian girl, who sees in him the man of her dreams. However, the two lovers cannot be together as they die by gunfire in an attempt to move to Mexico and start a new life. This shows that minorities had no officially recognized rights thus suffering from discrimination and violence. The situation with the Native Americans was also quite lamentable. Since the Western films were focused on the new undiscovered lands where criminals tended to gather and act without being captured, Native Americans were suppressed and discriminated having no chance to protect themselves. More to the point, reservations with the explicit intention to complete the physical destruction of the Native Americans to destroy their national and moral unity were usually established on lands that were not suitable for agricultural production.

To sum it up, the Western movie genre is marked by violence and blood in presenting gangsters, women, and minorities. The films mentioned earlier in this paper seem to affect the modern America by serving as a reminder of discrimination consequences and challenges. While the majority of critics and viewers admire cowboys and lucky gangsters, the state of women and minorities remains unnoticed. Westerners more often describe a society organized on the basis of a code of honor than on the legislation, whose members do not have any social environment other than their closest friends and relatives. At this point, some people may behave similarly ignoring the legislation and attempting to become heroes, while neglecting women and minorities. In this case, it seems that the directors of the Western movie genre, especially Clint Eastwood, wanted to emphasize that discrimination leads to even more violence and chaos. Therefore, the impact of such films may be summarized as cleansing, recovering, and warning of the potential danger to wallow in blood and neglect. This perspective focuses on the other side of the Western movie genre, thus helping to create a complete picture and comprehend the ideas expressed by films with regard to women and minorities.

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IvyPanda. (2020, October 11). Violence in Western Movie Genre. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/violence-in-western-movie-genre/

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"Violence in Western Movie Genre." IvyPanda, 11 Oct. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/violence-in-western-movie-genre/.

1. IvyPanda. "Violence in Western Movie Genre." October 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/violence-in-western-movie-genre/.


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IvyPanda. "Violence in Western Movie Genre." October 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/violence-in-western-movie-genre/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Violence in Western Movie Genre." October 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/violence-in-western-movie-genre/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Violence in Western Movie Genre'. 11 October.

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