Wachowski Storytelling Got as Feminine as They Did
When the Wachowski brothers made The Matrix they blew up the entire sci-fi film genre. It was a new story, original and excellent. The story was good and the way it was told was good. It was essentially a Hero’s Journey. In fact, if you do a search for popular Hero’s Journey stories The Matrix pops up along with Star Wars.
But that story was made when the Wachowski’s were men. In fact it had most of the requirements of masculine storytelling: Neo endured a “trial by fire” in which he gave his all to a noble cause; saving the human race. As a result he rose from the dead stronger than ever. He beat his enemies by being stronger than them, faster than them, and smarter than them. The story was heavy on action, forty minute chase scenes and elaborate martial-arts battles. Talk of feelings was limited.
But there were seeds of feminine storytelling in that story that would take more prominent roles in the Wachowski sister’s stories. When Neo comes back to life with his ultimate strength the audience is lead to believe that his love interest brought him back with a kiss. This highlights the feminine aspect of the story, the love will set you free theme that comes up several times at key moments.
Despite this The Matrix is ultimately an excellent story, both in entertainment value and for masculine lessons. In a matter of years though the Wachowski brothers would redefine themselves as the Wachowski sisters. Their stories then reflected that change.
Enter Jupiter Ascending
By the time Jupiter Ascending was released in 2015 one of the Wachowski’s (who cares which one?) had been identifying as a woman for five years. He/She made public appearances in dresses and a bright red mop-top wig. The other Wachowski would make the transition in 2016.
The story centers around Mila Kunis. She starts the film as a lowly maid struggling to eek out a living in a big city. Suspend disbelief that the character seen below wouldn’t be able to wife up a rich guy, let alone an upper-middle class guy, or that she couldn’t make a ton of money off her looks. As a bartender alone she would make good money pouring beer while letting losers fawn over her.
It so happens that Mila shares a 100% match of DNA with a long dead space queen. That entitles Mila to the space throne. Bad guys want to kidnap her for themselves. Good guys want her to ascend the throne. Channing Tatum appears to be her ripped, skater-boy savior.
At one point in the film Mila tells one of the good aliens, and I am paraphrasing, “But how can I be a queen? I just clean houses.”
The space alien replies, “It’s not what you do that defines you, but who you are.”
There lies the ultimate feminine theme in this Wachowski story. This is the theme that truly demonstrates a transition from the masculine to the feminine. The feminine fantasy and ideal is one in which a women does not have to earn. In a feminine story, a women is entitled to all the luxuries she can imagine purely by her being her.
This is one step away from mary-sue storytelling. In mary-sue stories the main character doesn’t even have to be special. She (usually these stories feature female protagonists because of the feminine nature of the story and audience) gets some special treatment despite being completely ordinary. Pretty? Sure. Drop dead gorgeous? No. But Jupiter Ascending does not go that far. The protagonist was born with special DNA purely by chance.
The Wachowski’s hit the nail on the head with Jupiter Ascending. They created the first truly feminine space opera. Mila Kunis is entitled to the space throne simply because of her DNA. She is entitled to the space throne because of her DNA.
Masculine stories are the polar opposite. In a masculine story a man is entitled to nothing. Through endless toil and relentless spirit he conquers his enemies and takes the throne from the forces of evil (the enemy being evil isn’t even necessary).
Aragorn is entitled to the throne of Gondor, but still he has to earn it by proving himself in battle on the fields of Pelennor. Only when he has delivered his people from defeat and ruin do the people accept his rule.
Conan takes the throne of Aquilonia from a decadent king. Conan worked his way up from the bottom ranks in the military. He proved himself in battle countless times. As a result the people followed him, both in battle and when he took the throne from his predecessor.
Feminine storytelling emphasizes destiny. Masculine storytelling emphasizes hard work and achievement. Feminine characters are static, the space queen is the space queen because of her DNA. Masculine storytelling is dynamic. Anybody can be the king if they prove themselves worthy of the throne.
The nature of these stories is simply a reflection of reality. In the real world women who are born beautiful get special treatment. They don’t have to do or be anything special for men to be entranced by them and give them special treatment. Every woman wants to be a woman that gets special treatment without having to do much.
Men don’t have that luxury. In the real world men work day-in and day-out. They have to earn, accomplish and achieve. Nobody wants to give men special treatment. Some men do get special treatment for their looks, but they are the few exceptions to the rule and often times still have to work hard to achieve. In those cases their being special only gives them an advantage, not an entitlement.
What we gain from knowing this aspect of masculine storytelling is another reminder that the nature of masculinity is fleeting. If you do not work hard with vigor you will not gain. This rule applies to all men, even the special ones, because any man is competing with some other man at any given time.
The message then is clear; never stop working, never stop achieving.