|ASTERIX & WOMAN||
Impedimenta paved the way, and the other women follow - they even rebel! Ah, yes, seeing just how impertinent their spouses are, some decide to change them, to get even with them or surprise them. Already, in 50 BC, women were on the road to independence. Some may have gone overboard, though. How did they go about this?
In Asterix in Belgium, the condition of women was not really enviable… "Ladies, we have visitors! Let's lay on the whole works! Burnish up the brass! Put on your best bibs and tuckers!" orders Beefix, one of the village chiefs. And the women obey, all smiles, too. They prepare a huge banquet of cold meats. And they do it again later that evening, and the next morning, and every day after. The set the table, bring the heavy dishes, and continually clear the table for their voracious men who don't show the slightest gratitude. Is it the same everywhere?
No! Because in Asterix and the Great Divide, we meet Melodrama. A strong woman, with strong character, she doesn't hesitate to show her anger by cracking vases over the heads of her victims. She has many different moods. First she is nostalgic, when she tells her father about the old days, when the village lived in peace and harmony. Then she gets angry when she finds out her father has promised her to the evil Codfix. She tries out fear when she is kidnapped by this "herring face". And she finally finds peace and love when celebrating her marriage with Histrionix. Here's a woman who gets what she wants!
In Asterix and Cleopatra, there are some pretty stormy discussions… It looks as though Caesar is really trying to find fault with Cleopatra. "You have to face facts, O queen! Yours is a decadent nation, only fit to live in semi-slavery under the Romans!" But Cleopatra doesn't give in, and breaks a vase to show her anger. This powerful, inflexible and strict woman will get revenge on this creep. And revenge will be indeed obtained through the construction of a luxurious palace in Alexandria. Caesar decides to send chariots to destroy it. But it was a mistake. Cleopatra comes to Alexandria seething with rage. "That's enough of that! When I heard what was happening I hurried out of the palace at once! I didn't even stop to change!" Caesar replies, "All right! All right! Don't go on! I'm sorry and I'll do what you want." That Caesar sure is a lout! But it's a good thing that he gave in!
Geriatrix's wife sure has a hold on her husband. When she comes home from a goat's milk party with her friends, he's there doing the dishes. Ah, if all men had that much respect for their wives!
In Asterix and the Soothsayer, our men have it rough. For the first time, their wives are allowed to drink the magic potion. And they live it up! Impedimenta knocks out the soothsayer who lied, and Vitalstatistix is truly amazed.
Some women go a bit too far. In Asterix and Caesar's Gift, we meet Orthopaedix, his wife Angina and their daughter Influenza. Angina seems somewhat authoritarian; maybe even a bit too much. Her husband no longer knows how to make her happy. He just got a plaque bearing Julius Caesar's seal, making him the new owner of the Gaulish village - or so he thinks. His wife, happy at first to change air and start a new life in Armorica, becomes increasingly unenthusiastic, especially when Vitalstatistix refuses to give up his position as chief. "Ah yes, you and your business acumen! We were perfectly happy in Lutetia, only you had to go and buy an inn because you fancied living down south! A fat lot you cared that the climate didn't suit me and it was no fit place to bring up Influenza! And then you go chucking it all up again, just for a worthless scrap of marble! When I think of my sister who married Dithyrambix!" Poor Orthopaedix! When he decides to follow his wife's opinion and head back to Lutetia, she is very clear: "Over my dead body! We're staying here!" A bit fickle, Angina.
Angina is firmly decided to make her husband the new village chief, and, without his agreement, even goes as far as corrupting her own daughter to get votes "Influenza, darling, I think that great fat man with the menhirs has a soft spot for you . . . you should have a word with him." Dogs don't make cats. Like her mother, Influenza gets straight to the point. "Oh, how witty you are, Obelix!" This self-interested girl goes on, not giving up: "if daddy doesn't get elected chief we'll gave to go back to Lutetia… Isn't that sad?" There is a great deal of discord in the village. The Romans attack… When the problem is solved, Orthopaedix decides to go back to Lutetia. To his wife, who wants to say her piece, he shouts, "Silence! I said we're going back to Lutetia! That was what you wanted, wasn't it!" It was.
Let's look at another woman, a bit less feminine but much more feminist: Bravura, the female bard. She has the rare privilege of being the first woman to create so much trouble in the village. Short, chubby and energetic, she wears her hair in a long braid that looks surprisingly like a rattlesnake's tail. She is also the only woman to get slapped by Asterix… She decides to turn the women of the village away from their housework: "Friends, sisters, countrywomen! Throw off your chains! Free yourselves from slavery! Swell the ranks of those who refuse to accept masculine tyranny!" Our friends feel this agitation is a bit of a bother. The women cast off their dresses and start wearing their husbands' breeches. "But what am I going to do without my breeches?" cries Geriatrix. "The dishes, Geriatrix dear, the dishes!" answers his wife, with a smile on her face. Impedimenta takes her husband's shield, as he cries out, "You may be wearing the breeches, but you needn't think you can emulate our proud masculine bearing!"
But, if that's the way it is, "I'm leaving the village!"… followed by all the other men, disenchanted. Caesar has concocted yet another brilliant plan to take the rebel village. Knowing about the Gauls' famous chivalry, he organizes a century of women, thinking the Gauls would never fight back. These brave, bold women think they can fool the Gauls! But our heroes are not lacking in imagination… When the women's legion attacks the village, screaming "Wheeee!!!", it is met by lingerie, jewelry and hairdressers. The attack fails, and the Romans leave the Gauls, their hands full. Nice compensation!
Let us not forget, in this inventory of strong-willed women, a real starlet: Latraviata, who pretends she is Panacea. She is actually quite different: pretentious ("This will be an easy role for an actress of my stature."), a tease ("I'm so glad to see you again, Obelix", she says, as she wraps her arms around him), self-interested ("I hear you have a fine collection of Roman helmets, Obelix"; "I hear you own a magnificent sword, Asterix!?"), impolite ("Oh, go back to your old boars and stop hamming it up, before I shake the dust of this place of my cothurni!"); she certainly doesn't have the class of Tragicomix's wife. But she is a fine actress, because she manages to fool everyone.