TERMAGANT (NOUN): a violent, turbulent, or brawling woman.
VIRAGO (NOUN): a woman of strength or spirit.
VIRAGO (in Mirriam Webster): a woman of great stature, strength, and courage
When I first heard of Tura Satana’s demise yesterday, it was an as-of-yet unconfirmed rumor that I hoped was another internet hoax. Sadly, it’s not, as has been more confirmed today. Of course we all know of Tura’s influence as a cinematic “Bad Girl”, a glamour queen and a bombshell icon both to the men that fantasize about her and the hordes of young women who want to be like her. At least, in image. Like Betty Page, Tura Satana has become one of those icons who a number of young women seek to emulate. And why not? In the roles she played, she’s sexy, badass, and free spirited. And here in the 21st century, we have a plethora of young women who have vague ideas about buzzwords like retro, glamour, alternative, pro-sex. Many of them fancy themselves “pin-up dolls” or “burlesque queens” (whether or not they employ any creativity in their burlesque depends on the imagination and talent of the dancer in question.) When the subject of Tura comes up in conversation they use words like “glamorous”, “sexy” and “beautiful” (and yes, she was all those things) and they meticulously apply their cat eye makeup and spend ungodly amounts at the salon to have the haircut. I’ve never heard any of them, though, discuss details of her biography such as these:
“After the end of World War II and a stint in the Manzanar internment camp in Lone Pine, California, she and her family moved to the Westside of Chicago. She developed breasts very early and, despite being an excellent student, was constantly harassed for her figure and Asian heritage. Walking home from school at the age of nine she was gang raped by five men. Her attackers were never prosecuted and it was rumored that the judge had been paid off. This prompted her to learn the martial arts of aikido and karate and, over the next 15 years, track down each rapist and exact revenge. “I made a vow to myself that I would someday, somehow get even with all of them,” she said years later. “They never knew who I was until I told them.” (source Wikipedia, but I’ve seen this printed elsewhere as well)
The site Dangerous Minds has some quotes from Tura herself about these events:
“At the age of 15 I became an exotic dancer in the clubs of Calumet City, Illinois, because I had left home due to a bad situation stemming from when I was raped. Instead of the guys who raped me going to jail, I was sent to reform school because they paid the judge one thousand dollars to get off. So I went instead, supposedly because I enticed them to rape me.”
You caught that, right? This happened when she was NINE YEARS OLD. At all of age nine, SHE “enticed” THEM. RIIIIIIGGGGHHHHHTTTTT.
“There are a great many similarities between Varla and myself. Varla was an outlet for some of the anger I felt growing up. She was also a statement to women all over the world that you can be a take-charge person and still be sexy. She also showed the women world-wide that women don’t have to be weak, simpering females. They just go after what they want and usually get it.” (on her character in “Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!)
So. Anger. Revenge. Hurting rapists and making sure they know why. THAT, my friends, is a feminist icon. THIS is what inspires me. Be glad you’re on three life sentences Atwood you piece of dogshit motherfucker. Women should use Tura Satana as a role model in totality, not just in cultivating a bombshell image. Everyone’s got a pair of pasties these days, who has a karate gi?????? Why can’t we have both?
Here’s a clip of Tura(as Varla) working through some anger. Though she does initially grapple with the attacker, probably to draw out the fight scene for purposes of suspense and titillation, there is some knifehand, hitting of strike points, etc, that I’m sure only hints at her actual studies.