Day 6·Point of View

Why The Terminator's Sarah Connor is a feminist icon: Katrina Onstad

Terminator: Dark Fate has faced some backlash on social media for its cast of strong, female characters. But author, journalist and social commentator Katrina Onstad argues the Terminator films have always been about a woman — Sarah Connor — who challenged the traditional idea of heroism.

The character challenged ideas about heroism, motherhood and age, says author and social commentator

Actress Linda Hamilton plays Sarah Connor in the new film Terminator: Dark Fate, in this image released by Paramount Pictures. Author, journalist and social commentator Katrina Onstad argues that Connor changed what it means to be a heroine. (Kerry Brown/Paramount Pictures/The Associated Press)
Listen7:40

When one of the first movie posters for Terminator: Dark Fate dropped, showing three women walking out of a cloud of fire and smoke, Twitter blew up with internet trolls likening the film's leading women to "feminazis" and comparing the new movie to the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot.

Author, journalist and social commentator Katrina Onstad says some men were threatened by the "woman-centred reboot of a sacred male franchise," which opened in theatres across North America on Friday.

But those internet trolls got it wrong, Onstad argues, because The Terminator was always about a woman: Sarah Connor.

Connor has been one of the central characters in the series ever since Linda Hamilton took on the role in The Terminator in 1984. She's also been portrayed by Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey. Hamilton reprises the role in Dark Fate.

Onstad said the Connor character challenges ideas about heroism, single motherhood and age.

She spoke to Day 6 about what makes Connor such an influential heroine in cinema.


Click 'Listen' above to hear Onstad's full essay.

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